The Diet Dilemma

The Diet Dilemma | Twin Cities Mom Collective

One of my favorite things about being pregnant and nursing was that I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain excess weight. I piled on the portions over the years with no negative consequences, but now that this chapter is coming to a close, I’m noticing my post-baby body doesn’t look how I want it to look. It’s not the easiest realization to come to, but here I am.

The frustration increased when I took out my fall and winter clothes this season. I was excited to wear them after having missed the opportunity last year. As I tried them on, they were tighter than I remembered… like I-can’t-sit-comfortably-because-the-waistline-digs-in-so-badly kind of tight.

I decided to do something about it. I decided to wish for it to be different. My plan was to hope that things would change and keep everything else the same in the meantime. That would do the trick. Optimism is powerful, right?

Well… as you can guess, that didn’t work out for me. No matter how hard I tried to hope for a good eating day, the stress in our world and in my busy home got the best of me and I continued to emotionally eat. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I’d go to the treat cupboard and help myself to chocolate, or Halloween candy, or whatever I could find that would make me feel a little better.

I finally felt so discouraged and sick of feeling stuck that I signed up for a paid app subscription, complete with a coach and lifestyle cohort. It was a pretty low day that day, feeling defeated, “fat,” and ashamed that I couldn’t just figure this out on my own without paying someone to help me.

As I began working with this program, a phrase I often use with my kids came to mind, “We all need a little help sometimes.”

I don’t know why I’m so hard on myself for not being able to do it on my own. It’s okay to need help, and receiving help allows me to get where I want to be.

Once I eliminated the (falsely-placed) shame from needing help, I started to feel empowered. I’m now gaining awareness for what I’m putting into my body and how that makes me feel. I’m carving out time to walk each day. I’m understanding what a portion size looks like for a woman who is not pregnant or nursing – and I needed help in figuring that out! It’s been over 6 years of being pregnant or nursing, and I’ve grown accustomed to piling up my plate.

So at the end of the day, if you’re feeling unhealthy right now, don’t wait to make a change. It feels so good to be finally acting on something for ME, and I want that for you too. I remind myself that it’s not about what the scale says, or how the clothes fit, or how others perceive me. While any of those are nice side-effects, the best benefit I’ve received is how l feel each day knowing I am taking care of my body and working on improving my health. No shame, only strength.

Amber Harder
Amber has lived in Minnesota her whole life, with a 4-year stint in Iowa for college (Go Norse!). She and her husband met while both trying to kayak for the first time. The kayaking didn’t go well, but their relationship did! They’ve been married for over 10 years and have four incredible children. Amber describes herself as a recovering perfectionist, unashamed introvert, and extremely empathetic. Her favorite moments are those rare ones during the day when time stands still and she can see with fresh eyes the amazing little people who call her mom.

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