A friend of mine was asked by her photographer daughter to do a photo shoot in just black yoga shorts and sports bra to celebrate women’s real bodies. The Love the Chub idea is very cool. I feel we need to celebrate a normal, but healthy woman’s body with curves and stretch marks.  She is feeling pressure to do it for her daughter, but she feels anxiety about putting herself out there.  She is disappointed in her stretch marked belly and less than perfect abs. I wondered what would I do? I prefer to be covered…I haven’t worn a bikini since my honeymoon 16 years ago.  I wasn’t part of the belly shirt generation so I never wear anything that reveals my stomach any more.  What would I do if asked to participate?

I know I struggle daily with positive body image. I know if I accepted it (while I continue to exercise and eat right) I could be happier and increase my self-esteem. How many people do you know that hate their bodies? They wish they were skinnier, taller, prettier… the list can go on and on. Self-esteem is important, because feeling good about yourself can affect your mental health and how you behave.  I feel better when I eat right and exercise. When I indulge in sweets and greasy foods (although it is euphoric at the time) I always regret and feel icky afterwards.

I believe my gut reaction would be to say no to the photo shoot. No one needs to see my stretched marked, post surgery abs. I don’t even want to see them. But what if showing my less than perfect abs to the world could help our society see that the airbrushed super models and ultra thin girls in magazines do not represent the majority of the world. Would I? Maybe. Maybe not.  I am glad I am not faced with this challenge. Will my friend do it? I don’t know. Would you? I told her that her scars and stretch marks were her war wounds and she is a hero. Moms put their bodies through a lot with pregnancy and it is an awesome thing. As much as I hate my post-pregnancy body, the reward of my three children really negate the ugliness of my belly. They remind me every day how squishy my belly is compared to daddy’s belly. I remind them THEY were the reason it is that way.

Are you a new mama and struggling to lose the baby weight? Here are some Getting in Shape Tips Post-Baby!

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