Mindset

10 Wellness Tips My Mother Taught Me

September 19, 2023

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Hi, I’m Victoria! Certified in exercise physiology + nutrition coaching. I wanna help you create vibrant health without losing perspective on what matters.  

Meet Victoria

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Picture this.

The same giant hair you see on me today- except on a 5 year old girl.

We’re in the family room during nap time and I got to stay up, (because I’m 5 after all and that’s pretty big).

And today we’re doing Taebo (the one with Billy Blanks- where you get to kick and punch. It’s my favorite).

If you know me today, this makes sense. It seems almost destined that a 5 year old who did workout videos during nap time now teaches grown ups how to do the same thing.

And who knows, maybe destiny did play a role.

But who set the scene?

The answer is Mama Jean.

Today I want to share what I learned about health from watching my mom. And what your littles (or sisters, co workers, best friends, etc.) might be learning while watching YOU.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I personally use and love!*


My mom is one of those people who is like— way smart.

But she is so quiet and unassuming that it sneaks up on you. As an adult I’ve come to realize that she was way ahead of the curve when it comes to health information (ok, ok-ALL INFORMATION) that she grew up having access to.

Growing up she would say stuff about exercise, nutrition, and mindset, that sounded so simple and obvious that it seemed like there was no way in the world it wasn’t a scientific fact.

Only years- or decades- later to be proven as ACTUAL scientific fact.

*For example, she is a believer in real butter. When “I can’t believe it’s not butter” was a big deal she was flabbergasted. “What? You think a butter that’s fake and filled with chemicals to make it look like butter and taste like butter is better for you than real butter?” — We never ate it. And I kid you not, I saw an article posted yesterday about how real butter is probably a better option than others…..my first thought was, “did people not know this?”

…ok, I digress

I think the reason it took me so long to realize how healthy my exposure to health, and wellness and body image really was- is because in a world where everything is complicated x infinity…She makes it simple.

The health world says:
“Eat fish, but don’t eat fish because it might poison you,
Eat fruit, but never touch fruit- because there is sugar in it and sugar will kill you. But make sure you eat plenty of fruit.
And 6 servings of grains, but did you hear that scary thing about gluten? Also dairy is not good for you but make sure you add enough to your diet so that you are not calcium deficient and…and…and.”

My mom is like- “just don’t be DUMB”

So I sat down and started to think about the big ones.

What are the big things she modeled or believed (or just did without knowing) that were super impactful?

The list was obviously gigantic. But for today I’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 wellness tips my mother taught me.


 

Wellness Tip Number 1:
The way she looked at her own body

I am one of eight kids. All of whom were carried and brought into this world by the same woman- my mom. ( I KNOW. I know, we can talk about this at a later time because I’m also like- wait whaaaat?)

But I say that to acknowledge that my mom didn’t just “maintain” one body shape and size for her entire life. It would take a crazy person to not recognize that pre baby body, preggo body, and post baby body are all very different things. None better or worse- just different.

But growing up, I never heard my mom sigh when she got on the scale. I never heard her talk about losing weight or feeling fat. I never saw her do that thing that we women do where we lift up our arm and check the amount of jiggle on that back of our arms. I never saw her pinching her stomach or the backs of her legs.

Wellness tip Number 2:
The way she kept track of her own body

Which brings us to point number 2- the way she kept track of her own body.

I never heard her say- I want to be “this weight” or look like “that”. It was always, “I know what feels good for me”. She was so tuned into recognizing that the way her body felt and looked and operated was COMPLETELY different than someone else’s. And it didn’t matter what felt good for them- just what was right for her.

me and my mom

Wellness tip Number 3:
The way she thought about food

I remember the first time I was at a friends house and her mom made a comment about how she just ate the entire box of cookies right after she decided she was gonna stop eating sugar. I remember being confused because
A) why would you stop eating sugar? and
B) what was she trying to “lose weight” for? She seemed perfect.

I never saw my mom restrict her food or “start a diet” or count calories or track her food.

She just ate.

Now if you know my mom, you know she has a TEENY TINY appetite. Like- ‘will eat a granola bar over the course of 2 days’ type of appetite. And while this fact might have you wondering how legit this point I’m trying to make is- what speaks volumes is that she never restricted MY food.

I am as opposite as can be when it comes to appetite size. Mine is huge. I can eat food, and a lot of food- allllll dayyyy long.

My mom wasn’t worried. She didn’t see my big appetite and tell me that it was bad or that I needed to keep it in check.

She just made sure I knew how to pay attention to how I was feeding myself.

Wellness tip Number 4:
The way she thought about nutrition

Food is about nutrition, not emotion

Growing up, if we wanted a snack or a treat it was allowed. But it was always in addition to or after something that had some “good nutrition”.

My mom didn’t quiz us on protein or fat or carbs. She just made a point to help us recognize- lucky charms aren’t doing much for your body. And if you’re eating them, it’s not bad- but it’s not providing your body with anything it can use so you need to be aware of that.

Wellness tip Number 5:
The way she thought about exercise

I did workouts with my mom at nap time. Not every day, but enough to know that it was a thing that she enjoyed.

And that’s exactly how she saw exercise. It wasn’t a hassle or an obligation.

Working out was a perk. It was something she fought to make happen in the midst of a sea of kids. It was never a chore, but it was also never scary if it didn’t come together. She wasn’t worried if some days it just wasn’t in the cards.

It wasn’t to earn food or size down- it was to feel strong and happy in her body.

Wellness tip Number 6:
The way she thought about fear

ooooo baby we could dive deep on this one, but I’ll keep it short and sweet.

She taught me that when you RESIST something (to make sure you don’t “lose control” or give in) it still has the same power over you as if you binge eat it.

So don’t put the chocolate cake on holy ground, but don’t spend energy being afraid of anything either.

Wellness tip Number 7:
The way she kept things simple

Eat some cake, but don’t eat only cake.
Eat some grapefruit, but don’t eat only grapefruit.

Too much of anything is never good- no matter what the thing is.

Wellness tip Number 8:
The way she savored things

To this day I make fun of her (for a lot of things, because that’s how I am) for cutting Lindt chocolates in HALF. She breaks cookies in half. She breaks squares of dark chocolate into tinier pieces— but here is the kicker.

It’s NEVER because she “couldn’t have all of it”
It was never a “tactic” to stay thin.

It was always about savoring.

It was always about enjoying the thing. To this day she will eat M&Ms one at a time- a pile of 6 M&Ms takes most people 10 seconds. She will eat them over the course of 15 minutes.

She’d say “I don’t want to just eat it all and then it’s over- I want to enjoy it”

Wellness tip Number 9:
The way to take a compliment

Just say thank you.

It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not- you don’t need to convince yourself or the other person that the nice thing they said about you is wrong.

“That’s just silly”

Wellness tip Number 10:
The way she could call bullshit on an identity crisis

She’d say “Yea, that’s not you” whenever I started to get sucked into the worlds drama or fear games surrounding health.

As a teenager I worked out almost everyday. And usually about once or twice a year, my body or brain (or both) needed a break. I would randomly wake up and be completely uninterested in workouts.

Now, the worlds view had me TERRIFIED.

I was losing my edge.
And my motivation.
I was falling off the wagon.
I was becoming sedentary.
Fight against it, push harder, dig deeper, AHHH!!!

But mom would say “Victoria, that’s not who you are” in the kindest voice (but also with an edge of like…”seriously girl, how can you not see how silly it is that you are worried about this” type of tone).

Somehow- before Tony Robbins and all the motivational speakers knew that identity is key in determining behavior- my mom knew. And she would remind me of my true identity. She would say— you are a person who works out. You are not gonna wake up and lose that part of you overnight. If you need a break, take a break.
(See how annoyingly simple she makes it feel)

When I realized this- I relaxed. I rested. And before you know it I’d be antsy and excited to get back to my workout. Because I remembered it was a part of my identity. And I wouldn’t lose it unless I chose to.

And knowing “that’s not who I am” or “I am this type of person” has helped me navigate EVERYTHING.

When others are stressing and feeling guilty or worrying— I can stand knowing— “nah, that’s not who I am” and I can rest. Or adjust. Or move forward.

The lens that we see our bodies and our health through is shaped at such an early age.

If the people we’re watching aren’t mindful, we can pick up habits and mindsets that we’ll carry for THE REST OF OUR LIFE ( eek, no pressure or anything).

Now, there’s no need to panic, (you are fully capable of writing a new story) but take a minute and remember who set the scene for you. Who did you watch and does your health, habits, and relationships look like theirs did?

It might be your daughter, sister, best friend, co worker- heck it might even be a stranger at a grocery store- but women of all ages are watching you. They hear you talk about the diets in the break room, they see you pick apart your image, they relate to you swatting down compliments.

Be different.

Be brave and accept the compliment,
Be wise and nourish your body with the food you eat,
Be content to move your body in celebration of it,
And be aligned to pursue what’s best for YOU.

She’s watching… show her something worth imitating.

xoxo,
Victoria

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