What's This Blog All About Then?

I'm on a mission to roadtest ways of overcoming negative body image. For years I have struggled with feeling I don't look 'good enough', I'm too fat or flabby. Even when I was a UK Size 8! During each of my two pregnancies I fell back in love with my body, marvelling at the amazing things it was doing and at my feminine voluptuousness.

Now that my most recent baby has been outside of my body for a while, the mum tum and stretchmarks are starting to bug me. I have decided enough is enough. I want to feel proud of my body like I did when I was pregnant. I don't want to wait until I'm a certain weight or dress size to feel good about the way I look. I want to love my body just the way it is right now. And I want to help other women to love their imperfectly perfect bodies too.

Join me on my quest for a better body image. During my journey to (I hope) total body confidence, I'll be posting useful resources, tips and research on body image and self acceptance. There will also be posts from other people shedding light on how to feel comfortable in the skin you're in - maybe you'd like to send me an article? Contact me at annacolette(at)gmail(dot)com with 'Body Image' in the title.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

What's Right With You

I'm doing this visualisation, along with Your Authentic Self and The Eyes of Love every day this month to see how they improve my body image. They are all taken from Paul McKenna's 'Change Your Life in 7 Days' book (which comes with a mind-programming CD which I also listen to every night).

This is what I do:

Stand in front of a mirror with your eyes closed. Relax.

Recall a specific time someone you respect paid you a compliment. Rerun it in vivid detail.

Pay attention to your feelings of trust and regard for that person. When you feel that as strongly as possible, open your eyes.

Now see what they saw and notice how that feels.

When you feel really wonderful in yourself, squeeze your middle finger and thumb together. Let the feelings of self-love and self-respect blend with the feelings of confidence that are already there.

The Eyes of Love

I'm doing this visualisation, along with Your Authentic Self and What's Right With You every day this month to see how they improve my body image. They are all taken from Paul McKenna's 'Change Your Life in 7 Days' book (which comes with a mind-programming CD which I also listen to every night).

This is what I do:


Imagine someone who really loves and appreciates you standing in front of you.

Now step into their body. See through their eyes, hear through their ears, feel the love and good feelings they have for you.

Notice what they love about you.

Now step back into yourself, and enjoy knowing that you are loved and appreciated exactly as you are now.

Your Authentic Self

I'm doing this visualisation, along with The Eyes of Love and What's Right With You every day this month to see how they improve my body image. They are all taken from Paul McKenna's 'Change Your Life in 7 Days' book (which comes with a mind-programming CD which I also listen to every night).

This is what I do:


Imagine the most magnificent you. See how you stand, breathe, walk, speak to others. Watch how you handle problems and go for goals.

Now step into your authentic self. See through their eyes, hear through their ears, feel how good it is to be your authentic self.

Daydream how your life will be different as your authentic self. Imagine yourself in pasyt, present or future situations.

Paul McKenna Visualisations

Happy new Year! A little late but I haven't been slacking. Well, not much anyway. I started my new challenge on 5th January and only decided the day before to change it from tapping (I will do that next I think) to visualisation instead.


Well, I started 'Change Your Life in 7 Days' by Paul McKenna. It's a book and CD that promises to help you realise your dreams, feel better about yourself, and improve your relationships. I've bneen hankering after creating a really big goal for myself and my life so thought this book would help me define - and then achieve - it.

I'm taking a lot longer than 7 days to work through the exercises in the book as I prefer to dedicate more time to it. Also, I have days when I'm not picking up the book at all. But I'm listening to the 'mind-rogramming CD' every night on my Ipod in bed.

What's this got to do with learning to love my body? Well, Paul McKenna recommends doing a few visualisation exercises to improve the way you feel about yourself. They appealed to me (I like to daydream) so I thought I'd do them every day during January and see if they make a difference.

The exercise are:

Your Authentic Self

The Eyes of Love

What's Right With You

I enjoy doing them but find it hard to visualise clearly and add sound, colour and detail as he suggests. Practice makes perfect I guess. Although I'm sure that the feelings of self worth that you generate while you're doing the exercises are more important than the clarity of your visualisations.

I haven't kept up the daily yoga (although I didn't intend to originally) but I really miss it. I defintely feel better about myself when I'm doing a little yoga every day. It's a taster of what I want to become - active, fit, dedicated, spiritual, focused. I like being the kind of person who does yoga every day. Even if it's just two minutes on some days!

So, I recently kickstarted my journey back to yoga with an evening class. It was intense. I worked far, far harder than I would at home. I loved it. I felt good. Challenged yet optimistic that I could eventually do some of the postures that were beyond me. And most of the postures weren't.

For a chubby postnatal woman (is it wrong to still consider yourself postnatal when your baby is 7 months old?!)I was doing well to keep up with the best of them.

Yes, yes I know yoga isn't a competitive activity. But... ;-)

It's worked. I'm back into doing a little yoga every day - and am much happier for it. I'll go to a class every one or two weeks depending on time commitments and budget. I think it helps reinvigorate my personal practice.

And are the visualisations working? It's probably a little too soon to tell. I've only been doing them once a day for 10 days.

Although, I went to a party yesterday with gorgeous girlies all around me and I felt OK. I was a little envious of her legs, and that one's visibly flat stomach in her 'body con' dress, and my mate's slender physique.

But, unusually, I didn't tag the old self-critical thoughts onto the envious ones. Instead of 'Oh wow, look at her legs. I wish mine were like that. Mine are OK up to the knees but then they're huge. Really grim. I wonder if anyone notices? Do you think they pity me?' etc it was 'Oh wow, look at her legs. I bet she works out. My legs could be like that if I do more exercise. They used to be even better than hers when I was younger. I wonder if I could get them to be that fabulous again?'. Big difference actually now I come to think about it.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Yoga During Menstruation & My Next Experiment - EFT

I've got my period and am feeling relieved that I have only committed to doing a posture a day. I've only done a few minutes of yoga for the last few days. But I'm missing the feeling of having a really good, long stretch so I've trawled the internet for some advice on postures to try during menstruation.

There seems to be conflicting advice on whether you can do inverted postures (where your head is lower than your heart, for example in Downward Dog)during your period. The best rule of thumb is to listen to your body and do waht feels good to you.

There are some suggestions here and here which I'll be using to replace some of the more strenuous postures from my Daily Dozen.

Today is Day 22 of the Yoga Experiment and I'm really sold on yoga. So much so that I've asked hubby for a block pof 'mum and baby' yoga lessons for Christmas. I'm pretty sure I'll continue with my daily yoga practice once this month is over.

My next experiment in improving my body image will be to try the Emotional Freedom Technique which is supposed to be good for overcoming all sorts of emotional issues.

Basically, you tap specific acupuncture points with your finger while focusing on a specific thought you want to get rid of. EFT is said to produce results in just minutes. Here's a demo of the technique.

Intriguing, hey?

So, from 1st January I will be trying out EFT every day for a month. I'm not yet sure how to use it to combat negative body image but will read up a little more on it and let you know what I plan to do.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

I am Postnatal Woman. Hear Me Roar (or Rather Say Ommmmm)!

I had a breakthrough moment today.

We were staying with friends in Kent this weekend. Another couple who live close by came over to see us and the baby. It was late morning and our hosts were still padding around in their dressing gowns.

I had been comfy in my pyjamas until my boobs leaked milk onto my top. I wanted to still feel Sunday-ish so I dressed in my old maternity velour jogging bottoms (they look nicer than they sound!) and a skimpy vest top before the couple came over.

Thing is, I often wear this outfit to do my daily yoga. And somehow wearing it in front of people I haven't yet seen as a postnatal woman, I felt really proud of my body and of how much I have snapped back into shape (relatively speaking. Relative to my huge bump of six months ago).

Now, I still have a big tum, overly large thighs and upper arms and big ole saggy breastfeeding boobies. I don't look like a postnatal celeb*. At all. But I felt strong, like my body is in pretty good shape considering and really proud of myself that I'm the sort of person who does yoga EVERY day.

Yup, that's me. A regular little yogini.

I felt all hard bodied and fit chick-like. Although I'm not. But feeling like that was amazing. I was channeling those yummy yoga mummies with their flat tummies and tight bums encased in designer yoga pants.

Talking to this couple in my fairly revealing outfit, I felt proud of my body and what it can achieve. Did you know that when I do my seated forward bends now my nose nearly touches my knee?!

When I started the Yoga Experiment to improve my body image I needed to use a dressing gown cord to do that posture cos I couldn't stretch far enough to get hold of my foot.

My body is stretching beautifully. I'm amazed at how quickly what seemed so difficult my body can now do with ease.

But the biggest progress of all is that I am starting to feel proud of my body again. Just like I did throughout both pregnancies.

I still look the same as when I started the daily yoga. But hell, I'm not trying to change the way my body looks, just the way I feel about the way my body looks.

And I'm really starting to feel better about my body and what it can do (and has done - made two gorgeous daughters for a start!!).

I think the yoga is beginning to work wonders for my body confidence:-)

*Thank you Kim Kardashian for speaking out and letting us mere mortal mamas know that celebs have postnatal bellies too. They just get photoshopped out to entice us to buy certain magazines. Shame on you, OK magazine. Check the before and after photos here

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Yoga for a Better Body Image - Day 8

So, it's day 8 of my yoga experiment and I'm just waiting for my dinner to go down before doing my eighth session.

I'm being uncharacteristically determined. By taking the pressure off myself and only committing to a minimum of one yoga posture a day, I feel more inclined to do all of the twelve postures that I originally set out to do.

It also helps that I am being realistic and fitting the yoga in even if conditions aren't particularly conducive. Yesterday, for example, I did my 'Daily Dozen' postures joined by my eldest daughter. She very sweetly spent three minutes copying me and then spent the ten twenty minutes singing "Alouette gentille Alouette
Alouette je te plumerai' over and over and over again. I breathed through it for a while and then helpfully suggested she play her Nintendo DS while I finished off my yoga (to the background music of Junior Brain Trainer).

How am I feeling about the way I look? A little better - suprisingly. I didn't expect to feel any different so quickly.

I feel as if I'm being kind to my body by stretching it, and working it out, a little. I feel stronger in my core and am holding myself more proudly. I feel good that I'm sticking to my word and am practising some regular self care.

I still feel disappointed and a bit ashamed when I look at certain parts of my body in the mirror (oh how I wish that would change!) but I find myself initially looking for the good things, the improvements - noticing where I look stronger, leaner. I really don't think my body has changed at all but my attitude to it has shifted a little more towards the positive.

I think a little daily yoga could really help to centre me in my body more. I feel more grounded already, not living from my head as much but also having my awareness in my centre, my core. If that sounds a bit esoteric or airy fairy, let me assure you that this small shift has taken me a few steps away from body criticism and towards self acceptance. In only seven (nearly eight) days I think that's pretty good going.

I'm thinking of shifting from my current body focus to a more mind-based tactic next month. Perhaps practising daily affirmations to(hopefully)implant more positive body-loving thoughts in my brain or trying out EFT techniques that my hypnotherapist friend suggested I could use to tap away negative body image thoughts and feelings.

Do let me know which technique you'd prefer me to test next, or if you have any other suggestions of things I could try.