It might not be easy to believe but the fact you hate your post-baby body is unlikely to be anything to do with you. It’s to do with the lessons, messages and criticisms you’ve received from others over the years. So if you want to understand why you hate your post-baby body you need to think about the story of how you became you.
From the day we are born we are absorbing everything that goes on around us. Good and bad. So if you are feeling bad about the way you look right now then this will be because of your underlying beliefs, experiences and observations of how you should feel about yourself. All of which will have been influenced by the things you saw, heard or were told growing up.
It might be that you grew up in a house where you were criticised if you were overweight. Or where you watched your mum go from diet to diet or complain about her weight a lot. Perhaps people said negative things about you when you were a teen. Or past partners judged you for how you looked.
Whatever it is, you need to be aware of it so that you can let it go. Sometimes, just a single comment can send us down a path that leads to self hatred or loathing. But the good news is that as adults, we can see those influences for what they are (unhelpful!). We can also make a choice that they won’t affect us anymore.
The story of you
If you think about a story, it lays out all the important parts that you need to understand the finale. There are all the relevant plots and subplots, character development and background info you need to make sense of what happens (at least usually!).
You are a story. Everything that has gone before you is there to help you understand who you are. All those messages that you received in the past are what leads right up to the present moment. To what makes you, you.
The way you feel about your body now is part of your story. And we need to explore what narratives, characters or plot twists there are in your past that have led you to where you are now.
So how do you write your own story and understand why you hate your post-baby body?
Writing your story means writing down all those messages, comments or attitudes of people around you that have led you to feel the way you do about being you.
It pays to spend a little time thinking deeply on this as some of the influences might not be obvious at first. You might also have forgotten (or repressed) things from your past that are affecting you now. Find a quiet time and place to do this where you won’t be disturbed. Grab a pen and paper or, if you prefer, you can type things up in a document. Remember that no one will see this so be completely honest.
If you think you know where your story starts then you can jump right in. But if not, here are some questions to help get you started.
- Have there been times where you were made to feel bad about your appearance?
- What messages did you receive about body image growing up?
- How did the people around you feel about themselves?
- How did the people around you feel about the female body?
- Are there instances of people close to you criticising the way that you look?
Answering these questions will be a helpful prompt and as you do so, I’m sure other memories or thoughts will start flowing to you as well.
Write your story out in a way that works for you.
It could be a list of bullet points of all the negative messages you’ve received. Or you could write it as a short story or journal entry. The important thing is that you are identifying all the previous elements that have contributed to you feeling bad about your appearance. What I want you to see is that there have probably been lots of influences on how you feel about yourself. And that there are likely good reasons why you feel the way you do now.
The other thing that can be really help is to journal what writing your story has brought up for you. There’s likely to be a lot and you won’t be able to work it through in one sitting. Using a journal to expand on each point that’s come up can be really useful. You can think about what it meant to you. How it made you feel at the time and how it’s affecting you now. You can also journal why that particular belief or experience is not helpful or no longer relevant. This allows you to let it go and make room for new, positive beliefs. You can read my post on 3 excellent reasons to keep a journal to help you love your body here if you’re still not convinced.
Writing your story can be challenging
There might be painful memories in there that you’ve tried to forget. It can also make you look a little differently at the people who love you when you realise the impact they might have had on you. But it’s really important. Knowing what beliefs you have been given allows you to decide that you don’t need them and let them go. Finding out that your feelings about your body have come from things people have said to you in the past means that you can see that your body isn’t the real problem. It’s how you’ve been made to feel about yourself over the years that is the issue.
If you find this hard and want some support just get in touch here to book a 1:1 coaching session with me. I can help you work through the things from your past that are stopping you loving your post-baby body now. And together we’ll create the positive beliefs that you want so you feel fab!