Sunday, January 4, 2015

I don't care about your...

Dear Readers- as your best friend, the one who will tell you the hard truths no one else will I have something to tell you. I know I’m taking a risk here that you’ll hate me after I say what I’m about to say but as someone who cares about you I think this is something you should know….

I don’t give a fcuk about your six pack rock hard abs.

It’s true I don’t. In fact I don’t care about any of your other muscles but I’m targeting the abs because that’s what some of you seem to like to show off the most. I’m not bitter, I’m not jealous and yes I’m at the gym almost 7 days a week just like you. I’m just not impressed with your washboard and I’ll tell you why…you haven’t had a baby.

There I said it. Unless you’ve had a baby or were formally obese and have managed to dig yourself out of that hell and into a healthy lifestyle then I just don’t think your body is impressive. I know I’m not the only one here. Biggest Loser is a hit show because the contestants go through a dramatic lifestyle change on the path to a healthier version of themselves. Listen to most of the women on there and what metaphorically and actually tipped the scales for most of them was having children. They stopped taking care of themselves when they started taking care of their family and the consequence was dramatic weight gain. Their journey is inspiring because it’s so grueling. We watch because we’re fascinated by people who push their own limits physically and mentally. Why do people climb Everest? Because they want to know what it feels like to be on the brink of death and survive. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

Those of you who are offended by my statement…I was once like you. In high school I weighed probably five pounds less than I do now and I hated my body. I drank slim fasts for lunch and skipped dinner so I’d be skinny. I’d run three miles every afternoon in the hot Alabama summer sun and considered rice cakes my snack. I didn’t have healthy eating habits at all but I wanted to fit in like everyone else does at that age and so I did whatever it took to look the part. I had a flat stomach, I’ve always had a flat stomach, but I was desperate for attention. I can’t believe the amount of crop tops I wore (thanks 90s fashion!) to show off my stomach. I believed somehow, the flatter my stomach the thinner I’d be perceived. As I grew older the crop tops were phased out and new healthier habits fazed in and I worked hard for my abs. The summer of 2012 was probably the most in shape I’d ever been in my life and I wasn’t too proud to show off my hard work. I get it, you work hard, you sweat your ass off at the gym, you eat right and you want the world to see it. I was there too so I know. I should have looked good…that’s all I had to do with my time and I had a free gym membership.

when I was a gym rat
Getting pregnant changed all of this. I gained 27lbs and things stretched and rubbed together and clothes grew tight in places I didn’t even know was possible. I never had a goal before except to wear crop tops pre-pregnancy and after Charlotte I suddenly was faced with a challenge. I had weight to lose and strength to gain back and it wasn’t something that could be tackled overnight because I had a baby to feed. Your body tends to hold on to extra weight when breastfeeding so while my stomach shrunk it remained soft. Here’s a confession best friends, almost two years later it’s flat but still soft. I will probably never have the abs I had before and that’s OK because I birthed a baby. Not every women is able to become pregnant and I cherish that gift and wouldn’t trade my body now for anything knowing that gift. I’m fortunate I know.

39 weeks
As a blogger and fitness contributor for HappinessSeries and someone who teaches 12 classes a week (8 of those being cycle) and is a flight attendant full time I just have to say I’m not impressed by the photos of the rippled muscled thin women out there who haven’t had a child. Growing a baby stretches your abdominal wall in ways you can’t even imagine and even having a vaginal birth your stomach never really returns (let alone having a c-section). The photos I want to see are of women who have to make the time to work out. The women who have one or more jobs and kids and may or may not have a spouse – you are who I’m impressed by seeing. You, the woman who sacrifices sleep to get to the gym, the woman who feels guilty every time she works out, the woman who doesn’t even care about her abs anymore she just wants to feel strong and beautiful…you are who impresses me most. Pre-baby I had all the time in the world to work out and I did. I worked hard and I loved my body and I wanted others to love it too. Yet, who was I really inspiring? I was living a life that we all live when we’re younger but then we grow up and we grow older and other priorities take the place of the gym. I appreciate the women now, who I know bust their ass to get to my class and work hard for the hour they are there because that’s all they have to spend. I’m impressed by the hard work and dedication of someone with a goal, someone who’s seen their body go through changes they had no control over and wants that control again.

one week post baby
Let’s be clear best friends, I’m not into shaming women. If you have worked hard for your abs and you’ve never had a child then that’s fantastic for you. I, firsthand know this isn’t easy although a lot of it is genetics and diet. What I’m saying is that I’m more in awe of all those hard working mama’s out there who grew a baby and may or may not have gotten their bodies back to where they’d like. I see you at yoga class and in cycle or bootcamp and I know you are giving me your all. I want you to know, six pack or not that you inspire me and I’m proud of you and you should be proud of you. Your stomach may not be flat ever again and you may have stretch marks and that’s beautiful too. There’s other women out there who are struggling just as much to have a baby and we have to honor them by appreciating our bodies.

Love your body. Show it off. Be grateful. But know what’s truly impressive and what’s just sheer luck of genetics, availability of diet and free time to work out. There’s a difference between people who are recognized for climbing foothills and those who climb Everest.

The harder the journey the bigger the reward. Keep climbing friends.

getting there

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