I was a little overweight in my teens but my parents had me on diets from age 11! I learned to hate my body and my response was to eat more, to hide further away from others and myself (pic on the right is me aged 21).

When I turned 22 something finally clicked inside and I lost weight easily, because I did it for me, not for the acceptance of others.

But I never stopped exercising and I never stopped worrying I might gain the weight again.  After I gave birth to baby no. 1 I felt enormous and hated my body again, when I should have just been relishing what I had been able to create and enjoy that I had milk to feed and nourish my baby!

After baby no. 2 came along, I found myself struggling at home alone with two young children. With no real support, the only break I could get was to make use of the two hours of crèche care at the gym. And that’s when pic no. 2 comes in (top left, age 32).  But I wasn’t happy, I spent every minute of everyday worrying I would “get fat again”! (The actual way I spoke to myself!)

Then came baby no.3 and it took me three years to lose the baby weight this time.  I was, at least, learning by now that it only happens when I reach a point of love and acceptance of myself and my body.

But again, once I’d got to my target, everyday was full of fear that I’d gained weight and that I was “fat and ugly again”.  I needed to work really hard to stop it from happening. Exercise became a way of protecting myself from the inevitable fatness of myself. I couldn’t see myself clearly in the mirror.

Then my life blew apart at the seams and I returned to hiding and eating. Even though I knew I really enjoy exercising, I couldn’t get back into a routine. I found dance when I turned 40 which was awesome but I was still looking outside myself for love and acceptance. I was so disconnected from myself!

Which brings me to 2020 and pic no. 3 (bottom left, aged 44)! 2020 was the year I came back into my body.  My favourite mantra now is “be in it not of it”.  I am not my body, but I am living this life through it. I’ve learned how to ground myself in my body, while loving and accepting it for what it is. I’ve learned to take care of it so it allows me to do the things that bring me joy… swimming, dancing, jumping, running (OK I’m not a big lover of running, but it is nice to be able to run a little and not feel like you’re lungs are going to burst), and yes, even the occasional hand stand and cartwheel!

If you are looking for people to follow who will encourage you to love and accept your body! My favourites are;

@clairevogeli

@danaemercer

These two women could not rock more!!!!

Lastly, I didn’t do this on my own.  I’ve had the most amazing therapists supporting me on my own self-healing journey!