This isn't something that happened overnight. I haven't always loved my body. It's been a long battle fought over many years. I can go back to when I was 8 years old. I loved swimming and trained a few times a week. I remember standing in a line, waiting for the coach to calls us over. We were all in our togs, chirping away. And I distinctly remember looking down at my "thunder thighs". Covered in dark long hair.


Ah, another thing I was blessed with, good strong hair. Unfortunately my good strong hair wasn't just on my head. This is my first memory of me, body shaming myself.

I was so embarrassed. I went home and stole my dad's razor. Eight years old. I shaved (maimed) my entire leg. Both of them. Yep, from toe to, you know, the lady bits. Smooth. I was delighted. Little did I know I had done irreversible damage. You see I was incredibly active. So my legs would have been 'on display' most days of the week. So what did I do? Shaved of course. Every. Single. Day. Years and years of daily shaving destroyed my legs. But it wasn't just my legs. My arms were covered in dark hair too.


I remember around 15 years of age, I was 'seeing' a boy. We had met up a couple of times and I remember him telling me he couldn't see me anymore. I asked why (imagine), and he replied: "your arms are too hairy". I was knocked for six. Off I went again. Home to shave my arms. All to fit in and turn myself into someone else's vision of beauty. If I could only tell her what I know now. A few years later there was another remark about my facial hair. You've guessed it now haven't you? Off I went home to shave that too. So the naughties weren't kind to my body and I was less kind it.

Fast forward some years. I became pregnant with my first child. I grew more than a human in those 9 months. I felt empowered. And I finally gave in and loved myself. For what I was and who I was. I still struggle with the grooming aspect I'll admit. But I'm getting there. I never had to worry about my 'shape' because as a rower, training eight times a week, you don't have to worry about that. You're burning off more than you're consuming. But then it all stopped. When I went to university.


I embraced the change. I struggled with it at first. I still look back at old pictures and see the unhappiness in my eyes which kills me now. What a waste of time. I could have been enjoying myself. Being kind to myself. Well, I'm making up for it now. two babies under my belt and I'm more in love with my body now than I ever have been before. I love what it has given me and I adore that it is mine. Finally.


"I no longer care what people think of my size. It's not my problem what someone else thinks of me. That's their problem. Who am I to worry about what other people may or may not think?  I have wasted so much time and energy berating myself over my body. My appearance. What others perception of me is. No more."



I no longer care what people think of my clothes, "who does she think she is?". In a way starting this blog in April was the end of me giving a crap. My outlet.


I am who I am and it's so important for me, to pass that onto my children. Above anything, I want them to be happy in their own bodies. Because if they're happy on the inside, it will show on the outside. We have become convinced that happiness is something that only comes once you've reached your 'target', shrink ourselves down and change everything about our appearance. We believe our bodies are the problem but they are not. How we have been taught to view our bodies, THAT is the problem. Binging and fad diets, losing and gaining weight needs to stop. We need to stop. Diets don't work. That's been proven. Less than 3% of people that diet actually keeps the weight off. So for 97% of us, it's impacting on our mental health and our metabolism. We're encouraged to feel bad about ourselves when we don't meet the socially accepted size under some guise that it will somehow make us better people when we lose the weight.


It's time we take the power back from the large corporations making TRILLIONS from our unhappiness. Escape the cult of thin. I, for one, was too tired to continue being at war with my body. So I urge you, stop using language like "good food", "bad food", "clean food". You deserve to feel good. We are all good enough as we are. Everybody should be celebrated. I cringe every time I hear the words 'bikini body diet'. Or every new survey completed stating 97% of women hate the way they look.


I don't want to live in that world.

Jessica O’Neill, 26 year old Mama to two under two and author of My Moo and Roo Blog. Currently on maternity leave, winging motherhood everyday.

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