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Archive for February, 2012

The problem that I’ve had in the past with plus size fashion is that there is a tendency to cover up bodies instead of enhancing the good bits.

Although Evans has so much support in continually offering something for everyone I usually have a hard time finding clothes to suit the hourglass/pear body shape. Having said that I have often come out of Evans with some gems, since I started exploring plus size fashion in the summer, have lasted.

Evans is the most obvious, being the most well-known plus size branch that is still dotted around the high streets, Asos was an option I never really took seriously. I like fitted clothes with shape and I never got that vibe from Asos. I often look to a shops dress collections to see if I like their style and when I found Asos Curve collection, sizes ranging from 20 – 26 (UK), I was pleasantly surprised.

The only problem is, I’m a pear and I’m out of proportion. This means that dresses, although my favourite piece of clothing, are not always the easiest to wear. I bought a dress recently from Asos Curve and not wanting to shoot for a smaller size I measured my hips (usually the problem area) and ordered a size to fit them. The dress was huge. Unfortunately I had to send it back, but it hasn’t put me off buying from Asos Curve. I’ll just have to order a size down or, alas, stay away from dresses.

I’m going to showcase Asos Curve and explain why I love it. It’s fresh, young and ahead of the curve. Get it? Yeah it’s better if we ignore that. Asos has got the perfect balance between garments that flatter a plus size figure to plus size fashionistas who want to wear what they want regardless of size.

This dress (£50) is fantastically simple and yet has a bit of quirkiness about it. For someone who has the possibility of going on job interviews within a days notice, this dress has the right balance of professional yet fun. The boat neckline can flatter the bigger busted girl and the colourful belt is a great accessory to emphasise shape. The model is tall so on us average sized females the dress would be about knee-length and it’s sophisticated without being boring.

I cannot get over how cute this skirtv (Sale £28) looks and how perfect it would be on an hourglass. Does this model not rock this skirt?! Gorgeous. Summertime, chilled, curve exposing… what else do you need? Alas a skirt like this would highlight my pear thighs, so I’ll leave it to the balanced girls. Rectangles and hourglasses no need to thank me.

Powder blue skinny jeans (£32)… now you’re going to want to be careful with these. If you’re a rectangle or an apple you can pull these off. Hourglasses need to be careful and my fellow pears… please… just try it on first. And since Asos is online, be prepared to send it back. You might be pleasantly surprised… then again, you might not. Air on the side of caution, but if you want to wear bright coloured skinny jeans because, god dammit they’re gorgeous then by all means, buy away. Asos cater to your plus size needs. There are also coloured chinos to salivate over so rather than wallow in despair at not being able to get away with brightly colured skinny jeans there are plenty of other options out there.

Play suits, some can pull them off, others can’t. Evenly proportioned bodies are the best to carry off a play suit but then I think an apple should give them a chance as well. This beautiful blue play suit (Sale, £36) highlights the waist and length of the legs. Height is kind of necessary for a play suit, as with maxi dresses they can sometimes tend to make you look squat and shorter than you are, but heels are always a great way of fixing that problem.

Asos Curve collection is a great way of buying up-to-date plus size fashion, and I’ve found it to be a real positive step in accepting my plus size body: I don’t have to feel like a frump even though my dress is below the knee.

Emma

:)

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I’ve been a tad MIA for the past couple of days because I’ve wanted to distance myself from living with ED, writing about ED and thinking about ED all the time. An issue I’ve been dealing with recently is feeling like I’m a fraud.

When I think of Binge Eating Disorder I remember that although I was certain this was my problem, the Eating Disorder service I went to in Uni said that my binges didn’t qualify – I wasn’t consuming as many calories as the criteria stated. I continued/continue to still call them binges, because although I don’t consume enough calories, I eat until I feel sick. Hating the feeling of being sick makes me stop eating … until the feeling subsides and I’ll often continue.

For the past fortnight I haven’t binged. This is pretty major for me but although I haven’t binged, it isn’t to say I haven’t been compulsively overeating:

Compulsive Overeating is not the name of an eating disorder, it is a term that sufferers use to describe eating patterns that feel out of control and which can feel like an addiction to food that could make them gain weight. People who describe themselves as compulsive eaters feel that they cannot control their eating and thus they end up eating more than they need. As a result, compulsive overeaters usually struggle to control their weight. Compulsive overeaters have cravings that they cannot master, and may overeat small or large amounts of food, or just pick and nibble some of the time.

So Binge Eating Disorder and compulsive overeating are much the same thing and the differences between them do not really matter. Because compulsive overeaters feel that they cannot control their intake of food, they are likely to describe themselves as lacking in “willpower” and they would usually say that they are eating for comfort rather than for genuine physical need

Compulsive overeating is something that I’ve been doing, along with bingeing, since I was about 8. I have all this information about eating habits and eating disorders at my fingertips and in my bookcase and yet I feel like I just have chronic lack of willpower. This makes me feel shit. So I did some more research (Link to website from which I ‘borrowed’ quotes).

Compulsive overeaters do not have less willpower than people who eat normally and healthfully. They do however have more cravings for food and stronger cravings. It follows that to treat compulsive eating means getting rid of the cravings and then it will be far easier to stay in control of food and weight.

I started thinking that actually in other areas of my life I’m not out of control. People are said to have addictive personalities but if I felt myself getting the same overwhelming pull towards alcohol as I do to food I would go t-total immediately. Not that I drink often anymore, because of my antidepressants and, you know, hermit tendencies.

And then I thought why do I feel so pathetic, then? Why do I think I have no control and give in to my every need when I know that I don’t?

I think we perceive being overweight and obese with a lack of control. Instead of writing ‘out of control’ I was about to write ‘sloppy’. There’s nothing positive about the connotations of the word sloppy. And I suppose the same can be applied for overeating and bingeing, as well as overweight and obese. There’s nothing attractive about shoving food in your mouth.

There’s a program my parents recorded for me about the obesity epidemic that they say I’ll love to hate. They know I’ll hate it because it was so black and white with about 20 seconds dedicated to the psychology of being overweight and overeating. I cannot tell you how much I don’t want to see this program, because programs like these, news like the new ride at Disney which the lovely Fiona re-blogged and brought to my attention upset me. They make me question myself, make me think that maybe I’m weak and that I overindulge. (Another article you might want to read is Anti-Obesity Programs Could Be Giving Kids Eating Disorders)

But at the same time, when I’ve realised there is evidence to suggest I’m not just lazy maybe there’s something to it, it makes me want to do something. I hate the idea that people like me are sitting, watching these programs thinking that they’re just being melodramatic when actually they have every right to feel hopeless. It is hopeless when you don’t know that eating for comfort or as a coping mechanism is a problem. If you don’t know you have a problem then you can’t take the right steps to solve it.

I think I’m going to write something light-hearted tomorrow, all this serious stuff is getting me down…

Emma

:)

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For 3 days I’ve been trying to write a post about how fat people are portrayed in the media. Body image is crucial in understanding the world of disordered eating and I cannot for the life of me put into words how I feel about fat. I’ve said before in I’m a Mean Girl that having an ED tends to split your personality.

Part of me absolutely loathes fat. I hate it, it’s disgusting and it makes the person disgusting. How could they lose that control? Did they ever have it? Am I meant to pity them?

And then the normal side of my brain that is compassionate and understanding realises that fat people – including myself – aren’t asking for pity, but want empathy. Being fat in a world where people are praised for being thin is difficult. Fat, whether you like it or not, is viewed as a personality flaw – it’s down to lack of will power and loss of control. I’m not writing this because it’s my view, I’m writing this because it’s the message I feel we’re being sent.

The first thing my therapist asked me to do in my first CBT session was to write ‘what would life be like if I didn’t have an Eating Disorder?’

For the week that I was given I couldn’t think of anything to write. I’d never actually contemplated this, because 2 months before I didn’t know I had eating issues. I’d thought if I wasn’t fat then life would be perfect. But eating never really mattered, because it was the fat problem I wanted to solve, not the eating disorder.

I ended up writing in my bed in the early hours of the morning before my next session. I was crying because I’d looked at my forearm and it was bigger than I wanted it to be. From my forearm I knew that I was putting the 3 stone back on that I had tried so hard to lose. I had lost control of my food intake, was now back to my chocolate addiction and I was a failure. I was disgusting.

So what would life be like, if I didn’t have any eating problems? When I think of being free from my binge eating and overeating I think of being slim. If I was this size without binge eating and overeating, would life be better? No: Because I’d still be fat.

Encouraging positive body image should be more of a priority in tackling the obesity issue. I can’t help but feel Binge Eating Disorder and overeating aren’t publicised as much as it should be because of the representation of obesity. Do they think we’d use it as an excuse? Yeah, some people would I’m sure, but being fat in a skinny world is more likely to make anyone abusing food want to stop.

I thought my views of fatness were clear but I’m not so sure after I struggled to write this post. Help me out guys, what’s your views?

Emma

:)

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“Ednos… Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified,” The Doctor turned to me with a smirk complete with a frown on her face. “Never heard that one before.” She laughed and I smiled back at her dreamily.

“It’s because I have a combination of binge eating and overeating. You… are a qualified Doctor right?”

“Sorry?”

“Nothing. I went for my first counselling session yesterday. They said to make an appointment because of the yo yo dieting and the rapid weight gain and loss I’ve gone through lately, and see if it’s affected my health-“

“Mmyesyousee, the thing is Emma, obviously…in terms of eating… you need to keep it simple.”

“…Right.”

“I mean… 3 meals a day,” She said, running them off her fingers. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner-“

“Wait wait, slow down, breakfast lunch and dinner?”

“Yeah absolutely, I know it’s a crazy idea, but it works. You know, snack with fruit and make sure the meals are healthy, with a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats – because Emma, fats are good for us as well as bad, they’re necessary for our bodies to function properly but when we eat too much of them, we gain weight.”

“Wait, you lost me at fruit. We should have fruit?” I asked.

“Oh absolutely, you know, vegetables are a must, fruit and veg… get your five a day in… and it just goes from there really.”

“This is just incredible, I mean…” I shook my head in disbelief. “Three meals a day, snack on fruit and make sure all the meals are healthy with even proportions of the different food groups… is this the world’s best kept secret?”

She nodded at me with a knowing smile. “hard to believe isn’t it?”

“It’s just that, after twelve years of dieting, you’d think that I’d be more clued up about food, wouldn’t you? And I mean, ask anyone with an eating disorder, they just really don’t know about the whole three-meals-a-day thing… crazy.”

“Are you… making fun?”

“Mm, very much so.”

“OK well with that knowledge I’m sure you’ll be a size eight in no time. If you go make an appointment with the receptionist for two weeks time, we can review your health situation? That’s when I’ll tell you about exercise.”

I jumped up and clicked my heels. “Ooh I can’t wait!”

This is the exact conversation exaggerated conversation I had with a very intelligent Doctor. She was lovely; after this initial condescension she was more understanding, although in our last meeting she did mention that if I lost weight my over active bladder would improve as well. As if I wasn’t spending every waking hour thinking about weight loss. This is why we need to raise awareness.

Emma

:)

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It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week guys!

From the 20th – 26th Beat – the UK leading Eating Disorder charity is helping to raise awareness of the horrible-ness of EDs. This is great! I wish there was something going on in my area but there isn’t really, although I’m contemplating going to this conference in Cardiff. We shall see.

So for this week I’m going to be talking solely about Eating Disorders.

I wasn’t quite sure what to write and then I stumbled across a post on the Beat website about BED.

This person wrote everything I was worried about when I talked to the Uni counsellor about my weight and how obsessed I was with it – do they think I’m just making excuses? I hate my relationship with food but I’ve only heard of Anorexia and Bulimia. I don’t think I can ever get over this, etc.

I never realised that there was a Binge Eating Disorder, it was only after the Uni counsellor referred me to an Eating Disorder service that I actually looked into it. My first point of call was the internet (a book? What the hell is a book?!) and it was NHS choices. I read the definition of Binge Eating Disorder:

Binge eating is an eating disorder where a person feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis.

People who binge eat consume very large quantities of food over a short period of time and they often eat even when they are not hungry. Binges are often planned and can involve the person buying “special binge foods”.

Binge eating usually takes place in private with the person feeling that they have no control over their eating. They will often have feelings of guilt or disgust after binge eating. These feelings highlight underlying psychological issues, such as:

  • depression      – feelings of extreme sadness that last for a long time
  • anxiety      – a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can range from mild to severe

Depression and anxiety may be both a cause and an effect of binge eating.

Binge eating is a mental health condition, but it is also triggered by the effect that the binge eating cycle has on the body.

As soon as I read this I felt uttlerly stupid. How could I not have known that this was my problem?

I will tell you why. How would I have known if I had not been told? I just thought I was fat. I had heard of binge eating but never really thought about it. I was on LighterLife, I was only drinking 4, 125 calorie meals a day: I couldn’t have Binge Eating Disorder.

But when I read all of the NHS choices page and then visited the Beat website and then read blogs and accounts and searched for books… it all became pretty clear that maybe I wasn’t just born without will power. I had a problem, and I had to take steps to overcome it.

The NHS website confirmed that many of these fat fighting programs are disregarding a very serious problem that the contestants may have. Not all people who are overweight have an eating disorder but it’s worth being aware that some of them might do and might be clueless about it. Which is where awareness comes in and saves the day! If a person is aware that they have these difficulties – binge-eating, compulsive overeating – then they can choose what steps they want to take to improve their lives.

I cannot stress how important ED awareness is!

Emma

:)

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Last night I did something I shouldn’t have done.

Pro-anorexia sites make me feel sick, but last night I spent hours scrolling through tips, before and after pictures and thinspiration. Pro-anorexia sites encourage anorexics who refuse to get help for their disorder. I went from looking at pro-ana sites to thinspiration sites, which promote the waif-like body as something to be worshipped.

Some sites are meant to encourage weight loss by giving healthy tips and experiences.  And that’s great, there are plenty of weight loss blogs that are healthy, such as FatGirlSlim and This is Not a Diet and Helena Handbasket– these blogs are positive, they allow people to gain other perspectives on exercise, weight management and loss. They show the struggle and the hard work being put into healthy weight loss.

Many thinspiration sites defend themselves by claiming they’re creating a community for people who want to lose weight. But when I read about chewing ice as a means to stave off hunger and taking cold showers to boost metabolism I get frustrated.

Chewing ice is not necessarily unhealthy. What is unhealthy is the psychology behind that. For example, you have to chew ice because you can’t eat anything because you are fat and being fat means you are worthless. It’s all negative.

On the other side of the spectrum there are fatspiration sites set up for the bigger people of the world to enjoy their fuller figure bodies. Being obese isn’t healthy, which means surely if we criticise thinspiration sites we can criticise fatspiration sites, right?

Here’s the key difference. Whilst the thinspiration sites focus on the beauty of an ultra thin body, the fatspiration sites offer a community for body acceptance. In almost all of the thinspiration sites I have found ways to hide food and curb hunger. I have never once found any tips to put on weight on fatspiration sites. Never. It doesn’t advocate you changing your body to fit a certain type of perceived beauty, it is accepting your body for what it actually is. And there are a lot of fat people out there, me included.

Fatspiration blogs are a way of accepting a certain body type when society doesn’t. Some people care about the health side but let’s not forget those who hate fat because of pure aesthetics. Some thinspiration sites encourage readers to starve themselves, punish themselves for having a (probably) normal sized body… that’s crazy. That’s disordered. Fatspiration? That’s a form of sticking it to the Man.

These sites that promote self-hate in any form are harmful. And that’s what it is really. Many thinspiration sites use punishment as a way of encouraging people – if you think you’re worthless because you’re fat then you need to start focusing on mental health as well as physical.

Feeling good in your body as it is right now is the biggest challenge. I am not happy in my body but if I were, I probably wouldn’t be so consumed by my own eating disorder. I’d probably spend less time worrying about what people think of my bingo wings and more time planning meals without hating myself for eating in the first place.

The body that these sites promote, the anorexic form is the symptom of a deep-rooted psychological disorder. I firmly believe you cannot choose to be disordered, nor can you choose your disorder, and the most important point is if you’re not disordered, why the fuck would you choose to be? It’s not the answer to weight loss woes; if you’ve hit a plateau with a normal, healthy, balanced diet then it’s probably your body’s way of telling you that it’s fine the way it is.

I just want to let you guys know that this isn’t a diet blog – I will never post my weight, even if I get to my goal weight which is within my healthy range – and I will never ever encourage people to change their lifestyle in an unhealthy manner. I don’t condone people losing or gaining weight to become unhealthy.

Emma

:)

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Last night I went on a few pro-ana websites which I’ll post about tomorrow. I feel I need to remind myself of the other side of the spectrum (sort of). For a while I haven’t done a post dedicated to a plus size model. Do not fear! I am still ‘re-educating’ myself in finding the beauty in different shapes and sizes, and for this week I thought the best example of a fantastic plus size and pin up model would be … Teer Wayde.

First off she has red hair so I, of course, adore her.

She’s modelled for Skorch, Pin Up Girl Clothing and Simply Be. She’s Australian, 5″8 and going on the information that she weighs about 12.5 stone, her BMI is about 26. She is just overweight and she’s gorgeous.

She appears to be comfortable in her body and that is what I love about her. She’s confident and sexy, and has a beautiful hourglass figure. I can feel my inner mean girl stirring…

Emma

:)

 

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