No matter where you are in your life, it’s got to be wildly frustrating to read headlines such as; “Flat Belly Foods”, “Tone Your Tummy”, “Fit Into Your Jeans with These Five Simple Exercises”, etc. The main reasons why I enjoy these headlines, are because it’s my profession and I’m totally fascinated by the body, science, and human behaviors.
I believe that genetics play a huge role in my ability to accept all the fitness “noise.” I do have my dad’s running ability and both of my parent’s love of pushing the body to the limits. I also have my dad’s lean build. However, if I didn’t have those things I would be totally frustrated and annoyed every time I glanced at a magazine or probably every time I loaded a webpage. Losing weight and nutrition tips are at every scroll and click. It’s a good thing to have information so readily available, but at the same time it can be discouraging to some.
I have always told my clients that it’s wise to make healthy choices most of the time, but it’s also nice to have some flexibility and have fun with food. Indulge a bit. Before kids there was no way I would even consider indulging. It’s something I just didn’t see necessary. After kids though, it’s quite the opposite. We bake cookies, cakes, and bread together. I get my latte and my little guy enjoys some sips of hot cocoa. My two year-old has some popsicle left over, sure I will lick the rest of the stick. I may be a personal trainer and fitness instructor, but I am also human. I am also a mom who is rediscovering all the joys of childhood with my kids. Not only am I eating chocolate chip cookies with them, but I am also building elaborate train worlds that take up the entire driveway, playing tag, hot potato, Mr. Fox, hide and seek, and practically every other childhood game you can recall. As you can see, I make sure that I take pleasure in all the fun aspects of my children’s childhood, not just the sweet, tasty parts.
I recently read this article from today.com “I got my body back after having a bay, and it was awful” and it made my heart sink. I wish that the mom had been in one of my classes during her post-partum time. Through my 11 years of personal training and six years teaching mom & baby fitness, I have seen a lot of moms from all different paths go through very similar feelings after baby. Within my classes though, I’ve seen women come together and support each other. I’ve seen them cry and laugh together. I’ve seen them find wellness together. Women are inspirational. Women are tough. Women are beautiful. The mom in this story is not alone in the feelings she felt in her new role as a mother. In the end, it looks like it all worked out and she’s found her happiness, which is what every child needs in their mama.
Whenever I post healthy recipes or fitness articles, it’s because I enjoy sharing the world of wellness with everyone. My hope is that people get inspired to make healthful adaptations and continue to enjoy life the way they want to enjoy it. I don’t want people to get discouraged or turned-off by all of the fitness “noise.” I don’t want moms to compare their bodies to anyone else. After my first child I was obsessed with getting my body back, but then I took a step back after my second child and pretty much just went with the flow. I run, lift weights, teach classes, and run around with my kids every day. I am probably in the best shape of my life, but my tummy is stretched out from having two enormous babies and I do indulge every so often. I am ok with this and I wasn’t ok with it before I had my second child. I tell people that Miles, my second snuggle bug baby, brought balance to our lives. He really has brought balance to our family and to each of us, in an individual way. It’s pretty amazing.
So, the next time you get irritated by some fitness or nutrition post or cover, just remember to think about what is good for you. Remember, it’s not all about image and sizes, it’s about your total being and how YOU feel. What is it that you do, that makes you the best version of yourself? It could be a kale salad, 30 minutes of cycling and a muffin. Or that muffin could be an apple with almond butter the very next day. Try not to let all the fitness “noise” bug you, let it inspire you to try new things, or let it make you pat yourself on the back because “Heck yeah, I ate kale today!”
Enjoy the goodness of life!