Hi All,

When Laura and Tamsin asked me to write a guest blog for their Mama on the Move programme I was instantly honoured and said yes without a moment's hesitation. I love writing but have never really written about something personal, so this is a great chance to stretch those legs. Then I started to panic; what do I write about, how do I stop myself from gabbling on (those of you who have met me know I can go on if given the audience!)? Will I be able to find the time to give the programme the dedication it deserves? and so on. The answer was clear, just get on with it and stop procrastinating. So here goes. I hope you enjoy what you read and more importantly, I hope you can join me on the quest to "relearn how to love my own body and the skin I live in".

As we are the beginning, I reckon it is a good place to let you know a little bit about me. My name is Carole and I am 36 years old. I have two beautiful children, Oliver who has just turned three years old and Isabelle who is almost six months old (where did that time go?). I have been with my other half and dad to these "cherubs" for 15 years and we live in Bristol.

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I have always struggled with my weight and being 5'2'' with a generous bra size doesn't help how I see myself. I am usually able to keep my weight under control and at least within half a stone of my target weight. My biggest issue is my self image and even when I lost 2.5 stone with a slimming club, I could only see the difference by looking at the label in my clothes, not in the mirror. I have always been quite physical and fit, but let myself down with food choices. From as young as 14, I used to be on the school netball and hockey teams, I was in Army Cadets and I used to work at local stables to get horse riding lessons in payment but was still overweight, and bullied for it. It is only recently since becoming a mum that I understand where my issues with food came from and how I can avoid history repeating itself. It is mostly to do with eating times, portion sizes and how I teach my kids to see other people without judging others by their physical appearance. I can't tell you how many times I heard "she was lovely but fat", "it was full of fat people", "you would look beautiful if you lost weight" etc, excuse me while I reach for the cake! It is noones fault, it is a generation thing for sure, but I have control now and I will be damned if my kids will be subjected to the same.

When I was pregnant with Oli, I made a promise to myself: "I will NOT project my poor self image on to my kids". I have to remind myself of this on an almost daily basis and is the only real reason I get myself into a swimming costume. I put on an astounding five stone with my first pregnancy and it took me two years to lose that weight, only to find out the day after that I was pregnant (happily) again. I made myself another promise: "NOT to put on more than three stone with that pregnancy if possible". So far I have kept both promises, but now it is time to make myself another promise "to relearn to love myself and the skin I live in" and yes, that means losing weight, but mostly be fit and healthy so I can run after the kids without holding on to the wobbly bits, because let's face it, there are more wobbly bits that I have hands, and then how do I catch the little munchkins to tickle when I get there if I am too busy trying to keep things together. It is also about feeling good. When I do excercise, I feel good, I sleep better and I eat better. I have more energy, motivation and drive.

I am one stone off my pre-pregnancy weight as I write this, with an extra half a stone to lose on top of that. I also have a big tummy gap which needs to be fixed.

I am using my keeping in touch days to ease my way back to work from February and when I go back properly in April I will be there four days a week. I will have very little time to stop then, and need to have fitness part of my routine before adding more to the diary. I am a member of the local gym and use their creche on average twice a week to get some me time, but I am missing out on the other five days of the week. I always seem to have laundry, or lunch to prepare, or nursiing the baby, or making beds, and washing up, and on and on and on. NOW is the time for me to make time for me at home. the kids can wait 45 minutes for me to put their socks on. I want to lose the mum tum, I want to feel good again, I will love myself as much as my kids do. But I want to do it for me and because I enjoy getting a sweat on. I enjoy reaching new levels of fitness and mum prowess, and I want my kids to see me take time for me occasionally. Everyone in the family is entitiled to "me time", mum included.

There is so much more I could waffle on about, but I am going to reign it in. I am going to get on with it now. This week, the first week of 2017 seems like a good place to start, so bring it on Mama on the Move, let's do this.