I loved being pregnant, rocked tight dresses with confidence, felt beautiful without any make up and was just constantly in awe of what my body could do. Then I had my baby, and everything changed.
My three-day labor left me drained and unable to fully connect with my son. My complete confusion about taking care of a newborn left me completely overwhelmed, and my hormones made me teary, and emotional.
On top of that, I hated what my body looked like. I gained at least 25 pounds in the last month of my pregnancy. I thought it was water weight, but the extra bulk stuck around weeks after I had my son. My legs were huge and my tiny waist had disappeared, my stomach stuck out like it did when I was six months pregnant and my double chin was like having a crater-sized zit on the middle of my forehead. I had never felt so unattractive.
This was really scary for me as the founder of one of the leading emotional eating and lifestyle programs on the internet, Live More Weigh Less. I lived in fear that one of my readers or clients was going to bump into me on the street and see how big I’d become.
I quickly fell into the old mode of “if I can just lose twenty pounds, then everything will be easier”. I fantasized about wanting to have sex with my husband again, feeling on top of things, having energy, just being happy again!
Because I’ve dedicated my life to helping women NOT think this way, I luckily caught myself after a week of going down this rabbit hole of shame. I believed that I needed to weigh less in order to live more, that losing weight was going to be the magic bullet to get all of my postpartum problems to go away.
Here’s How I Got my Groove Back:
I reminded myself that my weight does not determine who I am as a woman, a mother or a wife. There are no rules when it comes to how I express myself, what kind of life I want to create as a new mom or how I spend my time. My weight does not limit my sexiness, my energy, my beauty, my happiness or my sense of adventure.
I got to work on taking care of me. It’s so easy, just as we wait on the weight to start living our dream lives, we wait on when motherhood is easier to get our lives back in order. I remember thinking, “there’s no way I can get a massage, how am I supposed to leave the house!” I figured eventually, if I just put my head down and concentrated 100% of my energy on my son, that eventually I would have the energy and the desire to create a life for me. Not true. Even though putting the pieces of my life back together felt nearly impossible, I knew I had no choice.
I made a list of all the things I needed:
- Take a shower every day
- Buy clothes that fit me
- Make friends with babies
- Have a date with my husband once a week
- Get a massage
- Get a hobby
Implemented the Strategy: I felt like I had a re-learn how to do everything. I got comfortable with the fact that just because something felt hard and took effort didn’t mean I couldn’t figure it out or it wasn’t worth trying. I sat down and wrote out a strategy for accomplishing each thing on my list. I bought a Mamaroo infant seat to distract baby while showering. I went to Old Navy to buy cheap, larger new clothes. I contacted moms’ groups to find a community of women with newborns. I found a babysitter to watch Marshall one night a week and a few afternoons so I could take a nap, get a massage or just have some time for myself or date night.
When we are committed to creating joy in our lives, and we care about something more than what we look like, our bodies become an instrument to play with life, and they have a purpose greater than being a glorified mannequin for our clothes. When we are happy we stop treating our bodies like crap. Overtime my body started to respond to all of the love, movement and good food and I settled into a weight that was more comfortable and natural.
The best part is that being fully engaged in my life and genuinely happy made me feel more in love with my son, more attracted to my husband and more like myself. I stopped avoiding my naked body in the mirror and instead took time every day to revere my stretch marks, saggy tummy and lumpy thighs. I told my body that I loved her and thanked her everyday for bringing life into this world and providing food for my little baby. This love translated to wanting to moisturize my skin, move my body in a way that felt good, and nourishing myself with amazing foods. The love affair with my life trickled over to a love affair with my body without losing a pound.
So what do you need more of in your life? How can you take better care of your body? What systems do you need to have in place in order to meet your needs? How can you thank your body for all that she’s done for you? Need a little inspiration? Watch my Live More Weigh Less Lifestyle Videos where I walk you through the six steps to creating your ideal life and body. You can get access to them for free here.
My body will never look like it did before I had my son, and that’s not my goal. My goal is to create a life and body that serves me in this phase of my life, taking into account my history, age, constitution, and lifestyle. What’s your goal?
Sarah Jenks is a leader in the body confidence movement and founder of Live More Weigh Less TM, an online lifestyle program that teaches women to live a full life and to love the body they were born with – no matter their size. Since 2009, Sarah, an emotional eating expert and life coach, has helped thousands of women lose weight and heal from emotional eating.