My weight-loss transformed my legs and my self-confidence

At IMAGE, we believe in real beauty and celebrating difference. In our new Love Your Body series, we speak to real Irish women about what beauty means to them. While they might be of different ages and come from different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common: they have proudly embraced their bodies and real beauty. This week, Claire Ronan tells us how ‘Kangoo classes’ transformed her relationship with her legs. 
“I suppose everybody has parts of their body they don’t like,” radio presenter Claire Ronan, tells us. “But when you’ve weight on, it’s very hard to love any part of your body,” the mum-of-five confides.

Claire isn’t the only one to experience body confidence issues. A recent study conducted by Dove found only 20% of women in the UK, Australia and the US feel body confident on a daily basis.

Related: ‘I used to love my body, but then I got sick’

“If I was to be truthful,” Claire continues, “I don’t particularly love any part of my body, but one part I’ve always been very self-conscious of, for all my life, is my legs. It’s the shape of them… and I’ve big thick knees,” she explains.

The Dublin-native, who now resides in Sligo, admits this impacted on the way she’s dressed over the years. Claire would avoid wearing shorts during the summer and short skirts on evenings out, even with tights; opting instead for long skirts and trousers. “I would always be conscious of wearing a skirt that caught me mid-calf, and I would be conscious of not wearing anything that was too tight around my knees.”

What’s more, Claire’s dislike of her legs made her feel so uncomfortable that she felt forced to stand at the back of group photographs, “so that only my face was showing”. But in the past year, things have changed a lot.

Claire in her Kangoo boots

The turning point

In the past year, Claire has lost almost three stone as a result of regular, rigid exercise. The combination of weight loss and toning exercises transformed her relationship with her body; so much so she says, “The weather was so fab during the summer, I wore shorts all the time.”

“My son got a fright when he saw how unfit I was. He was really good to me…”

It all started 12 months ago when she tried to go hill walking with her son. “My son is very fit and we went to walk up Queen Maeve’s Bed in Sligo, but I couldn’t get up the first flight of steps,” she recalls. “I couldn’t breathe. The turning point was looking at my son, who got a fright when he saw how unfit I was. He was really good to me.

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