You see that woman in the photo?
She’s given birth to four large and healthy boys. She had a miscarriage at 12 weeks that almost wrecked her. She’s battled alcoholism, drug addiction, anxiety, and depression.
She was scrawny and weak — both physically and mentally — and thought that if she was just skinny enough, sexy enough, pretty enough, then she would be happy. A lot of people tried to convince her of that, too. Magazines, celebrity fitness instructors, well-meaning friends posting on Facebook and Instagram. They told her that if she tried this diet, or did this workout, or fixed her makeup this way, then people will like her and then she’ll be good. She’ll be worth it.
One day something clicked.
You see, that woman in the photo is me. Stronger, healthier, and happier than I’ve ever been. Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with age, or maybe it’s working with individuals that are literally fighting for their lives, but I realized that big boobs, skimpy clothes, and a size 2 booty aren’t the things matter.
Notice that look in my 3-year-old’s eyes? THAT is what matters. He sees his strong, capable mama. He sees the woman that can carry all 40lbs. of him to and from the car with ease. He sees his mom being photographed for the fitness “wall of fame” at one of the studios where she teaches. He sees his mom making sure she is strong and healthy — physically and mentally — so she can be here for him for many years to come.
Millions of people are about to write down their New Year’s Resolutions and include “lose weight” or “get fit” to the list. I think that’s great. I actually look forward to the crowds at the gym every January. As an instructor I want to see you in January and keep you all year! I want you though to consider your “why.” Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to get fit? What does it really mean to you? What is it worth?
You see, the fitness industry — my industry — is overflowing with perky young things with flat tummies and skimpy clothes, ready to tell you that your body is the enemy. They don’t understand why you can’t just eat salad and work out and be skinny and happy just like them.
Many of them don’t have children. None of them have fought your battles.
If this is your year to get fit or lose weight, I want you to start with this one small change: make your resolution to “get healthy.” I want your goal to be health, wellness, strength, and JOY. If fighting the scale or getting yelled at by a tart with a fake tan is stealing your happiness, then stop it!
Eat more vegetables.
Cut back on the sugar.
Surround yourself with strong women who get it. Seek out those of us who have walked in your shoes and made it to the other side. There are so many of us here in Chattanooga and across the country who are strong, healthy mamas and want to walk alongside you so you can be a strong, healthy mama, too.