Let me start by saying that I typically never post pictures like these, and I probably never will again; But I have a message that has been burning on my heart, and so I share this real life photo with a purpose. Today I am sharing this picture and being open about my personal journey because I think it is important that we as women see transformation pictures with a different kind of message.
As women, I think we do a pretty good job at putting on a front of "perfection", which only puts more pressure on all of us! So- here it is...Yep, I have excess skin from having my baby girl. Yep, I have rolls when I sit down. Yep, I have cellulite on the back of my thighs, and my body has stretched and grown in different ways that has left me with all kinds of places that aren't as tight as they used to be! I think we all could use a little more realness...what about you!?! So, whether you are on your own postpartum journey, or simply on a journey to health, I hope that this encourages you today.[[more]
For me, I knew I wanted my focus after giving birth to be on nourishing my body and my baby and instead of counting calories, spending hours at the gym, and obsessing over how to “get my body back”. And to be quite honest, I didn’t have the mental capacity or desire to do so in that season of my life, because I was just plain tired!
Even now I find that most of my days fly by with a one year old, and I only have about an hour to dedicate to moving my body each day, and I certainly don’t have time to count calories. Does that mean that I may never my have a six pack or be in the best shape of my life in this season of life!?! Probably…But that also isn’t my goal. Being healthy is...And by the way, when did that stop being our ultimate goal as women!?!
That being said, if I’m being honest, I was tempted to rush the weight loss process after having Maddie, and even had plans while I was pregnant to get back to my pre-pregnancy shape as quickly as possible. That was also because I had no idea what having a newborn would entail, or the demands that are placed on your body when you are nursing, healing, not sleeping, and trying to figure out the role of being a first time mom.
Also, at the end of the day let’s face it… Instant gratification is the name of the game in our culture, and it is certainly the popular thing to show your before and after pics within a few months of giving birth. But all of those plans seemed to go out the window the moment I held my daughter for the first time. I suddenly realized I had a purpose that was greater than myself, or even what the rest of the world thought about me or my body.
It may seem overly simple, but I made my goal health, and I chose to focus on that beyond how my clothes fit, or how I looked. As I kept my focus on daily choices, (eating clean, working out, and never feeling deprived because I enjoy healthy versions of all my favorite foods) I knew I would get back into my clothes eventually, but I didn’t rush the process. Instead I did what I knew to do day in and day out, and made choices to honor the body God gave me.
These choices included daily decisions to move my body, but also rest. I did my best to listen to my body, fuel my body, and still enjoy treats on occasion. Did the results and changes take much longer than I expected...YES! But instead of going back to an old bag of tricks trying to control my body with extreme measures, but I know better. Instead, I knew that my attitude and choices were the only things that I did have control over, so I chose to keep them positive and healthy.
I also knew that I wanted to be a good example to my daughter when it came to how I viewed my body in every season. Sure, she may be too little to really notice, but there will come a day when how I treat my body will paint a picture for her that will leave a lasting impression. I want to be a good example in every way, which means moving my body, challenging my body, and nourishing my body.
Just recently the Lord painted a beautiful picture of this very thing when I participated in a obstacle course 5 K run at our local gym. One of the obstacles we had to perform was walking on a set of balance beams, and if you fell off at any point, you had to go back to the beginning. Naturally I wanted to race across them, (as it was a timed race), yet every time I would try to go quickly I would fall off, and would have to re-start at the beginning.
One of the coaches at the station told us, “slow and steady wins the race”; And when I heard that, it changed everything for me. I thought to myself, I know how to do that, it’s what I practiced for the past year! So, I re-paced my tempo and took each step with slow and steady precision, and finally made it across in one try. I realized then that I was actually wasting time by trying to run across and fall off time and time again.
I think so often we try to do this in our journey to health, as we try to sprint and make changes that our bodies were never designed to make at such a quick pace. Why do we do this? Often times it is the very before and after pictures that we see that promise quick and easy changes with little to no effort.
Although there may be some truth to these claims, what we don’t see is how long that transformation lasted, because often times it was achieved under extreme conditions which can’t be maintained. When we honor our bodies however, making good choices on a consistent basis, we will come out stronger and with a greater confidence than ever before, and achieve change that lasts.
Whats more is that these photos show my physical transformation, but to be honest I was just as full of joy in both the "before" and" after" picture! The reason I can say this is because ultimately, I know my beauty and worth lies in the fact that I am a child of God.
Today I am just stronger physically because I have moved and challenged my body in a progressive way over the last year. If anything, this journey has taught me so much of what my body is capable of, and for that I am more gracious, proud, and thankful for my body than ever before. I also see it as a continuous work in progress that I am always working on getting stronger (both mentally and physically) in order to run my race with excellence; As well as constantly challenge myself in order to bring out the greatness God has placed in me.
I hope this encouraged someone today, reminding you that the journey to health is a marathon and not a sprint. It is also truly worth the effort. Even when you don’t feel like it; Or you wonder if what you are doing is making a difference; Keep putting one foot in front of the other while you learn to balance it all. This race we have to run is a lifetime event, and the vehicle that carries us through is truly worth investing in! xo Katie