This is a post about body image, so if this is a sensitive issue for you, you may choose to skip this one.
This quote is hanging in the cardio room at the Y. I’ve been trying to focus on it when I workout because honestly, I haven’t been loving my body lately.
Although I remained stretch-mark free with both pregnancies, my second was harder on my body and I have the loose stomach skin to prove it. It’s actually the most obvious when I flex, so I stand in front of the mirror, angling my body this way and that until the wrinkles smooth out and I get a glimpse of what my stomach used to look like.
Add to that the dimply skin I’m seeing on my thighs, the scale creeping up a few pounds, and my never-impressive-but-now-completely-deflated-thanks-to-two-pregnancies-and-breastfeeding boobs. This is all I’m seeing when I look in the mirror lately and I’m feeling pretty down on myself.
But wait, wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago that I advised you to be kind to yourself? Well yes, but do as I say, not as I do, right?
I’m in a funk right now and while I can possibly justify the scale creep (muscle gain) and extra thigh dimples (too much healthy fat or too many desserts? A side effect of getting older as I approach my 32nd birthday?), there’s nothing I can do about the loose skin and deflated boobs.
Typically, I’m not so concerned about numbers on a scale, but right now they’re not helping. They can be an indicator of something being off diet-wise or they might just be indicating how much muscle I’m building since I’ve been going strong in my workouts. I do think it’s good to take a step back and evaluate eating habits for overall health when this happens, but please don’t take this to mean that I think I need to go on a diet or anything.
I’ve come a long way since my past struggles with eating issues and body image (a post for another time). It’s taken a lot of work to develop the healthy attitude I’ve had towards food for the past decade, but my body is a bit of a different story with ups and downs along the way.
I want to age gracefully. I want to love my body for what it is now after the amazing way it changed to grow my babies and then nourish them. I want my kids to see me exercising because I love my body and want to take care of it, not critiquing and criticizing everything about it. I caught myself angling my body to smooth my stomach skin when Reece was in the room and knew in that moment that wasn’t how I wanted him to see me.
Today I lifted weights in front of the mirror at the gym like always and noticed my arms. They looked strong and toned and I felt good about myself as I went through the workout, proud of the work I’ve put in. I pick this part to focus on. I’m not yet sure how to combat the rest of my body negativity, but I’ll start here.
Next time I look in the mirror and feel down on a body part, I’ll look to my arms and say something positive. I know the rest of me has worked just as hard and my muscles are strong everywhere even if they are not showing up the way I’d like them to in my post-baby body. From here I’ll add more positive thoughts to the mix until, hopefully, they drown out the negative.
Per my usual posting schedule, here’s what my workouts looked like last week:
Monday: Teach Pilates
Wednesday: Teach Pilates + 3 mile walk/jog
Thursday: Summer Shapeup Workout 3 + stationary bike 10 min HIIT
Saturday: 1 hour cardio (running intervals, elliptical steady, stair master intervals)
Sunday: Summer Shapeup Workout 3 + treadmill 10 min steady
How do you combat body negativity?