Have you ever thought to yourself, “man that person is so fit” or “jeez they should go on a diet” or “motherhood is just the path to becoming fat” or “they need to quit being so lazy” or “when was the last time that person ate, seriously way to thin”?
I would imagine you wouldn’t dare say anything like this too loudly, maybe a whisper to a close friend or significant other, but not a broadcast. Maybe you’ve even said those things to yourself, about yourself.
If you have any friends that are mothers, or you are a mother, you know that all of the weight loss and health and fitness bits are typically directed at them. They just spent nine months growing and protecting a little being, so obviously some weight gain is expected. Heaven forbid if a mother hold on to that weight right? Since, we’ve grown up in a society where particular sizes, shapes and weight are acceptable; we shame them. Sometimes without even knowing it! BUT, we also realize that most mommies need time to adjust to their new life and family, get doctor clearance to begin exercising, and get back to their pre-baby body.
Well, I mean I’m guessing that is how the general process goes. I’m not a mother. I have never carried a human being inside of me. I have a dog and that’s a lot of responsibility. However, I’ve struggled with my weight, body image, and self-confidence for years. What excuse do I have? Women only get chubby after becoming mothers right?
Actually no. Women (and men but I can only speak from the female perspective) go through all kinds of crap that tends to lead to a place of what feels like no return. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, tragedy, relationships, finances, self-worth, and so forth all play a part.
I know because that is part of my story; part of the story of some of my closest friends. No one sets out to become overweight, to not be able to fit in their clothes, to avoid social groups, to dislike themselves. Yet, it still happens. Instead of receiving unconditional support we get the whispers, the snarky looks, the quiet laughs, and more.
While I wish to help everyone become healthy; become a better version of themselves. Right now, I’m talking to those of you who have struggled with self-confidence and weight issues for reasons other than parenthood.
I let myself go some my senior year of high school, got myself back to a manageable size, then my sophomore year at college I blew up again; but this time worse.
I’m not entirely sure what triggered it or why I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I was eating carbs, upon carbs, upon carbs and not doing anything. I would sometimes skip class because I didn’t want to get out of my sweats and walk to campus. I was embarrassed of who and what I had become. I avoided friends and any social engagements so people wouldn’t be able to see how chunky I had gotten. After an innocent remark about being pregnant, I took a look at where I was.
No energy, no self-esteem, less friends, and a limited selection in my closet. I decided I needed to do something or things would just get worse and I knew I was better than that.
I went to the gym, completely terrified, and went to a group ex class. Holy cow it was hard! You want to know something? I absolutely loved it! This class, environment, and group of people gave me a sense of belonging; a challenge; and encouragement. The following summer I took steps to better myself by doing a program called Turbofire. I lost 12 lbs and 3 pant sizes. I felt incredible and had so much energy!
I’ve committed to living a healthier lifestyle so I don’t put myself through that kind of mental and physical hardship again. No, my aim is not to be a size 00 and weigh 105 lbs. My goal is to be fit, strong, and capable. I want to be able to enjoy the activities I love. What is the point of working on ourselves in this life if we can’t enjoy it a little!
I still have my warrior stripes or battles scars from the weight gain. Believe it or not, mammas are not the only ones who get those; and they are not the only ones who deserve to find themselves again.
Regardless of where you are right now, physically or mentally, I hope you know how incredible you are. I also hope you know that how others view you isn’t as important as how you feel in your own skin. Whether or not you need to lose or gain weight or improve some habits; remember it’s your perception of yourself that makes the difference.
If you are reading this, and it is hitting home, I hope you find the courage to take the first step and reach out. Trust me, I know how difficult and humbling that first step can be. I promise no judging, no critiquing; just a friend you can lean on to turn your life around.
Best of luck on your journey!