I see you in your yoga pants. The ones you’re wearing
because you’re coming from the gym because they’re all that fits.
I see you looking at yourself in the mirror, wondering who that wider, smooshier, flabbier person is staring back at you. The look in your eye very close to disgust and discouragement at what your body looks like now, covered in stretch marks, with extra “fluff” where there didn’t used to be any.
I see you trying so hard to work up the motivation to work out, but having absolutely NO energy for anything except keeping your child(ren) alive. Setting weight loss goals, but feeling like a failure when the weight
doesn’t come off as fast as you’d like keeps creeping up instead.
I see you feeling so discouraged that breastfeeding didn’t melt off the weight like so many women said it would. Realizing that for some women it does melt off, but for you it sticks around with a vengeance.
I see you trying so hard to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans, but try as you might, the muffin top that appears when you button them up is not going anywhere fast. (If you can get them buttoned at all.)
I see you eating healthy all day long, then, after wrestling your kids into bed, finding yourself elbow deep in a bag of
carrot sticks peanut butter pretzels, because the day has just been THAT exhausting.
I see you eyeing the clothes that used to fit and realizing there’s a good chance you may need to sell
most of your entire wardrobe in favor of clothes that are “flowy” and loose fitting.
I see you counting the days until summer and realizing that means bathing suits, which causes you to literally getting sick to your stomach over the thought of being seen in public in something that
will show off your 6-pack won’t hide your cellulite, flabby arms or still-looking-pregnant belly.
I see you, because as you may have guessed by now, I am you. I know how hard it is to lose weight after having a baby (or 2), when it doesn’t come off easily. I know what it’s like to try hard to eat healthy and [attempt to] work out consistently, but not see the scale budge. I know what it feels like to get depressed when I look in the mirror and realize that the weight that was put on over 9 months is probably going to take that long or longer to work off.
I know what it’s like to wear yoga pants or workout capris
once in a while everyday, calling them by their trendy name, “athleisure,” because let’s be real, that sounds so much better than “fat pants.”
However, I also know what it feels like to realize that the extra weight, stretch marks and saggy boobs are the result of the two most precious gifts in my life. I know that if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, or had the incredible blessing of growing two whole human lives in my body, I might be thinner, tighter and *ahem* perkier. So at the end of the day, I know it’s all worth it.
The stretch marks that span my abdomen are in fact, my BATTLE SCARS, (cue Mel Gibson…) reminding me of the hardest and best 9 month (x2) battle of my life.The extra weight is from the sleepless nights spent caring for my sick or teething or sleep regressing babies, loving on them and making them feel safe, thus giving me absolutely no extra energy to get to the gym. And the saggy boobs are from nourishing my babies, protecting them from germs, helping them grow and bonding them to me for a lifetime.
It’s all worth it. But that doesn’t mean the mirror is any easier to look into.
However, hear me say this: I’m not going to give up.
So I hope you won’t either.
I remind myself all the time that with weight loss, slower is better than faster. I remind myself that breastfeeding causes me to need extra calories, and if I deprive myself, really, I’m depriving my baby. I’ll be real with you, despite working out 3-5 times a week, the scale hasn’t budged for me in the past few weeks, but it hasn’t gone up either. I’m building muscle and that weighs more than fat. I’m creating a lifestyle of health rather than just trying to be skinny (although that wouldn’t be a horrible side-effect!).
If I’m really honest with myself, I just want to be skinny and not have to work hard for it. But instead, I’m learning patience and perseverance. I will probably never look like my high school self. But I don’t think I want to. The transformation my body has gone through, for better or for worse, was all for my babies, and I wouldn’t trade them for the best looking body in Hollywood.
My goal is to be strong and fit, and
look good in a bikini feel good about who I am and the lifestyle of health I’m teaching my children. I want them to grow up knowing their significance comes from more than their outward appearance. I want them to care about their health and live an active lifestyle so they live long, healthy lives. But more than that, I want them to care about their hearts more than their bodies. And that starts with me. That starts with the way I view myself, and the way I talk about myself and the way I carry myself. That starts with family walks, and healthy dinners, being kind to one another and praying together around the table.
That starts with looking in the mirror and seeing a work in progress, not something despicable and disgusting.
That starts with me.
That starts with you.
Let’s do this, for our kids.
They deserve it.