Wednesday, 28 December 2016

5 New Year Resolutions That Have Nothing To Do With Losing Weight

The annual New Year diet culture shitstorm is headed our way in full force, and we need to build up our bopo armour if we're going to fight back against its advances.

You know how it goes - we're all cosy and content with our Christmas food babies, and then suddenly BAM! We're being attacked from every angle by messages telling us that we need to slim down, tone up, give ourselves a full body makeover and never touch chocolate ever again. Out come the crash diets, dangerous detoxes, punishing workout DVDs, and all kinds of gadgets and gizmos promising to give us the body of our dreams, while actually doing nothing more than taking our money and leaving us hungry, tired, and hating our bodies more than ever.

Monday, 5 December 2016

To The 'As Long As You're Healthy' Bopo Supporters

"Go girl! As long as you're healthy that's all that matters!"
"I'm all about body positivity as long as you're healthy"
"I am so proud of your self love! And as long as you're healthy it's nobody else's business how you look"

Those are just a few examples of the kind of comments I see on a daily basis. And don't get me wrong, I know that the people who leave them usually have the best intentions! They believe that they're paying a compliment, after all, who doesn't want to be told how healthy they look? They've bought into the version of body positivity that says the best way to love your body is by 'taking care of it' (a.k.a. not being fat), and they're simply trying to praise the people who embody that message. Unfortunately, they've got it all wrong, and the compliments they think they're giving are actually riddled with ableism, healthism, and prejudice.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

5 Ways to Beat Food Guilt

Some of my favourite childhood memories are rooted in my tastebuds. Going out to the arcades in the evening with my grandparents and coming home to a plate of cheese and crackers. Family holidays bundled in the back of my dad's car playing 'who can eat a sugared doughnut without licking their lips'. Walking to my mum's allotment and eating all the strawberries I was supposed to be picking as the sun set in the background. Settling down with my brother and sister on the sofa on a Friday night after we each picked the packet of crisps we got to eat while we watched Friends. Food was comfort. Food was fun. Food was pleasure.

And then the guilt seeped in.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Why Aren't There More Thin Bodies in Bopo?

It's time to straighten this one out.

One of the biggest criticisms body positivity faces is that it excludes thin people. Most of the popular accounts or activists are people with bodies that are seriously curvy, visibly fat, or at least a little bit chubs (oh hey). So occasionally a thin person, noticing this, says that they feel excluded, usually with something along the lines of:

"I thought body positivity was supposed to be for all bodies, why aren't there more thin people on your account?"

Monday, 19 September 2016

To Troll or Not To Troll

Something major happened this week.

Something that there have been whispers about in the body positive community for months... could it be true? How will it work? Is it possible that Instagram is actually acknowledging the troll problem?! It looks like they might be. This week Instagram introduced a new feature that allows you to moderate your comments, you can choose to ban key words or phrases ('obesity epidemic' and 'vote trump' spring to mind), or turn off comments altogether. Obviously we were all pretty excited about this, it was like we'd finally been given our very own can of dickhead repellent spray. Finally we could go on our phones without fear of being emotionally sucker punched by gangs of 13 year old boys with cars as their profile pictures. Hallelujah! But it didn't take too long for a couple of practical problems with the feature to pop up: 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Hello World, I'm Fat

I shuffle into a room full of people, there’s stagnant coffee and stale biscuits on a table in the corner, the room smells faintly of Old Spice and desperation. An ominous circle of chairs dominates the room, the reason we’re all here. I take a seat hoping to avoid notice, just hoping to listen and connect with other people’s experiences. This doesn’t happen. A cheerful, chubby woman spots me.

“Hello dear, you must be new, why don’t you introduce yourself.”

I stand, palms sweating, lights dancing in front of my eyes, here goes nothing…

“Hi, my name’s Joeley, and, um… I’m fat.”

Only joking. Of course it didn’t happen like that. My life isn’t a Chuck Palahniuk novel. But this summer I did realise that I am fat.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

55 Ways Body Positivity Could Change Your Life

Last week I reached out to you all on Instagram when I was having a bad bopo day. I told you that I was feeling weary fighting for something that so many people still refuse to open their minds to or accept. It happens! So to combat those body posi blues I asked you to tell me one way that body positivity has changed your life for the better - within 24 hours I had 1500 comments. I read through every single one, I took screenshots of the ones that hit closest to my heart, and the ones that showed all the magical unexpected ways we've been changed by this self love thing. My bad day quickly become one of the most inspiring experiences I've ever had. And if any of you out there need a reminder of why body positivity is so damn important, I think these will inspire you too. Thank you to EVERYONE who commented on my post that day, your words mean the world to me, and I promise I'll never stop. THIS IS HOW BODY POSITIVITY COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE:

Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Danger of Praising Weight Loss Above All Else

I'm not sure if you've noticed this lately, but we live in a world that's pretty obsessed with weight loss. Scarily obsessed. In fact, if you were an alien visiting Earth for the first time, you would be really freakin' confused about why so many of the world's societies have made shrinking themselves their main preoccupation in life (assuming the planet you came from isn't also overrun with diet culture and rampant with unrealistic body ideals).

It really hasn't taken very long for the obsession to take over, considering 150 years ago intentional weight loss (or 'reducing') was quite rare. The weight most people today would consider to be excess, unhealthy, and unattractive used to be signs of wellness, wealth and beauty in abundance. These days even the slightest bit of natural chub is viewed as some kind of parasite - a dangerous disease to be burned off, sucked out, or starved into submission at any cost, rather than as the harmless, healthy flesh it is. It's really no surprise that the fear of fat has taken over, and dieting has become a full time job.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Standing Up For Self Love in a Self Loathing World

For my 18th birthday my dad wrote me a letter. He told me that no matter where I go, what I do or who I become, the most important thing I could ever have is integrity. The strength to stand up for what I believe in, for what's right, even if there are a million other people standing up for what's wrong. Before body positivity, I didn't believe in very much (and I definitely didn't believe in myself), but these days I understand exactly what he meant.

When it comes to standing up for body positivity, I'm sure most bopo babes will tell you the same thing - sometimes it's damn overwhelming. Sometimes you'll go out and be hit by so much diet culture that you wonder how you'll ever make a dent in all the self hatred out there. Or you'll hear people reciting the same tired, inaccurate opinions about fat people, and you'll realise just how heart achingly deep that prejudice runs. Sometimes it's your own friends or family refusing to accept the thing that's finally healed you.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A Word On #thenewsexy

As most of you probably know by now, I've done a little bit of lingerie modelling lately for the brand Curvy Kate, and their latest line Scantilly. I felt fierce as hell in those polka dot undercrackers. Of course, I'm not a model, and I wouldn't go strutting my stuff for any brand that doesn't have a body positive ethos. So when I was contacted about being part of a diversity photoshoot by a company that truly believes in self love (beyond it being a half-hearted marketing gimmick like so many other companies), I was in.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

5 Body Positive Books You Need to Read This Summer

You know why body positive books are so damn important? They prove that this isn't all in our heads. All the overwhelming insecurities, all the daily battles with our reflections, all the hours spent wishing our flesh away and wasting our days hiding from a world that we don't think we're good enough to be a part of. Well guess what? We didn't create those demons all by ourselves. We were taught them.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

5 Tips for Body Positive Fitness

I don't talk much about fitness on Instagram. I don't take gym selfies (mainly because I don't go to the gym), I don't post screenshots of my workout stats or pictures of my salad. The reason for this is that I never want to be the source for someone else's negative comparison. I never want to encourage the idea that being physically fit makes you morally superior, or that eating avocado makes you a better person, even though I really do love avocado. People's relationships with food and exercise are damn complicated, and I never want anyone who follows me to feel pressured, damaged, unworthy or generally bad about themselves for not being a paradigm of physical fitness. Because when it comes to body positivity, physical fitness is largely irrelevant anyway.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

To The 'I'm All For Body Positivity BUT' People

It's easy to spot a troll. When an internet troll comes crawling out of its cave and rampages through your account spewing hate and grammatical errors, it's easy to see it for what it is. 'YOUR FCKIN FAT!'* isn't generally the opening to a stimulating debate, or an informed discussion on body positivity. And since I subscribe to a don't-feed-the-trolls block and delete method, it's easy enough to banish them from my Instagram kingdom. *Raises almighty bopo sword that turns bathroom scales into cupcakes*

But there's another kind of comment that I've been getting a lot of lately - people who claim to be in support of body positivity, but only for the people they deem worthy of it.

Friday, 6 May 2016


By this time of year I'm guessing we've all been bombarded with our fair share of bikini body detox adverts. It's becoming almost impossible to flick through Instagram without seeing someone holding up a posh packet of laxiti - sorry, detox tea, and telling the world how it helped them achieve their dream body. People are genuinely convinced that their bodies are full of toxic, fat inducing substances that they need to get rid of not only to get thin fast, but to get healthy. Now let's be real for a minute, there is nothing healthy about self induced diarrhea, starvation, or food obsession, but in the name of losing weight, promising 'health' is a well practiced strategy of diet culture. So exactly what kind of detoxes are people buying into?

Monday, 25 April 2016

Stop Showing Me Your Before/After Weight Loss Pictures, Seriously.

I get tagged in before/after weight loss pictures A LOT. I'm sure some of you will read that and immediately think 'wtf why would they tag her in that'? (thank you), but others might not see the problem with it. I know there are plenty of accounts out there that promote the idea of body positive weight loss, and that dieting and self acceptance can go hand in hand. I am not one of those accounts. I am zero tolerance on diet culture. The idea that self love comes from changing your body to better fit the cultural ideal of beauty? Nope. Not buying it. Never will be. Keep ya celery sticks and squats. Gurl byeeee. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Let's Talk About The Word FAT

Who here has been called fat as an insult before?

*Queue every single female I've ever known raising their hand*

We all know that unique feeling that slices through your insides and pumps you full of hot, poisonous shame when someone calls you fat. Maybe it's a stranger spewing hate at you from across the street. Maybe it's a family member who constantly berates you about your weight. Maybe it's an online troll comparing you to the majestic sea beast otherwise known as a whale. Maybe it's a best friend who always goes out of her way to tell people that you're 'the bigger one' despite knowing you'd recently recovered from anorexia (yup, that's one of mine *raises hand*). We've all been body shamed. But there is absolutely no doubt that the full blown F bombs hit you the hardest.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Why Bikini Body Diets Need To Die

We all know how this summer thing works. The sun comes out, and with it comes the looming presence of swimwear season. We're swarmed by adverts for juice detoxes, ab workouts and magical lotions and potions guaranteed to transform us into sun swept Goddesses (and all we have to do is give up our money, time and self esteem, seems reasonable...). Before we've even packed away our oversized jumpers the quest has begun, the annual panic to reach that Holy Grail - the Bikini Body.

Now let's be honest for a moment, anybody who's ever bought into the idea of the bikini body (which I'm willing to bet is most of us), has probably experienced the same thing. Hunger, misery, preoccupation with food, missing out on social events, wasted money on products that don't work and inevitably, failure

Monday, 14 March 2016

To Anyone Whose Ever Tried To Heal Self Hatred With Sex

I am seventeen years old and I've thrown
a house party for my best friend's birthday.
I invited our friends, they invited their friends,
they invited their friends, and now there must
be over 100 people here, and most of them
are boys who I don't know. I've had more
than a few drinks, and I go over to three 
guys who I vaguely recognise from school.
We stand in a circle and introduce ourselves,
I pretend to join in with their 'banter', and then 
out of the blue one of the boys reaches his hand
across the circle, under my dress and into my
underwear. For a second I am frozen, and then
I react how I believe that I'm supposed to.
I giggle, then I make an excuse and walk 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Why Women's Magazines Will Always Make Us Feel Sh*t About Ourselves

I sit down and let myself sink into the glossy
comfort of my favourite magazine. With each flick
I'm assured that I can have perfect skin,
that I do have the power to get the sex I want,
that I if I overhaul my wardrobe I can overhaul my
life, that if I just commit 15 minutes a day to the
latest workout I can get the perfect beach body! 
Apparently I can have it all... So why do I feel...

Raise your hand if that feels familiar. *raises both hands* I spent years buying into the allure of the shiny self esteem breakers we call magazines. Growing up one of my favourite things was hijacking my mum's mags, poring over pages of diet tips and fashion advice on flattering your figure. I learned a lot about womanhood through those magazines. No wonder I hated myself so young.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Eating Disorders

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! As you guys know, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when I was 14. I was 'recovered' by 16, and body positive by 21, but there are so many things I've learnt about EDs, even my own, in the last year alone. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to tear down some myths, to reassure some of my fellow warriors, and spread some truth. And if you'd like to read more about my personal journey, you can do that here!

1. They come in all shapes and sizes

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Why Fitsperation Needs to F*ck Off

Last week I was listening to the radio, and I heard an advert that caught my attention. It was talking about bringing the joy back into exercising, about eating delicious foods and living a happy, active life. Great! I thought, finally a company more concerned about making people feel good than making them drop dress sizes! My bubble was burst a few seconds later when the advert was revealed as the latest Weight Watchers lure, using self love as a marketing ploy.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Let's Play The Body Image Blame Game

Here's something I say a lot:

This is not your fault

I say it almost daily to people in recovery, people battling self hatred, people who just can't find a way to embrace body positivity and leave those demons behind. To a lot of people it sounds like a cliche, something we say to make people feel less guilty, even when it's not completely true. But that's not why I say it. I say it because it's a fact. It is not your fault that you see your body as not good enough, you haven't created those feelings by yourself, you've been taught them.