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Friday, March 15, 2013

Love yourself

"If I could spend three hours at the gym every morning, I would. I just need to lose these last five pounds. It's been months and nothing has happened."


"Perhaps your body is trying to tell you something; perhaps it needs those five pounds."

"No. I need to lose five more pounds."

This conversation saddened me. I overhead it between the yoga instructor and one of the participants this week. To me, working out for the numbers on the scale sounds like the exact opposite of fun. My personal motivation for exercising is to feel good. I don't want to fit into a certain size, I just want to be comfortable in my own skin. It doesn't mean I love every aspect of my body; we all know my post-pregnancy boobs leave me feeling deflated (HA! see what I did there?!). I also have never liked my thighs or my booty. But they're the way they are. And they haven't changed in all the years I've worked out so I accept them. I dress them the best I can and roll with it.

I've written about my philosophy on exercising before- how I really truly believe you can't be obsessed with numbers. It's a dangerous road to travel.

When new moms get stuck in a vicious cycle of counting calories and daily weigh-ins, my heart breaks. Yes, I was there for a little while, but then I gave myself a break. It took 9 months to gain all that weight so there's no reason to think it's all going to disappear as soon as the baby is born. For nursing mothers especially, the body  needs that fat. It stores important nutrients that will help an infant's brain develop as they nurse. Your brain tells your body to hold on to that fat so you can provide for your child. That's why those "last five pounds" sometimes hang on for longer than you'd like. They're being put to good use.

And even if you aren't nursing, even if you aren't trying to lose baby weight, there is still probably a really good reason your body wants you to maintain a certain weight. Last year I read "Why Women Need Fat" and it helped me better understand some of this-- the science of weight gain/loss. It put a lot of things into perspective for me and helped me be more accepting of myself and encouraging to others.

To this woman, the one who probably weighs the same as me but is a foot taller: Love yourself. Go to the gym because it's fun, not because you think you're still five pounds too heavy. Appreciate the work your body does every day. Let it be enough.

2 comments:

  1. I've written about this very topic on so many occassions. I agree with you -- we're terribly hard on ourselves. I sure would like to have a bit more confidence myself. XOXO, Mandi @ All My Happy Endings

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  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Just what I needed to hear today as I silently tore myself down for drinking a coke and once again falling out of my simple yet daily routine of working out. Or what I like to call working out. It is not fun it is to help me feel better about my body post baby. I weigh the same as before and numbers do not mean the world to me, but I too feel deflated (quite literally) and flabby. My belly will never be the same and I lack the sincere energy to do something about it. I would have to hit the gym daily and rigorously to get the results that I so desire. I guess my point is this, I want my body back, accepting the change is going to be much more progessive. I look okay for being a mother of two and I need to just love my body that allowed me to carry two beautiful children.

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