Let’s face it, the expectations for moms are impossible to live up to. Whether the expectations are set by society or by ourselves, they are endless! Here’s the one I want to convince you to let go of, you need diet and lose weight.
Diets Don't Work!
If they did, why are there so many and why do so many people go on and off them all the time? Not being able to follow a diet long-term has nothing to do with something you’re doing wrong or your willpower.
It has everything to do with your body trying to survive! I could write an entire blog post on this topic alone. When you are dieting, you are depriving yourself of what your body needs to operate efficiently. You become more and more hungry and think about food all day because your body is telling you what it needs. As you continue to ignore your body’s cues, they get louder and louder and harder to ignore.
Eventually, people can’t ignore the hunger cues and break the diet rules. This leads to lowered self-confidence because it seems like there is something wrong with you.
But again, you didn’t fail at your diet, your diet failed you. All diets are meant to fail. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself, will you continue to follow your keto diet when you’re eighty and in a nursing home? “Sorry, no cookie for me, I’m on a diet.” Diets are not sustainable forever!
Our kids pick up on our beliefs and behaviors.
This includes our beliefs and behaviors about food and weight. When we call some foods “junk food,” our kids start to make the connection that some foods are “good” and some are “bad.” And when our kids eat a food that was deemed “bad” they then feel bad about themselves the same way we do.
When we say, “I’m so fat and have gained so much weight. I need to diet and lose it,” our kids make the connection the bigger body sizes are “bad” and eating less will keep your body small and “good.” I’m not saying eat cake and donuts all day and don’t make any comments about food or weight around your kids. I am saying be aware of your beliefs about food and your body, because our kids are aware of them and learn from you.
There’s no such thing as the perfect mom and you are going to slip up from time to time. Being aware of your overall message is what’s important.
Our Kids Are Only Little Once
Making memories with them is one of the fun parts about being a mom. Do you want to spend this whole time at the gym and feeling hangry? Sometimes getting away from the kids and going to the gym can be some great much-needed stress relief and self-care. Nothing wrong with that. Moms need time away from the kids too. I’m talking about missing out on time with your family because you feel the pressure to lose weight.
I’m talking about going to the gym out of fear you will gain weight or feel guilty if you don’t go.
Another thing to ask yourself is, how do you feel when you’re dieting? Most people feel more irritable and tired because your body is reminding you to eat.
It’s hard enough being a mom when you’re not starving and even harder when you are.
There may be some of you that read this and thought, “Well, I do need to lose weight because I will feel better about myself if I do.”
And here’s my next set of questions:
- - Have you ever felt good about your body?
- - Have you spent most of your life on a diet and trying to lose weight?
- - Do you truly believe that a smaller body will bring happiness?
- - Clearly, there is societal scorn for people in larger bodies, but is that societal scorn deserved?
- - Can everyone lose weight if they just try harder?
- - Lastly, do you think maybe ideal beauty standards are set too high?
- - Are they even realistic?
- - Do you want to keep chasing them forever?
You can be healthy, eat the foods you enjoy, be a good food role model for your kids and love your body as it is. I’m telling you, this life exists! Don’t let societal diet culture messages tell you otherwise.
Want to learn more about how to stop dieting and feel confident about your body? Follow me on Instagram @bodypositive_mom and go to my website bodypositivemom.com to checkout my online course for moms and apply to work with me one on one.
Brittany Woodard is a registered dietitian nutritionist and married mom with two little girls, Kyrah and Luna. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Nepal and currently growing her Body Positive Mom private practice helping moms feel confident in their bodies and find food freedom by using cognitive behavioral therapy skills.