Three Steps to Improve Post-Partum Body Image

This week, I’m following my own advice and I’m buying myself a new pair of jeans. Currently, I don’t own a pair of jeans that fit me comfortably, except for my maternity jeans. I’ve been wearing a lot of yoga pants, leggings, and my maternity jeans, and every time I do, I feel blah. My maternity pants once made me feel great – sporting my baby belly comfortably and in style. My yoga pants and leggings are fine to wear when I’m around the house, and when I choose to wear them, but being forced to wear them because I have no other options? It doesn’t feel so great.

I can’t help but be disappointed in myself. I’m disappointed that I’m almost 11 weeks post-partum and I can’t fit into my old jeans.

I KNOW I shouldn’t feel this way. I teach others to get rid of these thoughts! After all, my amazing body birthed an amazing human being who I could not be more in love with. I should be telling my body nice things everyday, thanking her for making a miracle. But I’m only human and I can’t help but look in the mirror and wish for my pre-baby body back.

{the little miracle with his NY cousins}

So I’m starting fresh. I’m learning to love my body again. A new body, which I’m going to learn to love just as much, if not more than my pre-baby body. I don’t feel like I’m starting at square one, because I know the steps I need to take, but there is work involved in order to feel like my best self again, and feel 100% confident in the skin that I am in.

Let me tell you what I’m currently working on to get me loving this post-partum body as I should.

My three steps to improve post-partum body image:

Recite a daily body mantra. 

Every morning when I look at my stomach in the mirror, loads of negative thoughts come to my mind.

Look at those love handles.

You have a “mom pouch” now.

Why is it taking you so long to get back to your old body? You teach this stuff for a living!

If you didn’t eat so much chocolate, you could have your flat stomach back.

I have an inner mean girl, and she has got to quit it! So I try to quiet her every morning by telling myself a few things:

This stomach was the home to a beautiful baby boy.

My body is so amazing that it was able to birth a tiny human.

Having a flat stomach does not change the amount of happiness I can have in my life.

The more I love and care for myself, the better I will feel in my body.

No matter whether you are post-partum or not, what nice things can you tell yourself to quiet that Negative Nancy in your head?

Have patience.

I have to admit, thoughts of food restriction for weight loss have crossed my mind.

Just don’t eat sugar this week and you will stop craving it.

Maybe just one day of a juice cleanse will be the boost your body needs to get off the baby weight.

Tell people to only bring really healthy food so you won’t be tempted.

I know better than this. None of these things will help me in the long haul if I can’t adjust my negative mindset first. I just have to go back to eating foods that make me feel good on a regular basis. And I have to be patient with adjusting to this new life: one that involves less sleep and less time for myself than I am used to. I find myself reaching for sugar and carbs for energy, but during this crazy time of life, I feel I need a bit more sugar and carbs to get me through until I can have a full nights sleep again (whether I do or don’t is up for debate). 

I need to be patient with myself, with Cooper, and with the adjustment period to my new life in order to feel good on a daily basis.

Buy “I feel amazing” pants.

When I complained about my pants situation to my husband, the first thing he said was that I should go buy myself a new pair of pants. I said I didn’t need them of course, that it would be a waste of money. I’d just deal with it until I was back to my normal size.

But what if I never get back to my old size? What if this is my new normal? Am I going to walk outside feeling ugly everyday because I’m waiting for my old pants to fit again?

That’s just plain stupid.

I should feel pretty at any size, as should every woman. I’ve made several clients go out and buy new clothes in their current size, because how is anyone going to love themselves fully if they feel ugly while wearing their “fat pants,” or in my case, maternity jeans.

So this week, I’m going out and buying new pants. They will be called “I feel amazing pants” because they are going to make me feel like a new woman. I’m not going to buy cheap ones either as “interim” pants. I’m going to buy pants that I love how they look, love how they feel, and love how I feel in them. Because if I never fit into my old pants again, it does not matter. I can love myself and my life just as much, if not more, in a bigger pants size.

Whether you are post-partum, or in a bigger body than you are used to, I encourage you to try these steps alongside me. There are no negative side effects!

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