You see it everywhere. “I’m a better mom because I take care of me!” or “once I lost the weight I turned into a better mom!” or “No Excuse Mom!” We see moms showing off colorful fruit/veggie kabobs and trays of organic, unprocessed food with shiny, smiling faces #fitmom.
I used to be that mom. After going through an emotional and physical nightmare to have our 2 babies, I found myself sucked into what I’m going to call “the no-excuse, get your pre-baby body back, run yourself ragged, sleep isn’t as important as your workout, sugar/carbs are the devil” club. I would share beautifully crafted healthy meals, skinny recipes, sweaty selfies, progress pictures and Fitspo, wrapped in a pretty bow and a #healthymom. I was applauded for getting healthy but what wasn’t shown was the sleep deprivation, dietary restrictions, frustration, stress, closet emotional/binge eating when it all caught up with me. I burned out and still felt like I was failing my kids for not being enough. I was stuck in the idea that in order to be a “good mom” I had to be a mom that conformed to a specific idea of what was healthy.
Eventually I had enough of striving to be a woman I wasn’t. I started to focus less on fit mom status, and more on balance and my eyes were opened to all of the things I was missing by obsessing over the wrong things.
My daughter and I started baking more. Baking is something I’m not that great at and didn’t care to get better at because baking meant having “temptation” in the house which held the potential to send me into binge mode. This little lady LOVES to bake, so we started to enjoy it together. We started to bake some of the recipes passed on from my grandparents. It’s still not something I’m good at, but we bond over baking fails and just enjoy the company.
I let my kids walk when I walk. Walks with the kids used to frustrate me. I had to coherse the kids to stay in the stroller with snacks and any other means necessary so I could speed walk and get more steps for a Fitbit Challenge, negate the calories I had consumed from a meal where I was “naughty” or hurrying to get a workout in while I could. It was rare to let my kids out of the stroller when I was striving for #fitmom status. Now they get out for about half of the walk. They get to bike, skip, run, smell flowers. We take the time to enjoy the ride. We pick flowers and find insects to examine. We search the skies for birds and make up adventures to have on the way. It’s a beautiful thing.
I found an online tribe that honored my commitment as a mother, encouraged boundaries and self-care, and also bridged a gap I was trying to find between Intuitive Eating, feeling like I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be with a few personal habits, and knowing I was never going to diet again. By signing up for the signature program offered by the ladies in the Balance365Life community, I have been able to practice their habit based method in multiple areas of my life, some of it has resulted in fat loss, but all of it has resulted in greater life balance. You can find out more about their backgrounds, philosophy, why dieting does NOT work and learn more about their program HERE.
I’m always in the pictures these days. I finally stopped avoiding pictures or only posting pictures that didn’t show what I thought were flaws. When I gained some of the weight back I had lost while dieting I felt shame regarding my body. After embracing myself exactly the way I am I ask to have pictures with my kiddos. Not just pictures when I was wearing makeup or using a filter. Not staged or flattering or perfectly posed. Just pictures of me living my amazing life.
We eat mostly the same things rather than making separate meals for myself. What a huge time saver this been. The kids are also exposed to a greater variety of foods. It’s not divided into healthy/unhealthy, processed/unprocessed, low carb etc. it’s just food. I also incorporated the Intuitive Eating for Kids chapter from the Intuitive Eating book to help our kids develop a positive, non-restrictive relationship with food. Meal times at our house are smoother and more enjoyable for all of us!
We enjoy going out to eat together and nothing is off limits. I love being able to embrace restaurants and not feel obligated to grill the staff on modifying my order into the walls of my diet or stressing over fitting the meal into a caloric deficit. Other good thing- eating out used to be my “cheat meal”. Cheat meals were the epitome of binge/disordered eating characteristics. My kids now witness me setting an example that is calm and not obsessed/ravenous with getting my money’s worth. It’s more about our time together.
I stopped sharing 90% of my workouts and what I ate. I see so many coaches/distributors/insert-madeup-title-to-sell-promises posting the same crap day after day. Workout, shake, selfie, inspiring message about how they didn’t feel like working out but still did it, repeat. I’m all for inspiring people to lead better lives, but we are in a world where people seem to live more of their lives online rather than in person. I have loved being more deliberate about my time spent on social media and creating time that honors my goals.
Balance is a beautiful thing. You don’t need to be perfect, adhering to the standards set by a billion dollar weight loss industry or post only the highlight reel to be an amazing mom. By showing our children balanced, sustainable health we are helping empower them to break the cycle of health obsession that has taken over our society.
If you have a chance, check out this FREE 40 minute workshop on why the women of Balance 365 ditched diets and a peek into what does. I can speak from personal experience that I’ve never had more self-love, happiness, courage and better health in every aspect of my life thanks to their philosophy.