Thoughts on Day 3…
When I was pregnant I kept saying to my girlfriends, ‘I can’t wait to get back into my old clothes again once this weight is gone!’ The friends who had not had kids yet said things like, ‘The weight will just fall off you with breast feeding!’ And did things like give me tiny black skirts in my pre-baby size for a date night with my hubby. The friends who HAD had kids said things like, ‘When you get back in your old clothes they’ll fit really differently than they did before, even if you weigh the same. So don’t fixate on them.’ And did things like offer to be my workout buddy. Turns out, the voices of experience were the ones on the right track.
For me (and millions of American women), weight has always been an ‘issue.’ As a kid I danced 7 days a week, competed and performed in traveling companies. I LOVED this life, but with it came weekly weigh-ins and a perpetual feeling of being ‘too big’. College brought with it the classic binging on pizza followed by weeks of living on coffee alone. So, though I stayed small, it wasn’t because of healthy eating and a regular exercise routine. I now know it was a wing, a prayer, occasional starvation, genetics, and probably years of working out 24/7 that was the key to my weight ‘maintenance.’
I once had a yoga instructor who during our opening meditation told us to not be afraid to ‘take up space.’ Until I heard those words I’m not sure I’d realized how afraid I’d been to ‘take up space.’ I was afraid if I got too big I’d loose value to myself, to others, to society… I’ve never thought of myself as ‘that kind of woman,’ but there it was. My truth. Before I was well into my pregnancy I was afraid of gaining weight, because I was worried it would mean I’d not be ‘good enough’ or have value any more.
As I grew with my pregnancy though, something odd happened. It was as though the pendulum swung as far the other direction as far it could. ‘Taking up space’ seemed to become my subconscious mission. I began to indulge as I never had before. Cupcakes on the way to a graduate school glass – check. Burgers for dinner after work – check. Danish for breakfast – check. And as I grew, I became more OK with taking up space in my life.
Nine months later I held my beautiful daughter and eighty five new pounds of cupcakes, burgers, and danishes too.
My path getting back to a healthy weight since then has been long and slow, full of fits and starts, and not always one in which I’m happy with my past choices. I’ve only lost half my ‘baby weight’ and still have a long way to go.
AND, more importantly, I have had a MUCH harder time remembering that my value doesn’t lay in being small in stature since I’ve given birth. I feel I know the truth of my value internally, but managing to ‘take up space’ in this world metaphorically while not having too literally has been a tricky task for me. I wish I didn’t have to learn this lesson by gaining weight, but that appears to be my current journey and shoulda coulda woulda never helped anyone.
So, that’s where I am today in my ‘6 weeks to a new me.’ Today I am eating whole, natural foods, moving around as much as I can, and practicing having a comfort with taking up space in our world metaphorically. If I loose weight too, that’s just gravy. (pun intended ;))
Take up space people! ‘Om’….