InDependent sat down with Maria McConville, Registered Dietitian and Army Chief of Staff spouse, to delve into diet culture, mental wellness, and her thoughts on living authentically as military spouses.
The interview left our community feeling so inspired, individuals immediately began implementing the takeaways. Never judging an interview by its cover, our team found that this talk spoke to every branch of military spouse wellness. To capture the excitement our team is still feeling, we decided to share our notes with you in hopes you will feel hope-filled too.
You can watch the entire video interview with Maria and Evie King here.
ON MARIA’S BACKGROUND
Maria McConville is an Army veteran, Army wife, and Army mother. She is a registered dietitian, certified fitness trainer, and spouse master resilience trainer. She owns and operates a nutrition and fitness consulting company called Balanced Body Nourishment where she coaches clients and mentors Army spouses to live life purposefully and passionately through nourishing mind, body, and soul.
Maria encourages the importance of looking past the surface of emotions like stress, anger, or anxiety which often lead to a knee-jerk reaction like stress eating ice cream. Gaining the strength to recognize an emotional response and process it in a manner that honors your body rather than feeding the emotion is a skill to build over time.
“Ask yourself—is this going to nourish my body?” This particular quote has become a daily tool our team is using to form stronger, better relationships with food.
Maria says that food should not be perceived as good or bad. Instead foods should offer a more intentional experience when you eat them. Ice cream is simply a food. It is neither good nor bad, unlike the dialogue brought forth in diet culture.
Maria said, “Dieting is not inspiring. It’s not sustainable.” Instead of adding shame to your plate, become both aware and intentional of the effects eating has on your body physically and mentally. Isn’t ice cream best enjoyed when you can savor it?
ON MILITARY SPOUSE LIFE
Maria stated, “I did a lot of things that I thought were expected of me, especially as my husband moved up through the ranks, but I found I was out of balance in my life.”
Maria has been a military spouse for over thirty-two years. Spouses often face pressure to take on roles, duties, and responsibilities that come with supporting their service members’ careers. Throughout the years, Maria has kept her certifications and career active. She places a high value on finding identity outside of your service member’s career.
“When I was doing things that were purposeful and passionate for me, I was in better balance. I felt more authentic,” she said.
In the interview, Maria boldly proclaims that it is okay for spouses to choose themselves, their careers, their happiness. This can mean passing along inherited duties without feeling shame or guilt. “There is no one way to be a military spouse.”
Championing military spouses is something she does daily in her advocacy efforts with Spotlighting Army Spouses (SAS) as well as her consulting company. Maria encourages all of us to share our talents, knowledge, and experiences to create an even stronger community.
Maria said, “Worry is completely unproductive,” and “stress is not a badge of courage.”
We can derive a thousand lessons from those statements alone. Another well-loved takeaway for our team was to recognize that being stressed is not an indication of bravery or accomplishment. Stress has no place in our lives. We’re saying that out loud now and forever.
Most of the interview could live under the topic of mindset. Mental wellness is really the foundational element of a healthy and balanced life according to Maria. She discussed taking your thoughts captive, carving out space to process through your emotions, and living within your limits. Neither unfulfillment nor overcommitment are paths fit for military spouses.
“We owe it to ourselves to figure out who we are and how we can live our lives most authentically,” said Maria.
We could write a novel surrounding this interview. All of us here at InDependent encourage you to listen to it in its entirety on our Facebook page. For more insight into the interview and opportunities to grow stronger together as a community, please join us on any one of our social platforms.