The first thing I thought about after giving birth to my first baby was that I will now get back in shape.
Okay well yes, the first thing I thought after a bloody twelve hour labor was that I’m never doing ‘this’ again. But losing weight and getting in shape came a close second. (Yes yes, I was all excited about the baby too, but that’s a whole other sentiment and a whole other post)
The problem though, is, between sleepless nights, ‘feed-vomit-pee-poop’ cycles and heaps of laundry that seem to emerge from god knows where, how was I supposed to possibly fit in a workout schedule. In fact, any new mom would scoff at the very word schedule. Add to that the devilish appetite I seemed to grow as the body replenished itself postpartum and produced milk, I found myself eating like a goddamned pig. How in the world could I possibly lose weight in such a blessed position?
And it gets worse because I have always been, you know, on the fuller side of the spectrum. For me, my pre-pregnancy weight was nothing to be proud of in the first place. Losing more weight now is an uphill battle I’m losing. It’s frustrating and utterly depressing.
Better fat than depressed I thought. I had to come up with a more mental solution, cuz the physical ones were just not cutting it. I just had to rework my approach (because reworking a workout just wasn’t working 😉 ). That’s when I thought-
Fuck that goal. Don’t lose weight. Don’t even think about it.
I’d say that to all mommies out there, or anybody else fighting some flab. We can’t live like this you know, obsessing about losing weight all the time. I’m gonna draw some flak for saying this but, some of us just aren’t meant to have that ‘perfect’ body. It’s the way we were made. (Yeah, cheap shot God, screw you!)
Instead, let’s find ourselves a new goal, to be FIT. Isn’t that what really matters? To be healthy and active? You are a mother now. Life is much more than a wardrobe full of size two Gucci dresses. What you need is a newfound love for your body that just produced a miracle. What you need is a viable fitness regimen that is easy enough for you to stick to for life, like walking thirty minutes a day. What you need is a thoughtful, responsible diet with enough indulgences to keep you happy.
You need to stop trying to look like a certain celeb mom, who you know had an army of trainers, nutritionists, nannies and domestic help.
The thing is, unlike the Shilpa Shettys, Aishwarya Rais and of course Duchess Kates of this world, losing weight, especially post baby, is a huge challenge for us ‘ordinary’ mommy folks. It’s definitely possible, no second thoughts on that. But the amount of hard work, energy and sacrifice it will require is just way beyond what a frazzled new mommy can handle.
Do we really want to get all worked up about our bodies like that? Losing weight can be an all consuming quest that could very well rob you of at least a few hundred thousand otherwise happy moments of motherhood. Instead of enjoying a divine early morning siesta, which is possibly the only shuteye you scored all night, you’d be physically dragging yourself out of bed for an early run. Instead of munching cutesy cupcakes with your toddler, which you baked together, you’d be counting calories and killing yourself. After an absolutely exhausting day of running after a strong willed (and strong legged) toddler, you’d be thinking twice about whether to pour yourself that (well deserved) drink or not. Is that really worth it?
Think about the instructions weight loss experts hurl in your face – Sugar is your enemy, don’t eat carbs, don’t touch dairy, go gluten free, basically starve yourself to death or barely survive on Kale. Can you really live like that? For the Rest. Of. Your. Life. A life without sugar? Really? Well that’s mighty sweet!
Looking good is important, hell yes. You definitely don’t want to feel unhappy about yourself. There is no way I’m encouraging mommies to stay fat. I’m just saying it’s important to find your balance. It is crucial to squeeze in some workout and mind your eating habits. However, doing that to be fit is one thing, doing that to lose weight, is another. Beauty isn’t a dress size. You wanna feel beautiful, get a new haircut, buy a new dress. Get a mani-pedi. Oh wait you’re a mom. Well, just see if you can take a shower.
Becoming two, three or sometimes four sizes smaller is, albeit possible, really really difficult. The lure of looking perfect like the celeb moms is enormous. Especially when diva after diva seems to slip in and out of her pregnancy body like a charm. But you must consider the fact that their careers depend on their appearance. These celebs could lose everything if they lost their cast-in-a-mould physique. As a corollary of that, the rewards they get for looking perfect (in terms of cha-ching baby), are way higher that what you and I could expect, even if we halved our girth.
So we don’t have to be them. In fact, we are lucky we don’t have to be them. We get to be moms whose kids love and adore us no matter what we look like.
So this should be your new fitness goal – are you fit enough for your kids? Because that’s what matters. Can you play ball with them all evening? Great then, you’re good. Can you dance with them for hours on end and run after them in the park. Awesome, you’re fit. Do you have the upper body strength to swing them up and down in your arms? And can you give them some serious competition on the running tracks every once in a while? Yes? See, there you are, absolutely stunning.
Be a fit mom, an active parent, a happy playmate. That’s all that should matter.
I guess what I’m saying is, some of us are fat. It’s just the way our bodies are. We’re probably not meant to be a size two. Ever. C’est La Vie! And that’s okay. Because fit is not the opposite of fat. Fit is not a size. Fit is a state of mind. You can weigh 180 pounds and still be fit, even if others don’t see it. Obsessing over a certain number on the weighing scale will only bludgeon your self esteem. Thinking about losing weight all the time will only drive you nuts. Exercise enough, just enough. Don’t kill yourself, don’t fixate over counting calories. Work on being fit, disease free and active. Don’t work on an hour glass figure or a certain size. That’s not a synonym for happiness. Cuddling your baby and eating cupcakes together is. So do that. Be happy. Love yourself.