Why being in a constantly evolving body is the healthiest option for me.
First, I know some of you don’t have an Instagram account because it’s not helpful for you, but I wanted to let you know that I shared yesterday that we are expecting our second child! I’ll be sharing a bit more about that soon, but for now…reader Jenna asked the following question: Hi Kylie! I was wondering if you have done a post on how to not get into diet mentality after having a baby? Or if it is ok to try and lose the weight?
Postpartum definitely is a time for a woman to surround herself with non diet resources and reminders of how to value herself and not minimize herself to a particular body size. It’s a time filled with urgings to lose weight and “get your body back” messages, however in this post I’m mainly going to address the latter part of this question.
At IAEDP, Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke shared an analogy to illustrate the effect preoccupation with body size may have on your life, which I thought illustrated nicely why having the goal of weight loss won’t ever be appropriate for me and may not be appropriate for you.
It went like this:
If the bit of water in the boat represents the weight on you…how much does this analogy resonate with you? Does being in pursuit of weight loss delay you living and being fully present for your loved ones and yourself? Each person, based on numerous factors/experiences, becomes preoccupied with their body size at a different level as a way to cope with the difficulty that is life. If you read this blog, I imagine you’re someone or used to be someone or know someone who is/was more towards the “very preoccupied” end of the body preoccupation spectrum.
^above photo from Haley’s Stories.
For me, I remember at some point there was a shift from it’s not okay to have fat on my body –> to –> it’s not okay that I’m not okay having fat on my body. And that began a journey of building skills to handle the latter rather than pursuing a smaller body (a pursuit I now lump into the fruitless striving category).
There are plenty of times I notice a body part on me that doesn’t look like it used to. For instance, when I’m sitting on a wooden bench and it feels different because my butt isn’t as muscular as it used to be. Or I notice a change has happened in the texture of my skin with my legs going from smooth to cellulite-y or my boobs going from whatever-they-were-before-kids to stretched out. Both are something to adjust to, but both are also a reminder that I’m no longer wasting my time in pursuit of a cultural perception of success when it comes to my body size. Since that pursuit would be at the expense of my health and ability to care for my family and myself well, every year I’m more and more okay with that. It can be uncomfortable to live with fat on your body, but discomfort is side effect of being human. An inevitable byproduct of interacting with the world. The eating disorder/disordered eating brain tells you that something that is life annoying (i.e. having fat on your body) is life threatening, which it isn’t. I can still be an excellent, and I’d argue, better/more connected (since I know how distracted I was when trying to become smaller) rester in Christ, wife, small business owner, mother, sister, and friend.
A weight-centric focus to my health (aka intentionally trying to lose weight), won’t ever make sense for me, because I don’t believe that healthy behaviors guarantee a certain level of thinness and the cost of being in pursuit of a certain body size is too great. Since I know what a pursuit of thinness or weight loss takes away from me it won’t ever be a value for me that is worth pursuing. However, a behavior-centric approach to health (aka tuning into hunger/fullness/cravings + intuitive movement + checking in regularly to be sure my actions are aligning with my values in life – and self reflecting to see when I’m getting this wrong)…sign me up!
Pursuit of weight loss isn’t worth it, because that requires me to lose the ability to have my life steered somewhere meaningful. Being in a body that I expect to be constantly evolving, and knowing I won’t be trying to change it, is an important part of caring for myself well.
^image created for my by Morgan
Do you feel like being in a body you allow to evolve and change is the healthiest body/weight for you? Do you agree/disagree with aspects of this post? Did something deeply resonate with you?