After the birth of my son five years ago, I finally decided to find a way to live a healthier lifestyle. I didn't want fad diets or something I wouldn't continue for the long term because, well, what's the point? I eventually stumbled into running and, with that, lost all my pregnancy weight (and then some). I wouldn't necessarily classify myself as a "fit mom" but, for the most part, I guess I am. Throughout my journey, I've noticed some stereotypes about fit moms that are total garbage so, yes, I'm calling them out.
Getting into better shape was a long road. I struggled with weight as a child and when puberty hit, I was categorized as "obese." The summer before I started high school, I battled an eating disorder that would turn out to be a lifelong fight. Back then, I didn't focus much on health and my self-esteem was on a downward spiral no matter how heavy, or thin, I became. Later in life, pregnancy scared me because, with the inevitable weight gain, I feared I would fall back into old eating patterns. It turned out, some of those fears were justified. My weight ballooned to an all-time high just before the birth of my youngest and I was just plain unhappy in my own skin. I'd become someone unrecognizable, at least, to me.
Soon after, I started running (after never running before) and discovered I had a real passion for it. Instead of focusing on losing weight, I dialed into the strength aspect. I liked how much stronger I felt after each run, how much more energy I had throughout the day afterwards, and mostly, how it proved I could do things I otherwise didn't think I could. Now, having run everything from 5ks to 50ks, my overall health has improved and compared to who I was before, I feel great. Once I noticed the benefits of fitness, I made better food choices and, as a result, everything fell into place. So, by standard definition, maybe I do fall into the "fit mom" category, because I aim to take care of myself for the overall wellbeing of myself and my family.
Having said all of this, there's still some tired stereotypes even I've heard that need to stop. While the below might lean true sometimes, the general consensus it that the majority of "fit moms" are so much more than all of this. With that, I'm calling bullsh*t, so prepare to check yourself. Boom.
They Can't Possibly Have Time For Their Children
I wake up when my kids do, if not before, and run anywhere from 40 minutes most days to three hours (once a week). I get it out of the way early so I do have time for my kids later in the day. Plus, in making exercise a priority and putting myself first, I'm able to be a better mother because I feel better about myself. When I strength train for a stronger mind and body, I try to make it something fun so they can join in. I'm, by no means, spending hours at the gym or ignoring my children.
Yes, it takes some time and effort to be in better health, but the end result is a mother who's around for them. It's all about balance and I don't care to be shamed for it.
Their "Diets" Must Be Strict
As I stated, I've battled with eating disorders off and on. However, for the bulk of my adult life — especially since I started running — I've focused on eating better and not necessarily less. It's also a common misconception that fit moms don't enjoy things like ice cream or cake. Wrong! We just enjoy it in moderation, so chill.
All They Care About Is Fitness
Fitness is a big part of my life now because it makes me feel good, but it's not all I care about. To assume so is small-minded and, honestly, unfair. Being healthier means choosing a healthier lifestyle, right? So eating better and incorporating exercise are just a fraction of a fit mom's life. Don't assume you know the rest of her story.
They Have Body Image Issues
It may have been the case for me, but I know several fit moms who've been extremely confident both before and after delving into the fitness world. It's not always about being insecure. Some women enjoy the process, while others (like me) are on a quest for a better version of themselves. There isn't one part of my physical body I hoped to change, I just wanted to feel better mentally. Don't think so hard on any of the potential reasons why moms are fit. In the end, it's really no one's business.
They Have Nothing In Common With My Lifestyle
False. Times a thousand. We're all moms, right? So we have that in common. And I'm sure we both want the best for our children, yes? There's two things! Look at us!
In all honesty, I knew a fit mom a few years back who intimidated me. I assumed we couldn't connect or find common ground because I was still in the process of losing baby weight and she walked so boldly. Turns out, we both loved running (I'd just started), and baking. We ended up exchanging numbers and were friends for awhile. This might not have happened if I'd relied on the old and fictitious stereotype based on how fit she looked.
We live in a shaming world and it's awful. Why do we have to put down others to feel better about ourselves? Of course the stereotype of judgmental fit moms is bound be true sometimes, but for the most part, I don't think fit moms go around secretly judging everyone they cross. If anything, they could be like you, or me, and are more concerned with their own issues or insecurities to even think about yours.
They Enjoy Making Everyone Insecure
I'm sure there's a mild amusement to showing off all the work you've put into yourself but no, it isn't about you. Again, it's about how the fit mom is feeling about herself. So basically, let her do her thing and if it bothers you that much, maybe you should focus more on your own thing.