Today we speak to the lovely Cliona Byrne on her top tips to become body positivity, and how you can project a body positive image onto your children or friends.
Eve: Today we are going to be talking about body positivity, which is on-going topic, not only in motherhood but in the media for many years and it is not discussed enough. Tell us about yourself!
Cliona: I work with mums who struggle with their body image and I help them like their bodies so they can raise their kids to be body confident. I do this through a program called body positive parenting. I get mums who are hiding under their baggy clothes and get them to feel confident in a bikini in family photos.
Eve: What’s your journey into becoming a body positivity coach and was there a defining moment for you?
Cliona: It’s hard to imagine now, but I used to really dislike my body. If you have a look at my Instagram, I have no problem in showing my cellulite or stretch marks or anything now, I’m really confident in my body. But years ago, I had a really bad relationship with myself and I don’t think I realised how bad it was. What happened was I had to have an operation on my jaw as I had a side bite. I knew for years I was going to have to have this operation as I couldn’t bite properly. I was very uncomfortable with my weight at the same time, so I thought if I lost weight and had this operation done, I thought I would look so great and my life would be sparkly and magical. The diet industry promises us that once we lose weight, life will become amazing. So, I lost a ton of weight, had the operation and I now have screws in my face because of this and I didn’t feel any different after. I suddenly had a wakeup call that this is not how I look, this is how I feel about myself. This is when I took my own journey and started to embrace who I am.
In later years I decided to change what I was doing. I had been working in social media and communications, but I retrained in coaching to work with people on body image. Everyone kept coming to me with the same story. This was that when they were a child someone said to them you have a big head, or your fat or they have thick legs or whatever it might have been and how this had impacted their body image. At the same end of this I had mums telling me they didn’t want their kids to feel the same way that they felt about their body. It became clear to be that it was mums I needed to help, and they could teach their kids to be body confident themselves. That’s how I got to where I am now and what I do.
Eve: it seems like such an amazing job and fulfilling as well. What are some ways our listeners can improve their body image?
Cliona: This is the think I give to every client, and it’s not going to take you any time or cost you anything. I call it mirror magic. What I want everyone to do is to start smiling at your reflection. Start smiling at yourself when you look in the mirror or when you’re walking down the street and get a glimpse of yourself in the store front and when you turn on your camera and the front camera accidentally comes on and you look like a thumb! I want you to smile at yourself. There is a logic to this. When you smile, even if it is a forced smile, it releases serotonin, so you feel good. So, if you smile at yourself every time you see yourself, you will feel good and overtime you associate seeing yourself with feeling good.
Eve: It’s as simple as that?!
Cliona: This is so simple but will completely change your relationship with how you feel about yourself. If we treated our friend the same way we treat ourselves when we look in the mirror, no one would want to be our friend, so why are we doing it to ourselves? Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you look good and maybe even give yourself a wink! Start having a good relationship with the mirror.
Eve: I think that is