2019

May Challenge: Weight

I was always told that, when I was younger, I looked like a rugby player. It was because I was bulky. Short and stout, a bit like a teapot with no spout.

I was always short, but the other bit never really bothered till I got older. In High School my confidence disappeared because people started making me feel bad for my weight. As if I was stupid for not being as skinny as other folk. Over time I ended up hating my body, and food became punishment instead of just nourishment. I didn’t deal with what was going on, and tried to lose weight for years.

Unfortunately, my self hatred caused issues. I didn’t see any value in myself, so didn’t see the point in making effort to get fitter. So, over the last few years, I’ve acknowledged my mental health issues, and tried to work on them.

I am hoping that as I get healthier mentally, I’ll be able to get physically healthier too. Hopefully.

2018, Life

Big issue?

I have always been chubby. Since I was little, I was short and stocky, like a wee rugby player. As a kid, it never bothered me. Everyone was differently shaped, so it didn’t matter.

As you grow up, looks tend to define more than anything else. People judge on what they see, not the person. I am kind, friendly, I always try to be a good person, but it’s not enough. I realise that my anxiety is a massive player in how I feel about myself, but it’s not all. I am overweight. And I have been for a long time.

Every attempt I have made to better myself has been met with jokes and sneers. Food has been a way to comfort myself when I felt bad. So food is a contentious issue. And when people laugh at the choice I make, the baby steps to try and make myself better, it’s hard not to take it personally. I don’t expect that trying to be honest with myself to be a joke for other people.

Last week I signed up for weightwatchers online, again. It is difficult for me to go to meetings, both getting the time, and mentally, so online is easier for me. It’s really easy to talk to people who are experiencing similar things. Its nice to speak to people who kind of show support and belief. Something I don’t get from anywhere else. I think it is easier to speak to people you don’t really know. And I don’t know why.

It’s the start of a new journey for me. And if you want to laugh at what I eat, make me explain my choices whilst you make jokes at my expense, you can go away. I am not a source of comedy for morons. I have no time for your negativity anymore.

Life, Uncategorized

Gym Bunny

Today marked my first gym visit of 2017. I had a wee break at the tail end of last year, with the busy period at my work, and then Christmas. I can honestly say, that I missed the good feeling that I get from an hour or so working out. It is almost like I can be a different person, a less stressed, happier person.

I started going to the gym in May last year, after my work advertised a good deal with the local leisure center trust. There was no contract, so I thought I would try it out. I have wanted to go to the gym for years, but I was so scared. I am not the smallest of people, weight wise, I never have been, so I was really nervous about going to the gym. I think I always thought that people would be mean, like what I have experienced at other places. Something that has made me feel so stupid, and useless before. Total strangers thinking it is okay to berate me as they pass, because I am overweight. Not a nice feeling.

But, I pushed through my negative feelings for a change. And I went. And I discovered that there were people, just like me, using the facilities. Sounds stupid, but I think it is easy to assume that the only people who use gyms and such, are people who are already fit. Which is not true. It is people who want to better themselves, whatever their physical state. And, when I started exercising, I felt so much better. It felt like, all those anxieties that I felt upon initially walking into the gym, just went away. It was like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was an addictive feeling, and I started to go regular. I would spent time at the gym on my days off, and it really effected my mood.

I have been a wee bit stressed out this week, so I thought that I would take the opportunity with my quiet weekend, to get back into the gym. So I went today, and that great feeling came rushing back to me. Which has been a real boost to keep on track with my plans for the year, and forming new habits. Although, doing exercise was initially to get me fitter, it has been the improvement in my mental health that has kept me so interested. The shift of my goal from weight-loss to focusing on feeling better, was a game changer. It also meant that when I didn’t lose as much weight as I wanted, I wasn’t disheartened. To be able to commit to things better, like I am aiming for 2017, I need to shift perspective on my goals. Hopefully I can figure out a way to do that.

Uncategorized

#DearMe – A letter to teenage Sue

Hi.

I know that people are harsh, but try and put what they say behind you. These people may think they are better than you at High School, but they aren’t. A lot of these people, who you cry over, won’t be a part of your life after School. Rather than waste your evenings crying over what these people say, spend you time with your actual friends, that actually like you. Some of those friends will live far away in the future, so make sure you spend as much time with them as you can.

Don’t make yourself feel bad for your body shape. You have never been stick thin, and that isn’t a bad thing. Every person is different, and no difference is better than another. You give up sports because you don’t like how you look, don’t do that. Keep playing football and rugby because you love it, don’t let the remarks of others stop you. Also, binge eating doesn’t stop what people say about you, and it always ends up making things feel worse.

Work hard. School becomes a miserable place, and it even puts you off reading, even though you have always loved reading. Pick classes you are interested in, and work on them. Don’t do  filler classes just so that you are in classes with friends. Although it seems fun, it is a bloody distraction. It is part of the reason that you struggle at school, and the ‘laziness’ habit you get into causes a problem when you hit college.

You have quirks. You like books, computer games and cartoons, and that’s okay. Everyone has interests and hobbies, all that matters are that yours make you happy. Be proud of who you are, experiment with everything in your life, and find out what works for you. Have fun, don’t force yourself into situations which makes you feel horrible. The questions and doubts you have about your sexuality aren’t bad, you just are a bit scared because there is noone to talk to. Your friends will support you, so talk to them about it, don’t let it batter away at your confidence.

Please remember, you are worthy of love, happiness and the life you dream. Enjoy your teenage years, and have fun.

Love Older You

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The #DearMe project is actually a Youtube project, but due to me having an issue with a corrupted memory card, I thought I’d blog it. It aims to inspire and motivate young women everywhere. The advice you would give You, may help someone going through those issues now. The video for the campaign on Youtube is over here. The campaign started yesterday, which was International Women’s Day, so it’s a little late.

Is there any advice that you would give to your teenage self?

Life

It’s hard to believe that’s another year behind us. I feel like the last few years have gone too fast, and I barely have had the chance to catch my breath. Saying that, I am glad 2013 is over with, because it was a bad year. Well, not awful, but I really struggled through the year, and actually experienced some of my lowest periods than I have for a long time.

But, I got through it, and managed through the year, as hard as it appeared sometimes. And the cliched thing to do at this time of the year is to close that chapter of one’s life, and plan for the year ahead. I am not normally the type of person to do that, but it feels very theraputic for me not to focus on what happened in 2013. Because, if I’m honest, I know that I will focus on the bad stuff that happened. So, looking ahead to all the changes I could make, and how it can positively change my life. So, I have made a few aims, to change things for my life.

1) Eat healthier. I am not talking about diets, and quick fixes. I want to change my attitude on food, not just lose weight. I need to cut down on the sugary drinks and fatty snacks. I have read for years that bad fats and too much sugar can make you lethargic. In my job, I need as much energy as possible, because I am on my feet all day, and I simply can’t eat when I feel like it. So, I need to make sure I am eating the right foods, so that I am not bloated either. My plan initially is to cut down on the sugary drinks, and see what happens. One step at a time.

2)Be a better friend. I feel that I have been stuck in my own head for most of last year. And as a result, I haven’t been very good at returning messages or meeting up with friends. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my friends, so I feel like I owe them a lot. As such, I feel super guilty that I haven’t been there for people as much as I should have been. I have always had this guilt that was created because I felt guilty about ‘forcing’ myself on people, particularly because folk have their own issues. I want to push my own conclusions out of my head. All I can do is check in with folk and try to meet up with people. If people don’t get back, or decline an invitation, it’s their choice, it has not indication on what kind of person I am.

3)Get out and enjoy more live music. 2013 was a rather uninspiring year for gigs. I have been to see bands locally, but that’s about it. I have made the excuse of having no money, and never ventured out of the house. Live music is one of the great passions of my life, and I am guilty of not seeing as much as I want. This year, I am going to go out and see bands, weekly hopefully. Even if it means I am drinking water, so that I can pay a few quid for entry to see a few bands play in Edinburgh. The joy of seeing live music is worth it. If I plan gigs and events to go to, it makes it easier to deal with the bad days, because I’ll have something to look forward to.

So that is it. They are just three wee things, made up of regrets from the last year. I think that if you want to change, you should focus on the things that you are most disappointed with yourself about. Mostly, because negativity can be used to drive you so far. Regardless how it ends up, I aim to make the best out of what ever happens this year. And I hope that all my readers have a fantastic 2014.

Life, ramblings

A Weighty Issue

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Sometimes in life we stand out, and are made to feel insecure by others. It happens to everyone at one point of their lives, be it school or workplace, or even at the supermarket. It can zap away all your confidence, and make you feel less than nothing.

I have had the most experience in this with my weight. Where it seems to be okay for people to ask me if my thinner friend is single, but nothing else. It is also apparently okay for people to call me names for being fat. Now being the ‘overweight friend’ my whole life, I know what shape I am, and I don’t expect to be shouted at by strangers about it. Most of the time, a couple of deep breathes can get me over the angst I feel, but sometimes the comments get stuck in my head. At it’s times that I can get worked up. I cry myself to sleep at night and just hate myself.

I have been reading about ‘fat appreciation’, something that gets posted about mostly on Tumblr, from my experience. It tells overweight people not to feel ashamed about their bodies, and learn to love who they are. But the very idea of making unhealthy people feel good about themselves gets a lot of bad responses. ‘Why should people feel good about being fat pigs?’

I believe that a lot of people, like myself, eat when they are unhappy. And the negative reactions that we can sometimes get from people we don’t even know, can make us very unhappy. It is a known fact that happy people are more proactive in general, hence workplaces spending millions making their workers happier. If an overweight person feels better with themselves, then they may stop gorging on crisps, and will chance going for a walk or to the gym. And the best thing is, if they feel good about themselves, then any negativity that is thrown in their direction, has more chance of being ignored. Also, if a person can learn to love themselves, then anything else that they want to seems a little more in hand’s reach.

Uncategorized

Free Speech Comes At A Cost

Ok, this is a follow-up to blog I did about journalism and the media, a few days ago.

The reason I am back on this topic again is because of a, much publicised, piece on, fashion magazine, Marie-Claire’s website about fat people on TV. Journalist, Maura Kelly, who wrote about whether ‘fatties should get a room’. This is someone who as a journalist, feels that she should be honest.

“I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

Which is brutal, but it’s the truth, to her. She is stating , not what anyone else thinks, but what she thinks. Bear in mind also, that Ms Kelly works for one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world. This is a branch of society where being stick thin is the norm, and any amount of fat is deemed unacceptable. So I would imagine, if you call a size 14, fat, then you would find someone obsese mortifying.

“I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over.”

This is correct. A lot of people with weight issues, do have control and do need to take responsibility. People are advised by Doctors to lose weight, and they choose to ignore medical advice. They just point the finger of blame at someone else, a wonderful product of our culture. Also, she is saying that she believes people DO have control over what they eat. And they do, it’s a person’s decision to watch TV, rather than exercise. As someone who suffered because of an eating disorder, she changed her life around, and believes that ANYONE can change things.
We are frequently told that we are so lucky that we have free speech, and that the media is not controlled. But I believe that it never will be free. Someone stating their opinion gets slated. It’s like, ‘as long as you aren’t offending anyone, then you can say what you want’. Well, that’s opinion, it helps you understand another viewpoint, and realise we are not all cut from the same cloth. So all these people, saying that a journalist should be sacked for stating her opinion, are a disgrace. If there were more journalists in the media, who expressed themselves honesty, then the media would become something worth being interested in. But right now, you have to stick to the same rules and have the same thoughts as everyone else. And, to be honest, I hate it. I hate that no matter which newspaper you pick up, it’s all the same neutered ‘opinions’ that just written in a slightly different way.

You can argue all day with who is at fault for the article. Is it the Ms Kelly, for letting out her harsh opinions? Is it the editor, for giving a vulnerable woman such a personal issue to write about? Is it the site itself, for allowing the story to be published in that state? Is it the people who read this and got so ‘mock offended’, and spread their panic across the internet? Or, is just that too many people want to continue to bury their heads in the sand, despite the fact the fact there is truth in the article?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. And I don’t believe that Ms Kelly should have had to apologise to some overly sensitive people for her thoughts on the obesity issue. If you truly believe something you write, then show some conviction and stand by it, no matter how large the occurring witch-hunt may become.

It does show that there are parts, within our society which need looked at. The fashion industry, it’s unbelievably size-ist, and I don’t think that Ms Kelly’s opinions are the worst out there. But only by confronting the problem, can we see how  bad it really is, and even educate people from an overweight person’s perspective.

But the main disturbing thing, which came out of this article and it’s notoriety, is the pure hatred being shown towards Ms Kelly. This isn’t people who are as self-righteous as they make out. I mean, they were all taking a personal attacks on Ms Kelly, wanting her fired. This is disgusting, and it made me feel ill. At the time I read the article, there was almost 2,000 comments on it, there is probably so many more now. But almost all the comments were negative. Negative because people on the internet have no idea about a journalists expression to be truthful to oneself. Negative, because the internet is full of it. anonymous people saying that Marie Claire is terrible for allowing the piece to be published. But, are the magazine  not brave, by posting such a ‘hot’ issue, it has opened debate, and is allowing people to see something from somebody else’s perspective.

I applaud Marie Claire and Ms Kelly, because you have ‘stuck your neck out with the article’. You have given a sense of depth into a very one-dimensional field, and should be thanked for it. If people are too arrogant to understand journalism and opinions, then I believe they should just disconnect their internet and stick to their bland, opinionless, newspapers.

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For the record, I am termed as overweight. I am a UK  dress size of 20, and although I am happy with me, I am aware I eat too much rubbish, and don’t exercise nearly enough. But, it is my fault, and only I can change this. And when I do, it will be on my terms.