After my son Leo turned 1, I had a LOT of thoughts swirling in my brain.
I had a real good cry about how he was growing up — and how horrible that is. Let’s face it, mamas — you feel me, right? It’s awful.
And then I felt really weird about my body.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about privilege. I think there’s a privilege that doesn’t get discussed. It’s the privilege of never having had to worry about your body before. I know this certainly applied to me. I never once worried about my weight or how I looked before I had a baby.
I remember one time my jeans were tight when I was in high school, and I gave up potato chips and ate pretzels instead. (It worked, by the way.) And that was probably the only time I ever worried about how I looked.
I don’t really cry about my body. I love my body for its ability to create an amazing human being. I can’t believe I was able to do that. Leo is brilliant, precocious, wiggly, and so much fun. We affectionately call him Bam Bam — which should tell you a lot about him.
And yet on his first birthday, I felt weird suddenly about my body. I looked at pictures of us from the past year, and I began to wonder what people thought about me. Did they think, “She doesn’t look one year postpartum — she looks one month postpartum!” Or did they think, “Wow, Liz looks great!”
And then I thought, Oh my God, who cares?
I remember being about a month postpartum and seeing a Facebook post from one of my friends. She’d just had her baby about five minutes before and was already fitting into her old jeans.
OK, maybe it was more than five minutes. But seriously, she’d JUST had her baby.
A good friend would be impressed, but I felt frustrated. After a C-section scar, a year of Zumba classes, and a sensible amount of salads, I still don’t fit into old jeans. I can tell you I look fabulous naked, and I think looking good without clothes is a better barometer than old denim, but I digress.
Here’s the point: Why do we force ourselves to fit into jeans? Jeans should fit us! We’re worth more than our tired $20 jeans from Target, and yet we keep them for “motivation.” Motivation to do what, exactly? Eat more kale and never have a milkshake? No thanks. I’m happy to be the size that I am, have an occasional milkshake, look good naked, and buy newer clothes that make me feel confident.
Settling on this positive self-talk helps, but it’s only half the battle. Society is the other half of the problem. Everyone is commenting about how they’ve lost weight, or how they’ve gained the “quarantine 15” (what a socially damaging new turn of phrase), or how someone else they know has gained or lost weight. When in truth, the very need to comment on someone’s weight is a mirror of that person commenting on how they feel about their own body.
Sometimes, I think people just don’t know what to say.
I remember going to a Zumba class before the pandemic, and one of the women was like, “Wow, you’ve really slimmed down.” And I thought to myself, “Oh, so I looked like a Hungry Hungry Hippo before? And now that I look less repugnant, you feel the need to tell me about it?” Now, when people compare me to Kelly Clarkson, I wonder if it’s because of her fluctuating size or her personality because of how totally body-obsessed I’ve become.
Anyway, I would love to try (and I hope you’ll join me) to stop commenting on other people’s weight. If you’re tempted to comment about someone’s body, please try to stop yourself before you say something stupid. Because what you were about to say, flattering or not, was undoubtedly a bad idea.
Our Guest Writer
Liz Theresa, business mentor and founder of LizTheresa.com, has been helping entrepreneurs find clarity and uniquely market themselves with confidence for a near decade through her strategic website design, intuitive business mentorship, and clever copywriting services. She wants every entrepreneur to rise and be the star of their own business. She’s also the creator of Concept to Creation, her flagship branding and web design program, and you can download a free copywriting training video from her at freecopyvideo.com.