Category Archives: Beauty

Party!

Meet Cheryl Underhill, today’s guest blogger. She sent me this great article about having fun and partying despite all the accepted wisdom that fat people prefer to stay in unnoticed, and I just had to share it,.

cheryl
“Have you ever felt so ashamed of yourself and the way you look that you can’t bear to go outside? Family events are missed; friends’ invites are ignored, pleas for you to attend social gatherings are refused. Invitations of any description are met with a sense of dread, as immediately you start to picture the clothes in your wardrobe, knowing that no matter what you do in the next 2 weeks, you’ll never be able to fit back into that dress that used to cover your belly, or squeeze into those jeans that make your bum look smaller.

“It’s no good, you don’t want to embarrass whichever of your friends is celebrating after all, you know that they don’t really want to spend time with their friends, they want to spend time with their thin, well dressed friends. Have you ever felt like you just don’t want to leave the house because you’re simply just too fat?!

No – me neither!

“I am definitely fat. Let’s not skirt around the issue trying hard to find a word that won’t offend, I suppose if the word fat makes you feel uncomfortable you could describe me and ‘plump’, ‘a bigger lady’, or maybe even just ‘bubbly’.

“Whatever word you use, it won’t change the fact that I am fat. I am fat and I have never ever once felt ashamed or like I can’t go outside because of that. Admittedly I am currently trying to get healthy  for medical reasons  (which will inevitably mean losing some weight), but recently I have begun to get so pissed off with the number of TV adverts, articles and celebrities that tell all of us (not even just overweight people), that if we get super skinny, life will be amazing and we’ll stop feeling rubbish and will want to go out and socialise more.

“Adverts for weight loss programs are the worst, normally ex-customers tell us how fabulous they feel after they’ve dropped 2 dress sizes, now they can go to that Christmas party – meaning before they would have had to stay at home with their cats? These adverts are full of women who in their before photo have no makeup on, messy hair, baggy clothes and a face that looks like someone has just pissed on their shoes, whilst the wonderful ‘after diet’ shots are the same women done up in a well fitted outfit.

“Now if you’ve used one of the many many weight loss group meeting type programmes and that has worked for you – well done, I’m very happy for you and I wish you well with your goals, but please stop taking over my TV telling me how hard you found it to go out when you were fat and how you missed so many parties… I resent the idea that if I were to wake up tomorrow having miraculously lost 3 stone somehow I’d become a totally different person, I can confidently say it wouldn’t change who I am, just how other people see me.

“I’m fat, I’m sociable and I LOVE to party!

“For me there is one thing that I always wear when I go to a party – a smile and a little bit of confidence.
I’ll leave you with this: a lovely male friend recently said to me. “You know, with a smile like yours, you could have any man in this room. Men love a confident woman.”

“So come on my chubby, bubbly, bigger friends. This festive season; please don’t let those adverts get you down. Stick on a party dress, dig out those heels, paint on a bright lippy and plaster on that smile! You are beautiful inside and out – and anyone who really matters will know that anyway.”

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Nobody listens to Tori Amos when they’re happy

cover-cosmopolitan_september_1989I was lying awake thinking about all this last night and I couldn’t sleep. All the lovely things that you’ve said so far about the blog posts are spurring me on. So far though it’s all been pretty upbeat and I think it sounds a bit like an amusing diary. That’s good, the last thing I want is to turn my blog into one of those godawful ‘Misery Memoirs’. But there’s more to my story than bad haircuts and eighties music.

So, why was I scoffing Hobnobs one day and dieting the next? You couldn’t really see it on my body, probably because I was still very young, very active, and living with my parents so there was a limit to how much I could binge without it being bleeding obvious. I got quite good at it though, probably because I was responsible for tidying my own room. I knew where I stashed all the wrappers and I made sure I got rid of them  regularly. I hovered between 10 stone and 11 stone, mostly nearer to 11. So from 1987 to 1993 I just yo-yoed really.

I’m sure Mum must have guessed that I was eating junk in secret. Mum and I shouted at each other a lot when I was  in my teens and early twenties. I remember a lot of “What are you wearing?” and “You look a mess” type slanging matches. It was a two-way thing, I was obnoxious, hormonal, stroppy little cow at times and Mum was dealing with working full time, commuting to London, and trying to keep tabs on three very different kids. Dad had his own problems – his job was slowly being phased out by the government and money was tight too. To be fair, I think they’d agree that they were really strict with me, too, so I was always trying to push the limits and assert a bit of independence. This usually backfired and I’d end up slamming doors and yelling. Or going out. Or eating.

Sarah2

1992. Still no dress sense.

I’ve tried to go back into my head at that age and remember how I felt. Honestly? My whole self-image was tied up in how I LOOKED, because I didn’t think I had anything much going for me, and I’d just realised that looks-wise I was OK after all. I grew up with a bit of an inferiority complex. When I was younger I was ‘the clever one’ but of course I’d flunked a few of my O’ levels and ended up working in a shop at 16 – I was distinctly average on that score too. I felt a bit crap, to be honest.

I’d spend hours in my bedroom listening to music and daydreaming. I didn’t want anything to do with my family.  I felt a bit of an outsider – Mum was really close to my younger brother and my sister had special needs so she needed the attention more than I did. I  hid myself away with my magazines, a Tori Amos CD and piles of hoarded junk food, or went out. Husband #1 lived in Cambridge and I lived in Ipswich so I only saw him at weekends before we got married – we were controlled then, too. We were chaperoned most of the time, never allowed to share a room or be in either house alone for long, and as for moving in together – that would have been out of the question. I DID love him, I really did, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that when my parents started asking when we were going to get married so that they didn’t have him staying every other weekend, I started to think “Hmmm. There’s an idea.”

I can see it really clearly now. I couldn’t communicate my feelings for toffee. I was terrified of confrontation and constantly looking for approval from wherever I could get it. I was frustrated with the lack of control I had over my life and my standard response to any kind of bad feeling was food. Either going on another diet or stockpiling cheese and onion Walker’s.

I devoured fashion and women’s magazines. I loved Vogue and Elle and longed for the day when I could afford designer clothes, even though I was a lowly, very badly paid civil servant at the time. I also spent a lot of time staring at images of models. I bought into every new diet going and looked forward to January every year when all the weight loss editions came out and the new diet books were displayed in the shops. I knew I looked OK but if I just lost a bit of weight I could have been perfect. I tried Callanetics – remember those? Ouch. I wanted to look like Cindy Crawford. Remember the slogan about “There are three billion women who don’t look like supermodels – and only eight who do” – I could have done with reminding, actually.

Supermodels

But on the face of it I was pretty happy. I had a good job, lots of friends and I was getting married. I can see now that there were two Sarahs – the one I showed the world, and the one who sat in her bedroom eating biscuits. The public Sarah was great fun, always up for a night out, cheeky, flirty and responsible for throwing up in a waste bin in the office on her 21st birthday after going out drinking at lunchtime. She could stand up to stroppy judges and disgruntled members of the public at work, didn’t bat an eyelid when confronted with difficult situations, went clubbing, got drunk, never got a hangover until her 21st birthday and loved life.

The Sarah behind the mask was screaming “like me, like me” and trying to please everyone at once. She was opinionated but didn’t have the guts to express her opinions, said what she thought people wanted to hear and did that thing where you look in the mirror, grab your tummy and exclaim “Yuk” every morning.

I thought getting married would make everything better. So I got married.

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Filed under Beauty, Fashion, Food and diets, General, My weight story

When I grow up I want to be a fatshion blogger

My Big Fat

Times, they are a-changing. I can’t remember a time I’ve felt so enthusiastic about the fashion industry, and being a non-standard size part of it.

Yes, it’s London Plus Size Fashion Weekend in a few days, and good luck to them. With Simply Be and Anna Scholz both flaunting their best on the catwalk, and every fat fashion blogger worth her size 16 skinny jeans being invited (I have neither size 16 skinny jeans or an invitation, but I’m not bitter) it’s going to be HUGE and I can’t wait to see the pictures, read the write ups and get a guest blog from one of the lovely ladies lucky enough to be granted a press pass!

It’s not just that. I just read a fantastic article in The Sunday Times (here’s a link to My Big Fat Fashion Statement) and it was so positive. These girls are fat and they don’t care. They are also drop dead gorgeous, fashionable, feisty and good role models for anyone who thinks the only way to be happy, healthy, attractive or acceptable to society is by dieting to within an inch of your life and not going out if you reach a size 14 or more.

Georgina Horne (right), who has working her curves down to a fine art, bright red lips and a body confidence most skinny women don’t even seem to posess, nailed something for me when she said she hates standard thin-hate sayings like “Real men want meat, dogs want bones.”

Georgina said, “What part of {abusing other people} is getting your own back? The biggest payback is being happy in yourself”

Or maybe the three modelling contracts she has?

I would love to be able to say I have th esky-high confidence levels of sassy fat fashionistas like Georgina, Marie Denee, Nicolette Mason and Bethany Rutter. I’m working on it, and it’s bloggers like these that are giving fat girls like me a dose of feel good fashion and kick-ass body positivity that just can’t help but make any plus size fashion lover feel like she belongs.

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