Week 3 - The Mama Body
How to embrace your post-baby body
Lisa, MumShape Founder
The single parent to baby Mila, part-time dog mama and start-up founder takes us on her 6 week experiment trying to reduce stress, work out regularly and improve her diet.
Before becoming a mum, I had absolutely no understanding for other mums. I looked at them and judged. I could not understand why someone would leave the house with sweatpants, no make-up on, one of those super-messy buns (not the stylish Pinterest ones). I also didn't understand how a woman's body changes, what a woman goes through when she gives birth, what it means to grow a little human inside of you.
But I am sure we have all been there before, judging the stressed mum, running around chasing her toddler wearing an ill-fitted shirt full food stains and boyfriend-syle comfy pants, trying to hide her unhappiness about her new mama butt, wobbly legs, and varicose veins.
During my teenage years, I was an active athlete. Now looking at pictures, I was a healthy, skinny, and sporty kid but I never felt like that. I don't think that I had a healthy relationship with food. The good thing probably was, that I worked out four times a week so I could eat what I wanted. After a bad foot injury, I had to stop when I was around 16 years old. I immediately gained weight because of course I didn't adjust my eating habits. I was never big, just curvy - that's what everyone would call it at least. It took me around 10 years to get my healthy balance back. I banished my scale, I tried out new workouts, started running half marathons and fell in love with hot yoga. It was a long process and once I started to like my body and being proud of the positive changes and finally seeing some definition and muscles, I became pregnant.
Ok, so this is nothing I was prepared for. I mean, the pregnancy is fine because you are 'pregnant' - Awesome excuse for everything :) But what happens when the baby is born? Then you are just a mama. I was lucky because I could fit in my regular clothes one week after giving birth. I didn't gain weight and my breastfeeding boobs were awesome. But you lose the new mama hype quickly and seeing yourself day by day in the mirror can be pretty tough. My boobs are two cups smaller as my 'normal' ones, my butt is gone, I am skinnier than I was before, my pants are too big and I am still carrying around a belly that looks like I am 3 months pregnant. And in addition to that, my posture changed for the worse due to me carrying my baby, first inside me, and now on my hip.
I laugh sometimes thinking how the tables have turned...now I am the mummy with the messy bun, the yoga pants with food stains and wearing no makeup. Now, I am the one being judged by others and sometimes it stings - especially when I'm on the tube, sitting across from a super stylish 20-something that looks like she's covered in one of those fancy Instagram filters.
I can't help but wonder how can we gain confidence in our bodies again; the bodies we happily sacrificed for our babies. It took me almost 10 years to makes peace with the body I was born in. It was a long journey but at least I had time to only focus on myself. Now I have a small army that needs my attention constantly.
Exercise is one important aspect. And after starting my challenge with Mark from Dockside Fitness, I can start seeing my body transforming and I like it. He reactivated my sleepy and painful lower back muscles that are the connection to my butt and after 2.5 years I can finally start feeling that I have a few muscles left in there. But the other side is the food - a healthy and balanced diet, which is much harder for me to integrate into my life than the fitness aspect. Stress, sleepless nights, meeting after meeting makes it almost impossible for me to say no to coffee and chocolate. But I know that I won't lose my belly if I don't adjust my eating habits. Knowing is the first step but making it into a habit is the challenging part. So, to help me with that, I started using the new Deliciously Ella app and have already tried out a few recipes. It is only £1 per month and comes with great food ideas and also lots of great yoga videos. I am not a plant-based eater but I don't eat meat that often, so I am super happy with the dishes and most of them are suitable for kids. I also start my day with a smoothie and 'The Green Kitchen Smoothie' book has super yummy ones!
I try not to set super high goals, which will be unrealistic for me to archive, but I will try to get into a routine. I know I won't be able to only serve homemade food and always say no to chocolate and coffee, but I learned that it is about finding the right balance for me, my body, health, and mind.
For more inspiration, I can recommend the latest Deliciously Ella podcast 'Body Acceptance & Making Peace with your plate'.
Thanks for reading!
Ps: I already broke my blender this week - make sure to be equipped properly ;)