his photo was taken at one of the happiest moments I had as a new mom. It was Jarrett’s first time in Hawaii and our first big family vacation. He was 6-months and couldn’t crawl yet (thank goodness lol) and when I looked at my phone after TJ snagged the shot, I was disgusted with myself.
The words left my mouth, “Ew I look awful. Do I really look like that?”
Not only did my body look nothing like the way it did when I was strategically angling in the mirror to see what I looked like, but it crushed my perception of who I thought I was - a “badass bounce-back” fitness and nutrition coach that needed to be back to my pre-pregnancy form in months.
I was repulsed by the sight of my body, so my finger hovered over the trash can symbol. I sat and stewed for a few seconds and realized that one day, I may regret my decision to delete such a precious moment.
I saw this photo and thought I was doing something wrong. Self-loathing ensued. Blame. Questions. I’m nursing, the weight should just “fall off”, right? This narrative was robbing me of happiness in a moment that was true bliss.
What I didn’t realize until months later is that it was much easier to lose weight after I stopped nursing, which is the case for many moms -- but no one ever talks about that, do they?
What I didn’t realize until years later, is that our kids are sponges. They pick up every word, sentiment, mood, and vibe we give off. Did I want Jarrett to incorporate this toxic way of thinking into his mindset?
What many don't realize is that they are striving to reach someone else’s perfect. They buy into the idea that since another mom shed the weight, went back to her full time job, and ran a half marathon, then they should too. What many miss is that it is someone else’s curated idea of reality, which is an oxymoron in and of itself.
Is it wrong to want to feel and look the way you want to? Absolutely not. But it is toxic to let the idea of your physical appearance consume you to the point where it prohibits you from experiencing happiness.
Even with my background in health and fitness, it was problematic for me to think that life, or even progress is linear. What I’ve learned in my own journey is that simply eating less and exercising more neglects to take into account stress, sleep deprivation of a new parent, and the slew of other hormonal imbalances that ensue living in this modern world.
Now, I try my best to exhibit and practice kindness to myself and carry that over to everyone whom I work with. It’s not easy to stop the negative narrative in our minds, but when we’re kinder to ourselves, that affects our decision-making and the way we view the world.
Glass half empty becomes half full. I’ve had more patience when dealing with a toddler temper tantrum. I’ve had more compassion for my husband and emotions he’s navigating. I’m experiencing how kindness can snowball the positive feedback loop of change.
As a mother to a new generation, Jarrett or even possibly a future daughter will NEVER hear how I hate how I look, how I look “fat” or “gross.”
Will I think about those things? I’m sure! We're all human. However, I want them to know that happiness, enjoyment, and self-worth doesn’t come from an image; it comes from a shared experience, enjoyment, empowerment, and capability.
I am, you are, we are worth SO. MUCH. MORE...than the way we look. Our value is not derived from the mirror, FitBit, My Fitness Pal, or Instagram.
So yes, I’m glad I didn’t delete that photo. I’ve learned to love myself, and therefore in turn, had that love pour into my actions. Be an advocate for celebrating all aspects of life - the posed-and-pretty along with the down-and-dirty.