role model

Posted: October 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Before I begin this post, I first wanted to thank you all for your comments on the past two posts. First, for all the fabulous ideas on low volume, nutritionally/calorically dense foods. Avocados, nuts, full fat cheeses/yogurts, trail mix, lara bars, and hummus – here I come. Next, thank you for all the thoughtful comments on this morning’s post relating to faith. I didn’t intend the post to come across as me questioning sharing my faith or how I do so in any way. I am 100% confident in what I do here and solely wanted to share the why. I really appreciated reading all of your insights and opinions as well. Thank you to each person who shared!

Each day, I wear many hats so to speak. Most important of those is acting as a role model. More specifically, a role model to little M. She copies everything.

She tries to dress like mommy. She loves to play on her ‘puter just like mommy.


She picks up phrases like “holy cow!” from mommy. And shouts “Gooooo Dawgs! Sic ‘em!” whenever she sees a Georgia decoration.

She is into workouts with her mommy.


She has a sweet tooth like her mommy, evidenced by her constant begging for a lollipop at the doctor office today. She also loves things like tofu, apples, beans, broccoli, and yogurt like her mommy too.

I cannot deny that this little person closely monitors all of my actions, attitudes, and decisions. Or that I have the greatest impact on her development, especially at this stage when we’re together all. the. time.

That feels kind of frightening. I love little M so much and only want what is best for her. I want her to have a healthy relationship with her body. I desire her to feel loved and know how to show that love to others. I want nothing more than for her to develop into a strong young woman who believes in herself and holds to her values. Can you feel the pressure? I can. I can also feel, however, the privilege in this responsibility. And the unique opportunity it presents me to continuously grow and improve upon myself.


It was for her that I became more solidified in my journey to fully overcome binge eating. When pregnant with her I knew I had to continue working hard on the recovery I already started and having her in mind made it even easier. She kept the one relapse I faced immediately following my competition’s end from turning into more of a problem.

I never utter the word “fat” anymore because I don’t want that to ever be a way she views people. With her in mind, and sitting at my feet, I have had the power to stop myself from succumbing to old habits of critiquing my body in the mirror. Now the mirror is there to simply be sure I look presentable and move on. We own no scale so she will never see me step on and my mood change based on the number fed back to me.

I make sure to take time each day to laugh and play to bring more joy to her world. When things feel overwhelming, I find the strength to move on through prayer and do my best to never retaliate with frustration or anger. Even though that example doesn’t prevent two year old temper tantrums, I hope that my ability to stay calm helps her demeanor in troubles as she matures. I also always try to show kindness to others and take pleasure when she shares her cheerful demeanor with others.

Mothering poses so many challenges. Not only because we have to teach our children, but we also teach ourselves in the process. I think I do a pretty dang good job. It’s largely thanks to her though and the full circle process of learning from each other. I guess its true what they say. That the biggest challenges provide the most opportunity for growth. I feel it each and every day.

  • In what ways are you a role model to someone?
  • What challenges have helped you grow into a stronger person?
  • Don’t forget to ASK ME ANYTHING for the November Q + A series!

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50 Comments to “role model”
  1. i don’t know, but i try to model a giving heart to people whenever i can. not in a they-get-anything-they-want kind of way, but in a way that shows that i love them!

  2. Janae Jacobs says:

    Mckenzie is lucky to have such an amazing role model:) I feel like I am a role model to my two-hundred students. It is a huge motivation and responsibility to have but I love it. I love how honest and real you are on your blog. I get so excited whenever you have a new post! P.S. the comic you posted is hilarious!

    • Tina says:

      I found that one a long time ago and had to save it. It cracked me up!!! And I agree that being a role model to students is so fabulous. They really do pay attention more than many teachers realize.

  3. Lisa says:

    Your daughter is so lucky to have such a remarkable woman to look up to, someone who cares so much about setting such a great example! =) That is so cute that she likes broccoli and tofu! She must really want to be like youu! Thats amazing! haha!

  4. That is so admirable! You’re doing amazing for your daughter! I love the pictures of her imitating you. So sweet!

  5. missy miller says:

    wow…how beautiful.

    I am SO glad she has you and so glad you have her.

    God has given you so many gifts!


  6. Mandy says:

    Ahhh so incredibly true.

    And BTW, Bella has the same computer and Elmo slippers. haha surprised? 😉

    I definitely find myself thinking more and more about my own actions, words, and reactions than I ever did. Bella is like a sponge and looks to me for everything. It’s a big job.. but I think we are doing ok 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Yea, doesn’t surprise me. LOL And I think we’re doing fabulous. 🙂 If only we could do it closer together, instead of via GChat and once a year visits. 🙁

  7. Eliza says:

    I think this is a really important notion. My mother was great about this stuff when I was younger, but as I got older and our relationship morphed into sometimes-friend territory, she began speaking about herself/her body in really negative ways. It was awful for me to hear, and I told her that several times before she stopped talking to me about it. In my eyes, she is the most beautiful, incredible woman, and hearing her beat herself up just killed me. Your daughter sees you in that way too 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    M is so lucky to have such a wonderful role model like you as her mother. I highly recommend “You’d Be So Pretty If” by Dara Chadwick. It’s such a great insight into mother/daughter or even female/female relationships with food and body image. I don’t have any children but I definitely plan on using what I learned from her book in all my relationships with younger girls and their body image.

    I love the pictures of M imitating you! Super adorable 🙂

  9. This post really speaks to me because I have had fears about passing my insecurities/issues with food onto my kids. However, it is this realization that I think helped me to get where I am now. I’m finally finding the balance and power over food like I never have before. I believe in myself and now I think I can lead by example. I am just going to do the best that I can, but WOW what a responsibility it is. You are an inspiration for me.

    • Tina says:

      That is all we can do. Take each day one by one and do our best. I really believe it works with anything in life.

  10. caronae says:

    I love how you are trying to be a mother who doesn’t obsess over weight or scales or fat or food. That is so amazing — may there be more mothers in the world like that! Your daughter (and the next one too!) is lucky. 🙂

    I am a role model for high school students I teach. I think I have a positive impact.

  11. Natalie says:

    You are an amazing role model for your daughter! So many people I am in contact with in the fitness industry are oblivious to the fact that they are modeling behaviors to their daughters. It drives me crazy when they talk calories burned, body imperfections, and dieting in front of their little girls.

    I am ever conscious of what I say related to body image in the presence of others and can’t wait to get to be a role model for my kiddos someday 🙂

  12. Melie says:

    I cannot get over how amazingly cute your daughter is! And she is very lucky to have you as a role model 🙂

  13. I can tell you that my mom never obsessed about weight or called herself fat and that was huge for me in my teenage years. Someone in my college years I started developing horrible thoughts about food, dieting and exercise. Maybe not having her has a model around made it a little harder, who knows.

    M will have a much better like and relationshipw ith herself, her body, food and exercise bc of oyu. thats huge

    • Tina says:

      That is what I sincerely hope to bring to M. I know its impossible to keep those scenarios away completely because she will eventually be impacted by so many others, but I will do my dang best to keep it away as long as possible. I bet your mom did play a huge role in your confidence. She’s pretty awesome…just like you!

  14. I’ve often thought that I want to model a positive body image for any children I don’t yet have. (My mom was overweight — OK, obese — and I’ve always struggled. I’m probably back in that obese category right now.) I don’t want to pass on my issues to any offspring … Thanks for giving me a hint as to how it might be done.

  15. Oh I love this!
    I dont have kids, so of course I think I know how they should be raised! 😉 But I really do believe its important not to let your children see you worry about weight.
    Although I would never blame my mom for my eating disorder, EVER, I feel like weight was always a big deal in our house. One of my earliest memories is of me and my mom at my neighbors house and they were talking about diets. She was saying how good her daughter was (who was probably 6, I would have been 3 or 4) and she said her daughter was “so good. She’ll tell me ‘mom, we’re going on a diet today’.”
    I was YOUNG, but I remember it vividly.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Hi Tina,

    I’ve been reading your blog fairly regularly since getting hooked with the 30 days of self love and I just wanted to leave you a quick message to let you know how much I appreciate you in my days 🙂

    I am on my own journey to overcome disordered eating and it’s reading posts like yours – – that focus on love of life and living with purpose – – that remind me why this is such an important obstacle to overcome.

    I just think you’re great! And your little cutie pie is adorable 🙂 Thanks for being here! All the best always to you and your family.

    • Tina says:

      Thank you so incredibly much for this comment. It’s exactly for reasons like this that I blog. To not only have a place to get out my thoughts, but to have that community, support, and love shared as far as possible. I hope you have a great day!

  17. I’m about to turn 22 and will be finishing college soon. My number one passion in life is to have a family. This touched my heart. I never thought that the actions I take now (for example weighing on a scale) could affect the loved ones I will have in the future.

    I just gained a lot of perspective. Thank you.

  18. Great post love and M is very lucky to spend all her time with you! So sweet!

    I think that we are all role models when we put ourselves out here in the blog world as we are sharing our lives, what works for us and not, and what we believe is healthy 🙂 I actually have a fun with it!

    I used to be a large role model for my sister….now my 7 year younger sis helps me!


  19. My kids for sure…I can see them mimic us on a daily basis. Max told me yesterday he “regretted eating the Asian chicken bites” from school yesterday. He said they were good, but he knew they were bad for him (after watching Food Revolution and the chicken nugget production). I think it is important to set a good example, but we have to be careful what we say to set positive examples.

  20. Lee says:

    M is very lucky to have you.

    I like to think that I’m a role model (oops, I wrote mold) for my husband. Before we met, he pretty much lived off burgers and fries, now he’s at least somewhat conscious of what’s healthy and what’s not.

  21. Kristy says:

    ‘puter…. Both of my brothers called it that too 🙂

  22. I love this post! I want to be the same way when I have children. I was actually just telling my fiance that the other day. I want to continue to focus on having a positive attitude about my own body image and get out of the habit of looking at imperfections. I know it isn’t something that will happen overnight, but I want to make sure I do not negatively influence my future kids (none planned anytime soon).

    • Tina says:

      Yep, its never too early to start feeling more secure in who you are to pass that same confidence along to others. You’re awesome for already being aware of that!

  23. Emily says:

    What a wonderful mother you are to really consider and appreciate how you are a role model for your daughter. I know that my mom has been a huge role model for me and now, as I am becoming an adult myself, she is my best friends and confidant. I have been a role model while working as an RA in college. I recently found out how my role as an RA inspired one of my residents to be an RA and follow in my footsteps; it was one of the most amazing moments of my life to know I could inspire someone in that way 🙂

  24. Great post – I love how conscious you are of how M perceives you and how that has shaped and changed you for the better as well. I really never see myself as a role model to be honest. Maybe if I had children or if I were in a different career (like a teacher) I may feel different.

  25. The greatest piece that I took away from my coaching training was that without a strong motivator, a motivator that speaks to your core, your heart and who you truly are…change will likely not happen.

    You, my dear, as a role model to your M and your little one to come will forever serve as a motivator! You can do anything in this world when you have the desire to be there for them behind you. 🙂 So special!

  26. Holly says:

    And how blessed M is to have a wonderful role model like you!! You are so balanced and optimistic, I know M will only benefit from having you to set an example for her. 🙂

    Though I don’t have any daughters, I do have 3 nieces who I’m very close to. I will say that since my oldest niece (who is 6) was born, I completely changed the way I talk/act around kids. No longer do I make “fat comments” about myself, or even remark on weight at all. I also try to get them to try healthy foods (Reese loves Green Monsters!), but also show that it’s good to eat cookies and cake and ice cream, too. 🙂

  27. I try to be a good role model for my sisters, but also for my mom. I want her to see that living a healthy life is possible and that healthy foods can taste good and satisfying.

    Tina I have to ask: if M copies what you do, does that mean you have a pair of Elmo slippers on too?

    • Tina says:

      Haha! Darn. You caught me. 😉 No I live in flip flops. I hate my feet feeling hot and sweaty, which they always do in slippers. Fuzzy socks, though…you betcha during the winter.

  28. You do such a great job with your cutie daughter!

    I’m no where near having kids yet, but I’d be lying if I said having a little girl (vs a boy) makes me a little more nervous because I know all the body image issues I dealt with (and still do to some point). It’s hard for anyone to grow up nowdays, but there’s so much more pressure on younger kids than you realize!

  29. Kelly says:

    This is amazing. I 100% agree with you. Keith and I have recently started trying to get pregnant and I can not tell you how much this post resonated with me. Thinking about becoming a mom is a HUGE responsibility and scary but something that I think will make me a better person. I will admit that one of my greatest faults is that I am selfish. I am. It is something I work on constantly. Being married to Keith has helped but I am still a very selfish person and I know that when I have a baby I won’t be able to be selfish anymore. While that scares me…I also think it will be so valuable and something that will fill me with such pride. Besides, Keith is going to be an AMAZING father and I just can’t wait.

    • Tina says:

      You will be a fabulous mom! And it really does help us grow so much as well, which is cool to see. I can’t wait for the email or comment of you announcing a pregnancy. Hint hint…you better tell me. 😉

  30. Susan says:

    Reeeally appreciate that you consciously stay away from the word “fat” now. Growing up, my mom always talked about needing to be on a diet. Even though she never explicitly discussed it with me, as soon as I was old enough, I thought I had to be on a diet too just because I thought that’s what women *did*

    I’m learning how to be a role model now that I’m a personal trainer. Really important to be an example of healthy eating and exercise with my clients. But I also try not to take myself too seriously with them. I want them to know it’s okay to take extra rest days or to eat cake sometimes too!

  31. Sara says:

    Way to go, Tina. I think you’re a great role model (from what I’ve read!) I hope to be a good role model to our children one day. I am trying to eliminate the “f” word so it doesn’t rub off on a daughter I may have one day and I’m working on making healthy habits instinctively so my kids will too! (When I have them.)

  32. Nichole says:

    It seems she is just as much of a mentor to you as you are to her! It’s amazing the responsibility that comes with a child, but you have embraced it and recognized your blessing. You are a tremendous role model and I think it’s fantastic that you are setting such a solid example.

  33. Jessica says:

    Thank you for such a real post. I already think about how I will handle being a role model, and I don’t even have kids. So nice to see someone approaching it with such reverence, fun and honesty.

  34. Marg says:

    I like to try and think of myself as a role model to my teenage half-sisters.

    I like how you don’t want to use the word fat around her. I remember being around a family where the Mom was obsessed with her weight and could see it was affecting her daughter.

  35. Maura says:

    You and Mama Pea are such amazing examples of healthy motherhood and raising beautiful, confidant daughters.

    And seriously, those elmo slippers friggin’ kill me.

  36. Melodie says:

    I love her Elmo slippers! My boys both loved Elmo at that age…. I still have a cute furry crush on the little monster!!

  37. Dorry says:

    As usual, I love your mom-philosophies. She’s a lucky little gal! I am a role model to my 3 nieces and try to always build them up and remind them of their capabilities, their beauty and just how loved they are!

  38. I believe I am a role model to my students and I try to bring at least 1 positive thing into their life everyday. I think i do a pretty good job of making their lives a little better. 🙂

  39. Oh.. being a strong(er) person is an everyday challenge! I have grown stronger due family troubles (financia) where I got to the point I had to help my dad to survive daily life financially… it’s been hard and exhausting at times but I really am a bit stronger and were finally seeing some light in the end of the tunnel!

  40. I really love this post, Tina. I came across it from one of your more recent posts. Mothers have SO much inflluence on how daughters perceive themselves and the world. Have you heard of the book Maggie Goes On a Diet? It’s won’t be published until October, but the synopsis is out there. I actually talked about it in my most recent post if you want to check it out, but I would be interested in your thoughts!

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