Monthly Archives: February 2014

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: How I Beat Binge eating

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Warning: If you’re likely to be triggered by talking about real life eating disorders, look away now!

So, it’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and the media is full of faux sympathetic talk about helping people with bulimia or anorexia and getting a diagnosis from your doctor being the key to getting your life back. Is it? Bullshit. Sorry mum.

Anyone who’s read Gorgeously Full Fat will be able to tell you that getting a medical referral for an eating disorder (in the late 1990s anyway) was no route to health. And I don’t think anything has changed in the past 15 years, given that according to the Huffington Post today, “Last week, it was reported NHS is failing thousands of patients with eating disorders who are being turned away by doctors because their condition is not deemed ‘serious enough’.”

That’s pretty much word for word what I was told when I asked for help. I wasn’t ill enough. I wasn’t half dead through starvation, or throwing up three times a day. I knew I had a problem therefore I was intelligent enough to be able to deal with it. Would you tell someone with severe depression that they didn’t need help because they weren’t at the stage of jumping in front of a train yet? It’s EXACTLY the same. Telling someone with an Eating Disorder Non Specified (EDNOS) that they should be able to figure it out by themselves is just like telling someone with depression that they’re a bit fed up and need to get a hobby.

Actually, I did beat it myself. The worst of it, anyway.

Here’s what I did. It might not help you, but on the other hand it might give you a bit of a heads up if you think you are dealing with an eating disorder and haven’t had any help from the NHS (I was actually offered sessions with a nutritionist. At that point I’d studied two diplomas in weight loss/nutrition and fitness, read every copy of Zest and Health & Fitness cover to cover and could probably have recalled the nutritional value in just about anything.).

You might also want to read ‘You can heal your life but not with chocolate‘ on the blog…

Disclaimer: This is my story. It’s what worked for me. If you think you have an eating disorder and you’re harming your health, my advice is to see your doctor first. 

Admit it – you’ve got issues. 

I thought I was just crap at dieting. That’s what I told my then boyfriend when he laid into me for not telling him I had a mental problem, as he so charmingly put it. I cried and wailed and protested that I didn’t KNOW I had a problem. It was only after researching and talking to other people just like me that I actually grew a pair of ovaries and owned up to needing help. OK, so maybe he wasn’t the most sympathetic person to confess it to, but then I moved onto step two.

hobnobFind Support

Once I’d got my head around the fact that no, it wasn’t normal to eat entire packets of chocolate Hobnobs in one sitting, and then follow them with two mini pork pies because I thought a savoury taste would stop me feeling as if I was going to barf, I decided to try and find support.

That was where the Internet came in. Back in 1998 I didn’t have it at home so I was restricted to accessing pages at work in my lunch hour. Or when the bitch boss from hell, the one who had escalated my eating issues from occasional attempts at dieting to full on uncontrollable binging, wasn’t looking. Despite the fact that it took about 20 minutes to download a page back then, I found a support group called ASED or ‘alt.support.eating-disorders’. It’s now a really awful Google group with nothing much of any use on it but back then it was a lifesaver. What it did for me, apart from help me when I was having a REALLY bad day, is make me realise that actually, I was a worthwhile person. I used to help other people on the forum, people with severe bulimia and anorexia, and I’d often find myself getting more out of supporting them than I did from reaching out for support myself. It made me feel useful and needed.

I forged a few offline friendships with some really great people through ASED, and they were good for book recommendations and therapy techniques as well as virtual hugs. The downside was that occasionally someone would die. Yes, that’s the trouble with eating disorders, they kill people. Some women (or men) who’d posted regularly on the forum committed suicide, unable to deal with their issues any more. Occasionally someone would get sectioned, or sent off to a clinic, usually the people with anorexia, and sometimes it would just be too late. Those posts were always the worst.

obeGet informed

Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can start looking for answers and help. It’s much, much better these days with so much information available online, social media, online therapy, web-based support groups and more. Back in 1998, there was nothing like that. The ASED group did direct me to some great resources though and once I’d started to get to grips with Amazon (I was so excited that I could order books on the Internet and they’d arrive in a couple of days) I started to order the sort of books that I was too chicken to look for in Waterstones or read unless my boyfriend was out. The first book I ever bought about eating disorders was:

Dr Christopher Fairburn:  Overcoming Binge Eating

It;s a brilliant book. His straightforward CBT style techniques did start to have a positive effect fairly quickly, although I couldn’t do everything he suggested because I didn’t want to arouse the boyfriend’s suspicion and have to deal with him having another go at me about my eating disorder. The second edition came out last year and I’d highly recommend it if binge eating is a problem for you.

Other books I immersed myself in include:

I hadn’t really started to get into fat acceptance or any kind of body positivity, I just wanted to stop binging. The books above all approach the issue from different perspectives, the Geneen Roth book was hard going at times and if I’ve read one piece of advice to stock up on all your favourite foods, I’ve read them all (couldn’t do that – boyfriend would have thought I was going loopy)

The fourth and most important step out of eating disorder territory for me, took longer. In fact, if I’m honest it’s still going on, and it’s VITAL if you want to stop binge eating.

STOP PEOPLE PLEASING AND ACCEPT THAT YOU’RE OK

Sorry for shouting, but it really is the fundamental thing, the hardest and the most obvious all in one. I didn’t start to really get over my issues until I’d got shot of one of the things that was exacerbating them. The man. How can you possibly get over a diet addiction and make peace with your body, with food and everything else when you’re living with someone who makes you feel as if you’re in the wrong just because of the way you walk? (yep, he really did.)

I’d got over the worst of the problem by 1999, a combination of the techniques above, some counselling and moving job did the trick. It was always there under the surface though and I still binged, just not every day. I didn’t consider myself cured – I still don’t completely, but I’m a work in progress on the people pleasing and I do genuinely believe that I’m OK these days. In fact, some days, I feel positively fabulous!

So, that’s my contribution to Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I’ve been there, done that, thought about throwing up or starving myself but never done it (deliberately). I’ve binge eaten Kettle Chips, Hula Hoops, pies, cakes, biscuits and special fried rice. I’ve done every diet known to woman. I rarely binge now. I’m still fat…I find that the mere mention of the D-word sends me into the kitchen for food I don’t need so I avoid it. Yeah I’m fat. I’m fatter than I was in 1998, that’s for sure. But am I happier?

Hell yeah.

 

 

Goddesses and Business Angels

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It’s all getting exciting in Viva Voluptuous world.

I’ve got to do most of the promotion for the book, so pleeeease bear with me while I promote it. I had to let out a big girly squeal of delight today when I had an email from a designer of promotional videos who I’m hoping to work with on book promo and potentially other projects too…the exciting thing about it is that life is definitely imitating art – you’ll just have to read the book to find out why.

A few wonderful people have stepped in to help with ideas and support – bloggers, fellow authors, magazine editors and more. It’s amazing how many fantastic people there are out there with creative ideas and practical help. Don’t ever let anyone tell you the Internet, Facebook, social media or whatever are just for selfies, hookups and grooming young children.

I had some great advice from a local business Facebook group, who’ve put me in touch with some tip top contacts.

I also took some tips from the wonderful women I talk to at the Amazing Biz and Life Academy. Along with ideas, they’ve been creative and supportive, offered to read the book and blog a review for me, and generally come up with a load of things I hadn’t thought of. Who knew that YouTube and video promos were so popular? Excerpts, a chapter of the book as a signup giveaway…these women are total Goddesses when it comes to building a business and getting shiz done. You might think that a group which used to be called ‘Goddess Circle’ would be full of hippies…well, yeah actually there’s rather a lot of hippie-ness going on too, but if you love that kind of thing too, it’s a great place for inspiration and creative genius.

I’m so fired up and inspired today. With the help of the brilliant Create Your Amazing Life & Business Year workbooks, and the practical help from members of the group, I’ve managed to get both sides of the project covered – the practical, business-y part of promoting and selling a book, and making a career as a creative writer, and the spiritual/emotional side.

Is there a spiritual side to business? I think so, especially a creative one. I’ve had a mental block for as long as I can remember that despite the hard work, heart and soul I put into getting the story out of my head and into a readable novel, it wasn’t actually my career. I make money from writing blog posts about tarmac and refrigeration services, not by getting into the zone and writing about the things I love.

The ABLA made me think differently. I *am* a creative writer (how else could I make a blog post about Tokyo Bus Lanes sound interesting) and my passion is stories, and supporting women in loving their wonderful selves no matter what their size or shape. That’s what I love, and what I need to be doing. I’m busting down those blocks one by one…

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I’m  REALLY looking forward to working my way through the next business programme from ABLA. I’m not going to lie, I’m an affiliate, and if anyone signs up to the group or buys a product through one of my links, I will get a percentage, which is fab. But I wouldn’t bother telling you about it if it was crap. Promise.

 

 

 

Gower Street chalkboard - Tumblr thebookguru

Waterstone’s here I come!

Gower Street chalkboard - Tumblr thebookguru

I have, in my possession, several copies of Viva Voluptuous. This little fact makes me super-happy. I did it. I wrote a book and someone thinks it’s good enough to print it. How freaking cool is that?

You’ll be able to buy one for yourself in April, in fact if you fancy getting ahead of the crowd, you can hop on over to Amazon and pre-order one. They’re selling pretty well already on pre-order, and I’m obsessively watching my Amazon sales ranking, of course!

Can’t wait? Buy yours here: Viva Voluptuous

Meanwhile, I thought I’d be kind and sneaky all at the same time and launch a li’l competition for anyone who wants to win their own signed copy before anyone else gets their hands on the book o’wonder.

So, if you want to win a copy of Viva Voluptuous, all you need to do is

1. Follow this blog or sign up to the newsletter (bonus is you sign up to the newsletter is that you get another freebie),

2. Like the Facebook page and

3.  Answer the following question correctly from the blurb on the Amazon page:

What does Ellie call the man who dumps her right at the beginning of Viva Voluptuous?

GOOD LUCK!

I’ll announce the winner on  Monday 17th March, so you’ve got three weeks to answer…

“He only fancies fat girls”

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Image by Debu-Rabu – http://debu-rabu.deviantart.com/

Men. Some of them have a type, and more often and not, they like us to think that it’s young and slim. With big boobs, of course.

Some men genuinely don’t have a type, and so they’re attracted to slim girls, fat girls and anything in between. Men like this are fab.  I’m married to one, and he’s the best. It’s sometimes hard to believe men who say they genuinely don’t care whether their girlfriend is slim, brainwashed like we are with the idea that unless we fit the mould, nobody is ever going to look twice at us. (By the way, this applies to gay women as well, of course.)

But what about the kind of man who only fancies big girls? The bigger the better, in fact?

Popular opinion says that fat women should be grateful for any crumb of sexual attention that’s thrown our way. But that never worked for me. I’m a person too, I have standards, and to be honest, being someone’s ‘type’ based just on my size used to piss me off just as much as the ignorant eejits who would tell me quite happily that they would never go out with a girl with a fat bum. Yep, I actually got that when I was dating. His loss, totally.

Have you ever come across a BBW lover? I have. OK, I signed up to the BBW dating sites years ago when I was newly single, but I soon abandoned them as they seemed to be full of people who thought that because I was big, I had fat cells in place of brain cells and would believe them when they told me I was their dream woman and gushed over how perfect I would be for them before we’d so much as swapped names.

Either that or they were full of men who thought that fat women were easy targets for sex, and that it didn’t matter how creepy they were, I would still be desperate for their attention and want to send them pictures of my boobs, again before swapping anything more than dating site profile details.

I always wanted a man who would love and fancy me because of who I was, because he thought I was gorgeous as I am, but not just because I was fat. Does that sound weird? I guess it’s just because to me, being judged purely on my physical proportions reminds me of when I was 17 and a spotty git I was a bit besotted with said that he only took me out on a date because I had big boobs. And that he wouldn’t go out with me properly because I was too fat, anyway.

It just makes me feel a bit uneasy. Love me for who I am, not my dress size or bra size – whether that’s’the perfect ten or plus size.

Men who only fancy fat girls aren’t all seedy pervs who just want to see how far they can get with a woman of substance, though. I was really good mates with a guy I worked with once, without realising that he had a mammoth crush on me. We’d always got on well, he had my back in the office. We’d spend hours wasting time over a drink at lunchtime, we lift shared for a while, and I considered him a really good friend.

He was always the perfect gent, never came on to me, but made it clear he thought a lot of me. I suppose if I hadn’t been living with someone who made me feel fat, frigid and repulsive, I might have noticed that he had the hots for me, but I never did. Not until just before he left the office and moved miles away, anyway. By then he had started pushing the boundaries; he’d sent me a few emails that were a bit cheeky, we’d started chatting on MSN and by text outside of work, and we’d had a few flirty conversations…but apart from staring at my cleavage a bit too long and the odd hug, nothing ever happened.

It wasn’t until after he’d gone, and I was missing hanging out with him, that someone told me about the office rumours – people assumed we’d been having an affair. I was mortified, yeah, he’d declared his feelings to me in secret by then but I was married and two-timing wasn’t my style. Even if my husband at the time was cruel to me, and I’d enjoyed the flirtation, that was all it had been. Then, the killer statement, from the person who told me about the rumours; “Well. you know he has a real thing about big women, don’t you?”

No. I didn’t.

I felt a bit yucky then. Not just that people had thought I’d been sleeping with my mate, but that they thought he must have been getting into my knickers because he fancied fat girls. And I was, clearly, fat. So I would have had no reason to stop him.

Between you and me, he has since admitted that he was a bit besotted, ever since the first time he saw me in the office. He had some kind of thing about me being his perfect woman back then and I think the fact that I wasn’t stupid, we could have a good laugh together and have a damn good rant/bitch about office politics just made him like me more. I prefer to think that it wasn’t just a fat girl thing, he really did like me for who I was. Not that it matters now, as we’re both happily married to other people. It kind of made it better for me, the fact it wasn’t just my chubby rolls and squidgy thighs he was thinking about.

I don’t know what made me think about it all recently, I’ve seen a few blog posts about men who have a ‘fetish’ for fat women, and I object to being someone’s fetish! I’m a woman, with feelings beyond my taste buds, and I get my tail feathers all twisted up at the thought of anyone fetishising me over my size.

What do you think of the BBW scene? BBW dating? Fat fetishes? Just a bit of harmless fun, or just as bad as the kind of man who refuses to consider a woman over a size eight?

 

Full Fat Fashion

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It worked! Looks like I’m getting to the Plus Size Fashion Weekend in London after all! I have to confess I’m feeling a wee bit nervous about it, hoping there will be some fabulous plus size fashion bloggers there, some of the women I’ve charted to on Twitter and mentioned on the blog.

I’ll be reporting back after the event, hopefully I’ll get some fab pics and a heads up on what’s going to be hot in 2014, with independents along with the big names like Evans and Simply Be. I can’t wait for the fashion show.

The press day is on Friday, where you’ll no doubt find me trying on, or at the very least, lusting after, some of the hottest plus size designs for 2014. If you’re going to be there, give me a shot and let’s compare notes over a glass of bubbly. See you there!