Guys I’m all for self-love. Really I am. I’m all for women feeling empowered by what their bodies have achieved during pregnancy and birth. (Heck I’m like “Preach it sister!!”) And for the most part, I wear my tiger stripes with a fair amount of pride. Yes, they are a reminder of what my body has gone through and how they brought me closer to meeting my babies, and there certainly is no shame in them or the fat rolls that have accumulated around my belly over the the last 6 years.
But I’m not going to lie and tell you that I don’t have days where I despise what I see in the mirror and wish I could erase the scars and iron out the lumps and bumps that adorn my postpartum figure. There are many many moments where I find myself wishing I could lose this weight quicker and not feel my tummy spill over my jeans or my arms wobble as I reach for the mug on the top shelf.
You see, I like feeling good about myself. I like to feel fit and toned and strong.I like to feel like I can run after my kids without dying after the first five minutes. And right now I’m feeling quite the opposite – flabby, un-fit and weak to my core to be exact. Look I get that I’m not even three months in postpartum but I just want to feel like my old self again. Am I wrong for feeling that way? NO.
So many woman preach about body positivity and just embracing your post birth figure, but what about doing something to achieve realistic body goals and loving your body enough to look after it with exercise and nourishing it with healthy eating? Sure our bodies have changed and maybe if you are like me, it’s possible you could eat a small cow at every meal time in the first few months of breastfeeding, but surely we owe it to our kids and ourselves to eventually get back into shape? No matter what shape we are.
Now please listen to what I’m saying – I’m not saying that you have to be a size 8 or even a size 14, that’s not the point here. I’m not in any way saying skinny should be our objective. I’m only saying that health and fitness should be encouraged to at least some degree. And we owe it to ourselves to feel good about ourselves.
I know not everyone is wired to place emphasis on this, but I think it’s OK for those who do. I think it’s OK to encourage each other to look after ourselves and motivate each other to do something about the way we feel about our bodies after we have have given them a chance to heal. There’s no point in moaning – moaning is not what’s going to get our asses into gear and actually get us to do something about it. We all deserve to be the best versions of ourselves. And that doesn’t mean eating nothing but lettuce leaves and not drinking wine an eating cake with your friends. It just means, being conscious about what you are putting into your mouth and doing something to strengthen your body and getting your blood pumping – Just generally being a bit more health conscious! Please read : It does NOT mean saying no to the nice things all the time. It’s about finding a balance.
You see I’m all for body positivity, but for me that means embracing who I am (and how I’m built) while doing my best to keep/get healthy and fit. That could be finding the right diet that works for me (i like to do 5 days of healthy eating with two cheat days a week where i allow myself to eat something i know i shouldn’t!) as well as making sure I get a minimum hours of exercise in a week. It’s about small choices that hopefully lead to big change.
My blogger buddy, Belinda over at Making Mountains is proof of how changing your lifestyle can lead to a much happier and healthier life. Her story is such an inspiration to me and not because she was ashamed of herself before (She really has always been gorgeous), but she just wanted to see a big change and her physical goals achieved. If you follow her Instagram you will see that she eats A LOT of delicious food (but in moderation), so it’s not about denying yourself the pleasure of yummy food, but rather about working hard to balance it all out. (I’m sure there was a time where she had to cut out sugar all together to start to see results but that doesn’t mean she NEVER eats dessert) I hope she doesn’t kill me for using her as an example here but if anyone is going to motivate you, it’s her!
I found this pic on the left from Dec 2015, when I first arrived in Cape Town (we walked up Lions Head and I was severely out of breath!). Fast forward about 18 months and these days I'm training with @ash_fitmom twice a week, going to @sweat_1000 , going for a run, doing yoga (like tonight) and mixing it up with other classes at gym. I've got more energy, I sleep better and I don't get sick nearly as much as I used to. In fact if I go 2 or 3 days without exercise I get all grumpy! This has been a profound change and I hope to keep exercise as an important part of my life for the rest of my days. Thanks to @ash_fitmom for inspiring me on this journey – I couldn't have done it without you! And good luck for your next exciting adventure (and meeting your baby girl soon✨). #health #fitness
I’m all for encouraging that feeling of empowerment that comes when you have achieved your goal, whether that be getting back in your pre-pregnancy jeans, finishing your first 5km race, finally cutting out sugar from your diet and saying good riddance to cravings or just saying no to that second portion of food. Most of the time it’s really just about changing bad habits, and turning them into good ones.
You see as much as we need to love and embrace ourselves and not be ashamed of our mommy bodies, we also need to look after what we’ve been given and treat our bodies with care and respect. So instead of sitting on the couch eating cake with your mom friends every week, why not start a walking club or fitness group together. Heck, go walking together AND eat the cake. Or if exercise is SO not your thing, share some awesome smoothie recipes or healthy dinner options.
I guess what I’m really trying to say, is that it’s OK to feel a little depressed about your body after a baby and it’s more than ok to want to do something about it. That doesn’t make you vain or mean you are ashamed of your body. It just means you are a normal woman who likes to look and feel good about herself. And so you should.
Let me know your thoughts….
♥ Leigh always xxx