Fatshion

I promised you all a post this weekend and by god I’m going to give it to you! So, following my last post, I had few requests to do a blog about fashion for us fabulous and fat ladies who want to look fierce. Now, those who know my, know that in the last few years, I have become obsessed with fashion and cycle through way more clothes than any reasonable person ever should. I feel like there is a time and place for every outfit on earth. However, I have been avoiding a conversation about fatshion and here is why. Inevitably, every time, someone asks me “can you tell me how to dress for my shape?” and this question is the bane of my existence. SO, I will talk about fatshion in a minute, but the social justicy/body positive person in me can’t pass up the opportunity to talk about the aforementioned question first.

What is wrong with “dressing for your shape”

  • It implies that there is an ideal shape that you are trying to achieve. It’s drenched in tones of, how to do I erase my shape and make it look like something more pleasing to the eye?
  • Dressing for your shape is filled with outdated and offensive tips like, ” you should wear black, it’s slimming” or “have you tried vertical stripes to make you look long and lean”
  • It’s filled with shame and cover up. You don’t need to cover up your body or hide your natural shape.
  • It buys into the idea that you owe it to someone to “carry your weight” a certain way ( another bane of my existence phrase. UGH)

Buying into dressing for your shape reinforces unrealistic expectations of what your body should look like. I have a friend who refuses to invest in the body positive movement, and she has explained to me that if she “had a figure like mine” that she wouldn’t mind being fat. To her, my body type is ideal. Which is silly. There is no wrong or right way to inhabit your body. End of story!

Okay so now! My top fatshion tips for looking fierce and living on a budget.

  • Shop the sales: I know that this one may seem obvious, but here is the deal. I NEVER buy anything retail. I don’t care how bad I want it! I refuse. I will wait for a sale or I won’t get it. So, you need to learn sale cycles. For example. several times a year Cacique has their bra’s buy 2 get 2 free. That’s $80 off. Also, Lane Bryant, Deb, and Torrid all have special sales where they have an additional 50% or 60% off on their clearance. Today, I got all of this for 80 bucks.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
  • Buy versatile: Buy things that have more than one use. My favorite versatile piece is a black maxi skirt, where it as a tube dress with a waste belt, where it high wasted, where it on your hips, where it long with one side tied up. This one piece can be worn so many different ways that you can wear it everyday of the week and no one would know.
  • Invest in your accessories: Accessories really are just as important as the clothes you buy. Accessories can completely change your entire outfit or just add that little splash of color that you need. My top 3 favorite accessories:
  1. Belts. Omg, I can not express to you how much I love belts. I have somewhere in the vicinity of 25. These can be worn with dresses, jeans, sweaters, over a tunic, over a cardigan with the cardi open. They can really make a difference in bringing your outfit together AND make you look put together,
  2. Scarves: Buy them, buy them all. Use them in your hair, around your neck, around your waste, tied in the belt loop of your jeans, or even tied on to the strap of your purse. This is one little accessory that can set you apart.
  3. Red Shoes: If you don’t have a pair of red shoes, run to the store immediately. Not only are they fierce as hell fire, but they are a great conversation starter. Every conference I go to , I wear my red shoes and I can’t tell you how many professionals from around the country I have met because my red shoes caught there eye.
  • Be comfortable: Now, I don’t mean run around in your sweats. I mean that you have to feel comfortable with your body in what you are wearing. It’s not so much about physical comfort as mental comfort. If you feel uncomfortable or exposed in your wardrobe, it will show, and people will notice. If you want to be more daring, I suggest wear some more adventurous stuff around your house alone first, then around your friends, and then take it out in public. These baby steps really helped me strut in my first bikini.

and finally!!!!!!

  • WEAR WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT! Seriously, fashion/fatshion is supposed to be fun. Stop worrying about what others think, and how you look, and whether or not people can see your fat rolls, and just put on the clothes you want to wear. Find your own style. Seriously! and if it isn’t out there, create it! I used to tell everyone my style was urban boho chic. Wait, that might actually be a thing now….Anyway. find what works for you and just do it, don’t be afraid to wear what makes you happy. If someone doesn’t like it, there is this really cool thing that was granted to humans, it’s called the ability to look away and mind your own damn business. BAM!

The sexiest and most beautiful thing you can wear is a smile and confidence. If you have those on, you’re good to go!

Food!!!!!!

Okay, we are going to be bold and brazen! We are going to use the F word a lot today! And for once I don’t mean fat! I am talking about food! Love it or hate it, enjoy it, or run screaming from it, we NEED it to live. So it’s about time we actually talked about it.

In a society so “health obsessed” and fascinated with calorie counting and high fructose corn syrup, it’s become oddly taboo to actually talk about food. Sure, we might occasionally pass on a recipe here an there, and of course everyone feels like they are in the clear to talk about the food that fat people eat, but when was the last time we really had a conversation about food that wasn’t filled with fear? So let’s do it, we are just gonna’ put it all out there!

Stage one of this discussion is setting the ground work. There is no such thing as “good food” and “bad food”.  Celery is not flouncing around in a cape like a superhero and I assure you that chocolate cake is not diabolically planning to take over your thighs! We need to stop associating food with moral characteristics. I have never eaten an evil piece of cheesecake. When we make foods “good” or “bad” we associate those same characteristics with the people who eat those foods. You become good or bad based on what you have eaten. Which then contributes to guilt, self loathing, and fat shaming. So food is food, not  a sentient being, it just is, it is not good or bad, wrong or right.

Stage two! Food is personal! Some foods regardless of your size may hold sentimental value for you, and that’s okay and normal. For example, my dad used to make banana pudding for me on my birthday. It was a big deal and a sacrifice for him since he had diabetes and couldn’t eat, but he knew I loved it. My dad has been gone for ten years now, and I get a little teary eyed every time I eat banana pudding.  For many people, cultural foods, family recipes, or even just a good pizza you had one time in Chicago provides us with comfort or provides us with a strong sensory memory of a wonderful time in our lives.

Stage 3, YOU NEED FOOD TO LIVE! And even more interesting, we each need different amounts of food to live, and different kinds of foods to live. Based on your height, genetics, and weight, the amount of food that you need to maintain your healthy weight varies extremely from person to person. At different times in your life you might need different kinds of foods which provide your body with different nutrients, and your body knows what those things are. A perfect example: I’m a vegetarian and I don’t crave meat very often, I am also a woman, once a month like clock work I crave red meat like nothing else. I could knock over a butcher for a good burger. This is because my body is sending me a message that as my iron levels drop during menstruation  that I need to replenish, and red meat is a great source of iron. Although, I prefer spinach or broccoli.

Stage 4…Summary Time!! Food is the fuel that get’s us through this life. When your car requires fuel, you don’t yell at it “Oh you stupid car, if only you had more will power!!!! ARGH RAAAAAAAAAGE!”, you give it the fuel it needs. Doesn’t your body deserve as much respect as your car? So make an effort to reprogram the way that you think about food and the way your listen to your body. Your body is a pretty groovy cat and it knows what it needs and what it wants. Start thinking of food as a regular part of your life through highs and lows and not an opposing  enemy in battle. We can co exist…I assure!

New Year’s Resolutions

So, today is the day after Christmas, and for those of us who celebrate it, we probably over ate, and are stuffed to the nines with sweets, turkey, and all of the amazing fixings.  Now, the day after, we feel bloated, and gross, and are bombarded with before and after pictures and overkill from the diet industry leading into the new year.  This may have some people wavering about their commitment to jump off of the diet train and stick with Health at Every Size. So here is my list of 10 better New Year’s Resolutions, than losing weight.

  

   1.Commit to doing activities that make you feel good 5 days a week.

Go ride a bike, play tennis, go for a walk, or just have a fucking living room dance party! Do these things because they feel good in your body and they are good for your body, not because you are trying to make your body something that it isn’t.

     2. Start living your life the way you planned to when you got thin! 

Instead of hiding in a shell and waiting for some arbitrary number to pop up on a scale to live your life the way that you want to, do it now! Always wanted to wear a bikini to the beach? Strap one on! Want to go to a bar and flirt your ass off? DO IT! Want to by that new outfit? Buy it now and  IN YOUR SIZE!

     3.Stop! Body shaming yourself. 

We’ve all been there, and I’m not going to lie to you, after all of these years, I still struggle with this sometimes. You get up in the morning, and your just not feeling it. You walk to the mirror and you start picking, you pick apart your body, your face, and your life. This year commit to stop! It’s like smoking, you just gotta quit cold turkey. Try that rubber band on this wrist thing that people are so fond of!

4. Be more spontaneous.

Sometimes, being a grown up, seems a lot like committing to be in a rut for your entire life. Break the cycle, and in 2013 try to be more spontaneous! Get in the car and just drive, let the GPS guide you back! Ask someone on a date. Go up and talk to a new person. Try a new restaurant. Doing new and spontaneous things can be exhilarating and boost your confidence!

5. Overcome something challenging.

My big challenge? Completing a Master’s degree. I wanted it so bad I could taste it. I wanted to give up many times along the way, but by god I finished it! What’s your challenge? What do you want to complete before the end of 2013? Make it happen!

6. Educate yourself.

2013 can be a year of learning for you. Despite what we may like to pretend, none of us knows everything. So this year, you can commit to learning about X# of new topics!

     7. Spend more time with the people you care about.

When people say life is short, they aren’t just kidding you. The older you get, the faster time seems to travel. When we get older, I assure we aren’t going to regret not accomplishing a purchasing order. We won’t be wishing we had just spend 5 more hours a week at work. And we sure as hell won’t be wishing we had spent a few more hours obsessing over our weight and body. We will wish we had more time with the people we loved. So, this year, don’t wait until it’s too late, do it now.

    8. Commit to a cause.

There is a lot of messed up stuff going on this world. There are people starving, children who can’t afford to go to school, LGBT people still can’t get equal rights, racism is rampant, everywhere you turn there is something going wrong! So, this year, commit all of the time that you used to spend obsessing over your body, dedicated to making the world a better place! Maybe  you don’t have the time to volunteer, whip out that wallet! Maybe you don’t have the cash, write your legislator. This year, do something to change the things you don’t like in our society, instead of on your body.

9. Reduce!

Forgive me, but I am going to get  preachy for just a second. We live in a consumer/throw away society. We do it with people and we do it with things. This year, make a commitment to stop doing it. Reduce the amount of things you have to throw away, instead choose recyclable materials when possible. Reduce the amount of animal products that you consume which are bad for your body (in excess), bad for the environment, and in the farm factory industry, bad for the animals. Reduce your buy in into mass consumerism, do you really need another Apple product? Finally, reduce the number of times that you throw people away because they don’t match up to your expectations. We are all just trying to get through this crazy messed up life and sometimes people need a little extra love and support.

Interested in reducing? Check out my friends blog about her minimalist journey (www.bornagainminimalist.com)

10. Be honest, be yourself. 

I saved this one for last, because it is also my New Year’s resolution. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of life. In a digital age, we are constantly aware of what we post on the web and how quickly information can be passed along. We have to be aware of not only what our friends and family may think, but what future employers may think of who we are and how we behave. It’s no surprise to me that we may all be a little guarded. My commitment this year, is a commitment to myself. I will be open and honest with myself, and the people around me.  I will let people in, and let them see who I really am and what I want out of my life. This year, I commit to tearing down the walls, that I have built to protect myself, and just live honestly, and happily. Maybe you’ll give it a try with me!

Now, these are just a few suggestions for resolutions that would be a better commitment than wasting time worrying about your weight. I’m sure you have got millions, and I would love to hear them. Leave your suggestions or personal resolutions in the comment section!

“But you’re promoting an unhealthy lifestyle!”

Okay, so this blog entry is dedicated to the haters. Okay, maybe not haters, but ill informed, ill motivated “do gooders”. This post is for the people who are out to save us from our fatness, save us from ourselves.

There are few things in this life that are considered both a medical condition and everybody else’s business. Rarely do you see people run up to a smoker, who is a complete stranger, yelling about cancer and about how disgusting they are as a human being for smoking. Or how about running up to thin people eating McDonald’s and other processed foods yelling at them about their diet/lifestyle. People would be livid if we displayed this kind of behavior. Yet, somehow, it is perfectly acceptable to do these exact same things to a fat person that you have never met before? So, before I delve into any science or medical reasoning behind HAES, I just want to tell everyone one thing. If it’s not your body….SHUT UP! That might sound really harsh, but here is the deal. I don’t come to your house and slap the high fructose corn syrup snacks that are killing your kids out of their sweet little hands. I don’t come over and cry and yell because your eating meat even though I am a vegetarian. I make choices about my life and you make choice about yours. It is beyond rude to assert your assumptions about health, beauty, and quality of life on someone else. So, don’t do it!

Now, let me hop down off of my soup box and let’s talk science and dollar signs. Here is what we do know about “obesity” (I hate that word, but whatevs, we are talking science here). We know that despite the “war on obesity”, a 58+ BILLION dollar diet industry, and every fad diet that you can possibly imagine, fat people are not disappearing. There has yet to be creation of a pill or diet that magically makes all people the alleged “perfect” thin ideal.  To make things more complicated, we know that the few people who do find weight loss success, only experience it for a limited time. In other words 90+ % of people who lose 20 pounds or more will gain it all back within 5 years. If you jump to the 10year mark, that percentage gets pretty close to 100. So what is the driving force behind our diet culture? The most common response that you will hear is health. So let’s take a look at how weight loss/diet culture is affecting our health.

Let me start with asking, what medical treatment do you know of, besides weight loss, that would be recommended as a cure with a less than 5% long term success rate? Just throwing that out there. But what if I told you that diet culture is not only not the cure, but it’s also a major part of the problem? What if I told you that your weight isn’t actually whats dictating your health? Well recent studies show that this is true. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center conducted a study that showed that losing and regaining weight lowers the functioning of your immune system. Dr. Tracy L. Bale of Univ. of Pa. conducted a study that showed that dieting changes your brain chemistry and causes your body to crave high fat foods leading to additional weight gain rather than weight loss.  And here is a real kicker, recent studies, one conducted by the Presidents Council on Fitness and Sports and one conducted by the American Dietetic Association, showed that there is strong evidence that “overweight” or “obese” individuals can get healthier by becoming more active, regardless of how much weight they lose or if they lose weight at all.

So, I know I just crammed a lot of information into a short blog space, but what does it all mean? Here is a summary of what recent studies show. There are actually no significant health risks associated with being “overweight” or “obese”. The health risks commonly attributed to size are actually a result of behaviors and eating habits that lead SOME people to be “obese” or “overweight”. So! If you are concerned about your OWN health, then become more active and eat the right things. STOP putting the focus on weight loss. This, my friendly readers, is Health at Every Size (HAES). When you eat healthy and exercise, your body will balance out. Don’t believe me? Seven years ago, I jumped off of the weight lost band wagon and started thinking HAES. In the first year I lost 60 pounds, I have maintained every pound of weight loss for seven years. I now weigh in the ten pound range of 280-290, have an average blood pressure of 117/60, no blood sugar problems, and I never get winded going up stairs. My fat is a part of my health and mental well being.

The point I am trying to make is every body can be beautiful and healthy, any size, any shape, period, end of story. The science backs it up. So don’t assume you know someone’s health on the basis of their body. AND don’t assume it’s any of your business.