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The other day, Z-Mac and I attended a playgroup. Of course, Z-Mac was showing off her “Buddha” belly, either by standing with it sticking out or literally pulling up her shirt. I just laughed and rolled my eyes.

An observing adult said, “Wow, she sure has a belly!”

Me, “Yeah, and so confident! She loves food.”

I hear this a lot, just different variations. There is no winning. When Z-Mac was a few months old, it was how she was not gaining weight, blah, blah, blah. Now, after she shot up and out as I predicted, she is a “big baby.” But, I digress. This is not a rant about people saying things they should not say.

Oh, wait, it kind of is.

If we must say something, how about we focus on what she is doing? Or, that she is healthy and happy? If you have seen any of my posts or know Z-Mac, you know that this is a fierce, active little one.

Take this out a little farther, though. Is Z-Mac’s size anyone’s business? How does a comment like that progress or start a conversation?

Same questions but with age. I also get asked her age. And, my hunch is that a person immediately starts comparing their child(ren) to her. We are inclined to compare and judge.

“Oh, she’s a good walker for 13 months.” I imagine this really means, “Wow, my child has not started walking yet. He is 12 months.”

I have been listening to The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. To me, the above examples are areas in which one may feel shame.

In the first example, I could have felt shame about Z-Mac’s size. And, I definitely used to. Did I do something wrong with introducing solid foods? Do I let her eat too much? Now, I do not feel shame. We made the best decisions for us, and she is healthy and happy. That is most important. I feel good knowing that she is incredibly active and learning so much.

In the other example, the other parent may have shame spiraled. But, WHY? None of us have control over our child’s development. Sure, you can set up experiences and all that. However, that does not guarantee they will get there faster.

THERE IS NO REASON TO FEEL SHAME ABOUT THIS. I can tell you with 150% confidence that you cannot control your child and their choices. I can certainly encourage Z-Mac to eat more of the “good stuff.” But I cannot force her. Besides, she is (currently) FOURTEEN MONTHS OLD. Oh, and did I mention how active she is?

Likewise, there is NO REASON to feel shame about yourself and where you are in your wellness journey.

Yes, you can ensure your success by improving the choices you make regarding sleep, food, hydration, exercise, etc. Even if you are struggling with that, take a deep fricking breath. Seriously, inhale for a count of 5, exhale count of 5.

Now, breathe again.

And again.

You are doing a great fucking job. Sometimes, life is a serious shitshow. Sometimes, it feels like everything is awesome. Sometimes, it is just blah. There are patches. The best we can all hope for is that we set ourselves up with some semblance of an idea of how to remain somewhat health-conscious during the blah and shitshow.

This got a little convoluted. What are the main points?

STOP making comments about size, age, or anything else that is none of your business and that may be perceived negatively. A “you look amazing” is totally appropriate at ALL TIMES, though! Comments that BUILD OTHERS UP are always welcome. Comments that can be perceived negatively (whether you meant it or not) can easily create a shame spiral in the other person. Let’s take care of each other, peeps.

FOCUS on what you CAN control. When you feel shame, NAME it. Practice deep breathing. Reframe, and let go.

CREATE a very rough “plan” for your wellness routine. Know and plan what could go wrong, and consider how you might adjust. Maybe your usual 45-minute exercise routine changes to 30 minutes? Maybe you sub in frozen veggies instead of taking time for cutting fresh? Maybe your “exercise” consists of walking from one end of the house to the other for 15 minutes? Maybe you scrap your exercise in order to get more sleep? ALL OK.

TEAM. Need help? This is our specialty! Let’s talk.


Dr. Ana

Ana Grimh, PT, DPT, CSCS, CNPT, FMS-1, CF-L2 Doctor of Physical TherapyCertified Nutritional Physical Therapy

Ballroom Basics for Balance Instructor Owner/Mastermind Align Wellness Services, LLC


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