How many times have you looked at a person who is incredibly fit and thought to yourself, “I wish I were that disciplined”, then walked away feeling bad at yourself? It’s a misperception!
How many of you women have seen a beautiful woman at the store, 2 or 3 children hanging on her? Her hair is perfect; her wardrobe is fantastic, she’s sporting toned legs and a flat stomach that shows no hint of ever housing a growing human, and the woman’s in heels no less? And when you see her you think, “She’s a mom, like me! How does she do it?” It’s a misperception. Have you ever found yourself pouring over magazine’s or websites depicting men and women in peak condition, reading every word, hoping to find their magic secret for looking the way they do and still leading a normal life? I mean, obviously it is achievable! Look at all these people that are doing it! They’ve got kids, careers, friends, relationships and they still eat perfectly and exercise every day.
What is wrong with me? Why am I so lazy? Why can’t I be like them? Well let me tell you, it ain’t always what it seems. You know the pictures of your favorite actress posing on the cover in a bikini just 3 months after she just had a baby? A misperception: You already know it’s airbrushed to the point of ridiculous. We’ve all read the articles exposing touch-ups and contouring and airbrushing. But what you probably don’t know is that she very likely went on an incredibly restrictive diet the weeks leading up to the shoot. She watched her water intake and eliminated salt from her diet. Essentially, doing what professional fighters do before weigh-ins. The point is, it’s just not true. It’s a misperception. Having personally competed in Muay Thai, can tell you that I weighed 11 lbs. more ONE day previous to my weigh-ins and on fight day walked into the ring 13 lbs. heavier in less than 24 hours. It’s all smoke and mirrors, a misperception. Ok, ok, but what about the woman at the store? She’s not airbrushed and probably not extremely dehydrated. Explain her. Well, I can’t speak for all women, but I can speak from personal experience, and from hearing personal accounts from other women I know. Yes, there’s absolutely a discipline to fitness and healthy eating, a very beneficial form of discipline. It’s right to take care of your body. We should exercise, we should be mindful of what we feed it. But I can tell you, that when I was at my “fittest” my most “enviable” size, I was not truly disciplined, I was selfish. Discipline should be hard, challenging, something you have to tell yourself to do whether or not you want to because you know it’s good for you. But for me, taking all that time to exercise was something I wanted to do because I wanted to be the strongest, the fastest, the fittest. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I wanted to be the women that when people found out I had just had my second baby would stare at me in disbelief. I wanted people to know how many miles I ran, that I was a mother of two who went to the gym every night, no matter what, because I had that kind of drive, that kind of discipline. But clearly the cost didn’t come to me. I wanted this. I wasn’t paying the price. People around me were. My mom would worry if I came over for dinner because what if I didn’t think the meal was healthy enough? My poor precious sons missed out on going to the park, not because it was raining or too hot, but because I was so wiped out because I had done such a “hard work out”. My husband was often greeted by a zombie at night who was so wiped that all she had energy for was a quick shower and then it was lights out. I wasn’t an incredibly disciplined woman who wasn’t going to let motherhood and marriage be an excuse to give up, I was a selfish girl who put her own wants and vanities ahead of the family she chose. Now, I am in NO WAY say that mothers or wives who work out are all selfish evil women who should hurry and go bake an apology pie right this second! By no means! Moms, wives, girls, women, workout! Get strong! Eat Well! Be unstoppable! Just don’t put your bill on someone else’s tab. Find balance. It’s ok to skip a workout because your mom called last minute to go to a movie. It’s ok to relax a bit and have that pizza your husband brought home so you wouldn’t have to cook. I have little rules for myself now, ways I check myself. If I am going to workout I ask myself, “if I do this will it make me late for X?” (Yeah, I’ve knowingly made myself late to events because I wanted to squeeze in a run I didn’t have time for). Or I ask, “Will this workout zap the remaining energy I have left for the day, rendering me useless as a functioning mom, wife, and friend?” If I’m home alone with my kids, I tell myself, “don’t pick a workout that takes a ton of concentration or one you can’t stop at the drop of a hat when you hear fighting, or a crash or a simple, ‘mom, can I have a drink?’” I’ve snapped at the boys before for interrupting my workouts, raised my voice, and totally overreacted to them coming in the room. So I have a rule, that if I’m rude, or snap or yell, then it’s workout over. My boys know this too! They’ll even say, “Mom, you snapped. No more workout.” That’s when I’m truly disciplined. When the workouts important but not my first priority. I still workout 5-6 days a week. And I’m very conscientious about my diet, but it’s not driving the bus anymore. I pick the park or Candyland. I enjoy that weird cocktail my husband hands me, with a cute smile saying, “Just try it.” I pick life. And I want it to last, so I do what I can to ensure it does. No more misperception for me!