Accepting Different Progress

This picture of me and Ellen makes me feel very self-conscious. I see a squishy, big belly and huge thighs… and I’m not talking about Ellen’s! No, when my dear husband first sent me this picture he took of me and Ellen, I only saw how fat I am.

But then I looked closer, and I saw a perfectly captured moment where I was showing my perfect daughter how much I loved her while we were enjoying a perfect, sunny morning at the zoo.

I want so much to be able to see that part first.

I’m having a hard time with the last 20ish pounds of baby weight. Let’s just admit that. Not feeling comfortable in my skin is an emotional thing to acknowledge for me. I hate that the extra weight defines how I feel about myself, and I hate how embarrassed I feel.

Yesterday, I went summer clothes shopping, and I had to buy the same size I wore the summer immediately after Lewis was born. At that time, I was freshly postpartum, literally weeks after giving birth. This time, I’m wearing that size at 8 months postpartum, after already having lost 50 pounds!

The labels on the pants/shorts made me feel awful and left me feeling so disappointed in my progress with my body. After Lewis, the weight melted off within the first year! Why isn’t that happening this time???

Well folks, I’ve done some thinking, and I have realized one very important thing. I only had 50 lbs to lose after Lewis. So if I had gained the same amount this time around, I’d be done already!!!

But because I gained back 10 after stopping breastfeeding Lewis, I started out 10 lbs heavier before getting pregnant with Ellen, and gained 10 more than I gained with Lewis. So I had 70 lbs to lose after Ellen.

So really, I should be proud. The first 50 lbs this time around melted off just as easily… but faster! They went away in 6 months this time! Why haven’t I been focusing on that amazing feat instead of on what remains?

Well… because the scale hasn’t budged in 2 whole months (damn Oreos and lack of exercise!). And that sucks. These pesky 20 lbs are clearly going to require some more effort than the first 50. But they’re 20 lbs I have never had before, so I shouldn’t expect them to behave the same way as the 50 lbs of baby weight my body knew how to shed on its own.

I’m a work in progress, physically and mentally, but I am working on both. If I just shift my focus, I can be proud of myself for losing the first 50 lbs after Ellen literally twice as fast as I lost the 50 lbs I gained with Lewis! And I know I can lose the last 20.

Until I do, I am going to try harder to see the joy and love in pictures of myself first, instead of counting my flaws. And I’m not going to be embarrassed to share pictures where I look “fat” anymore, because the shape of my body doesn’t define me, and these pictures are just a snapshot of my progress. Progress just happens to look different this time around.

Now I just have to convince people to take more pictures of me… the kids have a way of becoming targets of all cameras, and I seem to go missing, like I don’t even exist!