By Rebecca Drew
THIS MUM of two and former bikini model admits to eating chocolate and ice cream EVERYDAY since embracing her post-baby body and is encouraging other mums to do the same after sharing her body pictures online – even though at one point she considered SURGERY to get her body back.
Before falling pregnant in 2014, fitness coach and workshop facilitator, Lauren Calvin (31), from Perth, Australia, was a bikini competitor who had a regimented attitude towards food and training and would never eat anything that wasn’t ‘clean’.
Due to this, Lauren had little knowledge about nutrition or what she needed to fuel herself during pregnancy so when she felt sick and tired she stopped training and found herself binging on packets of crisps and chocolate instead which saw her gain weight quickly. This saw her spiral into a depression which she comforted with food.
In May 2015, her son Huckson was born, Lauren had thought that she would snap back into shape like the models she saw on Instagram and when she didn’t contemplated surgery but she started boxfit four-months post-partum and gradually lost weight and got fitter, going from 12st 8lb to 8st 9lb.
Lauren and her husband, Louis, sadly suffered a miscarriage in 2017 and she slowly started to gain weight again but after getting a job at a gym, saw her weight decrease. As she lost weight, Lauren noticed that her saggy skin became more visible but instead of hiding it or longing for surgery, she decided to try and normalise it by taking to social media after hearing women body shame themselves at the gym and realising she had been doing the same to herself.
When she fell pregnant with her second child, Lenny, at the end of 2017, Lauren feared gaining weight like she had done in her previous pregnancy but knew things would be different with her job and trained when she could and ate when she was hungry. After her pregnancy, Lauren weighed 11st 4lb, but she wasn’t fazed by how she looked, fascinated by how her body had changed in order to bring her two beautiful children into the world.
Now, Lauren hopes to inspire other women to love their bodies by sharing real and honest body positive posts on Instagram.
“I was so strict during comp prep, I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t ‘clean’ so when I stopped, I spiralled into binge eating all the things I craved,” said Lauren.
“I went from an all or nothing attitude to fitness and food and I thought I would bounce back like all those models you see on social media, but I soon realised I wasn’t going to and I thought my body was ruined, I thought I’d have to get surgery to ever be happy with my appearance again.
“I wasn’t in a good mindset getting pregnant after competing, I hadn’t learnt anything about nutrition, all I had was that all or nothing attitude towards clean eating and exercise, so when I felt tired and sick while pregnant, I stopped exercising and started binge eating. I gained weight rapidly and became secretly depressed, a smile can hide so much.
“I’d hide packets of crisps and blocks of chocolate under the bed, stay home all day and eat and sleep. I also knew that creating a life was going to be worth it, it was ‘bigger than me’ or more important than me.
“I started boxing about four months post-partum and slowly lost weight and got fitter, but I moved towns and before F45 gym opened, there was nothing motivating near me.
“Hearing women talk about themselves and their bodies negatively was upsetting, it made me realise how I talked about myself too and that needed to change, I wanted to help women feel better about themselves so being vulnerable and sharing non-flattering photos of myself was my way of doing that.
“I developed a positive relationship with my mum tum by always looking at it and saying how beautiful it is to myself, after a while it actually worked and I find the skin and stretch marks more fascinating than ugly, so I no longer want to go through an expensive, painful and risky surgery because I am proud of what my body has done and how it’s helping others now too.
“Before my first unflattering belly photo post about three-and-a-half years ago, I searched for a long time to find images of women that might help me feel better and less alone, but all I ever saw was women bouncing back, flat tummies weeks after giving birth, and it upset me, I thought there was something wrong with me.
“But I got so many messages from women saying things like, ‘thank you for sharing this I feel less alone now’ and, ‘my tummy is like yours, I thought I was the only one’
“It honestly made me cry I was so relieved that I wasn’t alone, and that it just wasn’t normalised yet. Yet! So, I kept sharing with the hope to reach more women who felt like this.”
Now Lauren is 9st 1lb and she exercises five days a week, which includes three weight training sessions, two cardio sessions and family walks on top.
Most importantly, Lauren now never deprives herself from eating anything, has pancakes for breakfast most days, lots of fruit, bread, white rice and potatoes. She has ice cream with Nutella for dessert every night because she knows that there is no such thing as ‘bad food’.
Lauren shared her words of advice to other mums who are feeling pressure to snap back into shape post pregnancy.
“If I can help just one woman to not hate their body, that’s magical. The messages I receive make me overwhelmingly happy, they give me strength and make me feel like I’m doing something good for the world, even if its small, it matters,” she said.
“Find something active that you enjoy doing, no point running if you don’t like it, group fitness is a fantastic way to meet new friends and be social for an hour out of the day. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. You and your life are unique, your lifestyle and goals aren’t the same as a bikini model so don’t expect or aspire to look like one.
“Embrace mum life and your body. If you want to lose weight, educate yourself on nutrition, don’t buy into products or fad diets. There’s no need to cut carbs, go keto or paleo, detox or any of that rubbish.
“It’s all about energy balance, calories eaten vs calories burned, and most of your calories aren’t burned at the gym, so look at going for more walks, sitting down less and taking the stairs.
“Some people aren’t into counting calories, but I found it instrumental in figuring out what my portion sizes actually looked like, and how foods I thought were bad, actually aren’t.
“My relationship with food is now great, I no longer binge eat or starve myself on low calorie diets. I eat the foods I love – white bread, chocolate and ice cream every day!”
For more information see www.instagram.com/laurencalvin_lcfit