At City Fitness, we’re constantly learning about what motivates people to strive for healthier lifestyles. This Q&A is part of a larger interview series with a number of Philadelphians representing a wide range of industries and communities — from entertainment to fashion to fitness. These interviews and photos were completed to celebrate the launch of City Fitness’ Signature Club which is coming to the Sterling Building on 18th and JFK. Click here for more information and 30 Days of early access for just $10!
Like many entrepreneurs, Mo Smith is always on the go. Whether she’s taking photos for her business PhobyMo or working her day job as an accountant, Mo is constantly busy. And like many busy people, she let her health take a backseat — meaning she ate a lot of pizza, cheesesteaks and fried food. But now she’s on a new path — exercising with a trainer, eating right, losing weight and taking time for herself. We spoke to Mo about her weight loss journey and why she thinks it’s so crucial for women to have a positive body image.
What does health and wellness mean to you?
From my senior year of college to about four months ago, I gained about 50 pounds. I was eating awful food every day (I’m talkin’ pizza, mozzarella sticks, cheesesteaks, fried everything) and was barely active (besides an occasional walk around the city to errands).This past year it really started to take a toll on my physical and mental wellbeing, so I decided enough was enough. I joined a gym, got a trainer and started watching what I eat and I’ve lost about 20 pounds so far! I have more energy, I feel better, I’m stronger and I’m so much happier. So health and wellness to me is treating your body with respect and giving it the attention and love that it needs.
With a busy schedule, how do you find time for fitness and healthy living.
Finding free time is extremely difficult for me since I work a full-time job on top of doing photography — but I just decided to make my health a priority. I typically go to the gym three times a week right after work! I found a gym that’s on my way home, so there’s no extra effort involved in making it there and no room for excuses.
Why is a positive body image so important for women?
I think that body positivity is important for everyone, but more so for women because of the pressures put on us to look a certain way. Leonardo DiCaprio started the whole “dad bod” craze a year or two ago and all the chubby/out of shape dudes rejoiced — but that would NEVER happen with women. There is no “mom bod” equivalent because women are just expected to be skinny/in shape or else they aren’t considered attractive. I think that we, as a society, put way too much importance on how we look and not enough on how we feel or if we’re actually healthy. You can be stick thin and still extremely unhealthy just as much as you can be obese and extremely unhealthy. I think that we need to start focusing less on outer appearances and numbers on a scale, and more on our actual health.
Do you think Philadelphia is a healthier place than it was 10 years ago when City Fitness opened its doors?
I think that people are really starting to be more aware of what they’re putting in their bodies and it’s definitely changing the city. One of my favorite places to eat is Honeygrow and they weren’t around 10 years ago. It’s awesome that there are so many healthy food options out there now and you don’t have to choose between two healthy restaurants and 100 unhealthy restaurants. I’m excited to see what happens next!
Q&A by Jared Shelly