Marie Hare, who runs the Revive Church Millbrook Slimming World group in Stalybridge, who lost 4 stone and now helps others to shed the pounds is calling for a radical rethink to the way that people who struggle with their weight are treated after a survey by Slimming World and Netmums revealed that 84% of mums beat themselves up because of their weight.
The survey of 2,946 mums found that a further 89 per cent of mums feel guilty about not looking after their family as well as they’d like to and 24 per cent feel guilty for being at work when they think they should be at home.
Marie says that the survey reveals a ticking timebomb of guilt that will continue to fuel obesity problems unless we take a radically different approach to weight management.
“Many of us, whether we’re mums, dads or just dealing with day to day stress, feel under increasing pressure to achieve perfection in all areas of our lives,” says Marie. “Celebrity culture, magazines, indeed our whole way of life is geared towards encouraging us to compare ourselves with other people and to only feel content when we think we’re doing better than others. However, this ultra-competitive society is not good for our wellbeing because we are setting ourselves impossible ideals.
“Slimming World’s support has always focused on raising people’s self-esteem and self-confidence so that members feel empowered to take control of their lives, and develop new habits and behaviours to manage their weight without guilt,” says Marie. “By helping people to feel more positive about themselves, and able to manage feelings of guilt and shame, we are much more likely to make changes and succeed with our weight loss in the long term and pass on new healthy habits to our families too.”
While the survey found that the majority of mums believe pressure to look good comes from themselves (70 per cent), a significant 34 per cent blamed the media and 24 per cent blamed celebrities, suggesting that outside influences are causing mums to subconsciously put themselves under pressure to achieve the perfect body by comparing themselves to others.
“This new survey, revealing the depth of this vicious spiral of guilt, is particularly worrying because at Slimming World we know from years of experience with our members that when we feel guilty and self critical, we are less able to make rational decisions about our health or change our behaviour.
“As long as mums, who are the main influencers around food and health in the majority of families, continue to feel under pressure and feel this bad about themselves, we won’t make significant inroads into tackling obesity. The more those who are overweight feel shame and stigma, the more self-critical we become. This cycle of stigma and shame fuels the obesity crisis,” she adds. “Those who struggle with their weight need ongoing support to overcome these negative feelings through compassion, understanding and kindness to each other and to ourselves.”
Kim, Shelley and Cheryl have recently become mums to Corey, Marshall and Jack. They all joined Slimming World before they were pregnant and continued to attend group throughout their pregnancy continuing to food optimise with the support of their midwives and fellow members in group. All 3 new mums were back in group with their tiny little ones pretty soon after having their little ones, they just couldn’t stay away from their friends at group and continue with their weight loss journeys.
Shelley says “losing weight hasn’t just made me a more confident mum, and helped me make better decisions for my own health, it’s helped me provide a much healthier lifestyle for the family. I used to beat myself up about the fact that I was overweight and I was setting a terrible example to the kids,” . “By losing weight through Slimming World’s healthy eating plan and changing the way that I shop, cook and prepare family meals, as well as having more energy and being much more active.” Kim says” I’m so much happier as a parent and partner. And because I feel great about myself and I get so much support and kindness from all the members at group, I don’t feel guilty on tricky weeks. I’m so glad I found Slimming World and could show my kids how to eat healthily.”
It’s often hard as a new mum to find time to do anything and these three ladies have made a fantastic commitment to making their healthy lifestyle a priority as well as taking time out to attend group every week. Cheryl says ” group is full of members sharing quick and easy recipes that have really helped at those times I’ve felt tired or been stuck for time” Marie says “Babies and children are always welcome at group Theres plenty of members on hand to cuddle and entertain them while you step on the scales so if you fancy coming along to change your lifestyle for you and you’re family you’re very welcome”
For more information about the local Slimming World group at Revive Church, Millbrook or to speak to a successful Slimming World member who has changed their own and their family’s healthy lifestyle, please contact Marie on 07585963169