Finding Positive Body Image…at a Pole Fitness Class


When your fearless friend asks you to go to a pole fitness workshop, you go. Twice – even if you’re pregnant for one of them. It’s not where I expected to encounter positive body image. But, there I was, belly and all, shaking my groove thing around a pole.

There were so many different shapes and sizes of people dancing away and none of them batted an eye at anyone else. They were totally focused on their moves and what their bodies could do, not how they looked. It was awesome!

Little did I know, that glimpse of positive body image would come in really handy throughout both of my pregnancies.

With our first son, I gained 50 pounds. Every doctor’s appointment was a struggle. I wasn’t drinking caffeine, smoking, drinking wine, or eating deli meat. But, hey, that number on the scale meant more.

Luckily, my mom was a hugely supportive and told me to get over it. She had the same issue when she was pregnant.

I had the baby. When he was a couple weeks old, a cousin of mine told me to give myself 12 months. My body would be fine.

It was. 

Second kid? Fifty pounds. More lectures. More tears. 

“Woman sheds 50 pounds slowly after pregnancies by focusing on what her body can do, not what it weighs” doesn’t sell diet shakes, workout videos, or thigh masters.

We’re a culture obsessed with numbers and I, unfortunately, don’t even know how to tell you this story without numbers.

I’m 34, around 5’8” and weigh between 167 and 170 pounds. Ten years ago, I weighed about 157. Before my first son, I weighed 163.

Yes, I am overweight on the BMI scale. Yes, I still have seven pounds of “baby weight” I “should” probably lose.

But, I’m okay with that. I feel good mentally and physically. My body can do what I want and need it to do right now.

What My Kids Won’t Remember:

They won’t remember how my butt looked in swimsuit, they’re going to remember jumping in to my arms off the diving board. The arms that were strong enough to catch them.

They won’t remember the flash of hesitation in taking off my swimsuit cover up. They’ll remember that mom jumped in the water and put on her skis – which gave my oldest the courage to give it a try.

The swish of the net when they beat me in horse, that’ll be their memory. Not my arms jiggling in a tank top when I make a jump bikingAnd my spandex bike shorts? Won’t even enter their minds. They’ll remember going fast in their bike trailer and playing arcade basketball at the Flat Tire Lounge on the High Trestle Trail.

Having a positive body image is still tough. I’m my own worst critic.

So what do you do when the world constantly tells you you’re not enough because of a number on a scale or a picture of a model (you know models model for a living, right)?

  • Toss out the scale.
  • Find something you love doing – barre, cross fit, spin class, running, nightly walks, tag in the back yard, pole fitness – and focus on how it makes you feel mentally and physically.
  • Focus on what your body can do, not how it looks
  • Fuel your body with foods that make you feel good. And it IS okay to eat the cake and drink the wine. Don’t punish yourself with or because of food. It should be enjoyed.
  • Get in the pool.
  • Get on the dance floor.
  • Shoot the jump shot.
  • Be nice to yourself.
  • Try something new.
  • Don’t comment on other people’s bodies.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people.
  • Buy the dress now, don’t wait because you think your body isn’t worthy.

You are enough.

You aren’t ‘less than’ because of your looks or a number on a scale.

You are amazing.

You can do great things and it has nothing to do with your physical appearance.

After all, the prettiest girls in the world live in Des Moines, and I’m convinced that’s because we always dress ourselves with a smile.

How do you keep a positive body image and keep yourself feeling great mentally and physically?


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