Wednesday 22 April 2015

Am I Fat and Proud? #EffYourBeautyStandards

I've just been watching the Channel 4 programme Plus Sized Wars whilst I did my household chores and I have to say I'm left with really mixed feelings about being a plus-sized woman.

I am and have been for at least the last decade between a UK size 20-24 so I very much fall into the plus-sized category. Am I proud of being this size? No not really. Do I feel healthy at this size? Pretty much. Could I be healthier? Yes completely, in fact I often feel I am living on borrowed time awaiting the illness or ailment that might catch up with me because I am carrying about seven stone in excess body weight.

Your size, body shape and body confidence are massive issues for millions of women (and men I'm sure) and I truly feel we are all unique and should do what is right for us. God did not make us all to be a skinny size 10, he loves diversity and I believe there is beauty in all people. What appeals to me won't appeal to you and vice versa but that does not make either of our preferences the right ones. We are just different and that's good.

Image Credit: Tess Halliday

However despite believing that we should all be different and not conform to any particular norm, especially not one pushed upon us by the media or the fashion industry I really struggle with championing being so overweight. Take Tess Holliday for example, she is 5' 5" and a size 22/24 and she has been recently signed to a UK model agency. Truly I think her face is stunning and she absolutely oozes confidence, which I love about her but for me I do not look at her body and think it is gorgeous or healthy (and that's OK as she does not need my approval). I just wonder if she may develop trouble with issues like high blood pressure and heart disease, but more than anything I worry that my daughters might aspire to be as big as her (and me).

In the Plus Sized Wars programme I was watching we heard young girls talk about growing up feeling alienated because of their size and then they found Tess and she has inspired them to love and embrace being big and whilst of course you must always love and respect yourself as you are, there should not be any desire to reach a weight that is not good for you. I walk a very tight line at home when talking to my children as I know I am setting a poor example by being the size I am but they will never hear me say this. I am super careful to embrace my size and appear confident to them. We talk about what is healthy and they see me exercising and taking steps to lose weight but I also never shirk their hugs or hide my body away as those actions would speak volumes too.

I love the #EffYourBeautyStandards movement that Tess started as this is all about empowering people to embrace themselves and to love themselves as they are. Of course they may choose to change and that is their prerogative because what business is it of anyone else's what size you are? I just believe that you have to be aware of the risks you are taking by being over overweight. At the moment I'm personally trying to learn to accept myself as I am because I think it will only be then that I actually manage to lose some weight. I'm pretty sure I'll still have issues when I'm a few stone lighter, I may look a little different on the outside but I'll still be me and I suspect I may have some extra baggy skin to boot!

My motivation to lose weight isn't about looking fabulous in clothes (although that will be an added bonus) it is about showing my children that your body is worth looking after as you are worth looking after. It is not healthy to be the weight I am now - I hurt when I run, I need a seat belt extender on a plane, my legs chaff in the summer and I limit the activities I join in with for fear of being too fat and wobbly when I jump about.

For me this whole issue is about personal choice. You live your life and I'll live mine and to some extent I wish the media would disappear, as then my girls would not be pressured to reach an extreme that someone somewhere has deemed will be the latest fad. Healthy, active and real bodies need to be the fashion, whatever size that means and I refuse to condemn anyone for their choice (or absence of choice) to be fat.

I'll leave you with a quote from Georgina Horne's Fuller Figure Fuller Bust blog -
"I do my best to help women look and feel their best, whatever their size or shape. I do not promote obesity, but rather the want to love oneself at any size, and then, if needs be, to take healthy steps to achieving a body and mind desired by the individual. I do not judge or pressurise or glorify any sort of unhealthy lifestyle, and because of this I have seen some amazing transformations in myself and my readers. My dedication to create a body snark free zone on my blog and my social media outlets has won me awards and recognition from readers and fellow bloggers alike, and it is something that thrills me as I believe so strongly in loving yourself without hating others"
That last line there speaks so strongly to me and it is definitely the way forward. So friends, join me in loving yourself, embracing others and encouraging our children to do the same.

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