‘I love my squidgy tummy!’ Nadia Sawalha shares how she’s come to love her body and why she’d hate washboard abs

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  • When lockdown happened in March, like a lot of us, Loose Women’s Nadia Sawalha confesses she reached for the biscuit tin ‘to suppress feelings of anxiety’.

    But, as she navigated the ‘new normal’, she created a new routine focusing on 
a healthy mind, body and spirit through meditation, exercise and eating well.

    The mum-of-two – to daughters Maddie, 17, and Kiki, 12, with husband Mark Adderley – is confident she can maintain her new mind frame in the coming months, as she calls for women to accept their bodies and ignore perfection to feel happier and healthier.

    Did lockdown change your body?

    My clothes are looser. For a recent date night, I wore a pair of trousers and I could fasten the zip for the first time. I’m 100% fine with the way I look – I don’t want to lose any more weight because, as you get older, you can start to look a bit strange in the face.

    You recently shared an unedited photo of your body. Would you urge others to do the same?

    Yes! Twice a week, my friend and I do an Instagram Live where we get our bellies out, squeeze them and let them jump about. The world didn’t stop turning because people saw my cellulite! When 
I press ‘send’ on Instagram posts like that I have the fear, but sometimes there’s nothing more frightening than fear itself.

    When did you become happy with the way you look?

    I’ve had a lifetime of hating my body – poor body! It’s given me babies, it walks and runs, so I’ve tried very hard to go, ‘I love this body and this squidgy tummy.’ I’m not talking about the amount of fat that’s going to affect your heart or give you 
a diabetes risk, because 
that isn’t something to celebrate, but this warped idea of perfection is what’s keeping 
us all messed up.

    How can people learn to be more positive?

    Change your thinking. If you’re saying 
‘I hate my lockdown body, I’m fat and disgusting,’ I guarantee you will turn to food for comfort. Ask yourself, ‘How can 
I look and feel better?’

    View this post on Instagram

    WARNING ⚠️ WOMAN SHOWING CELLULITE !! Check out @danaemercer brilliantly honest insta versus real life pics showing how the difference of light and pose can change everything about the way we look ! She was my inspiration for doing these pics …. Honestly , all I did was change the lighting and the pose and look at the difference !! All taken within minuted of each other ! It’s all smoke and mirrors . I would do anything to have the years back that I wasted Obsessing about my ‘flaws’ the only thing that was actually flawed was my ‘stinking thinking ‘ I work everyday at being more accepting of my beautiful warts and all body . It is what it is , and I love it for being in good health ( fingers crossed ) and for birthing my babies . Check out @em_clarkson and @chessiekingg who inspire me everyday with their mind blowing body confidence posts ! These women cut through the crap and are helping to build a better future for all of our daughters . We have to put an end to being so fucked up and the only way to do that is to brave it out ! Dare to bare girls !! It feels so good when you do . And you will honestly be at a loss as to why you didn’t do it sooner !!! Who will dare to bear ?!? Fee the fear and do it anyway ! I promise you won’t look back ! #bodyconfidencecoach #bodyacceptance #instavsreality

    A post shared by Nadia Sawalha (@nadiasawalha) on

    What would you say is the first step to self-love?

    Stand in front of the mirror and find one thing you like. I like my raised left eyebrow, so I started with that and I now have real acceptance. For me, the worst thing I could have is a washboard, six-pack stomach, but to another person it would be a dream. You have to find your own ideal.

    How do you stay body positive?

    I don’t get on the scales, because you can have a week where you’ve exercised, had no alcohol, said ‘no’ to cake, yet are heavier, and you start stuffing your face because you feel cr*p about everything.

    What’s the best way to find a fitness regime you can stick to?

    Choose an activity for how it makes you feel. If you think about weight, the joy is sucked out of it! I used to look at calorie burn and what I could eat after. Now I’d be frustrated if my anxiety wasn’t lifted.

    Do you struggle to stay positive?

    Yes – and I fail every day. I wore a dress on Loose Women and the stylist said, 
‘It looks so lovely,’ and 
I said, ‘Yeah, apart from the corned-beef knees.’ It just came out. I apologised for throwing the compliment back in her face and said, ‘I’m still working a lot on myself.’ Now I try to see compliments as a gift.

    MORE: Nadia Sawalha surprises fans with a lovely announcement

    How does Mark help?

    Mark is part of what helps me be so 
body-confident because he says, ‘I don’t separate your cellulite from who you are.’ If your partner says hurtful things, tell them how it chips away at your self-esteem. Taking charge will empower you.

    Has lockdown made you want 
to look more natural?

    I’m a slob. I’m the only Loose Women panellist who hasn’t gone to the hairdresser yet. I’m very lazy with this stuff. I should be better – I’m on the telly!

    Honey, I Home-Schooled the Kids by Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley (£9.99 for Kindle, Coronet) is available 
to pre-order now.