I am fat.
I am disgusting and ugly.
My body is hideous.
I hate my body. Showering after the birth of my first child Oliver, I looked down at what had been my glorious, beautiful bump and was confronted with a jelly belly that looked nothing like the tummy I had grown to love so deeply during my pregnancy. It was the first of many ‘I hate how my body looks’ moments that followed.
But I’m thrilled to be here today to share with you that I went from loathing my body to loving it, and it’s possible for everyone to access the glorious freedom that comes from unconditionally loving your body.
For so long, new mums have been bombarded with messages and headlines such as "How to get your body back," "Lose the baby weight fast," and "New mum’s diet secrets". It is no wonder the world is facing a body shaming and body hating epidemic, we are under constant pressure to conform to unobtainable ideals of health and beauty.
I want women to stop trying to get their bodies "back" after having a baby, we have to look forward and embrace the natural evolution of our body. Yes our bodies change, and often in unexpected ways, but we don't need to be constantly alarmed or ashamed of how we look.
A few years ago I would give my breasts such a hard time about the way they looked. After breastfeeding three children, they changed a lot. They were once perky, full, and round and all of a sudden I could pick them up with my index finger and thumb, just like you would a dirty tissue! But when I transformed from being a body loather to a body lover, I found a new respect for my breasts. You'll often hear me saying something along the lines of "My breasts have provided over 4000 meals for my three children, they don't deserve a hard time for how they look but rather a gold medal for all that they have done!"
The moment I learned to love my body I felt like I had won the golden ticket and I was compelled to share my story with the world. I decided to start a movement– the Body Image Movement– to teach women the value and power of loving their body from the inside out, and guess what, it is working!
I've received literally thousands of emails from women sharing their stories of how they used to hate their body and now they love their body and the best part is, we all have access to this joyous life, and even better still, it doesn't come in the form of a pill, potion, or lotion, it comes from within!
Here are 5 things you can do today to embrace your body!
1) Focus on how your body feels, as opposed to how it looks.
So climb that mountain, go for a run, ride your bike, but don't do it to lose calories, do it because it makes you feel awesome. Repeat after me– "My body is not an ornament, it is the vehicle to my dreams!"
2) Embrace your wrinkles.
Have you seen the ads on TV or in magazines that say "defy and fight the lines on your face?" Um, no thanks! I would much rather defy and fight something a little more meaningful, like world hunger or human trafficking! I say the lines on my face only serve to remind me that life is short and the bucket list is long! Despite what “they” tell you, our body is designed to age and evolve– and that is okay!
3) No more diets!
Just between you and me, never trust a four letter word where the first three letters are die. It's just not good karma! But seriously, diets really don't work, more than 95 percent of people who go on diets, lose weight and then put the weight back on. Don't get me wrong, being healthy is high on my priority list, but not at the expense of putting my value as a human on a little number that appears on a tiny mechanical appliance, the scale.
4) Sh*t really does happen.
The mother to three beautiful children, I’ve pooed my pants and weed my pants all of which you read (and giggle at!) in my new book Embrace. That's not a really good plug for my book is it now, but here's the thing– for so long, we've lived in a world where everything appears to be just fine and dandy, roses and unicorns, we've celebrated "hot" bodies and yummy mummies, but the fact is life as a mummy is not easy! I want you to know that you are not alone, whether it be embarrassing toilet tales, or just destructive body loathing, I want you to read Embrace, get it, learn to love your body, but most importantly for the future of your children teach them how to love their bodies too!
5) Be responsible!
Your child will mimic and copy most things you do, they are sponges that watch and learn everything they know about the world, from you. You are the most important person in their life and with that comes big responsibility. For you to help your child to foster a positive body image and lay a foundation of unconditional body love and respect, that no one can take away , it needs to start with you. So know that the way you communicate with yourself and around others really does matter– be accountable, be responsible. Oh heck, just Embrace!
You can find Embrace online at www.amazon.com.