There are a lot of things about my body that can be attributed to pregnancy. I’m pretty forgiving of just about all of it, because it produced my favourite person in the whole world. If that makes the space below my bellybutton stripey and looking like a prune underneath the now oh-so-necessary high-cut undies, so be it. I have to be real with myself, though. The extra pounds? Not baby weight. If you look very closely, you can probably still see the the outline of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange that I all but swallowed whole.
Now, this is not a Cathy-esque post bemoaning how I look in a bathing suit. Truth be told, I like my body a lot. I had a lot more complaints about it when I was 22 and looked like Jessica Rabbit. I look in the mirror and I see the back fat, the belly, the cellulite, and I think you know what, fuck yeah. I’m in my thirties, kicking ass at my job, having the best sex of my life, and oh yeah, I made a person and shot it out of my body like a t-shirt cannon. Go me.
When my knees started to protest stairs, though, I had to look at the bad bitch in the mirror and tell her maybe it’s time for a little talk.
I love food. I love that I’m able to afford good food, which I’m keenly aware is a privilege. I love that I love myself enough to feed my body more than vodka and Nutrigrain bars (hi 22, you really were pretty goddamn stupid). Now I’m trying to learn how to have a healthy relationship with eating, because not only would I like to prevent a knee replacement before I hit middle age, I’d like to model good habits for my daughter.
First things first: I am not here for this Cake Is a Moral Failing bullshit. Nutritional value has nothing to do with who you are as a person and guilt is a wasted emotion. Food is just fuel. Some of it is fuel for the body, some of it is fuel for the soul. If I feel deprived or miserable, eventually I’m going to crack and eat every sour Skittle on this godforsaken island like a demented Ms. Pac-Man.
I started out by making no changes except drinking a lot of water. You would think this is easy. I would note that I work a job where I’m on my feet a lot and bathroom breaks can be scarce, and then come home to a toddler who cannot, will not, see me enjoy a drink in peace without shrieking “Cup! CUP!” at increasing levels of volume. You know what’s helped? The Plant Nanny app. I’ve been telling so many people about this that I’m sure everyone thinks I’m a paid shill (I wish) but it really does work. It’s like a Tamagotchi they won’t confiscate in Grade 5 Social Studies and then give back when it’s all smelly and starving, THANKS A BUNCH MR. WELSHMAN. Anyway. Hydration is going pretty well, though I’m seriously considering a leg bag.
Next, I drastically cut back on added sugar. Giving up chocolate kind of hurt, but I’m finding some decent substitutes. Adding unsweetened cocoa powder to smoothies is basically Cadbury methadone. I discovered that there are people on the internet who consider a simple smoothie with peanut butter, banana, cocoa and milk to be the devil’s milkshake and will substitute literally everything with flaxseed milk, Irish sea moss, and carob root powder. I don’t know if you know this, but people on the internet are out of their goddamn minds.
It’s little changes, but so far they feel sustainable, unlike that week I decided I could just jump into doing those Neela Ray workouts where I pretend to be Wonder Woman and every muscle in my body decided to stage an intervention. Some smarter choices with food here, some walking there, and I think I might manage this.
Four pounds so far. But honestly, just getting this all out makes me feel a lot lighter.