As mothers, we often do everything for our families and home. From reminding our children that pants are required at school to finding our partner’s elusive black pants (which are always hanging in plain sight) to kissing boo boos away to feeding pets. The list goes on. There is nothing we can’t do! Well, maybe one thing: take care and love ourselves!
We do all the things AND have the added pressure to look perfect and live Insta-perfect life. Most days we feel anything but Insta-perfect. We feel exhausted, foggy and fat.
Often our go to solution to feeling fat is weight loss. Our New Year’s resolutions often start with the newest fad diet selling us a ‘lifestyle change’ that will undoubtedly help us live our best life.
Let’s be honest, none of that is true and it is all part of the billion dollar diet industry. I would also like to remind you that fat is NOT a feeling.
You want the secret to looking and feeling your best? Well, here it is…
Yes, you heard that right. Love yourself as you are in this moment – not two sizes ago, not two babies ago. Love yourself today. We aren’t the same woman we were before our babies. We are better, stronger and yes, a bit more tired.
In this moment, make a resolution to love yourself and take care of yourself. Not with ketones or crazy workouts, but with love. Honor, nourish and REST your body. Put yourself on the TOP of your to do list.
My life’s motto is:
You cannot pour from an empty cup!
We must fill our mom cups, before pouring into others’ cups.
Changing our bodies, changes nothing. We are still the same person, with the same needs and struggles. Want to change your life? Start on the inside. Start with self-care and honoring your body – every battle wound and stretch mark. Think about your children. Do you want them calling their bodies the names you call yours? Cankles, muffin top, cottage cheese…
Alas, moms are always very quick to tell me, “McCall, I never say anything bad about myself in front of my children!”
“Okay, great!” I reply. “But do you say anything positive?”
I get it. Our society tells us that it is weird to speak positively about ourselves. So let’s flip the body bashing script.
When my daughter says, “I see your tummy, mommy!” I smile back and say, “Yes! Isn’t it beautiful!” Even if you don’t believe the words, let your children hear you say positive things.
When you start body bashing, remember: fat is not a feeling! Dig deeper to the root of the anxiety or struggle and take care of your mom bod, physically and mentally.
We are not going to like our bodies every day, but we can LOVE them every day.
Here are a few of my go to tips on loving myself, even on the days when I’m not liking every inch of my body:
Nourish your body and not according to fad diet guidelines. Take a moment and listen to your body. What is it telling you? Trust your body, it will tell you what it needs.
2. POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS.
Look in the mirror. Find three things you love about your body. (And no, you can’t say I love my body for giving me beautiful children.) The more you practice saying positive things, the more you will begin to believe and KNOW they are true.
3. SELF CARE.
Take time for you. Manicure? Massage? Reading? A nap?! Treat yourself and show your body that you love it. We can all find ten minutes a day.
4. JOYFUL MOVEMENT.
We often see exercise as a calorie equation. Ditch the FitBit and move with JOY! For example, if you don’t like running…DON’T RUN. Move your body in ways that bring you JOY! Exercise should be fun. Watch how your children play and run, they move their bodies with joy. Take a page out of their book. And don’t be afraid to try different activities!
Last, but NEVER least, do not be afraid to seek professional help. Therapy can drastically change your life. Raleigh is so rich in experienced and compassionate therapists. Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and take that brave step to therapy. It is the best self care and gift you will ever give yourself.
This guest post is part of a four-part series addressing body image, family feeding, and eating disorders. Catch up on “Tips for Raising Body Positive Kids” and stay tuned as we share more.
Family Feeding, Nutrition, Eating Disorders, and Body Image Resources:
Ellyn Satter Institute – www.ellynsatterinstitute.org
Southern Smash – www.southernsmash.org
McCall Dempsey – www.mccalldempsey.com
Sunny Side Up Nutrition – www.sunnysideupnutrtion.com
Mealtime Hostage – www.mealtimehostage.com
Our Mom’s Tribe Facebook Group, Local Therapist Renee Avis, LPC
National Eating Disorders Association – www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Your Child’s Weight, Helping Without Harming by Ellyn Satter
Love Me, Feed Me by Katja Rowell
Born to Eat by Leslie Schilling and Wendy Jo Peterson
Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating, by Katja Rowell and Jenny McGlothlin
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Health at Every Size and Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
Celebrate Your Body – and It’s Changes, too by Sophia Renee Taylor
Local Eating Concerns and Body Image Providers for Kids and/or Teens:
Renee Avis, LPC (10+)
CAS Counseling (11+)
Meredith Delbridge, LPC (12+)
Meredith Kolk-Tomberlin, LCSW (all ages) – Silber Psychological Services
Mosaic Comprehensive Care (Medical Primary Care) (14+)
Lutz, Alexander & Assoc. Nutrition Therapy (all ages)
Laurea Glusman McAllister, LCSW (15+)
Christy Rogers, LCSW (14+)
Kate Sutton, LPC (12+)
Sandra Wartski, PsyD. (all ages) – Silber Psychological Services
Local Eating Disorder Treatment Facilities:
Veritas Collaborative (children and adults)
Carolina House (adults)
Let’s Make Our Children’s Schools Free of Diet Talk
McCall Dempsey, founder of Southern Smash, is an eating disorder survivor and passionate recovery advocate. After a 15-year battle, McCall sought treatment at the Carolina House in December 2010. Since then she has made eating disorder awareness and prevention her life’s work and passion.
McCall travels the country, sharing her story of hope and healing with audiences everywhere. She also writes the popular blog, Loving Imperfection. McCall has been featured in numerous national television, print and online publications, including Today Show, USA Today, Women’s Health Online and HuffPostLive.com.
A Louisiana native, McCall now resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, with her husband, Jordan, and two children, Manning (6) and Marjorie (4). Catch up with McCall Dempsey over at www.mccalldempsey.com and www.southernsmash.org or follow her on her Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.