Saturday, 19 December 2015

A Short Guide To A Body Positive Christmas

The holidays are here! For a lot of people that means joy and merriment and wonderful traditions wrapped up in a shiny golden bow with a mince pie on top. However, for those of us who spend all year at war with our bodies, other things can come to mind - heightened expectations, huge amounts of pressure, difficult family situations, anxiety inducing social events, unflattering pictures, fear foods and weight gain all tied up in a much more suffocating knot. So I thought I'd write some quick tips for all my ED warriors and body posi babes who will be struggling this time of year. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Why I Will Never Bring Diet Talk Into The Body Positive Community

I started my first diet when I was 10. It was nothing too extreme - swapping chocolate bars for snacks with fewer calories, exploring the lower fat options at the supermarket. I slowly dropped a dress size, and basked in the compliments of my peers. I began to value my iron will, my devout commitment to my mission of slimming. With my eyes locked on the holy grail of thin, my self worth laid bare and exposed, I was hooked. 

Swapping snacks turned into eliminating snacks, meals got smaller and smaller, any diet that allowed 'treats' was out of the question; I thrived on restriction. I found something so intoxicating about that routine, that mixture of gnawing hunger and waning hope as the day goes on. The torturous workouts and the denied cravings that earn so much praise -


"You're so dedicated! I wish I could make myself go to the gym, how'd you do it?!"
"Look at you! So skinny! How did you do that?"
"You have so much will power, how can you turn down chocolate cake?!"

The answer that I never said -
Self hatred.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

How Do I Sound, Through Your Eyes?

This past week has been a whirlwind. A beautiful, chaotic whirlwind, with a TV appearance at the centre of it.

I was lucky enough to be invited on ITV This Morning, and was interviewed by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford. (pssssht, you can watch it here). Despite being terrified, I held it together quite well and managed to get a little bit of this magical movement out there. But when I shared the video with my friend Whitney, she showed me that there was a huge problem with it all.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

My Journey To Body Positivity

In the body image game, we’ve been set up to lose from the start. How many of us can remember the first time we saw an impossibly beautiful magazine body, and compared it to our own?
How many of us can remember the first cruel comment, the first torturous diet, the first night spent gazing desperately into the mirror and picking ourselves to pieces? I want you to know that you’re not alone in your body image struggles, and you’re also not to blame.
As I sit writing this, hunched over my laptop screen, my bedroom mirror shows me my reflection: I see belly rolls, I see cellulite, I see a million flaws that have previously sent me spiraling into self hatred. But this time, I also see happiness. I see beauty, beyond the one dimensional photoshopped form we’re taught to aspire to. I see worth, that extends far past the physical. My vision is no longer clouded by the ‘not good enough’ mentality we’ve all been taught about ourselves.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Body Positivity Beyond Size

During the summer of 2007 I had a fleeting and intense friendship with the new girl in school. It was the kind of friendship you can only have in those early teenage years, desperately clinging onto each other like life rafts through the rough tides of puberty. We spent every day together, drowning each other in our insecurities. Occasionally sneaking out of the house at 6am to go running, or playing badminton for hours and hours in my garden, eventually crawling inside and feeding our exhaustion with mountains of biscuits and cakes.

What we were really doing, was coaching each other towards the eating disorders we were both teetering on the edge of. We didn't see the harm being done, or realise how toxic our friendship was. So relieved to have found someone else to wallow in the new pits of self hatred with. 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

How to be Body Positive


              If you were granted one wish, what would it be? I'm willing to bet that for a lot of you, it would be to have the perfect body. To be thin, to be beautiful, to finally be happy with yourselves. Because that's what this world teaches us - that once you fit into their criteria of physical perfection, you will finally be happy. Everything will fall into place and you'll be that glowing figure frolicking on that magazine cover, blissful in your thinness.  

And if, like me, you've spent most of your life believing in the holy grail of thin, you're probably pretty damn tired. Tired of the hunger. Tired of the torturous workouts. Tired of the perpetual food guilt and evenings spent agonising over your reflection, picking yourself to pieces and shaming every roll, every bump, every scar that doesn't match the photoshopped ideal in your mind.

You deserve better.

Thursday, 6 August 2015


HELLO WONDERFUL ONES!

I'm so happy that you're here, thank you! So this is the Instagram obsessed me, branching out and becoming a real life blogger! Eeeee!

OF COURSE I'll be posting about body positivity without the restraint of the IG word limit! With some other feminist magic sprinkled about, and maybe even a bit of fashion, who knows! There are so many exclamation marks in this! I'm just too excited!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 20 July 2015

IG Archive: It Isn't Your Fault



I want you to know that this isn't your fault. All those thoughts about your body, all those things you hate about yourself - they didn't spring to life all by themselves. You live in a world that has taught you self hatred so well, and for that you hold no blame.


It's not your fault that this world made you believe that your beauty can be seen in a mirror alone. It's dazed you with a blur of magazine covers and makeover shows. 



It's not your fault that this world tells you to value thin over everything, closing it's eyes to the people that sends to an early grave. Nobody told you that you don't exist to look like an empty image of photoshopped 'perfection'. Nobody told you don't exist to be looked at. 



If I could, I'd take you away. I'd put you in a world that teaches the truth - that you exist as so much more than a body.

So when you're struggling, when those thoughts won't go away, when all the body positivity in the world won't quiet those voices. Just know that it isn't your fault. 



And that somewhere, there's another world where you can see how beautiful you really are. 


Love & bopo,
@bodyposipanda

Posted: July 2015

IG Archive: Oprah Magazine


Dear @oprahmagazine,



Somewhere in the world there is a young girl. She is full of light, full of potential, she is not yet torn down by the world. She likes to read her mother's magazines and imagine how glamorous womanhood will be. 



Flicking through the pages she regularly finds adverts for diet pills and cosmetic surgery, and with each flick it trickles into her consciousness that women should only look one way. That women only exist so that they can look that one way. That women only exist so that they can be looked at by others. 



She breaks. She shrinks. She diminishes herself until she fits into those magazine pages, or dies trying.

Years later, years of pain and torture and struggle later, she finds her freedom. She realises that she can wear what she wants, live how she wants, be who she wants. That she doesn't exist to emulate the impossible beauty standards that poisoned her mind so long ago.



@oprahmagazine, you are selling poison. And we expect more from you.


Yours,

A grown woman no longer taking this shit. 



Love & bopo,
@bodyposipanda 

Posted: July 2015

IG Archive: Belly Roll Love 2


UNFILTERED AB HONESTY


 

Probaby the most bizarre part of this whole experience is when I get wonderful comments complimenting my tummy, sometimes even coveting it. 



I've told you guys this before - my tummy has been my ultimate enemy since I can remember. From 5 years old praying that nobody could see it sticking out through my school dress, to 15 years old and hospitalised for my ED, sneaking to the bathroom to do crunches. I have pulled it, poked it, punched it, loathed it for so many years.

Thanks to body positivity, I actually believe your compliments. And not because in some shots my belly is slightly toned - I choose to love my tummy in all of these pictures. 



The hard parts, the soft parts, the rolls and the jiggle. Every part I used to hate for not matching up to the impossible washboard stereotype the media pollutes our ideas of beauty with. I won't let them brainwash me any longer into thinking there's only one way to have a beautiful belly. 



They won't sell me their subtle self hatred with cures of magic pills or wraps or potions. We don't need those lies. We all already have beautiful bellies. And we all deserve tummy love. 


Love & bopo,
@bodyposipanda 

Posted: July 2015

IG Archive: The Truth Behind the Scales

I gave my old scales a well deserved makeover. They've been lying to me for years about my health, my beauty and my worth as a person, time to set the record straight.


HEALTH. Did you know that the obesity crisis is entirely fabricated by greedy diet companies paying for sensationalist headlines? Did you know that countless studies have shown fitness to be the key to good health, regardless of weight? And countless others that the highest rates of longevity fall within the 'overweight' BMI category? Did you know that BMI was invented by a mathematician and never intended as an indicator of health? Or furthermore that the cut off points for the categories were arbitrarily decided upon by the International Obesity Task Force (advising the World Health Organization), whose two biggest funders at the time were pharmaceutical companies selling the only diet pills on the market? Actually not so arbitrary. Actually entirely crafted to make money from people with overweight or obese BMIs tricked into believing their BMIs reflected negatively on their health. Interesting, huh?


BEAUTY. We are programmed, brainwashed into believing in only one type of beauty. And that if we try hard enough we can achieve it. This lie takes our money, time, and self esteem and leaves us in a perpetual state of self hatred. It blinds us to the diverse beauty around us and within ourselves. Recognise the lie, take the blindfold off.



WORTH. We are all worth so much more than what our bodies look like. We are not ornaments made to look nice for other people. We are multi-dimensional, magical beings, our worth cannot be reduced to any number. We are more than that.


I highly recommend all of you giving your scales a makeover, you won't miss them. I promise, they will never tell you anything valuable about yourself. You are far too fabulous for them. 


Love & bopo,
@bodyposipanda 

Posted: June 2015

IG Archive: Weight Gain

Let's talk about weight gain. I've done a hell of a lot of it in my time. During recovery I literally tripled my body weight in a year (shout out to Mars bars). 



On the left is one of my first ever body positive posts on here, about 9 months ago. And it doesn't take much scrolling to find a plethora of pictures where I have quite a bit less jiggle than I do now. 



And that doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Because the only thing that's changed in those two pictures is my weight. I'm still the same me. The same mind, the same heart, the same memories, the same dreams. 



Nothing that counts as a valuable measure of my worth as a person has changed. None of us exist for the purpose of maintaining some perfect body dictated to us by ridiculous cultural standards. 



Our worth does not decrease with the fluctuations of our weight. We are capable of such spectacular things - of kindness, love, creativity, intelligence and adventure. Of living! 


And I'm no longer going to let the size I wear or the number I weigh stop me from doing just that. And feeling fabulous while I'm at it. 

IG Archive: Enough

Sometimes people ask me why I choose body positivity. Why I promote self love and do what I do. There are lots of reasons, but chief among them is this: we have all been through enough.


We have hated ourselves enough. We have tortured ourselves enough. We have starved and sweated and pressured ourselves in the pursuit of that perfect body enough. 



We have watched enough people die because they couldn't live in a body that they were made to believe wasn't good enough. 



I'm not trading in any more pieces of myself for an empty promise of happiness hiding in my bathroom scales. We deserve better. Let's take our happiness now, just as we are. No more self loathing. No more comparing ourselves to photoshopped ideals. No more believing in the lies. 



We've all been through enough. 


Love & bopo,
@bodyposipanda 

Posted: June 2015