Be the example…
Growing up, fitness was never a priority in my family. Aside from my younger sister’s brief career as a childhood soccer player, athletic skills seemed to have passed over my two sisters and me. This is probably why, at the age of 14, I weighed a whopping 194.2 lbs.
Yes, you read that right. I, Jess “The Happy Health Mama”, was at one point the epitome of childhood obesity. My parents helped. My mom went to Weight Watchers with me, encouraged me, and, at the same time, ensured that I never felt “less than” or that I was not worthy simply due to my size. But, as any young person can tell you, teenage years suck enough already, let alone when you add in weight gain and insecurities. I struggled on and off with my weight well into my 20s, bouncing between fad diets, but the one piece I lacked, the one piece I had been missing was incorporating fitness into my routine.
Sure, I knew that in order to “lose weight” I needed to be active. But I viewed it as a chore. Everyone in my family did. I grew up with the understanding that you have to work out to lose weight. There was never any “love of fitness” or drive to be active outside of reaching an end result.
It wasn’t until 2014, when I began my fitness journey by starting the 21 Day Fix that my entire mentality shifted. After 3 weeks, I was down 5 lbs. (out of the 55 I needed to drop after having my daughter). Was I discouraged by that number? A bit. BUT I noticed an insane amount of positive changes.
I had energy! I was chasing my toddler (then 3) around the house, while carrying an infant, and didn’t feel like I would die.
I started noticing I felt “off” on my rest day… my body began to actually crave activity.
I just generally ‘felt’ better. It’s hard to explain, but my entire body felt healthier, more energized, and overall ‘better’ than before.
Oh, and my clothes…were fitting better than they had in months.
While I hated to admit it… I was becoming hooked. I started to actually crave being active. Even if it meant simply going for an extra walk, or doing squats while brushing my teeth, my body felt better while being active. And so, my love affair with fitness began.
As if that weren’t enough… my then 3 year old started showing signs that he was actually watching and picking up on my addiction. As soon as the DVD player would turn on, he’d ask if he could do his workout too. He’d grab his baby blanket and lay it out like a yoga mat, jumping in for a minute or two to try to plank, do some side shuffles, or flail around (like mommy!) for a few burpees. THIS… noticing that HE was noticing and developing an appreciation for fitness… that became my why.
Fast forward a year. I have since completed numerous programs. I’ve been blessed to actually MEET some of the trainers in real life. My son continues to hop in with me and informs me that he “has to do his workout so that he can get big and strong”, melting my mama heart. And now, my 18 month old daughter has started to show signs that she, too, is watching. I kid you not, this kid will see me on the ground, and come over to side plank with me. She goes for my weights whenever she sees me in workout gear. And while it may make my 22 minute workouts a BIT more hectic and last a BIT longer… it’s more than worth it to me to set this example so that my children grow up valuing their health as more than just a tool to battle the scale.
Who is watching YOU, and who are YOU inspiring?