How Mom Guilt, Diets, and Body Shame All Have the Same Roots.

Most of my clients are women, and the majority of those women are mothers.

I don’t have any children of my own and yet still I have the responsibility of guiding these mothers through situations that I cannot personally relate to.

 

BUT, when it comes to their conversations about “Mom Guilt”, I totally get it.

 

I don’t identify with that term per se, but I have felt the same FEELINGS.

Enter, empathy. As a coach I am very well versed in empathizing with people going through all sorts of things, good bad and ugly.

(An animated short about empathy can be found HERE. Hint: it’s NOT the same as sympathy)

 

Below are some of the feelings that my mom clients/friends/family have expressed and that I can personally relate to:

guilt, unmet expectations, sadness, regret, shame, embarrassment, overwhelm, frustration, loneliness, panic, loss of control, wanting things you cannot have, longing for more: more time, money and connection, feeling judged, imposter syndrome, total exhaustion, anger, hopelessness, and never feeling good enough.

 

How can me, having never been a mother, relate to the vast array of feelings at the center of “mom guilt”??

 

Because they are the same feelings that often accompany being a woman, wife, friend, daughter, someone with chronic illness, and self-employed.

 

Because, even more profoundly, they are the same nasty feelings that diet culture thrives on.

 

As a former disordered eater/dieter/health obsessed woman I know those feelings well… every single one of them is what I felt during my years of white-knuckle restriction, punishing exercise, and hating/hiding/manipulating my body.

 

When we peel back the layers of the onion, the feelings of “mom guilt” AND the tragic appeal of the “diet/weight loss industry” both stem from one DEEPLY painful place:

A lack of control and a desperate longing for approval, acceptance, and unconditional love.

 

When someone stands in the truth of their imperfections, lives with vulnerability and humility, and gives up the tireless job of trying to “have it all” only then are they are truly free from guilt, diets, and body obsession.

 

Feeling badly for every missed soccer game or store bought costume or mac n cheese dinner or tear-filled bedtime routine is an endless exercise in self-torture. You are going to miss games, make mistakes, lose your temper, and forget the snacks. There is no way to be “the best mom”. Accepting that fact is the key to being “the best mom you can be at any given moment”.

 

Feeling badly for every sugary donut, fast food dinner, missed workout, gained pound, stretch mark, wrinkle, diet soda, night time couch feast, and failed “program” is a sure fire way to continue in the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting, restrict then binge, and “I feel fat” days.  There is no way to control your body, lifespan, or health.

Accepting that you are a living, breathing, complex human being made up of a body with instincts, a soul with emotions, and a brain with thoughts is the key to living with attunement and in peaceful contentment.

 

Your body is the only one you will ever have.

Take care of her, respect her, and accept her just as she is today.

Tell her you know she is doing her best and that you love her unconditionally.

It’s all she has ever wanted. (Just like you, Mom)

My Blog Was Nominated for an award!

Kait from "Food, Feelings, & Freedom" nominated me for a Liebster Award!!!

The rules:

  1. You recognize the person who tagged you in the first place in your Liebster Award post.
  2. You answer the questions they included in their post for you to answer (they’ll normally insert the new questions they want you to answer towards the end of their blog post. I almost got confused and thought I was supposed to answer the questions that were already answered, lol).
  3. You create 11 new questions for the person you nominated to answer.
  4. You’ll tag the bloggers you feel you’d want to see do this tag, preferably if they have around 200 followers or less (help their follower count go up!)

Here are the questions Kait asked me:

(See below for the NEW questions I will ask MY nomination: Andrea Archambault from A Healthy Rhythm!)

1. What inspired you to start your blog?

While I was in school for my health coach certification I realized I needed a place to share ALL THE THINGS I was learning and experimenting with. I actually had an existing blog that I created during my time in culinary school so I just changed the name and the focus. (I have since gone back and deleted most of my "old" blog posts.. they were chalk-full of disordered eating and fear-based health and food ideas... whomp, whomp.)

2. What is advice you’d give to teenage you?

"The trouble with trouble is that it starts as fun."

(A quote one of my favorites, Nicole Antoinette, on her Real Talk Radio podcast)

3. What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

It's more like places I want to see and experience. I have a 'travel wish list' a mile long...

Ok, this is crazy but I will just say it, I really want to go to space. For example, 'the moon' is on my travel wish list. I want to see Earth from above. 

4. What is your favorite food?

I know what everyone says, "just one??!" But honestly, I can't pick just one food! So I will create my favorite-food-ultimate-MEAL:

Apps: a vast cheese board with all the fixings (including fantastic bread and olives)

Main dish: some sort of incredible, slow cooked, char-marked BBQ ribs and kielbasa with some sort of fried potato or truffle fry and a gorgeous, veggie-packed BIG salad (maybe with a spicy ranch dressing?)

Dessert: sour cherry pie and ice cream AND key lime pie AND my moms pecan bars

5. What is your favorite thing to do for self-care?

As cliche as it sounds, a BATH. I just went apartment hunting and had to turn down some beautiful spots because they had no bathtub :( Yes, a bath with epsom salt and essential oils and my phone for texting and social media time. 

6. What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I am really optimistic. I truly look for the silver lining and I have a deep faith that we have exactly what we need at any given moment. I love LOVE and I believe the world is a remarkable place. 

7. What book are you currently reading (or last read!)

I am currently reading "The Grapes of Wrath". I like a good classic that I missed somewhere along the way. I also recommend anything by Brene Brown or a juicy memoir (Shrill by Lindy West or Bossypants by Tina Fey)

8. Who inspires you?

My husband. He is so calm, happy, and loving. I try to be more like him everyday.

Also, I actively seek out mentors and inspirational people to follow on social media, podcasts, and blogs. I like to read real struggles and listen to honest conversations. I am energized by education and knowledge.. teach me something new and you have a follower for life. 

Isabel Foxen Duke truly changed my career (and personal life!) and I cannot send enough people her way. 

9. Where is your dream vacation?

I feel like I just did it! We traveled for 6 months straight. Hubby quit his job and we put what little possessions we had into storage. Here is where we went:

10 days in Thailand

2 weeks in Bali

5 days in Singapore

Quick stops in Cambodia, Dubai, & Cairo

A couple weeks playing with friends in Southern California

A couple months relaxing with family in Northern Arizona

2-week road trip through Arizona, Texas, & Louisiana

3 weeks playing with family in Calgary, Canada

ANOTHER road trip through Utah, Idaho, & Oregon

(Needless to say, I learned a few things along the way and have tweaked the way I vacation in the future... turns out, LESS IS MORE. You can read about our travels on our pop-up, side-hustle blog: www.loveandluggage.net)

10. If you were to pick a completely different career, what would it be and why?

I would be a teacher. I love to teach. I crave having "my own space" to be creative, and I enjoy the honesty of kids. I also kinda like the schedule :)

11. What are your top 5 favorite bands, artists, etc?

Hmmm... here's a taste of my favs: Weezer, Madonna, Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, & Joni Mitchell

Hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better, big thanks to Kait from Food, Freedom, & Feelings for this fun award.

Here are the questions I want Andrea Archambault from A Healthy Rhythm to answer:

1. How do you spend the first hour of your day?

2. If you could wave a magic wand, what problem would you solve?

3. What books are on your nightstand?

4. Favorite music to move your body to?

5. How do you spend the last hour of your day?

6. You win a vacation, can only take one person and it can't be your spouse/significant other, who is it?

7. Beach or mountains?

8. If you could be granted the time and money for a "dream education" what and where would you pick?

9. Most crave-able amusement park snack?

10. What is your love language?

11. Favorite season?