Hey friends! Happy Tuesday.
I hope your week is off to a great start!
We had an incredible weekend over here. We headed back to my hometown with Maxwell on Friday night. My brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to agree to watching Max on Saturday for us. We thought it would be best to get there, have a chance to catch up with them, and get Max warmed up to his hosts and surroundings by arriving Friday. Saturday we headed to the most beautiful wedding, leaving our baby for the first time overnight. Since I run on the more emotional and lovey end of the spectrum, I know Drew and others thought this was going to be super hard for me. Truthfully, it wasn’t. It wasn’t even 24 hours away from our sweet man, and I knew he was in great and patient hands. Also my best friend/sister-in-law Michelle continuously encouraged me and said, “Have a great time! We’re going to be fine!!!!” The fact that she really wanted to do this for us and it wasn’t just a favor, meant everything and made it much easier.
So Drew and I were able to have a night of celebrating a wonderful couple, catching up with friends, and hitting the dance floor. We then had breakfast in bed before we returned back to Max. It was the perfect time to nourish our own marriage while celebrating the start of a new one.
Okay, so what does this all have to do with body confidence? Well, the dress I wore to the wedding I had picked our PRE knowing I would be pregnant. I’ve made lots of improvements on not spending much on clothes any more (thank you husband, haha), but I do love getting new dresses/clothes for exciting events. I purchase them way ahead of time and then patiently wait to wear them. So a few months ago, I purchased this dress after lusting after it for a while. Knowing I wanted to wear it to this wedding. After I found out we were pregnant, I later thought, “Uh oh. That isn’t the biggest dress. I wonder if I will still be able to wear it.”
Well, it did! Yes, I’m almost 12 weeks pregnant and wore a short dress. I felt incredible and confident in the little red number.
As a blogger, I truly can only blog to my own experience. That doesn’t mean it is the only way to do things, or the right way to do things, but it is the way I’ve done things. My unique journey. Being full of body confidence doesn’t mean your full of yourself, for me it means that I speak and think kindly of my body. I nourish it and respect. I’m comfortable and confident in my own skin.
Body Confidence: A Journey
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on what makes a confident woman. In my case, it has been a journey and I wanted to cover the major phases today.
The I’m on a Diet Phase:
Oh my gosh, first of all I’m SO glad this one is over. In high school and throughout college, I would always have self conscious moments when I would think, “I’m starting a diet. Literally, tomorrow I’m going to _______.” You fill in the blank. Everything from only eating salads in the dining halls to banning different foods all together. I allowed my weight to define my health and impact my body image. And in college, I was treating my body like crap: drinking WAY too much and filling up on junk food after doing it. In my experience, if you aren’t treating your body right it is harder to have full confidence in it. Today, I’m much more self assured. I don’t go on diets or ban specific foods. I believe in moderation and being consistently/mostly healthy, so that I can indulge and not feel once ounce of regret about it.
The I want HER Body Phase:
When I lived in Chicago with my girlfriend, I remember we made a inspiration board to put in our kitchen. This was supposed to motivate us to make the right decision about foods. It was full of images of celebrities (a la Jessica Alba and Zoe Saldana). Even though I was a personal trainer at the time, I was influenced by the media to want to be a skinnier version of myself. Notice I didn’t say fitter or stronger. At the time I didn’t have the aptitude to realize that we’re all SO different. I want to go back and shake myself and say, “AMY! You do not have that body type. STOP and be thankful for what you do have!” God and our mamas gave us OUR bodies and we shouldn’t waste our time wanting someone else’s. You really have to come to terms with this to have body confidence. Embrace your body type and shape, the sooner the better.
The After Baby Phase:
I posted a lot about the journey of pregnancy and postpartum. Because I had developed my current body confidence before going through this journey (praise the Lord), I really did well processing all the changes and staying patient/kind to myself. This isn’t to say there weren’t stumbles. In order to have true body confidence, I do believe it needs to come from within. I DO have to say, if I had a stumbling point…it was really helpful to have my husband or my good friend Carrie there to encourage. I gained 40 pounds with Maxwell, and the first 30 steadily came off. When the scale was stuck at the last 10, I started to get slightly discouraged. They were right there to tell me that it wasn’t about the weight. That I had JUST had a precious baby. That I was breastfeeding and I might hold onto a little extra. I knew these things for myself, but having gentle pushes from people that mean so much did help. I really do believe that surrounding yourself with great people will make you the best version of yourself. The second time around I think this journey will be even easier because I know that it is possible to be patient and kind to yourself, and also return to where you feel comfortable and confident.
The This is MY Body and I love it Phase:
I hope this lasts forever and I will work to make it to. Your mind is like a muscle that can be trained. If you start sliding into old habits, like…bashing yourself or lusting over someone else’s toned arms or abs…refocus. Say something positive about your own body. Something you are thankful for and something that makes you unique.
Okay, so maybe you’re thinking…that’s great for you Amy. But, how the heck does this help me?
Ya’ll, I’ve got you.
Stop with the Negative.
Saying your fat or you hate your butt isn’t going to help you one bit. So stop it already! The negative has to go if you want to get closer to loving yourself, body included. I can remember mamas that I grew up around always being so hard on their bodies. When I was in high school and complimented one of my friend’s mamas on her jeans her reply was, “What? I have thunder thighs.” Um, no. Not a good example for young women and if they say that in front of their daughter’s friends…imagine what their daughters grew up hearing. Don’t say things like that about yourself and certainly don’t spread things like that to others.
Easier said than done? Work on making SMALL changes along the way. Do you eat out for lunch every day? Start packing a healthy lunch on M, W, F to start. Do you have a glass of wine daily? Same thing, cut back! And don’t give me your red wine benefits 😉 Do you get a “coffee” (probably some fancy version) from a coffee shop daily? You could save loads of calories and money from brewing at home. Have you yet to workout this year? Go on a long walk 3 days a week or jump into an intro workout class 3x a week. Do you only sleep 5 hours a night? Start by going to bed a half hour earlier each day. It isn’t ALL or nothing. To start to be healthier you have to start somewhere. I’m sure we can all self reflect and figure out the biggest thing that is keeping us from feeling better about ourselves. This is science. Eating well, working out, and sleeping enough have all been studied and proven to improve our moods including our confidence.
Pick a Body Part You Love.
If you cannot get on board with being super confident in your body right away, start small. What do you love about yourself? There has to be something whether it is your hair, legs, booty, smile, etc. etc. I love my legs. So there I was almost 12 weeks pregs with a short dress on 😉
Cut the Comparison.
We’re only ever going to get this one body. Don’t spend your entire life comparing it to those around you and thinking you need to be skinnier like her, more toned like her, have abs like her.
A lot of women will look back (my patients tell me this ALL THE TIME) and say, “I sure wish I wouldn’t embraced my health and my body more.” I also read all the time about how in your 40s you stop caring about what others think and love yourself more. Knowing this, why the heck would we wait?
Hope this message finds you well and speaks to you in some way.