Monday, 3 October 2016

The Phrase “Get Your Body Back” Has No Business in the Baby-Making Business

6-Week Plan To Get Your Body Back! Get Your Body Back After Baby! Easy Ways to Get Your Body Back!

Since when did having a baby “ruin” a woman’s body? Since when is the word “change” synonymous with “destruction”? When people say “Get Your Body Back Post-Baby” I think: but your body hasn’t GONE anywhere. It’s exactly where you are right now, and it’s been with you every step of the way.

Coming from a bodybuilding background I learned some time ago that our bodies are in a constant state of flux – when I am dieting for a show I'm a lean size 0; when I’m off-season I’m a softer size 4; clothes from 6 years ago no longer fit because I have put on 10lbs of muscle since then, and my dimensions have changed because I have grown my back and tapered down my legs. We won't even get into what kind of annoying implications this has for my wardrobe....

First show 2010

Fourth show 2013

When I am pregnant my belly gets bigger, I accumulate fat on my hips, and my pelvis shifts; in the weeks immediately following birth my tummy is soft, my breasts are large and I still have that fat on my hips; as time passes my uterus shrinks, breasts deflate, I lean out because my training and diet intensify, and my butt looks smaller because I always seem to lose muscle in that area during pregnancy. The skin on my stomach will forever be softer than anywhere else, and my spine is noticeably (likely permanently) altered. Change is the name of the game of both bodybuilding and life: your body is a reflection of what you are doing today, and what you have done in weeks and years prior.

1 week postpartum with baby #1
1 week postpartum with baby #2
37 weeks pregnant with baby #3

Let me ask you, when you say “get my body back”, to which body are you referring? The one you had immediately before becoming pregnant? The one you had in college? The one you had on your wedding day? Your body has looked different at all these stages (even if the differences have been minute ones) and I’ll be totally honest, it’ll never look the EXACT same as it did at any of those points again. You have lived since then - you got older, and you have changed. You would never hear a grown woman say “I want my prepubescent body back”, or a 60 year-old say “I’m going to get my 40-year old body back” No! Because we all know there is no going back after such big life events. Now that’s not to say you can’t look BETTER than before (I have seen some rockin’ 50-year old bodies, and I personally feel I look better now than I ever have)…. but you will not look the SAME. And that's ok! You were never meant to.

University 2005
Heaviest weight 2011
Wedding Day 2012
Fall 2015

Perhaps a better thing to say would be “I really want to regain my lost muscle mass after I have the baby”, or “I'm going to match my pre-pregnancy fitness level”, or even “I want to lose the weight I gained with the pregnancy”. At least these statements take into account the fact that you’ve just had a freaking BABY! But saying you lost your body is not giving dues to the incredible thing you have accomplished – a thing that is a very normal part of life, and which in fact the female body was designed for. You haven’t lost your body, you’ve actually fulfilled its highest purpose! All you can do now is work with the changes.

To fitness professionals, we need to stop saying “let’s get your body back” and start asking “so what would you like to accomplish with your body now?”

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