Embarrassing Bodies

My husband is head chef in our house.

During my pregnancy, I ate like the Wallaby tight five during the off season.

The first three months after our daughter was born, I was breastfeeding (or expressing) every couple of hours. Not surprisingly, my appetite was nothing short of voracious.

Somewhere between three and four months, we organically reverted to a ‘working day’ routine, which meant I began to breastfeed in the morning and then again in the evening, introducing Mother Formula for the other feeds.

Neither my husband nor I have ever bothered engaging in any of the stress-filled ‘to formula or not to formula’ debates that can put the most confident of new parents into a state of flux.

Our approach has served us (or at least our new parent sanity) well, but we’ve also developed a team of trusted advisors along the way.

So true to form, we followed the recommendations of our midwife re: best baby formula to use and haven’t looked back.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’d looked ‘back’ at any time prior to our annual trip to the skin cancer clinic.

As we’re both in our 40’s and we’ve always been ‘outdoorsy’ types, an annual skin check is a must. Thankfully, neither one of us has ever had any cause for concern during these visits…until this week.

However, it wasn’t the ‘flaking paint’ the doctor froze off my forehead and nose in six different spots that concerned me.

It was disrobing.

You see, on my last visit, I’d been fit and fabulous.

And while after having bub, I was actually the trimmest I’d ever been – thanks to the physics of breastfeeding, over the last month or so, I have not only developed ‘the mummy (leg) wobble’, but also a post natal paunch to rival the sturdiest of marsupials.

So there I was, topless and in my best granny undies, when I felt compelled to reflect (and correct myself) on when my thighs had turned into unstable tree trunks, and my tummy had developed a certain ‘dough’ quality to it.

While there’s nothing quite like pregnancy to suck the elasticity out of your skin, the reality was a lot less exciting.

Irrespective of whether you’ve just given birth, or never given birth, you are what you eat.

And never was that truer than now when I had to admit to myself, that despite dropping to only 3 or 4 feeds a day, I was still eating like I had been when I was feeding bub 10 – 12 times a day.

I don’t eat junk food or drink soft drinks. I am gluten and dairy free and since falling pregnant (and while breastfeeding) now caffeine free (which is a lot harder for a chocoholic than it should be).

What I have been doing however, is eating a plate full of food at each meal and going back for seconds or thirds.

While it is a testament to my husband’s amazing culinary efforts, inspite of the home cooked, low-fat meals prepared for my dining pleasure, overeating I had to admit, had become the norm, rather than the exception to my daily behaviour.

I really hate thinking, let alone talking about not being happy with my body.

I’ve seen too many young women struggle with body image and the physical, emotional and psychological effects of eating disorders.

However, there comes a time in every woman’s life when you have to stop, reflect (honestly) and decide to reprogram bad habits into a positive move towards being the best possible version of yourself.

So this weekend, I took control. I had to.

I’m blessed with great genes, but they’re of the athletic variety and unless you’re moving and eating lean, they’re of little benefit when you’re carb loading for the fun of it.

So far, so good.

Although, consciously monitoring my number of portions has been proving a little harder than it should have been. I’ve already learnt how to ignore my tummy as it grumbles in disgust.

Remember: I’m not doing this to be skinny. I’m doing this to feel healthy again, after consciously changing my eating habits from nurturing two back to one.

It’s not a quick fix. It’s a conscious effort over time.

Wish me luck! 🙂


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