Believe it or not, I once had a general practitioner (our family doctor) tell me that my ideal weight, after bearing and delivering three children, should be what I weighed in college. I know he meant well, but honestly? He had to be kidding! I knew I wasn’t in the best shape of my life, but seriously, my body had gone through three major upheavals, carrying a 9 pound 3 ouncer for starters, and suffering the scars and trauma of three caesarian sections to boot. What was he saying? He wasn’t a woman after all, and could not relate to all that pregnancy does to a body!
How is it possible for us moms to think that we will always have our twenty-something pre-babies body? It can become a problem when we obsess over getting them back after babies #3 or 4, never mind baby #2! Granted, if we are young and were in good shape before pregnancy, then getting our tone and shape back after baby #1 is pretty likely. However, to be honest with you, I landed ten pounds heavier after each pregnancy and delivery. I wasn’t proud of it… not that I didn’t diet and work out to try to stay as healthy as possible…We just mustn’t make ourselves crazy.
Please don’t get me wrong here: I’m not saying don’t work out. And I’m certainly not saying that we should be happy with our post-babies body if we aren’t also feeling healthy. Nevertheless, we need to be realistic! Most importantly, we need to realize that as we age, our bodies change…don’t beat yourself up! Talk to any older mom, she’ll let you know; it gets harder and harder to keep the weight off and the svelte figure intact!
Besides, our focus is now on our children, as it should be. Chances are they are giving you plenty of daily exercise, especially if they are mobile toddlers who are now walking, if not running away from you lickety-split in the opposite direction! We can watch what we eat and count calories, fat grams or carbs or whatever the latest findings tell you to care about! However, your weight can literally become your constant thought throughout the day and that in itself is not healthy.
Preparing healthy meals for our families and role modeling a balanced diet for our children should be our main concern. Being sure to concentrate on lots of fresh veggies (which can be a challenge for kids) and fruit (not as much as veggies since there are more natural sugars), protein and dairy (for kids’ growing bones), we will be offering nutritionally sound snacks and meals. It’s the soda/pop, sugary juices, snacky-things and processed foods that we need to steer clear of, but I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. Even starches and pasta should be eaten in moderation. I’ve heard said that the outer edges of the grocery store are where most of our grocery budget should be spent, avoiding the inner aisles where everything is boxed and touted as fast and easy.
It is a challenge, in this day and age when we’re all running 100 mph and getting from this activity to the other, rehearsals, sports practices, math tutoring, piano lessons and gymnastics (to name just a few) to stress the commitment to and importance of family dinners, but they will pay off in the long run. Everyone will be healthier, physically as well as emotionally, when we can sit down to a home cooked meal and catch up on the day. Yes, it takes extra work, but is it worth it? Yes! Furthermore, we’ll find that we have more control over what we’re taking in for ourselves as well.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll achieve something close to that pre-baby body without obsessing about it if we just start cooking creatively and nutritiously and forgo the fast food! Bon appetit! Here’s to a new, healthier us!