Welcome to my Postpartum Weight Loss Series. Join me as I share my health and wellness journey with you all over the next few weeks. I will be dishing out tips, recipes, tools, and hopefully inspiration on how to develop a positive body image and find alternative ways to achieve maximum overall health.
Prescribed beauty standards for women can feel like a never-ending black hole that can consume our every waking moment. On average, women criticize themselves a staggering eight to thirteen times a day. That’s up to one negative thought for every hour. For some, thoughts such as, “You are fat”, “Your thighs are too big”, “You need to do something about that belly”, are fleeting but for many, this is a constant dialogue that we contend with on a daily basis.
Now add new motherhood to the mix. You’ve just gone through one of the most physically taxing experiences you will ever encounter. For some, the pregnancy journey has resulted in rapid physical changes and although the transformation that a women’s body goes through during pregnancy is directly connected to having the miraculous ability to birth, nurture, and care for our babies, we are often left with a new stream of consciousness that is preoccupied with postpartum weight loss!
I too have fallen into the proverbial trap that is seasonal dieting, fasting, and of course self-loathing. I am one of the 46 percent of British women that have negative thoughts about themselves at least once before 9.30am, but now is as good a time as any to throw a spanner into the perpetual cycle and start cultivating a positive self- image.
Forget about getting “bikini-ready” this summer and embrace the different but beautiful body that gave life to your little one. Instead of focusing on losing body weight, it’s time to shed the one huge weight that is the self-imposed burden of trying to achieve a post-birth celebrityesque six-month slim down.
First, let’s start with using the following five steps to a positive body image.
#1 Appreciate all that your body can do!
Yes! Your body gave life. You are amazing. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams and endeavors, and is the nurturing lifeline for your child. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body has done and will do. You can run, jump, dance, meditate, laugh with friends, or whatever floats your boat to signify that you appreciate your body.
#2 Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself
Write down ten things you like about yourself that are unrelated to how much you weigh or how you look. Purchase or craft a beautiful display card and read your list often. Place the card somewhere visible, for example on the door of your wardrobe, so every time you get dressed in the morning you have a reminder of how awesome you are.
#3 Reflect on “true beauty”
Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body. When you start working on renewing your mindset in regard to the way you think about beauty and self, you will start to cultivate a new way of looking and thinking about yourself. When you choose to feel good about yourself, you start to walk with confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful. It won’t go unnoticed and there is nothing more attractive than a self-assured and confident individual. True beauty is not simply skin-deep.
#4 Look at yourself as a whole person
You are a mother; you may be a wife or sister. You are a friend, a colleague. You have a talent or skill. You are so much more than specific body parts you wish to change. What have you achieved lately? Finished an academic program? Been promoted or trusted with a specific task at work? Supported a spouse or friend? Made someone laugh? Look in the mirror and embrace the whole you. See yourself, as you want others to see you – whole.
#5 Surround yourself with positive people
This is a must. It’s easier to feel good about yourself when you surround yourself with others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of embracing and liking yourself. Be around friends whom you don’t need to don a full face of makeup for, and who will help you tap into loving your naturally beautiful self.