By PPT Trainer, Mary Elasi
“The bar is loaded for Mary Elasi” with those few words and for the next few minutes, I am no longer Michael, Stephanie and Annalises’ mum (sorry kids), I am a powerlifter, determined and intent on moving as much weight as possible. Hungry for success, eager to do well, always pushing the boundaries and wanting more.
This wasn’t always the case though. Turn back the clock some years and I was mum to 2 young children (4 months old and 21 months) looking around for a gym with a creche to get myself back into shape. Success!! I had found the perfect place. The gym looked fantastic had good variety of weights and equipment, a some of classes that I might try, fantastic crèche, wonderful staff and it was clean. Perfect. I had found my new gym!! Why then did it take me another 2 years (and an additional child) to walk into that same gym to join up?
Thing is, on my first visit there, I thought I wanted it and I’m sure a part of me did, but I actually hadn’t given myself permission to do this for myself. The creche was closed through the middle of the day and I didn’t want to interrupt my child’s sleep. That would be selfish, I was a mum and my kids were my priority, end of story. Not quite, it wasn’t the end of the story, it was merely my excuse at the time.
Truthfully, looking back my baby would have been fine had I joined. She would have slept in the pram and if not, the capable staff would have looked after her. Hindsight is an exact science and I can I admit now as I reflect that I lacked the determination, commitment or desire to change. I thought I wanted it more than I really did. At that point in time I can admit, I was all talk.
My lightbulb moment was 2 years in the making, so let me save you all the time wasting and tell you it’s OK! Give yourself permission to look after yourself, get yourself healthy, fit, happy. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, then do it for your family. My children became my REASON TO EXERCISE. I wanted to be a healthy mum who looked after herself and lead by example. Why taxi them around to sports and activities if I didn’t place any importance on health and lead an active life of my own. Also, I needed to do everything I could to keep illness at bay. One day I woke up and realized I need to take back control otherwise I could end up being a very, very sick young adult (not the best family medical history, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc). I know I’m not invincible, but after losing my mum at a young age, my extra kilos, snappy attitude, and general overwhelming slump was not giving my family the best of me. They deserved the best of me.
There’s an abundance of evidence and studies out there to support that my experience of general mood and wellness improvement is not isolated to me alone. A 2005 research found that participants in a study showed health outcome across a variety of physical conditions. They experienced better general health and related outcomes including quality of life, mood improvement and functional capacity(1). Another study found that there were improvements to be gained from exercise in relation to an individuals anxiety, physical self-perception and the value they placed on themselves (global self-esteem). This same study also found that exercise enhanced mood states. (2)
If it makes us happier individuals, then surely it would have to make us a happier, better functioning parent? That’s a compelling argument in support of exercise, have you given yourself the OK yet or still need more convincing?
The next hurdle will be to find the time and money to put in to exercise, and I do caution you that the feelings of guilt will most probably kick in right about now, all over again. Time away from the kids, money not spent on the family, how do you possibly fit it all in? Please, stop right there!! I understand exactly how these barriers to exercise keep rearing themselves, but I can tell you this much, when your kids come home and ask to start a new sport, instrument, dancing class, whatever, we make the time and find the money to make our little people happy.
Call it “me time”, call it therapy, I don’t really mind if you call it selfish!! Just identify and admit that you are worthy of it and deserve it. Your family might even thank you for it when they notice that you are a better version of you.
PPT Trainer Mary Elasi decided that by putting herself first she was also doing something to benefit the family as well. It starts with you! Shake off the guilt and do it for your family, If this is the lifestyle change you are looking for, then get in touch with our team.
Want to read about how our other supermum fits in her training and raising 6 KIDS!! yes, Sarah has 6 kids, and you can find out more about how she balances it all in her blog “More than Just a mum” here.