The health and fitness industry has come a long way in promoting what it means to be healthy but many people still spread the message that the post-baby body is flawed with the aim to get your "pre-baby body back". Louise Hurley disagrees and shares some truth bombs with the intention of helping mums accept and love where they are now.
It’s a question asked by mums everywhere: “Will I ever lose the baby weight? And what happens if I can’t?”
The health and fitness industry on some level has come a long way in promoting what it means to be healthy. More and more influencers on social media are now talking about positive body image and posting photos of their post baby tummy, stretch marks and scars.
However, there’s still a long way to go. Whether unconsciously or consciously, many people still spread the message that the post-baby body is flawed in the way it looks, that you can reduce the “mum-tum” or that by following a certain diet you can get your pre-baby body back.
So I want to share a few truth bombs with the intention of helping you to accept and love where you are now and move forwards with self-kindness and patience.
Truth bomb #1. You will never get your pre-baby body back.
We need to get rid of the phrase “get your pre-baby body back” from our vocabulary. It’s not fair on mums. Your body is not meant to be the same after you’ve had a baby, but this doesn’t mean it’s worse.
You can be fitter and stronger than ever before after having a baby, but your body will still be different. Different does not equal worse.
Truth bomb #2. Your body naturally holds onto fat after you’ve had a baby… and it’s completely normal!
There are several factors involved with holding onto body fat after having a baby, including age, the number of babies you have, hormones and how much weight you gained during pregnancy. Most women (but not all) very slowly lose most of (but not all) the weight they put on in pregnancy. One study suggests that the majority of women over 30 who have a baby will retain 2kg over their pre-pregnancy body weight (Janney, 1997).
It is 100% normal to not return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Truth bomb #3. Reset your expectations.
Getting back to somewhere near your “normal” body weight can take up to 12-24 months, or, as discussed in number three, it may not happen at all. Reset your expectations of bouncing back after having a baby, because it’s impossible (not to mention extremely unhealthy) and only leads to feelings of failure.
Truth bomb #4. Your weight or size does not equal your worth!
It’s just a number, which fluctuates throughout the month. It does not equal your worth as a woman or a mother.
So, with these truth bombs in mind, what practical things can you do to make yourself feel like you again?
- Get moving for physical and mental health benefits rather than weight loss. Find a mum’s fitness professional who can help you become stronger from the inside out and help to feel more like yourself again.
- Prioritise self care and invest in yourself, which can include booking a women’s health physio appointment, working with someone to improve your relationship with food and your body image, getting regular massages or just scheduling in time to go for a walk outdoors and clear your head. When we are relaxed and content, our thoughts tend to be more positive and therefore behave accordingly.
- Practise gratitude regularly. Your body has done some incredible things and it’s a powerful thing to be able to bring this to mind. Tune in to your gratitude towards your body and the baby it birthed.