Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sex and the fatty

Underwear

See what I did there? I’m a word-girl genius? OK, maybe not but I bet that little word got your attention.

I was inspired to write about the subject of s-e-x and self esteem, as I’m getting super-excited about the fact Viva Voluptuous is a step closer to being unleashed on the world this week.

The story starts with the heroine being unceremoniously dumped by someone she wasn’t even sure fancied her in the first place, but she was nuts about. Yup, I know, we’ve all been there – who hasn’t rocked the Chardonnay and streaked mascara look over a dumb man? But I started off wanting to explore how being physically rejected, on top of the relentless “Fat women are disgusting and unattractive” shit we get from the media could affect someone who wasn’t the ideal body shape.

My heroine, Ellie, is feisty, and deals with feeling totally crap about herself in her own inimitable way (you’ll find out what happens when you read the book) but I hope I’ve kept it real and it makes people think. And laugh, obviously. I’ve tried not to make her the stereotype ditz, but she does have her moments. And of course, she’s not perfect, so she goes looking for a balm for her bruised ego in all the wrong places…but that’s as much as you’re getting…

I’ve dealt with similar lurve and sex situations more than once in the last five years, and in my experience, it doesn’t matter how body-confident I thought I was, when I was rejected by someone that way, I blamed the fact I was fat.

It’s a bit of a minefield, doing the dating thing as a big girl. I love men, some of my best mates in the whole world are boys, and I credit them for generally being lovely and great at removing large spiders, helping me move house and putting furniture together for me when I was a single-girl. But girlfriend, some men on dating sites are icky, take it from me.

If all you want is sex, it doesn’t matter if you’re fat at all. There are plenty of men out there who will line up to oblige. Some of them think they’re onto a winner because you’ll be desperate and needy (sod off) and some genuinely only fancy fat women, and want to have sex with as many as possible, which is fine, I guess. I dunno. I always felt a bit weird if I thought someone ONLY fancied fat women because to me it’s just the same as ONLY fancying skinny women, or only going out with women who look a certain way or have fake boobs, it’s reducing a woman to a mere body shape and I’ve always felt uneasy about that. But I guess some people just have a ‘type’. I just wanted to be liked for ‘me’ and not my heaving cleavage.

Whenever I’ve been rejected in the past, I would get all heartbroken and tell myself I needed to go on a diet because I wasn’t the ideal shape. It was like a default setting and it didn’t matter how hard I tried, or how many books I read, I still felt crappy. Fat and crappy. The first time it happened after I started dating again, I’d had six months of friends, male and female, and my Mum, building me back up from post-marriage break-up hell, and I was feeling the most confident I’d felt in YEARS. But when the first attempt at a boyfriend I’d had since I was 25 ended in Chardonnay, chocolate and streaked mascara, it didn’t matter who told me I was great and lovely and amazing, I still blamed being fat. He didn’t fancy me, and it was because I was fat. *sigh* Of course it was more complicated than that, but it just hit a nerve.

I was a dating newbie at the time and just needed to toughen the hell up. Over the years I was dating (on and off, sometimes I really couldn’t be bothered because the whole thing was a monumental pain in the ass) I met some nice guys that I just didn’t click with, some douche bags I don’t even want to talk about, and even had a bit of a fling with a toy boy. But I did come to realise that when it comes to sex and dating, you don’t have to be skinny to attract a man. It’s a myth. For every eejit that insulted me by asking “so are you really big then?” there was a genuinely nice guy who just wanted to go on a date with a woman and see what happened.

Then, of course, I met my fiancé, who couldn’t give a stuff about my size, and tells me all the time that I’m beautiful. What’s not to love about that? I remember not long after I moved in with him, I was tidying up and came across a skirt that had belonged to his ex. It was a size six. The woman was TINY. Just for a moment I felt a bit insecure…but it didn’t last long.

My dating journey taught me that some men only fancy skinny women, some men only fancy fat women and some love both. So when it comes to sex, dating and body image, the best way to be is just confident in who you are. And wear fabulous underwear…

 

 

 

 

Numb

small version green dress

‘Princess Fiona’

Numb. That’s the word I used to describe my life from 2007-2008. A constant state of ‘Meh’ about life, love and weight loss.

It wasn’t all bad, I’d put in for voluntary redundancy and got it, planning to set up my own business as a copywriter. I had to work for six months after they relocated my communications post to Liverpool, doing absolutely nothing of any interest or value, but I discovered Facebook and did a lot of research in that time!

I didn’t have a lot of confidence back then, Husband #2 and ‘L’ had conspired to convince me I was dyspraxic and would walk behind me sniggering at the way I walked. I remember comments from L about things I wore, like, “Where did you get those shoes? They’re….interesting” and from H#2 “Why don’t you get your hair cut at ‘L’s hairdresser?”

I felt as if I was being watched. All the time.

Getting a bit of attention…

Back in the office, my work buddy was applying for jobs all over the country. We were hanging out a lot together but I was completely oblivious to the fact he fancied me. I mean, why would he? We went out to celebrate my birthday one Friday afternoon, got drunk in a pub in Cambridge and had the best laugh. The next day, I was on my way to Brighton on my birthday with H#2, on a trip I’d organised myself, and my mobile beeped. “Happy Birthday Gorgeous!”

Oh crap. It was my mate. I blushed, replied “Thanks sweetie” and deleted it, just in case. I didn’t think H#2 ever checked my phone but I wasn’t taking any chances.

I never said any more about the incident and put it down to my mate being friendly. Then, after a lunchtime bitching session, he emailed me something really cheeky, which really DID make me blush, and I couldn’t look at him. I replied telling him to behave himself, and laughed it off. but I secretly liked it. I had been compliment-starved for ages!

H#2 and I moved to Ely in 2007 and it was the week we moved that my mate left the office to take a job hundreds of miles away. By now, he’d admitted he fancied me and was plying me with compliments over MSN and text when H#2 was working away. He knew I wasn’t up for anything, and it was all playful – but it did put a spring in my step. I did invite him to see the new place (while H#2 was there) and as a result got accused of having an affair with him. Truth was, it would have been ideal if I had felt the same way, and if he wasn’t moving miles away, but I only ever saw him as a good friend and nothing ever happened. So off he went and I was back to normal again. We kept in touch but work was miserable without my bitching companion and I couldn’t wait to leave.

I stPlus Size Divaarted ‘Fat Girls are Fab Too‘ a plus size blog, much to H#2 and L’s disgust. I thought it was great fun. I just wanted to make a difference, in my own little way.

I set up the copy writing business in 2007. It was slow at first but I had the money from my redundancy to fall back on. My brother AND sister both got married in 2007, so I got to be a bridesmaid and wear a posh frock. I thought I looked like Princess Fiona in my green bridesmaids dress, but my Mum thought I looked lovely. H#2 grudgingly came to both weddings, although only because L&P were invited.

At my brother’s wedding I’d managed to lose a bit of weight and wore a gorgeous purple dress…which I tucked into my knickers while in the loo at Costa Coffee in Ipswich before the reception, and stood in Ipswich town centre with my arse hanging out. Not such a good look…

Anyway, at the start of 2008 I knew I had to do something. H#2 had said we’d talk about kids again when we moved, but changed the subject every time I brought it up. In early 2008 the excuse was that we couldn’t have kids as we were renting our house. I put him on the spot – were we ever going to do it? He said he didn’t want kids, he’d made up his mind, and that was that. My biological clock was ticking so damn hard you could have heard it in the next county so that was a huge blow to me. On top of that, I found out that our plans for emigrating to Canada had been scuppered…and he hadn’t told me. He’d applied for a transfer and his manager was helping him find a job in Calgary, but it all went very quiet. He lied and told me that there were no jobs when he’d actually withdrawn his application without telling me because L&P wouldn’t be able to come. I found this out when L told me and I was so angry I turned the air in the car blue.

I was listening to seriously grumpy music ALL the time. Like this:

and this:

All the stress meant I was putting on weight again, too. It had to get better, didn’t it?

After the epiphany….

doughnutsIt’s all very well having the knowledge, but actually doing something useful with it is another thing altogether.

I was totally and utterly convinced by the end of 2006 that the reason I couldn’t lose weight wasn’t because I was stupid, lacked willpower or had some bizarre metabolism problem that made me stack on pounds whenever I saw the word ‘doughnut’. It was dieting and the way it affected my brain that was making me turn into the Cookie Monster at the mere mention of calories or fat restriction.

I worked my way through the course and at first I felt an immense sense of freedom. I was elated. I didn’t feel tempted to eat entire packets of biscuits, or finish a bar of chocolate just because it was there any more. I could take crisps or leave them, and mostly I went off them. I discovered delicious new things I hadn’t tried – hummus, full fat mayo, tuna in olive oil, and it was a revelation that I didn’t have to always go for the low fat, low calorie plastic version of food. I ate really well and felt like I’d turned a corner.

I weighed myself after a couple of weeks – something Sue advises not to do, but I’d lost weight! Oh . My . God.

So what went wrong?

Me.

If I’d carried on, told myself I really could eat anything I wanted, stopped stressing about my weight and followed all the confidence, self-esteem boosting tips I had learned, I would have cracked it. but the problem was, I still found it hard to accept that I was OK as I was, and that I could eat like a normal person and not gain weight. I hadn’t lost the obsession.

York 2007It didn’t help that Husband #2 thought it was a load of old crap. As did ‘L’, and anything she thought, he automatically agreed with. She refused to believe there was any other way than Weight Watchers, and couldn’t understand when I told her I was eating anything I wanted. When H#2 did the Tesco shop with me, I’d have him nagging away at me not to put anything ‘naughty’ in the trolley because he’d eat it, and if I did, he’d say “What are you putting that in for, I thought you were supposed to be on a diet?”

I hid food from him, and so I was just as screwed up as I had been before I’d done the course. But I was in even more of a muddle now because even though I believed that dieting was pointless, the methods I learned in the Food Philosophy went to the back of my mind. There was no way I could do what I wanted with the Food Philosophy because the people around me made it too hard. If only I had my Big Girl Pants on back then and wasn’t such a wuss, who knows where I’d be now, but I was a chronic people pleaser and just accepted my lot.

Phew.

So anyway, I carried on as I had been for a bit longer. I started my Relentlessly Positive website and ditched reading crappy magazines like Heat and Closer because they just got on my nerves. I vowed never to go on a diet again or buy a diet magazine or book. But I spent my spare time with three people obsessed with body image and food who whenever we went on holiday together (yes, we really did, every sodding year) dieted for two weeks before we left and then arranged the entire holiday around where we were going to eat next. It was abso-bloody-lutely exhausting. My brain was fried!

I chucked the scales out in 2006 and I think I stayed around the same size for a while. I talked to Sue all the time and started to immerse myself in positive psychology, books on self-esteem, the Law of Attraction and read everything I could on positive body image. The Relentlessly Positive website was really doing well, considering I set it up on next to nothing and did all the work myself.

I was changing – but everything around me was staying the same. I was surrounded by negative influences who made me feel bad about myself, made me doubt my beliefs and left me feeling uncomfortable and conflicted. I had to change, I just didn’t know how.

 

i-love-not-dieting

The one where I decided diets were rubbish

i-love-not-dietingYou know that they always say you have to really hit rock bottom to start climbing your way back up again? Well, in 2006, as far as my eating habits were concerned, that’s right where I was.

I was definitely following the ‘throw everything at it and something might stick’ method of weight loss. Having a wedding to plan for hadn’t done anything to help me lose any weight, although I was quite impressed that I’d come back from a three week honeymoon in Canada pretty much the same size as I’d left.

Husband #2 and I were basking in  romantic post-wedding bliss…who am I kidding, things were exactly the same as they had been before we got married and we decided that maybe moving out of Soham might be what we needed to make things better. Hooray! Only we couldn’t sell the bloody house. But that’s another story.

I was still working in Cambridge and the job was OK but not very inspiring. At some point in 2006 I think I had to apply for it all over again, thankfully I got it all over again too. I was bored though, pinning all my hopes on moving to Ely where I had access to transport, as living in Soham was still costing me a bloody fortune and H#2 did like to Lord it over me with the fact he earned more, and make me ask him every month for the money for the monthly season ticket. Way to keep the little woman down, eh?

It’s hardly surprising that I couldn’t sort my weight out. And the day I hit the very bottom was a day I remember really well. I was still signed up to several diet websites. I was paying for Weight Loss Resources and Weight Watchers, had all the Slimming World books, and was buying Rosemary Conley’s magazine too. I also obsessed about diets on several other web forums, including the Discovery Health website and the Daily Mail’s Femail forum. I think it’s fair to say that if I had another project or hobby I devoted so much attention to, I might have become quite good at it.

I think it was one day when I was lamenting my lack of success at sticking to ANYTHING that Lou contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trialling a new way. Another non-diet diet? My interest was aroused, I’d had a bit of respite earlier in the year with Paul McKenna’s ‘I can make you thin‘ but had got really bored with listening to him for half an hour every night and given it up. Out of curiosity I got in touch with a lady called Sue Thomason, who was running a new programme called ‘The Food Philosophy‘.

(Paul Mckenna – I can make you thin)

The programme included a forum (I was becoming quite addicted to them) and six weeks of reading material and exercises. She’d run it for free using members of the Discovery Health website as guinea pigs and was taking on paying clients. I read through the intro text she sent me and I felt like this might be the answer for me.

The programme was a complete revelation. It described me and my eating habits to a tee. The best thing was that it made me feel as if I didn’t have to live like this any more. I couldn’t possibly summarise it here, but after my six weeks were up I was already feeling so much calmer around food. I vowed never to diet again, after reading how the very decision to ‘restrict’ food affects our subconscious mind and makes us want to over eat.

I finally understood WHY diets didn’t work, and that in order for me to stop my overeating, I was going to have to let go of the idea that they did, and my desperate need to lose weight, for good, and start learning to trust my instincts. That building up my self-esteem INTERNALLY and not basing it on what I looked like to others was the key to being able to live a happy life.

I still believe that Sue Thomason is a freaking genius.

So now I had all the facts, it was up to me to change my life with them…

foodphilosophy-name-only-logo-e1332531967224

Work in progress

Diet dilemma

 

Work in progress

It’s crazy in my head right now.

I thought it was hard enough with what’s going on with Dad, but I kind of came to terms with that and decided that all the time he’s happy, I will be too.

Then something else happened and it’s put me into a situation where if I want to get what I want, not only do I somehow have to work out a way to get enough money for Moley and I to move into a bigger place, but I also have to lose weight. Probably.

What do I do? Diets DO NOT WORK.

So I’m holding out every hope that the EFT I’m doing will start to sink in and make scarfing down family size packets of Kettle Chips less appealing. I’ve been doing a lot of very personal work with Cara on what it is that makes me overeat, and I’ve even gone right back to when I was bullied at school, a particularly horrible incident that might have made skinny, short arsed 12 year-old Sarah think it wasn’t such a good idea to be smaller than everyone else. Especially when four girls, all bigger than her, decided they were going to gang up on her and challenge her to a fight in the playground.

You want to know the outcome? I hid behind a bush. They found me. I ended up covered in spit. Not very pretty.

I guess I can see why  I might have decided that being bigger could be used to my advantage.

Anyway, I have to do something. Because if I don’t my weight might be used against me as a grown up, but in the opposite way. So it’s time I got a proper grip on my overeating, using all the resources I have available to me. Notice I don’t say “I have to lose weight” – that will just trigger me in the opposite direction!

I’d love to get my hula hoop out again and give it a go in the back garden, and wiggle until I can keep the damn thing going more than a minute, but I’m scared people will laugh at me. Dumb, huh? I’m overlooked as I share the back garden with the neighbours, living in a ground floor flat. I could try indoors but there’s not a lot of room. I think the ABBA Wii game might have to come out and the Davina boxing workout can get dusted off. I’m getting the walking shoes back on too. Making fitness fun, that’s the key, right? My Zumba buddy cancelled again tonight, though.

This time next year, I’ll be sorted, no longer an overeater, fit, getting a bigger place and – I’ll tell you all exactly how I do it as I figure it out. Wish me luck…it’s quite a target!

 

My Diet Head is Hurty

lady-eating-chocolate

I’ve started this post so many times now that sod it, I’m just going to write it as it comes and see what happens. Honesty and all that..

My diet head is screaming at me right now. All day yesterday it was telling me I was a fat cow and should go on a diet. I even had the old Slimming World recipe books out. My clothes are getting tight, the walking routine has been filed under ‘when I get around to it’ and the chances that I’ll do the marathon in September are remote because my walking buddy has dropped out and you know what else? I can’t be arsed to think about it. Or getting there. Or training. Or booking a hotel for the night.

Thank the Lord for leggings at the moment. For weeks I’ve been telling myself I should look after my body, I have to stay strong and not get poorly. People need me. But then I get home, stuff down entire bars of Dairy Milk with jelly beans in and knock back Pinot Grigio. Then I get horrible IBS and reflux and kick myself for doing it, but it’s like I don’t really care.

That’s why I’ve been offline with the fat girl blog. I haven’t been in the mood for it, I’ve not been feeling positive and I haven’t had time. This weekend has been the first one in as long as I can remember that I haven’t been in Ipswich for at least part of it, seeing my dad in hospital or at home. I feel as if I want to be around my family all the time but I also want to be with Moley, who’s being a complete and utter star and so, so supportive when I’m being a bitch, eating like a pig, or can’t be arsed to cook tea yet again.

Still, I have to get my head back on straight and I’m going to use this weekend to do it. I’m studying books on Emotional Freedom Technique, and I’ve been having sessions with Cara Wilde who has succeeded in breaking my addiction to Marmite crisps! I’m coming to a lot of conclusions about myself – one of the reasons I hate doing any kind of fitness or healthy eating routine is that I bloody hate being told what to do. I always know better! Oops. That’s why I really am better off self-employed.

There are some great EFT resources if you fancy trying it, I’m reading EFT for Weight Loss at the moment and there are a lot of helpful videos, plus Cara’s own page has some good links. I want to do some of the work in the book on cravings and reasons for overeating, but guess what…until now I haven’t had the time!

I’m trying to ignore the snarky ‘fat cow’ voice in my head, although as I dive head first into a bag of Kettle Chips that’s proving difficult. But I need to stay on top of things. I need to be positive and I owe it to myself, and everyone in my family, to make every day count. I guess the thought of losing someone dear to you makes you realise that….

I’ll be back when I can with another update and more of the life story…