Michelle Obama talks about realizing Barack made time for the gym, but she couldn’t prioritize herself

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Michelle Obama touched a nerve last weekend as she talked about she found herself putting herself last in her family.

Obama spoke to Gayle King as part of the Essence Festival, and was addressing the work she did as the First Lady around healthy eating, living, and exercise, especially with kids.

“We [as women] have to own our health. It’s one of these things that no one can take from you.”


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A little me time

Then she launched into a story that many would find unbelievable coming from the former first lady.

“A lot of mothers will understand this – I found myself looking around after I had my kids, and I didn’t have time for me… but my husband was at the gym, like, every day. And I was like, ‘Well, how are you going to the gym?’ He was like, ‘I make time for the gym.’ I was like, what?”

Her President husband making time for the gym was the last straw for Michelle, who found herself increasingly unable to make the time and effort to take care of herself.

“This was right when we started going to counseling, y’all, so this was one of our issues,” Obama said. “But I found myself getting mad at him because he was doing what he needed to do for him. And I think for us as women, many of us, we have a hard time putting ourselves on our own priority list, let alone at the top of it.”

“And that’s what happens when it comes to our health as women,” Obama said. “We are so busy giving and doing for others, we feel guilty to take that time out for ourselves.”

“We are trained that way, and we need to have another set of conversations to un-train us,” she said.