I've been dealing with the conundrum of body positivity and the desire to lose weight for a while now. It's one thing to aim for body positivity when you're a woman trying to lose weight, but when you're a mom? Well, when you're a mom it can be more of a challenge, especially when tiny ears are always listening and inquisitive eyes are always watching. There are ways a body positive mom goes about losing weight, though, that can be both empowering and effective.
The hardest part about wanting to lose weight, as a mom who is trying to teach her kids about body positivity, is making sure I convey that I still love myself and my body in a way that sets a positive example to and for my children. I want my kids to be healthy and active, but I don't want them to equate taking care of their bodies with needing to be a certain weight or fit into a particular size. I want them to know that they can seek to improve themselves or feel the absolute best they can feel, without feeling like they're only worthwhile if they look a certain way or fit a certain predetermined, social standard of "beauty." And so, I think the most important parts of my journey involve becoming more active (something I was unable to do for almost a year, due to health problems) and reducing my sugar and processed food intake. It's not about hitting a particular number, but about feeling better and refusing to call slip ups "mistakes."
The follows ways are choices I'm making as I embark upon my particular weight loss journey, but I think these eight ways a body positive mom goes about losing weight can apply to any mom out there, because we should all love ourselves and our bodies, first, foremost and always.
She Chooses To Be Active In A Way That Brings Her Enjoyment
Love to dance? Try Zumba, or some other kind of dance fit class. Hate group classes? Try the elliptical. Don't have the cash flow for a gym membership? Download a work out app on your phone. Find what you love to do that gets your heart rate up. You don't have to view working out as a "punishment," nor do you have to "punish yourself" in order to lose weight.
She's Kind To Herself
Let yourself make mistakes, or have the occasional "cheat day." It's hard being a mom and trying to do something as committed as losing weight (because this should be a lifestyle change and not a crash diet that's potentially and usually harmful), so cut yourself some slack when things get tough. You have enough opportunity for guilt in the parenting realm, you don't need to add to the load.
She Eats Healthy Food
Fewer meals in boxes (take out or frozen) and more whole foods is the name of the game. Less sugar and more water will probably be helpful. More vegetables than you think your body can actually consume will, on top of make you feel better, set a great example for your children. All of these little things will add up to help you in your weight loss journey.
She Proudly Embraces "The Jiggle"
Listen, you may never look like the fitness model's Instagram account, but so what? Honestly, that might not even be your goal. Just because our society has arbitrarily decided a particular body type is attractive, doesn't mean that body type is everyone's "goals." Having a bit of jiggle doesn't mean you're not healthy, and it doesn't mean you're not fit or attractive or worthy of love.
She Gets Active With Her Kids
Take your kids swimming. Run next to them as they ride their scooter or bike. Play a game of soccer. Show your kids how much fun it is to go out and do things and how incredible their bodies are (and yours, too).
She Refuses To Become Obsessed With A Particular Number On A Scale, Calories Consumed Or A Gym Routine
Orthorexia is a thing, and it's as unhealthy for you as any other type of eating disorder. Life is about balance, and refusing to have cake on your daughter's birthday isn't going to ruin anything but your daughter's birthday (unless she's turning one, in which case, well, she'll probably want the whole cake).
She Aims For New Accomplishments She Knows Her Body Can Achieve
Learning to appreciate all the things your body can do is part of being body positive. If you're looking to lose weight, sign yourself up for a 5K race or a triathlon. The feeling of accomplishing those types of goals will have you feeling far more amazing than hitting a certain number on the scale.
She Avoids Setting A Weight Goal
I spent most of my life aiming to see a number between 115-120 on the scale, when I stepped on. I haven't weighed that much since the ninth grade, and holding that number in my head has made me feel more and more terrible, especially the farther I get from it. The fact is, when I am fit and healthy, I am not that weight but I am still fit and healthy. A number is just that: a number.