self acceptance

All posts tagged self acceptance

“Little miss cankle” Haters gonna hate! Trolls gonna troll #sizeacceptance #fatacceptance

Published June 16, 2015 by Crystal

My blog yesterday upset one of the fatshamers of twitter.  And their insult was “Shouldn’t it be LittleMissCankle instead of cackle?”

I wasn’t phased, I replied with “doesn’t bother me, I ran the London Marathon this year ;-)”

Their final retort, before I blocked them, because frankly, I don’t need to interact with self loathing trolls, was “Did you actually RUN the marathon, or did you walk? You can’t say you ran it if you walked. That’d be lying.”

The reason I’m sharing this is because it just goes to show that nothing will satisfy a troll.  I didn’t run the whole marathon, it’s true.  But I did run about 19 miles of it!  And really, it doesn’t matter whether I ran 26.2 miles, or walked every single yard.  Whether it is walking or running, the distance is the same, and training for a marathon requires months of dedication and several sessions a week.  I may not be the fittest I could be.  I may not be super slim and a runner of the highest calibre.  I may not be the healthiest person in the world.  But I committed to a major sporting event, and I completed it.  But that wasn’t enough for the troll.  It didn’t fit their image of a fat accepter sitting on the sofa for 14 hours of the day, and sleeping the other 10.  It didn’t support their belief that fat people are bone idle.

Of course, my body my business, it goes without saying, but the fact is, that even when you do make an effort to push yourself, even when you do eat well and move for health, and so on and so forth, someone somewhere is going to hate you and criticise, and accuse you of lying.

Fat shaming isn’t about concern for health and happiness, for anyone.  It’s about hate, and anger, and judgement.  It’s about people being affronted at the idea that people can live happily in their bodies that aren’t the socially acceptable norm.

I admire the Fat Acceptance activists.   The ones who will stand up against these trolls. But for me, I won’t interact.  I will blog, I will share my experiences, but yesterday’s twitfuckery shows there is no point taking part in any argument with people who use the #fatacceptance hashtag to spew hate.

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#juneathon oopses! June 7th and @shineonraw Shero programme

Published June 7, 2015 by Crystal

I have done nothing.  I haven’t gardened, I haven’t walked.  I have donned a bikini and sunbathed until I could no longer bear the heat!

And I don’t feel remotely guilty.  It was a lovely, lovely day.

One thing I did do was sign up for a 28 day holistic programme by the lovely Rebecca Kane (@shineonraw on twitter), called Your Shero’s Journey.  With depression fading into the background, I am still dealing with a crisis of confidence and find myself feeling anxious around life choices and self esteem issues.  This programme popped up on my wall at what seemed the perfect moment, a time when I am looking at my health holistically, and spiritually I have felt unsure of my way.  I came across Rebecca some years ago when I started to look into introducing more raw food into my diet, and she feels very much on my wavelength.  Spiritual Healing is something I find very interesting, and I feel very drawn to the energy clearing and balancing.

Food wise things are great, drink wise, I have drunk my weight in wine, and dry June is most definitely OFF the cards.  But the great thing is I spent a lovely afternoon at a neighbour’s house for the first time in 5 years, chatting about anything and everything, and it was spontaneous!  Memories are made of days like this.  But then so are hangovers, so no more wine for a good few days!

Tomorrow is running club. I look forward to that!

The great weight debate, and my inner critic and @womenfoodgod

Published May 26, 2015 by Crystal

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I was content to keep weighing myself.  Despite the fact that the scales have not moved much in a year.  I was content to believe that I needed that external monitoring, because I can’t be trusted to rely on myself.  I mean, look at me, overweight, unsuccessful dieter.  Letting go of that external monitor to tell me that at least I’m not gaining weight, it would be a mad idea for this untrustworthy woman.

But then Geneen Roth, in her kindness and her wisdom, called me into my body, and pointed out who I was listening to when I believed that I can’t be trusted.  She calls it The Voice.  That authoritarian voice that points out all the flaws it perceives, that reminds me of all the things that are wrong with me, that reminds me moment after moment how I am incapable of change and progress and success.

And she showed me how The Voice is not me.  It is a lying critic, born out of childhood memories of chastisement and hurt.

Calling me into my body, with the belly meditation was a first step to calling me home.  I think, in general, we are used to going through our day on auto pilot.  To become aware of internal sensations in silence and for a dedicated time is a powerful thing.  Or it was for me.  To feel my breath, my lungs expand, my tummy rise and fall.  To notice my fingers tingle as I breathed deeply.  To inhabited my body with awareness, after being separated for what feels like the longest time, is an altering thing.  And I admit, I was sceptical.  While I love it, I still scoff with embarrassment at naval gazing activities.  And a belly meditation was no different.  But already, in two days, it feels a valuable tool in coming back and finding myself and finding my calm.

Back to The Voice.  It’s an interesting thing to become aware of.  Because it does sound like me.  And I thought it was me.  And maybe it is easier to distinguish as something else, now that my depression seems to be blurring away.  I can hear that inner critic and know, that like depression, it is a liar.  Today, on going to weigh myself, and discovering that, oh, I’ve gained after a weekend of food and drink, that Voice said loudly to me “You need to keep weighing, because look, you gain so quickly.  You can’t honestly trust yourself to lose weight without it.  And you’ve attempted to lose weight without diets so many times before, why should this time be any different?  Keep weighing.  You know, just in case.”

And I could believe ever word.  Because it all sounds so reasonable.  But then I realised.  It is criticising me, and robbing me of my own strength.  Stealing any self belief.  “You can’t honestly trust yourself…”

I have decided to call bullshit.  And I have decided I am going to trust myself!  I am going to keep coming back to my body.  I am going to keep practising mindfulness, and I am going to keep going to those feelings, and sit with them, and let them happen.

It might not work.  I might be unsuccessful yet again.  But while I continue to listen to The Voice, I’ve lost before I’ve started.  And a year of weighing has made virtually no difference to my weight.  So The Voice is already wrong!

hot fudge sundae

“It’s not about the weight but it’s not not about the weight” @womenfoodgod

Published May 25, 2015 by Crystal

A few years ago, I received a letter from someone who’d included a Weight Watchers ribbon on which was embossed I LOST TEN POUNDS. Underneath the gold writing, the letter writer added, “And I Still Feel Like Crap.”

We think we’re miserable because of what we weigh.  And to the extent that our joints hurt and our knees ache and we can’t walk three blocks without losing our breath, we probably are physically miserable because of extra weight.  But if we’ve spent the last five, twenty, fifty years obsessing about the same ten or twenty pounds, something else is going on.  Something that has nothing to do with weight.

Geneen Roth, Women Food and God

I am in my mid thirties now.  I have been dieting or thinking about dieting, or looking for another way to lose weight for 30 years.  It’s a long time for something still not to have solved my problems.  So when I read this passage in Geneen Roth’s book, it felt like the sky had lit around me.  It’s NOT about the weight, But it’s NOT NOT about the weight.  For me, it is an issue, but it is an issue resulting out of another issue.

It’s easy to blame weight.  It’s physically there, visible for all to see.  It is perceived as a marker as to how successful/in control/owning of willpower you are.  And folk like Katie Hopkins are adamant and vocal in the belief that weight loss is a simple problem to be solved, by eating less and moving more, and perpetuate that belief freely and with little resistance.

But if the weight isn’t falling away simply, in spite of years of attempting to lose pounds and stones,  it is surely logical that something else is going on?  Some resistance to the idea of less food, to a smaller size?

8 years on from my first discovery of intuitive eating, I’m lighter, but not all the way there.  I figure I am an onion, with layers and layers to peel away.  At the moment, reading Geneen Roth is bringing hope and confidence that I am not a problem that needs to be fixed, but rather a human in need of self care and understanding.  Food does not provide the care that I have believed, and mindfulness and awareness are more important than the first grab of a handful of crisps when things are uncomfortable.

Going to keep reading.  It’s a good book.

But for someone like me, it isn’t that simple.  It is a challenge I have been facing for 30 years

Poisonous Size Acceptance Troll, apparently, blogging again!

Published February 19, 2015 by Crystal

I was blocked on twitter yesterday by a certain “weight loss guru”.

Apparently, laughing at the odious idea that there should be a “Fat Tax” on clothing, and calling it the most ridiculous idea I think he had come up with, was a step too far.

Apparently, having a belief that every person on the planet deserves respect and acceptance is a poisonous idea.

Personally I believe wholly in health.  For me, and for my journey, size acceptance is about accepting my body as it is currently, and not criticising and ridiculing it, but also learning to love my body and value it, and discover ways to treat it more as the valued home it really is.

Take-care-of-your-body

As I’ve blogged about here and here my thoughts on size acceptance are my own, and may be vastly difference to other Size Acceptance and Fat Acceptance believers and supporters.  But whether it is or it is, human decency, and respect for others, is not some utopian dream that is unattainable.  With more respect, and less hate, change is possible, on a personal level, and in the wider sphere of our lives.

I find it interesting that the weight loss guru never ever responded to any of my questions or requests.  He bangs on about success, but I asked for evidence of sustained success over the years.

I also didn’t name call.  I would call him out on things he was saying, and ask for him to actually look up Size Acceptance, because he missed a whole load of everything every time he used them in his attacks.

But then, you know what they say;

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I have said before and I will say again, and again and again;  Real changes have come for me through acceptance of myself, through kindness to every part of me.  Sure I could punish myself slim.  But that never lasted.  The only long term changes, and I mean those that have stayed, have been in the last 2 years, when I really have embraced self/size acceptance.

Our journeys are all different.  One man does not have the answer to change the world, or “The Obesity Crisis” as he keeps calling it.  And you DO NOT need to call yourself all manner of nastiness in order to have a better life.

A Fat Tax on clothing? Not a chance! Let’s celebrate a far more saturated market #SizeAcceptance #BodyConfidence

Published February 18, 2015 by Crystal

I’m Googling this morning. I’m looking at the cost of plus size clothing (18 and above for the sake of this article) in the UK in comparison to those 18 and below.

And I am impressed with the UK.  Times have moved on considerably since I was a size 20 19 year old who could only access Evans until I lost some weight.  I found it hugely expensive for a mediocre quality and incredibly shapeless and unflattering.  If there was a time when being overweight was perceived as incredibly unattractive, and where people felt the right to comment on your existence it was the 90’s for me.

At the age of 19 I was aware I was fat.  I was also aware I was a disordered eater and would use food for comfort when things were tough.  Looking back I can also see how I already had a mood disorder of some sort.  And depression and elation, and the making of snap judgements that would vastly affect me was already a “thing”.

So I was fat.  I was a 19 year old student youth worker (pretty much in the spotlight, and pretty much needing to maintain a certain look to be credible with young people I worked with).  I couldn’t buy fashionable labels like Animal, or Kangaroo Poo, or any of the brand names of the moment because of my size.  I was stuck with a couple of pairs of cargo pants and a body warmer from overpriced Evans, and lots of mens fleecy tops because they came in a large enough size.  Oh, and overpriced stretch women’s bootleg trousers from a catalogue.

Back in my late teens, plus size clothing was expensive.

But it didn’t urge me to lose weight.  I threw myself into my work both at college and with the various youth groups and agencies.  I got away with looking enough of the part without the labels.  Buying clothes on a student budget was something that had to take a back seat anyway, and I didn’t really see myself as a follower of fashion.

But I did start to lose weight when I was a student. and why was that?  Because some shitty, horrid, vile little boy said “Do you have a road sign?  You really should have a road sign.  To warn everyone “Wide Load””.

I was crushed, but ok, it was the incentive I needed to lose weight.  To go back on a diet, to continue the endless cycle of weight loss and gain.  But of course this time it would be permanent.  Never mind that since dieting from the age of 4 or 5, I would lose and then gain extra.  Let’s forget that little gem of information.

I lost a significant amount of weight over the next couple of years.  I got down to a 14, so then I didn’t need Evans, and yes I did get nice clothes!

Since then, over the years I have lost and gained and lost and gained.

And over the years I am delighted to see that fashion labels have recognised the futility of diets, and the need for women of all sizes to feel confident and beautiful.

Clothing stores want to make money, and they do that by making shopping an enjoyable experience as possible.  Which in itself can be hard and challenging because we women can be our own worst critics!  That dress is the wrong length, that top makes me look like a sausage (I said that this week), and so on and so forth.  Clothing companies have seen the great big void in the area of attractive plus size clothing, and the market is now pretty saturated no matter what your style and needs.  It is a great thing to see.

I believe confidence can change lives, and enhance lives.  When I personally feel more confident I am more caring and aware of my own body and my own needs.  I make different food choices and fitness choices.  I feel more vibrant and able to attempt and achieve more.  So good clothing, clothing that brings a feeling of confidence is a wonderful thing.

So let’s take a look at the various options available for the plus size shopper, now we have moved on from Evans as the only choice;

Pink Clove is a name I hadn’t come across until today.  Glancing through, the prices seem very reasonable, and the styles seem very varied.  Certainly I would be able to incorporate items into my vintage style.  What I really love is that the items have shape to them!  The prices sit around £24 for a dress, and there are some very cute sale items that would see wearers into Summer.

For those with a little more to spend Anna Scholz continues to be a stalwart in world of plus size fasion. The website has exclusive items over £400, but also the odd sale bargain under £30.

As far as catalogue sites go, the list is pretty extensive these days with Yours, Marisota, BooHoo, Curvissa, Simply Be. With a variety of styles and shapes and prices, there really is something for almost everyone, especially with regular sales and clearance sections.

Plus size clothing is also available for those who like to dress alternatively (showing wonderful body confidence and individuality in my opinion, maybe this is what pisses off the weight loss messiahs?)

DangerousFX has a range off items from Pin Up, to gothic, to victorian.  Alternative items can be a little bit more, but still around the £35 mark in general.

Blue Banana has some gorgeous little pin up cardigans and dresses.  In a variety of sizes.

My Little Halo is a very cute little site for the gothic lovers!

The ridiculousness of a Fat Tax on clothing is that people make do where needs must.  And if I’m going to spend a substantial amount of clothing on an item I want to know that I will get wear out of it.  So for me, paying extra would keep me at the weight that would support being able to wear the item!

And ridicule as a stick of motivation?  Well that horrid boy who encouraged an impressive weight loss with his wide load comment kept me motivated and changed for a couple of years.  Then weight came on again.

The funny thing is, the only time that weight loss is been ongoing or at least stable is when I finally found myself and my style.  The confidence that brought about, and actually feeling attractive and pretty, that is what has encouraged me to be more caring to my body!

Yesterday I was wearing a pair of size 16 trousers.  High waisted, a little bit glam.  I put on my make up, and I felt good.  The clothes cost £1:50 in total, and that was the top from a charity shop.  The other items and accessories were from a clothes swap party.

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Compare this with a couple of years ago, and the difference, not only in clothing but in confidence is obvious.

2013

2013

So a fat tax on clothing?  Would it work?  Well considering there seems to be something of a fat tax in the US, and considering it hasn’t motivated the masses, I’m pretty confident we can let this stupid idea slide, yes?

#janathon, a gentle day, shopping

Published January 16, 2015 by Crystal

OK, it’s not a mega active day, but it’s still activity.  Youngest child’s birthday is coming up, so we are shopping for his presents.  My fitbit is back on my wrist, and I’m ready to count those steps.  Still feeling rather drained from the bug, but at least on the mend, and will no doubt feel better for getting out.

I also came to a substantial decision re Marathon training.  While I was hoping to run as much as possible, this last week has led me to feel that I need to change tactics, and to keep feeling motivated during training.  So I am going to move to a run walk training plan, and increase my run walk mileage each week with a lengthening training run walk.

This looks to be the best way of completing training and getting to and finishing the marathon, and feeling good about it!  I will make Thursdays my long run day, and flip the days around to fit my lifestyle.  For today though, just walking, hydrating, and getting back to (as) normal (as I can ever be).