The ads in my news feed have been really bumming me out recently. Granted, I'm in the fitness industry and am involved in a ton of mommy groups, so it's not surprising I get a ton of weight loss ads. Specifically, ones that use shame-marketing in attempts to "motivate" new moms. How we allowed the whole "get your body back" campaign for years is beyond me. This garbage conversation dominates in headlines, and I'm very disappointed with the publications and fitness companies that use it.
I've been training postpartum fitness for over ten years, and now in a regular group setting. I hear the same negative self-talk and rumination from my clients and students when it comes to their core restoration and weight loss. This mom-body shaming permeates into our own thoughts, and it causes far more harm than good.
Our attitudes and self-talk have a massive impact on our success. I studied psychology in college and when I had the opportunity to intern at an outpatient addiction facility this came up a lot. Our beliefs guide our behavior, hence the term "self fulfilling prophecy". Albeit that these were more extreme cases of alcohol and substance abuse, the lessons here are the same. If we are focused on our failure, we will fail.
Does this sound familiar?
I'm never going to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans
This is so hard, it's like it's not even worth it.
My body is so gross to me now.
I need to work my abs, my core is disgusting to me now.
I'm never getting in a bikini again. Ever.
I don't know about you, but reading these out loud is making my skin crawl. It devastates me to think how unhappy some moms are with their bodies. If we're willing to say these awful thoughts out loud, we are likely saying them more often and louder in our own thoughts.
I can preach and preach how we absolutely have to start with our core and breathwork first, how we need to be patient with our bodies as we recover from childbirth, how much more strength and stretching is to a healing body, and the importance of self care.... but the reality is that most of my students come to me feeling defeated and terrified of their new bodies. This rumination and discomfort will steal our joy, and I really want to change the conversation in your head to a much happier and more productive one.
Constant obsession and negative self-talk is very disruptive to our mental health and overall wellbeing. The more we think about the bad stuff, the less mental energy we can send to positive affirmations and creating a game plan.
If you notice these ugly thoughts popping into your head, write it down. Look at what you just told yourself and ask yourself the following:
"Would I ever say this to a friend?"
"Would I ever say this to my child, or to my partner?"
"What would I do if I ever heard my child talking about their body this way?"
Take the time to write out your response, or say it out loud to yourself. Give yourself the same care you would offer a friend or use to nurture your child.
Then, say the opposite.
I'm going to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans
This is so hard, but it's worth it.
My body is so amazing to me now.
My core is beautiful and strong to me now.
I'm going to feel confident in a bikini again, Soon.
Then GET OUT O F YOUR WAY.
Look, some of my clients get results faster than others. A large part of it is that they believe that they can.
They don't waste time getting down on themselves.
They're coming to class on a regular basis and are focused on working hard and having fun.
They take the time to prepare nutritious foods.
They go out and buy clothes that make them feel confident and sexy, and don't squish their healing pelvises into jeans that don't fit anymore.
They make an extra effort to move more throughout their days.
They exercise to show love for their bodies, not to deprive it.
They know that they can, so they do.
No one deserves negative self-talk. You would probably panic if you ever heard your child body-shaming themselves, so sound the alarm if you do to yourself.