#droptheplus

All posts tagged #droptheplus

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;

MoonWalk_London_2013-_MoonWalk_London_2013-7080137_DSC_8162

(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.

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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?