How I learned to love myself for my littlest Health Hero.

Recently I was contacted by the managing editor of the American Recall Center – a site devoted to providing the public with health and wellness information – asking if I would be interested in participating in a campaign called Who Keeps You Healthy?. Bloggers were asked to write a post about their Health Hero…that person (or even animal) who motivates them in their quest to live a healthy lifestyle. Of course I said yes without hesitation because talking about stuff like this was one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place.

I’ll give you one guess as to who my Health Hero is. Here’s a hint: she’s my favorite person in the world to talk about besides myself.

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Meet my Betty. This is the face I get when I ask her to say “CHEESE” for the camera.

Betty was born on March 5, 2012, which was her exact due date throughout my entire pregnancy. I like to think this is setting her up for a life of being far more punctual than I am. According to my mom, I was two weeks late and it shows in my track record for being late to pretty much everything ever.

When I found out I was pregnant with a girl, there was complete shock (I SWORE she was a boy), but also so much excitement because both of our families are full of boys and everyone was hoping we’d add a little girl to the mix. I knew this because at our engagement party my father-in-law made a toast requesting that I give him a girl grandchild. As if I had anything to do with determining that.

All awkward toasts aside, underneath all the happiness I was nervous and a little fearful. As a young girl and throughout most of my adult life I struggled with an eating disorder and my self esteem was in the toilet. As a mom, it was my new duty to guide this little person and show her the world. How was I supposed to protect her from those things? How was I supposed to teach her that she is truly beautiful and to love herself when I had spent so much time ripping myself apart?

During my pregnancy, I ate like a normal person for the first time ever. As much as I was fearful of weight gain, I knew there wasn’t a more important time to pack on those pounds. My life wasn’t just about me anymore. I had to become a healthier version of myself for my daughter.

I also continued to exercise throughout my pregnancy, going to the gym and my weekly prenatal yoga classes. As afraid as I had been about the changes my body would go through, I actually kind of enjoyed it. Up until around week 35 anyway when I started to waddle and every stranger would tell me I looked like I was about to pop. Nope. Still 5 more weeks to go, but thanks for your commentary, lady at the gym who asked if I was sure I wasn’t having twins. Yep. I’m sure.

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After she was born, I worked hard to not only lose the baby weight, but also to become more positive about my self image. I found it easier to not pick myself apart about everything now. My body had stretched out in ways that I never thought to be humanly possible to accommodate this new little person and then managed to go for the most part back to the way it had been before. How could I be so negative about that?

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During her first year, I started to run and made huge strides physically and mentally. I cleaned up my diet because I wanted to set a good example of healthy eating when the time came for her to eat solid food. She’s a toddler now so obviously we’ve had our share of strikes, but she has pretty much always loved her fruit and green veggies! As I got fitter and healthier all the previous fears I had about not being a strong enough role model started to melt away. Rather than look at my past as a disadvantage, I could use it as a platform to teach her to be better than all of that.

Without my daughter, I would probably still be caught up in the same shame spiral that had plagued me since I was young. She makes me want to be the best possible version of myself so that I can be there for her for all the exciting, sad, amazing, beautiful things that are going to happen in her life.

I already know she thinks I’m awesome and her opinion is one of the only ones that matters to me anyway.

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Who is YOUR Health Hero?

Special thanks to the American Recall Center for inviting me to be a part of their April Health Heroes Campaign! Additionally, they are promoting a campaign for hip replacement awareness. More information on that can be found here.

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38 thoughts on “How I learned to love myself for my littlest Health Hero.

  1. Laura says:

    I’m so glad you shared this story! Those voices are so hard to shut down – and I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle some days. I’m so glad you find your reason- and it inspires me!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I understand that feeling. It used to spin totally out of control for me. A lot of those feelings started to creep back in after my injury and when I read your posts about that on your blog, I could totally relate. In some ways it will be something I’ll be fighting forever since it’s just the way my brain is wired, but I’m doing my best to control it for her sake!

  2. Half Mad Runner says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so important that we treat ourselves well as adults especially since so many women spent their teenage years and early 20’s tearing ourselves up.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I agree. I wish it wasn’t that way. The more I’ve opened up about it the more I’m realizing how many of us have gone through similar things. I just wish everyone could always be comfortable in their own skin.

  3. afastpacedlife says:

    I’m sorry that you experienced these struggles, but I know that you’ve become a stronger for having to overcome them for your darling daughter’s sake. I think you have the right idea to use your past as a platform. You’re not just an inspiration to your daughter, but to your readers as well.

    • runsaltrun says:

      That is the nicest compliment ever. ❤ Thank you so much. My main goal in life is to be the best mom to her that I can possibly be and try to get her onto a good path in life. 🙂

  4. Cynthia says:

    Thank you for sharing. Your daughter is so sweet. You’re a great mom and have worked hard at not only being a great mom but at loving yourself and taking care of yourself. congratulations

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comment! Taking care of ourselves definitely has an effect on our loved ones too and I think I’m a much better mom now that I have more confidence in myself. I’m just glad I finally realized it. (Too bad it took me 30+ years!)

  5. prettylittlerunner says:

    I love this!!! You know I had a lot of body image issues up until I had Ella (my second child). Once I had her something changed in me… I never want her to feel like I felt about my body. I want her to be proud of her body (however it turns out), proud of me (bc I take care of my body), and make good choices in what she puts into her body… She makes me want to take better care of myself to be a good strong woman role model in her life…it really is just soooo important

    • runsaltrun says:

      Totally agree 100% with everything you just said! I think as parents it is really one of the most important lessons we can teach our kids. You are a great mom! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you so much! I was definitely expecting my life to be altered once she got here, but I didn’t realize how deep the positive changes would go and how much I would end up learning about myself in the process. 🙂

  6. Sarah says:

    Thank you for writing this, perfect timing. I’m already completely freaking out about what this pregnancy is going to do to my body… and you’ve put that in a little different light today! I also have struggled with body image my entire life. So… thanks. ❤

  7. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    This is an awesome post, thanks for sharing your story! I also worry about one day having kids and trying to set a positive example for them when it comes to being healthy, without putting too much pressure on them. Its a delicate balance but it sounds like you are doing an awesome job!

  8. Kristin says:

    Awwww, wow, what a beautiful post Salt!! Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story!!! You’re the best and such a wonderful mommy!! Betty is just the cutest EVER!!! Such a sweet smile!!

  9. Piper's Run says:

    Great post Salt! It’s amazing what your body can do when pregnant and giving birth and then you have this amazing person who you instantly love. My girls and my husband are my hero’s. I want to be a positive role model for my girls and teach them that a healthy and active lifestyle (with a little chocolate on the side) is important.

  10. piratebobcat says:

    Great story and inspiration! I also try to set a good example – our kids have only known me as a runner and soccer player and yoga-er and weight lifter, etc. I hope it rubs off! Keep it up Salt!

  11. SuzLyfe says:

    This is so beautiful–both a tribute to your daughter as well as yourself. I think that one of the most powerful motivators in digging ourselves out of the holes into which we put ourselves is our love for others that enables a love for ourselves in a new way. That and a hard wake up call. We can be so scared to do things differently, love can pulls us through.

  12. Suzmom says:

    What a wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing this!

    You are so right. Having a child does make you want to be a better person. Your view of yourself is no longer just your view. It is Betty’s view, too, while she is young.
    Betty looks up to you now, and even if the teen years are “difficult,” she will always look to you. As a mom, you want to be the best you can be, so when she looks in your eyes, as an adult, she is still looking up to you.
    She is darling!

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