So… I am going to post something now that may be a little bit controversial, but I feel it needs to be said.
At the beginning of this year I was a size 22 (probably creeping into a 24) and from the outside looking in, anyone would have said that I was happy. I would have said that I was happy just the way I was. I followed all of the plus size models and body positive activists on Instagram and I did feel empowered by these truly amazing people – I mean, why couldn’t I be just like them? I could, couldn’t I? Friends and family all thought I was confident and happy but there was a story behind the smile and that is what I am wanting to talk about.
I can remember a time when magazines, adverts, posters and catwalks were all full of tiny, airbrushed women and being fuller figured was not OK. In fact, my teenage years were a 50/50 of being bigger at age 14-15 and then a tiny little size 10-12 after having my braces fitted (god damn those things) from the age of 15-17 before gaining weight again.
At age 14 being teased was the norm and I quite often used the “I may be fat but I can diet, and you’ll always be ugly” phrase, especially to the nasty boys who thought that they were gods gift to women. This was around 2001-2003, social media had not quite kicked off and so, neither had the body positive movement. I’m sure there were lots of other teenage girls in my position, that would really have benefited from a body positive role model.
2012, the year I got married, is when I found my first plus sized blogger and I fell in love. I found myself actively looking for posts, and for more bloggers and instagrammers. Anyone who could make me feel that being larger was OK, that I was still attractive and still happy.
2012 to 2017 I got bigger, and bigger and bigger. Going from a size 18-20 to a size 22-24. No longer living with my Mum, contentment and the convenience of takeaways are all to blame for this. I was still convincing people that I was happy to be like this, why the hell not, everyone else was!
I WAS NOT happy. Far from it!
Smiles on the outside masked a whole world of upset underneath.
Instead of wanting to go out with friends, I would make excuses to maybe just go for a meal, and when we did go out I would be trying to go home after an hour or two. I had a headache, I was hungry, I was tired… I can’t remember the last time I had a night out and actually felt comfortable.
Shopping had become a nightmare… instead of buying the clothes I wanted to wear, I was buying clothes that fit. If I managed to find something that was a nice fit on the high street, I would buy it regardless of whether I liked it or not.
I loved holidays, but in hot countries I wanted to stay by the pool rather than going out on day trips and I always worried when getting on a plane that I would be able to do the seat belt up. I felt awkward when sat by strangers, aware that sitting next to me could not be that comfortable.
But the final thing, the thing that I think is most important, was that it was having an impact on my health. My blood pressure was never really normal, I do have white coat syndrome but that wasn’t all that was causing it to be raised. My knees hurt on climbing the stairs and I was suffering with plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.
I was miserable, but I wasn’t willing to accept it.
Fast forward to now… almost 5 1/2 stone lighter, wearing a size 16 and feeling much better. The smile in the photos is now real, I can shop for clothes that I want and not just clothes that fit and I no longer need to have by blood pressure taken with a large cuff or have the aches in my joints. I now can’t wait till the next night out, and even though I know I want to lose more weight (I would love to have a healthy BMI) I am aware that I am already feeling so much happier.
And now for the controversial part…
I am on groups on Facebook that spread so much body positive love, I am proud to be a part of these groups and of all the women that help to buoy up lovely ladies who are not feeling particularly happy in their own skin. Its about blood time that women are nicer to each other. BUT, it makes me sad that weight loss is a taboo subject in these groups.
I am 100% behind these women who make others feel wonderful about themselves and I am slightly envious of those who truly feel happy in their skin and love being plus size.
But what about the poor people who struggle to love themselves. Why should they be made to feel alienated and bullied for wanting to change themselves?
I read a post the other day about GP’s “fat shaming” their patients by suggesting they lose weight. I agree that sometimes weight loss is not appropriate to be discussed, but I do not think that fat shaming is the correct term when talking about medical professionals. And if my weight loss proves anything, it is that my health is better since losing the weight and therefore they are not just saying to lose weight because they don’t like fat people.
Finally, why the hate on smaller women? Some ladies get very defensive of people who wear a size 12-14… some girls who are smaller still have curves, and still have hang ups about their bodies. Why can’t we all just big each other up instead of having a “them and us” attitude? I know a girl who is TINY, who would love to gain weight but struggles due to health problems.
Lets just love each other, and not get angry when someone wants to lose weight or gain weight or change their body in any way.
I would be interested to know others thoughts on this subject.
Sorry if this offends anyone… but I have been thinking about this for a while.