body

The Spinning Instructor’s Post-Baby Body

Last week at my daughter’s gymnastics class, a friend introduced me to another mom as a “Spinning Instructor.” Before she could say anything, I blurted, “I am. I don’t look like it right now, but I am.”

Instead of saying, “Nice to meet you,” I went with that. Way to show self-confidence and make a good first impression.

That’s why Jordana Horn’s article “Avoiding Mirrors & Hating My Post-Baby Body,” rings true for me, and, like her, it bothers me that my body bothers me. After all, didn’t it just produce a beautiful baby boy almost six months ago? And a gorgeous girl three years ago? I should be saying, “Bravo, body!” and buying it a massage. Instead I roll my eyes at the flab where there was none 15 months ago and look for a baggy shirt.

But the encounter at the rec center and Jordana’s confession made me realize something: I’m a hypocrite. Every time I leave my kids to teach a group cycling class, I tell them I am going to help people get healthy–not skinny.

So I’m launching Operation End the Hypocrisy. Step 1 is to stop waiting for opportunities to exercise when the kids aren’t around. They’re becoming my workout. For example, when I lie on my back, put Baby Jared on my shins, and let him “fly” as I lift my legs into the air, I also lift my head and kiss him, executing a crunch each time. Or I will slowly lower my toes to the floor, holding his arms or hands so he doesn’t fall off, working my lower abs while we are face-to-face. It’s tummy time times two! Ellie loves to dance, so we crank up some tunes and get silly, burning calories as we bond. Sometimes we do yoga poses together.

Step 2 is to live the behavior I want to see in my children. I want them to be self-confident and physically active. That won’t happen if I sulk about myself.

The truth is I love exercising. I love how it relieves my stress, I love how I can give instructions during a Spinning class and people follow them (unlike my 3-year-old who needs an itemized list of reasons why she should listen to anything I say), and I love being strong. Looking good–my version of good–is a happy byproduct.

So instead of binging on juice cleanses and setting up residence at the gym for the past six months, I’ve been at home with my children, waking with them at night, taking them to classes and play dates, reading them books, singing them songs, and developing their skills. That’s my choice.

And this is my conclusion: My Seven for All Mankind jeans can wait; my babies can’t.

Jordana, I’ll keep a lookout for your follow-up piece, “How Jordana Got Her Groove Back.”

Stephanie KanowitzStephanie Kanowitz is a mother of two who moonlights as a freelance journalist. A Florida native now living in Virginia, she has worked as a copy editor, web editor, and freelance writer and editor since earning a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida in 2000. In 2006, Stephanie earned a master's in News Media Studies from American University in Washington, D.C. She writes about arts and culture, business, fitness, real estate, and technology, and she's also done several celebrity Q&As. Stephanie also teaches Spinning classes at local gyms. It's the one time a week when she can tell people what to do without them answering back. To see her work, please visit stephaniekanowitz.com.

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