This is a hard picture to share – not because I’m unhappy with the way my body looks now, but because I’m afraid of how you are going to react to the difference.Deep Breath The picture on the left was taken May 2014 – a few months before I found out I was pregnant, teaching a full class load, and with plenty of time for my own workouts. The picture on the right was taken last week – 7 months post partum – after I stepped on the scale, realized I was about 5 pounds lighter than I was last May, and was curious what the side-by-side comparison would look like.

For the record… neither picture is filtered. (And please excuse my filthy mirror.)

I know I haven’t been eating or exercising for fat loss. Yes, I’ve lost weight, but I’ve also lost muscle and I haven’t lost a lot of fat. Instead I’ve been eating well enough to sustain me and feed my baby and choosing workouts that would help keep stress at bay. Basically… lots of carbs and yoga.

And let me be clear… there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. You can’t always be in hardcore, fat-loss mode.

But when I put these pictures side-by-side three things happened:

  1. I felt disappointed. I knew I don’t look like that first picture right now, but I’ve been happy with my body. It’s still strong (do you know how much a 7 month old plus the car seat weighs?), it’s still healthy, and I don’t frown when I look in the mirror (except maybe at the dark circles under my eyes). But when I put my pasty, 7-month post partum, December body next to my tan, childfree, May body… well damn.
  2. I worried. I’m a fitness professional in the #fitmom #transformationtuesday #imbetterthanyou (OK that last one isn’t real) age. I was devastated (no that isn’t an exaggeration) when I wasn’t back to my pre-pregnancy weight by 6 weeks. From the pictures “fit” people post online I was fully expecting to “have my body back” before my 5-week postpartum check up. Seven months later I’m still not there. Who’s going to take me seriously as a fitness professional if I don’t have perfectly toned arms and six-pack abs?
  3. I felt stupid. I showed the picture to my husband and (god bless him) he asked what the difference was besides the tan. We’re always our worst critics aren’t we? I’m constantly preaching to my clients, “Progress not perfection.” Perfection doesn’t exist in real life – at least not the “perfection” in pictures. Take away the filters, take away the contorted poses, change the light and there are the flaws. Flaws are what make us human. Flaws are what make us perfect to those who love us. I am so proud of my body – flaws and all – and I refuse to let a side-by-side comparison of pictures taken a year and a half apart, that doesn’t show the 9 months of my growing belly, and the seven months of my shrinking sides, to ruin that love.

This body did THIS! What's not to be proud of?

Here I am a week later, still unsure if I want to post this picture because it’s scary and I don’t know what you’re going to think. I don’t have a six-pack (I clearly didn’t pre-baby either). I don’t eat gluten free. I really like chocolate. Is anyone going to take my seriously ever again if I post this?

But I’ve spent all last week repeating these two mantras:

I am SO proud of my body.

Progress not perfection.

 

And they’ve stuck. I AM so proud of my body. I’m not perfect, but it gets better every day.

So I challenge you to adopt one of these mantras this week. Or find one that resonates with you and say it loud, say it proud.

Say it quietly in the mirror.

Say it in your head.

Say it anytime you doubt yourself.

Say it even if you don’t believe it in that moment.

Because I am so proud of you. And your progress is perfection.