Jenn Green is a body acceptance movement and mindset coach for Mamas. That includes post-partum mindset! She helps us get strong while unlearning everything we’ve been taught about our bodies not being “good enough”. In our awesome interview, we discuss what you need to be doing post-birth (instead of trying to get your pre-baby body back). Hint: It’s all about self-love and personhood! Jenn also shares tips on how to build strength without focusing on losing weight.
New to intuitive eating, or just want to work on increasing your own self-love? You can check out my FREE training here! It’s called: How to Ditch the Food Guilt + Body Shame to Gain Confidence and Feel Free. In it, I’ll walk you through four steps that will move you towards feeling like your best self again! No need for any crazy detoxes or restrictive diets….just plenty of self-love and self-care.
Helping Mamas in a Body Positive Way
Jenn shares that she works with mamas on both movement and mindset! She got her start with strength work, and for quite a while she fully focused on that.
Over time, however, she found that mindset stuff was getting in the way. Her clients would express a desire to get back to feeling good physically…but they kept circling back to the number on the scale. No matter how much Jenn tried to de-prioritize weight, it was a clear and constant issue. A few years in, she realized mindset work had to be part of what she was doing in order to help women overcome the weight preoccupation and focus on self-love and movement.
Having grown up as a dancer and worked as an actress, Jenn knows all about body pressure. She’d auditioned for roles that came with stipulations like “lose 15 pounds”, and she’d seen her body through the lens of dance expectations for as long as she could remember. Getting pregnant, however, changed everything.
Amazing (But Not Always Fun) Body Changes
What your body does during pregnancy is amazing. Also, if we’re being honest, it’s not that fun sometimes! (Even though lots of people love to talk about the miracle of life and how amazing women’s bodies are….it’s still okay to not love or enjoy everything that’s happening!)
Pregnant women often get a lot of praise *while* they are pregnant…and immediate expectation to lose weight and “snap back” very quickly afterwards. It’s stressful and unfair! One minute you’re getting compliments on your glowing skin and luxurious hair, the next you’re getting major side eye because you’re not wearing pre-pregnancy jeans yet.
Mamas get caught in the middle, and it just adds one more thing to the post-partum mindset mix. Agghhh!
Jenn feels like the whole pregnancy experience gave her more insight into her body. It also left her feeling like some things about her body were foreign to her. She found that, post-pregnancy, she had to get to know her body once again. Most mamas are in the same boat!
She notes that for many women, getting our “bodies back” can feel like tangible growth. This can feel really good when we are seeking some form of post-partum normalcy. After all, there are so many new challenges and experiences once you bring a baby home! It’s natural to want our bodies to quickly revert back to how we remember them being – it feels comfortable and safe in a world that is often stressful and chaotic.
It’s often not the most helpful place to focus though.
What if You Got Your Identity Back Instead?
Jenn encourages women to focus on identity rather than body.
During the act of caring for a child, we sometimes forget that we love to curl up with a book and tea. Or that we deeply enjoy yoga class. Or that we need a night out with the girls (or with our partners) to stay joyful!
Moving our bodies still has a place in all this. But instead of doing it as punishment, or to force ourselves to quickly bounce back, we can do it from a place of love.
Rather than obsessing over food and exercise in an attempt to make our bodies “look right”, what if we put some energy into being our fullest selves? There may be things we need to mourn and let go of, but there are also things that we may be able to add. What parts of yourself can you celebrate and encourage? What would it look like if you took your focus off your body, and placed it on your life?
Hormonal Changes are Normal
As women who are dealing with post-partum mindset, we’ve all gone through another major hormonal change: puberty. Jenn points out that we don’t sit around wishing for our 10-year-old body back. Why? Because we get that puberty means big changes, and there is no going back! It’s part of the experience of living.
As we age and grow, we constantly shift and change. For some reason, something about pregnancy makes us think we need to rewind time and get “that” body back. But just like a 20 year old would seem strange in a 14 year old body that doesn’t reflect her individual growth and journey….you would seem strange in some fantasy, pre-pregnancy body that doesn’t reflect your journey to motherhood.
Of course your body is different now. It’s supposed to be!
You can still be strong in your body, achieve our goals, and live your fullest, best life! You can do that now, in your body.
Jenn also notes that, post-partum, many women are using weight loss as a way to gain acceptance and love. We want to be seen as full people, and we often think if we “improve” our physical appearance we can achieve that more quickly! But honestly, the increased pressure we put on ourselves to look a certain way doesn’t serve us at all.
I remember that after my first child, little things like going out to breakfast alone helped me feel like a full person again. I needed that! Losing weight or wearing my old jeans again wasn’t what my soul actually desired (even though it sometimes seemed like an easy fix) — and over-focusing on those things wouldn’t have done anything for me.
Boundaries Are Gifts
In a toxic relationship, you know you have to build boundaries to keep yourself sane. And NOT that your kids are toxic…but you CAN teach them, by example, what it looks like to set boundaries.
If you need space, you can create that for yourself. If you can’t play with them because you need to take a walk or take a break or take a breath, you can do that!
Jenn noted that she’ll tell her son, “I just need a break right now.” when she needs space. Now her son uses that line too! He’ll let her know that he needs a break from a conversation or situation, which is wonderful! He’s empowered by her empowerment — and they are both better off for it.
A huge part of building a positive post-partum mindset is building your own identity! That doesn’t have to have anything to do with your body or weight. Instead, it can be all about engaging in the things you love, and maintaining a strong sense of self-hood. How awesome!
Working On Strength (Without Focusing on Weight Loss)
Regular post-partum mindset can be SO weight focused….and it can make it hard to engage in movement without getting wrapped up in weight loss. Jenn wants to make working out and strength building FUN! She aims to make mamas laugh as much as they sweat, and she engages in lots of dialogue and positive talk.
She also does her best to minimize micro-aggression comments. Things like “burn off that cheesecake” or “get rid of those cottage cheese thighs” are not welcome. Working out can be about pleasure and self-enjoyment, and it’s much more enjoyable when you focus on the outcomes that matter to you! There’s no need to demonize food or punish yourself for not looking the way you want to. That doesn’t feel good!
Jenn also offers a weekly group coaching call where women can process their post-partum mindset and ongoing thoughts. It’s a place to share what’s on their minds, and to connect with others who can support them with positive messages. Those conversations are so key!
Working out can be a way of building your identity and self-concept. It can be FUN! (It should be fun!) Just like we tell our kids to go outside and play because it’s fun to run and move and express and be free….we can let ourselves move that way as well.