beauty

'I felt great on the beach - until I read the comments on a photo my hubby took.'

I was so excited when Mamamia launched the #mamamiasummer campaign – a celebration of summertime selfies, designed to remind the world that no one body shape represents what a woman should look like.

As someone who has worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to break down the stereotypes about body image, I was keen to participate.

Listen: A simple guide to not feeling bad about your body at the beach. (Post continues.)

It wasn’t easy – when I first viewed the candid snap my husband had taken of me enjoying the beach in my bathers I nearly burst into tears. My legs looked HIDEOUS – I loathed them.

I quickly reminded myself what the campaign was all about – empowering women of all shapes and sizes to embrace summer and their bodies. This was what I was all about, so I practised self-love and uploaded my photo.

REAL AND RAW … I nearly burst into tears when I saw this photo, and I certainly didn’t want to post it. Rather than see a girl who was having the greatest time at the beach on summer holidays I instantly started loathing the tops of my legs. Words such as unsightly and disgusting swirled around my mind and I wondered what people must have thought when they saw me, surely they would have been horrified by the mere sight of my legs! I grew angry and upset – WHY was MY body so flawed?!?! Legs are NOT meant to look like this! Then I remembered that I was real and that just because I didn’t look like what’s portrayed in the magazines didn’t mean I was flawed. So rather than loathe I am going to love. I’m going to make a conscious effort to move these legs a lot more than I did in 2017! I’m going to move these legs to make them toned and strong and not because I hate them or want to punish myself for not looking normal. After all I’m very lucky to have them. Self love and body confidence can be hard … but it’s a journey and certainly one worth taking. Now that I’ve got that off my chest I’m wearing my new @bestandless long sleeve rash shirt! $15, very well fitting and SPF 50+ #curvygirl #body #loveyourself #nonairbrushedme #mamamia4women #iwillembrace #ownsummer #bodyimagewarrior

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To my delight, I was featured on the Mamamia Instagram account and as a result my story was picked up by several news outlets.

At first I was overwhelmed by messages of support – teenage girls who lacked confidence were donning a bikini and hitting the beach, women who had put weight on due to the medication they had been administered for the treatment of cancer, anxiety and depression or from severe injuries were letting go of their insecurities and embracing summer.

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I was on such a high…until I read some of the other comments under my photo.

“Cover up – you would look so much better with some board shorts or a swim dress on”

“Exercise and a good diet would make you look more normal. Your husband must be so embarrassed to be with a large elephant”

“Why don’t you drown your sorrows in KFC?”

“You are obese – wear something more flattering and cover your legs so you don’t have to worry about them”

I was crushed. I was always taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all.

Here was Mamamia together with The Body Image Movement encouraging women of all sizes to embrace their bodies and yet society was still screaming that weight equals worth and that bullying others is okay.

Once I picked myself back up I refused to let the trolls get me down.

I have made a commitment to move more this year and eat well to ensure that I have a healthy body but I will continue to demonstrate that a curvy body can look just as good as any other body.

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