My daughter loves my belly. I mean intensely LOVES it. I have been chatting with her lately about my recent health and fitness goals, and the only thing that she has been able to focus on is the loss of my belly fat. She snuggles her head into it, kisses it, then cries, "but mama! I don't want your squishy belly to go away!! I love it! It's so nice to cuddle with." Her innocent, wonderful, pure love of me and view of the human body makes me feel so full of joy. She see's through a lens of love, not entrapped by the weight of the world, just a girl who loves her mama.
It is incredibly important to me to teach my daughter about good health and wellness without causing her fear of food or putting too much emphasis on how we "look." My mother never taught me how to eat to properly fuel my body, and because of that I struggled with my weight and low energy my whole childhood. She encouraged me to be active. I did play a couple different sports and danced, etc. but her focus was more on the emotional. She wanted to make sure I accepted myself in whatever skin I was in, so she'd say, "Michelle, just love who you are. God made you perfect. Just love WHO YOU ARE." Who you are... that phrase still strikes a terrible cord with me. I get that her intention was for me to love myself and that is wonderful, but it made me feel like my fat defined me. Like fat was just What I was. Just accept that I was never going to be anything else. Why even try? This is how God made you, just accept it! It drove me nuts. As with most things in life, if someone told me I couldn't do it or I wasn't something, you best believe I was going to try to prove them wrong. But it did take years of learning, building self-confidence, and growing closer to Christ to fully infiltrate my mind and belief system. I was capable. I was worthy. I had potential. I don't want my daughter to endure that struggle.
Evalee saw me checking out the Ohio NPC bikini championships on my phone and asked what I was I was looking at. I told her that I'm hopeful that one day maybe next year, I'll be able to compete in a similar contest, explaining how hard the athletes train and how disciplined they must be to compete and especially to win. She seemed fascinated and smiled at every picture. Then she looked at me and looked at the pictures again, then said, "Well Mama... You may not win." haha! I said, "Why not?!" She replied, "You just have to be ok if you don't win. But don't worry, I'll still love you." Now every day since, she has encouraged and asked to work out with me, saying, "Let's go, Mom! You gotta build those muscles!" haha. I just love her enthusiasm. I think she'll make a great coach some day.
Today, she asked if she could attend my Boxing class with me. She normally goes into the little kids watch area and plays while I'm in the gym, but because this was a class and away from heavy machinery, I told her that I would ask. We were able to get her in the class and she, in her own words, FREAKED OUT! She ran upstairs to find the perfect Workout Outfit. lol. Always my diva. My little Mini Me. I was so proud of her. Being able to teach her different punches and witness her eyes light up when my mouth would drop in surprise of her hit, just made my entire existence. It is truly a memory that I will cherish forever. The 4year old kicked some major butt today, and I am so proud of her for toughing it out through the whole class. It makes me hopeful that we may share this joy of fitness together the rest of our lives. It also makes me proud of myself and realize despite what the devil would have me believe, I AM a good mom and I AM trying my best and I AM not going to let her down and I AM good and leading by example. Daily affirmations are so important in the journey of relearning the Truth. If you have had similar struggles, I pray that you read the daily affirmations below (provided by oneyearbible.com) because they are life giving.