Monthly Archives: January 2014

A January alternative for the fed up dieter

by  Audrey Boss – author and founder of Beyond Chocolate

beyondchoc

If you are reading this, the chances are you’ve already figured out that dieting doesn’t work. You know this from personal experience, right? On the rare occasion you have managed to tough it out, stick to the plan and shed some weight, it has all eventually come back on – plus a little more. You know that dieting is doomed to failure. You know that trying to restrict what you eat and resist temptation leads to overeating and feeling out of control around food. You know that because you’ve been there, countless times… and yet.

And yet….even the most committed anti dieters find it hard to resist the lure of the diets in January. As founder of the UK’s leading No Diet Community, I see it happen every year. Our Forum and Facebook Group are full of posts by members who wobble in their resolve to never go on another diet. Why?

Well, there’s the obvious fact that we are subjected to multimillion pound advertising campaigns left, right and centre and surrounded by people who buy into them and embark on all sorts of weight loss programmes. It’s hard to swim against the tide, to not get caught up in the wave of hopefulness and optimism that sweeps the country at the beginning of each year.

And I think it goes deeper than that. It’s instinctive and natural to feel the need to make a fresh start from time to time and what better time to do that than January? The start of a new year is a great opportunity to set the counter back to zero and start over. To let go of unhelpful habits and behaviours, to make a plan for a happier, healthier you. It’s part of being human.

And diets fit the bill, don’t they? They promise all of that and provide a framework within which to go about putting it into practice. When you sign up for a diet programme or a slimming club you get a plan, a set of rules to follow. You get a goal to aim for and the promise of a better future. You get a sense of belonging and support – you’re not alone, you’re doing this along with everyone else. And you get to be accountable, even if it is only to your bank balance.

It’s such a shame that it’s all in vain, really, because there’s nothing wrong with making a commitment to making changes, having a plan, getting the support you need to do that and being accountable, to yourself and those around you.

So I have an alternative for the fed up dieter who’s looking to start anew in 2014. How about going beyond diets and going Beyond Chocolate instead?

1.  Sign up for something and make a commitment

Want to make real, lasting changes to the way you eat and the way you look? That’s our mission at Beyond Chocolate. Register for our Basic Support Pack (it’s FREE) and and take the first step towards doing just that. You can then add your No Diet Pledge to the hundreds of others on our Forum and make a commitment that will really make a difference! Take a look at this tiny sample of what’s possible…

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2.  Come up with a plan

Or take the 10 Beyond Chocolate Principles, make them yours and use those instead. You can use these as guidelines to transform your relationship with food and your body. Go for our Bumper Support Pack (just £1 a week – that’s cheaper than ANY diet out there) and you can do both our kick ass online courses: How to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting and How to Stop Overeating in which we will guide you step by step to a completely new approach to weight loss and body confidence. Curious about how the Beyond Chocolate approach can work for you? Look here at one member’s success story.

3.  Get support

By joining Beyond Chocolate (both as a Basic and Bumper member), you are joining the UK’s largest No Diet Community. That’s thousands of women, just like you, who have decided to ditch the diets and do something different. Our Forums and private Facebook Groups are buzzing, welcoming and super supportive. Plus we’ve got workshops, drop-ins and our amazing new telephone support groups (handy, you can do those in your PJs running every day of the week at various times for just £7. You won’t be on your own!

support

It’s FREE!!!!

paperback Cover

Just a quick post for you, letting you know that as from right about now, Gorgeously Full Fat the book will be free for five days. That’s right, you can download the ebook for FREE. Nada. Nothing. Zippo.

I’m giving it away for free because;

1. The diet ads are getting on my nerves now.

2. It’s ‘Blue Monday’ and apparently today is the most miserable day of the year, when people have ditched the New Year diets and realised how much Christmas cost them. And it’s still over a week till pay day.

3. If you’re skint, you need a pick me up.

If you enjoy it, please let me know – and feel free to review it on Amazon, too!

Enjoy…

silver leggings

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?

British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2014

British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2014

British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2014

British Plus Size Fashion Weekend is back  on the 14th & 15th February!

I’m hoping to get up there this year, to the Vinopolis in London, I missed out last year, which was a shame.

Evans is sponsoring this year’s event along with Simply Be and Woman’s Own magazine, and the whole weekend is perfectly placed to help women of all sizes feel fabulous, with high street retailers finally getting to grips with the plus size market including Debenhams who announced they were introducing size 16 mannequins in some stores.

Get ready for four fabulous fashion shows, all showcasing top plus size designers including Evans, Tika Soomak, Dea London, Scarlett & Jo, JANE WATSON and OPhee.

Event day is Saturday 15th February, with shop your shape workshops, a marketplace laid out according to body type and catwalk fashion shows featuring plus size bridal, lingerie, indie designers, swimwear and more.

 

For more info and tickets, go to the BPSFW website. You never know, I might meet you there?

Smiling couple

Wedding Belle

Smiling couple

From my experience, weddings bring out the diet head in most fat women, no matter how hard they try to block it out. It’s a nightmare scenario when you’re trying to avoid diets and weight loss advice; not only do you have to deal with finding the dress, you have the prospect of having pictures taken that you can’t avoid being in, and a room full of relatives who might not have seen you for a long time.

I can honestly say that I don’t know if I gained or lost any weight between getting engaged and getting married. I can say that the dress was the difficult bit. not because I was fretting over my size or anything, but because unless you’re lucky enough to be able to afford someone to make something just for you, you have to negotiate the minefield that is trying to work out whether a fabulous outfit modelled on a size 10 wisp of a thing will look remotely like that when you order it online. Of course, there are plus size wedding shops; Simply Be does a plus size range but they are all white and if you’ve read Gorgeously Full Fat the book, you’ll know a white dress probably isn’t appropriate!

There are also wedding dress shops, and wedding dressmakers, queuing up to make that perfect gown. They are very expensive though, and they class anything over a size 14 as plus-size (or at least they used to) so again, you’re stuck with the dilemma of trying to work out how a dress displayed in a small size will look on an ample bride.

What did I do? I went online and bought an ‘occasion’ dress off the peg instead. It was lovely on, and I could send it back it if had turned out to be too big – a luxury I didn’t have with the dresses ordered online and made to measure. Thankfully, mine fitted.

I was, I’ll admit, tempted by the diet on a few occasions last year. I put on weight when I was mainlining Cadburys chocolate when dad was in hospital, and it took me a while to rein myself back in and stop overeating junk food when I couldn’t be arsed to cook, and drinking wine till my head buzzed. I stopped, but I knew I was a bit bigger. I opted to walk a bit more and swim a bit, but even the I somehow resisted the diet.

Anyway, I put thoughts about photographs to the back of my mind, and showed up with a very big smile on my face on Friday 3rd January. And you know what? The dress looked lovely. I had the best time ever. I played up to the camera, grinning like a loon and hugging Moley, and I didn’t give a stuff about how I looked on camera. The only comments I’ve had about how I looked are “You looked so happy.”

So, if you’re a chubby girl (or man) and you’re starting to feel the pull of the diet, don’t believe the hype. You’ll be just as happy if you get hitched JUST AS YOU ARE as you would if you’d starved yourself for months, and what’s more, the time you spend building up to the big day will be full of fun stuff and excitement instead of self-denial and wishing you looked different.

Remember: your beloved wants to marry you as you are, not just a thinner version of you!

Oh and PS: I got my wish; Dad was there to walk me down the aisle …

Signing1