Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A life update...

Hi everyone...

Long time no speak, I know!

I haven't blogged for well over a year and I'm so sorry about that. I never really thought anyone followed this and I had made the decision to delete the blog. However, logging on tonight I was surprised by the viewing figures and that people were still reading these posts, it honestly amazed me. This isn't going to be a beautifully worded post I spend hours on but an honest update about where I'm at, in both my life and my 'Body Positive' journey.

So much has happened since I last wrote you. My bio is definitely inaccurate now... I completed my undergrad degree in 2016 and graduated from my Masters in December 2017. I began a job in Marketing at a well known art gallery in my home city, which I'm really enjoying. It's busy but I like to be challenged and always want to learn new things, so it's working out well. I miss uni and have these little pangs for it every now and then, but at 24/25 I was definitely ready to get out there into the real world. So much has changed since those early blog posts when I was only in the 2nd year of my undergrad but I'm in a good place right now.

A lot of that has to do with the journey of self-acceptance I have been on for 4 or 5 years now. I'm very dubious about using the term 'Body Positive' because I feel it's a term that's been taken over by the industry to sell further diet and exercise fads. To me, the term is no longer radical enough and has lost its authenticity. Movements behind fat positivity and acceptance are brilliantly fighting back against this, but as a UK size 12/14 woman I don't feel such movements include my body type and it's left me feeling a bit unsure as to where I belong - in terms of movements and the terminology used to describe the original aims of a Body Positive journey.

All I know is that I am on an ever-continuing self-love/self-acceptance journey, I'm not quite there yet but I have come so far from those dark dieting days from when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. For me the term I identify best with is somewhere between self-acceptance and self-love. To me 'self-acceptance' is somewhat negative. It says to me that the body is inherently negative and has to be accepted, authorised, allowed but not loved. However, 'self-love' is a term that has too much pressure associated with it. We don't always love every part of who we are when it comes to both body and personality. I believe that it is being critical, in a fair sense, that allows us to continue growing and enables one to become a better person. For me I'm on a 'self-appreciation' journey. I want to appreciate all of who I am; mind, body and soul - both the good and bad - in order to grow and develop.

Recently I've been thinking about how much intuition plays in this journey and holistic day to day living. Gut feeling, gut instinct - it's everything. Gut feeling told me when things weren't right in my life, when I needed to restore balance in my body and soul, when I have needed to make a change or restore order. Need. Gut instinct and intuition tells you what your body needs, not desires. Whether that's how much your body needs of food and water, to whether it's time to move or change your job.

This concept has been an hallelujah moment for me. Looking back, I've realised that self-appreciations has come from listening to that little voice that tells me what I need in my life and this is concept i'm interested in exploring more, through this blog as a matter of fact. So no the blog will not be deleted. In fact, it's come along at a time when my body has told me I need a creative outlet and I hope this future exploration helps some of you out, as my other posts seem to have done.

The only issue is the blog design, it's very old fashioned and not what I'm about anymore. This is something I want to look into so if anyone has any tips or ideas on how I can change this/template input then please do drop me a line. I'd really like anyone to get in touch who has read this or my other posts and just see where you're at to touch base!

heatherjuliachristian@gmail.com <<< Any thoughts welcome!!!

Until we speak again (much sooner than the last time I promise)

H xxx

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Body Positivity Tag!

Hi guys,

So if you haven't seen Michelle's Body Positivity tag, please give it a watch. Below is my response and I'm encouraging as many of you as possible to get involved! Film a video response, write a blog answering the questions, do an Instagram post answering them or even just a tweet answering one question. Let's get Body Positivity trending!





Visit my Twitter to see who I tagged but please do get involved in this in any way you can!


Love H
xxx

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I've started a YouTube Channel on Body Positivity!

Hi Guys!

Below is the first video I've uploaded to my YouTube Channel which is an extension of my blog really! I'm hoping to film lots of videos on Body Positivity and things that relate to it such as Intuitive Eating, self care and talking about clothing sizes etc.

Hope you like it!





Lots of love,
xxx


Saturday, 20 August 2016

You will never look 18 again...

And that is totally okay.

Two things happened this last fortnight which got me thinking about how things change in life and how your appearance changes; both in ways you sometimes can't control and maybe don't want to control again. 

The first:
I was having a spring clean of my room and whilst I was doing this I had one of those weird epiphany moments. On a mirror in my room I have photos of me with family and friends stuck all around it. I looked at myself in these photos, I mean I really looked at myself; then back at my reflection in the mirror and as cliché as it sounds, I suddenly realised that I don't look like that girl anymore. I took one of the photos down and just couldn't believe how different I looked in it. I was 18 years old, tanned, fairly toned, a size 8/10 and despite the big smile stretched across my face, I remember that I was very unhappy. 

The second:
I went to the counter of a well know French beauty brand to buy a mascara. The assistant seemed fairly friendly; she looked at my eyelashes and made a recommendation; I said I said yes that's great, thanks etc. but the conversation then took a dive; she said "you know, just looking at your eyes, you have a few fine lines around them and I think you would really benefit from an anti-wrinkle cream"; I laughed and told her my age thinking it was a joke, but no, she was actually serious; she then proceeded to tell me that an anti-wrinkle cream "could take five years off" me. 
I was flabbergasted. 
I'm not sure if it's just me but I didn't think it was the ultimate ambition of most 23 year old women to look 18 again. 
The whole encounter just annoyed me really.




So how do these two events link? 
Well I think they both made me realise that I will never look like the girl in those photos stuck on my bedroom mirror ever again. Fact. Because things change you. Things happen that you never even expected and once they've happened you cant go back. This is on both a deeper emotional level and on a more obvious physical level. They also made me realise how far I have come in reaching body acceptance and the profound effect this has had on my life.

After my mirror moment I had a little dig through my photos and found the below pictures. The first which I'll call the "before" was taken before a night out when I was 18 on my gap year. The second photo, the "after", was taken just a few nights ago after I'd passed my driving test (Ahhhhhhhh!).

My "before" and "afters":



There's no getting away from it; I look different.
In the "before" I'm wearing a size 8 dress and the in "after" a size 14. In the second photo I look a bit older than in the first, a tad (okay a lot) paler, less toned, I have more boobs, bigger hips etc.
Just different really.

I'm guessing these photos probably look wrong to some of you reading this, like they're not in the right order? As a society obsessed with bodily perfection we're almost conditioned to expect that the "before" photo will show an overweight, miserable woman and the "after" a sparkly, thin, happy woman.
People are quick to judge. Many would probably say I look "better" in the first photo but what people don't often see when they judge others on their appearance is what's behind the eyes of that person.

So let me tell you what's behind the eyes of my 18 year old self and the person I am today. What the "before" and  "after" of a journey towards self-acceptance looks like. 
Albeit eyes with fine lines...

The "before":
I was obsessed with my appearance. My thought process went like this: 
Do people think I'm "thin" or "fat"? Do people think I'm pretty? How many calories are in a pack of sushi? Oh my god my arse is enormous! Do men find me attractive? If I eat this yoghurt will I go over my calorie allowance for the day? Shit I need to lose 20 pounds before that party/date/my sister's wedding/I let the man I like see me naked. I wonder if I could get the fat sucked out of my bum and injected into my bee-stings? Am I tanned enough? Does my outfit look okay? Does my hair look good? Does my make-up look good? Do I look good?
Basically; am I good enough?

I was so wrapped up in my physical self I failed to make the right choices for myself and take responsibility for my own life. I was forever doing what other people thought I should do and not trusting my own intuition.
I started my degree a year after that first photo and didn't enjoy it because I had no interest or energy for anything other than my pursuit for perfection. I did fairly well in my 1st year of uni but I knew I wasn't reaching my full potential. I had no real hobbies or interests. In fact, my main hobbies were baking myself on sunbeds, applying fake tan or flicking through magazines that rated/slated celebrity bodies. I've always been lucky in that I'm surrounded with amazing people that love and support me but I feel like I neglected them. I was never really "present" in my relationships. Instead of watching my nephews play, I was probably logging my calorie allowance on myfitnesspal.

I'm not going to lie, I actually feel ashamed writing that thought stream out. I would be thoroughly ashamed for anyone who knows me now but didn't know me "before" to meet that shallow, self obsessed person; but this was my reality and is the reality of so many women. 

The "after":
I'd say the turning point came on my 21st birthday. I looked around at my loving family and friends and felt that same shame I've just mentioned. Why shame? Well because I had been so obsessed with trying to "look my best" that I honestly feel I may as well have lived those years in a coma. I lived my life in a complete and utter haze. Moments to celebrate were losing weight, moments to despair were the times I felt unattractive.

The reality of my "after", of accepting myself and my body, has been life-changing. It has enabled me to take complete charge of my life.
I changed my course at uni to something I absolutely love and am incredibly passionate about. I'm doing better in my academic work because I'm actually interested in it now. I push myself in a productive way, going for any opportunity I can take. I have real hobbies and interests now; from things as light-hearted as baking, to blogging on serious issues like the one I'm discussing right now. I think about what's going on in the world because I truly care about other human beings. I question something other than how many grams of fat are in an avocado and am capable of feeling more than guilt for not exercising that day. When I get dressed in the morning I feel good about myself, not because I'm perfect, but because I accept who I am and everything I have to offer myself and other people. My relationships are real; there's no one in my life that doesn't add something to it and vice versa. Learning to drive recently and the freedom that has brought me was the cherry on the cake. I'm always busy doing something and I love that.

My life is full now.

So why this post; what's the point? 
I assure you, it's not to look back on photos of myself because I wanted to have a little Marcia Marcia Marcia moment. In all honesty, writing this post was actually quite a painful process. Looking back through old photos, there were times where I was thinner than the 1st image above and that makes me sad. I considered including them but decided against it because I look clearly unhealthy in them and "achieved" that body type through unhealthy means; I don't want to advocate any of that on my blog. All I remember when I look at those photos is feeling "fat" and "ugly". I was convinced that if I just lost weight, everything that was wrong in my life would be sorted.

Hand on heart; if Aladdin's Genie could click his magic fingers and take me back to my physical and mental self at 18 years old I would say thanks but no thanks. In the last 5 years yes I've gained a few pounds but I've gained a lot more than that. I actually like the person I am now and finally feel comfortable in my own skin. You can't even understand how amazing that feels until you start on your own self-acceptance journey. My eyes see the world in a different way than they used to and that's because I know now that looking thinner or younger isn't going to change your life. Whilst you are in this mindset you are wasting time; precious years you will never get back.

This socially constructed idea that women should try and "go back" to times where they looked thinner or younger is absurd to me now. The reality is that you will never be as you were at 18 because we are a specie that is forever evolving; both physically and mentally.
Ageing is a natural human process and no matter how many face creams you use or face-lifts you have, you'll never look exactly as you did in the past. The same goes for your body, no diet or exercise regime can wind back the clock and give you the body you had at 18. 

All of this naturally leads to a bigger question: Why? 
Why should women be forever striving to achieve something completely impossible, essentially to go back in time? I mean when you think about it, it's completely ridiculous isn't it? We are never allowed to enjoy ourselves as we are because we should always be striving to look how we used to look or as good as someone else looks. We are never just allowed to enjoy our bodies and live our lives as they are now. 

So I say stop. Stop putting pictures of yourself when you were "thin" on your fridge as motivation to get back to how you were. Look after your skin if it that's what you want to do, but don't buy into this idea that you will somehow be more attractive the younger you look. Live every moment in the present and not the past. Enjoy your life and enjoy your body. 

Most importantly, remember that you are enough right now. 



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Body Positive Basics: What is Self Care and Why is it Important?

Hi Guys!

Today I thought I'd write a blog on self care; what it is, why it's important and what it has to do with Body Positivity. It's going to be the first part of a mini series on the basics of Body Positivity, basics that you can explore and then utilise in order to reach a point in which you start appreciating your beautiful body.

When I first gave up dieting and excessive exercising a couple of years ago, I wish I'd known what I know now about self care. It is a way of looking after your physical, mental and emotional health so you feel more balanced and able to take on the ups and downs of life, of which there are many on the journey towards self acceptance. People often think that going against the grain by choosing to accept your body and everything that might entail (ditching food and exercise plans, giving up dressing a certain way, abandoning grooming regimes etc.) is the easy option. However, the journey towards Body Positivity is far from easy and that is where self care rides in like a knight in shining armour. 

Body Positivity means different things for different people but for ease I'll discuss my own approach to it. For me, becoming Body Positive meant giving up obsessive calorie counting and exercising for ridiculous amounts of time to change my body i.e. to be thinner. It meant accepting my body, my size and my shape exactly as it is. When I did give up the beliefs that I needed to alter my body, it was a complete shock to the system.

When you give up dieting you realise how much time and brain space it takes up; calculating the caloric value of every element of your sandwich, going on a three hour bike ride, calculating your daily calorie deficit and consequently how long it will take you to lose 10 pounds. It goes on.
Hating your body and attempting to change it is a great distraction and when you give those things up you're left with real life; no distractions and no solutions. You realise that getting that thin body isn't a solution to the fact one of your relatives is sick, that you hate your job or that you've just had a shit day. 

So what do you do to feel better when negative thoughts, feelings or situations arise?

You look after yourself as best you know how. 

Self care is your own little toolbox of activities that make you feel good about yourself and ensure that you look after your own well-being. It can be something as simple as taking time to enjoy a coffee in the morning to perhaps something more extravagant such as buying yourself flowers. It can be a physical activity or something slightly deeper such as checking in on your emotions and acknowledging how you feel.


A plant I bought recently for my dressing table

To start out, write a list of things you love doing. Make sure they vary in ease and accessibility so that even if you just have a minute to yourself you have something planned such as deep breathing. This will be your own toolbox, unique to you.


As a neat freak and obsessively organised person I love writing a good list

If you need some inspiration I previously wrote a blog post on seven things that are good for the soul which basically gave a list of some of the more standard self care activities. Search Instagram using the hashtags #selfcare or #selfcaresunday. You can also search Google images for a million more ideas of course. However, here are some ways of looking after myself that I've been loving recently.

1. Exercise
I never (ever!) thought I'd type these words but I actually enjoy exercising now. I used to use exercise as a form of punishment, either for eating too much or to discipline my body because I thought it was the wrong size. Now I see exercise for what it is; the chance to look after my body and create balance of both body and mind. Interestingly enough, I now move my body for so many reasons but none of them are weight loss. Recently I've been walking my sister's Shih Tzu a fair bit, going swimming and on bike rides. Why don't you give one a go and see how you feel afterwards!


Walking the Shih Tzu

2. Craft
This is a more unusual one that you might not find in most self care suggestion lists. However, recently I've been restoring old bits of furniture and doing a couple of DIY projects as I plan to redecorate my room at the end of summer and thought it would be nice to have a few unique pieces to add to it. I've been painting an old metal mannequin, creating flower vases out of jam jars and turning cake tins into storage boxes ( I am planning on writing a blog piece to show you how I've done it once my room has been decorated so watch out for that!). Taking time out to be artistic enables you to be present, to be mindful of that current moment and it's incredibly satisfying. Why don't you see if you could restore some old furniture? Or perhaps take up knitting/painting/card making etc. Whatever you fancy! Enjoy the simple joy of being able to create something unique with your own bare hands.

The mannequin I've been repainting


3. Baths
Last but certainly not least is having a bath. It's one I've mentioned before but have to mention it again because, if I can, it's the first thing I will do to relax. I think it's because you can incorporate so many other self care activities into it. When I have a bath I like to read or listen to music, use an indulgent bath bomb from Lush, do a face mask, have a nice hot drink (or a rum...) etc. Basically all of my favourite things. All of that takes care of the mental side of things and as for the physical, I think there's a real feel good factor in just lying there naked, really seeing all of your body. To pamper your body and see it in all its glory can be incredibly empowering. So make the time to have an indulgent bath; pick an amazing bath bomb, your current read and just enjoy relaxing.


Geneen Roth = widsom of the world


FYI: All the above photos are taken from my Instagram page, where I regularly post self care activities. 

So there you go, the basics of self care which in itself is a basic part of becoming Body Positive. I honestly believe that self care is the foundation of a happy heart and body acceptance. Self care is not  just something you engage in only when you've encountered something negative, it is a daily commitment to yourself to look after your own interests.

Self care is not a luxury, it is not an indulgence; it is absolutely necessary.






Friday, 29 January 2016

I'm backkkk...

Hey guys!

So as you know I created a "new blog" before Christmas on Wordpress. I thought this would be really professional and exciting, but it's just not turned out like that. I didn't like the layout, found it hard to use etc. But the main reason I'm back here is because a lot of people were still coming to this blog and for me personally, writing on it feels like coming home. Cheesy but true!

I'm in my 3rd year of uni so things are really hectic but I do plan to start posting fairly regularly. In the mean time, if you're on Twitter and Instagram, start following me because I post daily!



Stay tuned!

Love, H x

Monday, 8 June 2015

Seven things that are good for the soul!

So exams are finally over and that's my second year of university all finished which is really exciting, but also really scary thinking that this time next year I'll finally be graduating. Then it's going to be all about job hunting in that big, bad, adult world. Scary stuff.

Anyway, enough of the serious talk. Today I wanted to write a really light hearted post about self-care. Self-care is basically a term for doing things that make you feel good; things that are "good for the soul" or just keep you plain sane in times of stress (i.e. revising for exams). It's so important to look after yourself so you're less likely to turn to unhealthy habits to soothe any discomfort. Making the time to do little things for yourself each day can really add up and improve your mindset. 

With that said, here are seven of my favourite things I to do to look after myself:


1. Cook a New Meal
I'm not sure if it's just because I personally enjoy cooking and baking, but I really do think there's nothing more satisfying than cooking a new meal from scratch. There's something so rewarding about going out, acquiring the ingredients, following a recipe and creating an entirely new taste experience. It can take up as much or as little time as you want and the same of course goes for cost. You can cook for yourself, for your partner or your entire family, whatever you fancy. 
I've spent so much time in Greece I like to think of myself as an honorary Greek citizen and that of course means I love Greek food. This weekend I went to an amazing Greek restaurant with my entire family for a Greek banquet and the food was absolutely amazing! I've attempted a few dishes previously but have never made Beef Stifado, which is one of may favourites "When in Rome Greece" and it's now on the top of my hit list to cook next.



2. Tea
It might be a British thing, but the comforting feeling a hot cup of tea gives you can't be denied. Whether it's your typical English Breakfast tea or something more exotic; green tea, vanilla tea, peppermint tea etc. It really is like a hug in a mug. Put it in a pretty cup and saucer or your favourite mug and enjoy!
 Mine is a standard English tea, with lots of milk and a pinch (yes a pinch) of sugar, please. Oh and I'll have a chocolate Hob Nob with it if you're offering.



3. Do something that makes you feel good about your appearance
Of course I know that appearances aren't everything, but things like a bright shade of lipstick or a dress you feel amazing in can really brighten your day. Or even something like wearing beautiful underwear in the most humdrum, everyday-life situations. There's nothing more uplifting and slightly amusing than sitting in a lecture or at work knowing you're wearing the most spectacular underwear. No one is going to see it but that doesn't matter. It's not for a man or for anyone else, it's solely for you. Only you will know how exquisite you look underneath your clothes and that's enough to leave a little smile on your face and a spring in your step. Trust me and try it ladies. 


4. Reading 
It's hardly surprising this is one made the list with me being an English student, but I don't really sit around reading Shakespeare in my spare time...
I recommend that you find a genre you love and completely devour it. If for example you like Romance books, look on Amazon top sellers, buy three or four books and really get into them. I love books and always have because stories are such powerful things. They have the ability to take you to another world, but they also open your mind up to how other people think which is a valuable life skill.
I personally enjoy books on body image, women in the media and anything on "New Feminism". I've just started a book by Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. The book itself is called "Everyday Sexism" and I'm only two chapters in but I really recommend it. This woman talks a lot of sense and I think that I'm slightly in love with her. I'm also thinking of writing a post about my favourite books on body image, eating disorders, anti-diets etc. so keep a look out for that.



5. Have an amazing bath, with bubbles, candles and music
 This can seem like a bit of an effort when you're short on time but make the time and make the effort, because you deserve it. Pick your favourite music, a scented candle, settle down and relax. 
I love Yankee candles and my favourite bath products are basically anything from Lush, because they're natural and most importantly they don't test on animals. If you haven't bought anything from Lush before I suggest a bubble bar!
If you have the time, turn that bath into a pamper session. After a bath I love smothering myself head to toe in moisturiser. I'm not talking about a light lotion here people, I'm talking about that rich body butter in a tub that leaves you so slippery you feel like a wet seal sliding around your bed. No really.



6. Take on a new challenge
As I write this, I've just got back from my first ever driving lesson. I figured at the ripe old age of 22 it was about time I started learning to drive. It was so scary but so exciting and it's all I can think about now. Starting a completely new challenge can be so refreshing and really give you focus. It can be anything you fancy, learning to drive, starting a blog, learning a new language, learning to cook etc. Just choose something you've always wanted to do, but is also fairly realistic, and get stuck in because you never know where it may lead.



7. Family, friends and pets
Now this is a cheesy one, but nothing makes you feel better than spending time with your loved ones. I don't care if you don't have a "nuclear" family, if you consider your friends to be your only family, or even if it's just you and your cat against the world. Spend time with those people (+fur babies) and cherish them. We live in such a fast paced world we're all guilty of putting other things before our loved ones but it's never too late to start appreciating others. When I'm a bit down or stressed having a good laugh with my family and friends is the best thing in the world.


 Also I'm sure you've guessed by now that I have cats. The number depends on if we've taken another stray into our make shift cat rescue centre, but that number stands at seven right now. 
This little man below is possibly the love of my life. His name is Teddy Bear in case you were wondering, but he goes by the name of Ted to those who know him best.




And that's a wrap.

I hope you guys enjoyed these tips. I wanted to include some more personal information about my life and the things I like to do because I don't want this blog to feel anonymous. I mean I'm discussing some pretty serious and personal stuff, like eating disorders and body image, and I want you to feel like you know a bit more about who I am.

With regards to future posts now I'm exam free (did I mention I've finished my exams?) I've got so many exciting ideas. I want to write articles about so called "plus-size" models, disparity in clothing sizes, books reviews and a lot more so stay tuned!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sorry!

Hi guys, this is just a really quick post to explain my absence these past few weeks!

I have two weeks left before the end of my Uni exams and I'm currently in revision hell. I'm a hermit: A dressing gown wearing, chipped nailed, greasy haired, stressed and slobby hermit.

I finish on June 2nd and I promise after that I'm all yours. I have so many ideas for posts and I just can't wait to write them, so watch this space!

H x




Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Are You Beach Body Ready?

So April has been a fairly interesting month for those of you interested in body image in the media. One particular advertisement really got my blood boiling, so much so I am now writing this blog post when I should be writing a 4000 word essay on Virginia Woolf for Uni (naughty). However I'm sure Virginia, being the legendary feminist she was, would totally understand...

Okay so the advertisement by "Protein World" was placed in underground stations across London. The image shows a woman in a bikini asking:
"ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?"

Now it's not just me that has been outraged by this advertisement, there has been a number of protests and there are more in the pipeline, all with the aim to get these ads taken down. A lot of these protesters are claiming that this particular model and these advertisements as a whole promote an unrealistic and "unhealthy body image" (Guardian). However I think that's a bit extreme because for me personally it borders on "skinny shaming". I don't think we should shame any woman's body, even the model in this advert. She is a beautiful woman and I honestly think no less of her than I would of a "plus-size" model.
 I think these ads should be taken down because it's putting the message out there that only this particular body type is acceptable for all women. It also presents women with the ridiculous notion that you have to look exactly like this to go to the beach... For the record, anyone of any shape or size can go to the beach and wear a bikini. Just sayin'.

Below are some gems I found on the internet  of people opposing this advert.




The next image is my absolute favourite. Two young female bloggers, Fiona Longmuir and Tara Costellofelt so strongly about this image they stripped down to their bikinis in the middle of a London tube station.


All I can possibly say is well done ladies, you are truly inspirational.
Yes, these girls' bodies are different from the model but their bodies are also different from each other. That is the exact point. No two women are the same and that is something to celebrate. 

If you've been following my blog posts you'll know I have always been honest about how much my mindset has changed regarding body image over the years: When I was a 16 year old girl I probably would have seen this image and viewed it as "Thinspo" or inspiration to "get skinny". I now sit here typing this article as a 22 year old woman that truly loves her body. We all have off days and little moments of insecurity because that is human nature, but 99% of the time I love my bodyI love my body in a dress, in a bikini and shock horror, I love my naked body. I don't say that because I'm arrogant, big headed or whatever you want to call it, I say it because I made the decision a few years ago that I would not spend my entire existence hating the beautiful and incredible machine that will carry me through all my life. 

Going forward, I really hope these ads gets taken down, but sadly I don't think it is the last body shaming media campaign I will ever write about. 

With that said, here's my advice on how to get beach body ready:

Put a bikini on your body and go to the beach. Simples.


Saturday, 11 April 2015

10 Reasons to Stop Dieting Today

For those of you living in Britain, you'll know the weather has been pretty nice recently. The hint of sunshine has got me thinking about the summer to come. More specifically how women will soon face the "Shape Up for Summer" adverts and articles: AKA encouragement so start yet another diet, but as we all know - diets don't work. For those of you who are still on the diet/binge/hating your body merry go round, here's 10 reasons to stop dieting today.

1. Diets don't work
I've covered this topic a fair bit in previous posts, so won't go into it in a huge amount of detail again. That said, I think the following statistic speaks for itself: 97% of people gain back any weight that they lost (and then some) within three years after a diet. That's if you can even manage losing the weight to begin with because as I'm sure you know by now, diets are nearly always impossible to stick to. This leads me nicely onto reason number two on why you should ditch the diets.



2. Food is amazing
Come on let's face it, being on a diet is a complete bore because food is simply incredible. There is so much more to food than it just being a source of fuel for your body. Whether it's a tasty pub lunch, a slice of home-made cake or a very lovely full fat vanilla latte picked up on your way to a lecture - food is a hugely enjoyable part of life. At least it should be. 
Have you also thought about how big a part food plays in our lives. We celebrate the birth of our children with Christenings, usually followed by a party and lots of food and drink. When a loved one dies we offer food at the wake as a part of the mourning process. In-between the beginning and the end of a life we celebrate weddings, birthdays and anniversaries; all with food (specifically cake). To deprive yourself of food on such occasions is to deprive yourself a full life, of feeling; both the good and bad. We can eat to live, and live to eat simultaneously, despite what those crazy thinspo slogans tell you.


Baked by yours truly


3. You will stop binge-eating
When you give yourself permission to eat foods you consider "bad" or "naughty", basically anything that you consider to be off limits, all food becomes equal. Therefore foods you used to go crazy for lose a lot of their appeal. Let's use that story about naughty Eve in the Garden of Eden as an example; she only wanted the apple because she wasn't allowed to eat it. The same way you only want those Oreos because you don't allow yourself to have them on a regular basis. Then you go crazy and eat a whole pack because you know your diet will start again tomorrow and it's your last chance to eat them. So the cycle continues...


4. You will love your body
You diet because you want to lose weight which means you diet in order to change your body; essentially to change yourself. By dieting you are doing something with the aim to change who you are, not just what you look like. What this says is that you are not okay now, exactly as you are. For the record ladies, you are more than okay. You are amazing, right now, not 20 pounds from now.




5. You will realise other people love your body
I debated including this one as I'm a firm believer that the only opinion that matters regarding your body, is of course your own. However I recently saw a statistic that 4 out of 10 women are embarrassed to be seen naked by their partner and that makes me so incredibly sad. Your sexual partner, whether that be your husband or someone you're only seeing casually, should be someone who respects you entirely. Therefore being intimate with them should feel both comfortable and natural. Sex is one of the few free things in life that is there to simply be enjoyed. 




6. You will be more fun and have more fun
Everyone knows that incredibly boring person who is forever on a diet. If they're not explaining how this new diet works or why it's different from all the other diets they've done previously, they're snubbing tasty food and making you feel guilty for eating it around them. Chances are that if you're reading this, you could indeed be that person. I was that person and can honestly say that I have a lot more fun and actually enjoy my life, now that I am no longer constrained by dieting. Going for a tasty meal and plenty of cocktails with a friend is what life's all about. Believe me, letting your hair down feels good.






7. You will realise being thin won't change your life
When I'm thin I'll change my job. When I'm thin I'll feel sexy. When I'm thin that guy will finally fancy me... And so the list goes on. The thing is, the only person who's stopping you living the life you want to live today, is in fact you. Women of all different shapes are considered sexy, successful, clever, funny, beautiful. Despite what you have been led to believe, size actually has very little to do with other peoples perception of you. You can be the person you want to be today, not when you hit your ideal weight.
Hands up. I used to be so guilty of this one. Since I've accepted myself entirely I feel more confident, beautiful, capable and excited about life than ever before. I think letting go of the "When I'm Thin" myth is the most important thing you can do to heal your body image. A lot of the time, thin is a word that's interchangeable with happy
What changes do you need to make to your life to in order for you to feel happy? When you have identified what it's going to take to make your life one you want to be living, make those changes, today. 



8. You will focus more on present relationships 
Diets are the ultimate distraction from life. Adding up all those calories, points, syns and working out what you can and can't eat takes up a lot of time. That's half the point of dieting; filling your mind with how much you can and can't eat distracts you not only from major problems in your life, such as the fact you may hate your job, but also your relationships with others. Ordering cake with your coffee might be a pleasant distraction from someone who's company you don't enjoy. However such distractions stop you from questioning why it is you don't enjoy that person's company. Is every person in your life someone that values you, as much as you do them?
Also, think about how much time it takes you to input those calories into myfitnesspal. Are you missing out on your children playing, your friend's laughter, your Dad's bad jokes. Are you missing out on those seemingly insignificant moments in the pursuit of perfection? They may seem unimportant when you're main goal is to get to your ideal weight, but I bet that at the end of your life you would give anything to experience those little moments with loved ones again, not staying under your calorie allowance for 4 days on the trot in 2010.


9. You will question what you truly want out of life
I despise the "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"question, but just think about all the things you have promised to give yourself when you reach your ideal weight. What do you think would happen if you went for everything you wanted out of life, not when you're "thin" but right now? I know the answer to that: Your life would be amazing.
 How do I know that you may ask? I know the answer because I have walked the walk and talked the talk. Letting go of the "When I'm Thin" myth allowed me to identify what I wanted out of life. Before I did this my only hobby was dieting, my life goal was to be thin, my entire existence revolved around a dream. Letting go a few years back of this unhealthy obsession allowed me to identify what I want out of life. I have gained so much more from self acceptance than I ever have when I've reached my goal weight. So I dare you, do something today you have ever only dreamed about in your "When I'm Thin" dreams!


10. Life is too short.
Enough said.