Emma Matthews, 44, lives in Cheshire

Women's Health (UK) - - BARE FACTS -

‘Two years ago, I was a size 22 and 18st. Though be­ing obese is ob­vi­ously un­healthy in many ways, know­ing that I was that weight and still con­fi­dent in my­self has taught me one im­por­tant les­son: that my size doesn’t de­fine who I am. Like los­ing 6st of fat, learn­ing to love my body is a process that takes work. I love the body-pos­i­tiv­ity move­ment – any­thing that helps peo­ple treat them­selves more kindly is great by me. I try to ap­ply its prin­ci­ples when think­ing about my own form, but I don’t al­ways wake up feel­ing good about the way I look. When I’m hav­ing one of th­ese bad body­im­age days, I scroll through my be­fore-and-af­ter pic­tures to re­mind my­self of what I’m ca­pa­ble of, or I’ll reach out to my per­sonal trainer, who pushes me to my lim­its in our ses­sions three times a week. When it comes to goals, I don’t think about inches or num­bers on a scale. Of course, I’m happy that I can now shop in high street stores – I’m a size 14 – but it’s in the gym – when I’m dead­lift­ing 100kg, or train­ing for an upcoming Cross­fit com­pe­ti­tion – that I’m most proud of my body. Fo­cus­ing on the amazing things it can achieve has en­abled me to break the yo-yo weight-loss cy­cle I’ve been caught up in since my late teens. Be­fore I over­hauled my life­style, I would only feel con­fi­dent with clothes on, but now I’m just as com­fort­able wear­ing noth­ing at all. I’m proud of this body and

I’m de­ter­mined to keep treat­ing it with the re­spect it needs to keep per­form­ing at its best.’

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