After years at dance school resulted in an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise, Lucy from This Mum’s Life is on a mission to love her post baby body again. With her newfound approach to life and loving herself I’d say she’s got this…

This Mum's Life

Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?

I like my eyelashes-they’re naturally dark and long!

I like my hands, because they’re quite delicate-I did ballet for years, and people often say that my hands look very graceful still, when I move-I love it when people say that!

Not a body part, but I’ve always liked that I’ve got an unusual combination of features. I have red hair, but I also have really dark eyes, and skin that goes very olive with a little bit of sun. Not many red heads have that, as most are pale. My mum is half Bajan, so I ended up with her skin, with the hair coming from my dad’s side!

Share a memory of when you felt particularly good about yourself.

Just before I got married (4&1/2 years ago.) It was the first time in my life that I’d gotten into shape in a way that I’d enjoyed. Instead of killing myself with exercise that I didn’t enjoy, I had found Pilates, and exercise that I found fun. Instead of starvation and denial, I was eating in a balanced way, and looking and feeling in the best shape of my life for it.

Has your relationship with your body changed over time?

Yes. As a child, I wanted to be a dancer. I spent my life at dance school, seminars, summer schools, auditions. The overriding message was that to succeed, you needed to be thin. Although it could be the most exciting environment to be in, and my happiest childhood memories are of dance school, it was also a very damaging place. There was competition between us, as to who could be the thinnest, who could eat the least. At 8 years old, I hated my body, and started to become devious at hiding food, and hiding the fact I wasn’t eating. It was an obsession that continued to rule my life, into my teenage years. There were particular times I can remember, at 10, and 17, where my ribs and hip bones were prominently on display, making me ‘happy,’ offset by being cold, tired, miserable, and flipping starving. I could never seem to find the balance. Into my 20’s, I finally began to understand how to eat properly, and realised that exercise could be fun, and not just something to endure until I dropped, in order to keep the weight off.

Having children has changed my body beyond recognition, and I can’t deny that it’s brought back those old feelings of self loathing again, and a sense of lacking control to change what I don’t like. I’ve been very mean about my postnatal body, but I’m finally realizing to give it some respect, and I’m making progress in learning to accept the changes, and to finally work out what works for this new body to be healthy, and be in shape, because it has been like starting over, with somebody else’s body.

If you are a parent (or have little people in your life), has this changed how you perceive or discuss healthy body image?

I make a conscious effort not to be negative about my body in front of the children. I always eat with them at lunchtime, and discuss what I’m eating, and why it’s a good choice-they are fussy eaters, but so was I at their age, so although they’re often eating something that isn’t particularly the best choice, I still discuss the best options with them, and why. I also let them see me naked, and ask questions about my ‘wobbly’ tummy. I don’t want them to think women have to look perfect all the time, and to know what to expect from a postnatal body.

What advice would you give to your teenage self on the subject of body image?

I weep for my teenage self, I really do. I would’ve said ‘you’re such an idiot! Please be kinder to yourself! Eating well and gentle exercise will work just as well as starving yourself-in fact, once you slip up once from starving yourself, you’re more likely to put weight back on, because your body will hold onto whatever you give it, fearing you will starve it again. Don’t compare yourself to your naturally skinny friends, with totally different body shapes to you. Please just like yourself, there’s nothing to loathe here.’

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for your body?

Nourished it with proper, evidence based, nutritionally packed foods, that are also enjoyable. I have PCOS, and therefore problems with blood sugar balance. I saw a nutritionist, who totally overhauled the way I eat, and introduced nutritionally dense meals, that are quick, easy, and taste amazing!

Share one confidence boosting trick for days when you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’.

For me, I only wear lipstick on very special occasions. But if I am feeling a bit ‘meh,’ I find putting some on, will lift an outfit, and make me feel instantly better!

Who in the public eye do you admire for celebrating natural body shape?

Lena Dunham!!!! Love love love her!!! In ‘Girls,’ she spends entire episodes in a bikini. She doesn’t have the traditional ‘Hollywood’ body that you’d normally see in a bikini on TV. But she totally owns it, and looks awesome. She oozes confidence, and is my absolute hero.

Give us your best body positive quote or mantra.

Well, as I love her, it has to be one from Lena! ‘I think about my body as a tool to do the stuff I need to do, but not the be-all-end-all of my existence.’

I pledge to love myself a little more today by…

Scrapping the spanx, and getting dressed in front of my husband, and not making him leave the room!

Thanks so much to Lucy for being my guest this week. If you are enjoying this series and think you would like to join in then just drop me a message in the comments below- I’d love to hear from you! x

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  1. I also wish I could go back and tell my teenage self that I really didn’t need to worry about how I looked. I was the opposite, though, in the self that I overate to compensate for the fact that I had chunky thighs (which obviously didn’t help my cause). The moment I stopped focusing on how I looked and food, was when I suddenly lost the weight aged about 18. Since then I’ve pretty much been the same weight until pregnancy. Two babies later and I’m now 10kg over my ‘ideal’ weight, but I’m getting there slowly. I no longer focus on the bad bits, my body is also an amazing tool that gave me two babies and saw me through a double mastectomy! I wish I had ballet hands though. I really can’t dance for toffee and I think the hands make all the difference LOL. #BloggerCLubUK

  2. Oh my word! I love this and it’s so beautiful to read a little bit more about you. I feel like we’ve been bloggy friends since we first started out on here and yet I know so little about you really. I’m devastated to hear that you went through such challenges with body confidence so early in life, but I absolutely applaud you for coming through it with such a healthy positive image now. I have no doubt that you are already an inspiration for your little ones. Big hugs xx

  3. Lucy I salute your honesty in writing this. With two daughters, it worries me the kind of attitudes that go together with some of the extra curricular activities… dance, gym, cheer… the latter of the three already freaks me out. Some of the very young girls already seem very body conscious and I just want to preserve their innocence!
    As we age, it’s hard to stop pining back to the day we were in our best shape, but we need to let go and look forward. *sob* 😉 xx

  4. Oh Lucy I can’t believe you’ve felt like this – I’ve met you and you are so totally gorgeous – do you have any idea how the rest of the world view you? I can guarantee they will be the same as me – you are stunning! Don that lippy lovely and own that body! Seriously!! #ablogginggoodtime xx

  5. Lucy what a wonderfully honest and brave post, I think your story is such an important one to tell. I’m sure that by sharing your journey other will undoubtedly be inspired.

    As a teenager I was a national athlete, unfortunately chronic illness has plagued me since having the kids, love what you said about being more body confident around them, even tho I have a few extra pounds. Will defo be putting this in to practice.

    Thanks so much for posting Xx

  6. This is so lovely. Its is so hard to love yourself sometimes, what a good idea to concentrate on the positives. I find putting on a nice top instead of a t shirt lifts me. I think my daughters will enjoy dancing as they get older but the body attitude does worry me.

  7. I had one of those, getting in shape the healthy happy way moments a few years ago and it felt fab. I’m hoping that I can recreate it next year, it was pre kid though #ablogginggoodtime

  8. Oh how many of us will this resonate with… too many I’m sure. Thanks so much for your brutal honesty and open-ness. It’s how I know you will be better about your body. But you have to want it. I came from a very dysfunctional family. I’m a classic type-A perfectionist who wouldn’t hurt a fly and wants to mend the world. With that came decades of abuse to my body from starving, exercise, laxatives, you name it. But, I am first a survivor of this behavior! And my girls, our girls will grow up without ever hearing a bad word about their bodies from us. They will have self esteem that is not based upon the number on the scale. The will define themselves by who they are, not what they weigh. And most importantly, if we are successful, they will never, ever want to disappear into the mass abyss of nothingness and outlines. And, I think you should love that brain of yours a bit! It’s quite a good one! Hugs to you sister. We are all in this together. xoxo #ablogginggoodtime

  9. This is beautiful, and I think that these are all amazing answers. It is important to love yourself. I am struggling to get there but it is getting closer, and somedays I am actually really happy, which is a complete turn around as a few months ago I couldn’t leave the house. I would love to take part in this if possible! #brillblogposts

  10. I love how honest and raw this is, Lucy, and how far you’ve come with your love and respect for your body. It can be such an emotionally charged subject. And Lena Dunham is amazing, that quote is fab.

    I am still loving this series, Charlie!

  11. I love this series (will get mine sent over on Monday when we are home!) and every time I read one of these posts I feel more determined to love myself. Ditching the Spanx is a fab pledge, it’s so important to be comfortable in your own skin. It took my 36 years to figure that out #brilliantblogposts

  12. this is a very honest post, Lucy. Thank you. I am really glad that you are moving things in a better direction. Motherhood can be a challenging time for our sense of self and body shape too but it sounds like you understood what was happening and have got yourself into a good place. #picknmix

  13. Love this darling and I too suffer with PCOS, Laura the nutritionist who writes monthly for me wrote a post on what to eat for it-sounds like you have it sorted though. Adore this positive post, thank you x

  14. This is the first time I have come across this interview series, and what a fab idea. Thank you Lucy for being so open and honest, it certainly resonates with me. Getting used to our body’s after giving birth is not easy for everyone, and that includes me. Also totally agree with you about promoting a healthy relationship with food and your body with the girls. #PicknMix

  15. I think we would all love to go back and talk some sense into our younger selves. Crazy really how much store we put in to how we look when we’re younger and how much we measured our self worth by that… crazy and sad.

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

  16. Such a brilliant and insightful post. This really is a great idea, sometimes it’s so easy to berate ourselves & the way we look etc which is so unhelpful and demoralising. #bigpinklink PS. I’d love to have eyelashes.

  17. Oooh I love this and yes to scrapping the spanx. I once wore some to afternoon tea, I know, I know! As you can imagine I nearly passed out from the food baby pushing inside the spanx. I then had to go to the toilet and wrestle myself out of it. It was not easy! The lady in the next cubicle must have thought I was giving birth with all the thrashing and swearing I was doing. So YES to tossing the spanx away #BigPinkLink

  18. This is such a brilliant series, Charlie! I have always had a love hate relationship with my body and I struggle to love my body, even till today, I sit at the table, encouraging my children to love their own bodies yet I then go to my mirror and hate the way I look. It is something that is so ingrained that it is hard to come out of that. I loved Lucy’s post – thanks for sharing it because she reminded me that I needed to stop telling my husband to stop looking at me when I change. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

  19. A wonderful candid and touching account Lucy and one which in parts at least we can all identify with. It sounds like you have been on a really long journey and I am so glad you have emerged with such a clear perspective on your past body and are embracing your new one spanx and all with a grin! #bigpinklink

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