I am sure many of you have heard about the “Dad Bod”. Here is a definition from a sophomore from Clemson University:
“The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, & I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time. It's not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either.” Mackenzie Pearson; The Odyssey Why Girls Love the Dad Bod March 30, 2015.
Women, even younger women are attracted to a Dad Bod which is great and wonderful but it then dawned on me that the “Mom Bod” does not get the same respect! It is often portrayed as unattractive. Why is this?
Are the Kardashians and other celebrities to blame? Are women actually to blame
because they seem to be more critical of others women’s bodies than men are!
Let’s think about this, a mom’s body does a hell of a lot of work growing that baby
and then producing milk to feed that baby, AND it should NOT be expected to return
to “normal”! Women are killing themselves to achieve their pre-baby body and why?
So it can look attractive for others?! I googled “mom bod” and this article popped up.
It is awesome!!
Not all celebrities are promoting unrealistic body images though. Check out Amy
Schumer’s realistic pictures of what most women’s “Mom Bod” looks like.
Now, if you are a mom who fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes right after birth, that is ok too, and I am not trying to shame anyone here. My intent is to remind everyone that all bodies are different and MOST of the time, your body will have stretch marks, have extra fat deposits necessary to sustain lactation, wider hips then previously, and your belly may feel like bread dough for several months post-partum…or forever.
Now is a good time to remind ourselves that bodies are meant to change. It seems most are willing to accept the changes that occur up until young adulthood and then want and expect their bodies to stop aging and changing. I blame diet culture in large part for this.
Our culture is obsessed with weight loss, beauty, and looking young. If you think about it, there is a physiological reason for most of these body changes. Girls and boys tend to gain weight rapidly right before puberty in order to prepare for growth spurts; around menopause, women tend to gain weight (mostly fat) around their abdomen, arms and legs due to their declining estrogen levels because adipose tissue can contribute significantly to the pool of estrogen in the body—THIS IS A GOOD THING because estrogen protects us from heart disease, osteoporosis, among other things!
I know that accepting changes, especially body changes can be challenging. I also have negative body image thoughts that sneak in and try to dismantle my positive body image and body respect that I have worked on for so many years—and this infuriates me, so I fight back. I reframe these negative thoughts with positive thoughts about what my body can still do and that no matter what, I still deserve to eat and to wear clothes that fit and are comfortable—even if the clothes are bigger than I normally needed. I have found it helps to teach others how to fight back too! I also have a great group of Health at Every Size® colleagues, friends, and family that I can talk to and support me. It is important to figure out what works for you to reframe the negative thoughts in order to live a happy life giving your energy to things that are important to you.
Join me and celebrating mom bods, dad bods, non mom/dad bods, kid bods, all bods. I challenge you to look around and appreciate all bodies!
Pictures throughout the blog are some of my favorite pictures with me and my girls having fun at home dressing the same, at a wedding, and out for walk.
Alison St. Germain, MS, RD, LD is a Professor at Iowa State University in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department & a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and is passionate about ody respect and diversity and non-diet weight neutral approaches to well-being