Amanda Fisher, Tough Muddette

Let's chat all things fitness, nutrition, and mindset together!

Body Comparison: It’s A Trap!

I’m knee deep in body comparison ick right now, yo!  KNEE DEEP.

Lesson #1 has been happening throughout the entirety of this pregnancy, I feel like.  Or at least as long as I’ve “been showing.”  Apparently sporting a baby bump is an open invitation of comments comparing  your pregnant body to other women’s pregnant bodies, and begin the game of “you’re bigger than so and so,” or “you’re smaller than so and so”….or, my favorite, “BOY, you’ve REALLY popped this week, and so and so has/hasn’t” or whatever.

Just know, all us sporting baby bellies are freely handing out the mental double bird with all the pregnant belly comparison going on :). In the nicest way possible, of course.

Because, basically, it sorta makes us feel like shit.  We are literally damned if we do and damned if we don’t.  We are either too big, too small, popping, not popping, and every other thing in between.  And to be honest, we are on level 9 KAJILLION in hormones, yo, and hearing one more comment about our huge baby belly or lack thereof, is….well, sending us right over the damn edge some days.

And, it is a curious thing, this pregnant body comparison.  Because of all the women I know, only a handful are pregnant.  And, of those handful, we don’t share the same genetics, parents, DUE DATES, body compositions, blood profiles, and any of that other genetic stuff that would make us SIMILAR.  Oh, and we are ALSO growing genetically different babies.  So why would ONE common bond – IE pregnancy….and all of us being at different gestational ages – be a great apples to apples comparison?

Holy hell.  Can you tell I’m full of sass and pregnancy rage right now? Lol.

Here’s the thing though.  This baby belly comparison has taught me a lesson these past few weeks too!

Because…..as much as I love a good mindset towards my own body, it always comes with a boatload of work.

Here’s the kicker: getting compared to OTHER pregnant bodies makes me realize that I’m ALSO comparing…….my pregnant body to my body LAST year at this time, prior to pregnancy.  I’m literally KNEE DEEP in my own body comparison trap TOO!  And you know what this self comparison game is doing for me?  It’s making me feel like shit, just like getting compared to ANOTHER body.  Why in the world would I compare my pregnancy body to my non pregnant body?  They are literally two different things.  And to take it a step further, why the need for comparison in the first place?  Is that going to somehow make me feel better about things?  Hmmmmm…that’s an interesting little ditty that needs to go in my mindset “to tackle” task list, apparently.

(And PS, for the record, I think there ARE times when you might compare your current body to another time.  For instance, if you are working on muscle gainz in the gym, or fat loss, or an assessment of the strength or conditioning of your body after a program is over, that sort of thing.  But for real here, the CONTEXT matters.  In those instances, you are looking at DATA of how things are currently working for you.  And NOT beating yourself up over how things are at very different points in your life, right?)

So, in hindsight, maybe I needed to get raged up about getting compared to another pregnant body, because….well, I still have some shit to deal with, you know?

I like to think that the stuff that gets me all sorts of raged up is the stuff that I sometimes need to face head on and deal with internally as well.  I mean, in the end, it’s MY mental game on the line here.  And MY reaction to these things.  I can choose how I feel about these things – and giving them rage and mental energy may or may not be the best course of action.  In the end, how I choose to feel about them and deal with them….is well, MY RESPONSIBILITY.  Mine.  Not the body comparer, not my pregnant body, or my body last year.  MY ENTIRE RESPONSIBILITY.  If I want to get through this little mindset roadblock of comparison, then I need to shut up and deal, right?  And by shut up and deal, I pretty much mean sit with it a bit, in all the yuckiness, and then learn how to process my way through it.

Otherwise known as the unglamorous (but very necessary) part of leveling up your mindset, lol.

So, I guess I have a big lesson here.  I got hot under the collar on an issue that I WAS ALSO DOING TO MYSELF.  Perhaps the lesson here is to pay attention to what jacks up my blood pressure and see if there isn’t a little of that going on in my own head, right?

I think I have a second lesson here as well for myself.  Raging pregnancy hormones aside, it’s that, well, just when you think you have some things solved, stuff changes, and it’s time to learn again.  So I guess, the point of probably ANYTHING I write for this blog, is that…..it’s ALWAYS time to be learnin’.  That will never stop :).

Final thought.  When I find myself doing the comparing of my own body now to my body at another time, I need a flag, or a way to call attention to it and get myself out.  Same is true for when I find myself INSIDE a conversation with other individuals about body comparison as well.  I will work on this and report back 🙂

Questions for YOU:  Do you find yourself in the comparison trap like I have?  What sorts of things are you noticing, and what sorts of things are you doing to get out of it?  I’d love your thoughts on this! 

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Pregnancy: 37.5 Weeks (Half Weeks DO COUNT)

I realized it’s been a minute since I’ve written a pregnancy update!  So, here we go!  Not sure there will be another one or not, lol.

37.5 weeks!

37.5 weeks, baby!  This particular selfie was in my gym, at 4:40AM, ready to lead class (last week of class before baby break, yo!).

Mentally, I am EXCITED to add a fourth member to our family.  I think Todd, Emma and I are all sorta on pins and needles just playing the waiting game, lol.  Also, I’m about 90% over it mentally, not quite yet 100% but dang close.  I have written about it before, but pregnancy is not my favorite thing.  Yes, the baby at the end is fabulous and totally makes the journey worth it, buuuuttttt if storks could bring babies that would be A-OK in my book.  Not kidding.  Although maybe this one went faster than the last one, because there isn’t a lot of time to sit around thinking about being pregnant.  There’s just another kid to raise while another is baking.  So, I feel like weeks 5-25 took FOREVER.  And then all the sudden, I have no clue what happened to weeks 26-current.

Physically, this one is way different than the last.  Workouts during this pregnant were pretty good, although less (and smarter) than last pregnancy due to learning about pregnancy bodies in general, and the importance of core and pelvic floor health during AND after pregnancy.  I definitely did not do some of the same things I did last pregnancy – no running, was way smarter about core training (lots of farmer and rack carries, elevated planks, elevated push-ups, incorporated lots of band presses, deadbugs, etc), and also needed to modify things more heavily after about 32 weeks than I did last time.  For instance, I haven’t deadlifted a bar or a kettlebell from the floor since about 30 weeks, because….well….it just didn’t feel awesome anymore.  I did rack pulls with the bar for a bit before that became too much, and I have been doing lots of stiff legged deadlifts with a shortened range of motion than a traditional kettlebell or barbell version.  I’m also working on connecting pelvic floor (grabbing the damn bean) during big exercises as well.  Squatting with a bar on my back is ok mostly, but the weight needs to be way below heavy.  Front squats are gone because they feel like shit.  Goblet squats are ok.  Actually, bodyweight only squats focusing on sitting in the hole of the squat feels really awesome right now, and that’s good, because that’s labor prep, lol.  I spent a lot of my pregnancy focusing on upper body strength because, well, I was hoping to make my arms look pregnant too :).  And, sad to say…..but….the pregnancy pukes and disinterest in food stole all my glute gains.  I have yoga pants that used to be inappropriate to wear because #crackiswhack, now…..are appropriate because my ass has fallen and disappeared.  Boo, kinda bummed about that one, but excited for new gainz post birth!

Also physically different is getting my ass kicked around week 32 from time being on my feet.  Spending like 3 hours or more on my feet meant a tight belly, an “exhausted” feeling in my core and pelvis, etc.  I ended up cutting back my workload in the gym about about 34 weeks to account for this.  Longer walks initiated that feeling too (like more than 30 minutes).  I’ve had round ligament pain for lots of this pregnancy.  There is definitely a difference in a second pregnancy after your body has already carried a baby before.  PLUS, there is a definite difference carrying a baby at 30 years old compared to 34 years old, in my opinion.  Picking up my four year old right now seems fun until I do it, and then carry her for a bit, and then it’s just too much.  WAY DIFFERENT than last time around.

Nutritionally speaking, here’s how it went down, from my memory (but I can’t remember yesterday anymore, so this might not be exactly accurate).  Weeks 5-20 I tried my best to focus on protein, but to be honest, it was rough.  Most proteins were gross.  I spent a lot of time drinking shakes because they were something I could tolerate without getting grossed out.  I eat way more carbs in pregnancy than non-pregnancy because I crave them.  My body needs and wants that energy.  I craved what I would call “cheap” carbs….or those simple ones that I know would make me feel better initially, but leave me crashing an hour later.  Donuts, candy, white bread, etc.  I suspect cravings in general had something to do with being hungry from not eating as much either for a time, or from nausea, and puking.  So yup, I indulged, and I also tried my best on getting complex carbs in too, and to be honest, I didn’t stress myself about it too much.  I craved fruit big time too, we’ve been eating the house down on fruit lately.  Veggies are ok now, but for much of this pregnancy, were pretty much gross, yo.  For most of this pregnancy, I had the gags most days, and puked many, but it’s lessened now (and now that I say that, it will start again, lol).  I did rock a prenatal vitamin though, and at about 30 weeks my midwife suggested upping vitamin B and iron, and that totally helped with things.  May I just leave this here….I miss my dark winter beer brews.  Yo, I don’t need 100 beers to drink, but I do like 1 every other day or so.  And I’m very much looking forward to that, and to ordering beer when we go out for dinner again 🙂

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about us having our second baby in a birth center over a hospital.

Am I scared it will hurt?  No, not scared.  I know it won’t feel amazing.  I also know there is an end point.  I also remember what getting to 8cm and almost transition felt like, and have also been mentally preparing getting through contractions, and mentally managing that shit.  Last time, I had zero mental game, and to be honest, I think that was the deal breaker.  For me also, I think after getting an epidural, my mind went a little nuts because I couldn’t feel ANYTHING, and that freaked me out, and I think that’s why my last labor stopped after the epidural.  So I’m honestly relieved that I’m not going to be faced with the choice of should I have an epidural again.  Because I just don’t get that choice.  So….less mental energy spent on that, you know?  Also, my mom didn’t have an epidural, and she’s still alive to tell us about it, so…..

Have I stopped shaving my armpits and turned into a hippie who is very zen now that I’m delivering in a birth center?  No, not a hippie, and still shave my armpits (and legs).  And if you know me, I don’t think you’d use “zen” to describe me 🙂

Like, what do I do for appointments at a birth center?  To be honest, they don’t look much different at this birth center versus my old clinic.  Lots of same questions and talk.  They still take my vitals.  We still check baby’s heartbeat.  I would say, though, that they are very much in depth.  I switched to the birth center at 26 weeks.  And that’s probably the time of lots of the testing that you can do – gestational diabetes, then Group B strep, and I bet some other things I’m forgetting.  This particular birth center and set of midwives (there are two) are very in depth in explaining why you may want to test things, and why you may not.  And they inform you of both sides of the equation, and leave the decision to you, and there isn’t judgement behind any of it.  The lack of judgement thing works for me, I open up more when I feel like I’m not being scrutinized, you know?  Also, I keep up regular chiropractic care (always, but especially during pregnancy) to keep comfortable and these midwives were very in depth of checking and feeling for baby’s position.  Literally, up in my business in my belly and pelvis finding head, back, etc.  Then, I could take my magical three letters (mostly ROP) back to my chiro to tweak my chiro adjustments to get baby (and me) in best position.  Our baby started out head down, face forward…..the same way our daughter was born…and her melon got lodged in my pelvis, which was NOT awesome, and a battle to get out, yo.  This baby was posterior for quite some time, and has since turned to face down, soooooooo….even though they can move as much as they want in there, we are getting her where we want her, lol.  And hopefully, her melon doesn’t get lodged in my pelvis, yo.  Also, my midwives were really awesome at letting me get down in my belly too, and showing me where to feel for things like head, butt, back, etc.  And talked me through why I feel stuff where I feel stuff.  Like super in depth, and really interesting, actually.  This last appointment caught me off guard.  My midwife asked who my labor support was (my husband).  That question maybe didn’t surprise me, but the next one did!  Who is your postpartum support?  Er…..hadn’t really thought about it.  But she made a good point….and said you’re husband is going back to work and you are now at home with a four year old and an infant who won’t be sure of night and day….so what are you gonna do?  You know what?  I REALLY appreciated that question.  It made me think!  We are lucky to have family very close to us, plus, I’m lucky to have some pumping and breastfeeding buddies who I can reach out to when things get rough.  So, I’m happy I got asked that question!

So, like, are you doing a water birth?  I have no freaking clue.  I don’t plan on it, because frankly, labor seems messy to me, and I’m not sure I’m the type to sit around in my own mess.  But I also won’t say that I won’t do it either.  If it feels good, it feels good!  To be honest, I think I’d rather bring along a light kettlebell to help me drop into a goblet squat to push this kid out, because that’s a VERY natural position for me, lol.

Here’s my mindset on this birth center thing.  Our last birth experience wasn’t awesome.  Prenatal care was, but the hospital experience….no.  So here’s how my brain works….let’s do the opposite and start there.  Welp, a birth center is the opposite end of the spectrum, in my opinion.  My guess is the right answer lies somewhere in between, but who knows!  We are learning as we go, lol.  So far, it’s been pretty cool, though!  Mostly I’m excited about post partum care.  Our midwife comes to our house the day after birth to check on us.  We also continuously check in the weeks following, and I believe we go back multiple times during six weeks.  So, it’s very involved.  And, to be honest, I will likely be following up with a pelvic floor PT because….I want to be sure my floor and core get up to par the best they can so I can make sure I’m safe when I return to lifting.  Oh, and I’ll be doing Jessie Mundell’s Core + Floor program as well.

I’ve been reading the Bradley Method book, and basically learning about the phases of labor.  And also how to approach contractions this time…staying calm and trying to relax and keep breathing through them.  I can tell you last time, I fought them, I know I did, and it makes sense to try and go with them versus avoid them.  So, this will be different and will require concentration and effort.  If you do pick up the book, fair warning…the pictures are from the 80’s.  I’ve also been reading The Motherly Art of Breastfeeding given to me by a friend last pregnancy.  It’s been a really good reminder that breastfeeding takes effort, especially at first, and me and baby will learn together.

So, here we are….37.5 weeks!

Nutrition: Abundance Trumps Scarcity EVERY TIME!

Ever find yourself talking like Sharon in this picture?

Thx to the creative genius that came up with this picture! I can’t take credit for it, and I can’t find out who to give credit to, but it is awesome!

Yeah, me too.  Back in my sketchy nutrition days….where I was literally “not able” to eat anything “bad,” I talked like that allllll the time.  I was literally keeping myself in a trap of nutrition scarcity mindset with all that food drama.  Telling myself (and others) about how bad I was, or my food choice was, and whatnot.  Literally, when I go back through these conversations, no wonder I was so consumed with food.  I talked about it, and how “bad” at it I was, ALL.THE.TIME.  I was keeping myself trapped in that mindset, too, by my repeated thoughts and actions.  Did I seriously not have anything better to talk about?  Hmmmm, I’m actually scratching my head and wondering that RIGHT NOW.

But to be honest, I GET THAT nutrition scarcity mindset.  Once you are in, you’re in, and it’s hard to get out, yo.  I get feeling like food has power over you.  I totally get feeling like there is no control around certain foods or certain meals.  I REALLY get attaching your emotions and self-worth to your food choices, it’s an easy trap to fall into.  It’s an AWFUL cycle to be in, and I’ve been through that cycle.  It’s not pleasant, it consumes you, it consumes your thoughts, your energy, and it trickles into EVERYTHING.

But that same nutrition scarcity mindset is the very thing keeping us trapped in that awful loop.  We can’t get out of the loop until we get out of that scarcity mindset!

I began to see my way out of that loop by learning to think differently about food.  Many things brought this one, including strength training, but I would say the biggest thing that helped me learn how to get myself out of that trap was just the desire to NOT be or think like that anymore.  I knew I didn’t want to be THERE, but I wasn’t sure how to get somewhere else, if that makes sense.

I began to start learning how to think differently.  Literally learning how to go from scarcity mindset to abundance mindset with regard to nutrition.  You guys, this took TIME.  It did, I’m not going to lie to you about that.  It took practice, days, which eventually turned into weeks, into months, into years.  This is STILL something I work on to this day, so I don’t think it’s something one is ever “cured” from, you know?

Here is what I mean by nutrition abundance mindset.  Instead of focusing on all the things I told myself I couldn’t eat, I focused on all the things I told myself I COULD.  More on “could” and “couldn’t” probably another day, because that’s another ball of wax.  But, turns out….there are LOTS of foods out there to choose from, lol!  LOTS!  And I couldn’t see them before, because I was so focused on what I couldn’t have.

Turns out, I was able to learn how to build meals really well!  Meals that sustain me with lots of protein and produce, complex carbs, fat, etc.  And I don’t have to eat EVERY TWO HOURS, I can eat larger meals a few times per day.  And, ENJOY THEM.

Turns out, eating out didn’t have to mean a disaster either.  There are TONS of ways to get abundant with meals while eating out, and someone else prepares your food FOR you, lol!  MAGIC!  I can always find a burger (bunless or not), grilled chicken something, salad something, protein something, veggie something, etc.  And I don’t have to do the work of chopping and cooking, lol!  (Ps, Qdoba is my favorite…..a burrito bowl!  Plus I really love watching people try to figure out how to run the pop machine there, lol).

Turns out that by focusing on filling myself up with awesomeness, I began looking at food a bit differently, through an abundance lense versus a scarcity lense, you know?  And I really freaking liked that view.

Now, I’d be lying if I told you all I filled up on was “awesomeness.”  I still eat treats.  I think everyone should enjoy a healthy treat balance that works for them.  Honestly, using treats has also helped shape my abundance mindset surrounding food too!  Treats like peanut butter eggs, beer, cupcakes, sprinkled throughout my week, have helped me actually eat more awesomeness I think too.  It’s given me a new way to think about food.  A healthier way to think about food.  And….to be honest, feeling this way is SO EASY as compared to feeling that nasty scarcity mindset, yo.

My overall energy level is better since approaching nutrition with an abundance mindset.  So is my actual thoughts surrounding food.  To be honest, it’s helped me so much in social situations, in how I think about meals for my family, it’s trickled in EVERYWHERE in my life.  I love it.

A takeaway for YOU.  Sit down with yourself and get honest with where you fall.  Are you approaching food with a scarcity mindset, or an abundance mindset?  How can you take small steps TODAY towards abundance mindset?  How can you do it your way, a way that works for you?  Get honest with yourself here, even if it makes you uncomfortable as shit.  Honesty with yourself is POWER.  YOU are in charge here, and it’s important to find a way that works for YOU, and YOUR life, you know?

And, as always, I want to hear about this stuff!  Drop me a comment here or on my FB page.  Shoot me an email at toughmuddette at gmail dot com.  I want to hear about the things you learn, yo!

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