Before I had my first baby, I was a size o pants and wore an x-small shirt and dress size. I weighed 106 lbs. Today, I am 8 sizes bigger and 25lbs heavier. I have carried and birthed 5 children and my youngest is now 3 years old. My shedding pounds, post-pregnancy days are over.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking and let me just put this into a bit of perspective for you. I get that people probably don’t see me the way I see myself. But going up 8 sizes is a lot to take in! Learning to deal with arm and belly flab can be hard for anybody who’s trying to cope with a much different shape and size then they started out. That’s me.
I am not at an unhealthy weight, according to my doctor. It’s me who has had to learn to embrace this post baby shape, and learn how to make the most of it.
For someone who grew up never needing to watch what she ate, for fear it would land into the wrong places, today is a whole other story. But rather than deny the facts, I have had to learn how to embrace the truth that my body has changed after having babies and I need to adjust my life and my mind accordingly.
Embracing that post-baby shape is not an excuse to rule out exercise and healthy eating, because even with those elements incorporated, it’s unlikely a post-baby body will ever fully return to that pre-baby state. So, what’s a girl to do?
Find clothes that flatter and compliment your shape.
I would always wear loose jeans and a long, oversized shirt. There was one season when I wore a different gray t-shirt every single day. No joke. Now? I only wear these clothes around the house and when I’m cleaning.
I do well with stripes and honestly never thought I would ever wear a pair of skinny jeans. I tried them on in a dressing room one day just for fun. And I was surprised by how much I liked them. I was also a hater of the tapered leg. I liked boot cut because I didn’t like the feeling of jeans wrapped around my ankles, but I adjusted pretty quickly!
So, one of the rules you need to embrace when shopping for new clothes, is to try on pieces you don’t think you’re going to like. You might surprise yourself!
Pay attention to the colors and patterns that compliment your shape rather then exaggerate it.
A large reason I choose to buy clothes from a name brand retailer is because they design their clothing much more intricately. Bargain stores often lack those details and you end up with shirts that have no shape, therefore compounding the issues we’re trying to combat!
We don’t want to wear bigger shirts to hide our larger waist or belly because honestly, that only makes us look bigger. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying you need to go out and buy tight, form fitting clothing. Rather, buy pieces that work with your shape. Pay attention to the cut, print, and color because those are all determining factors on whether they will flatter or spoil you.
This shirt shows a bit more post-baby belly than I would like, but this shirt has zippers on the side, and unzipping them up, actually loosens the form of the shirt, making it less obvious.
I used a different setting on this photo which obviously shows the color of the shirt much better. It was also taken a day later, on a cloudy day. But you can see the obvious difference in how the shirt portrays my shape with the zipper unzipped.
And, honestly, I can tame that belly a bit better if I would just leave the chocolate alone!
On a more eternal perspective, God has used our bodies for a great purpose and what we are left with is a testimony to life. Embracing post-baby shape is much more than physical; it’s sacrificial. My aim here is to make the most of it, not complain about it.
The fact is, we can take action to be healthier and look healthier if we are willing to put the work into it. Denying yourself anything and everything to eat isn’t the answer. Correct stewardship is. Our bodies are gracious enough to allow us an occasional treat without it affecting us dramatically. It’s indulging in those treats that makes it an issue.
So, while choosing flattering clothing is one aspect of embracing your shape, it’s not the only way. Embrace the sacrifice you made and embrace what it is your body requires to be at it’s best performance.