Like Mother Like Daughter: On Exercise and Body Image


Why do you workout mommy?” I sometimes hear from my six-year old daughter. My answer has consistently been a steadfast variation of “I want to be strong enough to always carry you and Adrian down the stairs” or “I love the energy that I feel when I run to school to pick you up”.

I’m aware of the fact that my children are little sponges.  They are constantly connecting the world’s dots through both verbal and non-verbal cues.  I’m imperfect, but well aware that there is no greater responsibility than setting the best example that I can for my children. That’s why I walked with confidence in my swim suit on our recent family vacation – despite the fact that I’m inwardly unhappy with the recently acquired pounds that I’m determined to say goodbye to.  That’s why I’m intentional with my words around little ears, and speak of my own body with respect and admiration for my strengths – even if I’m feeling weak. And that’s why I want my daughter to grow older seeing exercise and healthy eating as an empowering lifestyle, not a means to fit into an article of clothing.

Lucia and I frequently have physical activity time – and I think that keeping it fun and relaxed is a key component to healthy self-esteem development. We’ve been having music-blasting dance parties since her toddler years – and they have the ability to transform the gloomiest of moods into lighthearted silliness. It’s amazing how a duo run around the block can instantly lift our spirits, and simultaneously jumping on yoga mats to a workout video nearly always ends in belly laughter.  When we play mama-mirror as highlighted in the below Tip For a Great Start With Team Kellogg’s – we smile so big until our faces hurt.  Most importantly, being active together provides us with a special way to connect while doing something good for our bodies.

I’m determined to never let my daughter hear me speak of how my clothing fits. But I will continue to talk to her about how exhilarating it was to attempt surfing while living on an island, and how great it felt to exercise in the park while pushing her in a baby stroller shortly after her birth.  I hope that Lucia will see through me a strong example of love for being active.  And I’ll always encourage her to spread her wings and let her powerful light shine.

healthy body image in girls

For more tips inspired by Team Kellogg’s check out:

Kellogg's Team Kellogg'sKellogg’s® believes that From Great Starts Come Great Things®. So we’re helping Moms start every day with a tip from the top athletes of Team Kellogg’s™ and Team USA dietitians. The thirty days leading up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will each feature fun pieces of advice to help families fuel just like the athletes of Team Kellogg’s. To see all 30 tips, visit


Compensation was provided by Kellogg’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kellogg’s.





  1. What a wonderful way to educate our kids (especially our little mamas) when it comes to body image and health. Great tips mama! I’ll be sure to use this on LD. In the meantime, we do Bollywood Dancing together just to have some serious fun – (little does she know my underlying plans…. Sadly it’s not as much to lose weight, as it is to tire her out for naptime 🙂 xx

  2. Important post! Physical activity is needed to live a healthy lifestyle and so is introducing it in a fun and healthy way. You made me think about a lot. I need to censor myself around my daughters instead of talking to them like friends in a dressing room.

  3. That’s a cute video. Those gals have great push-up form too. 🙂

    Your words to speak intentionally and set the good example are things we do over here at my place too. Excellent post, excellent message!

  4. I love to dance around the home and the kids have always joined in. Now they are old enough to ride their bikes we go on regular family bike rides, a fabulous way for us all to get in some healthy exercise while spending time as a family.

  5. This is a great post! Exercise has always been a struggle for me. I am fairly active as I teach five year olds, but I would like to be more purposeful with it. I have been walking around our neighbourhood every afternoon and to be honest it’s not on my list of top ten activities that bring me joy. In the past I loved activities that were also fun, like swimming, biking, dancing, tennis…I have to make a conscious effort to get back into those things.

    So, tell me how was surfing? I would love to learn.

  6. exercise is an issue for me, i find it hard to fit it in

  7. Great advice. There’s nothing as confusing to children as hearing one thing from a parent but seeing another. They mimic more of what they see than what they hear.

  8. A great reminder for us all! I love your tips and will be thinking about these as I go through my day!

  9. I’m a mother of girls and this is such an important topic to talk about. There are so many stereotypes about females and appearances that girls hear in society. But being active and being proactive about teaching health is really important. I think that fun and relaxed as you say is the way to go!

  10. Love it! You’re doing a great job, mama, and I totally agree with you on the messages we send to our kids!

  11. I have a son, but honestly, there’s not that much difference… as far as all kids, girls and boys, need love, encouragement, patience, and positive role models. Sounds like your a great role model to your children.

  12. Love this! I wrote about the same thing.. I hate when I see mothers venting about their weight or how fat they are, right in front of their kids. Don’t they know how they hear everything we say? I have vowed to keep my internal battle from my kids’ ears and only teach them the ‘healthy’ side of being active and eating well! 🙂

  13. You’re absolutely right that they watch our actions and that’s what they learn from the most. You’re doing a great job of sending out the proper messages.

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