I've been struggling with some body image issues.
Truth be told, pregnancy is hard on one's body. And I didn't even gain that much weight. 25 pounds and about 10 of them were water weight. I was so swollen by the end of my pregnancy that my watch did not fit. Today I actually weigh less than I did before K was born, but things just are not right.
Becky. And although I made excuse after excuse for not swimming, the truth is I didn't want to put my speedo on.
My confidence is shot.
In an attempt to lose some weight and start to feel good about myself, I started tracking calories and exercising with a purpose. I have been tracking everything I eat using Livestrong's My Plate. I'm also tracking my weight and my exercise.
Progress has been slow, but there are signs of progress:
I am comfortable wearing my size 6 pants again;
my running pants are fitting better;
I am not completely self-conscious about wearing my capri pants and striped running top this weekend (I wore this outfit for a little training run back in March and was mortified when I caught a glimpse of myself in a window).
So there is progress.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about my body, getting frustrated with my weight, exercising no matter how tired or hurt I might be, feeling sorry for myself, looking in the mirror...
And this has got me to thinking:
WHAT AM I DOING?
WHY AM I BEING SO HARD ON MYSELF?
WHAT KIND OF ROLE MODEL AM I BEING FOR K?
Being a parent is hard freaking work. There are schedules and plans; discipline and coddling; activities and nap times; bad habits to break and positive habits to build. There is little sleep, endless laundry, house pants that are watered with everything from tap water to soy milk, other plants that are slowly being dug up and dirt splattered on the floor. There are play dates, story hours, slides, swings, walks, trips to see the metro, etc...
Sometimes when I step back and take a view of everything, and not just the day-to-day activities, I really realize the awesome responsibility it is to be a parent. I'm not just a scheduler, planner, disciplinarian, transporter, provider, and cuddler. I'm also a role mode. I need to walk the walk, so to speak, and not just talk the talk.
When we were in NYC for the marathon in November, we visited with a really good friend (yes, you should read Ray's book). I remember him telling me that I was teaching K so many wonderful life lessons JUST BY LEADING MY OWN LIFE and training for and running the marathon. Through my actions, she was learning the importance of daily exercise, setting goals, eating healthy, striving for something most people would think to be unobtainable.
Seriously, I'm teaching her all of that by doing my thing.
So what I am teaching her (directly or indirectly) through my struggle with my body image?
Again, to be honest, I haven't thought about this much UNTIL NOW. But I am realizing, slowly but surely, that I need to model good behavior related to body image for my daughter. This does not mean that I'm not going to try to lose the 15 pounds I want to lose. But I am going to do it in a healthy way. And I'm not going to beat myself up for not meeting a goal. And I'm going to get up every morning and be thankful for the day; thankful that I can exercise; thankful that we have healthy food in the house; thankful that I have a husband who supports and encourages me.
I want K to see in my a thankful mother, who is trying to lose some weight and be healthy. I want her to see someone who is enjoying life and working hard and taking care of herself.
I don't want her to think of me and think of the cranky lady in front of the mirror who changes her outfit two or three times before leaving for school in the morning.
I'm going to show K that you can love yourself through the good times and the bad; the fat days and the skinny ones.
I want her to see me model a healthy lifestyle.
I am going to love myself and encourage myself through this rough/heavy/awkward patch. I hope to model the behaviors and attitudes I want K to pick up on and incorporate into the little person she is becoming.