When I had my first baby almost 13 years ago, my main mission was to “get my body back.”
I was determined to lose the weight fast, to erase the fact that I had birthed a child from my body. I dieted, I restricted, and lost what little weight I had allowed myself to gain pretty fast. After my second child I had a harder time, but eventually learned the joy of exercise for weight loss that carried me through a decade or so. My main goal was to see what I could do with my body, to show that you didn’t have to ‘let yourself go’ after kids. It brought me great satisfaction to weigh all my food and diet and go hungry, because in the end it felt like it paid off in what my body looked like.
It wasn’t until I had the wakeup call a year or so ago that I was chasing something I could never reach: perfection and looking to outside approval to validate me. I had a flat stomach that looked better than before I had kids, but I thought about food 24/7 and felt guilty around food too much and rarely enjoyed life if it wasn’t something I could control. I was anxious all the time and ended up in the hospital and had major health issues.
So I slowly started to let it go. I let go of WHY I was trying to be perfect, WHY I needed to prove that I wasn’t ‘letting myself go’, WHY I felt like I had to be a certain size and wieght to be loved.
I began eating food for joy and letting go of guilt. I began seeing the issues in society that says we need to be a certain way to be valuable. It’s been both amazing and hard at the same time. I restricted for so long that it feels weird to just eat when I’m hungry. I allowed myself to be under a certain weight for so long that it feels weird to settle somewhere higher. My stomach, which has stretched around two babies and is the first place I notice weight gain, makes me uncomfortable. Not because it is bad, but because it was where I felt my worth was. It’s uncomfortable to grow, but necessary.
We are allowed to grow and change.