I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of moms at with our local MOPs group (Moms of Preschoolers) about nutrition and exercise. I can only hope they got as much out of the program as I did.
It was a rainy day outside, but you would never have known that by the cheery smiles and supportive chatter amongst all the women I met that morning and evening. I was expecting to teach them a bit about proper nutrition and lead them in a mini-Mommy Recess class, but instead I was the one learning from each of them.
These 30-40 women, all of different ages, different backgrounds, different beliefs, different ethnicities, came together with one common bond: motherhood. Every woman in that room was a mother. Some had come to motherhood by way of adoption or fertility struggles. Some had one child or multiples. Some had newborns and others had grown children. But they could all share in the challenges and successes of motherhood.
As with any group, there were the women who had known each other for years and the new women there for the first time. But as we talked about nutrition and then got to play a game of duck, duck, goose, I quickly grew to realize how much this group supported each other. They nodded in agreement as I talked about my stubborn 4 year old and her food challenges. They laughed with me as I discussed how we can quickly give a child an unhealthy snack just because we want the "Mommy! Mommy! MOMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!!" to stop. They offered up suggestions and hugs as women shared their struggles with making healthy food choices. And it was all done with a look of understanding, of acceptance. That no matter your struggles, it was ok. Others had been through it and you'd get through it too. These women, this group, would be your support.
As we transitioned to our mini-Mommy Recess game of duck, duck, goose, none of that changed. They cheered each other on to catch each other, to continue with the strength exercise for just a few more reps. They laughed and shared in the process. And when the "goose" caught the "duck" and the "duck" had to pay the 10 jumping jack penalty for getting caught, everyone clapped and cheered when they were done.
You see they weren't in this alone. Be it exercise, nutrition, motherhood or any other goal they had in mind. They were supported.
And that's the great thing about group fitness, group wellness programs and support groups. There is power in numbers. Research shows that when we share our goals with others, that those goals are more achieveable. When we have the support of a group, you're more likely to lose the weight or stick to an exercise plan, because when you're having a bad day, some one else is there to say, don't worry, it'll pass, we'll get through this together. There is strength in numbers. In knowing that someone is traveling the same path as you. That they have or are struggling as you have/are. Life is not meant to be a solitary journey. Its meant to be shared. But choose wisely.
The MOPs club moms were very positive, uplifting. The moment some one brought up a negative comment about themselves or their struggles, there was a hug or someone would bring up a way to reshape the comment to see the positive side of it. You want to surround yourself with those same people when on your journey to health and well-being. Those people, who no matter your struggle, will say..."Uh-huh, you've got this! or Nope, lets go for a walk instead or Don't say that about yourself. You're stronger and more beautiful than you know." They're the ones who are there to support you and help you grow...not just jump on board you're pity party, sabotaging your efforts.
Those two presentations to the MOPs groups of moms was a true blessing for me. A wonderful representation of how we should act as mothers, as women, as citizens of this great planet. They lifted my spirits that day and evening. And served as a great reminder of how beneficial the right support system can be in helping you reach your goals, no matter what they are. It could be a close friend, an on-line support group, a group exercise class or a wellness class. Finding the right support group, sharing your goals, hopes, dreams with them, can really help you reach them.
So find a support group or friend in your area that you can team up with to help you reach your goals, be them weight loss, exercise, a race plan or whatever! And if you're here in Okinawa, Japan, check out a Mommy Recess class or the local MOPs chapter. You'll find the supportive, positive, uplifting women you're looking for there and be that much closer to achieving your goals.