This post is part of YummyMummyClub.ca‘s support of the Dove® Unstoppable Moms for Unstoppable Girls Contest. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. Go to www.UnstoppableMoms.ca to enter by sharing how you inspire girls to reach their full potential.
My body has for many years been something that has held me back from doing the things I love or trying new things.
My mental fight with my body began when I was a teenager. I was a competitive rower, a proud, fit athlete. I trained hard. I was slim, fit and in many ways the ideal weight for my height and age. Then, my coach changed my weight class for rowing and my world shifted. I was now a ‘lightweight rower’ and needed to keep my weight beneath 125lbs. I was weighed in front of every rower in our team (boys and girls) and told “you need to lose a few pounds or we’ll be disqualified.” It was the most hurtful moment of my life. I was gutted emotionally, and mentally. In that one single moment all of the things I was proud of vanished away. I saw myself as fat, food was the enemy and I feared the scale.
When it came time for our race at Nationals I knew that I had to step on that scale in front of my whole crew. Each one of our weights was measured and even one pound over could equal disqualification. One pound could be the difference between racing in Nationals or losing months of training.
To prepare us, our coach sent us on a ‘sweat run.’ We had to put on as many layers of clothing as we could, then put a garbage bag over top and run 1K. The purpose was to sweat out as much water weight as possible.
We weighed in, and qualified.
What that experience taught me was that I wasn’t good enough, that no matter how fit I was, I was in danger of being overweight. As a result I developed an eating disorder that I battled with for years.
Fast forward 20 years later. I was overweight, got pregnant with twins, and after that pregnancy was horrified by my body. Most days I didn’t want to go out in public, I didn’t want to exercise for fear people would laugh at me. I felt judged at work, I worried that my boss thought I was lazy. I chose not to go to parties because I didn’t know what to wear. I didn’t want to go to parties or dances because I didn’t want to people see me dancing.
The moment that brought me the most shame was when I was considering quitting my boys’ swimming lessons when they were infants because I didn’t want to put on my bathing suit. I couldn’t believe I was putting my own body image ahead of what is best for my children. I went and my boys loved it. I knew at that moment that being a mom was a privilege and a responsibility. I need to make the right choices for me and for my family.
I am an unstoppable mom because I really believe that women of all shapes and sizes need to participate in a variety of activities/sports/clubs to show young girls that you can do anything and be anything at any size. While I have struggled with an eating disorder and have since gained quite a bit of weight, I am focused on healthy eating, I do CrossFit 3x a week and model a healthy lifestyle to the young women I work with every day. While I still have issues with my body, it was this body that gave me my beautiful twin boys.
I am an unstoppable mom because I know what it is like to hate your body, but I also know what it is like to accept and embrace your body and jump into life with two feet.
While working with Dove on this campaign I learned that 6 out of 10 girls avoid activities because they feel badly about the way they look. However, when girls have a role model at home, they are less likely to let anxiety about their looks hold them back.
More often than not, this role model is Mom. Long before peer pressure kicks in, Mom’s behavior shapes who their daughters are and who she will become. Unstoppable Mom
’s that are setting positive examples for their daughters deserved to be celebrated.
Are you an unstoppable mom? Share YOUR story about a time when you thought about quitting an activity you loved because of how you felt about your body and let them know how you think moms/role models can better support girls to participate in activities. You have until June 13, 2013 to enter. You could win $2,500 for yourself and $2,500 will be donated to help raise a girl’s self-esteem.
Check out more stories on YummyMummyClub.ca about amazing unstoppable moms: