As I have read back through my musings over the years, I find that I go in spurts in this love/hate thing called me and my body image. Not too long ago, I loved my body. I loved the way I looked and felt, and I think that I was finally content with my figure, my muscle tone, my strength, and my weight.
And then I got pregnant.
Now, understand this: I AM NOT saying that I regret being pregnant or having my child or any other absolutely insane, ridiculous context you wish to infer upon what I am writing. I AM NOT saying that.
But I am saying that 9 months of pregnancy undid and ruined years of work and mental and physical struggle. It was ridiculously difficult to watch myself getting larger and larger, all my working coming apart at the seams, and not feel like a failure in some way. I wasn’t one of those moms who did yoga and pilates all the way through; certain health concerns just didn’t allow for it. So I lost my strength, my stamina, my muscle tone, all of it.
I want to feel like me, again. I want to look in the mirror and like what I see. I want to be stronger, more energetic, for me as well as for Elizabeth and Ben. So I am currently working to lose 16 lbs. by early September and tone up my body. While I lost my pregnancy weight fairly quickly (which made me happy), I also put on an extra 10 lbs. rather quickly again (which appalled me), being home with Elizabeth all day long. Admittedly, I drank way too many sodas and snacked on anything that was quickly at hand when I could. Not the best habits. So I did some research, figured out an appropriate weight for my 5’1 height, and set to work a week ago. I have never dieted before and I kind of refuse to, for personal reasons. So I am NOT dieting. What I AM doing, however, is trying to eat smarter and exercise more. I walk daily with Elizabeth, at least a half-mile round trip, and have been adding more blocks to that walk every few days. We’ll be walking the length of our little town before you know it. And I also try to work out after she has gone to bed for the evening, which, thankfully, is fairly early right now.
So far, so good. I have lost 4 lbs., I feel better about myself and my food choices, and I am starting to feel a difference in my body. Now don’t get me wrong; I still want to scarf down half of a cherry creme cake from Marsh, but I won’t, because I want this more. I want to fit into the beautiful dress that my mom bought me for Christmas two years ago that I have never worn yet. I want to make all of my fit-and-flare and pencil-line dresses look fabulous. I want to feel and look as strong and sleek as I was and did when I bellydanced on a regular basis.
I will admit, though, that my self-esteem is still fragile. For example, right now, I am struggling with whether or not to go to a bellydance hafla being held fifteen minutes away from my house by my first bellydance teacher and all the girls that I started dancing with. It would be fun to see everyone but I’m a little scared about what it will do to my self-esteem. Yes, I’ve lost 4 lbs. this past week, but I no longer have the strength, fluidity, grace, skill, etc. that I did when I danced regularly. I’m a little afraid of watching other ladies who started dancing when I did and have kept up with it do exceptionally well (which they will) and how that will make me feel about myself. I know, it sounds silly but…that’s how I feel in this moment. We’ll see what happens.
So it’s a constant back and forth, love and hate, and, hopefully, I will get back to that nice place where I was content with myself. But, for now, it’s work, work, work.
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