The Last Button: One Moms Journey to Postpartum Weight Loss

I couldn’t tell if the audible crying in the bedroom was from my baby or me as I tried on my jeans for the third time. I’m not even talking about my everyday jeans. I’m taking about the other ones.

I was almost 8 weeks postpartum. Although I’ve come a long way from the muumuu I wore home from the hospital, I still couldn’t comfortably wear any of my old pants that have a button, snap, or zipper.

A few minutes into my pity party, however, I looked in the mirror again. I stared at the reflection looking back at me. As I gazed at myself, I realized that I wasn’t actually feeling upset with myself at all—I was only reacting to how I thought I should feel after seeing a number on the scale that I haven’t seen since my “overweight” days. Once I really searched my heart, I realized I was quite at peace with my body and my weight, even if it’s larger than I would like. After all, my body carried yet another (praise the Lord!) precious life in it for nine months and now serves to feed and sustain that life. My body carries the marks of motherhood, and I’m so, so grateful for them.

Although I was at peace with myself, I felt excited and ready to start getting back into shape for the next season—life with a baby, two older children, and a business. I’ve realized that I’m ready to enjoy feeling strong and healthy again. With support from my family and friends, I’m ready to take this journey that I have coached so many people on.

Getting Started

I’ve made a plan for myself and I’ve decided to share it with you in hopes that you will spend time on this health quest with me.

Twice a month, I will post my ideas and tips to inspire you to get healthier—whatever phase of life you’re in. I would love for us to make this a dialogue. Comment on this post below or on our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and let me know what works for you, what doesn’t, what your goals are. . . etc. Your ideas and stories may also inspire other readers to make healthy changes this season!

Statistics show that if we are on a health journey together, we are more likely to achieve our goals long term.

Here is my first healthy tip: remember, you can do it. You are worth more than mediocre health!

MindfulnessMake the Mental Connection

When it comes to fitness and food choices, many factors can influence your attitude and behavior.

  1.    Invite God into your journey. I often forget that God wants the best for me in all areas of my life, including my health. Every time I’m ready to make a change and let God into some new area in my life, I drop to my knees and ask God to forgive me for my selfishness and to guide me as I make positive changes. God is so gentle and loving and he always gives me the strength I need for the journey. I believe God will also speak to you about your health if you ask and listen.
  2.     Pay attention to your emotions to understand your behavior patterns. Keep a mood-food/exercise journal (or just keep track on your phone) to help identify your personal triggers for overeating, attitudes around exercise, and situations that leave you particularly vulnerable. The more you know, the less your waistline will grow!
  3.    In addition to knowing your triggers, be mindful about how you feel after you exercise and eat. Did that colorful salad make you feel good? Did your workout give you more energy the following day? Pay attention to what’s happening inside and out and let your successes (however large or small) motivate your progress.
  4.     Chose to want to instead of have to. Our mind is so powerful. When we decide we want to honor our body with our food and exercise choices instead of feeling like we have to, we rewire our brains to begin to enjoy our new habits. Tell yourself while you are eating better and exercising “This feels good,” “I know I am getting stronger and healthier,” and “I enjoy this!” The brain also releases positive chemicals and hormones to leave you happier and healthier than when you started!

Final Thoughts

Despite the number on the scale or the pile of clothes staring at me from the closet, I feel pretty amazing knowing my worth does not come from those numbers or sizes. My worth is found in my identity as God’s child. I am mindful about eating and exercising because I want to honor God with my choices—the benefit of feeling so much better is just a bonus.

Blessings on your journey, friends!

(*This article is modified from an original post on the Living Wellness Blog.*)

Ashley Darkenwald

Author Ashley Darkenwald

Ashley Darkenwald is an inspirational speaker and the author of Living Wellness, the book encompassing her 10+ years as a fitness professional, club owner, and nutrition fanatic. Ashley enjoys homeschooling her two children, leading worship at the WHY church in Elk River, and playing sand volleyball in the summer. Ashley’s favorite speaking topic is FREEDOM through the practice of exceptional health.

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