Be Strong, Daughter

Like a lot of women, I’ve had body issues the majority of my life.  Obesity, diabetes and heart disease run in my family and I did the yo-yo diet thing for years before I discovered bodybuilding.weigh-in1

In bodybuilding, yes, there is show prep where you diet down the 12 weeks prior to your competition, but most people only do one to three shows per year. The rest of the time (“off season”) you pretty much eat the same meal plan but you get weekly cheat meals added in.  So it’s not a binge and purge thing, it’s a year round healthy lifestyle choice.

One of the reasons why I body build is because I don’t ever want my kids to have those same body issues my brother and I had.  My brother had been obese since he was eleven and in the past year lost 90 lbs. after being diagnosed with diabetes and being told he was a heart attack waiting to happen.

Dennis - 90 lbs. lighter!
Dennis – 90 lbs. lighter!

I lost 50 lbs. and kept it off for three years but began to gain some back when my mom was diagnosed with cancer last summer.  I struggled a bit, but am now back in shape.

My goal at home is to mimic the “off season” lifestyle.  My kids eat mostly healthy whole foods breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they also get one dessert after school (ice cream).  They eat birthday cake and Halloween candy and we take the occasional trip to McDonalds too so they can be “normal” kids.

Rylee and Henry at McDonald's
Rylee and Henry at McDonald’s

So when my seven-year-old daughter lifted her shirt the other day, patted her belly and said, “I need to lose weight, Mommy,” it really freaked me out.

“Rylee, you’re perfect just the way you are.  You’re healthy.”

“But I want to be skinny.  My friends _______ and _______ are skinnier than me.  Maybe I should just eat apples.”


“Rylee, don’t worry about being skinny; you want to be strong.  Can a skinny girl pick up a heavy rock in the Spartan Kids Race?  No, but a strong girl can.  You’re body needs food, not just apples.  Look at Mommy.  Do I eat just apples?”

“No.  You eat fish and green beans.”

“And chicken, and rice and salad all day long, right?  And don’t I also eat things like birthday cake after my competition?”

“Birthday cupcakes, actually.”

“And didn’t we eat a big Christmas meal and cookies over the holidays?  Don’t we go out to dinner sometimes?”


“It’s just about balance, Rylee.  I eat super clean when I’m training for a competition and ease up a little after.  But mostly I eat healthy, right?”


“I’m not skinny, I’m strong, right?  So do you want to be strong or skinny?”

“Strong but with a skinny stomach.”

She said she wanted to kiss her muscles like the boys do
She said she wanted to kiss her muscles like the boys do

I guess I can’t really argue with that one.  After all, that’s the same fitness goal I have.

Kids watch everything.  I know when they watched my brother and mother prick their fingers daily with needles for the diabetes blood sugar tests this summer it really made an impact on them.  My brother kept saying, “Don’t ever get heavy like me.”

They see how much happier I am when I go to the gym and fit in my clothes.  I also tell them that a person’s weight will fluctuate throughout their life, beauty fades, and the most important thing is to have good character.  I tell my kids that the strongest muscle they have is their mind.

Have any of you had conversations like this one?  Are your daughters concerned about their weight?  What did you tell them?



If you would like to learn more about bodybuilding, weight loss, and potty training while strength training, check out my book, “She’s Losing It!” available at - book picture

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two. (c) 2015 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved. No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, video and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.




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