Archive for January, 2012

Last night I received a comment on my blog that was perfectly polite and honest. I thought I’d reply to this comment as a blog post, because I felt I had more to say on the topic of Tough Love My Ass.

Here is my reply:

You will justify every reason for why things are the way they are, but this is you deflecting responsibility for yourself and for the ones that look up to you and love you. You will be everything but honest with yourself and the ones that are trying to help you because you have so much to protect, and those friends: guilt, shame, and remorse, (the ones you a have acquired through your addiction) really hate any kind of criticism. (Jessie Pavelka, the trainer from Obese: A Year to Save My Life)

I appreciate your comment, I love having debates and I sincerely enjoyed reading your opinion. Congratulations, you’re part of the 3% that manage to lose weight with a restrictive diet and furious working out and sustain weight loss 4 years later, and I genuinely applaud that.

I don’t know if you read any other posts on this blog, but I have something called EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) you can call this 1 of the 50 reasons not to sweat for 4 hours in the gym everyday (something I have done) and reduce my calories significantly (again, which I have done) but I call it the real world.

In this blog, I’m as honest as I can possibly be, and in order to do that I have to be honest with myself at all times. I chastised myself for YEARS, bullied myself into a state of not leaving the house because I wasn’t strong enough to stick to a diet and then keep the weight off. Then a couple of years ago I finally found out that I’m not weak, lazy and disgusting: I have overeating and binge-eating issues. I appreciate your opinion, but I’m not a big fan of being told I am fat because I’m ‘deflecting responsibility’ for myself. I certainly don’t ‘hate any kind of criticism’. I invite it – I’m writing this blog, aren’t I?

I don’t pretend that I don’t have any problems – that it’s just my metabolism or that I have the fat gene. I take full responsibility for my weight, and that’s why I hate it, and myself for letting it happen. It has happened, I am fat and I sustain my weight, but I’m trying to change that my way, through therapy to treat my disorder.

I have chosen a path that I think is right for me. I know myself, and I know if I restrict my diet again and over-exercise, It will just be another way of punishing myself for something that I didn’t do. Therapy will help me to control my disordered eating, but I can’t accentuate how out of control I feel, and no one like Jessie Pavelka is going to toughen me up to get that control. And that’s why I have chosen to listen to myself, because I’ve listened to the shit that these programs churn out, and I’m bored of being preached to.

I am sick of programs like this, like The Biggest Loser, I Used to be Fat and any other extreme diet regime where contestants are encouraged to work out until they vomit, which is enough to put them off exercise for life.  It is almost like it’s acceptable to punish them because they’re fat. Programs like these are primarily focused on making money, then entertaining their audiences, and then educating. The Biggest Loser is a brand, it’s not that huge over here in the UK but I can still go on and buy a cook book with The Biggest Loser written all over it, as if the name alone will guarantee long-term success. Contestants of these programs have to do the stupidest things in order to get results fast.

I have nothing against Jessie Pavelka, In fact I believe he really does care about the people on Obese: A Year to Save My Life, and I think  it was his genuine belief that tough love was the right tactic to take in that instant. I admire him, and all the trainers at my previous gym, because they were as understanding as their training permits. But when you come across someone with an eating disorder, that’s a whole other ball game. If I’d have been on that program and he showed me ‘tough love’ my disorder would have gone haywire. Coming off LighterLife (a VLCD) was the worst time in my eating disordered life, and I never want to go back to that place.

I wanted to write this blog post because I hate the fact that these programs and diet ‘solutions’ enourage people to think that anyone who doesn’t succeed just doesn’t have it in them. It’s so black and white. Yeah sure, I know some lazy people who can’t be bothered to deal with their issues; they aren’t taking responsibility for themselves. They are the stereotype, but if people look at me and think “she’s just not working hard enough.” Well then they’ve never been through therapy. It’s hard work confronting issues that have been avoided for many years and forcing yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone. There are a lot of tears, a lot of reflecting and a lot of talking about feelings. Trust me, I wouldn’t do it if I thought I just needed to shake off the depression and EDNOS and ‘man up’.

Telling someone to lose weight isn’t going to make them lose weight. It’s like telling someone with anorexia to ‘just eat’ and telling someone with anxiety to just ‘face your fears’. Depression, Eating Disorders, Bi-Polar Disorder – they’re all serious issues that can’t be solved with a kick up the bum.

So thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you are kick ass at keeping the weight off, and that there are people like you who will succeed with tough love. Maybe the reason you over-ate was due to poor food choices rather than emotional eating. For me, and the others with issues surrounding food, weight and body image then there has to be someone to accept that ‘just getting on with it’ is not an option. Feeling like you have no strength left is not weakness. It’s something to overcome with time and understanding.

Please feel free to comment on this post, as I would honestly like to read your side of the debate. I hope this didn’t seem like an attack, I in no way intended it to be.




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Can someone give me a job please?


Woohoo It’s Like Looking In a Mirror

I read Loki Mars’ post the other day about unemployment and thought woah, I am totally not alone in fruitlessly looking for a job, especially since we’ve both been down the road of work experience. I thought ‘oh man, I feel so sorry for myself… and even worse for all the people who join me with the unemployment blues.’

For the people who are all snug and secure in comfy jobs and wonder what I’m talking about (I’m just being rude because you have what I want, don’t take offense), I’d like to accentuate just how shit the job market is today. I contacted a local magazine to see if I could do work experience in the summer. They told me that they couldn’t offer anymore work experience because they were fully booked until January. Email back in November, they told me.

I did this. I then was asked for samples of my writing, which I didn’t submit. I had just started antidepressants and had stopped (temporarily) looking for jobs. I was moody, fed up of applying for on average 5 jobs a week for 6 months and getting enough replies that I could count them on 1 hand. All of them rejected my applications and CV submissions, which I’d spent hours perfecting.

And then I got a few job interviews for temporary seasonal staff in retail. I begrudgingly took a job for fewer hours than I’d like, hating the fact that I was doing a job I’d done before going to Uni. And then I stopped being a wimp and got on with it. I loved having a job – I was given more hours and loved being able to actually buy people Christmas presents instead of apologetically explaining that I couldn’t afford anything. Although I was still suffering with depression, anxiety which triggered IBS and obviously the unyielding disordered eating, I was given a purpose. That purpose may have been to dust shelves and ask people if they’d found everything they were looking for but it was a purpose nonetheless. The permanent staff couldn’t understand why I wanted to know profit margins and target sale-ups, but I was just interested. It was a distraction from the crap my mind churns out.

But now I don’t have that distraction anymore, and I miss it. Being unemployed encourages depression. If unemployment were a drug, it would be the most potent, poisonous drug of laziness. It can make you feel like you’re not worth working, that you wouldn’t be able to do the jobs you’re applying for even though you pushed through 3 years of reading books you despise and writing essays you have no interest in. It makes you yearn for the times you were passionate about what you were studying, and grateful that even though some modules weren’t the most interesting, you still worked hard for that knowledge.

And that’s just what it makes you feel, what about the physical aspects? As in, money. I’m on job seekers allowance, so I am part of the benefit system. I get just over £200 a month to help me out whilst I’m looking for work, and I don’t get to keep that. I pay my Dad rent money because he helped me out so much at Uni and he was made redundant before Christmas. He’s trying to make a joint business venture with my brother work, and until that gives a stable income we all have to help out. Which is fair enough, I totally support it.

I did office work experience for 6 weeks doing mainly data entry just so it would improve my chances of getting a job. As far as I can tell, it didn’t. So I emailed the magazine back last week and they asked me to send some sample writing. They said that unfortunately due to high numbers of applicants for unpaid work experience they wouldn’t be able to take me on in the near future…although it’s nothing to do with my writing. Which I just sent samples of. Plus a hastily written review of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Nope. Not that.

The job market is that shit that there’s competition for work experience. Oh my word. Despite all my complaining though, I do have work experience for another magazine set up for March, and the magazine that rejected me recommended me to another publishing house so… small win. It isn’t a paid job but it should be interesting. Whoop.

Good thing I didn’t link them to my blog so I could at least have a moan.



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So after the last couple of depressing posts about bingeing – bar the guilty pleasure post, obviously – I’ve decided to write something more positive.

I’ve been coming up blank these past 2 days with what to write about; I’m currently in a bit of a rut. Being unemployed with the shitty weather kind of makes you stay in and be a lazy bum… and I have failed to challenge this stereotype. For some time (about a decade) I’ve been wanting to do a casual dance class for fitness and fun, but I’ve always been waiting for my bum to downsize. Obviously this hasn’t happened, so I am going to take the plunge and get my freak on.

I’m saying this like it’s no big deal, but I am terrified. Like, pee my pants terrified. Next week is the start of my therapy and I’d like to put off going by saying I need some therapy first but if I thought like that I wouldn’t do anything. I don’t feel like doing anything, and although my brain is telling me I should probably do as the Doctor says and up my dose of antidepressants, the anxiety I suffer with is telling me that if I do my heart will stop. So… yeah. Bit lazy, increased anxiety and very inactive. Clean bill of health!

Which is why I need to grow some metaphorical balls and shake my booty. I’m going for a commercial dance class, which is like the dancing you see in music videos. Bloody hell. I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this.

Today also marks the start of my new 30 day yogalates challenge as I messed it up before and I am determined to do it. I felt better when I was doing it as well so there’s no reason not to!

…Wish me luck!



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I’m about to share with you a deep, dark secret that very few people know. I don’t want to worry anyone so i’m just going to get to the point. I just don’t want anyone to think less of me when I reveal this… To all those this might upset, I am sorry, but when I sat in the waiting room to the doctors office, prior to being told I might be able to see a dietician, this song came on. It is now that I understand I must indulge in this guilty pleasure.



I haven’t even seen Days of Thunder.

What are your guilty pleasures?



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... He Is Quite Hot Though

The other night my Mum was watching Obese: A Year to Save My Life and the woman on this particular program held up Cadbury’s slabs of chocolate. She claimed she binged, and didn’t understand why, after all, she was morbidly obese and desperate to lose weight. I’m not a big fan of the program, because it’s good for TV but it’s not realistic. She exercises everyday and sticks to 1,200 calories a day. I get that these people are dangerously overweight and there needs to be drastic action… but I’m just getting really sick of crash diet and exercise programs.

And fair enough, if you think that way is going to help, then good for you, I genuinely hope it does. But she clearly had a bingeing problem and the trainer’s response was: “This calls for some tough love.”

No it doesn’t. Tough love is not the way to go. Trust me, it makes matters worse. Every time I’d binge or ask for something ‘naughty’ to eat my parents would lay on the “Emma, do you really need that?” Or “No, I’m not getting it for you. If you want to stuff your face, go ahead.” And it’s because of programs like this where they fail to understand the psychology of bingeing that parents continue to berate their children instead of realising there’s a serious problem.

She might not have had binge-eating disorder, she might have only binged on occasions, and so self-help books would be great. But there needs to be some kind of understanding. It’s not about greed, although I’m sure everyone who binges feels that way. I don’t stuff my face because I just really like chocolate – when I binge I barely taste the chocolate. And for bingers stodgy foods are best – I knew someone who binged on pasta. Pasta? No way would I binge on pasta. Cereal? Yeah. Chocolate? Of course. Cake? Hell yeah, but not pasta. Some people don’t like the feeling of being full, but there’s something in my brain that sighs in relief of feeling full up.

Why does she feel that way? Maybe it would be better to explore the psychological reasons behind it: go to a nutritionist and see if they could suggest techniques to curb binges. Go to the doctors’ – although they’d probably have the same mentality as the personal trainer. Pick up a book, google it, read this blog! Do something to understand that it’s not just as simple as telling someone not to do it.

She lost a lot of weight, with all the exercising I’m not surprised and the non-disordered eating folk may be wondering how she managed to reduce or maybe even stop her binges.

In Overcoming Binge Eating Fairburn explains that it’s very common for a binger to cease their habits and restrict their intake for a couple of months. They then, however, revert back to their bingeing ways. After all, I did LighterLife twice for several months at a time – I thought I was a fucking rock star because I just stopped overeating. And then it started all over again and I felt way, way out of control.

It’s not the trainer’s fault, and it’s not hers; there is such a lack of awareness of this problem that no wonder they have no clue. So my message is tough love is not tough love in this situation: it’s just being a bit of a dick to someone having a hard time.



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Woo Spot The Body Shape Wednesday again, this week I’m going to preach about the …


(AKA bottom-heavy, triangle etc)


Pears aren’t called bottom-heavy for nothing. They have bigger hips and bums in comparison to slender shoulders. I thought this week I’d change it up and show a plus size model to … model this body shape – enter Tara Lynn. The pear has major sex appeal as they have a more obvious curvy shape and it can be difficult to dress, but then all shapes can if you don’t know the basics.

Because Tara Lynn is a model her pear shape isn’t exaggerated – she knows how to pose. Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce are the absolute best at posing for bigger behinds and the simplest pose to reduce the size of your hips in photographs is to cross one leg over the other.

Embracing shape

Hiding shape

Just putting one leg in front of the other, or bending the knee closer creates a curvier silhouette, and resembles more of an hourglass figure. Simples.

The best clothes for a pear are dresses. Without a doubt; they even a pear out, especially dresses that nip in the narrow waist and flows outwards on the bottom.

This Black Colour Block Drape dress (Dorothy Perkins, £38) is the perfect example of hiding a pear’s bigger hips and balancing them out. The dress nips in the waist and slightly billows out at the bum to hide a bigger bum (trust me, I have this problem). The top half of the dress tends to skip over the smaller bust and distract the eye with the orange draping across. The square fit will broaden the shoulders, therefore creating a more even figure.

For those wanting to embrace their hips then this Rouched Wrap Dress (Warehouse, £35) is perfect. It’s shorter, it clings to the hips and bum yet it still has the volume at the top. The high neckline allows the pear to accentuate their smaller busts and the longer sleeves will bulk the shoulders up. The waist is still accentuated which is necessary with a dress like this. If possible lightly padded shoulder or puffy sleeves would even the pear out a little more, but if you want to embrace, go ahead and embrace. Tara Lynn would look fierce in this dress.

These Wide Leg Trousers (Asos sales £17) are perfect for balancing a pear out. The wide legs hides the shape of the leg and skims over the lumps and bumps. The important thing to remember is to be aware that horizontal stripes, checked patterns or high pockets can add volume to the already bottom-heavy figure, so if you’re particularly heavy (like myself) these things are a no-no. Pair with something figure hugging on the top, as I said before, I’m not a huge fan of baggy matched with baggy. You don’t want to hide a gorgeous pear figure, you just want to make the most of your best bits!

Back with Asos again I’ve chosen the plus size top that I think suits a pear. Although it drapes over the waist, some pears can carry weight on their lower tummy area and so often a baggier t-shirt with leggings can do wonders. The Vest with Contrast Detail (Asos Curve £22) isn’t too low-cut and draws attention to the top. It’s busier so it creates more volume, and it also skims over the bum and hips, balancing the pear out and showing off those pins. An important thing to note though with a pear is that the top should cover your bum, otherwise it accentuates the hips/tush area instead of flattering it. An uneven hem to a top like this will also flatter, as will a belt higher up on the waist.

So there you go, sexy pear wear 😉



Check out the other Spot The Body Shape posts I’ve written so far for the rectangle and the apple. Or don’t, whatever.

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This post contains much swearing and many irrationalities. Also, don’t be offended – I have performed the Binge-Eating Brush off many times before to many different people.

The Plan: Pretend I need a nap, brush off the people I am with and go to my hotel room, place the food I bought in front of me and eat it all.

The Difficulty With This Plan: I kind of haven’t seen these people in a long time…how the fuck do I shake them off?!

I’m away from my family; I have a hotel room to myself. Prime bingeing time. Everyone is looking at me and realising I’ve put on weight yet again. I wonder if they remember when I lost 3 stone on LighterLife… Man, I loved my collarbone back then.

Even strangers are looking at me. They must know I’ve got issues with food, they must. I mean, come on, you don’t get thighs like these just by looking at food, you get them by eating it. Bloody hell, I’ve got to go out for a night out like this. What if I don’t find anything to wear and I have to wear that dress, or worse, the jeans I’m wearing and a top. Everyone’s going to think I put no effort into how I look because I’m fat so what’s the point?

What if I can’t get drunk tonight? What if my antidepressants cause some kind of alcohol barrier, or I get really depressed and cry. Oh man I can’t cry, some people will know why and no one likes it when a drunk girl cries. Man I hope I don’t cry. And what if I cry uncontrollably like that time in the summer, when I couldn’t stop and it looked like someone had died because I was crying so much. I cannot cry. And what if I get drunk, cry and then tell people about my problems. Oh my god I can’t drink. But then if I stay sober and everyone else is drunk I’ll feel left out and people will know I’m not drinking for a reason. I can’t handle being in a bar sober. What if everyone dances?! I can’t dance sober.

I need some chocolate buttons. Chocolate buttons will solve everything. Remember when I had that Twinkie. Ew. No. Chocolate is the way forward. Chocolate buttons, stick to 1 company, today it’ll be Cadbury.

I need to ditch this wonderful person I’m with. I need to ditch them close to this road because then I can go to this shop and then that one to avoid arousing suspicion. Otherwise people might figure out I’m a pig. Oh wait, my thighs, they’re a giveaway. Alright, make an excuse, go on. Go with you’re tired. Do it.

Me: “I’m really tired; I think I’m going to head back to my hotel room.”

Friend: “Ok, you going to buy lunch?”

Me: “Yeah… I think I’ll go to boots.” I can get some chocolate why I’m in there and save an extra trip to the shops.

Friend: “I’ll come with you.”


Alright, get the meal deal and then something chocolate. Go to self scan so the shop assistant won’t see and hold the extra close to your chest so no one else can see it.

Done, right, make your excuse.

Me: “Yeah I’m going to go now.”

Friend: “Wait, aren’t we going to Sainsbury’s?”

Me: “…We did say we would go didn’t we?”

Friend: “Yeah, then you can have a nap.”

Me: “…Yeah… OK.”

Bloody hell. Alright, go to Sainsbury’s, do it. Remember, don’t let them get suspicious; they can’t know you’re still eating this way even after therapy. Otherwise if you get drunk and cry they might suggest the dreaded “why don’t you just eat 3 meals a day?” remark and that would just be too sad. Because I’d have never have thought of that myself – 3 meals a day, where do they get this stuff?! If it were up to me, I wouldn’t eat. It’s not up to me, I have to eat.

Ok, if they didn’t see you get that extra chocolate thing with the meal deal then it’ll be fine if you get something else in Sainsbury’s. Be a ninja, Emma.

Friend: “You going to have a nap now?”

Me: “Yeah. I’ll text you about later.”

Friend: “Yeah ok, I think I’ll go out this exit as it’s by your hotel.”

Me: “…Yeah it is isn’t it.”

Fuck a duck. Fine. We’ll go out this entrance and then I’ll walk around the corner and wait until you’re out of sight and then I’ll go back to that street. I need to go to this shop because in the other one the Anorexic who I was in body image therapy with still works there. What if she see’s me like this? What if she’s put on weight and is doing phenomenally and I’m bigger than before. My God. Imagine.

OK, you’ve got what you need, let’s go back to the hotel room. Lay it all out on the bed. Check the door is locked.

I am not hungry: I am obsessed.

I need to binge because if I don’t, will I ever feel a sense of calm again? This is the only way I relax, the only way I can escape, how an earth am I going to feel that any other way? I’m not. Accept the inevitable. Do the shameful walk to the shops and hotel, hide the food in your handbag but it doesn’t change the fact that every time you binge you are exacerbating the problem, not making it any better.

30 minutes later.

I did it anyway. Fuck.



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