When I first started The Fat Girls Guide to Running a whopping ten years ago…I was very much on a weightloss journey.
I was a frequent attendee of slimming clubs, bought every diet book going and thought weight loss was the thing which would bring me happiness and success.
A few years into writing the blog I dropped all talk of dieting and weight loss?
It was exhausting, depressing and unhelpful to the majority of people who read my blog, who were not generally looking for motivation to lose weight, instead inspiration to show up exactly as they were without judgement.
I started doing a lot of reading about fat politics, the health at every size movement and what would be the beginning of the UK’s body positivity movement.
There is a belief that when you drop the diet talk and become body positive that you are giving up, surrendering, accepting a life where you can eat EVERYTHING and never have any health goals.
This has never been the case for me.
I have always been interested in improving my health and looking after my body, and that is why I still read health books, watch documentaries, work with mindset coaches, and work out.
I stopped talking about my weight and it felt really freeing.
Often people would say, “I guess because of your brand you can’t ever lose weight” which is ludicrous…suggesting that I can’t be body positive and an advocate for plus size fitness if I am no longer plus size.
I wasn’t actively dieting, but this didn’t mean I wasn’t open to being smaller.
In 2018 I stood on the red dot and gave a talk on Living a Bigger Life in the body you are currently in (almost 5K people have watched it now), I have run online coaching programmes on this kind of empowerment, and written books on the topic.
My online groups now are generally speaking diet free zones. I am not militant in enforcing this, because I don’t believe in shaming or making people feel uncomfortable while they are on their own journey. I will just post gentle reminders of why having a diet free space online is important
- Because diet culture ie EVERYWHERE else
- Not everyone is looking to (or can) become smaller
- We prefer to focus on fitness and wellbeing irrespective of weight loss or gain
I can’t deny that sometimes I wish I could share more openly my own battles with body acceptance, I mean we all have those days, right? But I don’t want to be seen as a hypocrite, or influence other peoples decisions about their journey.
People from both sides of the body positivity movement can be quite mean…and I have been publically and privately shamed whenever I have even mentioned wanting to change my body.
My weight has been pretty stable the last 6 years or so…give or take 10lbs (I rarely weight myself)…I have been a consistent size 18 and I have been OK with that. I wear swimwear at the beach, I dance like nobody is watching at a disco, and I stand on stages in front of hundreds of people…I’m generally good in the skin I’m in.
I know that I continue to be judged for my size, sadly that’s the world we live in…and I also know that as I get older there is always the possibility that carrying additional weight may come with some health indications…but this is also true for people who smoke, or drink excessively, or never eat their greens.
During the recent lockdown, though my weight did creep up significantly….and so many of the old demons reappeared.
I could feel it in my clothes…the ones that didn’t fit me any more. I could no longer fit into many of my size 18 clothes, and like many of us not going out anywhere the need to fit into my more fitted clothes wasn’t an issue at first.
Exercise has always been the key to me maintaining my weight.
When I am moving my body, and have fitness goals I am more consistent with my diet, I drink less alcohol (normally just if there is an occasion), I sleep better…I am happier.
But without exercise…everything seemed to slip.
My stress levels were at an all-time high. I was having panic attacks in the supermarket, I didn’t want to leave my house to get fresh groceries, I was unable to get home deliveries…things had changed.
Homeschooling a 7-year-old, spending all my time in my 2 bedroom apartment, trying to keep my businesses afloat, they took their tole…one thing I could get home delivered was a case of red wine which became a bit of a nightly ritual to help wind down and block out what was going on in the world.
Things have settled down now.
I am getting out the house a bit more (still not as much as I’d like), but fitness is still challenging logistically with my 7-year-old at homes all of the time.
5 weeks ago I took delivery of a peloton bike. As part of our Thrive Inside initiative, I had been using a turbo trainer and my road bike in my front room to do weekly workouts…but I knew I needed more than that.
And Peloton has been fabulous for helping me get my fitness mojo back. I am training every day and I am eating better, and there has been no red wine in the house for a couple of months now.
I have had to come to terms with the fact that my body had changed, and I was not willing to accept that in the long term. Not because of how it looked, or even how it might be judged by others….but how I felt in it, unable to run, lower back pain if I walked any distance, and unable to tie my shoes with ease (my flexibility has taken a massive hit without my twice-weekly CrossFit classes)
I know I need goals, I know I need external accountability, I know I need structure.
And so I am back, and on it when it comes to smashing my health goals over the next few months.
I have signed up to do the Prudential Ride 100….YES I WILL BE RIDING 100 MILES FROM MY BEDROOM…rasing money for Pancreatic Cancer in support of my dear friend Bryony Thomas who was diagnosed in December.
You can find out more and donate here
Nobody can tell you how to feel about your body. You get to decide what’s right for it. There is no shame in deciding you want something different when that is done from a place of love.
Have a great week and know you are loved.