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Celebrating the female body

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Celebrating the female body

Women are so much more than the sum of their bodies. We are beautiful, warm, loving, kind, nurturing, driven, compassionate, fun, strong, inspiring, capable and wise plus a lot more besides but so frequently we are judged by our outward appearance. This isn’t just external judgement, it can come from within too, with self criticism or a lack of belief.

It saddens me to hear women judge themselves harshly or talk about how fat they are or how they don’t like their bum, their skinny / flat chest or their belly. Often accompanied by much prodding and grimacing, and I too have in the past felt negatively about my body and who I am because of my weight so I understand where that comes from but trust me when I say that life doesn’t have to be this way.

Love Yourself Slim shoot Nadine  with sunflower

It has taken me years to feel happy in my skin, to be able to look at myself and find I am pleased with what I see. I have a 13 year old daughter who is beautiful inside and out and I was always determined that she wouldn’t grow up with a negative sense of self. Every day she is told that she is loved and I frequently praise how attractive she is to me too, but I am also careful to ensure that I also offer up lots of praise for how smart she is, how I love her business skills (she’s an expert negotiator!) and how much I love that she loves her brother. For every compliment I give to her appearance I offer two about her qualities and who she is. It’s important to me that she doesn’t absorb the message that looks are everything. (And don’t worry – this seeming barrage of praise is delivered in a non-gushing way and not all at the same time!) It is a strategy I have adopted over 13 years to ensure a constant drip feed of boosts to create a rock solid centre. Build resilience and allow her to feel secure in herself as well as in our family. My daughter is also very humble and level headed. She’s a little rock star who knows her Mum is 100% in her corner, and won’t let her feet get away from the solid ground beneath.

beautiful shot dress & sunflower

I didn’t have much ‘building up’ as a kid. No blame here at all, but some of the comments I heard in my youth were in the form of “Look at those tree trunk legs” and one comedian in the family who thought it was funny to say “All that meat and no gravy”. Yes, it is just banter – to an adult. But words delivered as jokes to raise a laugh amongst a group of peers who would forget the ‘very funny joke’ within 24 hours can scar hard on a kid. I can still recall the exact words, the exact person who delivered them and exactly how I felt – almost 30 years later. No-one should have to feel belittled because of how they look. No-one should have to feel that they should conform to some ‘ideal’ prescribed by the wider society. We are all different and beautiful, because of our ‘flaws’ not in spite of them.

LYS collage

These incredible shots were taken of me recently by a talented photographer friend, Aby Moore. I asked Aby to help me create some photography showing how I look now, in this body, because I am launching a new website later in the year to help people who are affected by emotional eating, compulsive eating and issues with self esteem relating to their bodies. It is a struggle I have a great deal of experience in and over the last 6 years I have been privately writing about. My diaries, where I have untangled negative thought patterns around food and learned to help re-set my brain into a new way of thinking about food, are my toolbox to help me now help other people. I am still on my journey from my heaviest weight of nearly 17 stones, to how I look in these photos at around 14 stone 10lbs to my target weight of around 11 or 11 and a half stones. I’ll know what the right weight for me is when I get there, because I have been overweight my whole adult life so I have no idea of what the scales should say for me. I don’t really have a firm target weight.

But weight isn’t my number one concern anymore. I’m not obsessed with losing weight or getting a bikini body, my focus is on being happy in my body, enjoying food (not abusing it) and living my life to the full. Not sitting out experiences or nights out because I am ‘on a diet’ or scared to try something. We are only here for such a short time – I’m 41 years old. This means I’m probably half way through my life. Do I want to spend the next half in negativity? Prodding and poking and not being happy? Do I stuff! I want to enjoy a steak dinner, go out dancing, laugh with my friends, take lots of photos, have movie nights with my kids, hug, feel and embrace. I’m a lover, not a fighter – always have been. So it pains me to say I have spent a lot of time fighting with myself – I didn’t mean to but I didn’t know any better. But this is no more! It has stopped – for a while now I have been the person speaking to you from this blog post. I don’t criticise or hate my body. I love it for what it does for me. It has nurtured two babies. It gets me from A to B. It carries around my soul. It is the only vehicle I have – it is my absolute duty to take care of it, not to hate it. I want to share all this so that if you are stuck in a negative thought pattern about your body then it doesn’t have to be this way! There are too many things I read in the media and on social networking websites where the writer is unhappy with their body, so in order to redress the balance this is a post that celebrates our bodies!

I hope that you have enjoyed reading my story and if you are interested in checking out my new website visit http://loveyourselfslim.co.uk. To keep up to date with goings on behind the scenes and latest posts, do sign up to my newsletter. This mailing list will communicate information about Love Yourself Slim only (not JuggleMum… everything that is going on with JuggleMum gets published on this blog!) and if you have a special interest in a particular aspect of self esteem, emotional eating, compulsive eating or body issues, then do let me know in the comments. I already have a suite of blog posts on a variety of related subjects ready to go at all times but if there is something particular in this area that you wish to read I can ensure that it gets covered on this new website.

Thanks for reading and head over to my Facebook page and ‘LIKE’ for more from JuggleMum!
Photography by Aby Moore

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Comments to Celebrating the female body

  • Such a postive, empowering and uplifting post – THANK YOU!

    Your photos are beautiful, you look stunning x

    Liz Burton 4th August 2016 7:24 pm Reply
    • Thank you for using words such as ‘positive, empowering and uplifting’ in your comment. You are very very kind.

      Nadine Hill 4th August 2016 8:40 pm Reply
  • I love your photo’s and I’ve always admired your body confidence, it really makes a difference and you can tell instantly whether someone is happy in their skin. As a child the comments I always received were, beanpole, lanky, skinny minnie, and it was my natural form. I didn’t start putting on weight until I reached my 40s and had 3 kids. I’ve put on a lot more weight recently and I know this isn’t me, I find mobility really difficult at the moment so I need to work on losing some, but I have no desire to be skinny again. I’ll be looking out for your new website, it sounds great x

    Anne 4th August 2016 10:59 pm Reply
    • Thank you for sharing and opening up to me about your own personal journey. It’s becoming more obvious that almost every woman I engage with has had a body confidence issue at some point of their lives. I’m hoping to visit these issues on my new website.

      Nadine Hill 6th August 2016 2:14 pm Reply
  • Amen!!! Well said lovey!!! I can relate to so much of what you have said. When I was a teen I also got the comments of “thunder thighs” “oooh you’re getting legs like your nanna” (who was big bless her) all of these comments resulted in my becoming anorexic and extremely aware of my body. Anorexia and bulemia is something that never goes but you manage it. Now I am finally at a stage in my life where I am embracing how I now look after 3 kids and settled down. My hubby makes me feel sexy even though I have twin belly and says he loves me regardless. I cannot wait to see more about your new site and if I can help at all with my story please shout xxx

    Kirsty Hijacked By Twins 5th August 2016 9:57 am Reply
    • Thank you for sharing your personal journey, it’s sometimes very difficult to talk about body issues. I’m finding out more and more that women from all walks of life have suffered with body confidence because of what other people have said to them. I’m hoping to tackle some of these issues on my new website. Thank you for the offer of helping through your own personal story – I may come back to you with regards to this.

      Nadine Hill 6th August 2016 2:21 pm Reply
  • You are beautiful inside and outside. TYhis post really resonated with me, as you will find out next week.

    Jen 5th August 2016 9:47 pm Reply
    • Thank you for such lovely words. But, I’m now intrigued for you to tell me more!

      Nadine Hill 6th August 2016 2:22 pm Reply
  • Your photos are stunning and I completely echo your sentiment. I set up littlemummyrunning because I wanted to set a positive example to my kids to save them from the battles I had over my self esteem as a teen. I want them to know they are beautiful and their bodies are unique to them and totally amazing x

    Louise 5th August 2016 10:59 pm Reply
    • Thank you for such kind words. You are setting a positive example, a very good strong one for your children.

      Nadine Hill 6th August 2016 2:24 pm Reply
  • You look stunning! Agree that what seems to be banter to adults can be hurtful to the kids. My friends family used to make out she was darker and chubbier as a joke and she grew up hating her looks and was forever on a diet when I don’t think she even needed to be!

    Fozia S 6th August 2016 11:55 pm Reply
    • So true Fozia. Adult banter can really go deep for a kid who is brought up to believe that what adults say is true. I hope your friend has learned in her adult life that she is beautiful, no matter what jokes she may have been told. Real beauty is what is on the inside.

      JuggleMum, Nadine Hill 8th August 2016 10:48 am Reply
  • Stunning pictures. Hope you reach your goal.

    Erica Price 7th August 2016 11:09 am Reply
    • Thanks Erica

      JuggleMum, Nadine Hill 8th August 2016 10:46 am Reply
  • Thank you for this post. It takes a lot of conditioning to help our mind and heart believe that we are beautiful the way we are and I happy that I am getting there. Be confidently me, beautiful.

    Aimee Ruth Buzeta 8th August 2016 12:40 pm Reply
    • I’m happy you are getting there too – thanks for commenting.

      Nadine Hill 9th August 2016 10:16 am Reply
  • All the best on your new venture. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of support and interest. I’ve always had the other side of the coin as in comments such as, “you should change your butcher’s!” Ever since I left home 22 years ago I’ve never owned a set of scales. You’ve got to be comfortable in the body that is right for you.

    Ness 8th August 2016 9:50 pm Reply
    • Thank you!

      Nadine Hill 9th August 2016 10:15 am Reply
  • You look completely amazing, and best of luck with your new venture!

    Emma 9th August 2016 8:52 am Reply
    • Thank you – you’re so sweet x

      Nadine Hill 9th August 2016 10:15 am Reply
  • You look gorgeous and I can’t wait to see your new site x

    Cass@frugalfamily 9th August 2016 6:21 pm Reply
  • Beautiful pictures Nadine, you look stunning. I went over to see my Mum and step-dad today to borrow some suitcases and the first thing my step-dad said was, ” you have put on weight again” – it really gets me down, especially as it is that time of the month and I am feeling rough and bloated. Cannot wait to see the new website

    Kara Guppy 10th August 2016 1:56 pm Reply
    • Thank you Kara, and such a shame that people feel the need to comment on our weight and bodies. It’s no-one’s bloody business!! I hope that you feel better soon – at least you should be back to vitality by our holiday! x

      Nadine Hill 11th August 2016 12:57 pm Reply
  • I adore that dress and you look stunning! I struggle a bit with how my body is after two kids (I put on all my weight in my things which is why I always wear skirts and dresses and not jeans!) xx

    Fritha Strickland 12th August 2016 10:57 am Reply
  • I am so proud of you and everything you have achieved. My beautiful daughter both internal and external. Love you and see you in the morning xxxxxx

    Mum 16th August 2016 3:22 am Reply
    • Love you too mum – thanks for leaving me my first ever comment from you!!! xxx

      Nadine Hill 16th August 2016 8:45 am Reply
  • Great post and I think we should all be proud of our bodies, they are capable of doing so much!

    Stephen 4th September 2016 7:48 pm Reply
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