Learning to really love your post baby body is hard especially when hating on it can be so easy! Pre baby your tummy was a probably firmer, your butt a little perkier and you didn’t have those dark circles around your eyes ALL THE TIME. Tell me though, did you love your pre baby body? For many of us the answer will be “No”.
My mother (and many other ‘older and wiser’) women will tell you that they now look back at photographs of themselves when they were younger, and they realise that they actually looked pretty damn fine. However, if you asked them at the time what they thought of themselves they would have said that their tushy was dimply, they had ‘tuck shop lady’ arms. So here I am in my early 30’s thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to have this epiphany now rather than in 20 years time?
Many women loath their post baby body. They start blaming themselves for not exercising enough during your pregnancy, or indulging too much and giving in too often when those ‘cravings came along’. I could sell you some 12 week ‘weight loss’ regime complete with eating program and exercise regime, but honestly, I don’t think that’s the key to loving your post baby body. Personally, I think it’s learning to accept your body and the changes that have come from pregnancy.
If your thinking “you were lucky and your post baby body is not that different”. I can assure you, it’s different! It’s a little podgy in places, It’s lost a lot of strength, and my pelvis feels like it has been split in 2. Finally my ‘girly bits’ are starting to feel a little more normal, but they have felt like they have been dragging along the ground for the past few months… So no, I have not just ‘bounced back’ into shape.
My body image has not awalys been good. In fact, it was pretty horrendous prior to having kids. For me, it was almost like a light bulb moment when I realised that my body offered so many positives it was useless wasting time and energy hating it. From talking to friends I know that this doesn’t happen for most women. Some of us need a bit of help to learn to love ourselves. Fear not ladies! I’ve got your covered, for you to discover how to love your ‘new self’.
Be thankful for your body and your health
You have just been given the most extraordinary gift, a beautiful baby! If you stop and think about all the health conditions exist, if you have a healthy body and a healthy baby you have a lot to be thankful for. Realising this can be a very powerful thing. You can learn not only to stop hating your body, but to actually like it, or better yet love it! Personally, after having my first child I was totally amazed by my body. I would look in the mirror and thing ‘Holy crap, my body just did that!’. My body grew, delivered and fed my babies. It deserved some gratitude. I learnt that my body is a gift, not to be taken for granted.
Try this: take a piece of paper and a pen. Each day write down at least one thing that you appreciate your body for. Make sure you add some adjectives in there too. For example “I love my strong arms that allow me to embrace my children”. During day to day tasks practice some mindfulness. Be in the moment and realise what your body is actually capable of doing. Learning to be grateful like this will allow more love to come in, and leave little room for resent.
Schedule some time to ‘indulge’
Remember BC (before children) when you regarded having a haircut or a leg wax as ‘basic self care’. Now that your ‘me time’ is significantly reduced it is likely that some of these basic cares start to feel quite indulgent. Its okay to take some time out, and ‘treat yourself’. In fact, it is necessary. Neglect your own self care and eventually you will burn out. Part of loving yourself is taking the time for self gratitude. Think of it as a way to say “thank you” to your body for enduring all that it does.
You must schedule your ‘me time’. Write down all the things that you enjoy doing to ‘pamper’ yourself. It doesn’t have to take a long time or be expensive to feel relaxing and indulgent. It could be a warm bath, a face mask, lazing by the pool to get some vitamin D. Each week try to do at least one thing on your list. To be honest, sometimes I just put on a face mask and jump in the bath with the kids. Even though its not quite the same as having a facial at a day spa , it still feels like I’ve done something little for myself. Simple little things can make a big difference.
Respect your body
Respect your body by nourishing it and moving it. It is easy to ‘fall into the trap’ of eating crappy food and neglecting exercise postpartum. Eating poorly and lack of exercise only continues the downward spiral of self loathing. You need to keep in mind a gradual and safe return to exercise. Eventually though, you want to build so that you are:
- Being active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulating 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity OR 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
- Doing muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
If you want some simple nutrition guidelines, check out my blog post that gives you 4 simple nutrition rules to follow. Plus your FREE printable!
Update the Wardrobe
It’s hard to dress your post baby body because. Your pre-baby clothes might not fit for a while, your maternity clothes are too big (plus your totally over them because you wore them for almost 6 months straight) and you don’t want to go shopping for new clothes because you know that you could be a different size again in a matter of weeks. Whilst I am a big fan of extremely comfortable clothing, and am more than happy to lounge around all day in my PJs I do think its important that every so often you throw something on that’s comfortable, but also makes you feel good.
Update your wardrobe so that you have at least 3 outfits that you can put on that make you feel good. You don’t need to spend a lot of money! Choose a few key pieces that you can ‘wash and wear’ and can mix and match. Keep in mind that you may need to purchase ‘breastfeeding friendly’ tops. Getting to the shops to buy new clothes might not be the priority on the agenda, this is where online shopping is ideal. Spend a bit of time on pinterest or instagram and look at ‘capsule wardrobes’ and ‘new mum style’ for a few great ideas. A couple of new items in your repertoire can make a huge difference.
Be a role model for your children
If you are confident and learn self love, you can be a really positive role model for your children. It can be a nasty world out there, and if you can equip your children to have a positive self image and appreciate their bodies it’s one less thing you need to (really) worry about. If learning to love yourself makes you feel a bit icky inside, remember that your children will likely learn your habits of self loathing too. Speaking negatively about yourself, or just looking at yourself with disgust in the mirror are all things that our children can learn from us. This is true for both girls AND boys too. So if you are reluctant to do it for yourself, try to model the behaviour that you want your children to learn.
There are so many changes that happen to your body after having children. Adjusting to these changes might not occur over night, but it is possible not only to adjust, but to love your body completely. Give up the body loathing and the attempt to ‘bounce back’ after pregnancy. Show yourself some love and learn to really appreciate your body and what it does for you. Only you can choose how you see yourself in the mirror. So why not choose to see yourself in a positive light, save yourself some head space, and feel good about yourself TODAY.
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