Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Exercise and Self-confidence with Emily McEvoy

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, Xercise4Less is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to Breast Cancer Care (2019), 1 in 7 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and an estimated 600,000 are alive in the UK today having been diagnosed. Exercise has proven to be beneficial for those who are undertaking cancer treatments. It’s important, though, to ensure that this is done safely without putting too much pressure on the body. Regular exercise can reduce anxiety and depression, strengthen muscles and reduce the risk of other health issues.

To support this cause, Xercise4Less is shining a spotlight on the importance of women’s empowerment. We will be doing this by sharing members’ transformation stories and body exercise advice throughout the month of October. These blogs will not focus on anyone who has previously suffered from cancer, however, as we believe that exercise is essential for those who are going through cancer treatments, we would like to share our support. 

The impact of weight-loss on self-confidence

It takes time to get used to the numerous changes that breast cancer brings, mentally as well as physically. Many women see their body transform and often lose their confidence throughout this period. At Xercise4Less, we believe that exercise can boost women’s confidence no matter the challenges they are facing in their lives. Therefore, we would like to dedicate this transformation story to all the women out there who need a little motivation to never give up.

Emily McEvoy is a member of Xercise4Less Dundee who has struggled with her body confidence for a very long time. At one point, she gained nearly four stone in less than a year and had “stopped caring completely about my body”. For Emily, at that time the highlight of her day was “running home and stuffing my face and pretending I’d start being healthy next time”. Her skin was bad, she was uncomfortable in her own body, her self-confidence was low, and she felt completely unmotivated. As she says of herself, “my attitude to life was crap”.

It hadn’t always been that way and Emily “had always been somewhat fit and healthy being vegan most of my life” but now she felt stuck. She was now so overweight that she had stopped going out and “was embarrassed to actually do anything physical”. That was about to change though.

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Emily was finally ready to transition to a healthier lifestyle. The catalyst was a bad break up. She decided that she no longer wanted to be a “slave to my bad habits anymore”. Plucking up her courage, she started going to her local gym in Dundee but initially found it difficult to commit to regular sessions. “It was such a struggle for so long I was obsessed with being skinny I’d get put down so quickly and stop going.” Gradually, though, Emily was able to overcome her body image worries and make exercise a real habit.

Trying the Female Only Zone for the first time was a turning point in her body confidence struggles. Seeing women of all ages lifting weights made her “want to get strong and look after myself and my body”. That boost to her confidence empowered Emily to move from 14 stone to 10 in less than 12 months. She felt her whole life change as her body changed. Her self-confidence rose because she was now taking care of her physical and mental health. Now, when Emily’s stressed or upset, the gym is “where I can get out all my feelings in a positive way instead of stressing out and overeating my feelings.”

What has Emily learned from her body confidence issues? “My mental attitude has changed so much. Feeling fitter and being able to do more and actually being happy with my body instead of hating looking in the mirror is the best feeling”. This whole weight loss experience has made her vow to never stop looking after her body, “I’ll never do this to myself again”.

What advice does Emily have for individuals who are keen to improve their body confidence? “No matter your shape, size or life situation, the gym is the best place to clear your mind!”. No matter the physical and mental pressure your body is under, working out can help you thrive.

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