My scale tells me I still have ten pounds of baby weight hanging around. It is lying. Because the mirror and my clothes tell a different story. They tell me that I’ve lost a lot of what was keeping me out of my pre-pregnancy apparel. They also show me that my skin is a little more <ahem> “pliable” after giving birth to my third baby and that the late nights with multiple wake ups are getting to my face in the form of fine lines and dark circles.
This is the third go-around for my body when it comes to having babies and bouncing back. Each time I’ve reached a point postpartum when I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and been in conflict. Can I accept my body and still want to change it?
This time I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a conflict—that those two sentiments can coexist. I can be content with where I’m at—the extra 10 lbs. and all. Being content means not rushing or pushing my body to lose the weight, not becoming rigid or restricting my diet. It means allowing my body to settle at its ‘happy place’ on its own, without forcing it.
Yet, I can want to change my body too. I want to be stronger than I was before I was pregnant. I want to run faster and challenge my body to see what it is really capable of. If I run, not for the sake of losing weight, simply for the sake of my love of running and my running goals, I know my body will change. The weight will come off naturally. It just takes time.
Sometimes I’m just too impatient to let the time pass by. Sometimes we look for shortcuts when we want to see a “result,” but if there’s anything that running has taught me, it’s that the journey is more important than the outcome. Yes, I want that PR on race day. Yes, I want to fit into those jeans again. But what I really need is the journey to get there. What I need is the solitude and quiet of solo miles in the early morning, the pushing through the “I want to quit” feeling of hard track workout or a long run. It’s that journey that settles my mind, stops me from rushing and makes me believe in myself and the possibilities ahead, instead of being critical of where I am now.
When I focus on what I love about myself and what I love about running, what the scale says doesn’t matter.