How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
When other women around me complain about feeling or being fat, I usually feel a mixture of emotions and I suppose that depends on my mood at the time. Sometimes it is boredom as since I have decided to give up dieting there is nothing more boring than listening to diet talk (sorry to all those I have bored over the years) other times it is sort of sad when women with great bodies complain, whine, hate on themselves and generally don't see things to like in the mirror. Other times I can feel frustrated like they are fishing for compliments and I can't be bothered with it, but the fact they need validation to feel good is sad.
I suppose there are times that I think: "God, if they think there fat, what must they think of me?" Generally when others complain I keep quiet other times when there doing a diet I have done I might offer tips and joke that there is nothing a fat person knows more about than dieting! I suppose deep down I joke as I think they are thinking, hmm what do you know about dieting your fat!
So I suppose what I am saying is that on some levels the whole experience is just sad and uncomfortable for me.
How has your body image changed since High School? College?
Throughout school and I am talking as far back as junior school I always felt fat and that because of this people didn't like me as much as their thin friends. Although I appeared to be very confident, I never thought boys liked me and if they did that it was a joke. During 6th form I gradually became aware that boys did like me, and then it sort of went that unless I kissed someone during the evening I did not feel like I was pretty. During the time in my late teens I became as thin as I ever would although I still thought I was fat! In reality I was a size 14 to 16 with a size 10 waist, but medically I suppose I was still overweight. I then went to university and put on a lot of weight (a £1.00 a pint, what can I say) this period saw fluctuation between being healthy joining a gym and eating sensibly or eating whatever I wanted. It was around this time I started my first serious relationship and I always knew that he found me attractive and sexy.
However, generally the best way to describe my relationship with my body during college was that although I knew men found me attractive. I felt fat and fed up that clothes didn't fit me and I could not find stuff I liked. However, I do remember periods where I tried to accept being fat and saying I have decided to be the best fat person I can.
Have you tried dieting? What happened?
Have I tried dieting? Is the sky blue, the pope catholic. I remember starting diets as young as around 8, I lived with a lot of other girls and I thought being on a diet was part of being a woman. I suppose my earliest diets were generally unsuccessful and I am writing this post as a fat woman I think we can safely assume they didn't work.
I have tried a lot of diets detox a lot of lentils brown rice and green pooh, Slimming world worked pretty well and I lost 3 stone, then I went on holiday and put on 12 pounds then put it all back with an extra stone for good measure. I also lost 2 stone doing a variety of things before my wedding but put it all back on before the big day!
I read somewhere that diets aren't meant to work as it is big money, making people thin and without sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I think there is truth to that as if there was a solution to being fat wouldn't everyone be thin? But honestly in reality I think probably most of people's problems with being overweight is probably linked to psychology at some level and not really about food. I suppose the question the diet industry needs to look at is not what people eat, but why people overeat?
Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
No, no and no in terms of medical reasons. I think that it may be genetic in terms of learnt through my parents relationships with food and living with lots of others. To explain that food was a huge part of our family life and eating nice things to celebrate, to commiserate, when sad, to remember, you name an occasion and we will eat! Then when you live with others it is as simple as eat it or someone else might, which may explain some of my gluttony.
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
Am I healthy? Honestly I think if I did a bit more exercise and ate better I would be healthier, but then I think that is true of some thin people too. I don't know if there have been instances where people have thought I would be unhealthy I suppose there is as people have expressed surprise at times, saying things like oh you walk faster than I thought or I was surprised at how far you can swim.
Are Your Parents both supportive of you at the weight you're at? Have they always been?
My Mum never mentions my weight if I say I should think about losing some she would probably agree but generally my Mum cares little about appearances.
However, my Dad when he was alive from the age of 12 he would offer incentives to lose weight such as if you lose weight I will buy you a new wardrobe of clothes, Duh! Dad course you will because nothing will fit me and then more recently in the last year or so before he died he introduced me in this way: "This is my little girl, well she used to be little now she is double the size!" I'm not sure why he said that if it was because he wanted me to be healthy, or because he wanted a slim daughter I never asked. My Dad was quite sarcastic so it could have been his idea of a joke. However, I think it was because we were close and he wanted me to look a certain way, as he would make comments on hair colours and clothes too. That said I always felt like he was generally proud of me.
How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus size people?
Retail for the plus size woman has improved from the days where it felt like it was Evans or the catalogue. Certainly on line shopping has transformed the landscape for the plus sized woman and I thank God for the Internet, but it would be amazing to go out and be able to buy clothes in High Street Stores like Top Shop, River Island and places like that and that the plus sized clothes aren't a little tiny section with some voluminous tops, bootleg jeans and hoodies. Sorry I want all different styles of clothing, I want to be edgy and urban one day and a prom princess the next and I want to be able to go into a shop and feel included not like the big fat maiden aunt going out with her beautiful friends.
Do You think that Plus sized women are viewed differently than Plus sized men are? How?
I think men can be subjected to the same discrimination in the work place and stereotypes like fat =lazy. However, I don't think Men's fat is sexualised in the same way as women's is. Certainly some of the most offencive comments made to me have been of a sexual nature like: "I like big girls they can take my poundage." Ugh and the interesting not sure if it was meant to be a compliment of I heard fat girls have tighter pussies! Beautiful, I don't think with that line you will ever get to find out.
Do you think there is an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus sized people and how would you respond to it?
I think the stereotype is were fat, lazy, smelly and sit around eating all day. I think that is nonsense I work as hard as my thin colleagues, I do Zumba, I walk my dog and generally have a lot of energy. It's just ridiculous and pretty offencive.
Do you ever think there is a right way or time to express concern about someones weight?
Not really, I think it is difficult as if I was becoming dangerously overweight where mobility was a problem I think then my family and friends may have the right to say something as that would impact on their lives, but ultimately it would still be my decision not theirs. I also think that Health Professionals could have a right to say something but not in a fat shaming manner as unless they can prove that there is a link with your weight and what they are saying then it has no place in the discussion, not the I have a cold then OK lets just weigh you as that is irrelevant to why I am there.
What are the worst things that someone has said to you about your body?
There have been the usual, hey fattie and all those kinds of comments they are sometimes a bit embarrassing but generally water off a ducks back. I think one particular offencive man said once: "If you were thin I'd fuck you" this was completely unsolicited and I was just getting a drink at the bar in a pub for some reason that stays with me.
How did you respond?
I am this fat so I never have to wake up with a dickhead like you by mistake. A bit clunky and not terribly eloquent but the best I could do at the time.
What have people said (or do you wish they'd say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
People have said I have great curves and another blogger (Thanks Anne-Lise) said I had a lovely figure, which I don't think anyone has ever told me in my life. My Hub always is pretty complimentary so I don't feel that I look bad and gradually through my blogging journey I am learning not to detest pictures of myself.
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Until I started blogging no, not at all through blogging and attending events such as Plus London i have met some kick ass, fierce women who inspire me. But generally no I am the fattest of my friends and I am okay with that and never feel like I am there to make them look better or anything like that.
How has your weight affected your sex life, If at all?
I have been married for over 10 years and with my husband for 17, I would say it has never affected our sex life and I never feel insecure if he has screen savers such as Nicola Roberts or Peaches Geldof, who are really slim women. Prior to being with my husband since I became aware I was attractive to men I would say I have been confident. However, before that I was really self conscious of my tummy and found it difficult to get more intimate, I relate to how Rae feels in my Mad Fat Diary but by 21 I was definitely over this.
When you've been single how has your weight affected your dating life?
When I was young I never believed anyone liked me and always thought it was a joke and I think this lingered for a while as I got older as even if I could be confident in sexual situations I always thought men wouldn't want to be seen with me in public and stuff like that. With my Husband I know he is proud of me and tells me when I look good.
Do you feel weird if a guy you're with only dated larger women?
Yes I think I would and I find the idea of being admired for my size a bit odd, not because I think my body is repulsive just because i find it difficult to have my fat sexualised, I don't want to feel like I am someones fetish is the best way I can put it.
Do you feel weird if he has only dated slimmer women before you?
No in all honesty I have never compared myself to any of my boy friend's previous girlfriends and I accept they were probably thinner than me, but at the same time they didn't have my tits and ass. However, I have been in a relationship for a long time and I don't know if I would feel the same if I was single again.
So that is my experiences of being a fat woman in a society where according to the likes of The Daily Mail, a woman's body is never right. I am really interested to see what others wrote so there is a list below of other bloggers who have taken part in this.