BODY AFTER BABY — FINDING MY BALANCE IN 2017
Y’all, we’re a week and some into the new year already… that. is. insane.
I, like so many other people am hoping to use the new year and clean slate as my motivation to live a more healthful lifestyle. Cus let’s face it, pregnancy and then recovering from pregnancy can do a number on a mommy’s body, right? That being said, I know that part of getting back to my old self is going to be more about accepting my new self so my goals aren’t necessarily diet related (although I could stand to eat more vegetables and less carbs). It’s more about feeling healthy, strong and embracing the new stuff because it is representative of the hardest, most badass thing I’ve ever done in my life. Mommies… we are incredible. We are. And we need to say it to ourselves and each other more often. So, here are the ways in which I plan on falling in love with my body after baby while still maintaining balance and moderation, cus who doesn’t want to eat the cookies and drink the wine?
Unfortunately, I have experience with fad diets. In my late teens and early 20’s I was a professional dieter. What I learned is that banning junk food (or any sort of indulgence) from my house lands me at the grocery store on a Tuesday night buying oreos in bulk and then eating them in the parking lot with a side of McDonald’s everything. So diets aren’t really my thing anymore. Especially now that I’m a mom… my priorities have changed in a big way. I don’t feel the need to focus on the number on the scale or even the number on my pants. But I do want to have more energy, and feel brighter and more excited about my days.
I know that I could stand to exercise a few more times a week, make salads the bigger portion on my plate and drink WAY more water than I currently do. These are pretty basic goals that most people have, right? The trick is how to stick with it and actually make a lifestyle change that includes looking in the mirror and acknowledging that the stretch marks, possible c-section scars and loose skin are hella beautiful and represent so much badass-ery that we should all just be walking around with our shirts off. So here’s the plan for finding balance and health in 2017:
- Be kind to yourself: There is absolutely no way I will be living my best and most fulfilling life if every single day is boring and monotonous. If I go out for brunch with my girlfriends and order the Eggs Benedict or I want to order Chinese take-out with my husband, there isn’t a reason in the world why I shouldn’t do that and I certainly am not going to feel guilty for it! Tomorrow is a new day and if I eat three burgers on Tuesday, it’s ok to acknowledge that maybe that wasn’t a golden moment in life (although it was probably hella enjoyable) and then move on to Wednesday and start fresh. Everything in moderation people — it works.
- Drink more water: Whether you like it or not. I don’t know about y’all but since getting older and also since breastfeeding my baby I am always parched. Like, abandoned in the desert parched. It’s awful. But I can always find another beverage in my house to drink other than water. Mistake. Do what you need to do to the water to make it desirable. Get the cute water bottle, put the lemon slices in it, buy the fruit flavouring. It doesn’t matter. Just do it, ok?
- Treat yo self: Go ahead and buy that cute outfit, new shoes, the spa treatment — whatever it is that makes you feel beautiful. I went out and bought some affordable dresses that were accommodating to my postpartum figure and it made such a difference. It wasn’t even on my radar to try to get into my pre-baby clothes and thank god. People rush this part and want so badly to get back into their old clothes and I think it illicits unnecessary disappointment. Heck, you don’t even have to spend money… take a shower, do your hair and put on some makeup. Looking and feeling presentable and ready to take on the world will do wonders for your mental state when you feel like you’re drowning in feedings, naps and diaper changes.
- Eat the damn cookies: Come January first, everyone wants to haul out the black garbage bags and purge their homes of all of the “bad” food. And some people may do well if all temptation is removed, but as mentioned, I’ve found deprivation does more harm than good. I could definitely stand to eat less junk food, and that will be one of my goals. But more than that, I’ll be trying to incorporate more exercise and more home cooking into my regime so that when I crave the cookies and ice cream, I can indulge guilt free. That’s right. I said guilt free. I refuse to feel guilty about enjoying my Haagen Dasz!!! You should still be able to enjoy those things. If your craving is satiated in the moment you’re far less likely to go crazy later.
- Talk to yourself: I remember walking through the freezer section of Costco when I was about three months postpartum. I was in stretchy baggy pants and a loose t-shirt because I was trying to hide my extra lumps and bumps. I caught sight of myself in the reflection of a door and I actually double checked myself and thought “I actually look good!” I’ve battled weight demons my entire life, so it surprised me, but I looked down at my baby and knew that my new body was because of him and for him. It’s whole purpose was to serve him and grow him from a tiny little bean into a strong toddler. I was PROUD of my thicker reflection because I looked like a MOM. And I’ve told myself that everyday since. And I told my husband, and my sister, and my mom and anybody who would listen. Because why shouldn’t we celebrate? If you don’t want to say it out loud, write it in a journal, text it to yourself, blog about it… just say it! It has more power than you know.
This post isn’t about losing weight. These aren’t new and trendy tricks to going down a pant size. It’s about living a healthful, BALANCED life and that includes eating the salad, eating the cookies, moving lots and embracing the body you live in NOW. For new moms especially, finding balance is difficult and we more than anyone else can be really hard on ourselves. We’re all just doing the best we can to raise our kids and add to that the pressure to look a certain way or eat a certain way or workout a certain number of times can be overwhelming.
So in 2017, kindness is key. I have a new scar that stretches across my belly. I will forever more need industrial strength lifting technology for my boobs after breastfeeding and I’m not sure there are enough squats in the world that will bring my butt back. But honestly, any mommy will tell you that having a baby changes you in all the best ways and I wouldn’t trade any of the new additions to my body for anything.
Love yourselves, mamas! You’re incredible!