Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Body Confidence: It's okay to be shaky

A few years ago I went to an unconventional slimming group. It wasn't anything mad, but it was supposed to be more about our 'relationship with food' rather than actually cutting down calories. So, rather than getting the scales out, we sat in the back room of a pub together and spoke about our feelings with the organiser; a woman who had lost several stones herself before going on to form the group. 

She had her own story about what had prompted her to lose weight: a few years beforehand she had been at a BBQ and was sitting at a table, eating her food when a "friend of the family" looked over and said, loudly, "that is horrible", referring to the fact that a fat person would dare to eat in public. 

That moment, she told us, is what pushed her in to losing weight. And she sat in that back room of the pub and spoke about how that person was just being cruel to be kind and I thought ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH MATE.

Last weekend I had an experience that really shook my confidence. I won't go into it in great detail, but essentially someone made a comment about my size. What made it worse was that I wasn't in a 'safe place'; I was hundreds of miles from home and unable to escape. By the next day I was looking at slimming clubs and thinking about how I needed to make changes in my life.

"Is this because of what happened? Because there's nothing wrong with you," said my boyfriend. "No", I lied. "I just want to be healthy." That's the problem with fat shaming. When it knocks your confidence you reverse back into the lies you grew up believing were true. Fat can never be healthy. Fat makes you a bad person. Fat means you can't ever be: attractive, desirable, successful, fashionable, accomplished. The list goes on. 

Yesterday the time for slimming club came and went. I spent a lot of time evaluating how I felt about myself, trying to work out how a small comment could make such a big impact. I liked what I saw in the mirror. I felt good about myself. And I realised that if I wanted to lose weight, it should only be for me, no one else. So we did a food shop, we went for a quick dinner at the pub, and then we settled down to watch Plus Size Wars on Channel 4. 

What a refreshing change to see fat people represented as totally normal human beings: FANCY THAT! If you missed it and want to catch up you can do so by I'd recommend watching it, particularly if your own confidence is a bit shaky. And if you do need a bit of a boost, take inspiration from all the amazing plus size bloggers about, not to mention the #WeAreTheThey hashtag that is doing the rounds tonight.  

You are not alone, but you are the only one who should be making decisions about your body.