Getting your body back.
It’s a sham.
Sorry, mama. I can tell you from personal experience (mom of 2 boys, ages 7 and 2), and from working with many other women as a fitness professional that you will never. Ever. Ever. Get your pre-baby body back.
Did that upset you?
I’m not trying to be an alarmist. Nor am I giving up on fitness and wellness – far from it (although with the invention of desserts like the s’mores pizza, one wonders if one may as well).
The reason I’m saying this is because we need to look at this from a new perspective.
Think about it: every time you have a child, you are about one year older than you were at your “pre-baby” size. You cannot go back in time, have a baby in your youth, and then come forward with this same baby with your mature wealth and career status (unfortunately). Every time you have a baby, you are also getting older.
And, the thing with getting older is . . . Your metabolism slows down . . . Yes, there are things you can do to keep your metabolic fire stoked (work out, eat well, blah, blah), but regardless of your efforts, your metabolism is slowly but surely decreasing as the years go by.
Also, every pregnancy and delivery brings with it its own unique set of challenges. I would never have anticipated developing chronic lower back pain during my last pregnancy, least of all having to deal with it long after my delivery!
Some women say that their shoe sizes increase with every pregnancy, or their hips just always seem wider, regardless of their actual weight. It’s not imagination – it’s true, and it’s because of that wonderful hormone, relaxin, which helps to (wait for it) relax your joints so that you can more easily push the baby out from between your hips.
The thing with relaxin is that it also loosens the joints of your entire skeleton. Case in point, after my first pregnancy, I developed a nasty case of TMJ which only started to resolve (after much Yin Yoga and a bite guard) when my son was, oh, about 5 years old? Yikes.
And finally – your lifestyle. Baby or not, your life changes as the years go by, for better or worse.
Maybe you have more money now, maybe you have less; maybe you have a big house in the country, or perhaps a small condo in the city. And let’s not forget baby daddy – is he still around? Is he more supportive or less? Maybe he makes more money, but he works more overtime? Etc.
It’s not going to happen.
You are never going to have the same body you had before, because not only does that require you to go back in time, it’s going to mean that your lifestyle, circumstances, and support systems have stayed exactly the same.
We all know that that does NOT happen, and here’s the big kicker: all of those things have absolutely EVERYTHING to do with your physical and mental health and wellness.
Losing weight is not just about the food you eat. In fact, I believe that when it comes to weight loss, food is but the tip of the iceberg.
So, then what? If we can’t expect our bodies to go back to how they were when we initially got pregnant, what can we hope for?
We can create new, healthy bodies.
They will not look the same as before.
Perhaps you’ll always look a little “softer”. Maybe you’ll have to re-learn how to dress yourself for your new shape.
Remember that even if you lose the baby weight as far as numbers go, certain parts of your body may just hang differently. That’s okay – that’s what shape wear is for!
Could you create an even better body than before? Of course you can. Maybe this is the year you enter yourself into a bikini competition, put in the effort, and become more cut than you’ve ever been – it happens! Lots of bikini champs are moms!
But it won’t be the same body. You won’t be able to train yourself to that degree imagining you still have the body you had pre-baby. You will have to acknowledge that you now have a NEW body and that you’re still getting to know it, and to be sensitive to its cues and its new strengths and weaknesses.
Heck, you may not even enjoy the same activities as before! Just because you were the Bootcamp Queen doesn’t mean that you have to force yourself to do it now, if truly you’re just so OVER it. There are countless options out there – try something new! Your new body will thank you.
Sometimes it’s painful to look at our “before” pictures. Until, of course, you realize that you are still the exact same person. Honour and say thank you to the gorgeous girl in the photo, for being who she was so that she could carry and deliver your new baby.
And know that you are still awesome and gorgeous, if not more so.
You don’t want your old body back, because that means you’d have to have your old life back. And much as we may sometimes dream of going back in time, you know you would never do anything to lose your kids.
Your body is amazing. It’s done an amazing thing, carrying and birthing a baby. Become excited about the fact that your new, post-baby body, is full of potential! You will never look the same, and that is okay.
You really have no other option but to accept this. Once you accept and love yourself just as you are, you will be mentally ready to take on the task of optimizing your physical health, and yes, losing weight, if that’s what your body needs.
I’m right beside you, mama.