All posts for the month August, 2013

There’ll be no wetsuit surfing.

Published August 24, 2013 by Crystal

I almost let myself fall into the lie of thinking I was disgusting and worthless because my wetsuit doesn’t fit this year.¬† For a brief moment, after struggling to fit in (a blooming workout that particular task is) I collapsed on the bed as the first few horrid criticising thoughts came into my head. Then I stopped myself.
I am a big girl. But it does not make me a worthless person. I have fat. But it does not make me disgusting. I am not going too let an extra half stone, and an inability to do up a bloody zip, dictate the mood of this holiday! I will be with my husband of almost ten years, a man who has seen me at every size and continues to fancy me quite literally through thick and thin! I will also be with my wonderful children, to whom I want to set the example that beauty is more than a size or a hair style or a face covered in make up. I am blessed to have been given these wonderful people and we will enjoy our holiday!

I’ll just be body boarding in my swimming costume and a long sleeve top ūüėČ

Never forget you are more than your size, your height, your hair colour, your leg length, your exam grades, your number of friends, your number of admirers………..


The Number One Way To Lose Weight And Keep It Off

Published August 24, 2013 by Crystal

I like this blogger’s style, and it has a link to an interesting study.
Make happiness your goal!

The Bold Bee

Did I get your attention? I bet I did. So what is this super magical right of passage that I’m about to divulge to you? Where did I find the Holy Grail? Was it in a Paleo recipe book, or maybe underneath the squat rack at the gym? Did I hear it traveling over the wind on my latest river run?

            I’m sorry to disappoint you, and I know that this may be frustrating, but what I am about to say will not make you happy. What is the number one way to lose weight and keep it off? Stop trying to lose weight.


            Please, calm down and don’t throw the computer quite yet. Put the torch back in the closet. I would like to direct you to a study, and we all know how reliable and accurate those are! But seriously, just…

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There are no ‚Äúbad‚ÄĚ foods…honestly!

Published August 24, 2013 by Crystal

I like this. It can be hard worrying if our kids are eating enough to nurture, but not making food a big issue is a great thing, and sets them up for a solid future.

Welcome to my Blog: changing the way we think, live and love

So what does this mean?  It means that if we are going to raise a child to develop healthy body image we need to get rid of the all or nothing thinking.  There is room for all foods in a diet that consists of predominately healthy and mindful food choices.  Does this mean I am suggesting allowing your child to eat as much candy or cookies as they want?  No, not all; or at least not all of the time.  It means that through a great learning curve we gradually teach our children, and yes through example (Aha, the hard part!) that all foods are ok to eat as long as we are eating what we genuinely desire, take the time to enjoy and stop when we are full.  Children must know that there are foods that our body needs to grow healthy and strong and foods that are simply…

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11 Years of dieting and not dieting. Honest me.

Published August 23, 2013 by Crystal

I’ve had a rocky journey over the last 11 years, which has brought me to where I am now. ¬†Thought maybe if I could share, in pictures, the tumultuous journey I had with body image and dieting, you may be able to understand why I have hated “diets” with a passion, but am now working to a more balanced life!

2002On the right, me in 2002. ¬†A new mum, exhausted with my new role, and desperately wanting to lose the weight I’d gained in pregnancy. ¬†My now husband had proposed, and I had just over a year to lose the best part of 6 stone, at least that was my aim.


2003 left, having lost around 3 stone. ¬†Wearing baggy clothes and not feeling the point of wearing nice clothes. ¬†I suffered with PND when my first born arrived. ¬†That and dieting was an evil combination. ¬†The weight was coming off slowly, but I wasn’t celebrating it. ¬†And I was obsessed with it, when really I should have been enjoying my son.

Well we hit 2004, the year I got married. ¬†I hadn’t hit my target, but I had got into the top end of the BMI chart for my height. ¬†All power to the BMI chart, stressing people out since it’s creation. ¬†I had used Slimming World to get to target, but left one group with a bitter taste in my mouth, after the class leader, knowing I hadn’t hit target, said loudly to the whole group “No one wants to be fat on their wedding day!” ¬†I was far from fat, but I still felt like a failure. ¬†On a happier note, I got pregnant with child number two below right, a honeymoon baby, and while I didn’t gain as much as first pregnancy, I gained a bit. ¬†I was paranoid about being fat, but thankfully it was summer, an opportunity to enjoy my sarongs. Fat? ¬†No. ¬†Pregnant. ¬†Yes. ¬†And I look back and think. ¬†You look fine woman, why did you worry?2004

20052005 on the left. ¬†I’m actually hiding a cigarette behind the chair because I wanted to pretend I didn’t smoke. ¬†This was the most relaxed year out of my whole time! ¬†My body found it’s own natural weight without me worrying about any dieting of any sort. ¬†I was too busy looking after two young children and enjoying my family! ¬† I wish I’d remained in that mindset. ¬†I wish I could have kept it for the next 2 years at the very least. ¬†Because this is the laid back, chilled out thought process that we should all have, surely? ¬†“Am I hungry? Yes! ¬†Time to eat. ¬†Have I had enough? ¬†Yes. ¬†Time to stop!” ¬†It sounds so simple now, but what followed was years of paranoia and anxiety.

2006 below right, the day my third child came into the world. ¬†I remained slim all the way through this pregnancy, with little effort. ¬†I wasn’t worrying at all about how I ate. ¬†It was all so instinctive. ¬†I didn’t worry, and just lived.

And here, still in 2006, feeding my little man. ¬†I mix fed, because I couldn’t keep breastfeeding all by myself.



Somewhere here it all started to change again, and paranoia started to sweep back in. Maybe it was the desire to be the perfect, all things to all people type mother. Still wanting to be a yummy mummy? Maybe it was the PND affecting me. But I started to worry about my weight.

2007During our late Summer holiday I had crept back up to, wait for it, it’s shocking, a 12-14. ¬†I was letting myself go! ¬†And by January 2007 I was a solid size 14. ¬†I felt horrendous. ¬†Out of control and so desperate. ¬†I couldn’t work out what had happened. ¬†But I was obsessed that I needed to lose weight. ¬†I had become a monster! That woman on the right, hideously huge, don’t you think? ¬† No? ¬†No, neither do I. ūüė¶


And so arrived the year of INTENSE dieting, and a very real food issue. The start of Weight Watchers, of bingeing and purging, of being so paranoid about weight that I ate nothing a lot of the time, was running on empty and suffered dizziness and fainting a few times.


I was finally the skinniest I had ever been. ¬†I celebrated my size 10 jeans. ¬†I loved being able to buy the smallest sizes I had ever purchased. ¬†But unfortunately, all I really remember about that year is the fainting, the obsession, and the delight in being skinny. ¬†I can’t remember much else besides diet clubs and salads. ¬†Oh wait, I remember one week, Gloucester flooded spectacularly and we lost water for a week. ¬†I remember the sheer joy of washing our clothes in the garden, using rainwater.


I kept the weight off for several months, and in 2008 I was still slim, in a gorgeous Whistles coat. ¬†I felt chic. ¬†But the effort of maintaining this weight loss was starting to take its toll. ¬†I needed to eat more so as not to pass out, but I felt so smug and pious about people who hadn’t lost weight. ¬†Those people just weren’t trying hard enough. ¬†I was starting to hate the way I thought about other people, and was miserable and tired. This was the start of 2008 on the right, on the left the picture is the Christmas of 2008.


In one year I had gone from a size 10 to a size 14. ¬†I now considered myself obese, but didn’t know how to stop myself. ¬†I was miserably trying to diet but only ever getting bigger. ¬†One month later and I was a size 16.

2009January 2009, now a size 16 after a Christmas of indulgence. ¬†I was celebrating my anniversary and my 30th birthday in London with my gorgeous husband. ¬† I was determined to enjoy it, but still had to hop in the scales in our hotel bathroom every so often. ¬†I’d let myself go. ¬†How could I be so fat for my anniversary? ¬†How had it come to this, and why couldn’t I diet to lose weight? ¬†I felt more and more out of control, and nothing was working. ¬†But this was also the year of change, because thankfully I discovered Intuitive Eating.



Above photos show left, 2009, and right 2010. I was progressively getting bigger, though weight gain had slowed down. I went from a 16 to an 18, but then stayed around 18. But finally, though slowly, I was beginning to make peace with myself and my body. To make peace with foods, and to start to undo all the years of damage that dieting had done. Looking back I think I can safely say that 2007 was the most damaging of all years. I couldn’t think of anything else but weight loss and being thin. I had created such a powerful emotion of self loathing that there was a lot of work to be undone, and a lot of peace to be made.

The photos now don’t change too much, because of my pretty much constant weight.

Right in 2011, at Weston, having a nice family day.

Left, having bought a wetsuit and braving the cornish waters. Something I had never considered before. No way I could wear a wetsuit and body board! But intuitive eating taught me to love and appreciate my body. So I made a start!

And finally

DSCF4386The most recent photo I have. ¬†I gained a little while on prozac, but it’s coming off in the easiest kindest way.

So there we have it. ¬†11 years of monstrous body hate and diets, intuitive eating without realising, and a body reacting to a strict diet in a spectacular way. ¬†I would love to be slim again, to be able to move my body more easily and to feel far more healthy. ¬†But my body deserves to be treated with love and kindness, and that’s the route we’re taking!

Resharing on 30/04/2015, 2 and a half stone lighter than first published in 2013, still equally as passionate about self acceptance, body acceptance, and self care.

A little progress report

Published August 23, 2013 by Crystal

Well in 3 weeks of tuning in, eating what I want (!) and eating with awareness I have lost 3 inches from my waist, ¬†4 inches from my hips, 2 inches from my chest, an inch from my upper arm, and an inch from my thigh. ¬†I don’t know what I’ve lost in weight. ¬†I refuse now to weigh, and as time goes on I will measure less and go by how my clothes feel. ¬†To actually be able to say I am genuinely eating what I want, and feeling good physically and emotionally about my body and my food choices is a liberating, beautiful thing! ¬†Taking each day as it comes, knowing I’m not counting down to weigh day every week, and that there will be no binge in response to deprivation, is a very freeing feeling. ¬†That panic of overeating at a mealtime doesn’t exist. ¬†Thought depressing feeling of “Well I’ve blown it” never occurs, because there is nothing to fail at.

I am beginning to suspect my dog is starting to get a bit tubby on my left overs though ūüėČ

Judge not! (Because it just isn’t that nice)

Published August 22, 2013 by Crystal

A lovely friend has pointed out today that maybe we ought to “keep your eyes on your own plate”, and they have a very good point!

It’s a natural reaction, especially when we feel criticised by friends and strangers alike, when they realise we have decided to step off the Diet Merry-go-round, to feel we need to fight back with criticism of other people’s choices. ¬†We are now outcasts in society (ok, I over dramatise, but we can definitely feel alone). ¬†We feel like our every move if being picked on and analysed. ¬†“She’s eating a¬†sandwich made with full fat butter and full fat mayonnaise!” “She can’t possibly be planning to lose weight eating a full Sunday lunch WITH ROAST POTATOES!”. ¬†After years of agreeing and following all those plans where the food felt like it was lacking, and we felt deprived and hungry, it is lovely to be truly able to¬†Eat What You Want! ¬†And in the early stages I certainly did this. ¬†There’s a section in Beyond Chocolate that discusses legalising food. ¬†Some people find¬†Stocking Up¬†helps to alleviate the power of certain foods over them. ¬†Others prefer just¬†knowing that they can have a certain food when they want, even if it involves a long drive out to a special place to buy it!

Slowly, as we legalise, and accept there are NO good or bad foods, we can start to understand what our bodies really appreciate. ¬†There is a vast difference between eating a bowl fool of salad because we¬†want to¬†and because we¬†need to.¬† I think it’s safe to assume the majority of us genuinely know that fruit and vegetables are good for us, but wanting to eat them rather than a plate of fish and chips was never really something that happened to me terribly often. ¬†I preferred the taste and texture and naughtiness of the fish and chips. ¬†Why would I choose a Caesar Salad over that? ¬†And diets reinforced that belief and habit for me. ¬†If I was eating out, I felt obliged to treat myself on¬†something naughty,¬†something I wouldn’t be eating the rest of the time because I was watching my weight. ¬†Once I had left dieting behind I could start questioning myself as to why fish and chips appealed over something else on the menu, and the reasons were actually very interesting and rather personal. ¬†It is only in extremely recent months (given that I’ve been anti diets more or less for 5 years) that finally I don’t automatically order fish and chips from a menu when we go out. ¬†That’s not to say I never do any more, but it’s not longer a regular habit. ¬†Now, when we go out to eat, I genuinely peruse the menu for what I will really enjoy eating. ¬†I want to enjoy not only the taste, but also the feeling I will get after the meal. ¬†I don’t want to feel tired or sluggish, as if my body is struggling with what it has just been given. ¬†I want to feel light, and comfortable, ready for the next part of the day! ¬†It is only very very recently that I am more acutely aware of how foods really do affect me, mentally, emotionally and physically.


Last night saw a programme on BBC2, that followed 3 diet clubs and their members. ¬†I only got through 20 minutes, and felt genuinely sad and sorry for those people going to those clubs. ¬†I remember painfully the “treat night” after a weigh in, or panicking because I ate something and realised it wasn’t syn free, or had twice the points I had been counting. ¬†One of the moments that struck was a woman saying she’d not lost weight because she had been mispointing cottage cheese. “It turns out it was 6 points a tub because of the pineapple!”. ¬†Now I can look back with a wry smile, ¬†because I’m no longer in that place, but I am reminded how painful it was. ¬† How I dreaded those weigh days, if I thought my week had gone badly, how I looked forward to jumping off the scale and grabbing a coffee and something to eat. ¬†And I can be grateful that finally I will no longer be subjected to any of those “If you want a cake, reach for a carrot” moments.


It’s unfortunate that those people still on diets will sit in judgement on us, when they see what we’re eating. ¬† And sometimes it’s agonising, especially when we feel like we’re not being all that intuitive, and the weight is falling away ever so slowly. ¬†On the other hand, they may just be having an inner battle with themselves, desperately miserable at the sight of you eating that sandwich with full fat mayonnaise, knowing they’re not allowed what you are enjoying. ¬†Or they may be heading to a miserable post deprivation binge, where they will eat so much but taste and enjoy so little.

So while it may be frustrating and hurtful being criticised by the diet brigade (and believe me I’ve had my share a plenty), we’re in so much better a place that my friend is right. ¬†Let’s keep an eye on our own food, and let them worry about theirs!


Keep your eyes on your own food!

Keep your eyes on your own food!

We’re not dieting and we still NEED support!

Published August 21, 2013 by Crystal

So you’ve decided to step away from the diet world. ¬†You want to learn to listen to and work with your body.

If you were about to embark on a diet you’d have tonnes of support. ¬†Friends will rally round, cheering you on with every pound you lose, or commiserate with every ounce you gain. ¬†People understand diets. ¬†They understand how hard diets can be, how you need to feel supported and motivated.

And if you stop dieting?

Well. ¬†This is new territory. ¬†People just don’t “not diet” in this day and age! ¬†It doesn’t fit in with the social norm.

You tell friends, and the chances are







To them, you have given up on yourself. ¬†What do you need support for? ¬†You’re not doing anything! ¬†What can they talk to you about? ¬†And when you try to share what your thoughts and feelings are, they may smile and nod, but that glazed far away look indicates they really don’t care. ¬†You’ve given up, or what you are trying to explain isn’t measurable enough, or clear cut and concise. ¬† You obviously lack the willpower and desire to be slim, and they just don’t know what to say to you. ¬†It doesn’t matter that you’ve sat with them through their problems and diets over previous years, you understood what made sense then. ¬†You made sense! ¬†But now you’re talking gibberish and it’s all gobbledy gooch!

So your support network, that would kick in the second you mentioned Slimming World, or Lighter Life, or Weight Watchers, has vanished. ¬†You suddenly feel very isolated and start worrying if maybe you’ve really got it all wrong? ¬†Maybe there isn’t a like minded soul in the world to share your experiences.


My advice ¬†and my experience; look for some online groups. ¬†Because they are there. ¬†The more you venture into the world of Not Dieting, the more support you will discover. ¬†Some forums may charge a fee, some may seem to be speaking a foreign language and it doesn’t feel right for you, keep on looking for somewhere you will feel safe and SUPPORTED. ¬†There are so many times I would have given up completely if I hadn’t had the support I now have. ¬†Friends who can share our frustrations at feeling alone in the diet crazy world. ¬†Friends who understand that our real life friends just don’t get and don’t want to understand how we feel.

Just because you feel you can’t talk to your friend over a cup of tea, doesn’t mean there is noone to talk to.

Don’t give up and don’t despair! ¬†You are not alone!