Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ample, bodacious, big

This post hasn't been easy to write. I've been trying to find the words, to try and cheer it up, but that has just resulted in quietly, privately, agonizing over something that I know a lot of people have felt before, or are currently feeling.

I have only lost 25 of the 40 pounds I gained when I was pregnant with Genevieve. I can't blame not being able to shed the pounds on anyone but myself- I was down to 8 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight when I started *really* making ice cream last year. And then the scale crept up, the way it always does when my beloved ice cream and I rediscover our love for each other.

Me? I love the flavor, the texture, the euphoria that comes with each bite. And my beloved ice cream? Sticks to me like a faithful friend.

More specifically, it sticks to my rear end, making it more ample and ensuring the legacy that my mother bequeathed upon me, which her mother bequeathed upon her, which I will pass on to Genevieve. An ample behind. A bodacious booty. A big butt.

Fabulousness is also part of her legacy.
It never has bothered me before, really, because as soon as my pants started feeling snug, I would (and could) do something about it. The insidious thing is that the bad feelings don't just hit you like a tidal wave, they creep up on you until one day you realize that you don't like how you look in the mirror. Slowly, the same way your pants gradually get tighter and tighter, until the day you realize that you are being positively strangled.

The first time I noticed it was my birthday, when Andrew gave me a 10-class yoga gift certificate. It came with a very nice note, but all I saw was subtext. And the subtext read, "IT'S BEEN NEARLY A YEAR AND YOU ARE STILL FAT. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FATSO."

I didn't cry in front of my guests, but there were tears, later.

How do you reconcile not liking what you see in the mirror with wanting to raise a confident daughter with a positive body image? I feel like a hypocrite, but I know that I haven't ever felt this way about my body before.

The worst part is how keenly aware I have been; when you're crawling and squatting to play, you notice when you don't have room to move in your pants. After two months of letting my vanity win out, I gave up and bought larger pants. Fat pants.

You know what? I'm happier. I can comfortably play on the floor and the pants *look* better on me- imagine that, pants that fit properly LOOK better, too. The only problem is my perception of the number on the label.

What I can't manage to do is get out and *go* to yoga. But the great thing about yoga is that you can do it basically anywhere, with barely anything. So, I'm going to start doing yoga with Genevieve, and hopefully a combination of the yoga and the mouse-wrangling will yield some positive results.

(I also got fat yoga pants, since getting into my regular yoga pants was like trying to stuff too much filling into uncooperative sausage casing. There is nothing that motivates you less than your *exercise* clothes being too tight.)

Part of having positive body image is learning healthy habits. I need to model these if not only for my own health, but for Genevieve's as well.

Enough complaining. Let's walk, Mama.

Fortunately, I have my own personal trainer, who is a huge fan of long walks.


  1. As someone who spend most of her life being incredibly overweight I could never grasp how people who looked skinny to me would complain about putting on a few pounds. Then I lost a tonne of weight and got down to just overweight. Then after about a year at that size my meds were played around with and gained some weight and I felt AWFUL. I understand why you feel so bad, but you of all people should understand that labels in clothing are just a number. They mean absolutely NOTHING. In another shop the same sized garment may have a different number. You wear the clothes that fit your measurements and not just a number some store made up. I'm really pleased that you allowed yourself to get some clothes that fit and that you look and feel better. I'm sure that as you feel less stifled by your tight fitting clothes you will move more and feel stronger and as you get stronger you will feel trimmer. You will make peace with your body, no matter what shape it is, because it works. It allows you to do the things you want it to do. As someone whose body doesn't work that well, I can say relish that your body allows you to move, lift, stretch and jump.

  2. During the pregnancy with the twins I gained 35kg (no, not pounds, kilo. According to google that is 155lbs). I lost 20kg after delivery and I managed to loose the other 15kg pretty soon thanks to ppd. But I gained a lot (8kg) of weight back afterwards and I felt terrible.
    When the girls turned one and I went back to work I decided I needed to do something and I joined weight watchers plus my therapist told me, that I needed to make space for ME time. And not just for knitting and sewing. I needed to do something for my body as well, so I finally managed to get back to yoga in Autumn. And I make sure, that I go! I have to pay upfront for the class and DH knows the date in the week and he makes sure, that he is at home to take care of the twins. Plus it's good, that they can have him exclusively without mum!
    I lost the 8kg thanks to WW and yoga and I feel so much better!
    (oh and I make frozen yoguhrt all the time in my icecream maker! Yummy and nearly fat free!)

  3. Right there with you. Gained 50--FIFTY--and have only lost 30. My beautiful daughter is turning one on Saturday and I keep wishing I had been more careful and only gained the recommended amount, so I could be done by now.

  4. Oh Sweetie, I know this feeling only too well! You know how to reach me if you need to talk to a gal who has "been there and done that."

  5. After my first was born, I lost all of the baby weight (plus 10 pounds because I was a freak) with Weight Watchers.

    I'm still trying to lose the the final fifteen from my second. She'll be turning eight years old next week. Heh. Heh. Oh. Whoops.

    It's a struggle, but please know that I'm absolutely POSITIVE that you look great and that you've definitely got this one. Ridiculous Advice I Always Give: Lots of water and no processed food for three days. It's Farmers Market season, which always helps. (Please know that I just spent ten minutes ordering a 2-lb bag of banana chips from our co-op. I find it hard to practice what I preach.)

    (AND, believe me: You're setting an AWESOME example for Young G. She's already treadling!)

  6. I feel this! I gained 25 in pregnancy, lost it all while nursing, but when he started eating more solids I gained 10 back. I've started a running program and been counting my calories in the last 7 weeks, so I'm now only about 5 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight, but it's still hard to look at my stretch marks and know my body will never be the same. I think it's something we all struggle with on some level.

    Add you mentioned, I think the key is not to focus on being the same size as before, but on being healthy and comfortable in your own skin. That's what you'd want for G!

  7. Oh I feel your pain, I live your pain :) Don't think you are being a bad role model for you BEAUTIFUL daughter by focusing on a number.

    Realize you are being a GREAT WONDERFUL FABULOUS role model with good eating and exercise practices!

  8. Great post, Jasmin. I completely empathize with you; although my "babies" are 20 and 17 now, I went through your stage years ago and am going through it again now, when the weight is not so easy to lose after 50. I know you will be a wonderful role model for the beautiful little girl.

  9. I think that, to a certain extent, we've all experienced these body issues, especially after pregnancy. Looking back on it now, I find it quite interesting that I felt as gloriously feminine and voluptuous as I will probably EVER feel in my life when I was pregnant (and I stopped looking at the scale when it crossed the dreaded 200 pound mark - and my "normal" weight was 150). Tummy, boobs (BOOBS!!! Man-oh-man do I miss my pregnancy bosom. *Sigh*), everything screamed "BEHOLD my fabulousness, for I am WOMAN, bitches! BOOYAH!!"

    Then the baby was born, and it wasn't long before I felt like a deflated balloon. I wasn't a glorious symbol of fertility anymore. I was just... fat.

    8 years (and another pregnancy) later, and it's not so much my OWN body image that I struggle with (although I certainly have my days), but rather my daughter's. How can I teach her to be accepting of her body? I sometimes catch myself eyeing her tummy and thinking she needs to get more exercise. Fortunately, I always snap out of it, remember that SHE'S EIGHT, and that making any kind of judgment on the figure of an eight year-old is BONAFIED CRAZY-PANTS.

    Striving for a healthy lifestyle is definitely the way to go. Try to eat healthy food. Make it at home. Have FUN outside. Follow your instincts. Strive for balance.

  10. I too feel your pain, I had my daughter when I was 42 then about 2years later entered menopause. Talk about NO metabolism! I am around much younger women with kids that say things like "nursing is so great, the pounds just fall off" HA, not true for me. Anyway my wonderful mother always said to me, "nothing looks more flattering than a smile", hold your head up, laugh and continue to be the great role model that you are.

  11. I'm right there with ya girl. Its been 18 months for me, and I am STILL trying to lose the extra pregnancy pounds. Bleh! I think I gained 60-70 pounds with my son... :(

    You are not alone!

  12. I managed to get the baby weight off just in time to get pregnant again. I think it's harder once your kids start walking because they then don't want to be in the stroller (where you could push it at an aerobic pace), instead, you're moseying at their pace.

    I'm glad you found pants that fit. I found that if I was comfortable in my clothes, I was more likely to move, than if I was trying to hide that my pants were too snug.

    Balance is good advice. Good luck

  13. I so identify. My third will be 1 in a week, and I gained right at 40 pounds with her. I've had the hardest time bouncing back after this pregnancy health-wise and weight-wise, and just when I started to make some headway my body went crazy again and the steroids to deal with the issues have made it even harder to make progress with the weight.

    I always worry about the body image thing, specifically with my daughter. But I realized not long ago to treat it the same way we manage it with our older boys. We each get one body and it's our job to take care of it. It's not about that number; it's about being healthy. I try to make sure we are all active every day and that we eat well. My husband and I try to teach our kids to listen to their bodies and we try to do the same. And truth be told there are certain foods we just can't have in the house or I will eat. them. all.

    My husband is a serious runner and health nut, and while I find it easy and important to eat well and feed the kids well, exercise is something I have to really work at. It's easy for me to discount that time as time I should spend with the kids or husband or on the million things that need to be done, but if I go run or do yoga or *something* for an hour (so thankful that my husband is more than happy to give me that time to myself), I'm healthier and in a position to parent better.

  14. I am a mom of 7 children ages 6-21. I'm just starting to shed the weight of childbearing motherhood. We have been looking at pictures of me 50-70lbs heavier than I am now, (depending on the pregnancy and what toddler), and though I cringe, the children smile, and I say, "look what I did for you". I feel like it's my martyrs stake I walk to proudly. Now, I'm not saying it has to take you 21 years. You hit the nail on the head, and I wish I had learned this years ago. It's about making healthy choices and setting a good example of that to your daughter. Let her see the ice cream and cookies as a once a week only, (or whatever you choose), treat, let her see you still shaking your booty for 30 minutes, though she may have stopped 15 minutes ago. You are beautiful and intelligent, and when you set your mind to it you can do it. You conquered the pregnancies woes, you triumphed in a slightly early delivery, you got wonderfully handled ample milk supply and exciting nursing start. Just to name a few. You can do this girl! Press on! (((HUGS)))

  15. Jasmin,

    I enjoyed following your pregnancy through your blog and podcast, as my fourth was born just a month after your little Mouse. For me, the weight dripped off with little effort this time (go figure). I say this not to gloat, but to let you know that now I am seeing the wrinkles, the stretch marks, the totally deflated boobs, and the grey hair that my children have left behind...

    And it's ok!!!

    You and I will never have our 23 year old pre-pregnancy bodies back, and some of the changes are the true badges of motherhood.

    I'll tell you what I tell my 5'11" gorgeous 14 year old daughter (whose positive body image is one of my proudest mama accomplishments): there will ALWAYS be something that you don't like about your body. Make peace with it.

    Congrats to you on your beautiful family (and damn you for that last cookie receipe!)

    Drsmak (on ravelry)

  16. You are lovely and interesting and kind. And beautiful. However you wish to look you will get there. In the meantime try not to be so hard on yourself. It's a process. Psst I bet your husband gave you yoga classes so you would feel good and be happy. Most men love us just the way we are right at this moment. The good ones do anyway.

  17. I am a person who has been overweight my whole life. Weight issues are constantly a struggle for me.

    One thing that my parents did when I was a child was make the rule that your plate had to be cleared to leave the table. Keep in mind that this is what their parents (who went through the depression) taught them.

    When I have children I am going to try really hard to not teach them this type of eating pattern.

    Thank you for being brave and sharing this part of you (and really all the parts that you do). I can't imagine it's easy!

  18. Jasmin - Thank you for putting your thoughts out there - I know it was hard but obviously SO many women can relate. My youngest is 7 and I don't even know how much I gained but about 3 years ago I realized I had 50 pounds to lose (I'm 4'11" - not many places to hide it!). I started working out with high intensity strength training and I really changed the way I eat. It has been a process but slow and steady... I have about 25 pounds to go but I feel so much better, my clothes fit better, I am strong and I am not satisfied but happy with my progress and how I look. It's a personal journey for everyone but I highly recommend some kind of strength training. Strong muscles = strong core = strong woman. :-)

  19. Chica, I know how you feel! I gained about 60 pounds when pregnant. Half came off quickly and the other half is moving at a snail's pace. I tried to resist buying larger clothes, but I've gotten some larger jeans and comfortable skirts that make me feel much better. I just bought a maxi skirt from Target that feels like I'm wearing pajamas...

    I'm breastfeeding, and I want to eat everything in site, all the time. I have friends that seemed to gain hardly a pound when pregnant, and look like they never gave birth (even though the kid is younger than mine) and I feel terrible when I compare myself to them. Every body is different.

    It is hard not to get down about weight gain or sloooow weight loss. I also have a daughter and I want her to feel confident at any size. Learning how to do that myself and project that is what I'm focusing on. Thanks for this post.

  20. Your beauty and vitality come through in lull that you do. I lot 40 lbs for my 40th birthday and then because of (insert excuse) I have gained most of it back for my 50th. My plan is to always be healthy and generous. I hope to wrangle a few friends to help me focus on non food joys and the pleasure of activity, because I'm not managing to do it on my own.

  21. Stay healthy by eating good and do exercise. Just do it. You are all beautiful women and don't think us guys don't notice it even if that appears to be the case


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