When I was about ten, my mom started doing a Jane Fonda workout video in our little living room. She did it almost everyday. I have no idea what she wore or how she looked doing it. I don’t know if she lost weight or not. Weight wasn’t something we EVER talked about. We didn’t even own a scale. I only remember that she did it, and she laughed a lot while she was doing it (electric guitar and butt clenches, anyone?) And she got all peppy and fast-talking after it was over. I liked to do it with her sometimes. Basically, I just remember that I felt proud of her for working so hard. Mamas, your babies are watching you. They are watching how you use food, how you treat your body, how you tend your body, how kindly you speak about your body. Tread lightly, sis – be intentional.
Several years ago, when people talked about their health and wellness journeys, I tuned them out. I mean, it was great for them and all, but physical wellness just wasn’t really a thing I cared to care about. For the love, people, just LIVE. (Insert arrogant eye roll.)
While doing the arrogant eye rolling, I was also experiencing extreme fatigue. I’m talking, unable to stay awake to take care of my babies in the afternoons, fall into bed and sleep deeply for 10+ hours every night. I was also experiencing abnormal mood swings – extreme dips of depression that usually only lasted for a week or so at a time but were impacting my life all the same. I was also perpetually nauseated and perpetually hungry – awesome combination.
Then, I had my gallbladder removed because it had stopped functioning almost entirely. Shortly after that, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. If that sounds like a bizarre and scary disease to you, it did to me, too. Essentially my body attacks my thyroid, which is the epicenter of hormone control and production, because it has decided its a foreign body. The general medical approach to dealing with this? Ignore it until your thyroid starts to fail. Then, get on medication to treat your thyroid malfunction, not the actual disease, until your thyroid has to be removed. The end.
Now, I tell you all of this because it took me feeling awful and pretty hopeless to finally decide that I needed to become my own advocate. My physical health (and that of my family) has gradually, VERY gradually, become a priority in my life. I know what you’re thinking right now, “Oh, she’s one of those people who buys only organic, makes her own baby food, basically only eats salads, and works out all of the time.” That’s what I think when I read, “family’s health,” and “priority,” in the same sentence. That, my friend, would be so far from the truth.
The truth is, I made my own baby food for about six weeks for ONE of my children. I buy some organic but don’t stress too much about it. I have learned to tolerate salads, but I generally try to avoid them. Working out is THE thorn in my side! During this quarantine, however, I have discovered that I do, in fact, want to add this to my life. With all of the extra time, I have chosen to work out, which feels like a pretty big win in my life. Nay, a miracle! I have also been known (recently) to drink a daily coke, always say, “Yes,” to cupcakes, and sit on my hiney for extended periods of time.
Here’s what I believe we should all be doing – balance, friends. In all things, balance. We should be modeling for our kids that our bodies are gifts from God. We will not take them with us, so we should NOT make them our gods, which is what I often see happen. Instead, they are beautiful gifts that we should tend and care for well. Perfectly? No. So that they are lean and sculpted and perfect? Negative. We should tend them the way we do a garden. We should understand how they work and what they need and what destroys them. We should notice God’s stunning handiwork in our bodies…this body…my body, your body, our kids’ precious little bodies.
The bottom line is, I was lazy. I didn’t feel like slicing the things out of my life that provided me with comfort. I didn’t feel like pushing myself beyond what felt good to me on a daily basis. I wanted to spend my money on sugary drinks and treats and clothes instead of spending it on the things that could actually help me live a fuller life. I used my eye rolls as a defense mechanism against what I knew needed to happen – Filling my body with real and true things God gave to fuel it and depriving it of the things that were literally destroying it. As I have gotten older, though, I’ve learned that abundance looks different than I thought. Comfort can only be found in Jesus. And my kids generally do what I do, not what I say.
I want them to grow up with a healthy relationship with food. I want them to always love moving their bodies – or at least value it. I want them to know that their cute lil’ bodies are gifts and tools from their Creator that can and should be loved well. I want them to also know that this body is temporary, only a piece of how God created them, and should carry a corresponding weight.
Start somewhere, friend. I feel like a different person because I chose to address my physical health – I chose to move toward a healthy lifestyle. I have so much to learn, so far to go – but every little step matters. Just start somewhere.
And now, because I know you want it in your life, the recipe for that little beauty up there! It’s so, so good for you and so, so delicious! Plus, it’ll keep you full from meal to meal. Hooray!
Chocolate Nut Butter Covered Strawberry Smoothie
- 8 oz. almond milk or your fave type of milk
- 2 scoops of Lean Chocolate Protein powder
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. Almond Butter (or your fave NO SUGAR nut butter)
- A handful of spinach
- 4-5 frozen strawberries
- Blend it all up!