CAN you learn to love the part of your body that makes you wince? Little Mix think so and spoke out recently about growing to love their bodies.
Sadly, in one recent poll 97 per cent of women said they have negative thoughts about their bodies every day. But it IS possible to turn that nasty, niggling voice in your head to a positive one.
JENNY FRANCIS speaks to four readers about the “eureka” moment in which their body hang-ups became high-fives.
I love my big thighs
FEELING insecure about our looks after a break-up is common but childminder Hannah Twigger suddenly felt more confident than ever.
Hannah, 24, from Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, hated her legs after a long-term boyfriend made repeated comments about her “tree-trunk thighs”. She says:
“I thought it was normal to hate part of my body. I’d never been full of body confidence but when I started dating my ex in May 2016, I had an issue with my legs.
He used to drop comments about them all the time. He’d try to disguise it as a joke, but would regularly call me “tree trunk thighs” and make comments about the size of my legs.
I’d get really upset but he’d laugh it off. I got obsessed with trying to make them smaller. I started eating less, invested in tights that promised to thin them, did leg lifts and squats and even tried cellulite creams, saunas and leg brushing. But nothing really worked.
I hated wearing shorts or dresses and I went from super confident to shy the minute I had to bare any part of my legs.
Eventually, in May last year, I found the courage to break up with him. I thought I’d feel really down and lonely, but as soon as I was single and started getting attention from guys, the opposite happened.
A few days later I stood in front of the mirror and saw myself in a whole new light.
Breaking up with my ex was part one and loving my legs was part two of the new, confident me.
I love my new leg-baring wardrobe.”
I love my problem skin
SALES manager Emily Peplow used to be so ashamed of her severe eczema she would cancel social events to avoid having to leave the house.
The 22-year-old, from Newcastle, has had the condition since she was four weeks old, but says seeing a sign for a beauty pageant was a light bulb moment for her body confidence. She says:
“My first childhood memories are of being placed in special medicated baths. I was covered in red scabs that were so painful and itchy I’d cry.
Sometimes my entire body was covered and my hands had to be put into socks to stop me scratching.
As I got older the outbreaks didn’t stop. And if I wasn’t tending to the flare-ups I’d be treating scarred areas with creams to try to limit the long-term redness.
I was teased and refused to go to school events. I even missed days of university.
The outbreaks on my face and neck are the worst. Two years ago I was having a bad flare-up and hadn’t left the house for two weeks. I needed to go to the shops so I finally braved going out, and while I was out I saw an advert for a local beauty pageant.
It read “Reveal your inner beauty” and something clicked. I figured: “Why not give it a try?” I entered Miss Wiltshire and despite my skin flaring up on the competition day, I refused to let it stop me.
I talked about suffering from eczema as part of my pageant platform — and I won.
My eczema helped me win the crown and I realised it’s part of me, not something that can affect me. I’m so glad I left the house that morning.”
I love my mummy tummy
SINGLE mum-of-two Georgina Briers, 31, used to do everything she could to hide her midriff.
Then her daughter said something that changed her view. The make-up artist from Hull, mum to twins Ivy and Teddy, XX, explains:
“I hated my tummy ever since I can remember. It only got worse after having kids in my mid twenties, when it escalated to pure loathing.
I couldn’t bear to show my stomach to anyone – even myself. It had never been washboard flat, but it always looked so wobbly compared to my friends.
After giving birth to my twins, a boy and a girl, I thought my muffin top was disgusting and abnormal. I hated wearing jeans or anything that would feel tight or risk showing any part of it.
The thought of trying on a swimsuit in a shop made me break out in a sweat. I never imagined that ever changing.
But just over a year ago, I was feeling really down when my daughter Ivy, who was four at the time, trotted over, gave me a big cuddle and said: “I love your tummy, Mummy.” Before I could react, her brother Teddy ran over, saying over and over: “We love Mummy’s tummy.”
I just wanted to cry. I realised my kids were right. They loved my tummy because it’s where they came from. I was ashamed I had focused so much hated on it.
Having babies is the most amazing thing and my children deserved a body-confident role model. I turned 31 recently and proudly wore a cropped top.
Learning to love my body is the best thing for me and for my kids.”
I love my small boobs
PLUM LEA, 21, hated her small boobs and dreamed of having cosmetic surgery.
But the estate agent from Maidenhead, Berks, had a change of heart after a girl with big breasts said she was jealous of Plum’s 34B bra size. Plum says:
“At school I was the girl with the flat chest. When all the other girls started growing boobs and buying bras at 13, I spent hours researching plastic surgeons and comparing celebrities’ boob jobs.
I begged my mum to start saving so I could have a breast enhancement for my 18th birthday. But that didn’t happen!
I spent hundreds of pounds on padded push-up bras, tried exercises and used contouring make-up.
Nine months ago, I was at a nightclub and one girl, who had huge breasts, said she wished she had mine.
At first I thought I heard her wrong! But she said they were the perfect size and she could never wear an outfit like mine. I was shocked.
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She said her big boobs hurt her back, she got heat rashes under them, struggled to wear fashionable clothes and found it hard to work out.
I’d never considered that. It made me take a second look at my 34B boobs and realise she was right. I can do anything without having to think about them hurting me.
It was a revelation. I suddenly loved them and was so glad I’d not had surgery. I’m more confident now. I can’t believe I let my insecurities hold me back before.”