It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and I thought it appropriate to write a post about fitness, health, lifestyle, and what it means to be a “Fit Mom”. (YES, this can also apply to being a “Fit Dad”, but more on that for Father’s Day!)
I’m sure you are aware of the now famous picture of personal trainer Maria Kang. While some people see that as “fat shaming”, or inflammatory, others see this as motivational, inspirational, and telling the truth. In reality, I feel it’s somewhere in the middle.
IMHO, I agree that too many people make excuses for being unhealthy and sedentary, and tend to blame it on “kids, family commitments, work, life”, etc. With that being said, I don’t feel the images of rock hard fitness competitor bodies shown by people spending hours each day in the gym, and neglecting many enjoyable areas of life are healthy either!
People throw around the word “balance”, but balance means many things to many different people. I feel the “balance” you find, reflects your priorities in life. Everything happens on a spectrum, and too much of anything will produce diminishing, and potentially negative returns if pushed to the extreme. I know MANY extremely fit people who are not very healthy, continually battling physical and psychological challenges, and essentially a “slave” to their fitness routine (i.e. their single chosen activity whether it be the gym or some endurance activity).
On the flip side, I see people everyday who are slaves to their unhealthy habits. They continually “wish” they could change, but struggle to make the necessary changes because they are approaching it from the wrong perspective. They think that by “hitting the gym”, and “going on a restrictive diet” will get them the body they want. The sad truth is that this perspective sets them up for failure.
In order to get the body they want, they need to BE the person who DOES the things necessary to GET that body. It doesn’t work the other way around. BECOMING a healthy, fit, and happy person first involves a mindset shift to see yourself as someone who lives that type of lifestyle. Next, it involves DOING the things each day that are needed to see the results you want. If this is done consistently enough over time, eventually the person will GET the results they want.By simply doing, you can get results, but they rarely last because the mindset shift hasn’t taken place.
This is why so many people lose the same 10-20 pounds each year, and continually fail at their new year’s resolutions or weight loss efforts. It’s not about the weight loss, it’s about the person you need to become to accomplish the weight loss. As they saying goes,
“it’s not what you get by achieving your goals, but the person you become by completing the journey!”
As any student of fitness and health knows, the largest health and fitness benefits happen by just getting started. This is shown in the included graph. It’s yet another time that the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule comes into play. 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts (and that doesn’t involve killing yourself in the gym every day)! These are the mindset and lifestyle changes and the daily healthy actions you take each day. Exercise is a part of that, but the gym is optional.
So, what does this mean for Mom’s on Mother’s Day? Well, whether you see yourself as a “Fit Mom” or not, I encourage you to look at the bigger picture. As a Mom, your children and family are extremely important to you. Instead of neglecting yourself to care for everyone else, look at it from a different perspective.
YOU are a primary role model for your kids. They are learning from the decisions and choices you make each day. Promise yourself to live into that role and model healthy, sustainable behaviors in all areas of life. In order to do this over the long term, you will need a growth oriented and positive mindset, excellent health, and lots of energy. It just so happens a healthy, active lifestyle can give you this (as long as you are ready to BECOME that type of person).
I believe that being a “Fit Mom” means being a healthy role model for your kids. Teaching them the benefits and joys of being healthy, active, and fit for life. Showing them that it doesn’t necessarily involve being a “gym rat”, and that there are many ways of having fun, enjoying and experiencing great things in life through physical activity. This also includes finding a “balance” that works for you and your family, and that this “balance” may change with each stage of life that you and your kids go through. Priorities change, but over the long term, our health is the most important thing we have. Without it, we aren’t able to experience life to the fullest, or enjoy it with our family and friends.
So, while change may be hard at the beginning, it’s infinitely worth it for you…AND your kids!
Besides, (and as a man, I can’t speak from personal experience) it can’t be harder than childbirth! You’ve aced that, so living a healthy lifestyle should be relatively simple! 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day!