Four months postpartum and I am so ready to shed some pounds and get back to my pre-baby body. This is a tough one, because I gave birth, but was a surrogate, so I don’t have the baby to remind me that I actually just gave birth and my body hasn’t quite “bounced back” yet.
For those of you that don’t know, “bounced back” is quite the misnomer. “Bouncing back” is not as easy as it sounds and actually is really freaking hard. I suppose for some women, breast-feeding burns the calories and they are able to shed those pounds in sheer moments. You know those friends on Facebook that post this status-“10 days postpartum and I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans”. Well whoopty freakin’ doo-I’ll be in the corner NOT crying and DEFINITELY not wishing I were you right now. Because even when breastfeeding this was not the case for me. I personally feel like breastfeeding contributed to approximately 0 pounds of weight loss for me and this time around there is no breastfeeding or pumping that can contribute to any overall calorie burn. It’s just me and my willpower trying to get through. Add that to my increasing age and it’s a recipe for a lot of disappointment (cue the sad trombones)!
However, I’m determined and I will use My Fitness Pal and Pure Barre and 21 Day Fixes to get me in the best shape of my life. I actually want to look better than ever. I will work hard and feel sore and probably be a little hungry because I am motivated to be happy about looking in the mirror. Now, before you go and get yourself all worked up about how I shouldn’t feel ashamed of my body and I should honor my stretch marks and be proud of the fact that I was able to birth children and yada yada yada, let me assure you-There is absolutely no shame here.
I am super proud of myself for birthing babies.
And I like the fact that I can identify which stretch marks were which kid. And I know that what I call my “armpit fat” is actually just breast tissue that has spread into my armpit area. But the truth is, I know I want to look better than I do. I don’t care that “better” is a judgement call. I’m not in this for you. Or you….or even you. I’m in this for me. I want to be happy in my skin. And although I’m a pretty happy person, I would like to look in the mirror and say “your shoulders look great in that tank top. I would like to continue to work on my “pure barre ledge.” I would like to not feel my belly spill out over the top of my pants. It’s not that I can’t accept my body how it is, I just don’t want to.
And another thing, I am very, very cool with all these feelings that I have. Maybe they are centered around societal expectations of women’s bodies, but that’s fine by me. I guess my expectations of myself align with societies in this situation. Plus, my goal is healthy fit, not skeleton chic and I’m focused on developing habits that are geared toward health and wellness-A veggie heavy diet balanced with an active lifestyle.
But here comes the tricky part; how do I explain this to my kids?
I’m going to focus on my daughter, because she’s older and she’s a girl and, well, stereotypes be damned I think body image is trickier for girls than boys. My daughter, Zoey is my own personal captive audience, so I have had to adapt a very positive way of expressing myself around fitness and diet. Maybe that is why I don’t feel shame about my body. I have re-framed my health and wellness goals to identify what I really want.
I grew up feeling very self-conscious about my body. I strive to feel strong and confident. I want Zoey to feel strong and confident. But I think that strong and confident come from feeling good about yourself and the way you look and for some of us, that is extremely hard work. Genes are cruel like that. But I am willing to try and give my kids the foundation to have all of the confidence in the world around their bodies. Zoey asks me why I work out. I tell her to keep my body healthy and strong. I talk to her about my heart and my muscles. She tells me she wants to eat the same diet I do, I tell her that all she needs to do is eat more vegetables. She does my workout videos with me and is super encouraging. She sits on my bed while I put makeup on and asks why? I say, because it makes me feel better to have a little color in my cheeks.
I want to teach Zoey that size doesn’t matter and beauty comes from the inside and to be comfortable in her own skin. But, I want her to know that if and when she becomes uncomfortable, there are ways to fix that. I am big on positive body talk. I don’t call myself “fat” and although the topic of “losing weight” hasn’t come up, I think I would be honest with Zoey if it did. I’m just trying to be a good mom….And look good while doing it.