Welcome back to my Postpartum Weight Loss series. As I mentioned in my first post concerning my health and wellness journey post-pregnancy, I’m taking a different approach when it comes to cultivating a more positive body image and going about setting realistic goals for myself.
My Postpartum wellness challenge focuses on all the great benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle without the preoccupation with weight loss! Here are the final five steps to a more positive self and body image that doesn’t include counting the calories.
Wait, what? I hear you say. This post is all about going beyond skin-deep beauty right? Exercise shouldn’t always be used as a means to an end to ditch the extra pounds you may have gained. Exercise can fight depression, fatigue, and disease. It can be used as a tool to connect mentally with your body and as downtime to reflect more intentionally about life. You don’t need to hit the gym for two hours. Go for a brisk walk, take a yoga class, do a workout session with your partner, or go for a light jog. Forget about weight loss. Focus your mind on how you feel and how you want to feel. Have fun and when you’re done, you’re done.
#2 Get some sleep
Sleep deprivation is linked to a number of issues related to stress, lethargy, and even over-eating. Sleep can actually help you to regulate different lifestyle patterns and leads to more proactive and productive days. Try and go to bed consistently at the same time every evening, preferably before 10pm. Do your best to get at least eight hours sleep and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
#3 You are what you eat
Again, this is all about retraining your mind in regard to the way you look at nutrition. Eating well, just like exercise, should not be about weight loss, but overall health and wellness. Break it down into small decisions. Rather than grab that candy bar on the go, grab a piece of fruit. Try not to eat late or heavy meals after 5pm. Be consistent and have everything in moderation. Do not deprive yourself of the things you enjoy, but instead have less of what you love and more of what your body needs. Food is fuel and can also fight off disease and lethargy.
#4 Get moving with your little one
In the mornings before work Lux and I have a little dance-off. Well, he sits in his high chair while mommy performs. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself and have fun moving with your children. Dance and sing together, go to the park and participate in an activity that gets your body moving without you even noticing or do a five-minute stretching activity in the mornings with the whole family. Make it part of your morning or weekend routine.
#5 Become a critical viewer of social media and messages
Approximately 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies, although only 5 percent naturally possess the body type often portrayed in American and British media. Stop buying into the 100 percent fallacy that a normal woman weighs 90 pounds and has the chest size of a prepubescent boy. Daily we are being fed lies about how we should look, how much we should weigh, and what we should be buying and wearing. The average woman consumes five hours of advertisements a day that project images of women that reflect the body image reality of 2 percent of women. Take what you see as a pinch of salt. Look around you and see what real women look like and let that help shape your body perception, and not a multimillion-dollar industry that capitalizes on women’s insecurities.