Yes. This is a photo of me in my underwear. I absolutely love this photo.
I snapped it one month after having baby #jax and sent it to my hubby.
"LOOK!" I texted exuberantly. "I can see an ab muscle!"
I saw my strong legs. Arms that continued to pull my body weight, even at 160 pounds. And I saw an athletic mindset that was driven to respect the process.
So what? You might be asking. Why am I posting a pic of me in my underwear?
Well, if you're a woman (and a momma), then you know precisely why this mindset (this perspective about my body) was so important to have.
Because in the months following pregnancy, it can feel like your whole body is falling apart.
You so desperately want to fit into your hot jeans again, and "get your body back." But that shit doesn't bounce back like a rubber band.
And so many women force the healing process. They crash diet, worry, and pound miles out on the pavement. And the number on that scale barely budges.
Do you feel like the months following birth are a fight to get your body back? Maybe if you work harder, fight harder, diet harder, you'll be hotter / happier / "normal" again?
I felt this way after having our second baby (#parkerlee). It didn't work.
So this time, I decided I was going to do shit differently.
In the nine months following Jackson's birth, here is what I did:
I was 20 pounds heavier than my natural weight. My body held this weight for close to FIVE months!I chose NOT to diet. I ate according to my instincts, trusting my hunger levels and occasionally indulging in a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
I went from training 15 hours a week the year before, to training ZERO hours a week. Take a look at my Training Peaks — zero hours spent in the gym or on the trails, for almost a full year.
I was tired. So I slept.
I had no motivation to exercise. So I trusted this as a sign that my body needed a break.
I hated the exhaustion I felt after exercising. So I went for gentle walks and lifted light weights in my living room. But only if it felt good.
I didn't fit my hot jeans. So I bought new hot jeans.
I made the conscious decision to love this body I was in. Radically.
Don't get me wrong. This mindset shift was hard. And scary. It was something I had never done before.
If I stopped hating my body, and started loving it, wouldn’t I just start binging and living out of control?
I've been critical, judgmental, and angry about my body my entire life. I've done things to punish, harm, and coerce my body into a particular athletic shape, because how can I be an athlete if I don't "look" like an athlete?
At this moment, when I took this picture and texted it to my hubby, I loved my body.
If it continued to look this way, be at this weight, for the rest of my life, I loved it.
You cannot hate your body thin. You cannot punish your waistline into submission. You cannot judge, criticize, or shame yourself to a different number on the scale.
So if you're sick of dieting, sick of hating your body because it does not fit the "athletic mold," then I invite you to join me.
Take a picture of yourself.
No, you do not have to text it to anyone or post it to facebook.
But I do want you to look at that picture, and see the things you love about your body.
Find them - what you like about your body, right now.
You have to train your brain to stop telling you the bullshit, and start telling you what you deserve.
And ironically, once you start loving the body you are in, RIGHT NOW, you'll begin to respect your body.
And your body will respond. Mine did. Yours will too.