July’s arrival means there’s a good chance you’ve already survived summer’s biggest downer: swimsuit shopping! But, there’s also a good chance that you haven’t been able to lose those pounds you vowed you’d get off before you wore it. That can lead to one of two outcomes. Either you’re sweating it out in your yoga pants by the pool because you don’t want to bare it all or you’ve got what can a case of the summer body blues.
I want to encourage you today with a little secret. You aren’t the only mom who doesn’t love the way motherhood has reeked havoc on her shape. In fact, according to the data, up to 91percent of American women are unhappy with their bodies. Over all, moms report the highest levels of body dissatisfaction with a desire to change the abdominal region ranking as a top concern.
How do you beat the body blues?
Down here, we can’t put our swimsuits away for at least another three months. So how do we overcome our insecurities over thigh cheese and belly bulge?
I have three strategies I hope will help.
- Forget “ideal” Mommy friends, it’s time we start a revolt against what our culture tells us we should look like. Given that only 1% of women are genetically predisposed to achieving this standard, and that those 1% are likely seventeen year olds who have never had their bodies rearranged to make room for a growing baby: We need to stop buying the lie of how we “should” look! I think it’s time to accept the fact that the vast majority of us will never wear a size zero or have cellulite free thighs. And, that’s ok. Although I don’t personally believe the answer to our body image issues is in “loving” our bodies more, I do believe we can find great freedom from our body concern by taking our focus off of what culture tells us we need to look like.
- Forget your flab. As a fitness instructor, what I find amazing is how women of all sizes struggle with feeling like they are too “fat.” Moms who are already wearing a size two will show me (with disdain) the extra inch on their belly they want gone, immediately, just the same as a mom still struggling to zip up that size 14. Sometimes I just want to stand up at the front of my class and shout an obnoxiously loud, “It’s okay!” No one said your “supermom” status was on the line because you have a little extra fat stored for the winter.We need to give ourselves grace that our new job title of “Mom” is stressful, time-consuming, and not always flexible enough to offer us ample time to concentrate on exercise or diet plans. And, that’s alright. Having young children is a season in life that will pass before we know it. Don’t miss the little years stressing over the number on the scale or the size inside your swimsuit. Unless you are an underwear model, I’d encourage you to relax and enjoy the freedom of just being with your children this summer.
- Forget frowning. Smile! If you want to instantly look better at the pool or lake this summer. I can make no easier or more effective suggestion. Think for a minute with me about who looks more attractive: the woman rocking a mommy muffin top with a grin from ear-to-ear as she chases her toddler around the splash pad or the mommy wearing head to toe black fabric, sitting in a chair on the sidelines scowling. Psychologists say just the simple act of smiling actually changes your mood and your outlook. So, try it.
Don’t let the summer body blues ruin your outlook this swimsuit season!
What are your secrets for beating the summer body blues?
About Heather Creekmore:
Heather is passionate about helping women who struggle with their body image and has recently completed her first book on the topic. She’s a group fitness instructor, speaker, mother of four, wife to Eric (a Marine fighter pilot-turned-pastor), and public relations representative for the Dallas Moms Blog. During her single years, Heather spent more than a decade working in politics and non-profit management. She much prefers being a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom (but thinks it’s more difficult!). Follow her blog about body image, motherhood, and faith “Working Out Love” or connect with her via Facebook or Twitter.