Meg (orphiel) wrote,
Meg
orphiel

Body Acceptance

Yo gurls (and selected men FEEL PROUD)

It is starting to get on my wick that my body acceptance is so fucking poor. I feel fat and frumpy a lot, and this is not cool, as both fatness and frumpiness should be considered awesome and also non related to your worth as a person.

I'm not going to go on a massive feminist rant about how patriarchy makes women (me) feel like this, and we need to change society, and etc etc, because you all know that, you all know I know that, and change is always a long time coming. I'm looking for some personal solutions to feel better about MY body.

I've identified the fact that for me, my body is not the problem. The way I feel about my body is the problem. I recently looked at a bunch of pictures of when I was much younger and thinner. I remember feeling pretty miserable about my body then, too.

Diet is Not The Answer. It just focuses me on the shit feelings, and then I hate myself more, and think of the whole thing as a punishment for being so SHIT and flabby as to need to stop eating things I love. Also, I love food. I can't bear the thought of a life where I spend the rest of it restricting what I eat and punishing myself for it. I already eat pretty good in terms of vegetables, Real Food (tm) and vitamins, can cook, love lentils, etc.

Cardio exercise is Not The Answer. I hate it, it is boring, it does not make me thinner and feels again like punishment. It takes time I do not have, and I hate it (This cannot be emphasised enough).

Shit that I think might be The Answer includes:

Doing weightlifting, because then I feel strong and also my muscles ache in this good way that makes me think about them rather than my stomach. And I want more muscles and think I could rock this. I enjoy doing the exercise and it doesn't take long so I don't get bored and pissed off. So I'm doing this. Yay me!

Wearing better clothes:
This one's tricky. I spend my mornings working as a cook, and my afternoons looking after an 18 month old toddler. The clothes I need to wear for this are easy clean, comfortable and stretchy, not too hot or cold, etc. I also feel kind of awkward when I dress up, because I don't do it very much, am insecure and keep pulling at my clothes. The clothes that women my shape wear in awesome blogs and look good in, are very much those 50s style retro dresses, heels, very shaped, qute tight, pin up girl style. Like these: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/
http://www.collectif.co.uk/
They are awesome, but I never wear dresses, hate wearing heels, and cannot be bothered to wear a lot of stuff or make-up.
I am pretty sure there's a happy medium between dressing up rockabilly with heels for work, and turning up at work in an ill-fitting toothpaste stained strappy top and pyjama trousers, which is my general 'thing.' Some of it will involve making a fucking effort rather than waking up and putting on whatever is on the floor, I accept this. But I need some help because I feel exposed and kind of weird when I do make an effort. Thoughts? Any good ideas about what kind of clothes to wear, how I should wear my clothes, good blogs, etc? I am also poor POOR so nothing that costs loads of cash ;)

Learning to think a different way about my body:
I have literally no idea how to do this. Any good links, blogs, ideas from my peeps?

Also, I work with a load of women who are always on a diet, always very down about their bodies, and we talk about it a lot, because I am a cook and obviously we end up talking about food, and if they're going to eat lunch with the kids I cook for, etc. I find myself feeling like this is really normal, and something I should do as well. I don't want to 'shut down' conversations but I don't feel like this is a healthy way of having stuff in common with colleagues.

I dunno, anything helpful, guys?
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic
  • 37 comments

Anonymous

August 16 2013, 14:47:35 UTC 3 years ago

I totally relate! I felt fat and frumpy. For me - learning Thai boxing was incredible! It made me feel strong, powerful, in control, and incredibly fit and healthy. I also lost weight - but that never ever my aim. I learnt a kick-ass skill, felt really fit and still eat shit loads of fit tasty food. It never felt like work, because I just loved doing it. And I then felt so much better about myself and my body because I was so fit and healthy. Still curvy and womanly, but with hella muscles too! xxx

Anonymous

August 16 2013, 14:48:37 UTC 3 years ago

It's Kate Ebbutt btw. Didn't mean to be anonymous! xx

moseleyjules

3 years ago

Anonymous

August 16 2013, 14:57:31 UTC 3 years ago

Firstly, you are pretty and gorgeous, intelligent and fierce etc etc. x :-)
Think you have done well to get the point where you know that being skinny is not the answer for you, and you know what you want to be strong and stuff. Not sure I can help with the dressing thing, other than saying the 50's look is wicked, but don't feel you have to go the hole way. Although Josie is younger, she does that look, she is not skinny, she probably has similar shape to you. But she has several 50's style dresses but wears them with converse or boots, and never really wears make up. And I don't thinks at you need to 'dress up' all the time to feel better about yourself. Your job is not really designed for nice clothes and stuff, and sitting on a floor playing with toddler......but maybe give yourself one day a week to put on something nice, least see how it goes, doesn't have to be anything special, I like just putting on nice top and doing something with my hair and stuff to go for a wander around the town, or meeting with chums for drink/ lunch. (Wow that makes me feel like a wag or something) but I hope you get what I mean.
Not sure I been a lot of help, but hopefully little bit.
Hopefully see you soon.
Love
Mum,
should probable sign it Stella, as I can't sign into my old live journal account ;-) x
One day a week is an excellent plan actually, thanks mum! You are a lot of help :) And ILU.

stellacutbill

3 years ago

orphiel

3 years ago

Right - 50s style is _so_ the way to go... but it actually works just as well with DMs or the fake Converse that I have been wearing this summer. I do occasionally stick a pair of heels on if I'm going somewhere super-nice, but otherwise it's Sainsbury's Converse-style sneakers all the time. My feet love me for it, too - I have gel insoles from Boots for support, as totally flat shoes are not good for feet.
Find a few colours that you really like (mine are black, white and red), and build your wardrobe around them, with a decent pair of jeans thrown in. 2 of my favourite ever pairs of jeans have come from charity shops; if you have the time to trawl them, it's really worth it, as I got a brand new pair of DKNY jeans for £8 once. I'd be happy to come up to Nottingham for a day with my wardrobe if you want to try on stuff like Collectif dresses to see what works on you?
You should totally do that :) Thanks v much for the advice, I really need to sort out my jeans situation, most of mine are too small now and so make me feel rubbish.
Heya hon xxx I have to second what other people have said about both weights and kickboxing. I think feeling strong and powerful in yourself leads directly to feeling better about your body. Learning to punch properly is probably one of the best things I ever did, not so much in terms of self defense or self confidence but because the core punches and kicks you learn are extremely powerful ways to use your body and you can feel that you just did a powerful thing. Which feels good - like you are instantly more connected and inhabiting your body.

You can usually pick up a set of free weights on gumtree and I know a lot of people use kettlebells which aren't too expensive. There are videos and guides online to show you good technique but there are probably also lots of people who'd actively be keen to do some hanging out with weights together. Like, I can't remember where you guys are based, and I'd be a bit concerned that my technique is awful and I shouldn't be teaching people and I don't know jack anyway, but I'd be happy to do some hanging around with heavy metal.

On clothes and stuff I am awful, but I guess one thing I find is that colours and images that I like make me happy even if I'm not sure if they suit me. I have a yellow cordroy shirt that I found in Oxfam that looks a lot like I mugged a 12 year old, but it makes me happy when wearing it because I think of sunshine.

You should definitely come help me do weights. I have been watching stuff on youtube but it is sometimes tricky to get the hang of it from that. Also I am gonna try the colours thing, because yes being happy is wicked, and I think I can overthink what suits me and doesn't.

Anonymous

August 16 2013, 17:12:50 UTC 3 years ago

I really liked this post Meg. I am struggling again a lot with this at the min and keep getting frustrated because as we know it's balls but there we are still hitting ourselves. Susie Orback is my fav author on this stuff. I like your approach of seeking stuff that practically makes you feel better. I like riding my bike cos I feel all free and nobody can get me. This works really well for travelling between meetings at work. I like that I don't have to pay for petrol or parking cos I am tight. Also it feels like playing out when you were a kid especially going down big hills! I'm not any thinner since I started riding my bike but I am proud when I look back and see how my week has changed for the better since I started, and how big hills are not a problem any more so I feel a sense of acheivement.

Cheryl does kickboxing in Sneinton I think and that makes her feel very powerful and hardcore! I could imagine you enjoying that.

Totally agree with Bryony on the clothes/ colours thing. I wear orange and yellow all the time for happiness. I recently tried to extent this strategy to my hair which was disastrous though. My hair isn't yellow. Turns out my hairdresser's interpretation of yellow was a few caramel highlights (probably for the best) and the "street urchin come circus performer" mad short messy hairstyle I asked for became the second incarnation of my 11 year old self's tragedy "hair-do 2000" wedge cut. It's embarrassing but I've cried a few times this has upset me so much. It's starting to grow though now.

Back to the positives though, and on the too dressed up thing you might have noticed I like to look a bit clown like and silly, definitely makes me feel happy. It is like my uniform, in a good way. I don't feel dressed until I have something stupid in my hair. Variations on the same thing (usually flowers in hair) mean I don't feel too ridiculous to leave the house, I suppose I look predictably silly to all who see me often therefore not raising any new eyebrows. I think you always look ace and colourful and warm - things I hold high! The suggestions of dresses with flats would be ace on you I think.

I try to consciously go against the need to associate thin with good in relation to how I perceive myself and what I'm aiming for. It's still really tied up with how I look but makes it easier to focus on my talents and other characteristics though. I like to have a positive image in my head I can imagine up and focus on. It's important the picture is not thin and usually i do look amazing in the image! I also have a few non thin image role models I like to google. Jane Goldman is one of mine.

I have loads of blogs etc. Will find some and let you have.

Further suggestion old school girls night twin peaks at mine. That always made me feel amazing about myself! And is a good antidote to all the fat talk most of us hear all the time at work (and in our heads).

Scarlett x x x x
Oh hun, I am glad you liked it, and we should definitely have some old school girls nights, and get chatting together :) And I know exactly what you mean about associating thin with good, I have a real tendency to do that and it is totally unhelpful. Jane Goldman is an amazing role model and I am going to get some pics of her on my new pinterest board! Thanks so much for blogs in advance :)
I have nothing new or even helpful, to add but you def shouldn't feel bad about your appearance.
Having said that I am now looking around for things wot look interesting to read.

also, holy heck! Livejournal! I don't think I've used this in forever

little_wh0re

3 years ago

orphiel

3 years ago

orphiel

3 years ago

Yo.

I ain't read none of your FB comments following this, so apologies if a lot of what I've said has been said by better/ faster/ more articulate people on the Facebook.

OK, my take on all your stuff above is this:

It appears to my brain that in order for you to Feel More Happy, there are two main options to achieve this:

1. Change your body to one that makes your brain happy.
2. Change your brain to think your body is happy.

Now then, from things you have said above ("both fatness and frumpiness should be considered awesome ", "my body is not the problem. The way I feel about my body is the problem") and ("Diet is Not The Answer", "Cardio exercise is Not The Answer"), I get the impression that number 1 possibly isn't the better option of the two. Because your physical body isn't a size, shape, or condition that is worth your angst, nor are the things that are most effective in changing body shapes attractive to you.

So, no. 1 - OUT.

(I also am not in favour of no. 1, for basically, all the same reasons as you, above - your body is awesome. No, really, your body is AWESOME, and also cardio can go eat a shit.)

Now, then, no. 2 is something that is, I believe, attainable.

OK, so some personal anecdotal stuffs now:

Between the months of Jan and Sept 2012, I went through Some Ugly Crap, and gained about 3 stone of weight. That's 1 stone every 3 months. By September and when my new job started, I found out that I couldn't fit in to 90% of my clothes, and was too poor to buy any new ones. I became very very body negative.

My thought processes mirrored much of what you wrote above, almost exactly, on a loop, over and over, for weeks and weeks. I hated cardio, but couldn't carry on being fat, I felt maybe more flattering clothes would make me feel better, but couldn't quite bring myself to buy the size 22/24 clothes I now needed.

Many different things helped me not think like that any more.

- People (Fit people. People who do exercise, and are trim and hot and stuff) convinced me that it was OK not to like cardio. That there are different, other things I can do. (Update: I still do none of these things)

- TUMBLR. OK, not being paid by them or anything, but there is A LOT of social justice/ non-fat-shaming/ non-slut-shaming/ feminist GOOD STUFFS on Tumblr.
Here are two that are about fat-positivity:

http://redefiningbodyimage.tumblr.com/
http://fuckyeahfatpositive.tumblr.com/

These blogs really help me, and here is why: it's not that seeing lots of fat bodies on my dash makes seeing my fat body any easier. I mean, it does, but that's not why it has helped me in my body-positivity. It's seeing so many other women, many of whom bigger than me, being photographed HAPPY in their bodies. Speaking out so strongly about their bodies. Taking no shit about their bodies. Their happiness and acceptance of their bodies is what helps me with my body image. These blogs also give me confidence not to be restricted by what is on the high street, and a lot of help on the kind of styles or flattering clothes which look good on a bigger body.

Here is another one that's also good:

http://thisisthinprivilege.tumblr.com/

- Buying new clothes. So, I eventually sucked it up, got paid, and bought more clothes. And when you're not wearing clothes that are not uncomfortable, it helps a whole bunch (at least, it helps me).

OK, so, in short, my brain has changed from "Oh my God, I'm so fat now MUST LOSE WEIGHT IMMEDIATELY" to "Yeah. This is my body. If I want to lose weight, tone up, get fitter, then that's fine. But regardless of that, and even if I don't, my body is my body, and it is pretty awesome." mainly because of the three points above.

Hap.

p.s. Last word on exercise: weightlifting is frickin awesome, relatively easy, and makes you feel like a fucking buffalo. Otherwise, it is very possible that there *is* some exercise out there that you may like. For instance, I go Ceroc dancing, and I love it, and sure, it's not, like, a WORK OUT, but it gets my heart rate up and sweating, so it's gotta be some good, right? :)
I have nothing really to say except that I heart bigtime eveything you said, and your links are gonna be amazingly helpful. It's also just, y'know, good to know that people I love and respect have got the same kind of shit going on, cos then I don't do the whole circular thing about blaming myself for making myself feel bad in the first place, heh.
Hey! I got linked to this by Ben and I thought maybe I could help because I have !opinions! on this matter.

I started lifting weights this year in order to get better at roller derby, which I started playing in 2012. Roller derby is a really rad sport, that, in my experience, has a place for women of all sizes, and that is really comforting. I would totally recommend you consider checking out the sport if you haven't already, it's a really cool way to boost body positivity because it's a group of ladies celebrating all different body-types, plus you feel like a badass while playing. I'd also totally recommend weight-lifting. I am really pro-people-being-positive-about-fat-as-long-as-they-are-healthy-and-happy-and-all-that-biz but I do get down in the dumps when I feel uncomfortable with how I am sitting/standing or uncomfortable in the clothes I'm wearing as a result of my shape. Weight lifting means I can start the day feeling like "my thighs rub together and that is often painful ugh my life sucks" and then go to the gym and be like "I BASICALLY SQUATTED THE MOON. MY LEGS ARE THE STRONGEST LEGS AWW YEAH" so, yeah, weight lifting 4EVA. It's basically a way to show you what your body is capable of, aka. a lot of cool shiz.

If you do actually want to lose weight, diets are generally a grade A way to making you feel shitty about yourself. Thing is, I also find it really easy to binge-eat, and that makes me feel shitty, too, so I needed to find a middle ground. I've been sticking to the super simple Something Awful plan of "weigh yourself in lbs, then add a zero, eat that many calories a day (unless you weigh over 200lbs, in which case, always try to stick to 2000kcal)" That puts me at 1700kcal a day (average for ladies is 2000), so that's like "oh well guess I can only have one Snickers instead of two," which, really, is probably helping me in the long run much more than those awful fad diets (for two days a week, only eat 500 calories/don't ever eat a carb unless its a blue moon etc) that a lot of people I know have tried.

Sorry if this wasn't very helpful, but just thought I'd post because I have similar body-negitivity problems, I am trying to combat them, also I, too, REALLY HATE CARDIO.
That was really helpful, thanks, and Opinions! are the best. Roller derby is a cool thing that some mates of mine keep trying to persuade me to do, but the problem with that is that our local ones are actually srsly good, and like in leagues and shit, and therefore it's all v srs to them. Which is totes fine and awesome, obv, but makes me feel quite intimidated. And my good mate is in there being like super good at it and I am like 'arg I will never be as good as you and I am shit' (which is not her fault it is mine).
And also there is just no time to do shit with 18 month old and then Stu starting his uni course soon.

NO HANG ON I JUST REALISED the time thing is bullshit. Like there's no way I couldn't go out some evenings while Stu does his work and Connor is asleep except that I am lazy and want to sit at home doing nothing.

Hmm. Interesting.
Weight-lifting is great but you generally need to mix in a little cardio as well for good health even if it's only a 10 min bike or skipping-rope warm-up to get the blood flowing pre-lift. Have you tried running/cycling to really fast fun music you like? I love running to a strong beat as it's almost like dancing for me. I also really like Bodypump classes (weights to fast music, lighter ones with a lot of reps so you can get some sneaky cardio in).

Style-wise I am little help except to say that I discovered the scarf/chunky cheap bracelet in same colour combo thing a few years back and now use it pretty much every day. The scarf is great for dressing up tops that are okay but not stellar and the bracelet finishes the look a bit. I have one bright red pashmina and a camo-green linen thing I got for a few bucks and between them they dress up most stuff, but I do also have a black one with gold skulls for formal wear. :D
I hope you don't hate this incredibly cheesy suggestion, but do not underestimate looking at yourself in the mirror (naked) and picking out the bits you like (you have to be incredibly strong minded to ignore any bits you don't) and admiring them for a while. I honestly think it does work, but you probably have to be in the right frame of mind to do this.

Also, if you can bear to mix in a little cardio in with your weight lifting it will pay dividends to your muscle growth :)

I lost two stone by dieting (carlorie restruction so ate exactly what I wanted, just not too much of it) and exercise, most of which was a Jillian Michaels DVD with a good mix of weights, cardio and sit ups. Fair enough if that's not what you want though. I just wanted to see if I could be the best I could be given my genes, and it worked (for a while, I gave up exercising and put it all back on, lol!).
That is awesomely cheesy but also I think something I will do, thank you :) My other plan with the bits I don't like so much is to get them tattooed, because I fucking love my tattoos. So I am thinking about nice swirly sea bits around my hips, accentuating curves and the like, then I will focus on them and be all YEAH rather than FLAB. I see that for some people that might be quite a radical solution, but I have a silly amount of tattooing already, so it feels like less of a deal, heh.

cath_er_ine

3 years ago

sin_and_sparkle

2 years ago

When you say FUCK CARDIO, do you mean just static machines / running / cycling? How do you feel about classes?

Something like kettlebells might be good, as might boxercise (which is also rancidly cathartic) or bodypump. None of them are jogging or bouncing around but do incorporate a level of cardio into the class as well as warm up / cool downs (as long as the instructor knows their arse from their elbow).

How do you feel about yoga? Hard work but low impact and man do you feel righteous after doing it.
Classes even worse I am afraid because OTHER PEOPLE :( I am rubbish. I get some basic cardio for health stuff from working in a kitchen on my feet all morning, and walking to and from the gym, I reckon. Nothing like actual running, but keeping active I guess is pretty good.
Yoga might be good, my mum does a load of it also.

indykid

3 years ago

overload74

3 years ago

mymindcrime

3 years ago

orphiel

3 years ago

Oh wow, you've got a lot of comments already - I only skim-read the comments and I get the impression people already said what I wanted to say but have it anyway....

I used to HATE exercise. Hated PE at school, hated running, hated getting out of breath, hated being sweaty. Slowly in my 20s I began to realise I should do something active so I went swimming once a week after work as this was something I could just about handle - solitary, no pressure, relaxing - and didn't feel sweaty. But no way was I naturally active person - I was always much more about sitting around playing computer games.

Then when I started to pile weight on a few years ago and was looking for a hobby to get me out more, I took up kickboxing. For me it was far better than working out in a gym, which I found SO boring, because there was a mental aspect to it as well, a skill to be learnt. It was something I could actually get to grips with.

I'd definitely recommend taking up a martial art if you do consider trying exercise as it's so much more engaging than most sports and something you can develop on a personal level.

As for clothes - maybe easier said than done, but figure out what works for you. Personally I realised that no matter how much weight I lost, I'd always have curves - hips,, a tummy and boobs - and the usual skinny jeans + tight top combination that most people seem to enjoy wearing makes me feel fat and uncomfortable. I carry my weight on my stomach so I avoid waistbands that cut me here, I avoid jeans and trousers, I tend to wear dresses and opaque tights/leggings all the time. Thankfully most high street shops are fully of cheap dresses nowadays. Similarly, I know I have to be careful with necklines as I'm short and they fall too low (because my shoulders don't fill the top properly) or if they're high-necked they make me look all busty and matronly. These kinds of things I just figured out with trial and error - and seeing bad photos of myself on facebook ;)
Ha, I know exactly what you mean about bad photos on facebook! I am like you - booby and tummy bits - and it's hard because my natural state is slobbing about in tshirts and jeans (of which I now have no pairs that fit me). I've got a good grasp of tops that work, and recently learnt how to cut a vneck into a tshirt, which excited me beyond all reasonable measure, haha. I need some alternative bottoms. I'm also gonna try to make more of an effort to wear dresses, because they do suit me a lot better I think.And leggings are awesome for that.
With suggestions of everyone above and you, I am gonna have a google of interesting evening classes to do maybe, at gyms that I can get to.
Hmm.
A few days ago I made a decision that I had spent the last thirty years of my life not enjoying my life because of my hate for myself. I will not waste another thirty, so I am trying to re-program my brain. I will be going through all these comments with a fine tooth comb to work out how to do that!

Sorry I have nothing helpful to contribute, other than to say you are not alone.
It is totally not necessary to say helpful things, and anyway being not alone is helpful :) We should start a group.