This is a post that has been rattling around in my head for some time now as I think about my own weight loss. Any regular followers of my blog or Instagram will know that between in 2016 I joined Slimming World and lost almost 3 stone in weight by the middle of 2017. It wasn’t an easy task and obviously with having chronic illness and chronic pain I had to do it with food alone as I cannot conventionally exercise ( before my illness I used to go running 3 times a week). The weight had crept on over a long period of time and was a combination of my lack of being able to exercise, reaching for the sugary foods for a quick energy boost, and also my age. I have since kept that weight off for well over a year now and feel much better in myself having changed my eating habits for the better. Yes I still have the coffee and cake meet ups with friends, meals out every now and then, and also nights out drinking on occasion and I do all of these with absolutely no guilt attached. I am thankful I do not have the emotional connection to food that some others have and therefore don’t turn to food when I am stressed, or tired, or upset etc.
However, recently I have seen more and more people talking about, and living their life by, the whole ‘ body positivity’ approach and encouraging others to do so as well, and I love this mind set and approach to life and I also follow quite a few accounts that promote this on a daily level. But it has made me stop and think………….does the fact that I have actively lost weight and feel better about myself for doing so now make me fat phobic?
For me, the losing weight was a ‘self help’ approach to managing my illness. The extra weight I was carrying was making my life more difficult. I suffer with chronic musculoskeletal pain all over my body, the extra weight was creating an abundance of extra pressure on my knee and ankle joints making it difficult to be on my feet or walk for any length of time ( I already use a walking stick most of the time when I am out of the house). On bad days when my fatigue levels where through the roof I found it almost impossible to hold my body weight up long enough to make a cup of coffee! It was making be breathless when I walked up stairs which increased my levels of dizziness tenfold.
I also had the fact that it just wasn’t a simple case of going up into the next size of clothes. I am only 5ft 1 1/2 ins tall ( I used to be 5ft2 but having recently been measured at my pain management group I seem to be bloody shrinking!) and I carry all my weight in my middle- so effectively an apple shape. Therefore, going up in the next size of trousers to accommodate my growing waist (or lack of) meant the rest of the garment was swamping me. Anything loose fitting on the top end, like a shirt, made me look like I was a kid dressing up in their mum’s clothes! Nothing was comfortable, nothing fitted well even when I bought from the petite sections of high street shops. My confidence was already on the floor as chronic illness had over the years stripped me of my job, of being active, of friends (believe me you are dropped like a hot stone if on a night out they feel as though they will be stuck with you at the table rather than enjoying themselves on the dance floor!) and of fully changing the life that I had planned.
Personally speaking, joining Slimming World ( and I know online people are very vocal about these companies preying on vulnerable people and taking their money- which I do acknowledge to a certain degree) and losing weight was a way of taking control of something when you have an invisible illness that takes all control away from you on a daily basis. I enjoyed the focus it gave me and I met lovely friends there which in turn became a sociable activity to do, I am still at my group as one of the social team helping out each week. I have been able to keep the weight I lost off for over a year and it has absolutely changed my way of looking at food. I eat more! I eat better, which in turn helps me try and manage my illness better and I now know I have done everything I can ‘self help’ wise to manage my illness on a daily level. I don’t ever feel deprived, I have a cake when I fancy one, I have a drink when I fancy one, and I have some bloody chocolate, again when I fancy it. Dare I say it, I feel much more comfortable in my own skin, not because I am a particular size, but because I took control and did something for myself to help with my illness which also raised my confidence – surely that’s a positive right?
So I ask the question again………..does that make me fat phobic?
Like I said above, I follow some fabulous body positive accounts who I chat to regularly and I love their accounts because I like them as people, I like them because of what they talk about and also because they portray real life. So here are just 2 of my fav’s…….
I love Hayley’s account because I think with her what you see is totally what you get , if that makes sense! her stories are always real and she shows the down sides as well as the good and will sometimes post even though she is showing her vulnerability. She talks about fatphobia and the social media implications with being self employed as a blogger, and the affect being a plus size can have on her working with brands.
I love Alexandra’s account because she also promotes body positivity but in a different way. She has done the slimming world thing to find it wasn’t for her. She has also given up drinking alcohol to help with her mindset and literally gets you thinking about everything…………….just everything! Again it’s a real non themed account and she will also show her vulnerabilities when things are playing on her mind.
There are lots of others I could mention such as @mollyforbes and more recently @this_girl_is_enough (who can literally blow my mind some days on what she can talk about on stories) but these are the two main ones who got me thinking about my question.
Am I insulting people when I post about my weight loss?
Can I not take pride in the fact that I set a goal personal to me and I achieved it?
Am I wrong in being happy that I have lost the weight even though it helps massively with my illness?
Is it wrong to say that my confidence has improved now I feel better about myself after my weight loss?
I think these are valid questions and I would love to know your thoughts? I feel that maybe it’s something I can’t be proud of online as I would hate to upset anyone, yet for me I feel as though I have achieved something personal to me in my life.
Please let me know what you think?