I've always felt at peace in my relationship with my body and food. So many of the women in my life struggle with their body image and count calories (what's a calorie?!), but gratefully I just never thought about any of that. My weight has often fluctuated, around ten pounds up or down, but I was never unhappy or self conscious when I was on the heavier side of that curve. I have always eaten exactly what I like, never dieted, and if I wasn't swimsuit-ready, so be it.
These last couple of years have really turned all of my assumptions about my body image upside down. At some point, shortly after Roo was born, I started gaining weight. Likely it was a combination of tipping to the second half of my thirties, serious sleep deprivation, working more, and lacking time to cook and eat well. For a long time, I tried to shrug off the added pounds. I'd always been very kind to myself about extra weight, and so I just ignored it.
Now, somehow, inexplicably, I am weighing in with the same numbers that I registered full term with both of my pregnancies. It's nuts. My body often doesn't even feel like my own, and it's hard to understand how it really happened. Suddenly I am self conscious, and I do have body image issues, and it definitely doesn't feel good.
Despite all the extra exercise that I've peppered into my routine, the pounds are not melting away. I am coming to the painful reality that if I want to change my body, I will have to be more thoughtful in what I eat. This might seem like a minor issue, but meddling with my food tops the list of things I swore would never come to pass. Begrudgingly, I have looked into all the diets and their coordinating hashtags, but I have to say there is something really off-putting to me about any routine that has a group of enthusiastic followers. I'm not good at being part of a team, and I don't like being limited by any rules, even if they're by my own construction.
I know that approaching food reform as restriction won't work for me, I love food and I'm not interested in eliminating any of my favorite groups. So my current attempt at dieting is more about rewarding myself, by preparing my own meals with love. The best and freshest ingredients from the garden or market, selected and arranged on the plate with care, eaten while seated and without distraction, mindful in enjoying each bite... definitely not easy with two demanding children in tow, but I'm finding it is possible. And it certainly beats skipping pasta (though likely less effective!).
Indulgence rather than deprivation, I will let you know how it goes!
Lunch in June: hard boiled eggs with sea salt / strawberries with basil, parmesan, and balsamic vinegar / radishes with salted french butter
Sorry if this is totally off, but have you thought of getting your thyroid checked? Pregnancy can set off an imbalance that can either make you loose or gain weight postpartum regardless of whatever "lifestyle" adjustments you make.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sarah, that is a good suggestion. I was able to successfully lose weight about a year ago, by counting calories (which makes me think it's not thyroid- but also wasn't sustainable for me, because I couldn't stand living like that!). I have visited the doctor and discussed it, but I don't think they've checked my thyroid, so I will bring it up next time!Delete
Oh...the struggle. At 44, I am taking a similar approach - healthy, fresh foods, everything in moderation, and adding more exercise to my routine. I have recently started a rowing class and hope that will help me with added activity.ReplyDelete
Rowing sounds like fun! I keep searching for that fun class that I can latch onto. It's tough, I wish I could just go snowboarding :)Delete
As someone who just turned 41, I can attest to the fact that age does really change us. My husband jokingly calls it the "maintenance stage". There's not likely to be any drastic body changes, just the real work of building and maintaining strength, particularly core strength, and finding balance in diet and sleep and exercise. I never really exercised until about three years ago - I much preferred a long walk and sitting still with a book over anything requiring real effort and sweat. But integrating serious exercise into my life has changed me in a positive way for sure. Has it changed my body? Yes, I'm much, much stronger. Leaner, a bit, especially up top. My lower half is just my lower half - again, maintenance mode! I doubt I'll ever have a twenty-year-old's tush. I'm okay with that.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry I'm wordy, but what I really wanted to write and say was I 100% agree with you on the importance of eating well. I try so hard not to preach this to anyone, but I quietly believe that any fad or extreme diet is not sustainable and not the healthiest avenue. Making our own food, paying attention to that food, plating that food, enjoying that food, eating real food, eating mostly plant-based food, moderation, and most of all, enjoyment, is really the best way. If I really take the time to eat a good breakfast, a good lunch, a good dinner - I find that I don't crave snacks or desserts all the time, and I'm content. If I crave anything, it's good food (particularly good vegetables). I love to bake, so I do - I just do it for others. I use the birthdays in our small office as an excuse to try out recipes. We eat seven slices or scoops in the office, and at home we get to sample the rest. We don't have a three layer cake sitting around, needing to be eaten in two days.
Take the time to be thorough with your doctor to make sure there's not an underlying issue that is affecting your weight. That way you're not spinning your wheels and getting frustrated.
You are a beautiful woman. I do understand wanting to feel comfortable in your body, though, and I think that you are approaching this in such a healthy way. And that's important, particularly as we parent daughters. And sons! Of course, sons too.
Thanks so much Kristen, for such a thoughtful comment. It helps to hear your experience, though it kind of bums me out because I always had this delusion that age would never catch up to me! It really is crazy how every year since turning 35, I can just feel it taking more effort to maintain a healthy body. And I agree that it's so important to model a healthy relationship with food and exercise, and self-view to our kids. Hoping to get myself to a slightly healthier spot this year.Delete
Lilly, you are SO BEAUTIFUL! I know we are all hard on ourselves, really, without meaning to be, despite being confident, intelligent, sensible women. I think your perspective and attitude about it is so healthy. If I could bottle whatever makes your skin look illuminated and positively radiant, I would do it in a heartbeat. Good luck finding your healthy. You are honestly one of the most beautiful people I know/"know." :)ReplyDelete
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