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My Body has Failed Me


When you become a blogger, you only put your best food forward.  Especially when you run a lifestyle blog showing women how they can easily make things beautiful.  But no matter how beautiful things look on this blog or Facebook or Instagram, that’s not the whole story.  I’ve debated about writing and posting this post again and again, so I’m just going to take the plunge and do it. I asked my readers on Facebook what they would prefer for my 100th post, and they said something personal, so here we go. . .

My body has failed me.

I know in my logical brain that that really isn’t true. My body gets me through life, it is in decent health, and for nine months it was the home for my little boy.

Yet we are at odds.

All my life I have struggled with my weight. Except for maybe my first year or two of life and one year when I finally lost all the excess weight, I have been overweight. Technically, I’m actually obese. (Yes, I know, muscle weighs more than fat, I don’t look that bad, blah, blah, blah I’m just stating facts.)

It’s so frustrating. I can lift my 45 pound preschooler with no problem and have really increased my strength. I can keep up with a 50 minute spin class, go for a 30 minute walk/run and do most of my workouts without modifications. Yet the weight just won’t go. Or sometimes it does, but it’s so. painfully. slow.

I refuse to engage in negative self-talk about my body anymore. I used to spend probably half my brain power berating myself for not getting it together and losing more weight yet. One day when I realized that I had spent an entire 60 minute drive mentally punishing myself and strategizing how to “fix things” that I just needed to stop. All that negativity wasn’t actually helping.

I really believe that if diet and exercise were the only factors to being a healthy weight, no one would be overweight. We would all just put in the work, drop our excess weight, and problem solved. So what’s the mental block?

I’ve done a lot of soul searching and I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t shake the feeling that my body has failed me.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a voice teacher who tried at one point to be an opera singer. For a variety of reasons, it didn’t work out. Honestly, it’s for the best, but there’s still that nagging feeling that because my body is my instrument, it failed me.

Then I had a baby. I had a textbook pregnancy and everything was fine, until I went into labour and needed an unplanned C-section. Please don’t think that I’m casting shade on the need for C-sections or want to make anyone feel bad for choosing to have one. For those of us who need them they are a life-saving option and I’m grateful for mine.

But they cut my lower abs, which you need to sing properly (aka do my job). They’ve still never fully recovered almost 5 years later. Sure, I’ve made lots of work arounds, but there are some things that require ab strength that I still can’t do well. It took me almost two years to feel like myself again. I still sometimes go to sing or choreograph something for my show choir and feel like my body isn’t quite working the way it should. And it’s hard.

I still can’t look at my C-section scar without feeling ashamed. I so wish I was in a place where I could see strength and courage instead of disappointment and sorrow.

It took me a long time to feel mentally okay with the thought of another baby. The irony is, now that I would be open to one, it doesn’t seem to be happening. For years. Every month is a roller coaster, and every late period is crushing.

I hate people asking if I want another baby, or implying that my son really needs a sibling. Or if I confide in them that it’s not working out so well, telling me that I should just relax. It’s right up there with telling me to just have fun. I can’t relax or have fun on demand.

We are so lucky to already have one amazing child, so if it’s not in the cards for us to have another, so be it. But I still can’t shake the feeling that my body has failed me. Again.

Then to add insult to injury, I decided to cut out obvious sugar, eat right, and exercise regularly and gained four pounds.  I feel awesome on the inside from taking better care of myself, but mentally I am crushed.

So why am I sharing this?

Selfishly, I hope that by sharing this I can unload the mental block that’s preventing me from getting to a healthy weight. It’s that mental block that prolongs the self-sabatoging.

Unselfishly, if there’s someone out there like me, I want you to know that you’re not alone. In my circle of friends I seem to be the only one who had a C-section, and one of the few who just can’t lose the baby weight. (Can you even call it that if it’s been almost 5 years? Anyway.)

Any singers out there who have had C-sections? I know a few of you, but you all seemed to bounce back a lot better than I did.

To my readers who are also struggling, don’t give up. We can’t. The alternative is a lifetime of poor health and an unhappy mental state. None of us deserve that.

To my dear friends who don’t struggle with their body image, or at least are in a much healthier mental place than I am currently– you inspire me. I hope to join your ranks again one day soon.

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!