Body Heart Mind Soul,  The Woman Behind the Mother

I’m never going to look like Giselle, but I have my own health goals

By Sarah Rieke, Core Writer

Right after this year’s Superbowl I found myself scrolling on the Instagram account of Giselle Bundchen, wife of super-cute Patriots’ quarterback super-star, Tom Brady. And (in keeping with our super-theme), Giselle is an absolutely stunning supermodel.  

I found myself marveling at her physique—her gorgeous long, lean legs, toned arms, trim waist. Not to mention that her both her face and hair were likely the inspiration for every Disney Princess ever. She is a true beauty. 

What I wouldn’t give to look like that! I thought. (It is really only the natural progression of things whilst scrolling a supermodel’s Instagram photos.)

But then I stopped myself. Because you know what? While my short, stocky frame could never actually copy Giselle’s gazelle-like lean, elegant silhouette, I could definitely get closer. I mean, there is no secret recipe for looking like she does – I imagine it’s what we all know to be true: a strict, clean diet and consistent exercise regimen. If I stuck to those like it was my job (because it really is hers), then I could achieve very similar results. Not identical, mind you, but similar. 

But as much as I would love to look like Giselle, I don’t want to put in the work that it takes to look like her. If I could literally wake up and roll over and magically be 30 pounds lighter and possess abs that made Autumn Calabrese jealous then yes, please and thank you. But it takes a great deal of commitment and discipline to look like Giselle does, much to her credit. And I am just not there. And you know what?

That is okay. 

It is okay to admit that I don’t love exercise and that tightly regulating my calories makes me feel crazy. I am a full fan of all the partially hydrogenated oils. And the recent ban on romaine lettuce? Let’s just say the FDA must have taken a page straight from my dream journal. I am not a person naturally bent to love the things that would earn me a body like Mrs. Tom Brady.

But there is something else true about me. The truth is that when I eat badly, I feel badly. When I am attempting to fuel my body and my life with sugar and carbs rather than solid proteins and veggies, I feel sluggish and heavy. While I love eating all the salty, crunchy, deep fried things, my body does not love it when I do.

I am also not addicted to exercise and have never found that elusive “runner’s high” that women with much thinner thighs claim keeps them going during a tough workout. But I feel so much better when I know I have been taking care of my body by way of exercise. I feel stronger and more energetic for my daily tasks. I am comfortable enough with myself to admit that I don’t love eating well or exercising.  But I do need them in my life.

So, here’s the balance between those two polar opposites at war for my attention: I have to think about my own personal goals. 

I would love to look like a Hollywood star, say Jennifer Anniston circa 2001 (heck let’s face it … I’d love to look like Jennifer Anniston now), but I am not willing to do all the things required to look like her. I don’t want to live that way because looking like her is not my ultimate goal. And it is okay to have different goals. 

My own personal goals are simple and manageable and, in traditional southern Baptist sermon fashion, I’ve narrowed them down to three.

First, I want to be in control of my food choices. If I want a stack of Oreos, I’ll have a stack of Oreos. But I want that to be a conscious choice rather than an impulsive and regret-filled sugar binge.

I also want to make good choices, like incorporating something from the earth in every meal, or going on a walk with the kids instead of clicking “keep watching” when prompted by the Netflix gods.

And lastly, I want to pay attention to what my body is telling me. I feel badly when I eat badly. I feel better when I eat better, when I move more, when I know I am making conscious choices about my health. I want to better tune my ears to what my body might be telling me about how it needs to be taken care of. 

As much as I would want to look like a cover model, I am not willing to put in the work that it takes to do so. And that is okay. What makes me feel good and comfortable in my own life is when I am making choices that align with my own personal goals.

I can work toward my own health goals –goals that might look different than someone else’s. But in the end, that is the healthiest place for me to be.

Bio: Sarah Rieke is a wife, mother, and chronic apologizer who is very particular about how her dishwasher is loaded. She has a heart for encouraging women of faith through her podcast, the Heart Lessons Podcast, and a special affection for encouraging fellow infant loss mothers. She adores spending time with her husband (her childhood sweetheart) and her three beautiful children, but also loves being still and quiet and introspective, which are much more easily attained when aforementioned husband and children are not present. Sarah loves to write and is a huge fan of the Great British Baking Show, as well as any pair of pants with a stretchy waistband. She is very excited to release her first book in May 2019. Please visit for more details. 

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash