I’ve spent countless hours critiquing myself in the past; picking out the things that were wrong with me or not good enough! Looking in the mirror and seeing my flaws instead of my strengths.
How many times have you done this yourself? I don’t think I’m alone with these negative lenses I look through. For some reason we live in a society that has a general level of superficial focus…..Do you have a nice big house? A fancy car? Are you thin? Are you attractive? It’s sad, but true. I feel over the past few years there has been a bit of a change, focusing more on strength over being thin; but it still feels like a competition out there about LOOKS and SUCCESS and not about just being your best you.
After I had my children like many new moms I felt as though my best years (from a physical standpoint) had passed. After 3 c-sections, and complications with recovery on my third, I did feel as though maybe my body was just ruined in ways that could never be repaired. But I decided I wasn’t going to succumb to those feelings and I changed my focus to strengthening and challenging myself. I wanted to get back to a place where I felt comfortable in my own skin. I started taking pictures about 8 weeks postpartum and began training for a half marathon; which was just 5 months to the day after I had delivered my youngest!
I’ve written previously in Respecting my postpartum body about the physical and mental challenges and changes that training and accomplishment had on me. And recently, after completing two half marathons this year, I looked up those old postpartum pictures I took to see what progress I’d made.
Here is a comparison showing my progress. It’s humbling to see myself in the left pictures. I was 5 months postpartum and had just completed that half marathon I was training for. I used that training as my motivation to help me get back into shape. I had lost weight and was feeling good about the progress I was making. Looking at them now it’s interesting to see what perspective and self-appreciation will do to those lenses we critique ourselves with!! That body still needed some work, and the one I have now still needs some work! But I didn’t let my negative opinion hold me back because I started focusing on new motivations. It was no longer a motivation to be thin or look my best, it was a motivation to challenge myself and appreciate what I could do regardless of how I looked. This change in focus has helped me get 10 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight and has helped me have confidence in how I look for the first time in, well, I can’t tell you how long.
The best take away I can share from my experience is to stop setting weight loss goals, and start setting physical goals that challenge you in a way that seems impossible! Follow through with those goals and the weight will come off, you will appreciate your reflection, but most importantly you will find a real, true sense of self-appreciation and respect. And THAT is the best gift you can give yourself!
Until next time……Thea 🙂
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