First Lady Michelle Obama is covering the November issue of Prevention magazine. In the issue, the first lady talks about how she maintains a healthy and happy lifestyle. The mom of two also admits that ultimately, she is happiest when her “family is whole. “ Here are a few highlights from the interview:
On daughter Malia being her fitness “aha” moment:
I’ve always been a closet jock, but when I got married and had kids, that fell by the wayside. My “aha” moment came when our first daughter, Malia, was 4 months old. My husband’s exercise routine hadn’t changed a bit; he was still getting his workouts in, and I was getting irritated (laughs). Then I realized he was just prioritizing it differently. So I said, “If I get up and out before the first feeding, I will work out.” That will engage my husband to do that first feeding with the baby. So I started getting up at 4:30 in the morning and going to the gym. With exercising, the more you do it, the more you get into it. And the more you see results, the more you’re pushing for the next level. That’s when it just clicked for me.
On what her mom has taught her about balancing motherhood:
I think my mother taught me what not to do. She put us first, always, sometimes to the detriment of herself. She encouraged me not to do that. She’d say being a good mother isn’t all about sacrificing; it’s really investing and putting yourself higher on your priority list. You can be a good mom and still work out, get your rest, have a career–or not. She encouraged me to find that balance.
On being healthy and happy:
It’s multifaceted–it’s physical, it’s internal, it’s my diet, and my emotional state. It’s all tied in together. Throughout my life, I’ve learned to make choices that make me happy and make sense for me. Even my husband is happier when I’m happy. He has always said, “You figure out what you want to do,” because he’s discovered that personal happiness is connected to everything. So I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband, and my physical health. That’s hard for women to own; we’re not taught to do that. It’s a lesson that I want to teach my girls so they don’t wait for their “aha” moment until they’re in their 30s like I was (laughs). Maybe they can experience it a little earlier.
On what happiness means to her as a mom:
You know, happiness for me really is when my kids are good and when my family is whole. Moving [to the White House], whatever stresses would be on my husband and me, we could handle; we are grown-ups. But it wouldn’t be until the day that my kids came home and said to me, “I like it here,” that I’d feel like I could breathe and know that we’re all going to be okay here. And that happened very early into the year. My happiness is measured against theirs–when they’re in a good place, I feel really good.
On teaching her daughters Malia,11, and Sasha,8, to have a healthy relationship with food:
I try to have no absolute nos. I love french fries, I like a good burger, and I like pie. And that’s okay. I would be depressed if I felt I could never eat the things that I love. I also don’t want my girls to be obsessed about food. We don’t have a “no junk food” rule–I just want them to think about their choices. When my older daughter asks, “Can I have pie?” I’ll say, “Did you have it yesterday? Well, what do you think?” And she’ll come to the conclusion that, you know, you’re right, I shouldn’t eat pie every night.