Ashlie Molstad, a health and wellness coach from Phoenix, and the cheerful, encouraging voice behind Foodie Girl Fitness, is inspiring moms to look at their bodies in a whole new way, thanks to a now-viral Facebook post. Molstad describes herself on her website as a "dreamer" who loves champagne, dogs, food and, of course, fitness.
On January 15, Molstad shared a post and a picture of her with her brand-new baby, highlighting all the ways that women tend to negatively describe their bodies—and flipping the script on how to see those "flaws" in a new light. In the post, Molstad writes:
"I have large strong legs that aren't the least bit feminine. My calves are so large I can only fit them into wide-calf boots. I have belly jelly and a pooch that can't be hidden by my clothes. I do not have toned arms. My face is scarred from years of cystic acne. I have stretch marks on my thighs, breasts and butt. ...
"WAIT ... let me try that again ...
"I have strong legs that are capable of taking me anywhere I need to go, and have walked me across several half marathon finish lines, danced like crazy on some of my favorite evenings and swam in the ocean under the sun as I've traveled to see parts of this world. My stomach might be soft, but it was the home for my daughter for her first 9 months. It is the place that my deepest belly laughs come from. And just because it is soft, does not mean it isn't strong."
Molstad tells Mom.me that she has used her Foodie Girl Fitness page over the past five years to share her health and body journey "super transparently." The new mom notes that she has always felt at war with her body, but last year realized that the way she felt about her body was a choice—and that she could choose to hate her body or choose to love it.
Last year, the new mama realized that the way she felt about her body was a choice—and that she could choose to hate her body or choose to love it.
"I am a new mama, and that means my body has gone through a lot of changes recently, and so it is more important than ever for me to channel my thoughts that were once so negative into (something) positive," she explains.
The energetic self-professed fitness and foodie fanatic believes that women are conditioned to think that looks are all that matter, beginning with how little girls are complimented on their looks, causing them to subconsciously learn that their value rests in the way they "physically show up in this world instead of the person we are."
Frustrating as that value process might be, Molstad also believes that we can unlearn those misguided beliefs, starting with how we think and talk about our own bodies.
"We are with ourselves all day, and we are always listening to what we have to say," she continues. "When we constantly put ourselves down for things we've been taught to believe are 'flaws,' we start to believe that we are, in fact, flawed. ... But it was never our bodies that were the problem. The problem is in our minds. As cliché as it sounds, if we can change our thoughts, we can change our life."
Despite her enthusiasm for encouraging other women to love themselves, Molstad admits that the pressure on new moms to get their bodies "back" can be incredibly hard. She notes that she focuses on reminding herself that her body didn't go anywhere and that it did one of the most important jobs of all by giving Molstad her daughter, who now serves as her greatest inspiration.
"When I look into my daughter's eyes, I don’t think about the size she’ll be as she grows," she says. "I wonder who she’ll become, what she’ll love, what she’ll want to be, what her passions will be. And I will work hard to prove to her that those are the things that matter. But if I want to prove that I her, I have to prove it to myself first."
Remember how much fun working out was as a kid? Probably not, because you just thought of it as playing! And according to The Monkey Bar Gym, we could all learn a thing or two from our kids about making fitness fun.
These short workouts focus on using the natural motions that kids use to play, such as pushing, pulling, jumping and running. The best part is they offer a free, daily workout on their website with a list of exercise videos to show you how to do each move. (Site membership required, but it's free.)