Monday, 28 January 2019

A Year Of Body Positivity

Last January, as I sat there on New Years eve all set to make the same old resolutions I've made year after year for as long as I can remember, I realised how deflated and uninspired by them I already felt.

Year after year I found myself making the same plans to follow this or that diet, always doing the same mathematics in my mind to figure out how much weight I could potentially have lost by which date - mentally marking that off in my mind as the Date My Proper Life Would Start.

But year after year, although yes I might go up or down a couple of stone here and there, I always ended up back at the start.

And it always left me feeling like a failure.

The years were ticking by, that "Life Start Date" never came around and I found myself fretting over wasted time and opportunities.

And so, last year, I decided to make a change.

And instead of resolving to change my body, as I had done every year before for as long as I can remember, I resolved instead to try to learn to be happy in my own skin.

To learn to love my body, exactly as it is, without any conditions placed on it.

And the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful and excited.

But how did my year of body positivity pan out in the real world?

To start with, I made small changes to ease my way into it all.

Starting with the people I followed on social media. I realised that the overwhelming majority of them were thin, white, stereotypically attractive women - and although there is no shame to be felt in that, I realised that by continually exposing myself only to women who all looked the same sort of way - I was making myself feel like the odd one out.

I was nothing like these women - I couldn't even shop in most of the places they did if I wanted to as my size wouldn't be carried by their choice of stores. I couldn't relate to their tales of "feeling bloated" or needing to "lose a few pounds" when looking at their size 10/12 frames and comparing them to my own size 20 body.

And so I started to diversify my social media feeds.

I found body positive and fat positive social influencers to follow, and slowly but surely - as my social feeds started to become more reflective of the diversity that truly exists in our society, I found myself feeling less isolated and less "the odd one out".

And the more I realised that there is a whole world of beautiful, plus size, confident women out there who are dressing well and living their best lives - the more excited I felt at the possibility of what it might look like if I started to love myself exactly as I was.

And so...from there on, I started to change the way I shopped for clothes.

Instead of always sticking to darker items in an attempt not to draw attention to myself, I started deliberately choosing brightly coloured clothes.

Rainbow prints, brights - the colours I've always loved but shyed away from, I now took them into my wardrobe and started to wear them more and more.

Until eventually, a lady I had only recently got to know commented on how I "Always wore such beautiful bright clothes and it reflects my warm personality"...this lady didn't know that colour was a new thing for me, and to have such a positive compliment given to me spurred me on to continue.

From there on, it wasn't just colours that I started to embrace - I found myself throwing out all of the old "rules" of fashion I'd forced upon myself as a plus sized woman.

Never show your bingo wings? Pfft, forget that one! Give me the spaghetti straps!

Keep your legs covered at all times? No chance, pass the short skirts!

I wore things that I hadn't even considered a possibility for years - denim shorts, off the shoulder dresses, I even bought and wore cropped tops - something I NEVER thought I would do!

And eventually, I learned to stop choosing outfits that were "flattering" and started to choose outfits because I loved them and they made me feel good.

And I was truly amazed by the huge difference these things had on my confidence and my overall happiness.

Being somebody who works online, it made sense to me to use my platform to discuss my new found love of body positivity and how it was improving my life - as well as why I felt the fight against fatphobia in our society was an important one.

And so I decided to start using social media to push my own boundaries - to show more of the body I had tried so hard to keep hidden and crop out of photos for years, to talk about life as a fat woman and the prejudice and hate that sends my way, and to challenge perceptions of fat people.

As a naturally shy person with low self esteem, none of this came easily - and of course when a fat woman chooses to show some skin on the internet without apologising for her size, the trolls WILL always come - and come they did.

But I refused to give up, and throughout the course of year I posted some images to start conversations that I was passionate about having.

When I look back at 2018, the change in the way I feel about my size is beyond anything I ever thought possible and I am not afraid to say that the happiness and increased self esteem I have found has been FAR BEYOND anything that any amount of weight loss could ever have brought my way.

It hasn't always been easy of course, but it has always been 100% worthwhile.

I've worn things I would never have had the confidence to at any size, I've pushed myself out of my comfort zones both physically and mentally on many occasions and I've stepped into 2019 feeling like a completely different person - without having lost a single ounce!

If you feel like you need a change in your life, I wholeheartedly recommend taking the radical step of loving yourself in a world that profits from your insecurity - it's a journey that you will never regret taking.


If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me on Bloglovin'
Blogger Template Setup by fazal