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.
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.
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?
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.
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.