I’m taking a deep dive with Brooke Cates of the Bloom Method to talk all about body positivity when it comes to postpartum women.  We’re discussing (er- ranting?) about the weight loss industry, unhealthy fitness trends, and how to go about building confidence and acceptance of our ever-changing bodies after giving birth.
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Eva: (00:04)
Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.

Eva: (00:45)
All right, Brooke. Thank you so much for being here today. I’m so happy to have you on the, my sleeping BB podcast.

Brooke: (00:53)
Of course I, it is an honor. It’s always an honor to connect with amazing, um, podcast creators like yourself. I love it. I love the human connection and it just it’s, it feels so real to just have these conversations and, and share them worldwide. So I’m so happy to be here.

Eva: (01:10)
Amazing. All right. Well, why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about yourself, your background and what you do?

Brooke: (01:15)
Yeah. Um, well, I’m a lot of things, right? As all women are. Um, I’m a mom, I’m a partner. I am all these things, but I’m also the CEO and founder of the blue method. We are a pre and postnatal fitness method. And about four years ago, we launched the first ever pre and postnatal fitness studio app. And what I mean by that is I wanted to give women preconception, prenatally and postnatally a more well-rounded experience. So I wanted to try to step away from this one size fits all program that every woman needed to follow in order to get all of these things she was hoping to get. And instead launch a platform that was kind of like this virtual brick and mortar studio, where a woman could show up and move her body or dive into a certain level of, of movement-based, um, body-based education that fit her in the moment, because that is where I think women thrive.

Brooke: (02:16)
I think that is where we really empower ourselves. Um, and so we did that almost about four years ago and, um, we’re a global app. We’ve been a method for about nine years though. So I had, um, I really created the method off of one-on-one clients that I worked with, learned a lot from those women and, and wanted to make things a lot more simple, um, for pre and postnatal women, because there’s a lot of confusion and miseducation around stuff. And then I had a brick and mortar studio in Boulder and then Boulder, Colorado. And then, um, we launched the app. And so

Eva: (02:51)
That’s amazing. And so is the app, does the app basically provide different, you know, fitness and movement options for women who are pregnant. And then if you put in your newly postpartum, it’ll show you options that are appropriate for you at that time. Is that sort of how it works?

Brooke: (03:09)
Kind of, yeah, there are, there are mult a multitude of ways that women can navigate our app. And again, sometimes these choices really overwhelm women. Um, and I, when I speak about that, I speak about it from a space of pregnant postpartum women have been so become so used to being placed in a box about what they can do, what they can’t do. Follow these guidelines only do these things that when you are someone like myself and my team and we, and the way I describe it is we’ve decided to open up that box and say, no, no, no, no, no, no. We can move our bodies. However we want. We can choose to do things that really feel good and empower us with a little bit of shifting around our foundation. So, um, I guess the easiest way to say you can use the platform is you can come on the platform and use it just like you would walking into a core power yoga studio.

Brooke: (04:10)
You walk into core power, you see that these are the three classes you can choose from and you go to whatever class you want to. Um, in this case, there are over 250 workouts and we’re constantly adding new classes and workouts and education to the platform. Um, so you can choose, what do I need in this moment? There are also, um, monthly workout calendars. There are guided programs. So we have guided programs, anything from a fourth trimester rehab series, which is a six week series really, um, designed for that mama ideally before she ever gets, um, cleared for exercise from her doctor. So it’s a super gentle reconnection period because my hope and my coach’s hope is that women are returning to exercise more prepared than when they don’t do anything for six to eight weeks. And then they back into an exercise program. Um, we have a pelvic organ prolapse program. We had have an advanced abdominal and core program. We have a burn program, so we will do, um, for lack of better words, we offer more handholding if that is what women need, because let’s face it. Sometimes the last thing a woman wants to do is think about what she needs from a workout. She may just want us to tell her what to do. Yeah. And then we of course have that more freedom flowing experience if you want it

Eva: (05:38)
Right. That where they’re just like, I don’t want you to tell me what to do today. I feel like doing a dance class. And so I’m going to do a dance class or today I feel like working my abs where I feel like going for a run, presumably that’s, you’ve been cleared for that. And I don’t need a program to tell me what I feel like doing right now. I can totally. And I’ve been both of those. I think it sort of depends on the day, some days I do want to be told what to do. And then there are other days where I’m just like, I feel like doing a hip hop class or I just feel like doing yoga today. And there’s nothing that any program can tell me to do. That’s going to make me think otherwise. So I think that’s awesome.

Brooke: (06:19)
Yeah. I think it’s, it’s like the, it’s the mom life, right? It’s either like I have zero. I have such a lack of clarity of what I need and what I want. Yes. I am so clear on what I need today that don’t tell me what to do. I’m going to, I’m going to choose it myself. So I love that we’ve all been there.

Eva: (06:36)
Yes. Yes. So I wanted to really focus on the body positivity movement in connection with being postpartum. Right. Because I know that it’s, it’s an interesting, it’s an interesting dichotomy, I would say, because on the one hand you have this body positivity movement, you know, the body positivity movement that basically says, you know, health at every size, love your body. You know, no matter what your body’s going to look different, especially now that you’ve had, you know, babies and that’s all, you know, normal and wonderful. And then on the other hand, you have, you know, this emphasis on like bouncing back, get your pre, you know, bought your pre-baby body back. And I know we were, before we started recording, we were sort of discussing, you know, your, your take on the matter. And it’s, it’s a nuanced one. So, I mean, what does, when we’re talking specifically about postpartum women who have given birth, at least once, you know, they have created, spent the last, presumably nine months creating a human and their body, and then they, you know, birth it out. How do you view the body positivity movement? What should it look like for these women?

Brooke: (07:53)
Ooh, yeah, that’s, that’s a tough one because what should it look like is very different than what it does look like.

Eva: (08:00)
What, so, you know what let’s maybe then discuss, let’s start with the first part. What does it look like right now? And then if you had to dissect it and create this, you know, utopian world for women who are postpartum, you know, what would that look like instead to you?

Brooke: (08:16)
Yeah. You know, I think I actually think it, my answer is going to be about the same. It, even in the way you originally proposed the question, um, because this is the way I look at it. So it gets tricky when you add in social media, right? So let’s look at Instagram for a second. Instagram is a totally different animal than for example, Facebook. Um, Instagram tends to be clearly very photo image, video driven. Um, and it is a platform that is really big right now for influencers. And so many influencers. It’s like such this thing right now to be like, I’m not an influencer. I hate that term. And I’m like, well, honey, you need to own what you are. If you’re an influencer, you’re an influencer. Um, and, and, you know, we could break apart that, but you could, you could look at a lineup of profiles and figure out who the influencers are, who the businesses are and else elsewhere.

Brooke: (09:17)
I’m sure there are other people that live that live amongst those tiles. Right. Um, but the problem is I think on, on both sides and this may be interesting to people and I hope it doesn’t trigger too many people because everything that I say, I also want to preface that it is from my own perspective, right? Like we all have to understand that any opinion that we have on something is based on our individual perspective. And then of course, because we are a fitness brand, um, as the CEO I am constantly trying to, and this was before we ever launched an app, I have always tried to really make it clear that we are not a traditional fitness brand. Um, even from the way that we cue the core, the way that we have women be intentionally in their movement, in their bodies, it is so different from this instant gratifications washboard abs concept.

Brooke: (10:17)
Um, that is typical in the fitness industry. But with that being said, I also hear and see a lot from our subscribers and one-on-one clients over the years, I no longer see one-on-one clients, but that’s how I got started. So working with thousands of women in person and virtually for the first four to five years, and now we’re a global platform where we hear all kinds of stuff. And so I take a little bit of my own personal perception along with really trying to understand moms more so that my brand, my methodology, the, the things that we create can always meet women where they are, because that’s the most important thing to me. Um, and so with that, I would say that the reason I say it’s kind of both, it’s like this bounce back culture of oftentimes influencers or women who are striving to be influencers, posting these photos or videos of themselves that seem very challenging to relate to, to your average postpartum woman. And I’ll paint a picture sometimes that can look like here I am a week postpartum and I’m bikini ready. I mean, sometimes you will literally see a photo of a woman in a bikini at a week, postpartum and women are going, I can’t relate to that. And holy cow, that hurts me is, is that what I should look like? And there are all these, you know, I could have tons of little thought all over the, around

Eva: (11:54)
Something else that I see a lot is, you know, something like hashtag postpartum bodies, like, Hey, everyone, look at my body. I’m a week postpartum, you know, downplaying it when really there’s like this little pooch that most of us have on a good day. And that’s what this person looks like postpartum. So she’s saying, yeah, guys, look how awful I look. But we’re all thinking like, you, you, I wish I looked like that on a good day, let alone a week postpartum. So they think there’s some of that as well, like trying to downplay, like, yeah, guys, look, look at me. I look so terrible when really we all know like, no, this person looks amazing.

Brooke: (12:32)
Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, and then there’s the other side of that too. Right? Eva, where I, I look at it, I look at it kind of as like women overall are, I feel like we are trying to move away from the patriarchy yet. Even with the body positivity movement around loving your body, no matter what size it is. If you look at those accounts, it’s still women posting photos of themselves in thongs. And then why are we not more than our bodies is what I want to propose, right? Why we not more than our bodies? And because here, here this, again, this is just a take on, on my perception. Um, because I do what I do and I have the education and the techniques and tools that I do when I, I did not get pregnant with my little one. I had my little guy, I think it was, I like late 37, I think.

Brooke: (13:33)
So, um, I’ll be 40 this year. And there were things that I dealt with because of my age. There was no, this bounce back culture that does not happen when you are 38 years old. But to someone who may have looked at my body at a week postpartum, they may have said, how dare you post that photo? Because they did say this, how dare you post that photo? That is not realistic. And so here I was going, but it is realistic because that’s your body. That’s my body. So I think when we talk about body positivity, what it does is we could talk for hours about how this is not okay, this is not okay. This is not okay. This type of attitude keeps us in the patriarchy when we’re, when it seems like we’re trying to remove ourselves from the patriarchy through empowerment, when really it’s about loving our bodies, loving other women’s bodies, appreciating and honoring our experience, our journey, just like we would appreciate and honor another woman’s journey and experience and the way that I’ll end that is.

Brooke: (14:47)
And because there’s always an end or many of them, when you follow who is posting content that triggers you, this is a whole nother topic because anything, times one is triggered by something that’s on us. It really is. We don’t like to look at it and blame it on the person. Yeah. Stop following them. You can stop following them to protect yourself because we cannot police in, uh, in the world that we live in. We can’t police every one’s content and not one out of 10. They don’t care if we unfollow them. They don’t care if we’re commenting that their body isn’t appropriate at one week or six months postpartum. Um, just like other massive people. Like, I love the birds papaya and people talk about her a lot. She’s really, she just owns her body. And I think that’s beautiful. Yeah. And she has people who will comment.

Brooke: (15:43)
You’re, I mean, she’s done posts, you’re disgusting. Cover your body up. Just like she doesn’t care about that. Women who trigger other women because they maybe are smaller in frame or don’t look postpartum. They don’t care about that. So why can’t we, or the negative comments, why can’t we come together as women? And ultimately just realize that if we’re going to talk about body positivity, it’s honoring our relationship with our body and not concerned about other women’s relationships with their bodies. Because just as much as I can say it doesn’t trigger me. I just get kind of annoyed at women who, when I look at their feed, it’s just them in bikinis and their thongs. And like, I’m just like, you’re more than that. You are more than that. Y that’s not my story to tell they’re living in the truth. And as someone who wants to respect that and all women’s journeys, I just, I just don’t partake in it.

Brooke: (16:47)
I just don’t look at it as they’re doing what they see best. So, but all of that to say, I do absolutely think that the culture around how we personally feel about our bodies postpartum, how we oftentimes, there’s a, there’s a camp of people, um, who feel they have to look a certain way, or they have to be exercising by a certain time. Um, you know, they ha we have all these different milestones physically, and the way our body looks in a bikini or the way it feels in a pair of jeans or this concept of like getting back into your pre pregnancy jeans. I absolutely think that that has to shift. And it’s less about what other people think and about the individual journey that women are on as they transform into the mother that they are. Right. Right. I feel

Eva: (17:49)
Like, you know, in my dream world, I would love, you know, I’ve got three kids myself. I’ve been postpartum three times now. You know, my youngest being my, my youngest now being almost three, I guess I wish that body size, especially postpartum could just be something that’s neutralized. That it’s just kind of something that is irrelevant, because when you think about it, it really should be. I mean, I do. And I have, and I’m, and I’m not, I had my first two kids in my twenties and I’ll tell you that I still did not bounce back. You know, that, that whole notion, maybe my first one, I was 25. Okay, fine. Maybe I was in, you know, my, my prenatal, but my, sorry, my pre pregnancy close quicker. Um, but definitely not with my second and my third and, and I, and I felt, and it could have just been me, but I honestly do feel like there is this societal borderline obsession with how women look after they’d had a baby.

Eva: (18:49)
Oh my gosh, you just had a baby. You look amazing that that is incredible. How you look. And then a part of me is thinking, you know, when, when this person hopefully lives a really nice long life, you know, they live until we like to say, you know, till they’re 120, and then they die when they’re 120, are we going to really put that? Is that an accomplishment you’re going to put on your tombstone? This person was in her Bree pregnancy clothes when she was, you know, eight days postpartum. Is that, is that really something that you want to be remembered by? I don’t know.

Brooke: (19:25)
No. I tell people that all the time, Eva, even down to what your body looks like five years before you had a baby or two years postpartum, no one is going to go Eva. She had to kill her body. She had to kill

Eva: (19:42)
Her. But yeah, seriously, if that’s all

Brooke: (19:44)
People say about you, is that really the life,

Eva: (19:46)
If you want to live what an accomplishments, but people do. But I, I have heard, so, you know, I’m, I’m Jewish. And so in our tradition, you know, we, we have, um, like a ritual circumcision for boys when they’re eight days. Um, and you know, and it’s, it’s, it’s called a breasts. It’s like a very big, it’s a pretty big party. It’s a big celebration. Right. And, um, I was always really relieved when I had my first two were girls, but we didn’t ha I didn’t have to do a breast, which involves like getting dressed up and showing up to a party, you know, eight days postpartum. But then my third was a boy. And I realized like, gosh, you know, some of this is, this is really, really hard, but I’ve been to enough of these where you hear people say, oh my gosh, did you see, so-and-so look at her?

Eva: (20:34)
She’s she looks amazing at her son’s breasts. Look at how amazing this is. And so there, there is this, especially in my culture, there is this, there is a thing about looking amazing eight days postpartum at your son’s breasts when the reality is that, is that really, if your body just ha cause that that’s not, first of all, that’s not work. That’s not an accomplishment. That’s a reflection of your body and its genetics. And you know, maybe how much weight you gained or didn’t gain during pregnancy. Maybe you were throwing up for seven months straight and you barely gained any weight. And so therefore, you know, you were able to quote unquote, bounce back more quickly. That’s not necessarily an accomplishment as much as it is, just how your body responded to no longer being pregnant. Um, I don’t consider that to be a con an accomplishment. That’s just sort of like a thing. Like, it’s just sort of what happens, right. And to make it seem like it’s this massive accomplishment, I think is it saddens me because I feel like this woman just spent the last nine months recreate, like creating a human. And we’re celebrating like the birth of this new human into the world that are than focusing on mom’s body. Like, let’s focus on what really matters here. And, and I feel like this is diet culture, right? This is diet culture just wrapped up in different wrappings.

Brooke: (21:59)
Absolutely. Yup. Yup. I would agree. And, and, and it’s, um, and again, I, I hate that I keep coming back to the patriarchy, but this is what we’re supposedly trying to escape. This is what patriarchy has done to women is that you are your looks, your body, the way you dress, the way you act. And that’s it, you know, and you said your, your culture, um, does this with women. It’s so many of it’s everywhere. It doesn’t, we’re such a melting pot and it’s been such a heavy piece. That that’s what I, that’s why I come back to that. It’s like, it’s like, we want to escape it. But we, in the mix of that, we don’t realize that we’re just packaging the patriarchy up in a different wrapping paper, still saying, I’m just my body, my entire, for example, Instagram account, my entire Instagram account is about my body.

Brooke: (22:58)
Well, yeah. Who else are you? Like, we want to know who you are because you can go deeper than our physical selves, especially postpartum, even in pregnancy. I mean, there’s also this whole culture around what our bodies look like during pregnancy, right? Like, you know, we’ve all been there. Oh, you look like you’re carrying twins. So you don’t, you look great. You’re only 35, you’re 35 weeks pregnant. And you look at that. I remember those comments during pregnancy and none of them feel good. You know, whether you’re the woman who people say, you look great, you still feel like I’m not an object. I’m doing some really remarkable stuff right now. Like, as you’re telling me that my body looks great. My body’s actually growing along. So what we talk about, how cool that is postpartum, why aren’t we talking more? Like one thing that I would love to see is less focused on the body because you’re right.

Brooke: (23:52)
So much of that is genetics. And sometimes there’s this mental, emotional component that we don’t even talk about. Yes, there’s a genetics piece, but maybe someone did work out every day during their pregnancy. Do you really think that that is healthy to be so obsessed with your physique and working out that you work it out every single day? I always tell women that if you can’t take a rest day, you need to examine that you need to sit with that. There’s no judgment, but you need to be able to sit with that because there’s more to life than working out. But what I was getting at is there’s, there’s, there’s no, like right now with pregnancy and birth, there’s such a halo of birth is terrible. You should fear it. It is going to be the most painful thing that you’ve ever experienced. And so enter into getting close to birth and they’re terrified.

Brooke: (24:47)
They verify it. Oftentimes the first time, what if women postpartum, we’re better about sharing the positive experiences that came with their birth, because in anything we can sit back and go, well, yeah, these were the positive things. It may have been intense or all of these things, but what if we shared more about how incredible we felt, because we just birthed a human being that we get to raise and guide throughout this life versus, well, this is what my body did. It’s like the past nine months, none of the, the importance of the human that I just brought onto this planet is discussed. It’s just, when I look, there’s this overarching theme around our bodies, and it would be really cool if we could shift that overarching theme to how can we empower other women away from our bodies away from, you know, a shining all the light on our bodies.

Brooke: (25:45)
And instead talking about the true transformation, the birth experience, how cool it is that we can grow a human, um, and birth of human. And now that we get a chance to mother and guide these individuals on the planet, um, I just, I mean, that’s, that’s so different right. Then, then the focus being on our body. But I just think there’s this lack of truly honoring the experience, right? We are so focused on our physical body. Yeah. It it’s, it’s, it’s actually quite tragic because they change so fast, you know, one day they’re two and the next day, they’re 15. And do you really want to look back and be like, I was more concerned about looking a certain way for other people then even just soaking up and being present with my, or my family, or I don’t know. And it bloom we’re, we’re more about why do you move?

Brooke: (26:50)
Why don’t you, because if you’re exercising to look a certain way, maybe sit with that because it’s more important that we move to feel good, to be able to keep up with. I have a very wild, he just turned a three-year-old and I, oh my gosh, if I didn’t move my body, I don’t even know how I’d keep up with this kid. Like he he’s all over the place. So, and then, and then in pregnancy and early postpartum, how can we pivot the reason that we are seeking some sort of fitness method or movement piece to look at it as a lifestyle component, just like we choose to eat healthy food. There are changes that happen in our body. That’s a given, but that doesn’t mean you chase a workout to get rid of cellulite. It means chase a workout to make sure that you don’t have pelvic pain during, or post-pregnancy that your core and your pelvic floor are functional.

Brooke: (27:51)
And you’re not peeing yourself when you, whether it’s doing a workout or jumping on a trampoline with your little ones or laughing with a girlfriend. Um, and I think when we can shift the way we even approach movement and exercise, and again, get away from this mainstream fitness mindset, or like you said earlier, this diet culture, because it really is, it’s all the same thing. Whereas hardcore fitness mindset, or this really tumultuous, um, diet culture, it’s not healthy, it’s not at all. And when we add that into a period of our time or a period, when we add that into a period of our life where we are so stripped down, I mean, think about what you do in birth, whether you have a Syrian birth or a vaginal birth, your body and our babies go through such trauma, but then this like Ascension into this.

Brooke: (28:50)
I don’t even know where we go for the first several days, weeks of our postpartum. And when we’re putting, when we are allowing ourselves, because it isn’t allowing, we choose for example, to get on social media and look and allow these women who are posting all this stuff to either trigger us or not trigger us. Um, maybe it’s not triggering, maybe it’s, um, a pressure. I feel pressured to get back into a workout because I should look like X, Y, and Z because can looks, um, it’s just not good. It’s not healthy. It’s not, it doesn’t help us thrive at all.

Eva: (29:30)
Yeah. I think it distracts us from what is really important, right? Like what’s really gonna make a difference right. In the grand scheme of things. But you see here’s then the million dollar question, like, does this concept of body positivity go a little bit too far? Would you say in terms of ignoring the potential health consequences of getting to, you know, a certain size, whatever that you know might be. And I, and I, I almost have to be, I wish I didn’t even word it like that because of course the last thing you want to do is add shame to anyone’s life, regardless of any size that they might have. So I’m not saying this in a way to shame people, but I guess sort of from like an actual science standpoint, from what we know about basic health and wellness, do you think that the pendulum has swung a little bit too far to that down that direction? Sometimes.

Brooke: (30:30)
Absolutely. And I, and I’ll, I would also say that that’s common, right? In a, in any type of movement or any type of thing like this, um, body positivity movement, for example, there, it’s always easy for the pendulum to swing too far. And, and for us to grasp onto things that, that are the complete they’re there on the complete opposite end of the spectrum than what we’re talking about. So I think it, it looks two ways. I think that from, if we are talking just body positivity, love your body, no matter what size it is. Awesome. Love, beautiful

Eva: (31:11)

Brooke: (31:12)
Yes. It’s gorgeous. Love your body. It’s like self love, right? Love yourself, no matter where you are in life, no matter if your life feels like it’s crumbling around you or you’re at the top of your game, if you can have that, self-love, you’re going to continue to evolve and improve in a better way for yourself. Yeah. So if we look at it just with the body, absolutely. Do I think that women of all sizes let’s take the bikini for example, that women of all sizes should be able to proudly put on a two piece string bikini if they want to and struck down a beach 150%, if that’s a thing. Um, and that is, you know, from a size two, all the way to, you know, someone who’s 450 pounds, if that is what that individual feels good in her skin, go for it.

Brooke: (32:05)
Sister, I back it all the way where it gets a little, um, murky for me, I guess I would say, is this emphasis on health? Because even if you exercise, um, even if you love your body and put on a bikini, if you are 300 plus pounds, there is a disconnect with health. That doesn’t mean that you need to change because I’m not here to tell anyone what their health should look like. Just like I wouldn’t tell them what their body should look like, but you can’t stand at the top of the mountain and say I’m healthy, but you’re 300 pounds. You would be 300 pounds. If your, if there was more, you know, moms are, they either hate this word or love it, or feel a little in the middle, but balance it’s, it’s not a word that I kind of run from, but if it was more balanced in your relationship to all things health and yeah, just in case what I said made someone like smoke, come out of their ears.

Brooke: (33:18)
What I’m talking about with that is your entire embodiment practice of health food. So there’s the diet component. I don’t like to use the word diet, but food and how you eat, what you put into your body. Um, your relationship with nature. I include that in health, your self-love your relationship with not just your body, but your emotional and mental space. What does do you practice self care tools? Do you have a meditation practice or a movement practice or an affirmation practice, whatever. Um, and then of course there’s, there is the, the bigger exercise piece. And the reason I’m glad you brought this up is because the reason that this is important for us to talk about when we talk about the body positivity movement is because the body positivity movement is very big in social media. Um, and not that that is the end all be all, but social media is very big right now.

Brooke: (34:12)
And what I have started to see is this, um, emphasis on certain influencers and fitness brands will jump on board and be like, Ooh, I want that influencer pushing my business. I’ve seen these relationships happen. So we have a fitness brand trying to ultimately do the right thing. And what they’re trying to do is say, we see all bodies, we love all bodies, which I think is great, but when you partner, and this is just an example with an influencer who works out and is preaching health, but they are 350 pounds. I find myself going one, this screams how important, what we put in our bodies, our food is versus just implementing a workout. Like you can’t just have a good, healthy movement practice and expect yourself to look a certain way for those who do that, it is such a food piece, a lifestyle piece, but that person is not healthy. That person is not the epitome of health because there is, there’s a disconnect, just like someone who may look really healthy and maybe really fit. And let’s just say, um, for the sake of this analogy here, that this pur that this fake person we’re creating has the ideal body, whatever hell that is, but has the ideal body that also doesn’t mean that that individual is helping

Eva: (35:43)
Because if she’s sitting on her couch and eating potato chips all day or starving Or the opposite, right?

Brooke: (35:51)
Yeah. So I think it goes both ways. This is not just to shine light on women who are more voluptuous. And to say you can’t claim health because look, everything there are variables to everything, right? Right. Absolutely. Some women are curvy and voluptuous and beautiful, and there are so much genetics attached to that. And so many women could say, I do. I, you know, I eat a really balanced, healthy diet. I don’t eat a ton of potato chips, but I do dive in every once in a while, because I believe in that, I believe that’s important to that indulgence every once in a while. Um, I’m not trying to say that this is a, a linear subject. This is, there are variables all over the place, but overall, we just need to be better. And I say, we, my brand as a fitness brand, especially with pre and postnatal women in this very vulnerable stage, um, the diet culture, uh, you know, food companies, et cetera, it’s all along the board. We all need to be better about defining what is health and realizing that there is not a single one modality that highlights what health is a mixture of things. And when women adopt those things, all of them, you’re going to be more imbalanced with what your individual health is, and then scream that from the rooftops, but when you’re not truly embodying health. Right.

Eva: (37:32)
Right. No, I think, I think that that is all very fair. I mean, this has been a personal journey of mine over the last number of years, I’d say, because I feel like just like most people that, you know, grew up that were born in the eighties and nineties, you know, we w we were all brought up with some level of diet culture, and I was not in uniform that, you know, I was a very serious dancer in elementary school and high school. And so, you know, the obsession with having a specific body type is when you’re a ballet dancer is very, very apparent. And I never had that body at all. And I was hyper aware of that. Um, you know, when, and, and it happens to be that in high school, it was like, great, 11, like, I think it was around grade 11 when I actually stopped dancing for a little bit and started doing more sports because I found, um, a lot more freedom, I suppose, with like my body, just being the way that it is in the world of athletics, then, um, in the world of dance.

Eva: (38:35)
Now I did continue with dance and university, but there’s, there was still that underlying, you know, obsession with being skinny that I never realized until recently it was just sort of always part of my existence. Like, so for example, when I was pregnant with my first two kids, so with all three of my pregnancies, my first trimesters are all the same. I am ravenous throughout my entire first trimester. And I, and I need to eat lots of carbs. Now, looking back, I’ve spoken with nutritionists who, who would say, oh, well, you might need more fat in your diet. I didn’t know that. So, but what I did know when I, throughout my three pregnancies is that I was famished. I felt gross. I needed bread to make me feel full and not feel like throwing up. And then what do you think happens when you’re living on bread for three months straight?

Eva: (39:31)
You see the scale, you know, go up pretty dramatically. And with my first two pregnancies, I was so self-conscious about it, but in between baby number two, and baby number three, I had discovered this concept called body positivity and, you know, had multiple light bulb moments realizing what kind of diet culture we were all brought up with. And so it was very freeing for me being pregnant for the third time, listening to what my body needed, which was, I guess, you know, lots of bread and butter to keep me full and prevent me from throwing up, um, that I wasn’t, you know, obsessing about it at the same time when you gain a lot of weight in pregnancy, you know, there is still the, after my third baby, I had developed a thyroid condition. I developed, um, oh, what’s it called? Why am I blanking out here?

Eva: (40:24)
Um, insulin resistance, you know, from, I guess, gaining a lot of weight in my third pregnancy. And, and so it’s been a journey for me to sort of figure out, you know, I swung the pendulum from like one end straight to the other, and now I feel like I’m kind of, sort of bringing it back to the center as much as I can, you know, trying to navigate the nuances around body positivity, recognizing this is what my body had to do to create three children. But on the other hand, still prioritizing health for what it actually means and for what, you know, my blood work has saying. Right. And, and it’s, it’s a, it’s a tricky one. It’s a really, really tricky one for someone like me, who’s been brought up with diet culture, trying to figure out like where that balance is, you know, throwing out that word that, that I know no one likes, but that’s really what it is. Right.

Brooke: (41:28)
Yeah. But Eva, here, you share that story and thank you for that being vulnerable, sharing that story. But wouldn’t you say, because what was coming up for me as you were sharing is what a beautiful journey though, like yeah. How much have you learned? Right. And I think if we could look at everything in life that way, like what have I learned? Like, and when you first were saying that you really honored the fact that you wanted the, the carbs and you ate the carbs and you, there was no, how freeing is that just that you were not like, sometimes I think I try to think about some of these women out in the world who they count, every calorie, they count every carb, they do not enjoy. Like, first of all, I love food. I love food so much. I don’t ever feel guilty about what I eat and now, and that’s rare.

Brooke: (42:29)
That is not, I mean, I’m almost 40. So I definitely grew up around really unhealthy, um, diet cultures. And, and that’s, that is I understand that that is rare that a woman can like eat a piece of cake and not feel guilty over it, but that’s something that I pride myself in. And I, and I utilize that ability in myself to help, uh, try to help other women not feel guilty. Because when we talk about balance and health health, isn’t just following a certain trajectory to meet or introduce what we think health is it not actually, there’s this whole emotional mental component. And if you are someone who struggles or it feels weird, or you’re stressed about what you’re eating, what you’re not eating, you know, you can’t go, let’s just throw this out there because typically there’s not great food at, um, at a super bowl party.

Brooke: (43:32)
You can’t go to a super bowl party and just eat some chips and dip without feeling bad about it. There is a lack of health, just like there would be a lack of health if we pivoted it to look like another person’s scenario. So I think when we can really just feel guiltless about the way we live our life and the things that we are choosing, if it makes us happy. And if it proves down the road to, for example, give you a level of insulin resistance, you go, wow, awesome. I remember being happy in it, you know, while eating all those carbs and being happy during that. But now I just, I have another thing to learn and another way to learn how to crest over it. Um, there’s no good or bad. And that’s another thing that I want, I think is important with the body positivity movement is that we’re all, we’re all figuring out how to pivot, how to shift the way that we talk about or program reprogramming ourselves.

Brooke: (44:40)
That’s what we’re doing. Absolutely tough topic for people, especially right now with the state of the world. But there has been so much programming that to really reprogram yourself. You, I have found in my personal life that I have to step out and do more observing than allowing myself to be reactive. Yeah. Um, and so when we deprogram ourselves or reprogram ourselves, there is, there’s a lot of relearning that comes with it. So when we can have more compassion, um, more love, more empathy, both with ourself and with other women, all of this becomes more, more figure out-able I guess Marie folio, if I would say that we figure it out and we can come together and not feel judged, whether that’s judging ourselves or judging other people. And we don’t feel this massive premises on needing to display our bodies, or even talk about what our bodies look like.

Brooke: (45:49)
Because at the day, if you ask most women, they don’t care what their girlfriend’s friends bought, what their girlfriend’s bodies look like. No, you know, you’re not like, yeah, love Sarah. She is my best friend because her body is kick. And have you seen her and how much weight she can lift in a squat? It’s really impressive. Yeah. I don’t think women talk like that with women that are like that. So neither of my, so it is, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we are reprogramming and we’re making the diet culture the way we see our bodies and other women’s bodies, the way we talk about this stuff, the way we talk about postpartum, the way that we experience our postpartum, I was such, um, I was so crunchy with the way that I, um, experienced my postpartum and I look back on it and I feel like a lot of it was because my midwife was not expecting that from me here I am the CEO of a global fitness brand.

Brooke: (46:47)
And I think she assumed and expected that I was going to have this very typical mainstream fitness philosophy with this, get my body back and was like, no, I’m, I’m very stubborn and very fiery. So I was like, I’m going to prove her wrong because I know the importance of yes. Reconnecting to my body, pelvic floor core, all of these things, but I know how to do it in a gentle way that honors both my body and my experience. I did not leave my master bedroom for 14 days. My was upstairs. They did not want me going downstairs because I had a one degree tear. I had home birth. I did not leave. And I, my midwife was floored. She was like, so what are you doing? Are you doing any type of exercise? And I said, well, I’m, I’m doing techniques that I can like do simultaneously while I’m nursing.

Brooke: (47:42)
I’m tapping into my core and my breath. No, because I want to relish, I guess, for lack of better words in this period, because I knew with my age and just with what we wanted, we knew that we were probably one and done, and I just wanted to soak it up. And are times when we have this bounce back culture, um, in us, do we just like miss this beautiful opportunity where we’ve just had this baby and our hearts are just ripped wide open and we have this new been with us and we have this partner and this ability to hold this canister of love on a greater scale than we’ve ever felt or experienced love. Do we choose to just like when we’re too wrapped up in, in, in this programming, we even relish in that, do we even honor the experience? So I hope to see with the body positivity movement in regards specifically to postnatal postpartum, that there’s a shift that we turn off the, the, you know, casting light on women’s physical bodies and dead talk about what is necessary from a, a functional space.

Brooke: (49:04)
Why aren’t we, how do we make sure that women are supported and they’re not paying themselves. And then they’re, and then they’re told if you are paying or sorry, that they’re not told if you are paying yourself because it happens. That’s not normal because how many women are, oh, well, I was just told to wear pads because he myself, like what, no, don’t know, you’re aware of pad, but, but let people help you, let us take you down a journey that helps you feel really empowered in your physical body so that you don’t have to pee your pants versus feel empowered in your physical body. So that you think you have the least amount of cellulite at the pool you went to on Saturday with your

Eva: (49:46)
Right. Right. And I think that what is so powerful about this, I mean, for me personally, is that given that my two oldest kids are girls, uh, you know, they are 10 and almost eight. These are some really powerful messages or ways in which I can raise them differently from the way that you and I were raised that I think can have a very meaningful impact. And I’m not saying I’m doing it perfectly, because as I said, like, I’m in my own journey, I’m in my own, you know, deprogramming, reprogramming cycle myself. But for example, one thing that is just you really easy that we do around here is we don’t talk like the word diets, unless we’re talking about it in the context of like a diet for so-and-so who has diabetes, you know, or like the, you know, my, my kid’s grandfather who has high blood sugar.

Eva: (50:44)
Okay. So, you know, Zeta has to eat this for his special diet. We’re not talking about diet in the context of weight loss. We’re not talking about weight loss in the context of shrinking your body. And it’s just not something we’re not talking about, you know, calories and tracking food and you know, how much you supposed to eat and how much you’re not supposed to eat. And Ooh, I lost five pounds. It’s it might have been what you and I were raised with and people not realizing like how dangerous it is. Um, but you know, for me, I’m able to say, no, you know what, like, do I really want my kids, you know, growing up counting calories in their head obsessing about their body size? No, I don’t. And so we’re not, we’re just not gonna talk about that. Yeah. We’re going to talk about, you know, why cucumbers are healthy and why having greens at, you know, at dinner time and you know, why protein is so good for you and you know, why drinking water throughout the day will make you feel great? And we can talk about that. We can talk about it from a health standpoint, but remove the weight from, from that to me has been very, very powerful. And I, I feel very grateful that I sort of, you know, dove into this world and had those light bulb moments, you know, recognizing how problematic that, um, that diet culture was that I grew up with because, um, now it sort of gives me the opportunity to like break that cycle and, and do things a little bit differently. Absolutely. I think it’s really awesome.

Brooke: (52:24)
And that’s so powerful, Eva. It really is when it, when it goes, when we realize that what we’re learning and what we’ve gained goes beyond ourself. Yeah. It’s when the real power happens. Right. That’s what,

Eva: (52:36)
That’s a real change. It’s real change when it’s like, I don’t want this, my generation of kids to, you know, raise with the mindset challenges that I had. And so this is what I’m going to do differently instead. And as I said, I’m not by no means, are we doing things perfectly around here? I don’t want people to think I’m putting myself on a pedestal. I’m just simply explaining, you know, where I’m at in this journey. And, um, and I guess encouraging people to explore it as well, because it’s, it’s a really awesome journey to be on. What can I say? Yeah,

Brooke: (53:09)
Absolutely. And I would say that it did not seem like you were putting yourself on a pedestal at all. And I think that is important, um, for us to even just preface, is that even conversations like this, you and I don’t know at all, we don’t know exactly what is good. What is, what is okay for, let’s say this, um, body positivity culture. I think that’s the beauty of, of human beings coming together and having conversations like this is because it gives us all a different perspective, a different way to pivot and look at something that maybe we hadn’t thought about before. Um, and that’s beautiful. And one thing that I tell people in regards to food dieting, um, I’ve had clients for years come to me and because I’m in the fitness industry, they want to talk about, well, I’m pregnant or I’m postpartum.

Brooke: (53:59)
I’m trying to lose weight. How many calories versus carbs? I literally look at them and go, you’re talking to the wrong person. I’ve never counted calories. I’ve never counted carbs. This is what I want you to do. I want you to eat real food. I want you to eat a tiny bit of processed food because some of that could be, you know, pleasing the mind, making it happy. And I love potato chips. So I can never tell anyone not to eat potato chips, but choose a healthier version. Right? If it’s possible for you, maybe instead of choosing the Lay’s potato chips, you choose a healthier version of the Lay’s potato chips, like their chips. Maybe you choose, um, a potato chip that’s cooked with coconut oil or avocado oil instead of canola oil. Um, there are ways to shift it, but just eat real food, eat as many vegetables as possible.

Brooke: (54:53)
And I always, I tend to refer people to Michael Pollan. Um, he’s written some great books about food. Um, he tends to tell people not to eat very much meat, which I’m, I’m not, um, I love meat. So I just eat really clean meat. Well, look, eat clean food, real food, and make sure it was created with integrity. Try to eat as little of mass process mass produced food as possible. You are going to be fine. And then of course drink as much water as you can, and try to limit your sugary drinks. Again, I’m not going tell people not to drink sugary drinks because we should love what we love and be okay with it. It’s all about moderation, I suppose. And I, and I do, I think that when we can just be open to pivoting the way that we do things, if the way that we are doing things are no longer working for us.

Brooke: (55:49)
Yeah. Yeah. Um, and talking about this is tricky with people. People are very attached to their food, so can be very tricky. Um, we actually are about to launch, um, this fall three new nutrition guides, um, with our in-house, uh, pre and postnatal fertility, nutritionist. And I’m really excited about it, but there’s some indulging things in there. There’s some really fun stuff in there. And again, it’s not about the calories. Um, yeah. It’s about like listening to yourself, work out because you want to feel good food that makes you feel good. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good, follow Instagram accounts that make, make you feel good. I mean, back to that, and you are going to radiate the way that you feel.

Eva: (56:42)
Yes. I love this. Oh, Brooke, this has been so wonderful. This has been, this is goals. Where can people find you if they want, you know, more of you in their life, they want to learn more about your programs, where can they find you?

Brooke: (56:58)
Yeah. Um, they can find us of course, on Instagram. Um, we are the bloom method. I’m on Instagram. Also, our website has a ton of information. If people really want to know more about the methodology, what the app has to offer@thebloommethod.com. And then, um, I also tell people we do a free week trial. So even if I mean, come on, we’re moms, right? How many of us really have time to invest 15 minutes on a website, reading what a method or an app is about? So if you want to just dive in, we do a week free trial with the app and people can kind of see if it, if it’s for them. And if it’s not, there are so many other fitness apps out there that may be for them. We are not for everyone. Amazing.

Eva: (57:42)
Yeah. Fantastic. All right. Well, this will all be tagged in the show notes so that people can find you easily. Thank you again, Brooke. Thank you everyone for listening. This was wonderful. Thank you. Thank you. Have a good day.

Eva: (57:56)
Thanks guys for listening. Have a great day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at eva@mysleepingbaby.com until next time have a wonderful restful nights.

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