Women’s bodies are beautiful. When it comes to what a woman can accomplish, the possibilities are amazing. Women truly are strong, wonderful beings. Women come in all different shapes and sizes. Women have powerful, thoughtful brains and are able to create welcoming, supportive communities to bring each other up. Body shaming is nothing new. We’ve all heard of it and many of you have been there. I do not in any way condone it. Body shaming, though, comes in ALL forms. This is women’s downfall. We are constantly obsessed with HER size/shape/lifestyle.I recently ran my first half marathon. I’ve been running since my twin girls were just 5 months old. (They will be 4 years old in December.) Our family eats very clean whenever possible, including lots of whole grains and organic and local produce and meats. We make many of our own treats and meals over store- or restaurant-bought options. I am not overweight, so what the heck do I know about body shaming, right? Wrong! That’s why clean eating misconceptions are a very real thing.
Here are just a few of the passive aggressive clean eating misconceptions I’ve heard during my last 3 years as a fitness-loving, clean-eating mom that I actually found quite offensive:
Clean Eating Misconceptions
- I’m so jealous that you bounced right back after having a baby. Every woman is different in how she handles the extra weight of pregnancy. For me, I’ve never carried a baby full term. I made it 8 months with my oldest and only 7 months with my twins. This fact has brought me much sadness, guilt, and hours upon hours of NICU time for my girls. Did I bounce back right after my kids? Sure, in most people’s opinions. But the reason why is painful for me. It’s because I never made it to those last months where weight gain happens more rapidly. It’s because my deliveries and subsequent first several weeks post-partum were so stressful that I didn’t take care of myself, NOT because I eat healthy or just “got lucky.” Keep in mind that you never know the walk another woman took in her shoes.
- I like food too much/I’m a picky eater/my kids are picky eaters. These Clean eating misconceptions means I don’t like food. I LOVE food. Eating is probably one of my favorite things to do. There are thousands of different flavor profiles you can create with the abundance of clean food sources available. You have to do some experimenting. I grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and BBQ Fritos. I cried as an adult at a restaurant because they didn’t have cheeseburgers or chicken tenders. There is still hope. I didn’t become a clean eater until well into my adulthood, a few years after becoming a mom. It was a slow process. It is very unfair to assume that I either don’t enjoy eating at all or that there are no foods I don’t actually enjoy. We all have preferences.
- Breastfeeding just makes me ravenous, though. Yeah, me too. Pregnancy cravings even happened to me, too. I’m not immune to these things. This is a big clean eating misconception: Clean eating means calorie control. I’ve made my own organic, no-added-chemicals vanilla ice cream and eaten large bowls full several days in a row. Trust me; I know what it’s like to be a ravenous mom.
- I use my free time for family time. This is probably one of the most hurtful things I’ve heard in response to enjoying fitness time for myself. I started running because I suffered from post-partum depression and I needed to get out of my head. Three times a week, I left the house for 30 minutes each. Now that my kids are older, we often do our fitness together. My almost 6-year-old often goes running with me. We pack up strollers if we need to or we just run around playing a good family game of Tag, You’re It. I strongly value my family time, too.
- I’m just too tired. I know how you feel. I do. We are all tired. I am not more tired than you. You are not more tired than I am. We are all tired. It’s part of life, part of being a parent. I sleep at night when my kids let me. I make sure to wind down after a workout. And here’s a little secret? The endorphin hormones you burn when working out actually give you energy. I’m not saying you have to work out. That’s your choice. I’m just saying. That’s my secret. Don’t fault me for it. And don’t complain.
- I don’t want my kids to have body image issues. Oh. My. Gawd! What the eff did you just say to me? My kids are going to have body image issues because they see me being HEALTHY? No. No. No. Just walk away before I use up all of my zen trying to stay calm and I throat punch you.
- It took me 9 months to put on this weight, so I’m giving myself at least that long before I worry about it. Okay. That’s fine. I totally think moms should give themselves time to experience all the newborn stuff. I didn’t lose any weight while breastfeeding my twins. I hung on to those last 10 pounds for TWO YEARS after I weaned my girls. You can still see my extra “twin skin” and I even have a very minor diastasis recti. When other women make comments assuming they know how long or how hard it took me to get into this shape without knowing anything about my journey, it makes me feel really insecure.
Like I said, women are some of the most incredible beings on this earth, but somehow, despite our ability to bring each other so far up, we just can’t help to bring each other down. When does it end? If you find yourself in a conversation with someone like me, who eats clean and loves fitness, try to separate your experiences from mine. If we are talking about your weight, I will focus on that with “great jobs” and “I understand your frustrations.” I expect the same in return. Please think about clean eating misconceptions and try not to put everyone in the same category.
Tags: body image