Pregnancy and postpartum can be a WILD ride of body changes, and sometimes, accepting your changed body can feel like an uphill battle!
This blog includes some tips to support you in working towards body acceptance, and a few journaling prompts to facilitate exploring how you feel in this new and changing body.
Allow yourself to grieve.
It might feel silly, but try not to invalidate yourself in whatever emotions show up. Acknowledge them. You don’t have to sit in them forever, but allow yourself to feel what shows up, whether it's sad or angry or disappointed or whatever.
Clean up your social media.
Unfollow your cousin who loves to show off her abs after her triplets, if seeing that makes you feel jealous and sends you into a comparison spiral. Snooze your coworker who is always posting about the shakes that helped her lose 50 pounds in three months.
You do not need to be constantly exposed to people who make you feel crappy, even if it isn’t their intention. Our brains are not adapted to seeing this much stuff in one day, and while most of us can manage the emotions that come up from whoever we see in real life, we’re not well adapted to managing the emotion that comes up from seeing 100's or 1000's of people to compare ourselves to.
Seek out body positive folk to follow.
After unfollowing the people who make you feel crappy, seek out some body positive folks to follow. If you have a body that isn’t commonly represented in media/social media, look for folks with that body type who are accepting their bodies and living in them! If you want to be more active, look for athletes who have bodies like yours. It is more positive and inspiring to see folks like yourself moving, living, and accepting their bodies than a bunch of stereotypical “fitspo” 25-year-olds with lean bodies hitting the gym.
Try to find some small ways to show kindness to your body.
Maybe it’s wearing clothes that are comfy and fit. Maybe it’s putting moisturizer on and really paying attention to the sensory experience and thinking gentle, loving thoughts towards your body. Maybe it’s making sure to sit down for a meal when possible. Especially when you’re navigating new motherhood or parenting very little ones, it’s hard to make time for elaborate things like massages or whatever, but finding small ways to be kind to yourself can go a long way!
Remember who profits from you feeling bad about yourself, and be a little angry about it. The diet industry is a $7 billion industry in US alone, and they make money by creating insecurities that they then exploit. The diet industry especially targets new mothers, because they know that it is a vulnerable time. Their entire model is built around finding your “pain points” and then offering a solution to them. When you see ads for diets or weight loss products, they always follow a pretty similar formula…that’s because it’s a formula that has been shown to work!
It's OK if you don't feel like you can love your body every single day.
Can you think about respecting it? Appreciating it? Can you show your body kindness? Maybe you can explore giving yourself the space to hold conflicting feelings towards your body. Humans are complicated and we can hold complicated feelings!
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"Starting a weight neutral fitness routine is easier with the help of a body positive personal trainer."
Hi, I' m Jess from Enlighten Well. I'm part fitness enthusiast, part body love advocate, and I would love nothing more than to help you feel empowered, strong, and at peace with your body. I think it sucks that we've been taught to fight our own bodies. My career path has been a winding one, and has led me to be a licensed clinical social worker and certified personal trainer, as well as a certified intuitive eating counsellor. I'm a mom of two, a fan of buffalo chicken, and believe movement is beneficial for all bodies.
What people say about working with me:
"Despite being a lifelong athlete, I have always had pretty low to mediocre satisfaction in my own body. The journaling activities were thought-provoking and make me think about how I want to talk about my body in front of my daughter."
"Jess is authentic. She is relatable. And she is kind. In a world filled with trainers who are trying to convince you that you could look “better, ” or “ no pain no gain ” or share tips on how to “lose weight quickly ” before a weigh-in. Jess is the opposite of what I thought I’d find when searching for a trainer so needless to say, once I met Jess I breathed a sigh of relief. How refreshing to find a trainer who deeply understands the importance of honouring our inner body and its need for movement without focusing on the external side effects of doing so."