I’ve written before how I’ve been feeling about my body, and it’s time to get even more real about this. For the past 10 days, I’ve been dealing with a family tragedy: death. A family member of mine passed away last week after suffering from a long illness and health ailments for many many years. Her death jostled something in me: for the past several months, I’ve been going through the motions and not taking any amount of action when it comes to my health. I eat what I want, I’m lazy as heck, and the pounds keep piling on.
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I’ve worked to deprogram myself from fat-shaming and falling into the rabbit hole that is diet culture. I know that shame and guilt is not the path for me to be on when it comes to reclaiming my health, myself, and my body. But I also know this: I’m very triggered by outside forces that are still very much plugged into this ethos. Case in point: my mother. She comes from a long line of fat shamers who tie morality to the amount of food and type of food an individual eats. My mom also is obsessed with making sure her daughters “don’t eat too much” or “are not lazy” and this is programming I was constantly exposed to while growing up, and even now.
While I was at my parents' home processing and dealing with the death of this family member, I ended up pulling a muscle in my back due to stress. My mom massaged a knot out of my back and declared “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have to lose weight.”
I’m more than 40 pounds overweight (and counting) since my pre-pregnancy weight. And I can see it in the looks my mother gives me. But in all honesty: I live in my body and I know that I’m overweight. I also know that my value is not tied to my body weight, but it’s hard to claim that in a world that is so tied to thinness equaling higher currency.
Anyways…even while I was pregnant, I used to throw down at the gym. I miss feeling strong and powerful in my body. I miss being sore after really hard workouts, and the feelings of elation after conquering said workouts. I don’t like how moody and unsettled all of this gorging has made me feel, and knowing that all of these unhealthy habits are just piling one on top of one another. I don’t like how it’s a struggle to even get up from a sitting down position from the floor, and how trying to keep up with my 2-½-year-old has me out of breath.
So I’m going to do something about it. First off: no shame. If I knew getting pregnant, having babies and breastfeeding/pumping would change my body to what it is now – I would do it again. My body is not my identity, I am not the number on the scale.
That being said: being a wife and a mother has given me a new perspective in terms of my health. I want to be around long enough to keep up with my loved ones and also practice habits that I can be proud of and feel happy in my body again. I want to go back to drinking a lot of water, and exercising until I’m dripping in sweat and my body is sore (not self-punishing, though!) and focusing on transitioning to more plant-based eating.
It’s not only about me, but about my carbon footprint and making the effort to practice what I believe in. I know this is not all going to happen overnight, but I intend on making small and consistent changes. Here are three actions I'll be taking for the month of March, starting tomorrow:
- Work on my peeing pants problem! I want to work on strengthening my pelvic floor since after giving birth, it’s just not what it once was. (Carrying two babies and pushing two babies out in the span of two years will do that to you!) I’ve struggled with peeing my pants when I sneeze or move abruptly, so I want to give it some special attention before I pick back up with hardcore workouts again. It’s a 30-day plan that if you are interested in doing, you can find right here. I plan on doing this 4 days weekly.
- Drink water. There’s a lot of fuss about drinking water. How it does loads for the skin, and benefits all of your inner organs. And the truth is: all that hype is true! I say this as someone who was a devoted water drinker, and now no more. Increasing your water intake is an easy habit to adopt, so it’s something I’m going to strive for.
- Meatless Mondays. I hope to one day make this 80% of how I eat, but for now, I will start with one day.
Above all: I don’t intend on integrating shame and guilt and any other negative emotion into this program. I want to improve my health for myself and for my family and I want to feel happier, strong, and proud again.
Anyone want to join me? Leave a comment(s) below. I'll be checking in and updating everyone through progress posts on this challenge.