Complacent Jeans

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There are a lot of really inspiring posts floating around social media these days encouraging women to "get out there" despite their discomfort with their bodies. The average mom is hiding from the camera, social situations and other scenarios (like the beach and pool) where her baby belly or "thunder thighs" could be seen, and these words of encouragement are great for inspiring women to live their lives in the less-than-perfect way we are all presented.

But they are also dangerous.

It was incredibly difficult for me to get into pictures with my son after he was born because I was unhappy and self-conscious about the way I looked after pregnancy. I felt incredibly insecure with my post-baby body, and I avoided the camera at all costs, as well as many other opportunities to show him off and live life in my new body. I cowered under sweatshirts and frumpy clothes, and I tried to "hide" my shape under folded arms and other inefficient cloaking devices. 

My insecurity blared like a siren. 

I finally broke down and bought a larger pair of jeans and next-size-up shirts, tired and frustrated of feeling even worse in the sweatpants that served as a place holder for the unknown day and time I would once again squeeze into my "pre-baby" jeans. My temporary wardrobe of baggy pants and t-shirts only made me feel even more out of place, but the reality check of purchasing clothes that were larger than my maternity stock resonated deeply into my soul.

There in that dressing room I made a choice: I was going to love myself for who I was and be comfortable in my own skin, but I was not going to accept this body as my new reality. It wasn't a determination to be a "hot mom" or try to show off for others. It was a decision to rid my life of complacency, and out of love for myself pursue the healthy, vibrant feeling I deeply desired.

I would never encourage my son to settle for second-best. I want him to aspire to be the best he can be in every situation, always striving to get a little better each day, working to improve and loving himself for who he is and what he can accomplish. 

Sure, if he can only pull C's in math I have no intention of faulting him for it, and if he only ever makes second string I'll be loudest one cheering from the stands, but he damn well better be giving it all he has, no matter what. There's no way I can lay down expectations like that for my son without modeling them myself. 

The feeling I had when I pulled my pre-baby jeans smoothly over my bum was a feeling of accomplishment I had worked so hard to achieve. It wasn't that the jeans themselves were so important or that I was trying to get back to a certain reality, but that day served as a marker in time that something I worked for had been reached. I have improved my body significantly since that day in February 2013, and how I look has been a mere side effect of those developments. 

I am stronger than I ever was, more energized than ever and I'm working towards bigger achievements every week (of all kinds - not just fitness related) because I know I can. I don't feel great about myself because I can see definition in the mirror (although that certainly feels good!) 

I feel great about myself because I am better than I was yesterday and I'm setting an example for my son (and now, my daughter) on how to persevere and live a healthy, vibrant life.

Here's the reality: excess body fat does more than shove our once-favored clothes to the back of the closet. Losing weight isn't just about looking better (in fact, it doesn't need to be a reason whatsoever.) Consider these:

• The more fat you have, the less energy your body produces to pursue the things you love. The tired, run-down feeling you probably experience could be reversed in very short time by making strategic changes to your lifestyle.

• Kids of overweight parents end up being overweight themselves. Kids of parents who live healthy lifestyles end up being healthier themselves.

• The hormonal response excess body fat produces has been shown to cause depression, meaning there is probably no pep talk inspiring enough to change your mindset. Fat also impairs other systems like reproductive and thyroid functions, which can further impair your moods and well-being, especially when the extra weight is around your belly.

• Extra fat you have this year will inevitably turn to even more fat next year, a cycle that compounds as years turn to decades. Waiting until the kids go to kindergarten or the busy season at work calms will only make it harder to achieve change. It doesn't take a huge commitment to see change. The most successful at weight loss exercise only a handful of hours each week.

• Every extra pound of fat is costing you an average of $20 per pound - and rising with each birthday. That could otherwise be spent on luxuries like a manicure, massage, girls weekend or your kid's college tuition - so yes, you can actually blame your belly for holding you back from life. (Note: money doesn't solve the problem of unhappiness, but it does solve the problem of not having money!)

• Overweight and obese individuals are far more likely to suffer long-term, painful, and eventually fatal diseases that could otherwise be prevented, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Want to be there for your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids? Don't ignore your bulge.

• Every diet decreases your chances of achieving the body you want. You need a permanent solution that will make your results a life-long reality.

Ladies: listen to the encouraging messages. Love your bodies. Accept where you are today. Embrace the person staring back at you in the mirror for who she is on the inside. Appreciate what you have in this very moment. Get out there today in your swimsuit and be in front of the camera with your kids. You can and you should. 

But know there's a difference between being content and complacent. By no means should you resign yourself to a lifestyle where you spend each new year fighting to accept a less than ideal version of yourself. It's not because you're not good enough right now. It's not about being who you were in your teens or 20s. It's about striving to reach your limitless potential.

I'm not saying go out and "get sexy" or try to be a size two or even get a six pack or run a marathon. Those things are great if they are prodded by an honest internal motive (and if they're actually realistic) but they aren't the ideal. I don't think for a minute that any of those things will make you happy in and of themselves.

What will make you happy is the sense of accomplishment that accompanies the achievement of something important to you. It's about being better and improving, because you can - and you deserve it!

Want to get started on a permanent change? It is far easier than you think. Call or e-mail me today to find out how tiny steps today can mean lasting change tomorrow. 



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