Like many women, negative body image is nothing new to me. I’ve always been round and soft, even at my slimmest. Of course, having three very large babies has contributed in its own way to the round and soft physique and added more than a few tiger stripes along the way.
However, at the grand age of 37, I thought I had pretty much made my peace with my body. After all, my love of good food and the couch far out weigh my desire to be toned and svelte. Yet I often still find myself in front of the mirror, trying to find that elusive “something to wear”, poking the soft bits and wishing the roundness away.
It’s when I finally settle on an outfit and emerge from my room feeling frumpy and uncomfortable that I face my most important critics.
“Mummy, you look beautiful!”
“Your hair is so pretty.”
“Can I marry you when I grow up?”
The unconditional love of children never ceases to blow my mind.
They don’t see the softness of my body as a flaw, they see it as the safe place to get a cuddle when they need comforting. My tuckshop arms are what pick them up when they fall and my thunder thighs provide the perfect lap to curl up on.
My daughter can’t wait to grow “Big Boobies” just like me and proudly tells everyone.
Seeing myself through my children’s eyes is an enlightening perspective. It also makes me think about what my body has achieved – growing humans! – and what I still want it to achieve.
I want to set a good example for my kids and have a body that can do the things they need it to do. It doesn’t need to look great in a little black dress but for many years to come it needs be able to play catch, give them piggy backs and trek for miles along the beach or park or whatever amazing adventure they want to take me on.
So I am no longer at peace with my body. I’m going to start pushing it just that little bit harder. I’ll start fuelling it more mindfully.
I still have no desire to get on board the latest #fitspo trend or start any hard core diets. But I do want my body to be healthy and strong.
Because there are little eyes watching and I want to show them that I love my body just as much as they do.