When we lived in LA, we had a blast but knew that it wasn't where we wanted to raise our daughter. When Makenzie was born, we picked 5 cities to move to by the time she was to be 5 years old. We beat that timing and moved to Portland, a city of incredible body acceptance, when Makenzie was shy of 4 months old. The move was significant in Makenzie's first years of life, and my months being postnatal and getting stronger again. In LA when pregnant, I felt ginormous. I was in the fitness industry, and while active I can vividly remember some gentleman with beer bellies at the club I worked at, asking if I was having twins. Exactly what a 5'1" 28 year old wants to hear, especially when she is surrounded by tall soap stars and "stars in their own mind" LA peeps every day. Even being active, we knew it wasn't the healthiest place for us to raise a daughter. And having had an eating disorder in Junior High and High School, if we could prevent any external pressures on body image for our kid, I was determined we would.
Thus Portland- it was great! While a female can never escape the media, in Portland so many women are encouraged and accepted for being rockstar athletes. The confidence in who you are and how you hold yourself flourishes when amongst women who are just happy to BE themselves. Mind you, when in Portland, we were constantly surrounded by other men and women who lived healthy lifestyles since many of our friends were clients and trainers from my fitness businesses. They drank the same "health and fitness" juice that we did; living the life of athletes with kids.
|2010 Summer -Lake Tahoe- Swimsuit pride!|
Every Summer, we made our daily run or ride to the swimming pool. When the girls had lessons I would swim laps, always peaking over in between strokes. I loved watching them jump comfortably in their swimsuits, bum cheeks popping out in their suit bottoms and not caring at all. I relished seeing them joyful as they were moving all over the swimming pool. We swam for hours and would play in the adjacent Grant Park until the sun went down. Continuously it was my goal to tell them how strong their bodies were, how incredible their bodies were for doing big jumps and swimming with big rainbow arms. I was focused, and will forever be, in making sure they know their body is a gift and to embrace all it has to offer.
A few years back when teaching Baby Boot Camp, some of the boot campers were complaining about their cores and not being what they were pre-pregnancy. I will never forget stopping them mid-run with a serious teaching voice and explaining how as a female one of the biggest jobs nobody tells you about is retraining your body how to work post childbirth. But as you retrain, you will most likely be stronger than you were before kids and will be able to physically handle more than pre-children. A few of the ladies continued verbalizing their frustrations and said we, the instructors, didn't know what it was like since we were in shape. At that, 2 other instructors and myself lifted our workout tanks and showed the gals our stomachs. While all were strong and toned, we also had a bit of skin shift at the belly button or lower abdomen from c-sections. Even with strong solid stomachs, we all did have children and embraced our bodies for doing so. We also tried to not focus on it, but focus on how many push ups we could do, how fast we could run, how high we could jump, or how our weeks' were better for exercising together.
Last week we were getting ready to swim and Makenzie made a comment about being fat in a swimsuit. My jaw dropped to the ground and immediately we discussed how beautiful her strong body was. She said it not with worry, but in a matter of fact manner. Emerson was standing beside me and said loudly, "Makenzie you are not fat! You are strong and can swim like a mermaid". Proud Mama moment to hear Emerson talk, but mixed moment to hear Makenzie's words. I asked where the comment came from and she said that at school some of the girls were talking about their bodies and since they said they felt fat, she did too. So there we were, my two beautiful girls and myself in our bikinis, having a body image talk. I told Makenzie that girls hear things about their bodies and shouldn't worry about it, but be so happy for strong bodies that can work incredibly! Her body has gone through more than many do in a lifetime and is so stellar in all it has done and will continue to do. We talked about all the dynamic things our bodies can do and how it doesn't matter how we look, but how we feel and to always be active and have fun with what bodies we were given. I poked fun at myself for being short, but able to walk under tree branches without ducking. We pointed out our freckles, different eye colors and cool scars. Then we walked to the pool standing tall and cannon balled into the water holding hands.
|proud to be STRONG|
Grab your bikini, your smile and head to the pool proudly. You have an incredible body and now is your time to make it shine!!!!