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I’ve never felt better in my skin | Body Image Post Pregnancy

I had a hard time finding recent pics of me NOT taken on my iPhone. I’ll have to make it a point to do a Project 12 post with my whole body soon!

This blog is about fitness. and nutrition. and body image. and motherhood. and womanhood. and being the best YOU.  I copied the following from my About Page and added emphasis for this post.

Tori wants….

  • to inspire you to take control of the things in your life you want to change and…change them!
  • to empower you with the knowledge you need to be successful at achieving your goals!
  • you to feel confident in your body, that it will stand the test of time and will give you the physical strength to live the life you imagined!
  • you to feel the freedom to get dressed without tears and anger and go out into the world happy with your body, regardless of what the scale says.
  • you to be proud of yourself and how hard you work every day and go easy on yourself when you slip up. We are human.  We are not perfect.
  • you to stop comparing yourself to other women and compare yourself to you.

I want you to BE WHO YOU ADMIRE!!!

I meant every word of that. I wish that for every woman.

All my life, I’ve been obsessed with my body…sometimes to the extreme with eating disorders. I talked about eating disorders…

So, all my life, being obsessed about my body, I have wondered and worried about my body and pregnancy.  Would I feel free during pregnancy from feeling fat? Would my body ever be the same?  People ask me all the time, as if it’s ironic, how I went from the best shape of my life last year to the heaviest I’ve ever been (having FITbaby) this year.  Well, that was the plan! That was my master plan. And, it worked out beautifully…at least I think so!

During the competition preparation, I realized what’s important. And, it’s not my figure. It’s not!! It’s more important to feel good than look good. It’s no fun to be obsessed with my body. It’s no fun to do hours of cardio a day at the expense of other things I love. It’s no fun to be hungry ALL the time. It was a great lesson. It was a great experience. But, honestly, had I waited until after I had FITbaby, I would have quit. Not because I think quitting is okay, but because I think that contest prep would have set a poor example for her…at 3 months old, at 2 years old, at 10 years old or at 15 years old.  And, I would not have sacrificed her for that experience, or to look good.

During pregnancy I discovered more about myself. I did not like feeling like I was unable to move. That is why I like to be lean, and mean, and fit. I like to move and be active and enjoy life! And, having a belly slows me down! I also discovered I felt beautiful during pregnancy. I didn’t feel fat. I didn’t feel self-conscious about my body changing [except I hated the attention…so much attention for being pregnant! I much prefer now, where my FITbaby gets all of the attention!]  My body was that way simply because I was growing a BABY! What a gift!

Did I struggle with body image during pregnancy at all? The only time that I found “hard” was before I started to show. I couldn’t fit in my pre-baby clothes. And, I wasn’t ready for maternity clothes. I had to go buy clothes one size bigger. That was no fun. But, it was short-lived!  Then, I started to show and I felt uncomfortable. Not with the way I looked but with the way I felt….it was hard to move around!

I wrote a few posts during pregnancy about body image and I got a few responses…both in public and private messages…you can read many of them….

The point of this post?  I’ve never felt better about my body in my entire life than I did the few months after pregnancy…  Yep, you read that right. NEVER. FELT. BETTER.  I have never been more confident. I have never cared so little how I looked. My body image…doesn’t freakin’ matter. Who cares!  FREEDOM!!!! My priorities had shifted. For the first time in my life, there was something WAY more important than the way I looked. Did FITbaby care how I looked?  Nope! Did FIThubby care how I looked? Nope!  My amazing body birthed this 9.5 pound baby somewhat easily! Amazing! How could I punish this amazing body? How could I ask it for more than it was already giving? For once, I had more important things to do…take care of my body for my baby!

The first few months with FITbaby were ROUGH.  I wrote this a few months ago….and I can’t change a word to make it apply now….

My little FITbaby keeps me too busy to care how skinny  my waist looks today. My FITbaby has me in awe of her beauty and I don’t care about my own. When I look at myself through her eyes, I am the best. I am beautiful. She doesn’t care if I’m a size 6 or 8.  She cares that I take the time for her. That I smile at her. That I look her in the eyes. That I am happy. My hubby is supportive of my hard work every day. He loves my new body as much as he loved the old one. I have never felt more comfortable naked. [Yep, I said that!]  This body I have is amazing. It has done so much more than I ever imagined.

This does not allow for an excuse to be overweight and out of shape though!  Still, to be the best mom I need to be the BEST ME. I need to work as hard as I can…at everything…not JUST being a mom. I need to be an athlete.  I need to be healthy. I need to be smart. I need her to see and learn from all of it.

Just a few months post-pregnancy I lost all the pregnancy weight. But, that was still 5-10 pounds heavier than I “wanted” to be.  [Even though I think pounds are a joke…it can still be a start to measure where you are!]   Now, 7 months after having FITbaby, I’m just a couple pounds from my goal weight but again, that’s a joke! I have lost a lot of muscle b/c  I have not kept up my heavy lifting workouts!  I have not kept up my strength! Not to worry…it all comes back. Muscle memory is real. I am not worried. I will get it back. I will be strong again…stronger even than I was a couple years back!

Share with me!!!

How did you feel immediately post pregnancy? Was it hard? Did you feel FREE like I did?

And, stay tuned….I have a post coming on the images we have in our home and how they affect our girls.  I’ve done some analyzing of the images I have posted in my gym and inspiration boards.

thehealthyapron - Thanks for sharing this post tori! As a 4 month preggo I am nervous about how I will feel post partum bc of how I’m struggling to feel right now. Like you, since Im not quite showing yet, it’s hard to like my body. I think in a month or so when I actually have a belly to show off, I’ll feel more beautiful. It’s just a strange change. Thanks for your thoguhts! I hope to feel as good as you!

Emily W. - I had a similar experience with my post-baby body. My weight fluctuated a lot before I got pregnant, and at the beginning of my pregnancy, I was 50 lbs. over my “ideal” weight. Since having my little one, I have lost all my pregnancy weight and the 50 extra lbs. not because I wanted to look good, but because I want to be the best person I can be so I can be the best mom I can be! It’s a completely different way of thinking after that bundle of joy comes into your life!

tori - You will! I can’t wait to hear all about it! Just keep your eye on the prize and the rest will take care of itself….at least for a while! 🙂

tori - So true!

Heather F. - As you know, I am not a mother, nor am I pregnant. BUT. This post was so inspiring as I most definitely have body image issues and have always wondered how I will end up feeling during the happiest time of my life- baby time! I have never had an eating disorder as I find it impossible to do anything when I’m starving, and I have never ever been overweight, but I feel like I am constantly struggling with myself about the shape of my body. I know I will never again be 100 pounds like I was in high school 8 years ago. The important thing is that in the past two months that I’ve been going to the gym 3-4 days a week, I feel the healthiest I’ve been in I can’t even REMEMBER how long, and I feel fit and more toned. Your post really added to my confidence that it’s better to feel good than worry about numbers on a scale!! Thank you 🙂

Audra O. - How awesome to hear that you feel so good! I am in complete agreement about the numbers on the scale. When I started training for my race a couple of months ago, I decided not to alter my diet in any way, even though it was January and the typical time of year for doing such things. 🙂 I’ve more than doubled my weekly mileage, and that number hasnt changed an ounce. But my pants definitely fit differently.

tori - That is SO great to hear! I’m doing the same thing kinda! I’m making it a point not to DIET but to more regularly work out and to make healthy choices…like try to cut out more of the sugar 🙂 We’ll see….hopefully the same results as you!

Anna - As a mother of a 7 month old, it has not been till recently that I have started to feel better about my “new” body. Even though I am back to pre pregnancy weight, I think it was a hard transition to still not be able to fit back into all my clothes like I once did. I think part of the issue is that I found it harder to go to the gym with trying to balance naps, feeding times, and going to a gym with child care. One thing that has helped me though is being able to work out at home and give myself that time for me.

tori - I also struggle to find the time to fit in my workouts between feedings, naps, etc. And, we don’t have a gym here w/ childcare, so I also work out at home. What do your workouts look like? I’m glad you’re feeling better about your “new” body! I hope you feel even better than before baby someday soon! 🙂

Anna - Thanks Tori! I definitely think I am beginning to feel that way. 🙂 I have been doing Tony Horton’s workout videos, which I enjoy but I do miss the weight lifting at the gym. Do you have any recommendations for at home workouts, other than Crossfit, since I don’t have a good setup for that right now?

Lyn - After I had my babies, it was MONTHS before I cared whatsoever what my body looked like! Little ones are so all-consuming with their needs and the overwhelming love and responsibility they bring. I think it generally took me about 8 months to actually turn my attention to fitness or strength. With my last (fifth) baby, though, I let that turn into something unhealthy… *ignoring* my body to the point of 280 pounds. I know that’s not at all what you are talking about but it is something new moms should guard for. It is so easy to be so happy and wrapped up with the baby (or so tired) that you don’t take good care of yourself.

tori - I liked P90x. It is a great strength workout w/ minimal equip. I used dumbbells (you may need to go kind of high or you can use bands) and a pull up bar (goes in your doorway). Which Tony Horton videos are you doing?

tori - I totally get it! My FITbaby is 7 mo old and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m able to get into a routine w/ working out! I just moved into our own home a few months ago (with a gym) tho so that may have something to do w/ it. Not sure. It’s a great warning though!

Anna - Great, thanks for the recommendation! I am doing his 10 Minute trainer series. It is nice that the only thing needed is a resistance band and that I can do just one if we are having a little rougher of a day with feedings, nap schedule and trying to fit in a shower or I can do a couple of them. Have you done any of his other work outs?

Amy - I finally got around to reading this post, so glad I did:) I love what you wrote about what your baby thinks of you, it’s so true. I have ALWAYS had body image issues and amazingly 3 months after having my son and still 20 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight, I am ok with my body. I know that it just did an amazing thing by growing a baby, and I’m proud of it. I’m proud of every stretch mark, I’m proud of the c-section scar that is now marked my belly. It proves I am a STRONG woman, and because of that I know I’ll get the baby weight off and then some. But not becuase I have poor self image, because I want to be a good role model of healthy living for my son.

Jae - At seven months post partum as well, I have to say I agree with everything you wrote! When I first was pregnant I was worried how my pregnancy was going to affect my body and my outlook on myself. The last couple of months I just avoided mirrors and tried to embrace being as big as a whale… then once my tiny human was born and I first saw him on my chest, I knew that I was ok… there were more important things that how others might see me. 🙂 Now I am about 5 lbs heavier than I was pre preggo, but I hadn’t been doing anything but walks and light yoga to help lose the weight. I am focusing on stregthening and toning! Ive got to gain stamina to keep after my little guy who is already in to everything! 🙂 I can’t wait to teach my son my love for fitness! Thanks for your blog!

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