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There doesn’t seem to be a mama around that hasn’t been self-conscious about her weight at some point in her life. Whether it’s struggling to lose baby weight or not having time to devote to healthy eating and exercise, it can be tricky to get back on track when you’re feeling off. We reached out to heymama.co member, Crystal Karges who is a mama of four and a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant, as well as an eating disorder and PPD survivor, to share her POV on dieting and motherhood. Read on…

Between getting the kids ready and finding a few spare moments for yourself, you step on the scale during the morning rush. You’re met with the upward spike of a number that immediately brings down your entire day. Ugh. As you speed through your shower, you can’t help but wonder what you did wrong. You carefully counted every calorie and precisely measured out each serving. You brought your own food to work, turned down the doughnuts and cake, and skipped family dessert. Despite your best efforts, you feel like you can’t win when it comes to the battle with the scale and your body. The downward spiral begins before you even set out for the day, with feelings of shame about your own body while questioning whether or not you deserve to eat.  

Thoughts about weight loss and dieting can be all consuming, literally draining the best from you, as a woman, mother, entrepreneur, and friend. Being fully present and able to enjoy the moments that allow us to thrive are squandered when we allow our lives to be dictated by diet rules, chained to what the scale says our worth and value is.

Many diets or dieting trends are followed in the name of being “healthy”, but when the diet and scale begin to consume you and negatively impact your quality of life, can this really contribute positively to your health?

Sadly, mothers in general are vulnerable targets to the plethora of dieting schemes.  Living in bodies that have been beautifully transformed by motherhood often leave us feeling as though we are a shell of our former selves, something that should be changed and controlled, rather than celebrated. We are made to believe that “bouncing back” is a requirement for acceptance or even success, and face unrealistic measures when it comes to how our bodies respond to pregnancy and childbirth. Motherhood becomes the lens through which we view and define ourselves, amplifying our worst critic while being subject to a culture that can be demeaning of a woman’s body.

You may find success when it comes to your work, but when it comes to your body and how you eat, you may feel defeated, confused, and at a loss for what to do. The reality is that this struggle permeates our entire being and way of living, from how we feel about ourselves, to how we relate with our spouse and children, to the fulfillment we find at work. It can even dampen our ability to be creative and our passions.  

Even more detrimental, we may be missing out on precious and fleeting moments from our children’s lives and those we love because of this dieting struggle. How many times has the scale devastated your day or prevented you from doing something you should be enjoying? Have you sacrificed a moment or memory with your child because of fear, shame, disgust, or embarrassment about your own body or eating habits?  

It’s time to reclaim your life today and take back what the scale and dieting mentality have taken from you. No matter where you are today or what your history with dieting has been, you can take small steps toward breaking free from a dieting culture. Through a peaceful relationship with food and body, you can flourish again both in life and as a mother.

You can start practicing these three simple steps today:

  1. Ditch the Diet and the Scale: Take an honest look at the diet and food rules you’ve forced yourself to abide by and ask yourself: Are these rules benefitting you, or are they harming you? If you feel anxious, stressed or guilty whenever these “rules” are broken, there is a good chance these diet rules are a negative force in your life. Start exploring food again without the burdensome dieting mentality, and kick the guilt to the curb. While you’re at it, toss your scale out, too. The number on the scale does not define your health or your worth as a person.  
  2. Take a Mindful Minute: As working mamas, we are constantly on the go, and self-care is often pushed to the back burner. When it comes to how you eat and treat your body, self-care is necessary, not indulgent. Intentionally set aside consistent times to eat meals and snacks that you enjoy. Pause long enough to taste your food and check in with how you are feeling while you are eating. Are you letting yourself go too long between meals without feeding yourself? Do you find yourself eating whatever you can find without really tasting your food? By mindfully tuning in to your own eating experience, you can make small but powerful changes toward optimal nourishment.
  3. Make Peace With Food: How many times have you waged war in your head over whether or not you should eat something, simply because you’ve labeled it as a “bad” food? Bottom line… Food is not a moral issue—and there is nothing that food can do to make you a bad person. Stop making food the enemy. Remind yourself of the pleasurable, nurturing aspect of eating. Reclaim the power that food has had over your life and begin to view food through a neutral lens. When all foods are accepted as something that is potentially nourishing for you body, you can truly let go of unnecessary guilt. Less deprivation = more satisfaction.

By letting go of dieting, you are saying yes to the present and best version of yourself: yes to the moments that make up a childhood and will keep in your memories of motherhood; yes to sharing a dessert with your child and thinking about the delight on the little one’s face, not feeling guilty about what you are eating. You are saying yes to feeling confident in yourself and reflecting body positivity to your own children; yes to meals that are focused on the people who make a family.

Commit today to ditch the diet for good, say goodbye to your scale, and never look back. Freedom awaits you, and it’s a journey toward finding exactly who you were made to be.  

Crystal Karges

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