Embracing Your Body: A Different Approach

I spend a lot of time “with” health and fitness: time at the gym, time with my fitness friends, reading about health and fitness, and time thinking of ways to make our children understand the importance of health and fitness.

As I was driving home from teaching my Monday morning strength class this week I started to think about this question, “What does it mean to be healthy and fit?”

Too often we (especially women) get caught up in a look- we believe that being healthy and fit is about the way our body looks on the outside.  I am sometimes guilty of this as well.  Being 28 weeks pregnant, I sometimes find myself thinking about when I might be able to fit into my favorite pair of jeans again or my favorite workout shorts.  We focus on having the flattest stomach for a bikini or the best arms for a tank top.  The pressure of having the “healthy and fit look” is everywhere: all over social media and sometimes right in our faces… our friends, family & colleagues.

What if we changed our mindset about what it means to be healthy and fit?  What if instead of focusing on what our body looks like when we are healthy and fit, we focus on what our body can do when we are healthy and fit?  What if when we wrote our healthy & fitness goals down they focused more on the body’s abilities to do more rather than be a certain size or a certain weight?

For me, my choice to continue to improve my health and fitness is not about making sure I can fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes, look good in a bathing suit, or wearing the same size dress I did on my wedding day.  (Although sometimes I have to ignore the outside pressures, and remind myself what my health & fitness mission really is.)

It is about the way my body is able to carry, nourish and grow another healthy human being.
It is about the way my body gives me the strength to carry my 22 lb. almost-2 year old up the stairs with ease.
It is about the way my body ables me to get on my hands and knees and play “zoo animals” with a rambunctious toddler.
It is about the way my body allows me to climb up & down the playground creating lasting memories with my daughter.
It is about the way my body gives me the energy to teach a 60-minute long group exercise class. 
It is about the way my body will soon endure the labor of giving birth.

This runs deeper than us.  It is the example we are setting for our children.  I want my children to know that health and fitness is important in our house not because of a certain look.  It is important to take care of ourselves physically and mentally and to honor the body we have been given.  I want to make sure Claire (and baby MK)  knows that it isn’t about what her body looks like on the outside, but what her body is able to do.  God gave us these bodies, these amazing machines, these temples- embrace them for what they are able to do.

1380423_642239069141167_785600090_nThis woman on the left is a living example of embracing her temple….

Everyday she is embraces that her  ALMOST-51 YEAR-OLD body CAN run a sub 2:00 half marathon, CAN do 50 push-ups all on her toes, CAN setup obstacle courses in her backyard and DO them with all the fast little kids, CAN still join her girlfriends on the softball diamond every Thursday night, CAN keep up with her toddler granddaughter, and CAN still participate in any type of physical activity with her 3 children and their spouses…. and occasionally beat them.

Yes, my mom has taught me to embrace my body… not how it looks, but what it allows me to do!

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Baby Mk… 24ish weeks

How far along? 24 weeks and 2 days
Total weight gain/loss: Yes, I am looking and I know, but I am not sharing anymore 😉
Maternity clothes? All maternity clothes.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Sleep: Sleeping well, but getting hotter at night.
Best moment this week: About a week ago Josh felt the baby from the outside… so exciting!
Fitness Level: Still about 4-5 times a week.  I can still run an under 9 minute pace for a couple of miles which makes me proud, and am still teaching group exercise.  I know my energy level will decrease
Miss Anything? This has nothing to do with the pregnancy, but being home every day with Claire… but only 7 more working days and I will have this again- I can’t wait!
Movement: oh yes, especially right after I eat.  Now
Food cravings: Just ice cream… I can blame this on pregnancy, right?  I am pretty sure I just have it in my mind that since it is hot and I am pregnant I crave ice cream.  I keep telling myself that this may be the last time I get to blame things on being pregnant so I am embracing it.
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Have you started to show yet: YES!  Much bigger than I was with Claire at this point.
Gender prediction: 4 weeks ago I was sure it was a boy, but now I am back to having no clue at all. We will see in 16 weeks (give or take a few days)
Labor Signs: None and it can stay that way
Belly Button in or out? it is out
Wedding rings on or off? Off 😦  I had to take them off yesterday.  Hey, I made it ten weeks longer than I did with Claire. YAY!!!
Happy or Moody most of the time:  Mostly happy with a few bursts of tears here and there
Looking forward to: Summer and spending the last 16 weeks with Claire as an only child.  Getting the playroom ready for when this baby comes.  

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Baby MK… 20 weeks

How far along? 20 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: Yes, I am looking and I know, but I am not sharing anymore 😉
Maternity clothes? I can still wear my regular dress pants, but that is all.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Sleep: I love sleep, but this is nothing new from pre-pregnancy.
Best moment this week: Hearing and seeing that we have a healthy baby growing right on track- so much relief.  I sometimes get so fearful and constantly pray for a healthy baby.  I also know that the point of the ultrasound is not actually to find out the gender, but confirm so many health aspects.  Praise the Lord we have a healthy baby!!!
Fitness Level: I’ve taken my workouts down to about 4-5 times a week.  This full time work crap is kicking my butt.
Miss Anything? Nothing at all..
Movement: I feel lots of movement first thing in the morning and before going to bed.  Nothing from the outside yet though.
Food cravings: I had a red meat craving the other day, but that was the only thing.
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Have you started to show yet: YES!  Much bigger than I was with Claire at this point.
Gender prediction: Boy… i will be shocked if this baby comes out a girl.  Either way, I will be happy!
Labor Signs: No, and we better not have any for a long while.
Belly Button in or out? it is out
Wedding rings on or off? Still on… I will count this as a success!
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy and the emotions are coming on more.  I balled in my office yesterday because I couldn’t see my dear friend who just moved to California.
Looking forward to: A warm weekend at home and a long(ish) run on Saturday. 

I forgot to take a 20 week picture until I was 21 weeks, so here it is…

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What do you think?  Boy or Girl?