“Get Your Body Back” (post-pregnancy)

“Get Your Body Back” (post-pregnancy)

Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’ve all heard it—“Get your body back” after having a baby.  It’s in the media.  It’s on the magazines at the check-out (usually criticizing or giving applause to the “success” of a celebrity that just had a baby).  The fitness industry feeds into it.  Comments are said from family.  The pressure is there.  Basically, it’s everywhere and frankly, it’s staring us in the face when we try (yet again) to try to slip those pre-pregnancy jeans on again (and they still don’t fit).  So it’s there, as plain as day, that after we have a baby, we think we have to do everything in our power to work on “getting our body back”.

But guess what mamas?  We need to let go of that pressure!  “Let it go, let it go…”  Oh wait, sorry, Queen Elsa gets me every time.  *chuckle*  Seriously though, LET IT GO!  Whew!

When I was pregnant with my daughter Jeralyn, my dear own mama encouraged me to slather on the creams and lotions to prevent stretch marks.  My thoughts were, “I didn’t try for 7 years to get pregnant to prevent stretch marks!”  And I didn’t use one cream.  Nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  None.  (And I had and still have no stretch marks even after having 3 babies—not sure why because I was gladly going to welcome them).

So I wonder what would happen if we all looked at our bodies after having a baby as a blessing instead of this thing we have to “get back”?  What if we remembered the miracle of a baby when we see those stretch marks?  What if instead of grimacing at our “extra-ness” after having a baby, we remembered those women who are doing everything in their power and spending a lot of money trying to get the blessing that made those extra parts?  I certainly didn’t care if I had stretch marks because I waited so long for my baby girl—and now I need to remember that when it comes to the weight and extra-ness department.

Ladies, YOU are blessed to have carried a baby!  God knit those babies in your womb!  And they were fearfully and wonderfully made!  We were made for this!

To be very honest, you may never get your body back.  Say what??!!  (Don’t make that face).

Personally, I never got my body back after having my daughter.  I tried.  I released all of the weight, but my body was still carrying a little pooch.  And then I still had that same pooch after having my son.  And that was after getting to what I believe is my God-given set weight.  And I’m pretty sure that once I am at my set weight again after having my second son, the pooch will probably be hanging around (quite literally—hope you can see the humor in this).  But you know what—that’s okay!  I would rather be free and be at my natural, healthy weight than chasing after skinny and worshiping some deaf, dumb, and blind skinny idol.  I am so done with all of that!  A diet will only make me gain it all back and more.  I don’t have the time or energy to obsess about some crazy exercise program (I just want to run, walk, hike and do the strength training my body enjoys (and needs)).  I don’t want to succumb to fasts, cleanses, shakes, or crazy exercise programs.

When the day is done and I know I’ve mostly eaten 0-5 (this isn’t about perfection) and I’ve moved my body in a way that it enjoys, then I know I’ve done what I can.  And if I still have the pooch, so be it.

I’ve actually heard of some women who don’t want to have babies because they don’t want to lose their body.  In a way, that makes me very sad to hear because children are a blessing from the Lord.  I’m sure any woman that’s been trying to have a baby for years would be like BRING IT ON.  And by “it”, I mean the stretch marks, the extra-ness, the pooch, etc.  I know this because I was one of them.  And it hurt my ears to hear women complaining about their bodies after having a baby because I so badly wanted a baby.

“You may have big scars, stretch marks, and loose skin that bothers you.  You might not have time to exercise the way you used to.  All of these things can be seen as an offense against us—against our bodies…our bodies are tools, not treasures.  You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form…Motherhood uses your body in a way that God designed it to be used…But motherhood is what your stomach as made for—and any wear and tear that it shows is simply the sign of a well-used tool.  We are not to treat our bodies like museum pieces.  They were not given to us to preserve, they were given to us to use.  So use it cheerfully, and maintain it cheerfully.  When you are working hard to lose the baby weight (as you may need to), think of it as tool maintenance.  You want to fix your body up in order to be able to use it some more.  It might be used for more children, or it might be used to take care of the children you have.  We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on a shelf out of harm’s way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing ever happened.  Your body is a tool.  Use it.”*

I read that recently in a book and it really stood out to me.  I’m in the thick of this.  I’m only weeks past having a baby.  So I get this.  It’s raw and real right now.  It’s so real that some of my shirts and pants don’t fit me.  Does this discourage me?  Yes.  Plain and simple.  Yes.  Has it brought on thoughts about going on a diet?  You bet.  These are truths I’ve been speaking to myself about it:

  • I’m 7 weeks post-partum—I need to relax!
  • Wear clothes that I feel good in—I may even need to buy a few things that are more comfortable in the meantime.
  • Enjoy where I’m at right now—enjoy the baby and stop focusing on my body, body, body.
  • Eat and exercise 0-5—that’s God’s perfect boundaries for me and the best maintenance plan!
  • The “extra-ness” is because a little miracle took place in my womb! I am blessed!
  • Diets fail 99.5% of the time! Only .5% of people have lasting success on a diet!  No thank you!
  • I am beautiful, loved and accepted just as I am!

I recently found this really great blog post talking about “getting your body back”.  It has great tips on how to stop buying into the message that we have to “get our body back or else!”  The media and our culture plays so much into what is deemed “acceptable”.  But it’s not about our outward appearance, it’s about our heart and who we are in Christ.  We are more than our weight, size, and body.


Am I saying you shouldn’t want to release weight after having a baby?  No.  What I’m saying is, even after releasing the weight, you may not have the same body you had before your pregnancy—ever.  Or maybe you will.  But reality is, your body changes after having a baby.  And wouldn’t it be better to accept that (now) instead of trying to fight it, force it, and hate it into something else?

“Scars and stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work…So realize that your body is a testimony to the world of God’s design.  Carry the extra weight joyfully until you can lose it joyfully.  Carry the scars joyfully as you carry the fruit of them.  Do not resent the damages that your children left on your body.”*

Ladies, we have so much to be thankful for.  So when you look into the mirror and you see the marks left on your body because of having a baby, smile and thank the Lord because it’s a good thing.  They are signs of such beautiful blessings.  And then go kiss your baby (even if they have babies of their own).  And if you are one of those babies, thank your mama for bearing the marks to bring you into this world…and tell her that she’s beautiful and that you love her!

My little Baby Joel

My little Baby Joel


*Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic

Extreme Makeover – Soul Addition!

Extreme Makeover – Soul Addition!

Let’s be honest.  We all go thru times when we feel defeated, discouraged and tired.  We might feel like we should turn back to a diet.  I know when I feel this way, I tend to go right back to eating mindlessly because of this attitude. The Lord have shown me that when I start down this path of defeated thinking, my eyes usually are on my weight – that scale number- and then on my body- how it looks.  When this happens, I tend to experience shame over my body.  My focus is on ME!  ME! ME!

I was feeling this way not long ago, of all mornings, but Easter Sunday.  Yes, this day where we celebrate the most amazing thing Jesus did to prove His power, I was focused on how ugly I felt! I was focused on myself and didn’t even realize it. Then we sang a song that started to crack that shell of discouragement.



As we sang that portion of the song over and over, a light began to seep into the darkness that was in my soul that day. It was just a preparation for what was to come next thru the words of my pastor.

The title of the message was “The Power of the Cross”

POWER. OVERCOME. JESUS.  That struck me.  Here I was sitting in my own puddle of discouragement and Jesus was gently telling me that HE has the power to do all things!


Matt. 28:18

All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.

I realized that I had been focusing on ME and not on HIM!  (ouch!) I had not been focusing on Jesus and His power. Right there, in the middle of the sermon Jesus whispered to my heart that He no only has, overcome  death- but He has also overcome this “living death” that is my shame!

Jesus has overcome

  • my body shape
  • my size
  • my scale number
  • my turning to food to escape or comfort
  • any and all strongholds
  • all of what society might think is beauty and acceptable

Right then I heard my pastor say that we all need to have anExtreme-Makeover-Background2_Shortened

“Extreme Makeover – Soul Edition”!! 

That is what I knew I needed.  That is what I need every day!

I had been focusing on getting  an

Extreme Makeover – “Please Can I at Least Look Good Enough to Not Be Considered Old and Fat?” Edition

My focus had been on my outward appearance!  Jesus showed me, ever so gently that He is doing a work in my heart.  I could let go of the outward appearance and surrender it over to Him to create in the way He sees fit.

Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Oh, I was taking furious notes in my journal that day in church!  I thought my pen might catch fire!  But Jesus was bringing a new fire to my soul.  Yes!  As I heard the pastor say “We need to not just KNOW about the resurrection, we need to EXPERIENCE resurrection in our life!”


That was it.  I felt that day as if I WAS resurrected.  And each day I need to be resurrected in His newness of life.

Lord, help me to keep my eyes open to You and Your power.

Resurrect me!  

Give me NEW LIFE!

So, now I ask myself….am I denying (pushing away) His truth in my life by believing lies…these old lies about my identity….that being a certain number on a scale or a certain shape or size is the only way to be acceptable?  Lies about what he CAN and WILL do?

Oh dear Readers, may we all listen to HIS truth of who we really are! We are HIS CHILDREN who are dearly loved no matter our shape or size.  Let’s trust that HE can and WILL take us where we need to be in our outward appearance if we truly follow Him with our eating and our lives.

Amen.  May it be so!


God is Doing a New Thing

God is Doing a New Thing

God is doing a new thing in you. I keep saying this to gals in the current Hunger Within class that I am co-leading.  I believe it.  I see it and I am awestruck at how God is working in the lives of these dear ladies. I see ladies taking the truth of God desiring to release them from the obsession of food and weight issues and I see them laying down all the burdens that He never meant for them to carry. I wanted to understand this saying at a deeper level, because I know the truth of this is grounded in His word and it is a testimony to how He works in our lives as we surrender daily to His leading and guidance.


We see in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that God’s word says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come! At the moment when I accepted Christ Jesus as my Savior and as He grew to be the Lord of my life, I became a new person. I didn’t feel new, and since I was 9 at the time, I wasn’t quite mature in the word enough to understand what was happening to me, but I knew in my heart that I was changed. Jesus and the Holy Spirit became real to me. I felt the Holy Spirit’s hand on me even when I was rebelling in my youth. I knew that I knew that were I to die, I would have gone to heaven. He called me to be His, and from that point on, I had a reason to live and every dark time and trial I went through, He was right there with me, leading me and guiding me through them.

We also see in Ephesians 4:23-24 that God’s word says that we are made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So, what I understand is that we put on a new self, which means we have to take off the old self. What does that mean to me, personally? What do I need to take off so that God can do a new thing in me? I’m going to be painfully honest with you, dear reader. I am taking off:

  • The Deanna who was not loved by her mother the way she needed.
  • The Deanna who was abandoned by her dad (through death).
  • The Deanna who is a compulsive dieter, food binger and restrictor, bulimic with laxatives to make the scale obey.
  • The Deanna who was sexually abused as a young child.
  • The Deanna who searched for love in the wrong places on the way to finding true intimacy.
  • The Deanna who feels sorry for herself (even though she is greatly blessed).
  • The Deanna who wonders how God can use her with her insecurity that she masks with pride.

Wow, that is a painful list, but it isn’t the end, so don’t feel sorry for that Deanna. You see, God did a new thing in this gal, and she is not the same. The attitude of my mind has been changed and this is who I am today, with my new self put on:

  • The Deanna who is a forgiven child of God.
  • The Deanna who is a set free child of God.
  • The Deanna who has been adopted into God’s family.
  • The Deanna whose mind is being renewed daily by God’s word.
  • The Deanna who was not given a spirit of fear but a sound mind.
  • The Deanna who let go of fear because Christ’s perfect love being worked in her life casts out all fear.
  • The Deanna who is made holy by Christ Jesus, because He is holy.
  • The Deanna who is a loved child of God.
  • The Deanna who is held by and is held close to her loving Father.
  • The Deanna who is confident in His strength.
  • The Deanna who will not be shaken because she stands on the Rock.
  • The Deanna who is fed by the Bread of Heaven and whose thirst is quenched by Living Water.
  • The Deanna who is victorious.
  • The Deanna who Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for so that she will be with Him for eternity.

God is doing a new thing…in me. I am embracing my new identity.  I am claiming what He has done so that I can let go of the old self that blocks me from Him. I am watching Him as He breaks down all those false “self-protective” walls I built up so that my life can reveal the glory of the work that the Creator of All is doing in my life. I am claiming all that He tells me I am through all He did for me so that I can discover a hope and power like no other.

Have you ever heard the story of Jacob and Esau? You can find it in God’s word in Genesis 25:27-34. Esau was willing to give up everything he had and everything he was promised for a bowl of lentil stew. I have been there. I understand.  I have tried to fill that empty place with a bounty of food. I have been desperate for outward signs. I have wanted the empty praise of man for what I appeared to be doing in my own strength. When I look at these lists that I have shared with you dear reader, I have to ask myself what I have been willing to give up of my true self for the insignificance of a bowl of lentil stew?

The truth? Deanna is not that girl anymore. Deanna is a Jesus following girl. Her Lord Jesus is authoring and perfecting her faith. She is loved by and loves her heavenly Father and is held and comforted and taught by the Holy Spirit. She is letting go of self-determination for being Spirit-determined. She is embracing her true identity. God is doing a new thing in her.

Will you join me in claiming your true identity? Are you ready and willing to see what God is doing in your life? Will you put your name in each statement in my second list and embrace the new thing God is doing in your life.


He Loves Me Despite My Struggles!

He Loves Me Despite My Struggles!

PicsArt_03-24-12.29.07Lately, I have really been dealing with some big and deep things in my life that God is wanting to heal. I have to admit that sometimes this causes me to turn to food or at least my boundaries get a bit loose. It’s hard for me to admit that I may not be releasing weight or maybe have even picked up some….especially since I write a weekly blog article on here AND I am co-leading a class!

But, I have to be REAL.  I am a REAL person who struggles just like you.  (sigh…isn’t THAT a relief?!)

So, dear reader, I wanted to share with you today what the Lord spoke so gently to my heart as I have been struggling. I hope it touches your heart as it did mine.


Oh My Beloved Child,

You search for Me, but I am not far away.  You long for My love for you as if you have to act a certain way, be a certain size or shape or just be someone else for Me to love you.

This is not so.

This is a lie.

Listen to Me now.

I….LOVE….YOU. aaa123

Right NOW.


  • With every curve.
  • With every imperfection.
  • With every struggle.
  • With every breath and every step and every trip and fall.

Yes, I call You to follow me in everything You do. But I also know you don’t have it all together, yet. And that is ok.

If you had it all together and could follow me perfectly, I would not have given my Son for your redemption.

BUT I DID.  And He came. And He died.


See how I love you, my child?  Do you see?

Do you see how I have created You with love?  Just the way You are?

Oh my Child, I want what is best for you. That is why I call you onward to follow Me.1811317highres

And I lead you onward.  Forward. Into my arms.

Do you fall sometimes?  Do you skin your knee? Do you feel like giving up?  Do you feel like I’m not there?  or have stopped loving you?

Oh child.  Listen to me know.




So now, Dear One. Take my hand.  Just reach up for me.  Turn your eyes off of yourself and on to my eyes.

I am here.

I am waiting.

I will NEVER stop loving you, My Beloved One.

Choosing Jesus

Choosing Jesus

Recently while teaching my music classes, I was using a book that came with a CD.  It is an adaptation of the song “If You’re Happy And You Know It” (how many of you automatically sang in your head and next came “clap your hands”? )

I love this book and so do the children. The only thing I would change is on the CD is the book is read to music and not sung.   (I can always just sing it myself, but sometimes it is nice to have a vocal break and let a CD do it for me.)

PicsArt_02-23-07.58.32I have used this book for several years now and although it has two tracks on the CD, I always go to the first track because it has the “turn the page” signals on it.  It just makes it easier to read to a group.

Well, the other day I was using this book in my lessons and for some reason I accidentally skipped over to track 2 instead of the first track that I usually use.


THE SECOND TRACK SANG THE SONG! This is what I had been wishing I had for years and IT WAS ON THE CD ALL ALONG!  I just didn’t know it because I had never thought to go to the second track!PicsArt_01-05-10.11.14

Right there, in the middle of my lesson with my class….right there in the middle of the book CD singing away and me turning pages….Right there….GOD WHISPERED TO MY HEART.


That is Me, my child.  So often You try to do things on your own.  You automatically go to the things you think will work.  You try to draw upon your own power and intellect.  You go to what feels safe. BUT child, ALL ALONG what YOU really long for is RIGHT THERE WITH YOU.  It is ME.  I am there.  I am with YOU.  I give you the HOLY SPIRIT to guide you. Look for me and you will find me, for I am never too far from you.

How many times have I run back to the familiar?  To the food? To  the diet that has “worked” before to just take that number down on the scale, but nothing changed in my heart?

How many times have I chosen “track 1” over and over again because it is just what I always have done…..not thinking to even try “track 2”?

Right then I realized that just like that “track 1” on the CD was close to what I wanted and did the job, so it is with anything I try to do on my own.  I might be able to ‘do the job’…the diet might be able to ‘do the job’ but it will NEVER be what I REALLY want.  It will never truly fulfill.

Isaiah 55: 1-3

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.

Did you notice that no matter how many times I chose the first track on the CD that the second one didn’t just disappear?  It was there “waiting” to be chosen.

So it is with Jesus.  No matter how many times I choose my own way…turn to food….eat outside my boundaries….think about dieting again…worry about my body shape…(fill in YOUR track 1 here)….


PicsArt_02-27-10.15.01Jesus tells us in His word that He will never leave us! (Matthew 28:20) He will never forsake us! (Deuteronomy 31:6,8)

His love and His way is always there for us. He reaches out to us with open arms, ready to embrace us and gently lead us on the path HE has laid out for us.

Oh, Dear Sisters (and Brothers), let’s examine our hearts today. Are we settling into our own comfortable ways?  Are we turning to things that truly do not satisfy?

Let’s run and jump into the Master’s Arms and surrender up these things. Let’s walk this path to freedom from diets and scales and body image and food obsession…..together.



Accepting & Loving Your Body

Accepting & Loving Your Body


I had sweet baby Joel 5 days ago (when I started writing this).  He came right on his due date (February 12th) weighing 7lb 4 oz (my smallest baby) and 20 inches long.  He is healthy and sweet and sleepy. He does all of the things newborns do, including keeping his parents up at all hours of the night.  He is a sweet addition to our family.  We are all adjusting to the changes a newborn brings, and that includes adjusting to my post-pregnancy body.  In fact, I think we can all use a little “adjusting” to our body.  By adjusting, I mean accepting, loving, and embracing your body right where it’s at–no matter where you are at in life, no matter your current size.

I was inspired to write this post as I was laying down resting today.  Suddenly, I realized that my belly was no longer rounded, but flat (at least as I was laying down) and squishy. Obviously, I knew that my baby belly was gone, but it was just this deep realization that the baby is no longer taking up residence in my womb and that my body is slowly going back to its “normal” shape and size.  And instead of feeling this pressure that I *have* to reach my pre-pregnancy size, I felt this beautiful acceptance that I just had a baby and that my body is beautiful as it is.  I felt my squishy belly and thanked God for the beautiful miracle that just took place.  I give the Lord the glory and thanks that I’m not obsessing about getting back to a certain size, but that I can accept my body right where it’s at today.

So what is it like to experience eating 0-5 before, during, and after pregnancy?  It’s amazing! As I’ve said before, eating 0-5 works no matter what and that includes all seasons of life, including pregnancy and after baby comes.  My body knows exactly what it needs.  Pregnancy isn’t an excuse to “eat for two” and breastfeeding is the same.  Although, I find that I’m much more hungry while breastfeeding than while pregnant.  And that makes sense because the body needs a lot more fuel to produce milk for baby.  It’s pretty amazing how it really all comes together.  I don’t want to spend too much time talking about how TW works with breastfeeding (that will be for a future post); I wanted to expound more on accepting my body after having baby.


During my pregnancy, I had my times of struggling with thoughts of being tempted to go back to a diet after having a baby.  But the Lord has clearly shown me how diets do NOT work (95% of diets fail and you gain the weight back plus more over time).  I struggled with thoughts about my body.  I remembered that I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans 2 weeks after having my 2nd child and I felt this pressure that I had better get back to that by then or if not sooner.  Wow, such unnecessary pressure I put on myself! (A few days after I started writing this post, I am in the next size down jeans.  So I’m not at my pre-pregnancy jeans size, but almost–praise God!  And a few weeks after starting this post, I’m able to [mostly] fit into my regular sized jeans).  But praise the Lord because my mindset is totally different now.  I’m going to love my body and accept it right where it’s at.  I’m going to do that by smiling at myself in the mirror and thanking the Lord for my body.  I’m going to cherish and respect this body God has blessed me with by being satisfied with His provision and eat between hunger and satisfaction (0-5).  I’m going to wear clothes that fit my present body.

One thing I wasn’t able to do much during my pregnancy was exercise.  I had all of these different physical things going on and it just wasn’t working to exercise on a regular basis.  I’m really looking forward to exercising again, but that could be weeks from now.  I will rest and respect my body.  I’m making an exercise goal, but I promise it’s not anything extreme or crazy. I’m going to exercise in ways that I enjoy and I’m going to wait until my body is ready and I’m well-rested.  I’m no longer going to put this crazy pressure on myself to have that “beach body”.  I’m not going to make my body a slave.  I’m going to give it the love, acceptance, and respect it deserves.  I am a child of God first and foremost.  I’m not going to conform to this world’s image; I’m all done with that.

These are not empty words.  These are all truths the Lord has been working and working on getting into my head (renewing of the mind).  I am not a number on a scale or the size of my jeans.  I am not my pre-pregnancy body.  I am who I am because of Christ.  It’s taken almost 3 years to (finally) accept these truths!  I’m so thankful that the Lord is so patient!

Wherever you are in your journey toward freedom, stop and ask yourself: what would happen if I accepted my body as it is, today, in this moment?  Would I give it more love?  Would eating between hunger and satisfaction happen more naturally?  Would I try shoving it into clothing that simply doesn’t fit or wear clothes that fit my present body?  Would I compare myself with air-brushed images or say ‘thank you’ to the One who made my body?

I know not everyone reading this just had a baby.  Maybe it’s been many years since you had a baby. Maybe one day you would like to have children.  Truth is, no matter what your body has done or how it’s changed over the years, you can accept it and love it and respect it right where it’s at.  You can honor God’s temple NOW.  Stop thinking you will only do this when you are that magic number on the scale (get rid of it!) or when you are “skinny”.  Thank Him NOW for the amazing miracles that take place each day in your body, whether it’s grown and birthed a baby, whether it’s gone through some miraculous healing, or even the simplicity of taking you from where you are to where you need to go and doing all of the necessary things needed for life (like breathing).  You were knit together by the Lord in your mother’s womb.  You were marvelously made!

Our body changes as we go through life.  It’s just a fact of life.  Let’s embrace and love and accept our body today!  Honor your hunger and honor your body by eating within those beautiful boundaries God has so lovingly designed.  Take care of yourself.  When you look in the mirror, thank God for your body; purposely thanking Him for those parts you aren’t so sure about.

P.S.  I found this really great article about the pressure the culture and media plays on women about getting their body back after having a baby and how it’s important to accept our new bodies.  Let me know what you think!