Wednesday, 6 August 2014

From Thin to Fat

From Thin to Fat:

Or the longer title: How to be fat in a slim person's world

Okay, so before I decided to start writing about this from my angle I sincerely searched the internet to see if this had been done before – and guess what I found? 

So many slim people telling me how to dress my ‘fuller figure’ sigh. 

Now, I fully accept that a fashion graduate who looks like they subsist on nothing but kale may have a brilliant perspective on loving your body as their body confidence vlogs tell me, but I can’t come to grips with this rip tide of mixed messages from fashion media. 

The subject of Fat shaming

Half of the world is trying to ‘fat shame’ me, telling me that I shouldn’t even exist in the eyes of the media. The curvier woman shouldn’t appear in a magazine, full stop. 

Heaven forbid that she want to see a plus size mannequin so that she knows how well a plus size outfit will look on a body. Sometimes you just don’t want to risk doing the embarrassing dance in the changing room, where you have that brief moment of horror wondering if that dress will actually undo or if you’ll have to cut yourself out like a fashion fire woman. 

Here comes to commentary that I see on every Daily Mail article that involves a larger woman talking about body confidence – how dare she?! How dare she like herself when she is so DISGUSTING?! 
No obese person wants to be obese. Loving yourself is hard in a skinny body and I know; I WAS the skinny one! Imagine looking in the mirror and knowing that you COULD lose a little bit of weight, but hey! You’re a size ten; at least you’re not that fat! Now imagine that you’re so large that shaving your bikini line is a goddamn war zone. Yeah, lifting rolls of flab, completely re-positioning yourself from anything natural (more cirque de soleil) you have no idea until you have a body that suddenly isn't normal, what it’s like to be obese.

Then come the fat shamers – now, you may be reading this article thinking to yourself that I am glorifying fat and obesity and I am not. You just do not need to tell a 25 year old obese woman that she is fat, that she is disgusting, and that she just needs to eat less and move more. WE DO NOT NEED TO HEAR THIS! 
I KNOW that I need to eat less and move more, telling me does not make it so. Telling me isn’t a magic cure that will make me skinny, all it does it make me more ashamed to be this way. I KNOW the way out of the hole but I just keep getting ‘distracted’ (for lack of a better word) on the way up the ladder.  

Every time someone states that an obese person is disgusting, killing themselves with unhealthy food and need to sort themselves out is doing no one any favours. Every overweight person has thought about themselves in this horrible way, and they have come up with more creative ways of doing it. I dare you to find an overweight/obese woman that hasn't cried in a dressing room, or over a photo that someone took of them in a bikini and felt that dark feeling in their head that said “Nothing seems to work, I just want to cut this bloody fat right off my bones!” 

Many people don’t realize that the journey to fat is littered with psychological reasons for weight gain, many subconscious. Some come from forms of childhood emotional abuse, a cry for help. Some even come from the security of being fat. I feel that deep down, I don’t go to social gatherings, or risk being in a situation where I could be raped or insulted simply because I am fat. I know this isn’t true, and that fat women/men are just at risk but some deep down part of my psyche tells me I am safe because of this excess wobble on my body. No one would want a fat girl. 

So next time you, as a skinny person, see an article, a blog or TV show about a larger person coming to terms with loving themselves – hold your tongue. The negative feedback, and awful comments you all have are just going to send me right back to the fridge to be honest. If I got support in this kind of forum it would probably go a long way to solving the psychological issues behind being fat in the first place.  
Better yet, the next time you see a picture of a fat person, hold your tongue and think about the doctors and family members and friends that spend every day making backhanded comments about their weight. They get it enough, just lay off. I am not saying it’s OKAY to be fat/overweight/obese, I am just telling you to think before you speak.  

If I could, I would put every naturally skim person in a bariatric suit so they could walk a mile in the flab. No one wants to be this way (no one mentally healthy) and we are not deluding ourselves that it’s okay.  

The horror of Plus Size fashion

No offence to the fashion savvy ladies of the internet, but I am sick of being told how to dress my ‘fuller figure’ by someone that is dancing around in a size 8 dress two months after giving birth. Someone that shows glorious photos of cupcakes and mashed potatoes on pies followed quickly by a selfie of you wearing a bikini – that just doesn't sit right with me. 

I LOVE plus size models, I love seeing how clothing fits on a curvier lady because you just generally have to have a different style and an entirely different outlook.  

When I went from a size 8 to size 16 over 3 years, I had to learn how to dress myself again. I had to learn how to shop. It’s been hard. What makes it worse is the amount of content out there that is absolutely no help to me.  Unless you have sat on the pavement on a hot summers day with a silent smile (grimace) on your face because you forgot to put shorts on under your maxi dress and your thighs are BURNING from rubbing together – don’t tell me that this maxi dress is perfect for fuller figured ladies! 

Built in shorts and something that makes me look 3 sizes smaller! I’ll drop £200 in one go.  Just because something covers you like a smock, does not make it ‘perfect’ for fuller figured ladies. 

I am really not trying to be anti-skinny here – I am just angry. As a slim person I had my way of dressing, and you find a style that fits. It IS easier, as when you walk into a shop, more options will fit you. That’s not a lie, and that’s not being an angry fat girl. Slimmer people just generally have more options.  
From fear of promoting obesity to simply the cost of fabric, there must be a reason that bigger sizes aren’t typically promoted in high street retailers. 

My story - Going supersize 

Many people don’t realize that whilst it may seem like 3 years is a short amount of time, more often than not when you gain weight you don’t realize until you reach some sort of landmark where is smacks you right in the face. Honestly, because it can happen so gradually it can seem really scary as I didn't know what was making me fat. Food was making me fat, but I couldn't very well stop eating at this point. 

I am the first person to admit that I have a really unhealthy relationship with food. I spent my time from the age of 13 to 20 as a size 8 (10 on a fat day) as a 5ft 7in lady, I was tall and even at 9 stone, I was very slim. My rib bones jutted out when I lay down, my ribs could be seen – and I bloody loved it! 

I had so many issues when I was younger, I was on anti-depressants when I turned 15 and that’s where it started. They took away my appetite and I dropped that last half of a stone that gave me a bit of wiggle and suddenly people asked me out. I was known as one of the hot girls, I could walk into any shop and pick up anything I liked and didn't even have to try it on. 

I still have photos from my trip to Egypt aged 17. I looked like one of those celeb pictures on holiday – in my mind I was a whale, but looking at those pictures now fill me with a tingle of joy that it was possible to be that slim! 

If you looked at my diet and exercise back then, it wasn't any wonder how much I weighed. I would starve myself until lunch (just skipping breakfast) and drink two cartons of chocolate milk. In the evening, my mother (who also has a crap relationship with food) would force me to eat nothing but veggie soup and a roll as she was on some new slimming world/fat burning soup diet. 

I did dance GSCE, I would spend about 45 minutes a day exercising at school, and then when I got home we could go for a powerwalk of up to around 3K – this happened 3 times a week.  
Hunger was constant but a success, and a BIG part of me wishes I could go back to those days. 

At my smallest, I didn't eat until 6 at night every evening. My college was so far away, about two bus journeys and I had just quit my job at the local convenience store. My depression was getting so bad that I couldn't even go to work on most days. I quit when they wouldn't let me go home when I was having an episode. I locked myself in this bathroom and pretended to have food poisoning. 

With the bus fare and having no money, I couldn't physically afford to eat and that suited me fine. I remember one day when everyone went to Nandos and they all ate bowls full of chicken, chips and rice, and I just sat there. I had no money. The girls had a knowing look in their eyes, like they knew I was anorexic, like it was some cool commodity. Depression and an eating disorder apparently made me really cool in Art College. 

Not to be in denial but I never had an eating disorder. My medication took away my appetite full stop. I was never doing it on purpose, not really. That didn't mean that I couldn't love the effects of being thin. 
Then I came off my medication, and it started, very specifically, with a red pepper and tomato soup at my local campus. I always loved the smell of that soup when I walked past and I had just gotten a new job as well, so I actually had money for lunch. That soup was the first thing I started eating, at this point I still wasn't that hungry during the day, but soup was fine. 

You can see it in the photos – over three months, I gained one and a half stone just by going back to eating food. In my mind, I was still the same but in the pictures it painted a very different picture. 
In my mind, I was still a healthy size ten. Little did I know I was getting FAT! Capital letters needed here. It wasn't until 2012, in May. Two years after I came off my medication, two years of thinking I was a normal human being.  

I asked my boyfriend to take a photo of me in my bikini so I could anticipate the holiday photos. We were leaving for Kos the next day. I really shouldn't have done it. In my imaginary reality I was still slim, although I KNEW I wasn't as thin as I was.

I still believed myself to be attractive. I didn't want to see what was there.

I have gained around 5 stone in total from the day I came off my medication to that point. Two years and five stone. I wonder how I didn't take a good hard look at myself before that point and as I start, it hits you like a landmine - or something I call, the fat shovel!

Mark showed me the photo of myself, and I sobbed. Gone were the smooth lines of my stomach and all I could see were stretch marks everywhere: on my muffin top, on the tops of my saddle bags, and my boobs. My stomach was no longer flat but sat in rolls on my body. The thin area of my pubis was sunken in compared to the pouch of my lower stomach that sagged and covered it. The day before my first holiday with my partner and it broke my heart. 

I sobbed for hours. 

Now don’t tell me that a size 8 woman knows how to dress a fuller figure. She has never looked at her arms in a photo and wished she could just photoshop herself out of it. She’s never bought a pair of jeans that have actually split up the bum seam when she’s bent over. 
I am fine with you telling me what’s fashionable – but never pretend that you understand, because you don’t. 

Wibbly Wobbly

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