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Posted on 26 Apr 2017 Views 4705 Comments 11

Finding confidence in your own body

Hello my name is Stephanie and I have worked at Slim & Save for five years, taking two maternity breaks to complete my family. I would like to share my thoughts and feeling during that time in the hope that it may help others who maybe feeling less than confident in their own skin.

After having my first child in 2013 and my second child in 2016 all my confidence and self-esteem went out of the window. I felt overweight and uncomfortable no matter what clothes I put on. I lived in leggings and long tops or jogging bottoms, and I felt this is not how a young mum should have to dress. I lost touch with most of my friends, as they don’t have children yet, so I often stayed in the house with my two children doing the normal mummy job roles. My mum often visits and takes care of my children when I’m working, but even seeing her and speaking to her about how I felt didn’t make me feel any better about myself. I felt alone and that no one else understood how unhappy I was with my body image.

Stephanie McManus FamilyA year on after my second child, something just came to me, I started looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, “Don’t feel like this you’re doing great. You try your best at being a mum for your two children, you should feel happy and excited and enjoy them why they are still young.” (It doesn’t seem like 2 minutes since they were both tiny babies).

I go for a Depo injection every 3 months, and my weight gets checked along with my blood pressure. Every time I went to see the nurse I had naturally lost weight, only a few pounds here and there but it made me feel so good that I haven’t really actively tried to lose weight. And after hearing that weight can come off slowly by eating healthily and being active doing general every day tasks that I could still lose a few pounds, it made me feel somewhat more positive.

I have learnt some great tips on my journey and I thought it would be nice to share them with you:

  1. Surround yourself with supportive, positive people. Even though it was mainly my mum and partner, (and most of what they say goes in one ear and out of the other), having them around me giving me positive tips about the way I looked and dressed really helped me.
  2. Never compare yourself to others. On the nursery run for my eldest daughter for me it was like a quick job, get in and out fast so no one could catch a glimpse of me. I used to look at other mums all nicely dressed and I often compared myself to them, “why do they look great, and I look like this?” My advice is simply don’t do it, be happy with who you are.
  3. Take time-out. With two small children I barley ever get time to myself, but I’ve learnt that by leaving them with my mum to go to work or leaving them with my partner to have a bath or paint my nails etc, this gives me a breather to concentrate on me.
  4. Be Bold. Wear the things you didn't think would suit the way you look. Every clothes shopping trip is pure dread for me, because I’m so fussy. But having my mum with me and trying on things I never thought I would ever wear really helped me along the way. It has shown me that I don’t have to live in leggings or jogging bottoms all the time.
  5. Get to know your own style and body shape. Learning what clothes suited my curvier body made me feel great. Pregnancy really does change your body and gives you a whole different body shape. Finding clothes that suited me and complimented my curves gave me relief and I thought to myself, “yeah you can look good’.
  6. Stop blame yourself. Being a new mum makes you feel guilty all the time no matter what you do. Even if you’re doing your best you always tend to see the negative first. Low body confidence also makes you feel like this too, I’ve learnt that getting myself out and about talking to new people has really helped me open up a little.
  7. Try not to use the words “fat” or “thin”, “big or small”. These are very negative descriptive words. You could have a pear-shaped body, an hourglass body, be tall or short, all of these are kinder ways to describe yourself. There is no embarrassment in having any one particular body type. You are what you are everyone is different, be proud of whatever shape you are.
  8. Be kinder to yourself. Make a list of everything about yourself that you like, appreciate your body in every aspect, for what it is and what it can actually do. Get some photographs new and old and compare how you look and what your body looks like. This will make you realise what you want from yourself.

Stephanie McManusTips initially inspired from Cosmopolitan article here.

By Stephanie McManus, Customer Care Advisor

Comments on Finding confidence in your own body
Stephanie McManus 02/05/2017 07:15
Thank you for all your replies, it's so nice to hear that other people know how you feel and that your not the only one! I finally appreciate that my body will never be the same but I have to gorgeous children who I love and cherish every day. I also like how I'm still young and have good health so I can run around and play with them.
Julie S 29/04/2017 14:54
Thanks for posting this Stephanie.
I’ve struggled with weight issues all my life and as a result my body confidence has been low for about 35 years but within the last year or so I finally realised that I need to stop worrying about what other people think, or how I think they’re thinking, which is totally different. My tip from this is we are our own worst and harshest critic and need to stop doing it. I know I judge myself far more than others do.

Add colour to your day. I used to have a wardrobe full of black clothes thinking I would, could somehow hide myself but I try to wear colour now instead of just black – well I add colour to the black – baby steps!

When I walk into a room I no longer look around to see if I’m the fattest there.
I’m losing weight, I have blips when I’m not as ‘good’ as I should be but I try not to dwell on it and just get back on the SnS plan and keep going. When my confidence was lower I would feel I had ‘ruined’ my diet and would carry on eating, but now I’ve lost 3 stone in 3½ months. I can see the changes to my body and I’m wearing brighter clothes and generally feeling better about myself. My tip here is we don’t have perfect days every day, life happens; be positive, ‘draw a line under it’ is a phrase I’ve heard lately and it’s totally true.
Jackie Clark 29/04/2017 14:30
Find confidence in yourself by ignoring others. If you know your friends won't support you then don't tell them you are dieting. Use little white lies 'I can't have alcohol as I'm taking medication' or ' I'm cutting back on bread as it's been upsetting my stomach' even the old fall back ' the doctor might weigh me next week when I go so I'm trying to cut back this week' when socialising with them.
It's also worth learning that you are your own harshest critic. I never listen to myself. I look in the mirror and see fat where it isn't, I have one close friend that I trust to be honest and often fire photos asking for the truth.

When I go clothes shopping if I'm not sure about something I try it on and take a photo in the changing room then send my friend or look at it again later at home to decide if I want to go back for the outfit.
When I'm having down days I look back at old photos from a few years ago - the bad ones that embarrass me and that always reminds me of the journey I've taken so far and how much I should value the changes I've made.
ARLENE MCCALLUM 29/04/2017 14:19
Great read : My tip is to always be prepared.
I do long days at work , 12hr shifts and always pack my bag the evening before , allowing for all challenges I may have.
My car boot is full of bottles of water , my bag always has a bar or a wafer in it , my work drawers always have spare products in them , I always ensure I have my products stocked up for the week ahead and it makes the plan so much easier to follow.
As I do lifestyle , I always make sure I have dinners in for the week ahead and this cuts down on me snacking and eating off plan foods. I make sure all my dinners are quick and easy to make so im not hanging around waiting on food cooking.
It has taken me 3 years to get my head in the game after following another VLCD and piling the lot back on , this time , it just is working for me as my head is in a better place. x
Jill Wallace 29/04/2017 13:43
Great blog. My tip is to not get hung up on numbers on the scales and on the hangers. Get to where you feel good and healthy. Don't aim for the impossible, you will feel like you have failed if you don't reach that goal and more than likely eat to make yourself feel better, which can only result in yo yoing. I speak from experience......but not this time!! Another tip is to not get weighed every week, I have been on the plan for 6 weeks and haven't a clue what I've lost....that way I can't get disappoined and go on that downward spiral. Weigh in every couple of months! X
Gemma sweeney 29/04/2017 10:48
Beautiful article :)
My tip as a first time mother trying to lose weight...
Accept that your body will probably never look like it did before. But you created a beautiful human being and you should celebrate the parts of you that show that!
Be happy about who you are and lose weight for you, not for anyone else.
Take pictures of your journey to compare and congratulate yourself on how far you've come!
Sam Johnson 28/04/2017 21:08
Great article and really nice to share :) You have a beautiful family x
Lizzie B 28/04/2017 13:04
Thanks for a great article!

My tip is to learn to accept compliments along your journey and write them on post-its and pop them on your mirror so you can see them each morning which puts you in a positive frame of mind.
Jackie Joyce 28/04/2017 11:24
My tip, as an older woman, is to realise you'll never look like you did when you were younger. Our bodies change with age and carry all the battle scars with it
Laura Lee 27/04/2017 21:50
Great Article, thanks for sharing. My Tips on helping body confidence are

* Stop comparing your weight/body/weight loss with others, we are all individuals and we carry weight differently and we lose weight differently

* Get to know your shape and how to dress to best flatter your shape

* Always try clothes on before buying, disappointment, upset, self loathing can spiral into a bad habit and eating cycle

* Stop looking at magazines, celebs and social media, its all fake!

* Do some basic toning exercises to tone up muscles after weight loss

* Take opportunities to take photos especially during a wright loss journey, compare the photos on the journey and you will see how far you have come

* Don't forget to do the things that make you happy and help you feel confident, aftershave/perfume, new hair, nice make up

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