Lifestyle not Looks! – Guest Post

So, the other day, I posted a ‘progress pic’ of myself on my Insta Story, having finished my first post-partum round of the Shaun T fitness programme, Focus T25.

Next thing I know, there’s a private message in my inbox from a lady, who we shall call ‘Monica’. Monica felt it her duty to ask me ‘why are you working out already’ and tell me that I ‘shouldn’t be worrying about all that nonsense or what I look like and just worry about taking care of my baby…’
I thanked Monica for her kind advice (which I didn’t ask for) and concern but reassured her that I am working out because I enjoy it and I AM looking after my baby (who’s over 7 months old btw, not exactly newborn!).

Two things here:

  1. Why do people like ‘Monica’ feel the need to question other people’s motives for keeping fit and healthy and
  2. Does having a baby automatically bar a woman from wanting to keep fit and healthy?

Although I didn’t feel the need to justify myself to Monica, her comments did get me thinking. She asked me why am I working out. It’s as though she made the assumption that I am doing it for vanity or because I care about losing baby weight.

The honest truth is, I enjoy exercise. Actually, I’ll rephrase that – I don’t enjoy the exercise itself, but I enjoy the feeling it gives me after I finish a workout. Some people get their oxytocin from coffee or Nutella; I get mine from a good, beastly workout! I enjoy the feeling of my muscles strengthening and the feeling of getting fitter and healthier. I worked out before I had my baby for these same reasons. Primarily, I do it because I want to stay healthy and fit because for me, there’s so many diseases out there ready to take your life so I need to be as fit and healthy as I can be to fight them off!

5 months post-partum, after one round of Focus T25:

It’s for these same reasons that I try to eat as healthy as possible. I don’t deprive myself though because Baileys, Tiramisu and Mac n Cheese make me happy! But, for the most part, I enjoy eating healthy food because it makes me feel good. If I eat crap all the time, I feel crap both physically and mentally, having undone all my hard work from exercise.

Far too often, people make assumptions about other people regarding health and fitness. They think that, just because you workout and eat healthy food, you’re trying to ‘get skinny’ or you’re ‘obsessed’. Truth is, the last reason I exercise and eat well is because of how I look. I don’t aspire to be or look like anyone other than my best self. I’m more concerned with what my body looks like inside than how it appears to others. Sure, I have days where I feel like I’m carrying a food baby or my top button doesn’t do up nicely but that’s just human. I’ve done the whole strict eating clean, detoxing and ‘get ripped’ thing and, whilst I felt triumphant at the fact I had visible abs and was lean AF, I really just wanted to eat a bowl of apple crumble with ice cream most days. I wasn’t really happy.

Too much emphasis is put on what we look like as opposed to how we feel. I truly believe that if you FEEL good, you will LOOK good. We have enough to worry about with work, family, friends, relationships, kids, money etc, without adding unrealistic expectations of ourselves into the mix.
So to all the ‘Monicas’ out there…instead of making the assumption that people workout and eat well because they have some sort of obsession or want to change how they look, consider the fact that trying to stay fit and healthy can be a lifestyle choice and rather than being a burden or punishment, it can actually make people happy. That’s what it does for me!

PP Guest Post –

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