I avoid looking in full length mirrors. Especially side profile.
Like most first-time pregnant women, that side pose was my go-to for nine months of my life. I had no problems sharing belly photos with anyone who wanted to see them. And after our daughter was born, I didn’t worry about ‘the baby weight,’ but naturally fell into a pattern of being out and about with the baby that helped me reach a weight that was ideal for me. I was excited to shop for new clothes, because what I had from just before my pregnancy didn’t fit well anymore.
Then I got pregnant again. This time, it was twins – and at 20 weeks, I was medically ordered to become a couch potato. It was a role that I embraced; I binge watched series after series, took epic daytime naps, and ate all the crappy food I could find. I was anxious about our boys and worried about our toddler daughter and just focusing on getting through the days.
By the time we delivered at 32 weeks, I had gained more than 50 pounds.
In five years, I haven’t really lost any of that. It’s just shifted around from pregnancy belly to flabby everything.
And if I were happy with myself, that would be fine. But lately I’ve stopped recognizing the face in the mirror. And then I realized I’ve been avoiding looking in the mirror at all.
Thankfully, that moment of realization came as I was taking steps to change what I’m doing (or not doing, I guess).
I was at Sparkle Lifestyle & MediSpa in Moncton. Madelaine Caissie, the owner and founder, had invited me to come and experience her nutrition coaching program first hand. For the next 12 weeks I’m going to visit with her weekly, while working on changing my eating and exercise habits, and sharing some of that journey with you.
My first big self-revelation came much sooner in this process than I expected, though. When Madelaine first asked if I would be interested in taking part, I was beyond excited! Not only was this exactly the kind of program I need, but having her ASK me to do it to share with you was the perfect MOTIVATION to keep me accountable. But that excitement very quickly turned to a feeling of being overwhelmed by the initial stack of papers with nutritional break downs and work out routines. I knew Madelaine, her staff, and the online community of other women on the program (mostly moms with young kids at home) were there to support me and help me make sense of it all, but I still felt that weight of reality. I was committing to making some major changes and pushing my boundaries – and it was NOT going to be easy.
Honestly, that first day I looked at my papers, I had to walk away. I moved on to another task. Then I focused on the really little elements, like increasing my water intake and thinking about which foods on the list I did like and already have on in the house. Then, when the anxiety subsided, I sent Madelaine a message.
She knew when I arrived for our first official session that I needed some reassurance and help with making the meal plan work for me. We talked it through and I felt better. So we moved on to fitness.
That’s when I realized I was avoiding mirrors.
I didn’t have a problem standing on the scale and sharing that number (It’s 185 pounds, for the record. The same as when I was nine-months pregnant in 2011.) But when Madelaine asked me to look at myself side profile in the full length mirror to see just how a certain exercise should be done, I had a hard time keeping my eyes there.
I’ve never thought of myself as having a negative self-image. I didn’t struggle much through my adolescent and early adulthood with weight. I was, for the most part, comfortable with myself. So this sense of not wanting to look at myself in the mirror is new and unsettling. And it’s very much something I want to change.
So I’ve filled up my water bottle, had a healthy and balanced breakfast, and am going to dust off the elliptical machine that hasn’t been used in a few years. I’ll sit down with Madelaine again this week and I hope you’ll check back to see how things go. Thanks for helping me make this happen.
This post is sponsored by Sparkle Lifestyle & MediSpa. I am receiving services in exchange for sharing my experiences and opinions with you.