Monthly Archives: September 2013

Broken

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the weekend. real women eat

I’ve been really drawn to websites and books about nutrition; not weight loss, but using food to heal and the sorts of food to help alleviate health problems. It got me thinking about my dieting history and what I’ve denied myself over the years, what doing that has done to my body and mind, and how I can get out of it permanently.

It’s all so delicately woven together.

But I’m broken. And I did all this to myself.

Body-wise, I’m lucky that on the face of it I don’t have any major health issues. There’s nothing seriously wrong with me. But over the years I’ve mistreated my body so much that it’s screaming at me to look after it properly.

  • I’ve had a big patch of eczema on my hand that I haven’t been able to get rid of in over a year.
  • I’ve got patches of incredibly itchy eczema all up my arms and as soon as one patch goes, I get another one.
  • I have IBS, and I always have to carry Immodium pills with me. A couple of months ago I ran out and couldn’t leave the house until 2 pm. I was so desperate, I actually took headache pills with codeine in to try and help.
  • I’ve got acid reflux and I’m on pills every day for it.
  • I’m the Headache Queen. Until recently I was taking Solpadiene painkillers most days, but I managed to stop the habit and they are easing a bit.
  • My joints ache
  • I get awful PMS about every three months where I think everything is crap and want to get on a plane and run away to Australia. Just as well for my brother that I can’t afford it!
  • I have zero energy a lot of the time.

See, none of this is serious stuff. I’m truly thankful for being pretty sturdy, really.

But for over 20 years I let my diet obsession consume me, and I was either eating additive-packed ready meals marketed as low calorie, sweetener-infused ‘treats’ with more Es than a disused warehouse just off the M25 in 1988, and fat-free yoghurts so sweet they made my teeth jangle OR I was binge eating crap with huge helpings of fat and sugar.

My poor system first started protesting in 1999. I went to stay in my late aunt’s house in Brighton so that I could look after her dogs while she was on holiday, and me and my then boyfriend ate our way through the nearby ASDA, as well as indulging in every take away, doughnut opportunity and junk food experience we could manage in two weeks. I’d been on Slimming World for a while before we went and so my system wasn’t used to all the sludgy, fatty, salty chocolate covered calories and protested by giving me well-deserved heartburn and indigestion. Hello Rennie. Pleased to make your acquaintance.

I’d already been dieting on and off for 12 years by then, and also was just getting over the worst of the eating disorder, but when I binged, I binged good and hard. I never did the starving bit so well. I think they call it non-purging bulimia or something? Whatever it was, it did me NO good at all.

So, over the years, the obsession with my weight and diets has physically hurt me, because I’ve damaged my digestive system and denied myself good quality food…I think I would have got the IBS and reflux anyway but there’s no denying that eating too much in one go, eating fatty, salty foods and alcohol all make it worse. All of which I’ve over indulged in when I’ve been off-diet in the past.

I also denied my skin fat, and essential vitamins, and stressed myself out. That’ll be where the eczema came from, then.

The obsession with losing weight has turned my brain into a binge-starve machine that’s either on or off a diet. Even since giving up diets, although I rarely binge, I still quite often overeat the foods I wouldn’t let myself have for so many years when I’m fed up. It’s as if there’s still that voice in my head saying, “She’s going to go on another diet soon, fill yer boots!”

The other damage it’s done is to my fitness levels. For many years I associated exercise with dieting and when I was off one, I stopped the other too. However,  it was easy for me to stay fit and healthy at 12, 13 even 14 stone. I had no problem running for a train at 15 stone either. When I gave up diets I was 16 stone something. I’m a bit more than that now although not massively, I just don’t know the exact numbers any more. The thing is, and this is all my own fault, I gave up working in an office and I’ve worked from home for over six years now. When I had no choice but to walk to and from the office every day, you bet I was a lot fitter! But the thought of going out when I have a whole load of work to do, or it’s p*ssing down with rain, doesn’t motivate me to the gym, or out for a walk. Lazy? Yeah, a bit.

So it’s harder to get fit now, and there’s the vicious cycle. If it feels uncomfortable and it’s inconvenient too, only a saint or one of those lucky people who gets some kind of orgasmic endorphin-induced high from a session on a treadmill would do it, right? It’s not just me, is it?

Exercise doesn’t make you lose weight, anyway. I know that. But I do feel a bit ‘Meh’ and it’s getting over that hurdle and getting back into feeling fit and healthy that I need to work on.

Lastly, I broke my head.

I turned it from being a normal teenage girl’s head, full of dreams and daft ideas for the future, into a grown-ups head full of ‘where did those years go?’ and stress. I filled that head full of calories, fat and Syns. I read magazines that told me fat was bad. Sugar was bad. Calories were bad. Hell EATING was bad. I drank too many Diet Cokes and pickled my brain in Formaldehyde because I thought that if I wasn’t going to be able to resist the full fat sandwich, I could at least save calories by drinking a Diet Coke.

Gave-up-dieting

I made myself not good enough. I made myself hyper-aware of what everyone thought of me, ashamed of every bit of fat that was growing on my body. Scared someone would yell at me from a car again. Scared I would never get my life back while I was binging. Terrified that if I didn’t stop eating like this, I might end up one of those people that has to be winched from their house by crane because they can’t fit through the door.

I did this to myself. OK, diets and the media and rubbish men and everything else all fuelled the fire but I let them, and in letting them I broke my head and I broke my body. For years I lived in a constant state of stress and despair, hidden from the world by a cheerful exterior, pretending I was fine. Beating myself up for not being perfect.

So what made me write this? It was a review I saw of Gorgeously Full Fat by Ang at Fierce Freethinking Fatties.

Ang said:

“I would have liked more of the “After.” The final section, “After the diets,” begins on page 103. Sarah has now found love and happiness and I am absolutely delighted for her — she ruddy well deserves it. It would have been good to see more of what that looks like. There are some good resources at the end of the book, but little of Sarah’s own guidance on how to get to your own happy place.”

I want to get to that happy place and stay there. I’m setting myself a challenge – three months to get from ‘Meh’ to ‘Yay’, and recruited a few volunteers to road test my plan. I’ve swung from one thing to another to try and nail this not-good-enough feeling and it’s time I managed to kick its arse for good, quite frankly!

This week is research week. I’m looking at really fab nutrition sites, recipes and more, for the food side of it, because I want to start really feeding my body rather than just sustaining it from one sugar high to the next. Logically I’m a non-dieter but someone forgot to tell my brain that it’s OK to eat. While I was researching over the weekend. I came across something that made me sit up in my chair and decide enough was DEFINITELY enough.

salad

Back to my skin condition. Eczema, as most people know, is triggered by stress – but there have been studies recently that also link it to deficiencies in vitamin D.

Stress also makes IBS and acid reflux worse.

Last summer I started on tablets for acid reflux. It was around the same time , or not too long after, that the eczema appeared on my hands and started to creep up my arms. I didn’t link the two.

I managed to drop down to one pill every other day for the reflux and the IBS was calming down, until my dad became ill and to put it mildly, my eating and drinking habits went haywire and my insides went into rebellion. Back to one a day and my eczema joined the party. I was burping, scratching or running to the loo, on constant loop (lovely) although the IBS was slightly relieved by the amount of codeine I was taking to relieve the stress headaches. This doesn’t sound good, does it?

Things have calmed down a bit now (thank God) and you know what I found out yesterday? The pills I’m on for acid reflux have been linked to vitamin D and B12 deficiencies. Are you following? Basically…I got stressed, my digestion got worse, I took pills, my eczema got worse. The pills I’m taking for the reflux which was made worse by the stress that’s also made the eczema worse, could have caused a vitamin D deficiency that’s left me unable to shift the bloody eczema, plus a vitamin B12 deficiency,…and a lack of B12 causes guess what…stress!

Number 1 on my list. DEAL WITH THE STRESS. My first task is to find an amazingly nutritious anti-eczema recipe, and research the best stress-relieving yoga moves known to man. I don’t want to be broken any more…

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Filed under Food and diets, Gorgeously Full Fat book, Lifestyle, My weight story

The amazing Moley and a cunning plan

ella1Right, so yesterday was NOT a good day chez Clarky. A rather large dollop of hormone-inspired grumpiness combined with precisely nothing going right inspired a very long Yahoo Messenger rant to a long suffering friend, who was at work trying to look busy as he fielded a long list of “and another thing” – and then it was followed up with a woe-is-me rant to Moley who had just got in from work after having a bit of a stinker of a day himself.

I think I got it all out of my system. He listened patiently, told me that I shouldn’t change (I was moaning that I seem to put myself out for anyone but then when it’s my turn I become invisible) and that he loved me absolutely as I was. So there. He then gave me a great big hug and told me that I’d been working too hard and doing too much, so this weekend I was banned from doing anything, work-related or around the house. He promised to wait on me, cook, wash up, make me drinks and that all I have to do for the whole weekend, if I need anything done, is ask.

That means so much to me. Flowers, chocolates, wine – yes I love those very much too, but for him to say that he’s just going to take care of me for a couple of days, that was all I needed. I’m under orders to catch up with all my Kindle reading. I don’t need asking twice…

Meanwhile, I’m feeling really drawn to some fabulous blogs at the moment, and they are about as opposite of my usual type of fare as I could possibly get. One, which I have mentioned before, is Deliciously Ella.  I’m going to pinch one of her images just so that you know why I’m so hooked on reading her blog. She makes delicious vegan, dairy free, wheat free food that sounds and looks utterly amazing. I really want to have a go at her cinnamon roasted sweet potato recipe. In fact I may well do just that.

The other one I like the look of is Raw Chick. She takes things a step further by eating raw, which is probably a bit too far for me. In fact I think a vegan diet would be too much for me, but I feel sluggish and yuck at the moment and I want to get myself in tip tip physical health, and back on top form by the end of the year, ready for my wedding to the above-mentioned Moley. This isn’t about losing weight, it’s about not having to think twice about running for the bus, or indeed not bothering with the bus at all and walking instead.

It’s about energy, mental clarity and reclaiming the positivity that a week of mood-dampening PMS saps out of me like a happiness vampire. I’m thinking of starting a new section on the blog – sort your life out – where I try and introduce a new positive habit or idea every day. It might be actually properly reading one of the positive thinking emails I get every day instead of skimming it and deleting it. Or it might be replacing one of my lovely strong coffees with hot water and lime.

By 3rd January 2014 I want to feel tip top healthy, energetic, positive and happy.

Are you with me?

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Amazing Academy…

Academy-125x250You know what really annoys me about business and money coaching programmes? I get loads of these things in my email and they sound so freaking tempting.

“Max your business potential!”

“Don’t miss out on a six-figure income”

These programmes are clearly targeted at people with a small-ish business, who want to move a step up. Fabulous. Trouble is, they are so bloody expensive! I got one through this afternoon, this entrepreneur tempted me onto her mailing list with a few freebies and has been sending me unmissable business coaching programme opportunities ever since. I decided to look at the link today and you want to know what she’s asking for her words of wisdom?

$997.

OK, in real money I make that £625.

I don’t have a spare £600-plus rattling around, honey, that’s why I need wealth coaching! *big sigh*

That’s why I love the Amazing Biz and Life Academy, and why I’m going to be spending all afternoon catching up on my homework and checking out all the business and life-related chats I’m behind on. Sometimes, when I get seduced in by tempting offers to make zillions, with strap lines like, “Are you closing the door on your destiny” it’s easy to forget that I have a perfect, supportive and much less expensive resource to play with.

Leonie Dawson has created something that’s changing the lives and businesses of SO many women around the world in a way that’s never been seen before, and at the moment you can join the Academy for just $199. That’s £124, but you can pay it over three months if you haven’t got it all in one go. You get access to the FULL course up front as well, so no worries that you have to wait three months for it.

Mostly, I’ve been working on the business side of the Academy…which is what’s been spurring me on to develop the blog, write a book and a mini e-book and find new ways to grow my business too. I’ve added Power Reiki, I’m thinking about my next move for Gorgeously Full Fat (still under wraps until I’ve, well, um decided what to do) and I’m planning to qualify in EFT next year, by which time I’ll have another novel published.

I’ve found some amazing people – Leonie, Denise Duffield Thomas, Mary Joyce and Cara Wilde to name a few, Mary is helping me market and grow my business, and increase my blog, social media and mailing list numbers. Cara introduced me to EFT and I have some wonderful MP3s she’s given me. Denise is my go-to lady for anything money-related.

I haven’t used the Academy to anything like its full potential yet – I haven’t had the time to work on becoming a Radiant Goddess, developing my creativity or creating my little haven yet. It’s all there though. I have done some of the energy work and I still use some of the techniques Leonie teaches now.

There’s also a generous affiliate scheme which I have mentioned being a part of before, which makes it easy to make your money back from commission payments.

BusinessGoddess-200x200So why am I mentioning all this now and not over on the website, chatting to like minded creative souls?

Well, a few people have asked me about the Academy and wanted to know more; and the prices are going up after this month. DOUBLE. It’s still a lot more affordable than pie in the sky wealth creation courses that probably just create wealth for the people that run them, but it’s not going to be £124 for long. I think, also, that if you join now, you get to renew at the price you joined after a year if you like it.

It’s not magic, you get out what you put in but the tools, support and resources are all pretty fabulous.

Right, I had better get back over there, I’m looking for some more ideas about how to actually make a bit of money that don’t include begging for copy writing work…you’ll thank me one day, I promise!

 

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Eden Miller makes history…

…so, have you heard of Eden Miller?

Eden is the talk of New York, apparently, after designing and showing the first ever plus size collection to grace the Fashion Week runways. I loved this picture of Eden – I want that dress!

Eden Miller

Eden, who has been designing for 25 years, said that she was invited to show her Spring 2014 collection by the Fashion Law Institute, an organisation that supports  talented designers without the resources to put on their own show, to stage a show. Eden was thrilled, calling the opportunity, “a wonderful opportunity for showing the legitimacy of plus-size fashion. It is real fashion. It can be measured in the same way that other kinds of fashion can be.”

Susan Scafidi of the Fashion Law Institute said that when she met Eden, she was wearing one of her dresses,and her first thought was, “nice collection — I wish she made it in my size.”

 I wanted to get some images from GPS Fashion Radar so that I could show you her designs. The summer 2013 collection is up on the Cabiria website, and is really cute, but I wanted to see images of the catwalk show. There aren’t any up there. I thought I’d check out the Mercedes Benz Official Fashion Week website and see if I could find anything on there instead.

Francesca in Orange

Nope. She’s not listed under ‘Browse Our Designers’ under her own name or the collection name. Bugger.

Ah well. I can tell you that from what I’ve seen Cabiria is all about bright, in your face prints, the type of print that fat girls were pretty much told to avoid twenty years ago (which is probably why I love them so much). The lines are simple and cut to flatter chunky girls, but not in a ‘hide me away’ kinda way, more a ‘here I am and don’t I look fabulous?’ way. I am a li’l bit in love with the Francesca in Orange design from last season, even though bright orange and me have never been friends.

I missed out of getting to Plus North last weekend, something I’m actually incredibly pissed off about. I was hoping to meet up with the gorgeous and talented Miss Difusa (note to self, it’s soon going to be tights season…) and the lovely Michelle from FatPhrocks too. I was dying to meet some of the fabulous plus-size bloggers I’ve been following, but sadly the tickets, travel and accommodation put it out of my price range. Next year, when I’m rich, I’m going along with my camera and I’m going to have a bloody great time!

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Up high and down low

MehIt’s been quite the roller-coaster of a week.

I launched the ‘35 things to do instead of starting another diet‘ free e-book.

I created a paperback version of Gorgeously Full Fat

I ran a free weekend promo for the e-book and I got to #1 in genre for free Kindle books on Amazon.

So why do I feel so fed up?

The truth is, I expect too much of myself. I wanted more people to sign up for the freebie than 18. I wanted more than 50 people in five weeks to buy the book. I wanted to stay in the top-sellers list on Amazon for a bit longer before I faded into obscurity, and HELL I wanted to sell more than four copies of the paperback, especially as I bought one of them myself. And my Mum and best friend bought two of them. And my sister bought the fourth.

People have said to me that it’s actually pretty damn amazing that I did all that in a week. That I got to the top of the list, that I even managed to publish my own book in the first place. But, you know me, I’m never happy with myself, must try harder.

I just feel a bit ‘meh’. Like I could have done better, sold more, got more people signed up. Do people actually want this stuff? Are people just looking for a quick fix to their weight, and the latest miracle diet? because it doesn’t exist, it really, really doesn’t.

I don’t have an advertising budget. I don’t have a kick-ass PR team out there pimping the book on my behalf. I only have this blog and social media, and I just can’t do any more. I have loads of ideas for the blog, too, I want to make it a go-to place for fashion, lifestyle and everything for curvy women, a body-positive haven, a self-esteem treasure trove, with fantastic recipes. I just don’t have the time to do what I want because I have to make the money to pay the bills…it’s a vicious circle really.

Better get my ‘Get Rich Lucky Bitch’ head on and start working out ways to make this thing work…

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More free stuff – and a heads up…

timeI’ve been a super-busy girl this week.

I’m at my parents’ house, looking after their dog while Mum and Dad are enjoying a well-deserved break in Cornwall. I’ve been working very hard to get my writer-girl groove going, and I think I’m finally on top of it all.

If anyone’s reading, some actual, you know, paid work would also be nice about now.

I spent all weekend writing a new e-book which is free to download from the blog. If you look at the top left hand corner of the homepage, there’s a link to where you can get your hands on ‘35 things to do instead of going on another diet‘ – it’s all yours, darlings, for the price of your email address. Yes, it’s a mailing list subscription, but the way things are going I’m not sure when I’ll get time to trouble your in-boxes with mail anyway. It DOES mean that I get to tell you about other things though, like…

paperback Cover

This weekend is FREE BOOK time on Amazon. Just for Saturday and Sunday, Gorgeously Full Fat will be available to download absolutely free, because I am just THAT generous. If you’ve been procrastinating, do it, at the weekend! I’ve been so chuffed with it so far, most days it’s selling enough copies to be in the Amazon Top 100 paid Kindle books, but I want to see it nearer the top so, tell all your friends to download it – pretty please? Here’s the link for you if you don’t already know it…

GORGEOUSLY FULL FAT

Which brings me to more news….it’s also available in paperback! The two books aren’t linked yet, I have to wait for Amazon to work out that they are both written by me, I think.

I spent yesterday evening tinkering with it and formatting it. I wasn’t expecting it to be up there until next week but I just checked to get the link and …Bingo! There it is.

So, that’s TWO free e-books, and if you want a paperback I’m afraid you’ll have to stump up £8.99 for it. But it’s worth it just for the posh new cover…

 

 

 

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