When O, The Oprah Magazine's editor-at-large Gayle King interviewed Michelle at the Essence Festival in New Orleans this week, she naturally asked about her memoir Becoming, and specifically why health has always been so important to her. "I've heard you say you almost became defiant about making sure that your health was good," Gayle shared.
Michelle had a strong response: "...a lot of mothers will understand this, because 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?'"
Michelle went on to explain how she and Barack discussed this issue when they went to counselling around the same time. "This was right when we started going to counselling, y'all, so this was one of our issues, you know?" she said. "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," Michelle added. "And that's what happens when it comes to our health as women. We are so busy giving and doing for others that we almost feel guilty to take that time out for ourselves."
She also said it's okay if it takes time to learn how to practice self-care. "We are trained that way, and we have to have a different set of conversations to un-train us. It's not something that's going to happen overnight."
For Michelle, there's more fuelling her health crusade. She shared that her father's passing from multiple sclerosis had a major impact on her point of view. "I knew he was a man who valued movement and it was taken from him," Michelle said. "So, at no point in my life do I take my health for granted."
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US