Confession. I’ve had a genuinely hard time really loving and respecting my body since having Flora almost eight months ago. I gained the most weight with a pregnancy with her, and in the first few months of navigating how to be a mom of three, I neglected myself big time. I fed my kids nutritious food, but I ate what was fast and easy to eat in between chasing kids and nursing the baby. Exercise was basically out of the question, because my mom guilt causes me to believe (especially those first few months postpartum) that when I take time out of the day for me, I’m neglecting my children. Then one day I woke up and took a shower and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I undressed, and for the first time in a long, long time, I looked my body over and thought, “I hate it.” I haven’t had those thoughts since shortly after high school, and being in that mindset again was scary and, because I know myself and how I react to this kind of thing, it also felt dangerous. I just knew, looking at myself in the mirror, undressed and unable to hide anything, I didn’t like what I saw at all. It made me sad. Ironically, the couple stretch marks I gained at the end of my third pregnancy truly don’t bother me. It was everything else.
So I made a decision. I could sit and wallow in this self-pity, or I could do something about it to gain back my confidence. I immediately decided I wasn’t going to start this journey with the goal of losing x amount of weight, or anything like that. I wanted to feel strong. I wanted to feel healthy. I wanted to feel pride in my bodies abilities and intake – no matter what shape it took. I also wanted to remind myself every step of the way that my body is awesome – even the one I said I hated when I looked in the mirror.
I’m about a month into really being in this. I haven’t seen many physical changes, but I will say, I feel stronger. I feel more confident. I like myself more. I believe in myself and my capabilities more. I feel more pride in my body.
I’m watching what I eat. Or more accurately, I’m being mindful of what I eat. I know that I’m the type of person, that if I said that sugar and carbs were a hard no-no, I’d immediately crave them more and then splurge every so often and eat sooooo much of this ‘no-no’ food. So instead of saying that those foods are strictly off limits, I’m just more mindful of portion sizes. I strive to make sure I’m eating a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables. Basically all the stuff you learn in grade school about healthy eating? I’m incorporating that back into my diet. Something I’ve also realized in this journey is that I’m very much a boredom eater. Nothing to do? Go grab a snack. But I’m being better at listening to my body. When I feel the urge to go grab something from the cupboard, I sit for a second and listen to my body. Am I hungry or am I bored? Its amazing how often I’m just bored, and not actually hungry. I’m drinking more water and drinking less Diet Coke (ugh). I’m moving my body in a way I choose and enjoy every single day. I don’t set a time limit or goal, I just do what I know will make me happy and fulfilled that day. I’m respecting my cravings and am pretty shocked to find that I crave nutritious food really frequently! I’m just trying so hard to be healthier. My body, my mind, my self-esteem, myself…I deserve this good.
My Tips & Tricks for Adapting this Lifestyle
- Wake up and put on exercise clothes. For me, I’m a lot more motivated to exercise when I’m in the clothes. So I’ve made it a habit to wake up and immediately dress myself in clothes I can exercise in. Lately, I do a workout in my home in the morning.
- Think of exercise as Me-Time. 3-4 times a week after Craig gets home from work, I get back into exercise clothes and head to the gym. I’ve started to view it as time for just me to unwind and do something I know is good for myself. Its been a game changer for me.
- If you’re able to, get a gym pass and hold yourself to going as often as you can.
- If you’re able to, find fitness classes to attend! I love my weekly yoga class. I also occasionally take a cycling class I really like, and have several more I can’t wait to try out. Classes make exercising a little more fun in my opinion.
- Find a workout buddy (if thats motivating to you).
- Save something you love for your workout. For me, this means promising not to listen to a favorite podcast or playlist until I’m moving. This has honestly been one of my greatest motivators to get to the gym! I know when I go to the gym I finally get to listen to whatever it is I’ve been dying to listen to.
- Try new foods and recipes that are on the healthier side. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting and figuring out what I like and don’t like.
- Eat until you’re full. Listen to your body.
- Substitute sweet snacks with sweet fruit!
- Drink water from a tumbler with a straw. For some reason I can pound water down when its easily accessible like this. It makes me sound lazy, but when I have to tilt a drink back or unscrew a lid, I just don’t choose to do it as much.
- Don’t skip out on breakfast. Why does eating a healthy, filling breakfast just fuel me with motivation for the rest of the day? I don’t know. But its working for me.
- Track calories IF you know it won’t make you turn crazy and too obsessed with calorie counting. If its going to start make you deprive yourself of whatever food – maybe opt out for now. I have enjoyed logging foods and seeing their calories, not because I want to only eat so many calories a day, but because its helped me figure out which foods are more calorie-dense than others. Its been eye opening and educational. But somedays, if I know I really want that cookie from Sodalicious thats definitely more calories than I ‘should’ eat, I let myself indulge if I feel so inclined.
- Don’t focus so much on the number on the scale, but the way you feel.
- Give yourself so much grace and be patient with yourself. Change doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve had to remind myself of that so, so many times. Just keep pushing. Believe you can and don’t give up! And when you slip up, remember it isn’t the end of the world. Say oh well, and try again!
I’ve really enjoyed this mental shift I’ve had. I’m finding joy in daily movement and foods that are better for me. I’m learning more about my body and what it takes to fuel it. I’m finding more self-appreciation and happiness in my body and its shape and capabilities. I’m gaining back that body-love I lost.
And believe me, if I can do it, SO CAN YOU.