Hey Mama, you’re wondering how to kick the “I don’t like how I look” habit that’s lasted most of your lifetime. I see you, you’ve literally tried to shake off all of those nasty feelings of feeling fat and frumpy. You’ve tried all the sugar/fat/carb-free diets, you’ve even tried the diets that were not diets but a way of life, and you’ve bought the workout gear and used it a few times (now you wear those leggings while doing your food shop). You’ve spent hours googling for the answers and asking your friends, family, and mum groups for the secret on how to look like an Insta fitness influencer. They’ve all just suggested the same things: a new diet/workout plan/let’s do it together plan. And while you’re talking smack about your body and eating a different meal from your kids — they are there, seeing and hearing it all. Trust me, you are far from alone and I know that you don’t want your kids growing up to feel the same way about their bodies, so I’m going to spill the tea on the 5 things Mammies tell me they hate about their bodies (but 100% shouldn’t).
1. Post-partum bellies
Let’s talk about post-partum bellies. Here’s the truth, I’ve had several clients tell me that they feel under pressure to leave the hospital looking like they didn’t just give birth (usually the example of Kate Middleton leaving the hospital is mentioned). But here’s the thing, it took 9 months to create a baby, so why are you expecting your body to change at the speed of light after giving birth? Your skin, organs, and bones literally shifted. Give them a chance.
Imagine walking up to a friend who just gave birth and saying “Wow, you look like you have been pregnant for the last 9 months and just gave birth… gross, you should hide all evidence of that asap!”. A friend would never say that to you, so why are you saying it to yourself?
Remember, your body is allowed to change, and your worth is not based on how quickly your uterus goes back down to size. And let’s not forget, you are a real life goddess, you just created life! There’s no need to hide that.
2. The before stage
Many of the Mums I work with will tell me that they held onto the idea that their bodies would eventually “bounce back” but they didn’t. Women will tell me that they still have a wobbly tummy, the weight gain didn’t disappear, their boobs stayed big, and the stretch marks never truly faded. The problem with this is that a lot of women see their bodies as a “before stage” where they are waiting to be thinner, more toned, or more beautiful once they invest in expensive beauty treatments. But here’s the thing, you can’t truly live your life if you are constantly seeing your body as a “before stage”. When Mammys get into this mindset
they begin to put off things in their lives such as being in the family photos, wearing a swimsuit, wearing what they want, or even being intimate with their partner. This is why it’s so important to start making peace with yourself as you are now. You have one life and you only get one body, so you might as well start getting comfortable in it.
Did you know that 85-98 % of women have cellulite? So, basically, nearly all women. It really should be considered a standard feature of a female body, just like breasts or wider hips. There are lots of products out there claiming to get rid of cellulite, but the truth is that it’s totally normal. ACTUALLY, the whole concept of cellulite being something that needed to be fixed was created by a French man who wanted to sell his anti-cellulite products to women (I’m not even going to name him because he doesn’t deserve to have us all learn his name but feel free to google it if you wish). Anyway, most female bodies have it, even slim bodies. Many of my clients will avoid ever wearing a swimsuit and even avoid wearing shorts and skirts in the fear that someone may see their thighs. Let’s be honest, wearing jeans on a blistering hot day isn’t fun. Cellulite is normal, it’s a beautiful part of being a woman, and you don’t need to hide it. Own it!
4. Body hair
EVERYONE HAS BODY HAIR. Just like cellulite, the only reason we feel the need to remove our body hair is because the razor companies did some clever advertising back in the day. Hairlessness is associated with femininity, which couldn’t be further from the truth since hair is associated with being, you know, a human. So, it’s normal that women have hair everywhere, including hairy toes or nipple hair (it’s not a big deal)! Facial hair is normal too.
Some women have dark short spikey chin hairs, others have long white ones, some have a mix of both. Hands up if you ever removed a bit of extra facial hair ✋As we get older we are only going to get hairier, so we might as well get comfortable with it. And remember, Frida Kahlo pulled off a monobrow, so you can pull off a bit of leg hair.
5. The F word
Let’s talk about fat. The little word that makes so many of us feel dread, shame, and inadequate. I know what you’re thinking, once you’ve lost weight your life will become sparkly, shiny, and you’ll finally like your body. You’ll start a diet and yes, you may lose weight temporarily but at a cost. Diets have a sneaky way of taking over your life, filling up your headspace, and shrinking your life. One day you were eating cake without a thought and now you are weighing yourself, your food, and tracking everything that passes your lips. You’ll obsess over it but in the end it never works long term. It’s been proven countless times that diets make you gain weight. Once you start to nourish your body normally again you
often end up gaining back the weight and some extra. Then the diet industry has the cheek to put the blame on you, it was your fault because you didn’t follow the rules (that were designed for you to fail). Then what happens… you end up signing up for a different diet, a BETTER diet… and you start the whole thing all over again. Look, being thin isn’t going to make you love your body or make you happy. The truth is that the way you feel about yourself has nothing to do with how you look but everything to do with your relationship with yourself.
You deserve to feel good I won’t lie to you, even if you love your body, you can still have the occasional day when you don’t feel so hot but I have the tools to boost myself when that happens. I accept what I see in the mirror and I don’t feel the need to change myself into someone I’m not. You can too. I’m in all of the family photos, I wear my bikini to the beach, and I show up in my life (and I look and feel great while doing it!). I’m no longer hiding this sweet bod. I love every curve, stretch mark, and hair on my body. You don’t have to hide yourself either. You can be the parent who shines with body confidence and whose children are proud of you. And you can be the parent who does this for your kids so they can grow up to be confident and self-assured adults.
About the Author
Cliona Byrne helps Mums who struggle with their body image to like their bodies, so they can raise their kids to be body confident badasses. We all learn our beliefs on how we should look and be from our families, this is why Cliona created Body Positive Parenting, to help parents to raise their kids with a positive body image.
Cliona is a certified coach and has helped families from all over the world to break the cycle of children inheriting their parent’s hang-ups and insecurities. Find more about Body Positive Parenting on Cliona’s website or follow her on Instagram.