Body positivity

Why This Plus-Sized Blogger Is Trying to Lose Weight

My name is Annie, I have been fat since I was a child.

At first glance, that title may sound like a total oxymoron. Why would a woman proud to be plus-sized want to lose weight? I want to share why I am on a weight loss journey, even if I may never get there.

The reasons people are overweight stem from very individual factors. In my case, my PCOS and eating as an emotional crutch are probably the two biggest factors in why it is so hard for me to lose weight. But I still want to lose it.

“Just put down the fork,” I hear over and over, usually from jackwagons with no medical training and who like to fat-shame. I already have two strikes against me: a hormonal imbalance that makes throws my metabolism out of whack, and clinical depression that leads me to overeat, and often. If it really were as easy as putting down a fork, everyone would be thin. But my hormones and depression are greater than my willpower. I wish there weren’t, but that’s the reality of my life.

“Wait…You’re a plus-size blogger. Why are you trying to lose weight?”

I’ve heard that one before, too. Usually from well-meaning friends and family. If I blog about issues as a fat person, why would I attempt to lose weight?

  1. Pain management. I have chronic back pain and can’t exercise like I want to. I do yoga and walk a little, but I really like running. Though I could take up swimming or biking, neither one excites me as much as lacing up my sneakers and going for a jog in the cold dawn. I can’t do that now because of my weight. And for the first time, my weight is affecting the quality of my life.
  2. Decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer. Though (knock on wood) I have great blood pressure and am relatively healthy, I have lousy cholesterol. I see people who are my size with health issues like irregular heartbeat, sleep apnea, diabetes, and respiratory issues. Quite frankly, it scares the crap out of me.
  3. I have never been this heavy in my life. As the scale has inched upward about 35 pounds in the last three years, my heart almost broke the last time I weighed myself. While I have stopped beating myself up for my size, there is something very real and very visceral about those numbers on the scale. I gained every pound myself. Me.
  4. A dream trip. I am planning a backpacking trip to Scotland – the trip of a lifetime. Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to walk the Highlands and stay in charming bed & breakfasts along the way. I can’t do that at the current weight I am at. Not with pain being a factor in my everyday life.
  5. A Chanel jacket. I bought a Chanel jacket and it really wouldn’t take losing a whole lot of weight for me to button it up. And this jacket is bomb. It is pink and the lining is as soft as a baby’s butt. I fully plan on wearing the shit out of it when I can fit into it.

Maybe some of these reasons – a blazer and a vacation – sound like frivolous reasons to lose weight. But they are my reasons. Just like everyone has their own demons in dealing with their weight, they need to embrace the why. The why of their weight loss motivation.

Or, more importantly, the why of why they love themselves. Because self-acceptance and inner peace can only come with keeping the why front and center. There’s no shame in working towards a goal.

What is your biggest goal, and what is your biggest motivation for that goal? Comment below!

An Interview with Lottie L’Amour

 

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For Plus One Woman’s first interview, I want to introduce you to the fabulous Lottie L’Amour, a fabulous British plus-size blogger who is based in London. Lottie has been blogging for nearly two years. Her bright affinity for patterns is what initially brought me over to her site, but her articles on living as a plus-size woman, body positivity, and unapologetic confidence reeled me in, hook, line, and sinker. I can’t be the only one – she has thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As if that weren’t enough, she has also branched into the world of vlogging!

Enjoy this interview where Lottie shares her insights on British designers, mixing trends with classic pieces, and being at peace in her own skin.

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PoW: More and more UK designers are offering shipping to the States. For those of us who are completely uninitiated, how would you describe the styles of: River Island, Simply Be, Lovedrobe, ASOS Curve, Evans, and Elvi?

LL: It’s funny because this side of the pond, we’re jealous of places like Society Plus and Torrid! UK fashion is pretty progressive for plus size women, we’re getting more choices than ever before but unfortunately these choices don’t always reach all the way down the larger end of the plus size spectrum. Places like ASOS Curve, Evans and Simply Be do fashion all the way up to a UK 32, so they are leading the way in offering a wide range of sizes, but newer brands like River Island, Boohoo and Elvi are adding more sizes as time goes on (those three do up to a UK 26).

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ASOS Curve is second to none for fashion forward pieces, closely followed by River Island and Boohoo, who’s curve ranges are basically an extension of some key pieces from their straight size ranges. For girls needing workwear or occasionwear, Evans, Simply Be and Elvi are perfect to find those high end pieces mixed in with some regular staple items. Just make sure you read a few UK plus size fashion blogs to check up on the fit of the items – some of them can come up small, so it’s worth reading up so you know when to size up!

(PoW note: ASOS has a good size conversion site here. But remember to always, always check measurements & ask if you aren’t sure!)

PoW: You wear such fun, bold patterns! How do you like to mix up the trends of a season with classic staples like the little black dress, a white button-down shirt, skinny jeans, Breton stripes, etc?

LL: I love to mix in elements of the past with outfits that I put together – whether it’s going full hog and wearing a 1950’s dress, or just a little nod to the 90’s with a choker, I constantly take inspiration from bygone eras and make them into something trend-led in a street style. For example, if I’m wearing a plain black dress, I’ll always rough it down with a giant novelty clutch bag or a pair of biker boots and a glittery bomber jacket! Skinny jeans go with absolutely everything – my black ripped skinnies are a staple in my wardrobe. I often wear them with a cute breton stripe bardot off-the-shoulder swing top and a pair of metallic trainers for when I want to make a little bit more of a subtle statement.

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The beauty with using plain staples is you get to choose how much you want to stand out that day – life isn’t all about making a statement all the time, it’s perfectly cool to tone it down and have a little nod to your love of bright prints and sparkly things with your accessories if you’re not feeling it that day.

PoW: What is the best advice you ever gave or was given to help you love the size you are?

LL: The first thing you need to do is make the decision to not give a crap about how anyone else views you. The minute you decide “actually, I’m living my life for me, and I’m happy as I am” is the minute your whole perception will change. That’s a decision that only you can make – there’s no magic formula or guidebook on how to get there, you just need to decide to be kinder to yourself. For me, I decided that I’d spent too much time attributing my worth to my size, and that was wrong. One of the most radical things I did was actually just looking at myself in the mirror – and I mean really looking at myself. Not skimming over the chubby bits I used to. Not focusing on what I thought were my best bits. I focused on every single part of my body and I told myself that I loved my body, every inch of it. My body has done wonderful things for me – it allows me to hug someone I love, it allows me to explore the earth, my soft stomach protects my organs, my wobbly thighs help me to walk… it really is an amazing, beautiful thing, just as it is. All bodies are deserving of love, yes, even your own!

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To find out more about Lottie, visit:

Note: All photos (c) Lottie L’Amour and used with permission.

Using the Word “Fat” in Front of Girls

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  • Fat (adjective) having a lot of extra flesh on your body 2. having a lot of body fat
 3. having a full, rounded form
4. unusually wide or thick

God, those definitions are depressing, especially that last one!

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I remember the first time someone called me “fat.” I was in third grade, and we had scoliosis screenings at school. We had to strip to the waist and nurses would do an evaluation. This was in the 80s and since the jackwads who ran my elementary school had absolutely no consideration for our emotional well-being, us girls were corralled into the ladies’ room and we had to disrobe in front of each other.

Utterly humiliating.

I was bigger and more developed than the girls in my class. I didn’t have a bra yet, so imagine the sheer horror of having to be in that line.

“Wow, Ann, you’re fat!” Molly Matisons loudly declared to the chuckles of my classmates.

Tears fell down my face as I turned scarlet and tried to cover myself with my arms. The nurse only snapped at me, “Don’t move! You need to have good posture for the scoliosis test!”

That was the beginning of a long relationship I’ve had with that word. Originally this post was going to be about reclaiming the word “fat.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to talk about the word and what it did to my self-esteem.

Unfortunately that incident in third grade wasn’t the last time I was called fat. My high school bully Brandon – abuser is a far more accurate word – called me fat almost every day I had class with him freshman year. It didn’t matter how many people told me I looked nice on any given day in high school. All I heard was his voice echoing in my mind:

“You are a fat bitch.”

Much has been written about the psychology of the developing female mind, but I’m not going to cite any. I’m not a trained psychologist. All I know is what I have observed in my own life and what I witnessed during my years as a classroom teacher. It all boils down to a pretty simple principle.

Words hurt.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words leave deep, invisible scars that never heal.

The rational part of me knows I was an extremely sensitive child. I know the scoliosis incident was 30 years ago and high school is also a distant memory. I wish I had thicker skin, but I didn’t.

It’s also not fair to blame the nine-year-old or fifteen-year-old me for taking those words to heart and letting them become my reality for the next 20 years. I was just a kid. Molly and Brandon, even though they were kids just like me, knew what they were saying. They also knew it would cut me to the core and I would give the reaction they were looking for.

That makes me careful about what I say around kids nowadays. I don’t interact much with them since I left the classroom, but I see my goddaughter every week and kids come into my office almost every day. While I’m not perfect, I try to engage them in conversation about their likes and interests, not about what they look like, even if they are super cute. I want them to know people care about more than what is on the surface.

And my goddaughter is 11. I really try not to call anyone fat when we watch TV together. We will talk about people making poor choices that make the sitcom/reality show amusing, but laughing at someone for being fat is off the table. Middle school is rough as it is, and I don’t need her absorbing that dialogue to use someone’s weight as a means to judge their character.

Is there anything someone said that sticks with you even today – for better or worse? Comment below!

Why This Body Positive Activist Wants to Lose Weight

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I haven’t told anyone before.

I am trying to lose weight. I am also a passionate about body positivity.

I know, I know. The two seem to contradict each other. If you feel so strongly about being positive about your weight, why are you trying to lose weight?

Just because someone is trying to lose weight doesn’t mean they don’t care about how people are treated because of their weight. Here are some of the reasons why I am trying to lose weight:

  1. To treat help manage my PCOS symptoms. I have shared with you my struggle with PCOS and the hell it unleashes on the women who suffer from it. When my weight is down, I notice fewer symptoms including: fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration, and nasty black facial hair. It’s not 100% foolproof, but even five pounds makes a big difference
  1. I have more energy. In general, I just feel better. I am much more likely to want to go outside and exercise rather than sleep in if I have been losing a little weight. And when I exercise in the mornings, that just sets an awesome tone for the day. Or if I exercise in the evenings, I have more energy to concentrate on my writing and am less likely to do my usual mindless, crazy nighttime eating.
  1. I am motivated drink more water. Like having more energy, losing weight has a compound effect that motivates me to make better choices. For example, no one can argue that water isn’t good for you. When my weight is down, I know I consume fewer cocktails or glasses of wine. Instead, I prefer to grab plain tap or sparking water.
  1. It gets me out of bed. Not only do I get up earlier to walk or run, but I also get up early on Saturdays to go to Weight Watcher meetings with my mother and my sister. And that sets a great tone for the day – I don’t loaf around in bed until 9:00 or 10:00. I get home from my meeting at about 9:30, start cleaning, and my Saturday is off to a much more productive start.
  1. I get to compete with my mom and my sister. When I go to meetings with Mom or my sister, it’s always a mini-contest to see who lost the most weight. Mom has much more discipline than my sister and I do. (When she asks us how much weight we lost, we answer, “Don’t worry about it!” if we gained.) But I can get competitive, and the weeks I beat them, what can I say? It’s fun 😉
  1. I want to fit into that ^%$#!NG jacket! This is the shallowest reason, but a year ago, the exact Chanel jacket I’ve been lusting after for years was on mega-sale on eBay. It was the Holy Grail of my wardrobe. And despite being a size 20, there is no way in hell I can fit into it. So I have to lose a few pounds to get into it. But dammit, big girls can and will wear Chanel!

I will fight for fat acceptance with my dying breath. And I love my curves. But losing a little weight makes a big difference in my life, and I work the Weight Watchers program. My health and an expensive jacket depend on it.

What about you? Do you think you can work on being healthy and a body positive activist? Comment below!

Glamour’s Special Plus-Size Edition: Worth the Cover Price?

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Would you plunk down $12.99 for a newsstand magazine? Most of us probably wouldn’t.

But when I heard Condé Nast’s Glamour magazine was doing a 96-page special summer edition for women size 12 and above called Chic at a Any Size!, I happily shelled out the hefty price for my own copy.

I want to share with you my thoughts on this expensive magazine before you get your own copy. Was it worth the investment?

 

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Yes and no.

For the most part, the magazine is has pretty standard, run-of-the-mill photo shoots with the lovely models Ashley Graham, Precious Lee, and Iskra Lawrence. Plus-sized bloggers, designers, and models offer style tips. There are good interviews with Zac Posen on the importance of tailoring and Lena Dunham about not giving a rat’s ass what you look like no matter what size you are.

The content is evergreen and besides the good style tips, the best piece in the edition is the article “How Do You Feel About Your Body?” Sadly, American women surveyed feel worse about their bodies than in the 1980s. Social media makes it harder for women to stop comparing themselves with images they see of their friends and celebrities. I was interested to see:

  • 47% of women think they don’t need to be skinny to attractive (down from 80% in in 1984).
  • 76% of American women hate their stomachs the most. The thighs were the most maligned body part in the 1980s.

The most buzzworthy piece was a reprint of an insipid 2015 interview Amy Schumer written by her own sister. Schumer addresses sexism in comedy, rules for hooking up, and muses about her size, “…I think it’s good to see someone saying: I have a belly. And I have cellulite. And I still deserve love…And not to apologize.”

While that sounds nice, Schumer went on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week to address that. Sitting in an awkward, unladylike pose, she proclaimed, “What I learned is that people don’t really like being classified by plus-size. We don’t need these labels. It should just say what size you are, right?” To which the sheep in the audience burst into applause.

While this issue is geared to women size 12 and up and Schumer claims to be a size 6 or 8, I think she does women a disservice by calling for an end to labels.

I cannot think of a single store where plus-sized clothing is identical to the straight-sized ones. Schumer needs to realize that labels do exist. I wear many labels in the day: I am a woman, plus-sized (or even fat, I don’t mind the word), white, Midwestern, single, childless, an employee, single breadwinner, pet owner.

Labels describe me and help paint a picture, but they are not the essence of who I am. Words I use to describe myself like funny, generous, intelligent, and loyal are closer to the core of who I am than the words that pigeonhole me into categories. I’m fat. So what?

And it actually took me the first 22 years of my life to be comfortable enough in my own skin to embrace the “plus-size” label. So why is Amy Schumer knocking the term, which the issue of Glamour never uses to describe her? They say she is a “Woman We Admire,” right there on the cover with the hilarious Melissa McCarthy, eternal Adele, and the beautiful Ashley Graham (who has also been known to eschew the term “plus-size”).

If you want a pretty coffee-table caliber magazine, I think the $12.99 is worth the price. If you want some good style tips, learn about a few new clothing lines, and see body positivity in action, I highly recommend this edition.

However, almost everything here is prettily repurposed content. You probably don’t need to spend the money, but sneak a peak when you are in the checkout line at the grocery store.

Whatever you feelings, my hat’s off to Glamour for this magazine. I am excited to see their collaboration with Lane Bryant for a fall collection!

Have you seen the magazine yet? What are your thoughts on Amy Schumer? Comment below!

The Lane Bryant Ad That Was Banned & Why You Should Care

Size discrimination. The final frontier.

From mainstream media to how people treat us in everyday life, far too many people still judge us women by the number on the scale and our clothing labels.

You would think in the tolerant 21st century we would have to put up with less and less of this crap, but sadly, this is not the case.

This became sadly evident in a recent 30-second Lane Bryant commercial that was banned from the airwaves by both ABC and NBC:

Starring SI cover girl Ashley Graham, new mom Tara Lynn, Denise Bidot, Georgia Pratt, and Precious Lee, this ad features plus-size models, rolls, curves and all. They boldly proclaim what their bodies allow them to do while they nurse babies, kick box, do yoga, and sport denim in stiletto heels. From wearing flowing dresses to nothing at all, these women are celebrating Lane Bryant’s #ThisBody campaign.

It should be a celebration of all bodies, but instead, ABC has flat-out refused to run the ad. NBC won’t air the spot either, citing that the ad doesn’t meet the FCC’s “broadcast indecency guidelines.”

What’s the big deal? Why should you care?

This just goes to show that size discrimination continues to be real. OK, I get this ad isn’t appropriate for daytime TV. But let’s face it—network TV has thrown us far worse. From Paris Hilton or Charlotte McKinney selling Carl’s Jr. burgers to famous vegans stripping down for PETA, advertisers always use women who wear less than these five models to hawk their wares. But a size 16 woman?! Apparently the double standard is very real. And very not cool.

The commercial depicts very normal-sized women just like us. Lane Bryant does still have a long way to go in diversity (all the models are 14/16 and hourglass shaped), but since the average American woman is a size 14, what is it specifically that ABC and NBC object? Why shouldn’t all bodies be celebrated? Are they trying to alienate a key demographic?

What does your body allow you to do? I love this ad’s message because it celebrates our bodies’ victories no matter what the size. My size 18/20 body was made to run 5Ks, do yoga, and love this one life I have.

You have the power to make your voice heard. There are a few things you can do to make your voice heard on this subject:

  • Contact your local ABC and NBC affiliates via social media to voice your opinion.
  • Thank CBS for keeping a more open mind and allowing the commercial to air.
  • Get in touch with Lane Bryant to let them know you support their message of love at any size and their #ThisBody campaign.
  • Support Lane Bryant with your business.
  • Don’t let this be a one-and-done headline. Keep this topic of discrimination in advertising alive by discussions with your friends and family.

While this may seem like a trivial topic, it is sad two of the major three networks have intentionally decided not to air this commercial. It shows women whose size is very much the norm and it carries a message of empowerment. However, ABC and NBC have decided to cite vague obscenity laws to mask blatant size description. In the end, we, the plus-size community, lose out because our voices and images continue to be underrepresented and ignored altogether.

What do you think about the video? Are NBC and ABC being discriminatory? Comment below!

The Seven Pillars of Plus One Woman

A manifesto. A statement of beliefs. A rant. Call it whatever you want, this is a list of seven priorities we plus-sized singletons should reach for as we live our best lives.

 

Just remember that we are all works in progress. I know I work on all of these, and I don’t necessarily practice all of these every single day. But I am human—the journey is the destination, not perfection.

 

  1. She cares about her health. “If you are overweight, you are at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, blah, blah, blah…” OK, WE GET IT!!! We understand being thin(ner) is medically and socially preferable to being overweight. We have lived with fat-shaming from our elementary school PE classes, or even earlier. Just shut UP already!!!

 

Don’t tell us what we can and cannot do just because we aren’t thin. We run marathons, do yoga, SCUBA dive, are certified aerobic instructors, and lift weights. We are not lazy and we are not couch potatoes. We care about our health, we exercise, and eat correctly because this is the only body we get in this lifetime!

 

She is not ignoring the link between her weight and her health, but the curvy single woman concentrates on her health on her own terms.

 

  1. She radiates simple, natural beauty. Who has time to sift through thousands of beauty products or item of plus-size clothing? I don’t! But I do know what I like and works best for my body type. I advocate looking my best without spending my hard-earned cash on items I will only wear one season or being a slave to the current trends.

 

The Plus One Woman takes a page out of the Frenchwomen’s beauty book. She does not need to cake herself in makeup, spend more than 15-20 minutes on her hair, or go much beyond a carefully cultivated capsule wardrobe to exude a simple, natural beauty. Her look transcends the decades and no matter what the occasion, she is chic and ready to go!

 

  1. She is financially savvy. Because she isn’t married, the Plus One Woman doesn’t have the luxury of a second income. She knows how to spend, save, and give in equal terms. Paying thousands of dollars in interest to credit card companies is not in her life plan. Investing for the future, planned purchases, and owning her own home mean so much more to her than next the impulse trip to Walmart or Target.

 

I am just as guilty of racking up credit card debt, and I learned from my mistakes. I spent more than 7 long years working multiple jobs to pay off $30,000 in debt. It was only thanks to my introduction to Dave Ramsey that I took control of my financial life. The secret was perseverance and an old-fashioned work ethic. Now that I am debt-free, my budget goes to things I actually feel good about—beefing up my savings and travelling!

 

  1. She cultivates positive relationships wherever she goes. Life is too short to deal with the toxic family member, the boorish boyfriend, or the dismissive co-worker. The Plus One Woman recognizes that while she cannot change people’s behavior, she can control how she reacts to every situation.

 

While it is very difficult both in theory and in practice, the curvy singleton does not have time to waste on people who drain her life forces like vampires. It’s OK to (mentally!) flip off these people and go about her day. She shouldn’t give her mental or emotional real estate to these people.

 

Instead, she seeks out positive people because she feeds on their energy. She fills her life with those who will validate and love her for who she is. In doing this, she becomes an unstoppable force.

 

  1. She is strong. Many Plus One Women have spent the best years of their lives being wallflowers. From high school dances to college relationships to breaking the glass ceiling at work…they were content to fade into the background and let others shine.

 

Depending on her background, she has been programmed to seek approval from family/friends/teachers/co-workers. In the past, she sought validation from others.

 

NO MORE!

 

We are sick and tired of apologizing and being bullied for our gender/weight/shortcomings. It is time to take front and center stage!

 

We want people to look at us beyond our size. We should be seen as the beautiful, smart, funny, confident women that we are now. If someone cannot recognize our individual spark of genius, they are not worthy of our time.

 

We’re here. We have no fear. Deal with it.

 

  1. She is smart. You don’t need a PhD in microbiology or astrophysics to be smart. A Plus One Woman seeks knowledge wherever she is. Whether it is the reading the latest bestseller, taking a weekend road trip, keeping abreast of current events, or even keeping up on pop culture, you are in the know. You have a dozen topics of conversation at hand for small talk and parties. You are always improving your mind and are not content to be just another pretty face. (Although you are!)

 

She is not only a reader, but she is a volunteer and activist for causes she believes in passionately. She reads, listens to music, travels, goes to cultural events, and smartly consumes media even when no one is looking because she knows her brain is her sexiest asset, and will remain sexy until her dying day.

 

  1. She strives to be her authentic self. As cliché as it may be, Shakespeare was right on the money when he said, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”

 

Think about it…we only have about 79 years to enjoy this life. To laugh, to love, to grow, to experience every day to the fullest. I love British history, Star Trek, Lawrence Welk re-runs, nachos, and romance novels. Should I have to apologize for any of that? HELL NO!!!

 

Nor should you apologize if you are shy, swear a lot, walk slow, prefer staying at home, want to wear fishnet stockings, snore, or you love NASCAR. You are who you are, and no excuses are needed.

 

Find what you love and DO IT. Learn who you are and BE YOURSELF.