Category Archives: Media

Sarah Clark sets the Publishing world on fire with Viva Voluptuous…

….well, a girl can dream!

But in the absence of any promotion from anywhere else, and while I wait for Richard and Judy to discover me, I thought I’d go away and make a little video, with the help of the lovely people at Glassbox Media in Felixstowe….

It’s less than a minute long, and yes, that is me in the flowery top, shovelling Chinese food down me. In my defence, you have NO idea how hungry I was that evening, and we shot lots of footage that night, trust me to be scoffing in the best bit!

Anyway, lovely, lovely people, I’d love to know what you think of my little film debut. And then, if it whets your appetite, why not buy the book?

I’ll write more soon…the blog/website is in mid-update at the moment so I haven’t been able to keep up with it as much as I’d like, but I’ll be back to my usual posting and meandering very soon. Lots to report!

 

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Have you got a story to tell?

 

Book cover

I know I really enjoyed writing my story in Gorgeously Full Fat, and ever since I finally got around to writing it, I’ve had people asking me how I did it, whether it’s hard to do, whether self-publishing is worth it…

So, I’ve told my story. And I’ve explained in easy-to-follow chapters the nitty gritty of writing your book. Should you even do it? Is your idea good enough? What do you do when you hit writer’s block (and you will.)

Should you use an editor? How easy is self-publishing REALLY?

I’ve also addressed one of the recurring conundrums of writing in a coffee shop. Although I still haven’t got a definitive answer so if you can help, feel free to give me your feedback!

If you fancy writing a book and want a no-nonsense guide to doing it, written in an informal, honest style (with the occasional rude word) then you could do worse than download, “Get Off The Sofa And Write The Book

Get it here

And to celebrate, I’m offering the first book I published, Gorgeously Full Fat, free all day tomorrow…

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Why are we all getting fat?

images doughnuts“The obesity epidemic.”

It’s a phrase that’s bandied around to scare fat people into feeling as if their condition is contagious, and perhaps they should be put into quarantine where no perfect thin people can see them until they are thin enough for society to handle.

But what’s caused it?

The government and most slimming companies say it’s fat. Low carb afficionados say it’s sugar. Some people think it’s all because we’re living in a junk food filled obesogenic environment where high calorie food is cheap and exercise optional. Daily Mail commentators believe it’s because we’re all lazy, greedy and worthless.

I’ve long believed that it’s none of the above. OK, if we’re going to be honest, yes people are fat because they eat too much. That’s bleedin’ obvious. But why? Why are people eating and overeating to the extent that they are affecting their health, whether it’s their physical health or their emotional well being that’s at risk?

There’s no doubt that things have got worse over the last 20-30 years. At the same time, the message that we have to be thin has increased in volume and is assaulting us from all angles.  I grew up in the 80s when there was only one magazine devoted to dieting in the UK, Slimming magazine. There were no celebrity trash rags like Closer, Now or Heat, splashing fat/thin/pregnant/over-botoxed celebrities on the cover and pulling their appearances to pieces for entertainment. There was no Internet. No mobile phones for selfies, no Twitter or Facebook.

Heat

There were no faux-concerned MPs making a big deal about reducing the number of fat people (why not just shoot them?)

You could argue that 25 years ago, there was no need for any of the above because there weren’t so many fat people. But look at it this way. Everywhere we go, we’re bombarded with the idea that we’re fat. Or if we’re not fat already, if we’re not careful, we could end up fat. we’ve all grown up thinking that being or even eating fat is a BAD thing. And this obsession with weight, wrapped up in pretend concern for our health, is so ingrained in our psyches that we find it really hard to ignore it. Of course, some people ignore it. These lucky people are the ones who have a normal relationship with food and rarely give their weight a thought.

Most of us fight an ongoing battle with food, even if we don’t think we do. If you worry that you’re going to get fat if you eat whatever you like, deny yourself certain foods to avoid putting on weight (but secretly crave them), think of certain foods as off-limits because you know you won’t be able to stop eating them once you open that packet…you’re caught up in it too. Even if you aren’t fat.

Have you ever wondered why the first thing you do when you plan a diet is stuff your face for the entire weekend before you start?(nobody ever starts a diet on a Wednesday afternoon, do they) It’s how your brain is wired. It’s not just a case of wanting what you can’t have – it’s a throwback to when we lived in caves. I’m not talking about the Paleo diet either. We have two sides to our brain, the conscious and sub-conscious, and the sub-conscious is automatic. It does things for us without us asking it to, like making us breathe, making us feel thirsty when we need a drink, making us feel hungry. Although eating, breathing and drinking are all under our physical control, we get very strong signals to do all three when we need to, and if you’ve ever tried not breathing, you’ll realise that you physically can’t do it for too long before your brain takes over and makes you take that breath whether you like it or not.

It’s the same with food. Your subconscious brain picks up on very subtle cues, and all it wants to do is look out for you, so when it gets wind of the fact that you’re having a fat day and thinking of going on another diet, it starts you thinking about food. It thinks there’s a famine coming. It knows that when you have that feeling, it ends up hungry, so it does everything it can to make you think of food constantly until you give in. It’s out of your control, even if it’s irrational. It’s the same kind of irrational reaction that makes you jump when someone leaps out on you in the dark, or freak out over a harmless two inch house spider. The threat of an oncoming diet spurs your protective mechanisms into making you think of food…all the time.

decisions2

So how does that make people fat?

To put it in simple terms, just thinking you’re too fat and have to go on a diet will make your subconscious bully you into eating things you don’t let yourself eat when you’re on a diet. Some people can use enormous amounts of willpower to resist the subconscious’ nagging. Some people manage it for a very long time and do lose weight. But 95% of them will put it back on as soon as they give up that control, and many end up back where they were or even bigger.

And everywhere, all over the place, are people, magazines, TV shows, websites and more telling us we’re too fat.

We’re constantly scaring our subconscious into making us obsess about food!

How do we stop it, though? That, my darlings, is the tricky bit.

(All this is also explained in much better detail along with some really good ways to switch off the automatic reaction, stop the overeating before it starts, and get a normal relationship with food again in ‘Eat less without trying to eat less‘ by Sue Thomason.)

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Filed under Food and diets, Media

One step forward…

….and three steps back.

That’show it sometimes feels to me, anyway.

This post comes to you as a mixture of thoughts and feelings after reading blog posts, news reports and more and it’s just a hotch potch of my feelings around the issue of plus size fashion and body image.

First of all, I read a brilliant post by Georgina at Fuller Figure Fuller Bust. She’s been called out by some people in the size acceptance crowd because she dares to be freaking gorgeous to look at, and to enjoy using shape wear to enhance what nature gave her. She also admitted that yeah, she’d like to lose a few pounds, which is a bit of a heresy to some sections of the plus size community. It resonated with me; I think corsets, shape wear and hold it all in pants are a wonderful invention. I wore them for my wedding; I was quite well aware that a bit of Gok branded Lycra underpinning wouldn’t make me look thin, but it did hide the VPL, smooth everything out a bit and make the dress look good, so I’m not complaining.

I also don’t see why Georgina should be criticised for the fact she is lucky enough to be pleasing to the eye. It doesn’t detract from the fact that she writes a successful blog and is entitled to her opinion on plus size issues. She talks about ‘militant fatties’ who happily let it all hang out in bikinis and embrace their fat…well, I think they should also be able to do as they please too, fat isn’t disgusting, it’s just fat for God’s sake. But they don’t get to insist that we all do the same, any more than slim people get to tell fatties what they can and can’t wear.  As Georgina puts it:

To be ‘body positive’ when you’re plus size you don’t need to look or act a certain way. You simply need to appreciate that all bodies are good bodies, and short of getting arrested, believe that people can dress how they like.

and, “being body confident does not mean you need to insult women who look different to you in order to validate your own looks. If you want to be accepted for your appearance then you need to accept others, because if you can’t, how you can expect people to accept you?”

It all ties in with the experiences of another plus size fashion blogger, Betty Pamper, who posted this image of herself in leggings from the Yours Clothing Facebook Page and got some less than flattering responses…from other plus size women.

silver leggings

“I think it’s just a hard fact we need to hear: There are just some items of clothing that bigger people should stay away from at all costs. No ifs. No buts. No ‘beauty is on the inside.’ These leggings are included in that list”

Really? Now, I’m not perfect – I looked at the pics of Gabourey Sidibe at the Golden Globes this week, and yeah, I thought the dress she was wearing was just – hideous. It was the dress that was hideous though, and not the wearer. I thought the same about some of the dresses worn by the skinny actresses too, sometimes people wear clothes that make you think “Really?”

The outfit above isn’t one of those ‘oh dear’ outfits though. I think Betty looks gorgeous, and she’s got the sass to be able to pull off silver leggings so fair play to her. If she feels good in that outfit, and the same goes for Gaby too, she should damn well be able to wear it without snarky comments from the kind of people who should be bigging her up for not hiding herself away in ‘media approved’ fat girls clothes.

The thing that annoys the crap out of me isn’t what fat women choose to wear, whether leggings suit fuller figured girls or if plus size bloggers should admit to a penchant for shape wear. It’s that we should be sticking together, accepting that fuller figured women AREN’T all the same, and that yes, it’s OK to feel that you want to improve yourself, if that’s your choice. Bitching, sniping and pulling each other’s fashion and lifestyle choices to pieces just makes a mockery of body positivity. There are no rules. You shouldn’t have to be brave enough to wear a two-piece bikini to fit in, there aren’t any entrance requirements, body positivity is supposed to be supportive, friendly and POSITIVE. The clue is in the name.

Most of the people I’ve come across in my journeys as a plus size blogger and writer have been fabulous.  When it’s good, it works. That’s what I love, the camaraderie, friendliness and non-bitchiness of it. So can we all play nicely, please?

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Mixed Messages

advertsHow easy would it be to give up diets if you weren’t being subjected to about a gazillion messages telling you that you have to lose weight every day?

If you could just wipe the metaphorical slate clean, press the reset button, reboot your brain and go back to zero, with a brain unaffected by adverts for cereal that tastes like cardboard but comes with a free diet; magazines that talk about non diet weight loss and then tell you to eat less and run a bit more; snarky comments like “I wish I could be like you, and you know, not care about my size.”

If we didn’t have the relentless pressure to lose weight, it wouldn’t drown out the quiet voice that’s telling us we should just stop…breathe….relax….

It’s wanting to lose weight that keeps us fat. At this point you might think I’ve gone nuts, but think about it. You think “I need to go on a diet” because you see an advert for some expensive perfume in a magazine and want a body (even though you know what you’re looking at has been airbrushed to within an inch of its life) like the model. You think “I’d better finish up all of the biscuits in the cupboard so that I’m not tempted to eat them,” even though you’re not hungry.

You start your diet and at first you feel good, keeping images of that model in your head as you count your calories, measure out your pasta or avoid anything remotely resembling a carbohydrate. You know you’re doing the right thing – all around you see weight loss, obesity and diets, so you congratulate yourself for finally dealing with your fat.

We all know that it wears off though. Now all you’ve been on a diet for almost a week, you’ve had a long day at the office and all you can think about is a big fat sausage sandwich. You don’t often eat  sausages, because you know how fatty and bad for you they are, but you saw someone at work with one and you know it’s off limits but GOD you want that sandwich.

The picture of the model you pinned to your fridge is barely keeping you away from  its contents, but you have some diet yoghurts in there so you tell yourself you’ll just have one after your Weight Watchers box meal and you won’t be hungry any more. It tastes like chemicals and sets your teeth on edge with its fake sweetness. Now you need something else to take the taste away. A banana. That’s it, a banana will help. You eat the banana, but a few minutes later that bloody voice is in your head, nagging you to have a sausage sandwich. “I must need something savoury” you tell yourself.

Foraging in the kitchen, you find some Quavers. You like Quavers so you eat a packet from the multi pack you bought when you stocked up on ‘allowed’ snacks. God, but they were tasty, and they didn’t last long. You go back into the kitchen and grab two more packets of Quavers and practically inhale them. They are only cheese-flavoured air, after all.

By now, you aren’t remotely hungry, so why is your brain making you think about sausage sandwiches still?

Sod this. You pretend you can’t see the model, as you get your coat on and head to the chippy. You threw the sausages you had in the freezer out when you started the diet last week. The smell of the chips hits you. You start to salivate, and instead of a plain sausage and a roll, you end up with a battered sausage and hot, vinegary chips.

It’s OK, you can start the diet again tomorrow.

Now tell me…if you hadn’t received the message that:

1. You should look like the air brushed model

2. You should go on a diet to achieve this

3. Sausage sandwiches are BAD for you and will make you fat

Would you have just made a sausage sandwich for tea instead of raiding the kitchen, eating several unsatisfying alternatives and then giving up the fight completely and having sausage and chips as well?

Just think about it. Ignore the bullsh*t.  The more we listen to people (diet industry) sending out false messages about how to remove fat from our bodies, the deeper into the diet ditch we fall, and the harder it is to crawl out. Dieting is keeping us over eating, and over eating is making us fat. The solution we’re being sold is making us over eat even more, and so they carry on sending us the same messages to keep us buying their crappy products.

Just eat the sausage sandwich and get on with your life.

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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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Proud Mama

Red-Haired Woman LaughingWell I did it! I actually did it! I finally worked out how to use the Kindle Publishing software (after a LOT of swearing) and got my book uploaded. So it’s there. Oh. My. God. Here’s the blurb:

“Back in 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was still in charge, the Pet Shop Boys were number one, and I was just 16, I went on my very first diet. This is the story of how I got sucked into the diet trap, and how long it took me to escape its clutches.

With the help of some other diet escapees, Gorgeously Full Fat looks at how the media, fashion magazines and just wanting to fit in keep people like me trapped in diets that don’t work, and then, what it’s like dating as a thirty-something chubby girl.

There’s also some wise and rather fabulous advice from people who’ve been there, done that and got the T-shirt in more than one size on life after dieting.

Live like you love yourself!”

And here’s the link if you like the sound of it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gorgeously-Full-Fat-yourself-ebook/dp/B00EPHX54C

I can’t believe I did it. I was a bit scared about putting so much of me and my life out there, but it’s all done in a super-positive and upbeat way, even when I’m talking about being dumped, divorced or binge eating pork pies. There’s lots of stuff in there I hope that anyone who’s been on and off diets will relate to – talking about diet clubs, different types of book, the way we feel (not just me) when we go on a diet and it’s all new and exciting.

There’s a section at the end, after my disastrous diet stories and tales of dates with complete Muppets (and my beloved Moley) that features words of wisdom from people who have ditched diets, talking about how they did it and how it feels to be free. There’s also sections on people-pleasing and fat talk, two of the worst things ever if you’re trying to heal your addiction to weight loss.

There’s a section of links to books, blogs, websites and even Twitter and Pinterest pages full of inspirational images, advice and general loveliness.

So it’s not ALL about me.

It’s out there, I gave birth to my book baby. I’m an author-girl. I think I need to lie down…

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Filed under Media, My weight story