I see the ads everywhere… From gym commercials, pop-ups on websites, or promoted ads on Facebook. “You CAN be a fit mom! Click HERE to find out how! No More Excuses!” Sigh. We have apparently become a society that places 99% emphasis on someone’s outward appearance, and the rest of that 1% is divided up among the rest of our contributing factors. Anyone who isn’t “fit” (as in- looking good, thin, washboard abs and no extra chins) according to the generally accepted standards of society isn’t trying enough. They’re being lazy. They’re not eating healthy enough. They’re eating too much. They’re making excuses. But the thing is, not everyone is making excuses.
You see, I’ve dealt with this just about my whole life. I was called names growing up, I was made fun of, I’ve heard comments about my weight. I’ve tried every different diet and eating plan known to man. They don’t help. I’ve exercised, I’ve done kickboxing, weight lifting, HIIT, spin classes, yoga, Insanity, running, walking, and various other workouts. Still don’t lose weight. Or I did lose it, but it came right back. It’s not because I’m lazy, and it’s not because I’m not eating well enough. It’s because I have an autoimmune disease.
I do have an excuse for not being your definition of a “fit mom”. It’s not because I don’t try to be as healthy as I can, but it is because the autoimmune disease that I have won’t allow my body to let go of any weight right now. I eat Paleo, avoid food allergies and sensitivities, and don’t eat inflammatory foods. I also work out and lift weights 5-6 days a week. I’m strong. I can lift more than I ever thought I could. But I can’t do intense workouts because of my healing adrenal fatigue. It’s not because I’m lazy, it’s just part of the healing process of autoimmune diseases.
It’s estimated that over 20% of Americans have an autoimmune disease. That means that 1 in 5 people have a problem with their immune system attacking their body. So chances are, having abs isn’t even at the front of their mind. I know personally, I’d rather be healthy than thin. Because make no mistake, they are not the same thing. Not all thin people are healthy and not all overweight people are unhealthy, speaking in terms of blood work and body functions. If you have an autoimmune disease, your definition of “health” probably changes by the week. This week, I will feel healthy if I can make it through 10am without feeling like I need to nap. It’s not because I’m lazy, it’s because my body is sick.
I don’t want to be a fit mom, I want to be a healthy mom.
So maybe we should focus on helping people to get healthy on the inside instead of trying to help them achieve a type of figure. Focus on the inputs, and the outputs will come. We should teach them healthy foods for their families, and good ways to exercise together. Long-lasting lifestyle changes, instead of quick 30-day “magic” challenges that could never be long-term. They don’t need another one of those, they need love, support, and examples. Let’s focus on what we’re eating, the ingredients in our foods, what pesticides they were grown in, and the coloring that is added that makes it look more appetizing.
Chances are, 1 out of every 5 people you see is fighting an invisible illness, and it’s not easy. Many of those people don’t even know what they are fighting. I may not speak for all autoimmune sufferers, but it is beyond frustrating to live in a body that you take care of, but it doesn’t respond anyways. I don’t need anyone’s negative thoughts about my appearance, because I struggle with enough of my own.
So enough with the ads that suggest my life is somehow lacking because I don’t have abs after having a baby. Stop telling me that I’m making excuses. And why do I need to be swimsuit ready? As long as my swimsuit fits, I’m swimsuit ready! My kids don’t care how I look in a swimsuit, as long as I’m playing in the pool with them. And for the love, we don’t need thigh gaps, ladies! How else will you catch things you drop in your lap?
My goal is healthy. Not thin, not skinny, not anything that you can see from the outside. I want to be healthy on the inside. And I want to be HAPPY through and through. THAT is the ultimate goal.
And if you are a fit, healthy, smokin’ hot mama, then that is awesome. I’m genuinely happy for you, because your body is obviously responding right to the way you’re treating it. That really is something to be excited about! But we all need to remember not to obsess over the scale, our pants size, or all of that. They don’t define us. Focus on the healthy eating. The good quality exercise. The right amount of sleep. Not stressing too much. These inputs will bring you true health.
Let’s stop focusing on looking good on the outside, and start focusing on being healthy on the inside. Our health is the most important thing, and what our families really want. My kids don’t care if I’m a fit mom, and they certainly don’t want me to have a thigh gap; they want me to be healthy enough to play with them, and for me to be happy about it. And honestly, that’s what I want too, regardless of how I look. And let’s be honest, extra chins are underrated.
Let’s love ourselves the way we are, instead of making it conditional on what we look like in the mirror.