I’ve been fat as long as I can remember. But to me it’s something I have, not something I am, in that I should no more be defined by the colour of my hair. Fat is a descriptive word and I’m more than happy to be called it. It’s a statement of fact (and I hate being told I’m not – more on that another time). But what makes me, me, is my personality, the rest is just window dressing.
I used to despise my fat. I was at my heaviest in my late teens/early twenties (size 22/24), a time when I gorged on mainstream trashy magazines. They taught me to hate my body. Every time I read an article about dieting, I was learning that mine was wrong. When I saw the “problem areas”, I thought to myself how every bit of my body was being described as a problem that needed addressing. I spent years ripping out articles with advise on how to diet and what I should avoid, but would binge eat at the same time so it was utterly pointless. I hid my body in hideous clothes I would only buy because they fit, and got next to no pleasure from fashion.
Simply put, I didn’t deserve to be accepted in the body I was in. I wouldn’t want to eat any junk food in front of people, for fear of judgement “oh no wonder she’s fat when she’s eating that”. It didn’t help that my parents said such things to me and were constantly berating me for my weight.
I lost around three stone and dropped to a size 16, and at the time I did feel much better about myself. I had people telling me how good I looked, and I could finally shop in stores that had previously been entirely out of bounds as they didn’t stock my larger size. I’d still never have been caught dead in a bikini though as I wasn’t body confident. Yes, I was much happier with how I looked, but I was still reading how you should be shamed for your cellulite, that muffin tops are sinful, bingo wings are no-no and you need to be lifting cans of baked beans to shift them pronto….
It wasn’t until I found the likes of Bethany Rutter a few years ago on Twitter, and other incredible women online, that I started to shift the view I had of my own body. These women ooze body confidence, and I started following hoards of them on Twitter, Instagram, reading their blogs and stopped reading women’s magazines altogether. I could suddenly translate the positivity they had for themselves to my body, and their no fucks attitude was utterly refreshing.
Deciding to stop giving a fuck about what anyone thinks of your body is incredibly liberating. I will eat whatever I want, wear whatever I want in front of anyone (public decency allowing), and if you don’t like it, don’t look at me. My dad in particular has said things about my weight (in reference to when I’m eating). When he did recently, I told him I could eat exactly what I liked thank you, butt out. I’m a grown ass woman. I may be fat, and frankly, I’m likely to be forever, and I’m ok with that. If I decide one day to change that, that’s my choice.
I’ve put on weight again, I vary widely between a 16-20 (depending on the shop and fit), and my confidence now far exceeds that than it ever has. It’s always growing; the more I follow such like-minded women. If you had asked me a few years ago if I’d be posting photos of myself on Instagram in my underwear, I’d have assumed I’d be a size 12.
I went to New Look’s Curve Fashion Festival yesterday, and was surrounded by a room full of positive women, including the likes of those who have taught me to love and embrace my body. I feel so grateful that I have learnt to have stop hating on myself and actual enjoy life and embrace it fully.
With that, I want to thank the following women for helping me to achieve this over the years. Whether they blog about fashion, body positivity, parenting, or are just absolute babes who post incredible photos of themselves online, each one of the below has helped me learn to embrace my body and become a more confident woman. Many of them are big names in the blogging community, so anyone who may stumble on this is sure to have heard of them, but if by some slim chance you haven’t, go forth and follow immediately.
There are absolutely hoards more of incredible and my list could be endless. If you struggle with body confidence, follow women like these, and accounts like Eff Your Beauty Standands it would honestly help shift the negative image you’ve been forced to learn.