In my teens and early twenties, I was one of those ‘lucky’ girls; I could eat anything I wanted and still maintain a slim figure. I was a size 6-8 my entire life and placed a lot of emphasis on how I looked.
So, when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and gained almost 30 kilos, it was a bit of a shock.
I really struggled with the changes that happened to my body and the weight that I gained. I began to feel extremely out of control and subsequently really didn’t enjoy being pregnant at all.
When my daughter was born, I found myself consumed by the dislike of my body and couldn’t bring myself to look in the mirror because I didn’t identify with the person I was looking at.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was affecting my ability to also connect with my baby, because I was struggling so much to identify with my new self.
I had secretly been hoping that breastfeeding was miraculously going to suck away the kilos, like so many people had assured me it would. But that was a lie. In fact, I found I had to consciously eat food to keep up my supply.
I then started to consider to giving up breastfeeding just so I could go to the gym or restrict my diet to lose the weight.
It was from then I began to realise that my obsession with losing weight was affecting me in so many ways.
I had been spending so much more on shopping, buying separate ingredients for everyone in the house! Spending more time making separate meals to cater to everyone’s needs and wants!
All while Annabelle was just being introduced to the world of food, to fuel, nourish and grow her up big and strong!
What I really needed to be doing was encouraging and promoting a healthy and happy relationship with my body, to be a good role model for my impressionable young daughter.
It can be so easy to blame the magazines, celebrities and the airbrushed images for the body image issues that we have these days. But fostering positive body image in young people begins at home, as does making healthy eating and fitness choices.
If you spend your time objectifying and judging yourself then it will only become the norm for your children. The same goes if you put a lot of emphasis on physical appearances or always appear to be on a diet, concerned with your body size and shape.
I mean, how do you explain to a child why they have to eat their sandwich, but you can’t eat bread? It’s silly!
So, as I went to into my second pregnancy I chose to embrace what happened to my body, and enjoyed my pregnancy so much more!
As a mother of two daughters, now more than ever I am more than ever determined to live a positive, healthy and active lifestyle in order to be a positive role model to my girls.
It isn’t easy, and it isn’t just a switch that I turned on! I still have moments where I struggle with my body and wish and want things to be smaller, tighter, or less squishy! I still have moments where I look at myself and I’m not happy with what I see. But I try to remind myself every time I have those thoughts, that it doesn’t just impact upon me – but the little set of eyes looking up at me!
Rather than worry about a number on the scales or the calories that I eat – I try to foster a healthy relationship with food, partake in fun and enjoyable physical activity, and most importantly help them develop a critical awareness of the images and messages they see in the media and teach them healthy coping strategies to help them deal with life’s challenges, whatever they might be!