This week’s episode is a fantastic look at post-partum body confidence. Brittany Woodard shares SO openly and honestly about her own journey with her postpartum body image. Any woman who needs a body confidence boost will benefit from listening in!
Recently I was on a client group call and it seemed like everybody was having a bad body image day. It inpsired me to create the Better Body Image Challenge. This is a FREE, 4 days challenge that includes a daily email AND live training from me. It’s all new material, and I’m so excited to share it with you! We’re kicking off August 25, so sign up today!
Brittany is a registered dietitian who specifically works with moms on regaining their body confidence! Becoming a mom changes your body in so many ways. Plus, mom life can be hard!
Whether you’re looking to stop dieting, find food freedom, or come to a place where you can accept your bodies changes — Brittany is there for you! In addition to being a mom herself, Brittany got her start working at a WIC clinic. Before that, however, she spent two years in Nepal with the Peace Corps. That experience is what inspired her to want to work specifically with women.
After giving birth to her own children, her focus narrowed even more. Moms who had given birth and who were now dealing with body image “stuff” became her passion. Eventually, Brittany’s career came into focus; she uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help moms stop dieting, get used to their bodies, and overcome the constant diet culture messaging.
The concept of getting your body “back” after giving birth is ridiculous. This pressure women feel to bounce back and meet idealized body standards just isn’t healthy. It leads to guilt, shame, and frustration. Rather than resenting your body and forcing yourself to pursue something impossible, Brittany focuses on helping women love and accept themselves.
It’s NOT You! (And there isn’t anything wrong with you!)
Brittany’s early decision to get into dietetics was partially based on her own interesting in diets. At first, she thought that by being a dietitian she would always have the inside scoop on which diets were the best. As she learned more, however, she began to realize that NO diet truly worked. Rather than discovering the best diets, she discovered the reality that dieting isn’t the best option for your physical or mental health.
Her greatest revelation: it’s NOT you. Nothing is wrong with you, your body, or your genetics. This understanding helps her work with post-partum moms in all stages of post-birth!
I shared a bit with Brittany about my own journey with post-partum body confidence. Even though I was already doing intuitive eating, I found out I definitely had more body confidence work to do!
Around the 3 month mark, I got really frustrated with my body. I didn’t want to be wearing maternity pants any more, but I also didn’t fit into my old clothes. Motherhood is so high pressure, and not “snapping back” into my old version of normal felt like one more thing that wasn’t “right” in my mothering journey.
The Power of Thoughts & Beliefs
Brittany shares that awareness is such an important part of the journey. Her clients come to her knowing that they are unhappy with something – maybe their dieting habits, maybe their body image, or maybe just a general sense of dissatisfaction. Being aware that there IS a problem is what helps them get in the door! Once there, Brittany works with them using cognitive behavioral therapy, which is based on how thoughts create actions.
In a nutshell: Our thoughts and beliefs are what create our feelings and ultimately our actions. When we can change our thoughts and beliefs to something more empowering and positive, we’re better able to have feelings and take actions that allow us to live the lives we desire.
This process isn’t easy, but it is powerful and it does work! Brittany helps women ask questions and challenge unhelpful and unhealthy beliefs that are leading to behaviors that don’t serve us.
+ Where do these ideas come from?
+ Who is telling us these things?
+ How can you change your mindset and bring yourself into a more positive mindset?
When you ask questions like this (and are open to answers that may surprise you), you can make powerful changes in your life!
Often celebrities are held up as the gold standard when it comes to post-partum body confidence and expectations. What we don’t consider, however, is the reality that their lives are not like ours.
They have nannies, and night nurses, and people to cook, and clean, and ultimately airbrush them into the pictures of perfection we see in magazines and online. They aren’t living the way we’re living!
When you’re a new mom, dealing with ALL the craziness that goes into parenting, the last standard you should be applying to yourself is that of a celebrity who has resources you can’t even dream of. What you’re doing as a mom is important, and it’s hard, and it’s not anything you need to judge yourself for!
You also don’t need to constantly be with other moms, family members, or friends who are obsessing over weight, diets, and changing their bodies.
Brittany encourages women to surround themselves with a supportive community that offers love and compassion. She also advocates for you to be willing to share about your own desires for body confidence and diet freedom if that feels right for you. You don’t need to continue interacting with diet culture groups and conversation 24/7, especially if you’re trying to move away from that for yourself! And if someone you’re really close to (like your mom!) is really stuck in that way of thinking, you don’t need to “change” them! Do what you can to deflect and move away from those food-based, body-shaming conversations….and give yourself the freedom to live in a way that feels better for you. (Get some tips on how to deal with dieters here.)
Having a smaller body won’t make you happier. (Just like having money doesn’t make you happier.) Brittany encourages women to learn to love themselves for who they are. When you do this, you’ll find there is so much to appreciate about your body!