It’s the first day of 2017 and warm enough already for a little splash in the pool! The beginning of the year is also fraught with the traditional onslaught of diet and weightloss ads in every corner you look, so I thought it would be timely to post some positive inspiration to help counter the toxicity that us fatties are routinely assaulted by around this time. The moment the year turns around, you see it screaming it you from billboards, newspapers and even browser ads. ‘New year, new you!’ ‘Resolve to be a skinny minnie this year!’ ‘Time for a liquid diet “cleanse” after that gluttonous Christmas!’ Well, here I am in my daisy print bathers, with stars on my face and unflattering curves everywhere else and I haven’t made a new year resolution to lose weight since the year 2007.
It hasn’t been easy all the way, fending off well meaning advice from acquaintances and relatives, and having to tune out friends unloading their weightloss plans onto me. Thankfully, and mostly because I’ve been doing it for so long, this sort of selective vision and hearing comes as second nature to me. But when the lovely folks at Lime Ricki swimwear asked me if I’d like to try out one of their swimsuits and talk a bit about feeling body confident as a fat woman, I realised that it would actually be helpful to share my tips for keeping sane and preserving your mental health (and confidence) in this month of weight based penance (ugh!)
1. Take out the trash
By which I mean the glossy magazines promising miracle ‘cures’ on the cover, the tabloids and their websites, the Instagrammers selling diarrhea tea, basically any media that’s not fat positive. Back in 2007, I was more than a bit addicted to celebrity gossip - it was entertaining and a welcome distraction from my undergrad texts. However, once I realised how badly the tales of celebrity weight loss and gain affected my own body image, I started weaning myself off it. And the more time I spent on the fat positive internet, the more I started abhorring popular media and the diet culture it sells. After a point, I didn’t even want to browse through ONTD anymore. Especially because I could find all the fashion inspiration I wanted from the fat internet, and that too on bodies that looked like mine.
2. Surround yourself with fat positive media
Admittedly, the fatshion community has a very different face now than it did a decade ago, and there’s no onus on plus size bloggers to be fat positive as well. You’ll find countless plus fashion bloggers who advocate weightloss and think nothing of documenting their diets, but there are just as many anti-weightloss bloggers you can follow if you’re looking for some positive reinforcement to go with your daily fashion fix. If you’re looking for somewhere to start with, my blogroll on this page has quite a few awesome internet peeps who are just as fat positive as they’re fashionable. And if anyone you’ve been following for a while, and whose style you love descends down the slippery road to diets, don’t hesitate to unfollow them if that’s what you need for your sanity. Just putting that out there because I feel kind of bad whenever I have to do that!
3. You don’t have to listen to your friends’ diet talk
I have friends who get down on their bodies, who can’t stop talking about how badly they need to lose weight. Most of us have friends like that. It’s especially distressing when they’re people you’re close to and genuinely care about, people whose concerns you can’t just shut down without an explanation. I’ve found that a gentler approach works best in these situations. All my friends are extremely aware of my stance on diets and weightloss - I mean, I’ve only been banging on about it for the last decade or so! Yet they still try to talk to me sometimes about how they’re planning to lose weight. In situations like this, this is pretty much what I tell them: Listen dude, it’s your body, you do whatever you want with it. But you know how I feel about weightloss, so there’s no point telling me about this because I’m just going to space out. You’re an adult, making your adult choices, so go ahead and make them *shoulder pats* I have literally zero inputs to give here. *firm shoulder pats*
Back when I was first learning about fat positivity, I made it my mission to bring all my closest friends into the fold. How could I let them suffer in the purgatory of dieting and self hate when I’d found such freedom in the alternative? Unfortunately, that’s not how people work. And ultimately, everyone has to make their own decisions about the path they want to follow, whether it comes to weightloss or the rest of life itself. You can help them along the way, but the decision of whether to be diet free or not is theirs to make.
4. Spend some time with yourself
One of the things I realised when I was getting to grips with body positivity was this: I didn’t actually know my own body. I used to avoid looking at mirrors, especially when I was naked, I only ever saw myself from one single angle, looking down at my boobs, belly, a bit of leg and feet. Whenever I came across a candid photo, I would be aghast because is this really how everyone sees me? To accept my body, I had to know it first. From every possible angle so that I couldn’t take myself unawares. Back then, I had my ex to photograph me naked, but if you don’t have anyone like that, use the mirror, use your webcam! Take photos of yourself with the self timer, standing, sitting, in silly poses and unflattering ones. Examine those photos, find the parts of your body that you love, and write down what it is that you love about them. Then find the parts of yourself that you don’t love as much and figure out something positive to say about them as well. Write that down too. Keep going back to those photos and notes whenever you can, and keep adding to them. If I’d taken these swimsuit photos 5 years ago, I’m sure I’d have been cringing at my flat butt and lumpy thighs entirely because I wasn’t familiar with them. But now I know exactly what I look like from the back, or sitting down. The body I have is the body I expect to see in photos because I’ve seen it so many times now. I know exactly how my belly folds, where my things dimple when I’m walking. These are regular, everyday features to me now, not some kind of a bogeyman waiting to jump out at me from photos I didn’t expect.
5. Set a positive example by eating
This one’s for those of you who have already taken the first steps towards body positivity, those of you who are feeling secure enough to give a very public middle finger to diet culture. I didn’t find public eating easy at the beginning, especially since I had a history of eating disorders. As my BFF recalls, one of her first memories of me was at the University canteen, with an apple in one hand and a cigarette in the other, steadfastly refusing any other food because ‘that’s all I needed for lunch.’ It took a while to get to the point where I could go out with her and triumphantly demolish platters of food in public. What I noticed, though, was that whenever I was out with a group of people and a couple of them were heading towards the ‘I think I’ll just have a salad’ territory, they ended up ordering what they actually wanted and enjoying it once I’d set the lead by unabashedly eating what I wanted. And even if you’re still a way away from being able to eat freely in public, I think that just eating the food you want with relish and joy and savouring every bite without guilt is the biggest FUUUUU you can hurl at the diet industry this time of the year. So treat yourself to the food you love and actually want to eat, listen to your body instead of the ad pointing out your supposed failings. And remember, food has no morals attached to it, it’s we who burden our plates with them.
I love fitness blogger Sarah Puhto for posting these photos and for the honest words she put underneath. She wrote:
Body image 😶🌿 Recently I’ve been thinking with a really negative mindset, I’m going to Singapore in 8 days and I had a whole month workout plan for how I’m gonna tone up and look super amazing. The reason why I wanted to do this is cause I’m going to see a lot of people who I went to high school with, who also follow me on here (hi hello how are you guys 😬) and I wanted to look good cause I sadly had this negative thought that some people would think something like “why does she look like that, I thought she works out like everyday? Where her abs at??” because I had gained quite a bit of fat while I was in South Africa from eating lots of junk food. Also I’m scared that people will think I look exactly like I look on my posed/flexed photos on my Instagram, which I really don’t. But because I’ve been sick the past week I haven’t been able to stick to that workout plan and haven’t even worked out for a whole week now which made me feel like I look less toned. I realised that this whole plan and mindset was so horribly silly. I shouldn’t care at all what other people think of my body because I’ve worked so hard to get into this positive mindset of loving my body and not caring what others think. It goes to show how I still do sometimes end up thinking in a very negative way and that I am not always positive and do care how people see me sometimes, because I am only human. I’m just glad I caught myself thinking like this and got myself out of this negative mindset. So here’s a photo of me on the left posing, sucking in and doing a fab booty pop 💁🏼 vs how I look just normally standing with everything relaxed cause that’s what I look like in real life! What I’m trying to say is you shouldn’t stress about other people’s opinions of your body because at the end of the day it is your body and the only opinion that should matter about it is yours. ☺️ Hope you all have an absolutely lovely #humpday 🐫🌴
Wishing you a better year for 2017 x
More Carrie Fisher wisdom.
Rest in peace Carrie Fisher, thank you for being so open about your mental health struggles.
“I feel like a lot of people look at people with disabilities and instantly (maybe subconsciously) categorize them into this tiny box. I am human just like you. I am just as capable as you and I don’t ever want or need pity.” - Jillian Mercado on @posturemag
Photography by @thekateowen
Hope today is fun and peaceful rather than difficult for you all <3 If you’re working today in the health, emergency or social services we appreciate you!
If you’re in the UK and are struggling with an eating disorder over Christmas then Beat’s helplines are open, even on Christmas Day.
……Except anger. The Samaritan’s 2016 report found that in 2014, the suicide rate was 16.8 per 100,000 people for men and 5.2 per 100,000 people for women. Body Dysmorphia affects ALL genders, please don’t be discouraged from seeking help if you are male and having mental health issues regarding your appearance. You deserve good mental health.
You don’t have to wear a crop top if it’s not your thing but belly jelly is normal and shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying yourself or being a badass! Love this video and the song in it.
Things are dark until they’re not. Most of our unhappiness stems from the belief that our lives should be different than they are. We believe we have control — and our self-loathing and self-hatred comes from this idea that we should be able to change our circumstances, that we should be richer or hotter or better or happier…….
You don’t need more motivation or inspiration to create the life you want. You need less shame around the idea that you’re not doing your best. You need to stop listening to people who are in vastly different life circumstances and life stages than you tell you that you’re just not doing or being enough. You need to let timing do what it needs to do. You need to see lessons where you see barriers. You need to understand that what’s right now becomes inspiration later.
Cruel memes such as these are currently popping up all over Facebook, with people tagging their friends in them. Here’s the awesome individual in this photo, Lizzie Velasquez speaking up:
I’ve seen a ton of memes like this all over Facebook recently. I’m writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice. Yes, it’s very late at night as I type this but I do so as a reminder that the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human. I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite. Spread love not hurtful words via a screen. Xoxo Lizzie
Feel free to share Lizzie’s words with any of your friends you see sharing pictures like this. Let’s all agree not to mock people for how they look, either online or in real life.
BLACK GIRL MAGIC 😍😍
@Regrann from @becauseofthem - “Aurora (2 yrs. old) accomplished a lot this year. She’s in Kinetic Kids Program with gymnastics, swimming, and much more! She received her 1st Runners Blade this year!! It has made shopping with mommy a little difficult (she runs everywhere), but running into Daddy’s arms a lot easier.
We give a special enormous thanks to God for all he has done for her, and a blessed thanks to those praying, loving & working hard to make it possible for her. We love you Rory!!” - Kayla C. (proud mom) ❤️! We can’t wait to see what you do next, Aurora.
Photo and quote via: Amputee Coalition of America
#blackgirlmagic #becauseofthemwecan - #blackisbeautiful #blackgirlsrock #melanin #TGIF
Bodies aren’t meant to stay the same. We are supposed to grow and change. We shouldn’t be making people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, etc feel like they need to strive for the bodies they had in their teens and 20’s. Or making people feel like they “need to get their bodies back” after they have had children. These mindsets aren’t healthy and change is inevitable.
Artwork by the fantastic Jubly-Umph