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All posts for the month April, 2015

“What should I eat to lose weight?” “Less”; @DoctorChristian’s flippant response and why it is dangerous.

Published April 30, 2015 by Crystal

It’s only twitter.  It’s only an over inflated ego filled twitter account of an apparent medical expert.  In the scheme of things, it is small and irrelevant.  But someone asked “What should I eat to lose weight?”  And Dr Christian Jessen’s answer was “Less”.

It might seem trivial.  And adoring fans of Dr Christian are falling over themselves to agree with him, and point out the fallacies of anyone daring to question A) the sensibility of giving such an answer so glibly, and B) the actual science behind it.  Of course many will say it is a stupid question to ask, and if they really cared they would be researching.  Indeed, Doctor Christian is not a doctor with knowledge in every field, and from the internet I have gleaned that his specialist area is in Sexual Health.  So diet and exercise aren’t his thing, regardless of his Channel 4 weight clinic programmes.

Because lots of people will argue that it is that simple.  And for them, maybe it is.  But for the vast majority of people I would argue that it isn’t that simple.  And I would argue that it is dangerous to throw such a glib response out.  What was its purpose?  Cheap laughs?  The answer to the country’s obesity crisis?

The irony was the “Less” answer didn’t even really feature on my radar until it was clear he really did not care about the person who posed the question, and instead criticised everyone who dared to question his flippant tweet.

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Maybe, part of the reason we are in such a mess is because advice like this has led to many unhappy people enduring many unhappy years of yo yo dieting.  Even Weight Watchers started out with a woman having being told to “Eat Less” in years previous, through fad diets. And Weight Watchers itself started on those same principles.  How’s that working out for us?  How are all those diets helping, by themselves, solve this obesity crisis as we keep calling it?  How are those years of restriction, on advice from doctors to “Eat Less” panning out for the population?  You only have to google Yo yo dieting to see all the associated issues with restriction, and the often inevitable reaction.

So yes, in the short term, “Less” may be a great answer.  And then what?

Thank God for TV doctors who don’t respond to people in search of help with such glib answers in search of cheap laughs for their own amusement.  Thank Goodness for people like Dr Rosemary Leonard, who take issues around food and body image seriously.  Because body image, self esteem, self confidence, they all play a big part in how successful a person is in their endeavours, and it is something that needs acknowledgement more and more.  Even the diet clubs know that much, such as Slimming World with their “Image Therapy”

Maybe I am angry because I genuinely care about people who want to lose weight, and because I have 30 years of experience of being told to eat less, and failing miserably time and again, and because I am still suffering body image issues, and am still working to lose weight and get healthier.  I blogged here in 2013 about the previous 11 years.  This was not a woman who hasn’t tried to eat less over the years.  But it is not the simple easy to do answer to a complex situation.

And here is where my anger with such a lazy answer lies.  Dr Christian Jessen is a public face.  Someone that viewers look up to and believe he can help.  But rather than taking the opportunity to help, he threw out an answer and then enjoyed the fandom of those who agreed to everything he said, while responding with smart-arse comments to anyone who disagreed.  It doesn’t matter whether twitter is or is not a place to look for decent answers.  If he didn’t want to answer he could have ignored it, like he does many tweets.  He could have directed the person to an appropriate website. He objected to my saying he had made assumptions and presumptions in giving such a flippant answer.  But I stand by that.  In telling someone to eat less to lose weight, he is already assuming they eat too much.  And he doesn’t care enough to question further.  He knows nothing of that person’s medical history, and why should he?  That person is a little avatar on twitter.

Maybe he was adhering to the information on his website

Dr Christian is involved in a number of public campaigns and he works closely with various health charities to help look for new ways to educate people in health matters. His main aim is to help raise medical awareness and simplify, demystify, de-stigmatise and explain the sometimes complicated and inaccessible world of medicine to the public.

But then he wasn’t educating, and was doing nothing to de-stigmatise the whole nightmare around diet, and exercise, and living as a person with weight issues.  He added to the stigma that overweight people are stupid, because they asked a question that he had decided needed no more than a one word answer.

Disappointing.

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#ThisGirlCan, This Woman did, and Now my kids want to too, and for @charitysane

Published April 28, 2015 by Crystal

I am still buzzing from completing the London Marathon.  I am still in pain, and utterly exhausted.  But the buzz of completing this surpasses any challenge I have done previously.  It is amazing.  So much so that I signed up for my next challenge this morning.  Only a half marathon in October, but something I can really work to and improve on.

But even better than the buzz of completing a marathon, is the impact training and completing has had on my kids.  More than once we have discussed signing up as a family for a 5k, and now the marathon is over, the conversation has become more impassioned.  My children have told me how proud they are of me (cue lots of tears and a lot of blushes).  And we have discussed training together to work toward an event as a family.

I am beyond proud of my children.  But more than that I am so, so glad that I have put myself through the training and pain of the marathon and given them that pride in me.

Th news is full every day of stories linked around the “obesity epidemic”.  Either children are spending too much time on computers, or are eating all the wrong foods.  And parents are being blamed for not getting their children outside, and for feeding them poorly, and lazily, and so on and so forth. And I am more than aware of it.  I am a woman who was put on a diet around the age of 5, and am more than aware of the lasting effect of that action.  From their births I have been conscious of nutrition, and not making an issue around food, and not making foods good or bad, and allowing everything, but trying to teach that everything has its place.  And it’s exhausting.  But we are doing ok!

As parents we have always endeavoured to be fairly active anyway, with regular country walks, and active holidays, and the kids moaning “But can’t we just stay at home” more than once.

Because while I have always had weight issues and food issues and body issues and confidence issues, I have been determined that my children will not grow up with similar issues if I can do my best to avoid it.  I don’t doubt they will have their own concerns and anxieties, but while I can steer their food and activity levels to some degree, I can be a positive influence.

But marathon training has stepped everything up, and my kids are truly inspired, and I love it!  And what pleases me most is that they feel they can do something too.  They believe in themselves.  They believe they can achieve.  They don’t see me as a fat mum who can’t do much.  They’ve seen me make my way around London!  And so I am trawling through events to find a challenge we can do as a family.

And to top all this wonderful stuff off, my children have all decided to make Sane our family charity, and to raise money for them through whichever challenge we choose to take up next.

For all the frustrations, and annoyances, and bickerings and fights, I couldn’t be more proud of my kids than I am now!

I did the #londonmarathon yesterday. Arse about Face but a running bug caught!

Published April 27, 2015 by Crystal

I am a runner.  I may not run for long periods of time.  I may count down from 59 while I take walking breaks frequently.  But I am a runner.

In September I was not a runner.  And I didn’t really have any intention of running any time soon.  Depression was descending again, and I felt very meh about everything.

But then the ballot place came through the post, and everything changed.  And in 6 months I have gone from not being able to run to the corner of the street, to being able to complete a marathon, and running over half of it.  Not constantly, but consistently running then walking then running.

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Yesterday didn’t go as swimmingly as I would like, and I’m sure my experiences will have been shared by many over the years.  8 miles went well.  I was running regularly and faster than I meant.  But I felt good, because the crowds carried us along with the cheers and support.  But then my stomach started to cramp and things didn’t feel so good.  Running began to feel risky, and I was grateful to find a building with toilets and lots of loo paper to pop in my bag for the horrendous portaloos ahead.  I have had the odd training run where a similar situation has occurred, and have never been entirely sure of the reason.  Was it the wrong food the night before?  Nerves?  A horrid gel that didn’t agree?  I don’t know.  I won’t go into horrendous detail of said portaloos, but I think it’s safe to say that judging by their appearance, other runners had some issues on the marathon course.  Yuck.  No one mentions this in the marathon training manuals!

Aaaaanyway.  stomach cramps and the need to visit portaloos did affect my times.  Significantly.  I had started with the dream of 6.5 hours, then during the first few miles I was thinking 6 hours was very doable.  And so it was disappointing to be needing painkillers and to be worrying about where the next set of loos would be.  But I was still moving.  I was still running when it felt ok to, and trying to keep a pace walking at least.

I knew I was going to see my family and charity group at 13 miles, and so counting down to that point kept me going.  Pain killers eventually kicked in enough for me to pick some speed back up, and I started to be able to run about more.  The crowds were amazing.  Sweets being offered all over, people calling my name and cheering me on.  I pushed myself because I felt I owed it to my sponsors and to the crowds, and to the gift of the ballot place.  As 10 became 11 and so on, the fact I was so near to seeing my family regularly choked me, and I would make these primal noises trying to breathe properly and not blub!

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Seeing my family at the 13 mile mark was a wonderful thing.  Tears of joy that I had my little team of cheerleaders to keep me going and see me through.

And my charity cheerleaders too on Twitter!

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By here I was about 18 miles in, and was walking running with a mixture of people who seemed to be suffering too. My pace had slowed considerably, and at points the crowds had been sparse, which actually became a relief, but again, seeing my family kept me going.  But now it was getting to the point where all I could focus on was trying to put one foot in front of the other.  Lower back and gut pain seemed to consume my mind, and at this point I started to think I wasn’t even going to make 7 hours.

The next 3 miles seemed to drag.  Really, really drag.  I couldn’t even tell you where I was once we were past Billingsgate Market.  I just walk, ran when I felt I could, then walked a lot more.  By now lots of spectators were cheerfully drunk, and amusing and fun with the quips.  I actually liked that.  It lightened the air, but the miles still dragged.  When the litter lorries started to clear away the mess alongside us stragglers, that’s when I really felt I was miles from the end.  So much pain, and fear of running, and feeling like actually I couldn’t run if I wanted to.  But those crowds kept cheering and shouting.

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When I saw The Tower of London for the second time I knew I was in the home straight, but seeing my family, again, boosted me, once more!  Knowing I was less than less than 4 miles to the end was good, but it was still tough.  And seemed a long time to the river and seeing Big Ben.

There came a point as I entered the tunnel on the A3211 that I decided I needed some mojo, and I plugged in my headphones and hit shuffle.  My phone must have known what I needed as I got “Angel Street“,  “Rock around the Clock“, “Step by Step“, and finally “Little Lion Man“.  The songs worked magic and saw me to The Houses of Parliament. Now so close.  Now the medal was minutes away.  And so was my family, again!

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The beauty of being in the final few hundred is that there is space for your family to find a space easily.  And it also meant that while I was running along the road, my kids could jog along the pavement next to me for a few hundred metres.  I had found the enjoy to push on to the last bit, and to get to the end.

20150426_172529 FB_IMG_1430071440135And here I am, at the end of 6 months from 0 to marathon finisher.  It wasn’t the fastest time.  I wish I hadn’t had tummy issues for a large chunk of the journey, but I did the best I could on the day and I made it in under 7 hours with 31 seconds to spare.  I ran through every mile marker, even if in the instances I had walked most of the previous mile, and I was amazed and impressed by the determination of the participators around me.

And one thing was hugely clear.  You absolutely cannot judge a person’s health and endurance by their appearance.  Larger men and women powered through, while slim and toned looking people struggled and walked slowly but determinedly.

And couples supporting each other as they go.  Injury and illness can affect anyone, no matter what their fitness level, but the mental capacity of those pained people to keep going is awe inspiring.  Whether you are walking or running, or a mixture of both, 26.2 miles takes a toll on the body, and it takes endurance to keep going, but oh, when it’s done.

For me, it is like the title says, an Arse about Face journey for me.  I’ve started my running life with The London Marathon!  And that does seem a bit crazy.   But what a way to start!  I don’t anticipate another marathon any time soon.  But I am already eyeing up the Half Marathons, and improving on the time for those.  Running is so great, physically, emotionally, and mentally, and it isn’t anything I plan on giving up soon.  Yesterday could have gone better.  But then, I could have not finished.  I could have had to pull out for some reason, and I didn’t.  And I have a medal and a finishers t shirt, and a head full of memories!

I can’t thank enough the people who have supported me through to the end of yesterday.  SANE, who I was fundraising for, the sponsors who contributed to an amazing amount on my page, the campaigners supporting women in exercise such as This Girl Can, and the campaigns supporting larger women such as The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running. And my lovely family who were there every step!

If you don’t like something, change it. If you do like it, then don’t!

Published April 24, 2015 by Crystal

I am finally fed up to the back teeth of the anti dieting articles that bring doom and gloom.  “Diets don’t work!” “Your genes are mightily against you!” “Diets are futile and you will regain your weight!”.
Don’t get me wrong.  For too long we have fallen prey to the promises of easy weight loss, the perfect diet, high fat low fat low carb f plan gi plan. We have and we continue to be bombarded by promise after promise after promise.
And diets don’t work the way they promise.  We don’t work the way they demand.  We are complex beings.  A thousand thoughts pass through our heads every day.  We respond to stimuli to all our senses. And we react through habit, and memory, and nostalgia and for a host of reasons.
Diets are not the quick easy life choice they claim to be.
And mental health and life experience play a big part in how effectively life style changes work for us as individuals. Dear God do I know that.  Sometimes the idea of following any form of restriction for any Damn reason is so abhorrent I gain 7 pounds at the very thought of it.  Other times I feel positive and ready to make sacrifices to hit one or two small goals in the near future.  Sometimes, as the goal gets close, I baulk with fear and sabotage my own plans.  I am a mystery to myself.
But the problem with all these diets don’t work arguments is that they left me feeling so bloody hopeless.  And the problem with all these don’t diet activists, for me,  is that either they have no plans to make changes in other ways, or they do have plans but they will only see weight loss as a result of being pretty prescriptive in following those plans.

When I am feeling really relaxed and genuinely happy with myself and my lot it is not an issue.  There is no stress. No concern about what I weigh. And I wish this were a constant state in my life.  To all those who feel this way, I admire you.  I envy you.  And I hope it remains a constant state in your life. 
It is then that dieting is unnecessary and I couldn’t care whether it works out not. 
But then there are times when I feel anxious and I wish to lose some weight and to feel less breathless, a little fitter, able to move with more ease.
I come from families of substantial women and men.  We are not petite. So if the reports are to be believed then weight loss will require more work.   But it is not hopeless. 
Is it worth it?  I guess that is the question every individual had to ask themselves.  What do I benefit from making small, and sometimes large, but all significant changes to my life style?  Is it worth the running in the evening?  Is it worth less wine? 
Is it worth making these changes a permanent fixture in my life?
Only I can decide for myself.  And it doesn’t make me superior in any way by making changes for myself.  I won’t get fast track through the holier than though lounge on the way to heaven.  I might not even live longer as a result.  But I know those changes will improve MY quality of life.
Telling me diets don’t work some years ago felt great at the time.  It did take the pressure off trying to be perfect and feeling like a failure and it offered an alternative.  But my experience was that the promise of a different plan, an anti diet plan,  that would see weight loss in a different way, failed to deliver.  It helped with food issues.  It helped with self confidence.  And those things are precious.  But as the year goes on weight loss still matters to me.  Not wholly for vanity. Not wholly for fitness.  A mixture of both. And it is possible.  If we can be realistic with our dreams and ideals.
Diets do work to some degree or other.  But like it or not they involve lifestyle changes.  And we have to enjoy and embrace those changes long term.  If they aren’t sustainable then something had to give.  That is the way it is.  But again we earn no moral superiority.  And we are not better humans as a result.
If you feel stuck in a rut.  There are things you can do. It isn’t hopeless.  And you can make changes that suit you. 

It isn’t hopeless.

I am running the London Marathon this week! How did I get here?

Published April 21, 2015 by Crystal

(I always feel I need to mention that I am running and walking, so let’s get that out of the way!)

As the #droptheplus campaign rages on, the polarised views of the opposition get louder and more aggressive.  Actually, they are always loud and aggressive, but I am just noticing more.

But one thing that really stands out is the self righteousness of the “Reformed” or “Former” Fatty who speaks out against #fatacceptance.

The sneering comments such related to what the #fatacceptance army might eat.  The judgements on their clothing choices.  The outright anger that they appear to be totally disregarding their health in favour of food and watching movies.

And I pray constantly I will never forget where I came from.  That I will never forget the journey that brought me here.  I have blogged about fat acceptance several times, this is probably the most relevant.  Maybe it helps that I am not the super fast magazine transformation story.  My journey is taking years, and continues to teach me things about myself.  I have learnt, for example, that intuitive eating has taught me many things, but I personally still like the accountability of a food plan and a weight loss group.  I have learnt that I know what foods benefit me, but it still takes time for the message to be picked up.  I have learnt that that ALL or NOTHING need in me is strong, and if I am not perfect, then I will quickly go to the NOTHING bit because “what’s the point?”, and it is a work in progress to drop that need for perfection, and to not drop to NOTHING when I don’t hit perfection.

This last week is a prime example of not hitting ALL, and ending up with NOTHING.  I had the meeting with the psychologist on Tuesday, talking through all my experiences of my latest depressive episode, and to discuss treatment.  Of course, talking through things can be a trigger, and it was exhausting, and left me physically and emotionally drained.  There was mention of a new drug for me, mirtazapine, which sent me into a panic too.  I was also struggling with my training sessions, as if my body had finally given up after 6 months, and I was panicking about staying fuelled for the marathon.  So I made some bad food and drink choices over the week, and as a result have gained a couple of the pounds that I lost the week before.  My instant thoughts, in that ALL or NOTHING mentality are “This is pointless, I will never lose any more weight.  I may as well give up.”  After all, haven’t I dieted before, only to gain again?  Haven’t I tried before and before and before?

But this time I have maintained a big loss over all.  I am currently 6 pounds higher than I was in November, but I am still 2 stone lighter than I was 2 years ago.  And I feel good for it.  I feel good when I eat foods that support my fitness goals.  Physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I feel good when I make a choice that will bring more than instant gratification.  This time I am running.  More than I have ever run before.  More than I could run before October 2014.

It is #fatacceptance, or #sizeacceptance that has brought me to this place.  It is #fatacceptance that gave me the confidence to sign up for my first Moonwalk, and saw me finally cross that finish line, exhausted and tearful;

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(I was THE TARDIS by the way, hence the blue).

I kind of worry about those campaigners against #fatacceptance, and #HAES.  I worry that they throw the baby out with the bath water, out of some sort of detestation of their former fat selves.  A fear that if they accept fat people, it somehow undoes all their hard work in the gym and the kitchen.  But the truth is they should be proud of themselves, for the changes they have put in place to make their lives the best it can be for them.  They have discovered a love and passion for exercise (which I get, I totally absolutely get).  And they really understand how foods can hinder or help them reach those personal goals.  Self discipline is a great thing.  Challenging ourselves is an empowering thing.  Putting the effort in and achieving something I never ever thought possible is a euphoric feeling I cannot top (so I’m onto challenge 3 in 3 years).

But let’s not assume that because we diet and exercise we are morally superior to those who don’t.  And let’s not forget human decency in all this, and by that, I mean how we treat other human beings.  We all have our struggles in life.  One of mine is depression.  And it is heavily, heavily integrated with my self acceptance and self esteem, but body positive language helped me, and continues to help me.  I truly believe it can help others.

I want to continue to lose weight and improve my fitness.  And I will be unashamed in that choice.  But I won’t place shame or judgement on someone who’s goals are different to mine.

So on Sunday I run (run walk) 26.2 miles. And it is without shame.  In spite of my bigger body, in spite of my louder breathing, in spite of the length of time it will take.  I do it without shame, and for a wonderful cause.

I don’t want to be “Plus Size” #droptheplus

Published April 19, 2015 by Crystal

The #droptheplus campaign continues.  But what becomes more and more clear as time goes on is that a vocal, dare I say, privileged minority, seem to hold all the cards in terms of publicity and being heard.

Look in the the magazines and papers and you would be forgiven for thinking that the idea of getting rid of the term “Plus Size” is an idea universally accepted, both in the model world, and in the average consumer world.

But this couldn’t be farther from the truth, and you only have to hop onto Twitter to see the angry, and passionate response to what is now being clearly shown to be a very ill conceived idea.  Women everywhere are fighting for their right to continue to use a label that they have come to see as empowering, and for whom “Plus Size” is anything but fat shaming.

As I read the tweets I find myself feeling exhausted.  There is passion, and there is very real anger and frustration over what the media is choosing to portray around the #droptheplus campaign.  The voices opposed to the campaign have been ignored time and again, in favour of the more famous, and often definitely not plus sized, personalities who are putting their name on the list of supporters.

Part of the exhaustion for me, is from trying to really understand what the REAL aims of the campaign actually are.  Is it really for every fat woman who deserves to be accepted for the phenomenal woman they are?  Or is it for some average sized models who are offended at the term “Plus size” because it lumps them in with some really big women?

I wanted to believe there was good intention behind the start of the campaign, but as days go on, I fail to see the good.  A lot of Ajay Rochester’s experiences have resonated with me over the years, and I have admired her strength in some tough personal situations.  But as far as this campaign goes, and the idea that it will somehow promote self acceptance and size acceptance I just cannot get on board with.

Labels help in many ways, they point us to where would be good for us to shop.  For instance, when looking for my vintage inspired items, I type in some words that will head me to that direction, googlewise!  There is no point me simply looking up dresses.  I would be there all day.  But a lot of vintage inspired places, up until more recently, haven’t had plus size sections, and so I could still waste hours trawling through sites that won’t do any good.  So I specify my search that little bit more with plus size and hey presto!  I’m closer to wear I want to be.

Right now though, I’m struggling with labels about myself, and maybe this is what has left me feeling somewhat out of the fight.  I don’t identify particularly as a plus size girl.  I am.  But it isn’t the first thing I would say about myself.  And one or two of the fat activists will think that it’s awful.  That by not identifying as a plus size person is somehow fatphobic, and enabling to the thin world, and I am not being true to myself and to my people.

What am I trying to get at?

I think, maybe, I am battle weary.  As a campaigner for size acceptance, and self acceptance, and mental health awareness, and Health at Every Size, I guess maybe I am tired with all the labelling we place on others and ourselves, and so I have wondered how much a part of this particular campaign I feel able to be part of.

BUT THEN THIS FACT HIT ME.  This campaign is what is finally really getting things out in the open, and is what is giving a platform to all plus size women, to really say how they feel about themselves and their identity.  And if we truly care about self acceptance and size acceptance we have to keep this dialogue open.  Maybe I am just a little battle weary because I’m 36, and a mum of 3, and I’m coming out of another depressive episode.  But whether or not I am on board, this discussion needs to continue, and the voice of the actual masses needs to get louder.  We need to get the whole range of opinions and ideas out there, not just the opinions of the privileged few who started this campaign.  It is an opportunity to really discuss the idea of “Health at Every Size”, and the truth that our bodies are no one else’s business.  It is an opportunity to really discuss the language we experience when fatter than society deems acceptable, and to actually question those phobias, fears, and widely held prejudices around fat.

I don’t want to be identified as Plus Size.  But by that I mean that I don’t want size to be an issue at all.  To walk down the street without eyes turning and sneers uttered.  For a woman to be able to leave her house without fear of judgement.

Sadly we are a long, long way off that.  We are light years away from children not being bullied because they are bigger than their peers.  We are generations away from teenagers not dieting because actually they feel accepted as they are.  Just as they are.

But it is the world I want, and to move to that place, we have to keep fighting the stigma, and the bigots, and the ignorance.

We need to keep the dialogue going.  But we need ALL the dialogue heard.

So, #droptheplus. Trying to get my head around it.

Published April 16, 2015 by Crystal

I used to hate the word fat.  Years of hearing abuse with words such as fatso and fatty and associated taunts made me hate it.
Thankfully “fat” downy affect me like it did.  But scars run deep and are individual.  And there is still some reaction to that word.  That is my issue though.  I know that.  I appreciate and applaud the fighters who have claimed this word as part of a body positive movement.  Unloading the word of its negative connotations.
We are a long way from it being a completely neutral word but we are closer than 20 years ago.
Language changes and reclaiming words, taking power back, it’s an awesome thing.
This is where the #droptheplus campaign seems to completely divide and create such passion.
For me, plus is a simple descriptive word and I have absolutely no issue with it.  As others have said, what word would we use instead?  Curvy wouldn’t work because there are people like me who aren’t curvy whatever our size.  Someone suggested fatshion!  I actually like that, a powerful claiming of the word which is still loaded, but it is still loaded and very contentious. Plus just seems easy and makes sense.  It is only offensive if we allow ourselves to feel offended.  I get that.  I think I understand that part of the argument.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if this campaign did some good in getting clothing retailers to hear the plus size buyers?  Wouldn’t it be awesome if clothing retailers heard our complaints of the limit of clothing for the larger woman?  Considering the UK average is a size 16, surely retailers cannot keep peddling out the myth that they wouldn’t sell larger sizes in clothing.  And that is the part of the campaign I personally love.  Clothing going up to sizes beyond an 18 in more than a handful of shops.  And not a special range of clothing. The same fabrics and styles.  So that plus size woman of every shape have a more equal chance of finding something to fit.  I say this as a tree shaped woman, for whom curves are a mystery and a myth, for whom the hip to waist ratio is not generous.

OK, I’m an ever hopeful dreamer.

 

But the campaign seems to be about several things and one of these is models over a UK 12 being called Plus size.  Is that right?  Is that what model agencies do?  Because that I do have an issue with.  NOT because there is anything wrong with being a plus sized woman.  But because size 12 is NOT a plus, nor is a 14.   Why do they start this at a 12?  For me it is not #droptheplus so much as #changetheplus. Put it where it should be, at a size that lay people see as plus.  As a word “Plus” does plenty of good things, but it needs to be in the right place if it is going to do those good things, surely?

I can see where #droptheplus was well intentioned, but I agree fully that rather than getting rid of a word, we need to embrace those words people try to use against us, and find better ways of body positivity.   We absolutely need interventions in school, such as The Self Esteem Team, to allow children and young people to feel whole and fine as they are.  

I love that #droptheplus has started a dialogue, at least.  It is raising issues and allowing people their voices.  Sadly, though, as with any argument and discussion, it is also enabling some to attack and slam those who disagree with them.  Last night I was accused of being fatphobic because I chose to see some positive aspects in the #droptheplus campaign.  I was told my opinion didn’t matter because I didn’t agree with theirs.

I have been fat for at least 28 years of my life.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  I feel pretty qualified in talking about MY experiences of MY life.  But that’s just it.  MY life.  I choose now to exercise, and lose weight to improve MY running and also MY health.  Those are MY choices.  It certainly does not make me fatphobic because I choose to be a different size to what I was.  And it doesn’t make me fatphobic because I don’t agree with someone who calls fatphobic to every opposing view!  And it angers me that aggressive voices are suggesting this to people who have lived with fat all their lives.  Because they choose to live differently.  It’s as bad as religious intolerance.

There seem to be many levels to this campaign, and I sincerely hope good comes out of it.  But everyone needs to open their ears.  Can we do that?