Lovin my Mom Bod!

As this is a ‘mom’s blog’, it would be remiss of me not to post something on Mother’s Day (in Canada)  and wish all you yummy mummies out there a happy and joy-filled Mother’s Day!! This is my second Mother’s Day so far and I can’t deny that it’s nice to be spoiled. Last year my lovely hubby got me a ring as a mother’s / ‘pushing’ present and I hope to hold onto it so that I can give it to my daughter when she grows up.

Obviously, it’s nice to receive gifts and have breakfast in bed as a thank you for all the hard work us mother’s do throughout the world. From wiping bums to cooking meals and washing endless amounts of laundry, we mums keep the world turning. And in that spirit, I would like to point out a great documentary I watched on Netflix the other day. Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt is one woman’s story of how she went from hating her body to loving it. Taryn had three children and then went on to become a body builder in an attempt to get her pre-baby body back. She successfully lost weight and strutted her stuff in a bikini at a competition to finally realize that she was still miserable and upset with her body. Fast forward a couple of years, and Taryn has now learned to love her mom bod with its stretch marks, saggy boobs and loose pelvic floor.

But the documentary isn’t just about Taryn, it is also about society’s view of the perfect body and what it means to be healthy. It’s an interesting watch, hearing other women talk about their love or hate for their bodies when they have one boob, disfigurations, and facial hair. It also puts into perspective how trivial our self-obsession with image is and that we should be applauding our bodies for the amazing things they can do.

Therefore, in the full spirit of Mother’s Day I want to congratulate every mother out there that has been through the trauma of birth, whether natural or caesarean, as our bodies have done something truly incredible. Not only did we carry a growing baby within us for over 9 months but we endured labor, breastfed, looked after other children, made meals, cleaned the house, did laundry and kept everyone alive! My stretch marks have now become a badge of honor, a scar which shows what I have achieved and although I may never fit into my pre-baby jeans again, I have an amazing child that couldn’t care less about my muffin top!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone, no matter if you are celebrating today or not, remember your body is freakin awesome!!!

One of those Annoying Runners.

I’m not a runner. I don’t feel any shame for admitting that I’m not built for running, never have been. Like most people, I’ve given it a try over the years and had stints of running which for me is jogging slowly but I’ve never really found my passion. I don’t feel bad about it as I think that we are all built for different sports. My husband could get off the sofa now and do a 5k run in a reasonable time without any concern while I would be trailing behind gasping for air. And I could Irish dance the arse of anyone but I am most definitely not a runner.

Despite my running inability, I have always wanted to run a 5k. It’s not a long distance, seems relatively reasonable and if my will fails, I can still just walk it. I have to this point successfully avoided all charity runs, either personally or work related and have happily been the person on the sidelines cheering the weary runners on. My brother recently completed his first charity run which his kind work colleagues signed him up for while he was on holiday and I have to say I was a little inspired. I watched him do an early morning park run with a six-month baby on my hip and as he jogged by in a rather fetching lycra outfit I wondered if I could do the same?

Well, the opportunity has presented itself and I’ve decided to take the plunge and dig out my running shoes. My local church, Hillside Wesleyan, is doing a ‘Hillside for Haiti’ 5k run to raise funds for their Haiti mission trips. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you for money, calm down. The run takes place on a trail not far from my house and many people use it as an opportunity to do the couch to 5k run program which is exactly my plan.

I have already been out twice and enjoyed my brief running minutes of dance music accompanied by an electronic motivational voice that tells me to keep going! This is not easy for me and it certainly does not come naturally which is why I wonder what the hell I am doing every time I get home in a sweaty mess. But for some unknown reason, I am determined that I will run this 5k. Anyway, your support would be appreciated and I will try to post updates on my progress or failure. And if any HRM people are interested in joining me for the run, give me a shout and I can send you the details. Happy running!

New Year, New You!

Over the next few days we are going to hear the repeated question, “What is your New Years resolution?” It’s the same cringe worthy question we hope to avoid answering every year and yet we still continue to ask people out of habit. The number one resolution year after year is to lose weight and with an ever-increasing obesity rate, it doesn’t look like our goals will be changing any time soon.

That said, the weight loss subject feels like a particularly delicate topic for most women as we are endlessly bombarded with society’s unrealistic ideal image. Now, that doesn’t mean that men are not affected by the same insecurities, as the rising obsession with bodybuilding demonstrates, but it does feel that women have to deal with conflicting ideals on a daily basis. The fashion magazines promote skinny under-aged models, the media displays endless nude female figures and even the restaurants have imposed guilt with ‘low calorie options.’

Again, and again I am surrounded by the most loving, generous women that have endured child birth, financial struggles and personal losses, to find that we inevitably talk about feeling fat. It leaves me a little disheartened that such intelligent and inspiring women have become a generation obsessed with the size of our jeans, myself included. Although I am a good mother, loving wife and a loyal friend, I still beat myself up because I don’t look like a slim twenty-year-old. The days of scoffing a whole pizza or a huge bowl of pasta with garlic bread have long passed and that over indulgence only leaves me with a few extra pounds and a guilt complex.

I have battled with my weight before losing well over 35 pounds, so I completely understand how frustrating it is to look down at the rolls of flab and feel despair. I have had my share of moments in the dressing room when you try and squeeze into the size you want rather than go up to the next dress size as somehow the increasing number on the label reflects something about your identity. I can even admit that once I lost the weight and became a regular ‘gym bunny’, I felt a ridiculous sense of accomplishment and pride to the point where I felt superior to people who were still overweight. Because being slim means you’re a great person, right?

However, since giving birth I have struggled to lose the extra blubber and I’m back to feeling insecure about my shape. When I look at my altered body I don’t see the miracle of how it grew a baby and sustained it with milk, instead I see stretch marks and a mummy belly. Countless people said that it would all disappear while breastfeeding, but it hasn’t. On the one hand, I am proud to be a woman because of the amazing things are bodies can do, and on the other, I tear myself down for not being Heidi Klum.

Over the years, I have tried a variety of different weight loss programs such as Weightwatchers, going low carb, gluten free, calorie counting and even vegan (I physically felt amazing while being vegan) but nothing addresses the underlying issues swirling around in my mind. I tell myself that my goal is to be healthy but in truth, that is really code for ‘slim’. Therefore, my New Year’s resolution is to evaluate and adjust my understanding of ‘healthy.’

This January, I will be undergoing a clean eating program and exercise regime (details to follow) in an attempt to confront the ‘baby belly’ but more importantly, I will be taking time for self-reflection in the hope of rewiring my mind. I don’t know where this mental journey will take me but as I look down at my beautiful blue eyed daughter, I know that I don’t want to inflict any of my mixed-up perspective on her little absorbent mind. Surely, she should be able to grow up and hope to be more than just slim, pretty and attractive?

Food for thought!

Anyway, my mini rant is over. Watch this space for details about my fitness journey, including a giveaway competition and feel free to suggest any good reads on this topic or simply comment if you relate to my endless frustration.