Love Your New-Mom Body!
Clearly, new moms are spending a lot of time thinking, worrying, and stressing about the new state of their shape -- and frankly, that's energy that's probably better spent. That's why Babytalk has devised a three-month plan to help boost your confidence from the inside out, no crazy surgeries required. Each month will focus on one topic at a time: first body image, then fitness, and then healthy eating. Whether your goal is to feel at peace with your size for now or to finally lose that last 15 pounds, Babytalk will provide the step-by-step advice and support you need.
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Sure, you understand your body is miraculous. And sure, we all like to think that the extra weight we gained during pregnancy or in the first months of caring for a new baby is a small price to pay. But let's be honest. It's still your body, and wanting to be strong and look hot in your clothes doesn't fly out the window the minute you purchase a Baby Björn. And that's true even if you're the rare woman who considers herself immune to society's obsession with physical perfection. Tabloid magazines scream out celebrities' nose-diving postpartum weights like a NASA countdown ("160, 145, 120...we have liftoff!"). Then there are the ever-more-popular mommy makeovers-pricey mix-and-match cosmetic surgeries including breast implants, lifts, and tummy tucks aimed specifically at mothers. In 2006, doctors performed 325,000 of these procedures on women ages 20 to 39, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in Arlington Heights, Illinois. That's an 11 percent increase from the prior year.
It's enough to break even the most confident of women. "I think it can happen to anyone," says Maria Rago, Ph.D., a psychologist at Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Illinois. Of course, a history of anorexia or extreme perfectionism can increase one's risk for postpartum body-image issues, but many otherwise healthy women are "surprised at how much it impacts them when they look at their new body," Rago says. "It's different from the media's ideal in so many ways." A pouchy stomach, rounder hips and thighs, or newly deflated or gigantic breasts can make it very discouraging and scary to look in the mirror, she says. So discouraging, in fact, that a 2007 survey of more than 3,000 mothers found that 67 percent would rather reclaim their pre-baby physique than their prebaby sex life.
This isn't about making over your life in one fell swoop. That would be overwhelming for anyone and completely impossible with a new baby. Instead, it's about making a commitment to begin the process of getting to where you want to be. Only you can set the terms. You may be wondering why we didn't jump right into workout mode -- that's how to get results, after all. But the truth is, your mind needs to be as ready for change as your body. The way a woman feels about herself has the potential to send her soaring through a 5K stroller race or melting into the couch. Getting in touch with how you honestly view your body is the first step to setting attainable, satisfying fitness and nutrition goals, says Rago. "Angry and anxious is not the way you want to go into a nutrition or exercise plan," she adds. "It will interfere with your self-esteem, relationships, and the whole point of all this: motherhood. You'll be a cranky mom who is overexercised and undernourished."