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Thursday, 23 April 2015

The shame game

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The UK is buzzing around the topic of plus size and obesity, and on Tuesday I made my debut  on  the Plus Sized Wars documentary on channel 4 about plus size fashion and my role as a blogger in the industry. As this topic is highly emotive people had some things to say, some very positive and some extremely negative. Sadly there are people that cross the line from opinionated to down right cruel and have felt the need to express their disgust in someone of my size. 

Today I wanted to share my personal story in the hopes that I can be looked at as a person and not an obesity statistic or a bad role model.
Ask most overweight women and they will tell you that they have spent most of their lives on diets, I certainly did. Growing up I was a small sized child, but then at around 8 or 9 years old I developed severe asthma, I was put on steroids and I slowly but surely I got bigger. and it became obvious to me even though my Nana the next best thing to a mum to me, told me I just had puppy fat that I was beautiful and perfect. By the time I hit my teens I was a grown in all the right places and had to start wearing a bra earlier than most of my friends in high school, I was most certainly fatter than all my friends but they never made me feel different even though I knew I was. I had the occasional nasty comment about my size some more hurtful than others but I was lucky to grow up mostly with nice people that I hope saw me for more than just my weight. However I still hated myself, I couldn't wear the clothes that all my friends did, they shopped in Tammy Girl and I shopped in Etam and I would cry to my nan that I felt fat and she would again hold me and tell me that I was beautiful, she was like this best friend that loved me just as I was and for a second she would make me forget. Then one Monday before I was about to head off to school my Nana had a heart attack, she was a smoker and couldn't stop, that following Sunday she died and I never really got to say goodbye. I was 13 and for days I didn't get out of bed, My Nana was the matriarch of our family and when she died everyone fell apart, I felt alone and I turned to food as a comfort to fill a hole and my weight increased.

Over the years I built an obsession with wanting to lose weight, I tried lots of things including starving myself, then binge eating and hiding the packets at the side of the sofa, I tried to make myself sick but that didn't work out because I hated the feeling of being sick. I went on the cabbage soup diet, the no bread diet, I took slimming pills from Holland and Barrett and became obsessed with gym. I lost a significant amount of weight for my cousins wedding and when people saw my weight loss they praised me and it felt oddly good, like for once I had achieved the end goal, until it went straight back on. In reality, when I look back I wasn't even as fat as I thought I was,

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Fast forward a few years to University and I was looking forward to starting afresh, yet I still took those troublesome thoughts with me and my weight issues only grew. Drinking made me put on more weight and I was back again being the fat friend of my new group. Boys had no interest in me, that had always been the way, I always felt used when someone did actually pay me attention but nothing ever came of it because I was never girlfriend material for them - I was too fat.

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Then in 2008 whilst working at my part time job a guy came up to me and asked me out, he was really nice and kind, he asked me on a date and nearly 7 years we are still together. Dan taught me that I would be who I was and still be loved, that it didn't matter what size I was or how much I weighed because he just loved me for who I was, but even that couldn't stop my weight obsession. Over the years I joined slimming clubs and then started drinking laxative teas. We stopped eating out to save calories and my obsession with food value made me cry when ever I indulged. I made a diet diary to share with everyone to shame myself into losing weight , it worked for a while until one day, the scales showed a gain and I broke down. Dan sat me down and told me he was worried and I realised the extent to my obsession. That day I got rid of the blog and made a new one I called it From the corners of the curve, I started reading other blogs like Gabi Fresh and Arched Eyebrow's and my eyes were opened to this world where girls of my sizes were living their lives enjoying fashion and being happy. I decided I wanted a piece of happiness and started documenting my life, my holidays and my new found love for fashion and soon it got noticed . Before I knew it I was being asked to model in a campaign for Evans for a plus size line. It was picked up in press by media outlets I ended up in Vogue Italia with the other girls involved and my blog grew and grew.



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You are most likely wondering why I feel the need to share this with you and why it matters. It matters because health isn't always physical, mental health is just as important and the years of dieting and punishment on myself caused my damage than good. Yo yo dieting has caused a number of issues for me and ultimately made me bigger than I ever really was. Articles are being written about the plus size bloggers as though we are setting a bad example by promoting obesity when we aren't. I have never said HEY I'M FAT COME BE FAT WITH ME, all I have said is love yourself no matter what.

Everyone deserves to live a happy and fulfilled life no matter what their size, and believe me we are not ignorant to health risks because that is something which is shoved in our faces daily by our family, friends and strangers. People lack basic empathy and that's because they don't understand there are more reasons to weight gain and obesity than simple greed, some people are ill, some people are taking medicines which cause weight gain and some people have mental issues behind why they eat. It's not as black and white as people may think.  People also shouldn't be treated any less if they choose not to be healthy, health is not a moral obligation.
So instead of today judging someone on how they look, try and look at them as a person and not an obesity statistic like the likes of Jamelia who thinks people under and over the 'normal average' don't deserve  access to nice clothes.

I am that obese person and I deserve to live a happy life no matter what my choices whether that be weight loss or not and no nasty tweet or shaming article written will change that. 



43 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing that hard time of your life with us. xx

    Angie x | Chocolate & Lipstick || UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

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  2. Charlotte Burns23 April 2015 at 05:50

    This is amazing. You're so brave putting yourself out there like this. It really means a lot.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, it's a beautiful piece - the article and the bathing suit ;)
    x

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  4. THANK YOU ! (which means so much to me) your words are always perfectly chosen, it brings me confidence and hope for the future of all of us.

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  5. This is so important. At my biggest, I was a size 22 while at school and I felt miserable because of little comments that I got used to hearing and constantly tried to lose weight quickly for all the wrong reasons. I thought losing the weight would be the answer to everything, but at a size 16, though I have more confidence than I used to through just as a result of growing up as much as losing weight, I still feel the same as I used to at my biggest because a lot of people take the attitude of 'oh she's fat, she just needs to eat healthily.' People are quick to forget that there is so much more to it than that. I'm so glad young girls now have bloggers such as yourselves to help promote healthier mentalities in particular, I only wish i'd had it when I was younger. Thank you Callie! x

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  6. Thank you for sharing this with us. I really admire this post.

    Georgie

    xoxo

    www.thelipstickdaily.com

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  7. You are so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

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  8. I think you are stunning. Not because of your size but because of your looks.

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  9. Beautiful, thank you :)

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  10. awww callie this is so well written! And I had a very similar journey.
    Do you know if there's any chance I could watch plus size wars in Germany?

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  11. Callie, your story made me cry, you are so pretty and look fab in all the pictures I've seen of you. You came across as bubbly and confident on TV the other night. I'm sorry you've had such a rough ride and so happy you're living your life on your own terms. Love, a fellow asthmatic with a big bum!! 😊

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  12. I've said it before, but I completely agree with what you've written here. I was bullied throughout my childhood and teen years, people even made up songs about me. It was devastating, and it destroyed my confidence. I truly hated my appearance (I was around a size 14 US at the time). After a particularly awful breakup, I ended up with an eating disorder because I thought that no one would ever love me as I was. I was essentially surviving off of aloe drinks for five months, and then suddenly, one of my high school friends was killed by a drunk driver. It truly shook me to my core. I decided at that point that I needed to turn my life around and enjoy it more, and take risks.
    That's how I met my now husband. He made me feel better about myself, but I still hated my body. It has taken a long time for me to be okay with the inevitable weight gain after not eating for so long -- I'm bigger now than when I started unfortunately -- I really messed up my metabolism. I've come to accept that this is my body, although I do occasionally try dieting (under the supervision of my husband to make sure it doesn't get out of hand!) but I find that it doesn't work for me anymore.
    I only follow three plus-sized bloggers, you, gabifresh and nadia aboulhosn, but you're the one with a body the closest to mine. Seeing how good you look and how happy you are has helped me realise that I have worth as well. I even bought a skirt I had been eyeing because I saw you rocking it! My most recent struggle has been moving to the UK and getting used to the sizing here. It can be hard adjusting to being two sizes bigger than at home, but thanks to you and the others, I have come to realise that there is nothing wrong with me, and I can feel and be beautiful despite what others may think. I'm not at the point where I'm comfortable posting pictures of myself online for all to see, but I may get there one day!

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  13. Props, Callie. Well f*cking said! xxx

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love the honesty in your writing and am always impressed at how you inspire others and handle the haters. I watched the channel 4 documentary and thought that you guys came across as a wonderfully supportive and positive group, despite the production team's attempt to make it look like "war". Keep being awesome, m'dear!

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  15. YES YES YES YES BRAVO!! Thank you for existing Callie! <3

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  16. I felt so emotional reading this. Having talked to you online and met you in person I know that you're a gorgeous, kind and funny person so I feel terrible that you've been a target for other people's opinions. I used to be pretty opinionated and thought that other people would want to know exactly what i thought but as I've got older I have learned not to judge other people. Especially not by my standards. If someone else chooses to wear certain things, act a certain way or look a certain way that is their business and their business alone. It's not the same thing but I've been judges for being black, or mixed race or even Northern and my outside is nothing to do with the inner me. Lots of love to you gyally - show the haters just how good you're doing.xxxx
    P.S - Also, as an asthmatic, yasss those damn steroids. Crazy.

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  17. Thank for writing such a heart-felt post Callie! You ROCK Girlie!!!!

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  18. This is seriously the best thing I have read in my whole life... You are so amazing, and have the biggest heart!

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  19. As someone still struggling with their body image and size every day I am so appreciative that I have bloggers like you to look up to and posts like this to read. Thank you.

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  20. So nice to know someone feels the same !!! After finding you and danielle ive started to enjoy getting dressed and looking for clothes...thank you!!!!

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  21. Callie, you are such an inspiration, and you have a wicked sense of style! Keep doing what you're doing, you deserve all the happiness in the world! x

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  22. This post hits me right in the feels. I think what people have a hard time realizing is that loving yourself is not promoting your obesity. I'm obese, and the self-hate I've felt for so long only tends to contribute to MORE weight gain (just like the mental issues you mention). It's only when I love myself (yes, even at this size) that I decide that my health is important, and that I strive to be healthier (which may or may not involve weight loss, but certainly involves exercise, healthful eating, and self affirmations). You are not promoting obesity by loving yourself - you're giving yourself value, self worth, importance - which are the tools you need to be healthy, both in body and mind. Feeding into the fat hate that we hear all the time just intensifies so many of the issues which made me gain in the first place. Thanks for this post - I really needed it.

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  23. You're such a beautiful girl and clearly inspire others by just being yourself, not promoting a certain way of eating, looking or living. I watched you on This Morning (and Plus Sized Wars) and felt so angry about the way Philip Schofield tried to turn your interview into a debate on how much money overweight people cost the NHS, like you have a responsibility to answer those statistics?! Totally out of order and completely missing the point. Perception of how someone lives their life based on the way they look, and unfairly judging them because of that, is the real issue and I think Philip Schofield showed ignorance during the conversation, which I pretty much tweeted to him afterwards! First time on your blog, added to my reading list - don't change! x


    http://rocknrollblonde.com

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  24. Thank you so so much again Letizia, I know I wrote to you on Instagram but I just get so emotional when I read this thank you xxxx

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  25. Thank you so much, I have to say I wasn't expecting Phillip to go in on me the way he did but I hope I handled it well. I think when it comes down to it people care more about image than health yet they shield it with false concerns! xx

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  26. Exactly people don't realise but the self depreciation contributes to the weight problem it doesn't solve it. I agree I am also on a health journey but I no longer obsess over silly diets because in my opinion they do way more harm than good! Thanks so much for commenting and your support xx

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  27. Big love to you Ala, so glad we got to meet that day at the cookery class! xxx

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  28. Thanks so much for reading Kati, it means a lot xxx

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  29. Oh Julia, that is so lovely! much love to you xxx

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  30. Hey love, sorry for the late reply I some how missed this. I think you are spot on, that is the best way to be these days people are so judgmental, I used to be as well back in the day and you are right as you grow up you think, what am I gaining from this. Aww god, bloody steroids mate they are the worst aren't they. Sorry to hear you have been through that too. So looking forward to all your travel posts love! <3 Thanks again for your support xxxxx

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  31. You are truly an amazing human being Callie Thorpe (oh so stuffy), trust me, and I couldn't be happier to have shared with you my story. I hope one day I'll get to meet this wonderful person that you are. If you ever come to Italy write to me :)
    Hope you have the best of everything, you deserve it! xx

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  32. I am so sorry you had such a tough time through childhood no one deserves to be treated that way. You should be so proud for overcoming all you have to get where you are now Julie and I hope you are adjusting a bit better in the UK, thank you also for following and taking the time to message its so appreciated! lots of love xxxx

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  33. Hi Nadja, someone mentioned you could watch it through something called Hula ? xx

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  34. That's right Nadja. Hula is a Chrome extension in the browser which fools your computer / IP address into thinking you're in the UK to watch 4OD. There's a free version that's super easy to use - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hola-better-internet/gkojfkhlekighikafcpjkiklfbnlmeio?utm_source=gmail

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  35. Cristina Felice28 April 2015 at 05:27

    Great story and great way to tell the story, thank you, I've started to follow you on Instagram!

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  36. Cristina Felice28 April 2015 at 05:41

    Great story and great way to tell the story, thank you, I've started to follow you on Instagram!

    curvy.altervista.org

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  37. Cristina Felice28 April 2015 at 05:51

    Great story and great way to tell the story, thank you, I've started to follow you on Instagram!

    curvy.altervista.org

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  38. All I can say is thank you. Nothing else, simply thank you :) xx

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  39. Rebecca Mirjam8 May 2015 at 06:26

    Hi, I'm Beccy, 19 years and I'm german. I think this text is one of the best things I've ever read, it's so honest and especially inspirering - it's really really great! I also follow you on Instagram and I want to thank you for showing girls with a bigger size that they can have a great style (which I think you totally have!) and that they can have a happy life and I think you also show that everybody has the right to love themselves! Since a while I struggle with anxiety, one reason is because of my weight. I've been fat all my life and I always wanted to be skinny and pretty like the other girls around me but I never was. And a very very long time I felt ashamed because of the way I look and this shame causes the anxiety and because I was anxious I started to eat too much, it was a terrible and exhaustive cycle and I was getting so sad because of it and it I couldn't get out of it for a long time. But now, I'm stil fat girl, but I try to accept myself the way I am, the most time it is still very hard and I still struggle with this shame and the anxiety but I don't want to punch my reflection when I see myself in the mirror because I started to really look at me, to look at my face and to look at my clothes and I start to realize that I can be pretty when I learn to love myself.
    And I think founding your blog here and your Instagram account helped me with that and I really want to thank you for that! Because you showed me and I'm sure a lot of other girls too that, no matter what size you are, they are able to have a happy life and that they can be theirselves and look great with that!
    You are such a beautiful and insprinig person and I really hope that you have a wonderful life, you deserve the best xx

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  40. I really wish I could see the documentary from Italy...

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