A few weeks ago I was at the gym doing squats and for the first time in a really longggg time, I saw myself in the mirror and thought, “You know what? It’s not terrible. I can work with this.”
I’ve since joked about my “revelation” with friends and family members, but it really got me thinking about body image, especially among women. The topic comes up often when I’m chatting with my friends. We are all mothers of young kids, but even as we’ve been in different stages (pregnancy, post-baby, a few years post baby, etc), we all still struggle with accepting our bodies. It’s so easy to pick apart the things that we don’t like. Social media definitely has something to do with it, and in my case striving to stay thin as a dancer for many years, has a lot to do with it. But I still am left wondering why it’s so hard?
I 100% love the fact that my body created 4 beautiful human beings. I loved labor because it made me feel strong and empowered. But I’ve struggled, 4 times over, to respect and embrace the body that’s left after all of those “empowering” moments have passed.
I’ve pondered on this topic a lot over the past few years, and I recently came to the conclusion that to get respect, you have to give it. If I’m tired of feeling “blah” about myself, then I need to find ways to start giving myself respect.
With this new mindset, I’ve started making changes…small changes. I’ve tweaked my diet. I don’t necessarily cut anything out, but instead I’ve added things like a lot of vegetables and more water. I’ve tapered down my caffeine intake and I’ve made rest and an earlier bed time (for me) a priority. I feel really great after a workout and so I sneak one in as often as possible! I even do squats while I brush my teeth, lunges while the popcorn pops, or ab work while Lucy and the boys play. None of these changes are groundbreaking, and I’m not necessarily trying to lose a ton of weight. I just want to feel better, not only physically, but mentally as well.
Part of making changes has also meant trying to change my mindset. It is really hard to look at myself in the mirror and not focus on the things that I don’t like, but I am really trying to add a more positive dialogue in my head. Focusing on the things I like about my body and trying not to get hung up on the “problem areas” has really been the hardest thing for me to change. But even small strides have made a difference, which brings us back to my “revelation” from earlier.
I still have down days. I still get frustrated when a pre-Lucy skirt still doesn’t fit. But when I can look at myself and say, “That’s not so bad,” I consider it a small victory, and a step in the right direction!
(Swimsuit by Love Winnie James)
What do you think? Are you a women/mom struggling with body image like me? What are ways you give yourself respect? I’d love to know! Comment down below your thoughts, experiences, or advice!