It’s in our nature to often doubt ourselves, as our mind and bodies go through various changes over the years. A healthy dose of humility and self reflection can certainly go a long way, where we find solutions to our changes and ways to manage them. But there are certain life events where your body undergoes such a transformation, it makes it harder to catch up with the self-acceptance we so much desire. Our perception of ourselves and others around us becomes our reality, and more often than not the self reflection with solutions turns into self-loathing with added on criticism.
As a mother of a one year old, I knew very well that I would have to work hard to get rid of my ‘jelly belly’ post pregnancy. But little over a year later, with a diagnosed ‘diastasis recti’ (separation of the abdominal muscle) and limited gym time, I have a wonderful daughter … and you guessed it… still a very large and prominent ‘jelly belly’. It looks like I am still 4 months pregnant, and although I have days where I accept the fact that my body has undergone changes, most of the time I feel pretty bummed that this gaping hole, covered with lose skin, just won’t go the f*k away.. It didn’t help that the other new mommies in my current social circles went back to their pre-baby bodies pretty much as soon as their little angels left the womb (feels like).
Before you think I’m about to order balloons and a seven tier chocolate mud cake for my obvious pity party, let me share with you the wake-up call (I feel) I had after looking at some of my other mommy friends who wear their new bodies, jelly bellies and all, with pride and confidence. Of course, their inner demons still gnaw away at their confidence on a daily basis, but these women have made the conscious decision to make the best of their situation and accept and embrace their new body with a new-found body image. It was a trait I admired (and frankly, ‘self love’ and ‘acceptance’ is fare less exhausting than ‘self-loathing’ and ‘depression’).
I’m not saying letting go is the answer, if you are striving to feel good about yourself then you shouldn’t give up on that and continue your hard work! But in the meantime, wouldn’t it be far more fruitful to embrace and accept this new body whilst you’re working on getting back your old one? Perhaps having your own body-image boosted might even alter your expectations of what your end result should be like as you find yourself happier and more confident a lot sooner than you anticipated.
There will always be someone thinner than you, and there will always be someone larger than you. You don’t know their story just like they don’t know yours, so focus on what you want and need to do to get your confidence up and running, rather than what others have or should have done.
2. If at first (second and third) you don’t succeed, lift yourself up and try again
3. Appreciate the positives
You already know your ‘less attractive’ features (how can you not, seeing as your low self- esteem reminds you of them every day). So why not balance it out by focusing on your positive features at the same time. (E.g.: I could hide a baby kangaroo in that pouch, sure, but man do my eyes pop with the right mascara).
4. Dress up
Often dressing up in something flattering and comfortable, can be a nice ego boost, which in turn helps with our own perception of what our bodies look like. Of course, as a mom, dressing up nicely is not always the option whilst you run after your toddler in heels or risk having your satin blouse covered in poop before you even leave the house. An alternative, however, can be putting on a nice lingerie set that has you feeling so darn sexy you strut your stuff down the street as if you’re the newest addition to Victoria Secret (unbeknownst to others as, hopefully, your lacy lingerie set is nicely hidden under your track suit 😉
5. Let yourself win sometimes
Rather than focus on what you didn’t do (I didn’t go to the gym today, I didn’t stick to the 3 day juice cleanse) focus on what you did no, however small you feel it might be (I did make that healthy stirfry recipe last night, I did walk an extra 10 minutes, etc). Having a more positive mindset focus on your accomplishments rather than obsess about your failures will increase the drive to want to create more ‘wins’ for yourself.
These are just the tip of the many more ways to increase your self-confidence, it’s about finding what suits and challenges you best. Starting with just one will already make a difference and bring you a step closer to you healthier and more positive body image.
I’ll get started right now by not spell checking this post and heading straight out for that run I’ve been wanting to do all morning (lingerie included!)