“I’m fat, and I need to lose weight,” she said. She was completely serious.
I stood in front of her trying not to let my mouth hang open in amazement, trying desperately to find the right words for her in that moment. We had only just met a few minutes before, and here she was, sharing this anxiety with me. And because of the circumstances, I so desperately wanted my response to be right.
You see, she is a lovely elementary school girl – a thin, almost petite, elementary school girl.
I was the only one of her Girls on the Run coaches standing with her and her friend as we waited for the others to arrive for the first session of our season together. She was chatting away, telling me how excited she was to learn to run, “because my mom told me running would help me lose weight.”
Me: “Do you think that’s something you need to worry about?”
Her: “Yes. I’m fat, and I need to lose weight.”
Me: “I don’t think you need to lose any weight.”
Her friend: “Well, I know I need to lose weight.”
Me: “I don’t think any growing girl needs to worry about weight.”
Those were the words spoken out loud, but I wonder what was going on in the brains of the two girls as we stood together talking. Did the girl who brought up the subject want me to reassure her that she was thin and pretty? Did the one who stood by quietly wonder how best to support her friend and decided the best way was to answer, “Me, too”? Or did they both truly believe they are fat? Continue reading