Where to start?
I spent YEARS feeling uncomfortable in my body. Since my early school days I was insecure and felt ‘too fat’ and therefore unworthy. I felt like I didn’t fit in with the popular kids and thought that when I lost weight things would be different. So, I went on numerous diets, I lost lots of weight and afterwards I put all the weight back on again plus more! (Sound familiar?!)
I have a photo of me in my school uniform when I was thin, and I remember thinking that despite being thinner, all my problems were still there. I also remember fainting because I wasn’t eating enough.
I pursued thin-ness for many years, tried various diets, fads and slimming clubs to ‘get fixed’. For years, I was ashamed at my inability to control my eating because once I had stopped yo-yo dieting I just ate. I ate whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted but couldn’t understand why I could only stop eating when the packet was empty. How come my husband could have ‘just a taste’ and I needed the whole packet?!
Then there was the example I was setting for my children….
And that piles on a whole load more guilt doesn't it? We start to worry that we are "passing on bad habits" and when we see our children displaying some of the behaviour that we aren't so chuffed about, then we start to wonder what to do....
The best way to help our children is to sort out our own behaviour first. Your kids can tell if you aren't happy with your body, or if you restrict and then overeat. You may think you are hiding it, but they know on some level.
And we do pass on our unconscious thoughts around food.... we tell children to finish their main course before they can have something sweet, or we don't allow them to have food we deem 'unhealthy', inadvertently setting them up for issues later on.....
But how did you start to feel better about your body image?
“That was a gradual process for me. It started when I got to grips with mindful eating and I felt more confident about my ability to address the issues I had. My journey to body confidence was a slow one, it grew as I became more physically active and understood that there is so much more to me than what I look like, or what I weigh.
I got involved with ‘Body Image Movement’, became a Global Ambassador for them, and hosted screenings of the phenomenal Body iMage movie ‘Embrace’ which had a profound effect on me.
Then I got to work on understanding what can help us develop a positive Body Image. I went on a weekend workshop in London hosted by two experts in the field, Marci Evans and Fiona Sutherland. I learnt so much about the evidence and the research and understood that my thoughts on Body Image were backed up by the research.”