It’s been a little while since I talked about it, so I wanted to give an update about where I’m at with this whole topic of body image since motherhood, and how I am finally starting to feel good in my own skin again. I have been thinking about it a lot recently, especially after the workshop I just did last weekend on self love. I want to learn to love my body in every stage.
I have struggled with my body image for most of my adult life. I suppose it started in high school when I became obsessed with eating as little as possible in order to be as skinny as possible. Another low point followed in college when I gained more than the freshman fifteen and struggled to find a healthy body weight. On the reverse side, my highest body image was actually during my last pregnancy, where I truly embraced every amazing thing my body was doing to create life. Of course I experienced some discomforts and weight gain, but mostly just amazement at what our feminine bodies are designed to do!
However, the climb back to my ‘pre-baby’ body this time has been a slow one. After my first babe, I was so anxious to get back to running races like I was before baby, that I hardly skipped a beat. But the second and third babies, I decided my purpose was of a higher order. Number one (for me) was to feed my babies as much breastmilk as my body could possibly allow. And because caring for babies is time consuming, and lack of sleep reigned supreme, exercise was what got sacrificed for a few years.
Then came the eczema. I first started getting painful eczema flare-ups after Alessandra was born, but nothing compared to the hell I went through both during my pregnancy and after I had Diego. It was a long and arduous road to find eczema relief [and I do still get flare-ups], but once I did, I felt like I could start taking the rest of my health back into the picture.
About a year ago, I found the most wonderful gym here locally that has fantastic childcare and a hot yoga studio attached to it. This allowed me to get back into my favorite yoga practice. Yoga for me is exercise, but it is also a meditation that brings me peace and a much needed break from the everyday chaos of life. This was a great way for me to slowly get back into a routine that involved exercise. But I wasn’t really willing to change my diet at that time. When I was breastfeeding, I was hungry all the time, and I just wanted to eat what I wanted and not be overly concerned about it. And honestly, that worked fine for me for a long while.
So this year, I decided to mix it up and take small steps to improve my overall health + wellness. Instead of just doing the same thing every day. I made some goals for my routine that I have finally been sticking too.
- do/learn other types of yoga
- do more cardio
- drink less wine
- eat less sugar
- start tracking activity and sleep.
Oh and speaking of #2 there, that reminds me of health issue number 45634. I still have diastasis recti (my abdominal muscles separated during pregnancy and have not gone back). And I have issues with jumping, running, or really any sort of jolting cardio activity (ahem, having to run to the little girls’ room every five minutes). Both are equally annoying. Both there isn’t much I can do about.
But despite all these obstacles, I’m proud of myself for following through on small changes that will lead to a healthier me. If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, you probably have seen that I started wearing this super sleek and elegant Misfit activity tracker. I’m loving having a way to visualize what I’m doing for myself every day. Now, I just need to figure out how to get it to understand that the yoga I do is intense and deserves more calories burned 😉
Now, I would say I am somewhere between “I love my body” and “this could be better.” I’n working towards loving my body in this stage I’m at right now. To be human is to be flawed, and many of us humans have a hard time with our flaws. I am no exception. My thighs touch and always have, always will. The tummy pooch is still there (but it has gotten so much better). I may never be that small size I once was or see that low number on the scale I once did, but that’s ok too. And even though I believe that what you eat and how you move your body can lead to weight loss, I can’t wait to share the results of another thing I have been doing recently to shed a little extra fat in unwanted areas. Coming to a future blog post soon!