Tag Archives: Fat acceptance

Photos and self-acceptance

So, have you heard of the idea that if you look at photos of “normal” bodies (i.e. not airbrushed, impossible-to-attain “perfect” bodies) it can help you on your journey to love yourself more? (Or just accept yourself, if that’s more your style)

There are some great articles by Marianne Kirby and Ragen Chastain explaining the idea.

I used to be the sort of person who untagged photos of herself on Facebook, or just plain avoided the camera because I was scared of “unflattering*” photos making me look fat. It was kinda sad, really. But what’s really helped me like my body in recent years – along with taking up powerlifting & learning about what my body can do vs what it looks like – is just taking photos of myself and looking at them. “Unflattering” ones, flattering ones, candid ones, posed ones etc etc.

Sometimes I take deliberately unflattering pictures of my face, and look at them because hey, this is my face.

And last night was my work Xmas party, and as usual there was a photobooth. A few years ago I would have wanted these pictures burned and never mentioned again, because hello double chin & big belly. These days? Eh, it’s just how I look.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 10.58.02 AM

(I’m the one in the blue dress hogging the limelight, in case it wasn’t obvious!)

I also wore makeup last night, which is more or less an annual event for me. I’m still not sure I know how to apply it correctly 😉

Sometimes looking at these pictures is hard, I won’t deny it. I think I look slimmer in the mirror – less lumpy, smoother, a bit more hench maybe. Yet when I take pictures, there those lumps are. I guess that’s the brain’s way of curating what you see when you look in the mirror. Also photos are often more candid – you don’t have a chance to pull in your stomach or stand at your favourite angle before the photographer snaps the picture. As for my face – in my head I look much younger, with fewer lines and smoother skin. I used to hate how I look when I smile (those sticky-out cheeks and inevitable red face!) but the more I look at myself smiling, the more normal it is. Plus I’m obviously having a good time in those pictures, so why not capture it?

* I have a whole other set of thoughts about “flattering”, but Lauren sums it up well here!

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Ramblings on weight, fat and food

Sakurasenshi wrote a good thing today about body acceptance & shame. I’ve been having some similar thoughts recently, but it’s hard to put them into words (coherently, at least). But for definite, recently I’ve been realising that lots of the fitness blogs & Tumblrs I follow, which also focus on weight/fat loss, make me question myself.

As I’ve said before, I discovered fat acceptance (and later, HAES) before I started lifting. I didn’t start lifting because I wanted to be leaner or lose weight; in fact I didn’t even really realise there was all this stuff about fat loss and getting leaner until I’d been lifting for about a year. Most of my lifting idols are men, like Andy Bolton, whose body type don’t even grace the door of of fitspo/fat loss etc. So I had no idea at first. 

So why don’t you want lose weight?

Because at ~72kg, I’m pretty much spot on for the GBPF 72kg class. I could try to lose weight and end up maybe at 67kg, say. And then I’d be even less competitive in the 72kg class, as I’d be giving away 5kg to my rivals. Why bother?

Or, I could try to get down to the next class below – 63kg, that’s over 9kg. I very much doubt I could lose that in much less than a year while still maintaining my strength. So that’s effectively a year out of competitions. And would I be happy at 63kg? Probably not; I’ve not been that small as an adult. It would be hard and I wouldn’t like my body as a result, because it wouldn’t be me.

But what about body fat?

Let’s be honest here – boobs. I’ve had big boobs since I was 15ish, and they’re kind of an essential part of my body image. They’re also my aesthetic. I know lots of people think abs are better than boobs or whatever, but I don’t. Some people also think small boobs are perfect, and that’s great! But I like my boobs as they are. 

Plus, a life without being able to wear a Freya Deco bra is a life I don’t want to live. I’m very much into my bra bloggers & bra shopping. Big bras are like… a cult I really really want to be a member of!

But don’t you want to be a smaller dress size?

I’m on the very smallest side of plus-size, and I wear both straight- and plus-sized clothes. But I still associate myself with the fat acceptance & fatshion communities.

If I had to choose between the online fitness community, and the online fatshion community, I’d choose fatshion every time. Basically, because it’s supportive, it’s inclusive, and it’s full of women who say things I want to listen to. People like Marianne Kirby, Gabi Gregg, Georgina Horne & Bethany Rutter are my kind of women. 

That’s not to discredit the online fitness community; but I’ve found it’s a lot less welcoming, accepting and inclusive. It’s a bit cliquey, to be honest, and I’m too old for cliques. 

Why don’t you eat “clean” / Paleo / wheat-free / sugar-free etc?

Up until now, it’s been because I find those things restrictive. I live in London, I’m dating my boyfriend (we don’t live together), we have plenty of money between us & we’re serious foodies. I would much rather spend my money at a restaurant, than save it (for that hypothetical rainy day) and invite my boyfriend round to cook. I don’t want to plan my meals, not when I don’t know in advance what nights I’m going to be home. I don’t want to stay in at the weekend because there’s a big bag of broccoli at home that needs using up. 

All that said, next month I’m going to be cohabiting for the first time (eep!) and my boyfriend has suggested that we spend Sunday prepping meals for the week. I’m pretty excited about this. I’ll have access to a car for the first time (buying weekly groceries without a car = a pain) and I’ll also have my Sundays “back”, as right now they’re spent hanging out with my boyfriend, then travelling 1.5 hours home. When he & I live together, we won’t have all the travel time, and we’ll probably go on fewer dates (since we’ll be together all the time!). 

So, I can see myself eating “clean”-er in future. But not Paleo or gluten-free or sugar-free or dairy-free, because I enjoy foods forbidden on those plans (and the most important macro is deliciousness). Just fewer restaurant meals, most likely, and more home cooking. 

In conclusion.

This has been a big old ramble, and if you read it all the way through you get a cookie (not gluten- or sugar-free, sorry). 

At the end of the day, I don’t think weight- & powerlifting should be about losing weight, losing fat or getting lean – unless the individual wants it to be. There should be no obligation to eat “clean” or Paleo if you want to train (one of the reasons I’ve avoided CrossFit is because the Paleo aspect seems to be almost mandatory). 

There is no reason why fat people shouldn’t train, nor thin people, nor anyone in between. People who lift weights should not have to justify their eating habits, body image or desired aesthetic to anyone. If you’re a woman who wants to lift to get a lean, fitspo-type body, then go for it; if you’re a woman who want to lift to get bulky like Andy Bolton (or Kristen Rhodes!) then knock yourself out. I’ll join you in the bulky camp 🙂

Just lift & eat what you want. 

Plus, I promise this stuff gets easier as you get older & more comfortable in your own skin (but it probably won’t ever entirely go away). 

Link

Ten Rules for Fat Girls

I don’t want to sound obnoxious, but I think I’m really really lucky that I’ve never suffered from any form of disordered eating*. My family have always been larger, and I grew up with my mum & sister dieting all the time, but I just didn’t apply those thoughts to myself (despite being on the larger side). My sister used to tell me I was fat, and I just thought she was being horrible & ignored her.

I went to an all-girls school where many of the girls had anorexia or other EDs, and I just felt pity for them. Personally, I wasn’t into boys or fashion, so I didn’t really care that I was a size 14 (which was HUGE compared to my classmates). I did feel proud to have big boobs, though!

When I was 18 and had just finished my A-levels, I went to a mixed party and one of the boys called me a heifer to my face. I was upset, but my reaction was to thank $deity that school was over and I’d be at college & away from these people very soon.

At university I lost a lot of weight due to not eating much (the canteen food was horrible) and I enjoyed being relatively skinny (I was a small size 12 at my lightest) but I wasn’t so bothered when the weight went back on again.

In my 20s I lost about 25lbs in a year by dieting, which made me miserable, but I was quite pleased with the results (again, I was a size 12 at my smallest). However, one more I wasn’t do bothered when the weight went on again.

I realise I’m super-lucky. At my largest, when I was a 16/18, I felt sexy. I was single & dating a lot, and had no trouble finding men to date. It was only in my mid-20s when I lost that 25lbs, that I LOST confidence in my body.

I have no idea how I managed to not be affected by the weight-loss messages I was subjected to at school and from my sister & mother. I guess it helps that I have never looked up to my mum as a role model (and still don’t). I love my mum, but she’s not someone I want to emulate.

I feel a bit like a fake when I follow people like Go Kaleo and just can’t relate at all to a lifetime of dieting & hating my body. I know I’m lucky – I’m not crowing (I swear!). If only more girls could grow up as I did – not necessarily confident in themselves, but just really not giving a flying fuck what people think.

* Save for a tendency, in the past, to just not eat if I didn’t have anything I wanted in the house. But I’m over that now – nowadays if I don’t fancy what I have in, I just drink milk and/or a protein shake.

Link

wtfplus:

i received an anonymous e-mail this morning that said basically all the stupidest stuff someone can say when talking about plus size clothing and fat people. an excerpt (and the main point- the beginning was about how this blog is funny, ‘but…’ and contained a lot of depressing stuff about their…

when people concern troll about fat peoples’ health, why is mental health not a factor? how does making someone feel shitty, embarrassed, and subhuman make them ‘healthier’ or make them want to be ‘healthier’ (and this is accepting the premise that being fat is unhealthy and being thin is healthy, which is a common fallacy and a premise i don’t actually accept)? 

DING DING DING DING

Seriously, fat acceptance and learning to love myself have done FAR MORE for my health than losing weight has done (for the small amount of weight I’ve lost in the last 4 years) or would do.

wtf, plus size clothing manufacturers?: ah, my first concern troll e-mail