Motherhood (and just life) can dramatically change how we feel about our bodies, but it is 100% possible to love your body without losing weight or dieting today…because sometimes it’s just all about how you’re actually thinking about your body that matters.
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Love Your Body
It can be so hard to dig out of a body image rut, especially with all of the pressure on your post baby body. Shifting from being bummed out about the aesthetic changes and instead, to focusing on what your body can do can help. Plus, this can help you be in your body and also keep things in perspective.
Here are some tips you can try to day to actually put this into practice.
How to Love Your Body Tip #1: Notice and Reframe Negative Thoughts
Try to stop yourself when you notice yourself feeling negative about your body so you can figure out what might be behind it. It’s easy to fixate on how you look when you’re stressed about something else—but if you can identify what the actual stressor is, you can often work on that thing instead of beating yourself up about your body. (This can easily happen when we’re really tired or anxious.)
Body Love Tip #2: Remember How Amazing it Was When You Met Your Baby
That first moment when you first looked at your baby, no matter how you met your baby. That recognition that there’s this whole other person can put some things in perspective and it can help you shift your thoughts on your body since that moment was so powerful. And it can help you recognize what your body did and continues to do to take care of your kids.
How to Love Your Body Tip #3: Pull Yourself out of Conversations that Center On Body Shaming
That constant apologizing. That thing when someone compliments you on what you’re wearing and you dump on your body in a self-deprecating way. The talk about what we shouldn’t be eating during a party at work. It’s all such an energy drain! You can of course have a supportive person to talk to about hard body image stuff, but having ways to set boundaries around those conversations is helpful with everyone else. You can say:
- “There are no bad foods.”
- “It tastes delicious to me!”
- “I’m really working on not dumping on my body so I’m not going to go there.”
- “I’m really working on taking a positive approach to my body and I think you look great too.”
Self-Love Tip #4: Consider the Physical Feat of Taking Care of the Kids
Picking them up, putting them down, reading them stories, helping them get dressed…there are a lot of muscles at work to get through each day! Even if there are other things you are struggling with, taking care of the kids is a giant job and we all should do a better job of being thankful that we’re physically able to do it.
Love Your Body Tip #5: Think about Exercise You’d Let Yourself Do if You Didn’t Have Rules or Weight Loss Goals
Consider this: What would you do to move your body just for fun? And then, give yourself permission to just do that! Do what feels really good for a set amount of time to try it out—a month is a good timeframe—and it might just bring you a LOT of joy. And if you approach exercise this way, moving your body might actually be something you enjoy and continue with over the long run. And it can cascade into more positive effects in your day.
What would bring you as much joy as a kid on a playground?
Self-Love Tip #6: Stretch Your Body
Whether you prefer to lie on a foam roller (try making a snow angel while lying on one!), reach up and bend side to side, shoulder or neck rolls, or do a deep forward fold to let some of the stress out. This is a super simple way to feel instantly better in your body.
Body Tip #7: Pick and Choose the Beauty Standards that Work for You
You don’t have to follow all the rules and you don’t need to hold yourself to beauty standards that no longer serve you. There are ways to have simple self-esteem boosts, such as a blow out or pretty lip gloss, without so much body angst that come with trying to meet certain body shape goals or style trends.
P.S. Watch how much you’re using selfie mode on social media since it can make you compare yourself a whole lot more than you would in “real” life.
Love Your Body Tip #8: Wear an Outfit that You Love
No matter what it is, wear clothes that you love and that fits in a way that makes your body comfortable. Clothes that don’t fit you won’t make you feel good, no matter how much you love the item. You can also consider adopting a uniform to make it easier to get dressed in the morning—I like stretchy skinny jeans and a button down shirt—and you will have more assurance of comfort and style if you have those parameters in place.
Self-Care Tip #9: Reframe Conversations Around Clothes
So if something doesn’t fit, it’s not your body’s fault—it’s that the clothes aren’t right. And remember: There’s nothing inherently wrong about choosing a different size because every company is different and the numbers really don’t matter. The fashion industry underserves people of all shapes and sizes!
Love Your Body Tip #10: Think Back to When You Did Something Physically Hard (Not Related To Motherhood)
You are a person besides being a mom. You are still always you and you’re still the person who did all those cool things you did back before you had kids. And your body is doing amazing things (blinking!) all day long without you even having to think about it. You deserve to be present in the body you have—we all do!
Links from the Show
- Dancing with Fat, the website from Ragan Chastain
- Food Heaven Podcast episode with Angela Garbes (author of Like a Mother) about Body Acceptance After Birth