My friend Jennifer recently asked when I was going to update this blog again, and the answer I had at the time was, "Unknown, because I'm not certain what I have to say?"
Everything in my head pertaining to fitness and health is kind of a big scribble right now. And rather than hide and say nothing, I'm going to try to unpack it. It's going to be messy. But it's where I'm at, and the truth, they tell me, is powerful.
So here it goes: I'm struggling with post-partum body issues. I thought that I'd made my peace with my post-partum shape, but as it turns out, that was more a surface-level peace, because clothes shopping was really triggering, along with the gym, and seeing pictures of myself, and on and on. I was okay as long as I didn't think about it. But that can't really work long-term.
The culturally expected thing to do about that is to try to lose weight and get in shape. Before I dismissed that entirely, I wanted to do a deep dive into what that might look like.
I thought about going Paleo again, because I'd had success with it in the past. For a moment, I even considered Keto, because the results reported by friends have been crazy. But my partner's friend is having to do a very low-carb diet in order to reverse his diagnosis of Type II diabetes, and after watching him do it, my partner reported back that it takes a whole lot of planning, energy, and willpower -- to do the research on what foods you can eat, read labels, ask lots of questions about ingredients, and default to the safe things at restaurants.
I think that back in 2012-2013 I had that kind of time and energy. I was also skating 3x per week and didn't have much else going on other than that. I didn't have a kid. I had a lot of time. I don't have those things now. It's worth noting that I do meal plan and prep on the weekends, and I've been pretty good at making plant-forward, healthy breakfasts and lunches this year. I feel good about that. But taking it to the next level, committing to another Whole30, or Keto, or even a pretty primal set-up takes a lot of resources -- resources I don't have at the moment.
The reason I don't have those resources is that I'm working on a pretty big project right now, and I've shelved nearly everything else in order to work on it. I'm also a working parent with a very clever, sweet, feisty two year old. So time and energy and effort are limited. I'm lucky if I can get to CrossFit two times a week at this point.
That's the other part of it, by the way: I don't have a lot of time for exercise right now either. I used to make it to CrossFit at least 3x per week. I'm struggling to do that now with the daycare schedule. The times don't line up quite right, and every time I have to leave CrossFit early, I feel really shitty about it. It seems rude? I don't know. Everyone is super understanding at the gym, but I feel terrible about it.
And then I have to rush through traffic to get to my kid on time, because the gym is further from her daycare than my work is. So my compromise has been to work out at work's exercise room on Wednesdays when I have to pick her up. I'm lucky enough to have a partner who retrieves kiddo on Mondays and Fridays, so I can hit CrossFit then, and that will have to be good enough for now.
I feel like a huge traitor for even having these feelings at all. I've worked so hard to be body positive, to make peace with my body as it exists, right now. A lot of the time, I feel pretty okay about it. But the weight I've gained around my middle from having a baby has literally changed my shape. I used to be more of an hourglass, and now I'm more of an apple.
I know that this is part of the wild changes of life, of pregnancy and childbirth, of being a mama. I know that my body will never be the same, and I wouldn't want it to be, because I have her, and she is everything.
Still, it would really help if clothes fit better/differently, and if gaining the weight hadn't shifted me solidly into plus size clothes. I think being on the edge of straight sizes can be challenging in this very particular way: because it feels like straight size clothes should be in reach. But they're just out of reach. And you think, oh hey, if I dieted, maybe all that would be accessible to me.
I'm not trying at all to equate that mental gymnastics with the very real oppression and discrimination fat people face every day. I recognize the thin privilege I do have in being a big size 14/small size 16. I still have access to a lot of things that larger people do not. And maybe it's stupid to even care about this at all.
But there's still that horrible small whispering voice in the back of my head, saying "If only. If only."