Don’t let your Opinion of your Appearance Affect your Physical Capabilities

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.

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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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Hormones….you suck!

hormones making women crazy

If anyone has seen my sane self around, please return her! I told my husband the other day I am just feeling straight up crazy lately. He gave me an eyebrow raise and said, “This is different from the usual how?” He’s right! I am a bit nutty regularly. I tell him he’s my rock and he tells me I’m his tornado, LOL! But really, after having 3 children in less than 5 years I’ve dealt with the ups and downs of pregnancy hormones, to the nursing hormones, to a state of postpartum depression!

I’m on my second type of birth control since June and I will be switching to another here shortly. I’ve always been sensitive to them (they make me feel crazy) but since I’ve started taking them again this time around my body just seems pissed off!

Lately, I’ll be happy kissing and loving on my little ones,

happy mom

and within 5 minutes I snap!

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They are usually doing something they shouldn’t, or not listening, but snapping at a degree that is not needed. And it just feels like an out-of-body experience sometimes. The highs and lows of hormonal changes at this age take me back in time to those years of teen angst. When you feel like you have no control because your brain can’t keep up and register the insanity that is going on!

I was talking with one of my besties recently about my frustrations and she said to me, “These are the things people don’t tell you.” And she’s right. People talk about the joys of motherhood, but they don’t talk about the effect it takes on your body physically,  mentally and hormonally! It’s totally worth it, yes. But sometimes just knowing you’re not alone, that how your feeling, what you’re going through, is normal. That can give you some inner peace.

Being a girl is tough! I love that I was able to have the experience of having my kids! I did not particularly enjoy pregnancy, but I’m glad I was able to have that experience three times. The joy I feel from seeing my little ones grow up is something I can barely put into words, but I just want to get back to being myself again……

So in closing today, I’m just going to say, “Hormones, you suck!”

Until next time…. Thea 🙂

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Respecting my Postpartum Body

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This is me! Full term, 205 pounds of swollen, ready to pop, hot pregnant mess! This wasn’t even my first time where I let myself go a little thinking the weight would all melt off after. This was my THIRD! Despite trying to eat healthy and stay active I still gained 50 pounds. I was working as a waitress a couple of days a week and I was a full-time stay at home mom so I wasn’t sitting around. I was always on the move and exhausted before Miss T even arrived. Sigh! Luckily, I had done this pregnancy thing twice before and I’d managed to lose most of the weight after.

Recently I heard a Mom say, “My body is ruined. Having kids ruined my body!” I could relate. After having my first I’d gained 50 pounds and had acquired stretch marked from my ribs to my hip bones. I felt as if I was “ruined” physically. I mean, it’s not like I ever filled out a bikini very nicely, but my two piece days were over and I was pissed off about it! One thing that men don’t understand is that during pregnancy you grow and grow, and regardless of whether you enjoy the process or not, it’s gradual.  Then many of us get home we look in the mirror and wonder what the hell we are looking at. I mean, over night we go from excited to meet our beautiful creation, to a deflated stomach, engorged throbbing boobs and typically swelling from all the fluids that were pumped into us. It’s like….

dude-wtf

I felt uncomfortable in my body most of that first year after having my first Miss Piece’s. I worked out, went back to playing soccer, and started running more. But it was never really the same as before. My husband and I decided to try for our second after our daughter turned one and two months later I was pregnant! Fast forward to Mr. Man’s arrival and I knew what to expect. I didn’t gain as much so I felt a little better after, but my body changed again. Someone told me before I had him that your body changes after every pregnancy and I was like, “Really!?!? Come on! I had just started getting used to that one!” And it was true. It was different again. Because when your body stretches to support a basketball sized munchkin a couple of times it’s taxing and takes a toll! After I had him I decided to train for a half marathon to get myself back into shape and lose the baby weight. It was during that process that I started to grow a deeper respect for myself and my ever changing body!

I look at the picture of my full term self and see how insane pregnancy is and how amazing the female body is to house and grow a human! As I stated in my post Learning to Run. I never used to like running. I LOATHED it really! So to set the goal to run a half marathon seemed like a fantasy goal. I didn’t know if I would even be able to do it. But in the process of training I was doing something I had never done before and I was fascinated at what my body could do after ballooning to have a child. I was losing the weight and I was definitely looking better physically, but it was the way I was developing an appreciation for my body and its capabilities that changed my perspective on things. It’s pretty amazing how a female body can expand and contract! It morphs into a massive beast (in my case anyway) and then if you work hard, it can turn into something new and strong and impressive again.

Me now 1Me now 2

Here I am now. I’m nothing impressive really and I know that. But I actually like this body now much more than my most fit and lean 18-year-old body; I think just because I appreciate it more now. I stopped focusing on the things I didn’t like and started looking at the things that I do. After nursing three children a total of about 25 months, my boobs are never going to be the same! And my stomach which will always have those tracks of faded stretch marks and a bit of a pop; they have changed to make my beautiful children and it was worth it! But now when I look at myself I see my legs again, which have always been thick and full, but also very strong! They are getting more defined than they have been in many years and can run further at 34 than I ever even thought I could run at 18. I’ve tried and will continue to try to look at things in a positive light because that’s the example I want to set for my children. I want my two girls to appreciate their bodies for what they are and can do, and not for how they look.

It’s a constant battle in life to keep positive as I referenced in the importance of a positive inner monologue. We see celebrities out there bouncing back and looking better than ever. Well screw them! We are the ones working hard to power through life without trainers and chefs or nannies to take care of our kids. We are the REAL deal! So be kind to your bodies; mothers and women alike, and give yourself a break! It’s so much easier to be happy in your life when you love instead of criticize; and I think that goes for the appreciation of our bodies as well.

Until next time….. Thea 🙂

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