Healthy doesn’t always look “Fit”

November 25, 2014

When I was outwardly considered the most fit, I wasn’t healthy.

I meticulously counted macros, spent hours at the gym, turned down invitations to social gatherings, lacked life balance and focused mainly on physical aesthetics and not bodily function.  I didn’t realize that most images seen on magazines and advertisements are of paid models/athletes that tanned, dieted and depleted their body of water so muscles become more visible. Many develop eating disorders, body dysmorphia, infertility, metabolic damage, depression and caffeine dependency from unnaturally low body fat, lack of real food and an unhealthy sense of worth based on how they looked. It’s a hard environment to leave because the fitness ‘athletes’ you resonate with online, the personal friends you pushed out of your life, the insecure people that covet the same ideals and now surround you – all normalize your obsession with fitness.

Not every ‘fit’ person is like this, but many are.

I know this because I was once that person.

In my early twenties I wanted to be on the cover of a magazine, earn my ‘pro card’, get sponsored by a supplement company and build thousands of followers who admired (and desired) my hard earned physique.  I’m not sure why I wanted those things; I just followed what many other fitness colleagues around me desired. When I experienced my first (and only) paid photo shoot and watched fitness ‘role models’ posting nearly nude pics every day on their social media accounts, I knew I would sacrifice much more than sweat at the gym to be supposedly successful in the fitness industry.

I remember the anxiety I felt at family gatherings where a lot of food was present. I would inconveniently start diets on holidays or vacations. I began hating instead of loving physical pieces of myself.

That’s who I was – I was a person in pieces.

I wasn’t a body, a mind and a spirit. I became just a body. I valued a bicep, a vein, a number on a scale or a dress size. I wanted so much to look fit rather than BE truly healthy. Health is balance, vitality and strength. Health is being mindful, at peace and living in each present moment. Health is focusing how your body operates and not so much how it looks. What does it do? Do you get adequate rest, digest properly, and lack headaches or chest pain? Can you climb stairs with ease, touch your toes without strain or carry your children to bed without breaking your back? Does your hair shine, is your skin glowing, are your nails strong? These are all indicators of good health.

When I started focusing on eating well, exercising, drinking water, enjoying wine, being with friends, resting and prioritizing moderation, however my body manifested in the process, I chose to love it. I loved it when I was plump prior to kids, pregnant and now pleasantly agile.

Fitness comes in all sizes, shapes and ages. Sometimes it has varicose veins, stretch marks, cellulite and excess skin. Everyone has their own story. Some didn’t want to be a fitness model, maybe they just wanted to not feel the bullying they felt as a child. Some overcame cancer, others dealt with divorce. In the story of our lives it’s about loving yourself in this process of becoming your true self.

That is what No Excuse Moms are about.

We are the leaders of our home. We are raising the leaders of tomorrow. If we want change, it begins with us. The moment we start writing our own story, we become our own Hero.

dr oz
I appeared on the Dr. Oz show recently and was surprised by my cover models based out in Fort Meade, Maryland!
They won the cover contest amongst our NEM groups. Find a free workout location near you HERE.

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply Ali October 7, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Sounds to me like she had to put her foot in her mouth . I wonder if she is a single mother, if she has any financial strain, if her kids are healthy, if everyday life gets stressful? She see excuses for other people being fat but maybe food is the only release they have if anyone is going through anything hard. And massive she relized that

  • Reply Helen Hines October 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Maria, I think you’re truly amazing!!! You’re an inspiration to allot of women out there and don’t you let anyone and I mean anyone discourage you from being who you are. So, you’ve gained 10lbs big whoopee, who cares, you could’ve gained 50lbs and you’d still be a beautiful woman inside and out. Gaining 10lbs just proves that you’re a human being and not some programmed robot to always stay perfect. There is no such thing as being perfect, only to be the best you can and you have proven that time and time again. I know you had to deal with allot of hate and judgment but know that it will only make you stronger. I just don’t want anyone to derail you from who you really are and your main purpose in life. Always stay strong in your heart and never let anyone make you feel doubtful about your life’s journey!!! I feel bad for people who don’t get you. People who don’t understand where you’re coming from are all just jealous with envy and will have 101 excuses for their poor life style and that is why they hate and complain about people like you. People like that don’t want to be confronted about their issues but want sympathy from others and that its ok to live an unhealthy life style. For someone like you to come along and burst their comfortable bubble was a huge shock to their system buy I wouldn’t take anyone’s negativity personally, just think of it as them being blind and can’t see anything in front of them. I don’t know much about fitness but one thing I do know is that, everyone’s got to do it in their own time. Therefore, you just stay focused and do what you’re meant to do and that is keep motivating and inspiring people like myself….;)))

  • Reply John November 5, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Haha you are a joke, seriously. Get down from your ivory tower, so you don’t crush it with your weight.

  • Reply Liz November 11, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Maria, I don’t understand how people have misunderstood what you clearly have said…you’re not trying to pick a fight, you’re trying to help. I am overweight, and I’m so tired of going up and down shapes and diets. 2 years ago I had my son, and the pregnancy was fine until I got preclampsia at my delivery. I almost had a stroke it went up so high…I was devastated and everyone assured me that after 2 months on medication, it usually goes back to normal. It didn’t.
    I am now on blood pressure medication- for life if I don’t correct this. I was also gestational diabetic (I’m not diabetic now) but my chances increased greatly and so have my childrens….I fell into the trap of full figured models and TV telling me it’s okay, you’re fine and beautiful as you are as long as you’re healthy, that’s all that matters. But I’m not. Even though I’m not plus size, I’m still over weight by 40lbs- that’s a lot.
    I’m tired of being in this body, I want my body from 10 years ago back. And after reading all this and everything you have been through, your honesty, I feel like I have garnered some motivation and courage.
    I can do this. Small steps, but to make them powerful by being consistent. Not letting my ‘feelings’ and worries and the world get me down so much that I have to eat to make myself feel better.
    The magazines and plus size models are wrong, it’s science fact that if you’re overweight, you will eventually have issues- heart disease, diabetes, and yes some people do have medication conditions; or are very active even though they are heavier set. But ‘being fat’ isn’t what we should be promoting on TV. Being fit and being healthy by eating the right stuff, and doing exercise, that’s the real deal. And I believed all this time, that it’s okay to be this heavy. It’s not. This could kill me. And I will leave behind my kids- who will think of me as selfish because all I had to do was control my food and walk and I didn’t…how will they see me for being this cowardly.
    Thank you for being so honest! And thank you for inspiring me to do the right I have always wanted to do for myself. I want to be healthy.

  • Reply Donna December 10, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Ten pounds in three years? After my three kids I gained an extra 100 pounds. I’m now downloaer then my high school weight but my kids are now teenagers. It’s hard when you work , are 100 pounds over weight and at the time a single mother doing it on your own with no money to barely buy food let alone any gym membership or time at home to work out. Everyone goes through depression but ten pounds??? This article makes me laugh. I thought it was going to be she gained a lot of weight got out of depression lost it all and now she knows how the majority of women feel. Instead I read it and got to the end feeling like she’s still full of crap and has no clue if reality

  • Reply John Miklosa December 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

    To Hell with the rest of the world, tell them all to piss off, you look Awesome, & you are right on with, ( Keeping the little ones Alive, Great Mom!!!) Happy Trails!!!

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