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‘I don’t want to go to my grave on a diet — it’s time to stop punishing my body and start thanking it’

After overcoming anorexia in early life to become a mother-of-four, Helen McGonagle suffered breast cancer. Dealing with weight issues during her recovery and after the pregnancies, she explains how she has now learned to appreciate her body

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Helen McGonagle at home in Ovens, Co Cork. Photo: John Allen

Helen McGonagle at home in Ovens, Co Cork. Photo: John Allen

Helen McGonagle at home in Ovens, Co Cork with her dog Shep. Photo: John Allen

Helen McGonagle at home in Ovens, Co Cork with her dog Shep. Photo: John Allen

Helen McGonagle who recovered from anorexia and breast cancer. Photo: John Allen

Helen McGonagle who recovered from anorexia and breast cancer. Photo: John Allen

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Helen McGonagle at home in Ovens, Co Cork. Photo: John Allen

In this part of the world, women and men of all ages seem to be at odds with their looks. Whether it is down to peer pressure, social media or the constant deluge of celebrity images ‘showcasing their perfect body’, most of us never cease to criticise ourselves.

Helen McGonagle can relate to this as it has taken her 55 years to finally appreciate the body she was born with and give it thanks for all that it has seen her through. This gratitude, she says, is long overdue as after putting it through a decade of anorexia, then bearing four children and enduring breast cancer, her body really deserves some credit.


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