Please do not feed the diet monster

It’s only been two years since I started trying to break out of the whole mainstream fatphobic diet mentality thing, and I already have far, far more good days than bad. I learned to love my body and my self no matter what size or shape, I can recognise damaging talk when I hear it, I will never go on another diet as long as I live.

But earlier this week I made a mistake. I had a meeting after work, and traffic was bad so I only had a few minutes at home to change out of my work clothes. I threw on some jeans and a hoodie and ran out the door.

Fifteen minutes later, when I knew I would make the meeting on time and had calmed down enough to notice, I realised that my jeans didn’t fit. At all. What should have been boot cut was now super skinny, I couldn’t bend my knees fully, and even when I was standing the waistband dug into my stomach.

I was stuck in those jeans for 5 hours. Aside from the physical discomfort, I noticed some thoughts sneaking in as the night went on. Thoughts like

This is just because of the injury. Once I start exercising again I’ll get smaller.

If I use my kettlebells, that’ll have an effect faster.

These used to fit me, how did I let myself get so much bigger?

And hundreds of variations on that theme.

I had forgotten how ingrained fatphobia was. Here I was thinking I had beaten it, but less than an hour in some tight trousers was enough to push me a huge step backwards and get me planning and plotting to make myself smaller.

What’s even worse is that the effect didn’t go away when I took the jeans off. It’s days later now and I’ve got my first salsa class since before my injury; I know I’m bigger than last time most of the salsa scene saw me, and I’m afraid of what they will think of me. There’s a small part of me that is actually seriously considering not going.

All this because of ONE PAIR OF FREAKING JEANS!

Of course I’m going to salsa. That nasty voice in my head is still trying to stop me, but I’ve had two years practice at throwing my shoulders back, lifting my chin and doing it anyway. And then the second I have enough free time, I’m going through every item of clothing I own and getting rid of anything and everything that doesn’t fit me. If I then need to go and buy bigger clothes, so be it. Clothing sizes are just numbers and not one of them is better than another.

My body is perfectly fine exactly as it is. My body (and my mind) deserves clothes that fit well and that make me feel fabulous, not like a sausage about to burst its skin.

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Tired smile

#‎SmileChallenge

I’m tired today, after only 5 hours sleep.

I’m smiling because it was so worth it. I haven’t been able to go out to a salsa social for a long time (being a grown up sucks), but this was a one-off special event and I decided to go no matter what. Best decision so far this year!

My face paint behaved itself, my outfit was awesome, I got to spend time with my friends and have some super good dances. I loved it!

feel the music

Look how much I’m enjoying that dance.

 

Plus I just laughed until I couldn’t breathe with my Voicebeat friend. Love Mondays.

31 things I love (part 2)

And suddenly we’re a whole month into 2016. Time flies when…stuff happens.

Anyway here’s the round up of body love for the second half of January:

Day 17: I love that my body can dance, and that I can see myself getting better at it.
I’ve tried to write about salsa and how it makes me feel, but it’s not the kind of thing that can be pinned down by words.If the music is right and the leader is good, for a few minutes I know what joy is.

Day 18: I looooove swinging my kettlebells around. It’s so much fun and makes me feel super strong that my arms and legs can swing 20kg of iron around. Can’t wait til I can afford some 15kg bells!

Day 19: I love my ears.
I love that I can wear earrings in them. I love that through them I can hear music and songs. I specially love the dinky little elf point on my right ear.

elf

Day 20: I love my one double-jointed thumb. Because it’s a little bit weird.

thumb

Day 21: Today I love my tongue (I’ll spare you the photo) and my sense of taste. I love that it can adapt and change and learn to love things I thought I didn’t like. Except tomatoes. They’re just nasty.

Day 22: I love my grey hairs (which apparently don’t show up very well on camera), simply because not everyone lives long enough to GET grey hairs. If I’m lucky, I shall live until I go completely grey.

Day 23: While we’re up here, I love my Thorley hairline.
We have this wee triangle either side of our forehead, just to make sure we know which clan we are

hairline

Day 24: Today I love my shoulders. Just because.

Day 25: I love my lips. I can speak and play flute and eat and hold things when my hands are full.

Day 26: I love my super fast reading skills. There are SO many books in the world, I need to get through them asap!

books

Day 27: I love that I can use my body to help other people.
Plus I still find it completely amazing that I can lose a bag of blood and my body will just make more of it.

SAM_3557

Day 28: I love that my body is so vocal, although I still need to work on listening to it. It tells me when I need sleep, food, alone time, exercise, whatever I need to function well. Right now it’s shouting “humans were not meant to run on pizza and noodles!”.
Message received, body.

Day 29: I love my confidence. It takes pretty much constant work, but it’s growing all the time.

RFL

Day 30: I love my honesty. And honestly, today I’m struggling.
But never mind. Lemsip, early night, and I’ll be right back to full tilt self-love tomorrow.

And finally Day 31: I love my lovely dark eyelashes.

eyelashes

Cropped (ish)

Limit #8: Fat people can’t wear crop tops.

For years I’ve had an incredible fear (I suppose it’s a phobia) of people seeing my stomach. I don’t know what I expected to happen if anyone ever did see it. Maybe they would explode out of sheer disgust.

But the real reason I have always kept it covered up comes from the part of my mind that has got self-deception down to a fine art. It believed that, as long as my tummy was covered up, nobody could actually know that I was fat. That bulge right there, that could be my clothes, it could be the way I’m sitting, I could have a cushion stuffed down there. You don’t know.

Having decided to accept the fact that I’m fat and it’s okay, even this bizarre logic isn’t a good enough excuse to keep hiding myself away. But this is a long-standing, deep-rooted, powerful phobia.  It will not go away overnight.

However, I am determined that it will eventually go away, so I’ve started working on it. With this top:

SAM_3054

Seems pretty innocent, right? Even standing up there’s nothing on show.

SAM_3057

But here’s the thing – I wore this top to salsa. I have never tried dancing salsa with my arms fixed down by my sides but I can imagine it wouldn’t work too well, and this is what happened when I raised my arms for a move.

SAM_3059
Vasilala con styling…ish

And there it is. Nobody’s exploded? Good. Then I’ll continue.

It may not look like much, especially considering most moves involve my arms being raised for a few seconds maximum, but walking up the stairs in Boteco wearing this was terrifying.

I will always remember the first dance in this top because the sensation of air on my midriff was so bizarre I could hardly follow my leader. It’s good practice to keep your free arm at waist height when dancing Cuban salsa, and I spent the whole dance resisting the urge to put it right across my waist to cover up.

But we made it through, still with no disgust-explosions, and I felt a little more relaxed. Then a few people said they liked my outfit, and you should never underestimate the power of a well-timed compliment. I started to think maybe I looked pretty good.

After the next (better) dance and another round of compliments, something fundamental shifted. I won’t say I was ready to run to Primark and clean them out of crop tops. Because that would make me a big snowman liar. But I could definitely see this becoming a regular part of my wardrobe, just another top like all the others.

So I haven’t exactly broken this limit, but I have laid some solid foundations and I know that one day I will.