Friday, May 23, 2014

Learn to Love What You See

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 After ten years of lifestyle morphing I have finally trained myself to be a person who has learned to love and accept what I see in the mirror.  I live a healthy lifestyle and make time for a lot of physical activity.  Not only does it make me feel amazing (and keeps me from not killing people) but I also see the hard work in the way my body responds.  There is nothing that motivates me more than a intense workout, burning each part of my body and keeping it tight and right!  Granted, I can't seem to escape my genetic disposition for cellulite, but hey, I figure even super models have that, so I need to get over it.  When I spot some part of my body that I am not crazy about, I usually just kick it up in that department (add more push ups to get my arms in better shape or do more squats to lift my tush) but I refuse to sit and complain about it, I am one who always takes action.

Then, I was given the greatest gift of all, the opportunity to grow two little humans in my body.  After years of infertility, getting pregnant was and will always be the greatest thing that happened to me.  However, with most experiences, there are usually some concessions that need to be made.  For me, that meant cutting wwwwwaaaaaayyyyy back on activity and for a few months there, no activity at all.  Whoa. But, I was willing to do anything to make my babies strong and healthy and therefore was happy (ish) to oblige.

Weeks turned into months and despite my continuing to eat healthy, I started to see my body change in ways I didn't really love.  I knew pregnancy meant gaining weight, but I wanted it to be on my terms.  I wasn't loving that my arms gained what seemed to be five pounds each and the definition I worked so hard to achieve was just getting lost in a fat capsule.  That cellulite I mentioned went from two little dimples on my tushy to covering the entirety of my bottom and back of my legs.  I was not only horrified, but found myself being not so nice to myself and getting rather bummed out.  When I would catch myself doing this, I mentally slapped myself and would quickly turn those feelings into joy by rubbing my belly and talking to my "Littles".  

After talking to my Magical Aunt B and Nic about my body concerns I realized a lot of what I was feeling was mental.  Have you ever noticed how after one week of working out and taking care of yourself you can see someone totally different than you did the week before?  Well, thank your brain for that, because trust, no body changes happen that fast.  So, I knew until I could start light exercise again I had to retrain my brain to love what I saw in the mirror.

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As my belly grew (and grew and grew) I would quickly focus on how much I loved what was growing inside.  Then instead of finding all my flaws each day, I only pointed out things I loved about my changing body.  I loved that I still had collar bones, I loved the way my upper abs still showed definition while my boys grew strong right underneath them, I loved the way my behind still looked shapely and tight in jeans (maternity or otherwise)...and so on. 

When I finally got the green light to get moving, I started my daily 30 minute walks with multiple weekly weight lifting sessions and even introduced a pretty killer swimming routine (I loved that one since I could literally sprint in the water).  I of course started to feel better almost immediately, but I still made a daily effort to point out the physical features I embraced and stopped focusing on what I wasn't so crazy about.

Please know that I am not at all one of those women who doesn't expect her body to change in pregnancy, I get it.  But, the fact that I didn't get to choose how I approached my pregnancy since we used fertility assistance, left me feeling sort of cheated.  But, at the end of the day, I am a mommy now.  A healthy, strong, beautiful mommy who is giving my "Littles" everything they need; I wouldn't change a thing.

So, next time you look in the mirror and don't like something, either make the change to fix it or if you can't for whatever reason, refocus on something about yourself you love to look at.  Your mind is a powerful thing, so why not have it work for you and not against you.  Let's start today!





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