Body Image

This may have been the most important topic I faced as a Teen Mom, or should I say, I was really into my looks. I think most of my friends were similar, but I had begun modeling school when I was twelve and I had been trained to be very aware of my look, walk, clothing and make up. I studied fashion. I learned how to prepare my mannerisms and voice. I did some work as a young teen, for L’Oreal as a hair model and representing Liz Claiborne’s newest line for a fashion show project. My main goal after graduating was working full-time as a career model once I turned 15. Like most girls in the modeling business, 15 was the age you moved to New York and started working. My path changed when my family and I moved to Jacksonville, Alabama half way through my eighth grade year. By the time I was turning 15 and completing my freshman year, I was emotionally invested in my high school. My dance team and friends were everything to me at that point. I mean, I lived and breathed high school and its social scene. Half way through my sophomore year, I found out I was pregnant. My life was thrown into chaos. Plans changed.

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I barely gained any weight at first, about 10 pounds the first 5 mouths. This changed once I moved back to Michigan and began attending an alternative high school with a teen mom program. I no longer had to hide my pregnancy, I began to use food as a comfort. Pregnancy is exhausting and I was experiencing it for the first time. I was still going to school 5 days a week, I never dropped out. I would usually crash as soon as I walked in the door. My mom and I stayed in a furnished condo while we house hunted, leaving the rest of our family behind in Alabama to wrap up loose ends and sell our home.

I could make excuses about the 50 pounds I ended up gaining as a teen mom, but apart from it being a super stressful season in my life, I was really uneducated about nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy. I was not monitoring my weight, even though I was regularly attending check ups. No one offered me diet help or said much about it. I gained a lot of weight quickly in the end, when hunger was the most intense. I was therefore left with a lot of weight to lose and, of course, I wanted to lose it very rapidly. I had my son in the middle of July and was due back at high school only weeks after giving birth. I was desperate.  I began a very restricted diet, even though I was breastfeeding. One day, walking down the stairs in my parents house, I began to black out. Luckily, I caught myself and sat down before completing my decent. That experience freaked me out and I learned I could not continue with too few calories. It was unhealthy. I could not starve myself and care for my baby. I did lose the weight, I am glad to say, but it took about a year – to a year in a half. It happened when I decided to go on vacation for spring break with some girlfriends to Fort Lauderdale. I joined a gym, gave up fast food and eating take out, and I finally lost that last 15 pounds that had just sort of lingered.

I’m now in a similar position as I battle off yet another round of excess body weight right after having a baby. I am older and caring for many small ones, so losing weight has become a science for me. I have to be smart and I have to find things that work for my ever-changing life and schedule. I did some research for this post recently, which I really enjoyed. I have made managing my weight a lifelong ambition, after all, once a model always a model. I am always wanting to look my best. Here are some things that have worked well for me:

Hydrate

I recently studied up on detoxing the body. The only problem was you can not detox during pregnancy or breastfeeding. But you can detox naturally. Avoid foods that don’t mesh with your liver like high fructose corn syrup and MSG. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water everyday if you are trying to lose weight. I like to use wide mouth mason jars to help me achieve this. I fill one with ice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoonful of raw honey and a dash of sea salt for electrolytes. It is a treat! The honey comes through in bursts and I enjoy it more than pop, which I have vowed to cut out of my diet. Of all the things that are easy to do to care for your body, drinking enough water has the added benefits of making me feel great and giving my skin a nice glow.

 I find Plus models convey a much closer vision of the real women I see everyday. Be careful, especially when looking at  photo shoots which are airbrushed and edited – selling an image that doesn’t really exist.

Yoga

I have been a walker all my life. I have been a runner, I have done 2 hour cardio sessions at the gym multiple times a week. Zumba, Dance, weight training class for a year, as well as, Pilates and Yoga. In all my workout searching, nothing has given me the results I crave like yoga. I was surprised, too. I only tried yoga during my second pregnancy on a whim, to pamper myself. I continued in it for the relaxation benefits it immediately brought into my life. Never did I expect it to transform my body in the ways I had been wanting, all those years before! A close second to yoga is Pilates. Pilates has given me quick results! I love Jennifer Kries method Pilates, its my go-to routine whenever I need to trim down my waist quick. For yoga, I was fortunate that my first instructor was from India. She was taught by her father from a young age and she was very knowledgeable. You can pick up some good techniques in a class setting and then continue to practice in your home. Working out at home is a must for me. I live in a region where weather is too harsh for several months out of the year and I need a plan that cannot be sabotaged by money needs or babysitter assistance.

Liver care

I have recently become aware of the powerful role our liver plays in weight loss. Certain foods and toxins regularly consumed can foil attempts to loose weight via exercise. This goes for alcohol, prescription and recreational drugs (never stop taking a medication without consulting your physician). We can care for our liver by numerous healthy foods like garlic, ginger, beets and coffee. We can drink lots of water. We can simply learn about liver care and make it a priority. If you have struggled to lose weight, this may be your problem. Oil pulling, salt baths and dry brushing are all techniques you can google to aid in liver health, All are safe for breastfeeding mothers, too! I have been doing all three for a month in preparation for this article, as well as drinking half my body weight in water. I can say that the most dramatic difference is the appearance of my skin. It glows, especially after the oil pulling. I have also lost five pounds, and do to a hectic writing schedule, I have barley had time to exercise this past month. I really credit the weight loss to the liver care regiment I have begun.

Cardio

Cardio burns calories and fat and feels amazing AFTERWARDS (NOT DURING). Cardio oxygenates every internal organ! Cardio activates the lymph by invoking gravity. Our bodies were made to move.The latest science in health care is linking muscle atrophy (not moving a muscle for extended periods of time) to a majority of diseases that plague humans as they age. Get moving and keep moving. Throughout your life, cardio is necessary.

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Keep a Food and Measurement Journal

I have learned this over the years. Just like anything, being organized and informed is key.

We hired a midwife for my second pregnancy, and it was my first experience with a midwife. They offer a much more personalized care plan than I was used to receiving and I loved it. One of the first things my midwife required of me was a food journal. She told me I could take a vitamin, but it would be better to get nutrients from my food. I wrote down what I ate everyday for a month and, WOW, did I eat better when I had to put it in writing! Using a scale and taking measurements are the same, in that you are tracking your progress and being aware. The times I gained too much weight in my life were times when I avoided the scale or didn’t own one altogether. Measurements are important for properly ordering clothing online, which I do a lot, and it has been helpful to keep track of my changes over the years. I always record my bust, waist and hip, thigh and upper arm. (I learned this in my weight training class). My measurements have generally been the same through all my postpartum months and I can see how long it took me to lose inches in the past. Knowing I have been successful before encourages me I can do it again!

Limit sugar

I have had great success by simply measuring my daily sugar intake. 40 grams per day is the standard consumption for sugar. This breaks down into 4 teaspoons equal 10 grams of sugar & 16 teaspoons equal 40 grams. 16 teaspoons is a lot of sugar, by the way. When I measured out my sugar for coffee and kept ingestion strictly under 40 grams per day, I lost weight and kept it off.

All of this equates to my main message of this post: Love Yourself! Now. Right Now. Just as you are. Because as women that have babies, our bodies are going to change. You can love yourself and take loving care of your body. You will feel better for it and you will look better, too. People will notice! Embrace your body. Love your body. You are a one of a kind stunner. Have the right body image by being the best version of you and not looking to society or media to dictate true beauty. True beauty is right in front of you, staring back from that mirror! #fight #love #TeenMom

 

Disclaimer: The previous tips are my opinions.They should not replace medical advice.

1 Comment

  1. Wells

    Hey girl! Thanks for all this fun information! I do oil pulling too! Am gonna have to look into that other liver detox stuff. Being healthy is SO key for busy mamas!

    Like

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