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Archive for July, 2012

Last week was my friend’s wedding, and it was beautiful. She looked stunning in her dress, the groom looked handsome in his suit and it was a gorgeous summers day.

I’ll ask permission from the bride when she gets back from her honeymoon about whether I can post a picture of the day on here because apart from the fact that she’s such a brilliant friend, her wedding was so pretty!

I bared my upper arms. I thought I’d be nervous in the run up to the big day but the anxiety only kicked in the night before. I was more worried that everything was going to go according to plan, as my friend had worked hard to get every little detail perfect.

Not being well with IBS the night before the wedding (I won’t go into any more detail, don’t worry) It started to sink in that in a matter of hours I’d be walking out before the bride in front of her friends and family. Then I reminded myself what everyone does at weddings when the bridesmaids walk out – they try to look around them to see the blushing bride. With that in mind, I just kept reminding myself that although showing my arms was a big deal for me, it wasn’t a big deal for anyone else. People were there to see two wonderful people get married, and finally, finally I stopped obsessing about my arms and focused on the task ahead.

With the possibility of IBS occurring on the day, I took my tablets and tried to eat a little bit regularly. I took myself away to a separate hotel room before the other bridesmaids arrived to start the process of getting ready and did a ‘grounding’. A grounding is a form of meditation, as when a person because stressed about something, their thoughts can become muddled. Doing a grounding, becoming aware of myself and my surroundings has really helped when my anxiety has become overwhelming. The thought of being centre of attention before the bride appeared had me freaking out, so I led on the hotel bed with Katy Perry’s Wide Awake (I’m loving that song at the moment) in the background and became aware of my body. Then I started to pick apart the day into more manageable chunks – first, hair. Second, make-up. Third, dress.

I offered to help relax the bride as she was also anxious – obviously, it was her wedding day! – but she calmed down when the other bridesmaids arrived.

The wedding itself was beautiful, we walked outside to a gazebo and witnessed the marriage. It was the perfect place to get married, and the bride and the groom looked so happy.

After the pictures were taken and I sweated off my fake tan (no joke) I slipped on my bolero. I am so thankful that I could put a cover-up on for the reception.

The Flowers I Walked Down The Aisle With

In conclusion, I totally did it! I showed my upper arms to people for the first time in … I don’t know, maybe a decade? Probably longer. I’m really proud of myself, and I don’t think I’ve actually meant that before. I’m proud of myself because I did something that, to me, was difficult. Showing my arms means showing my weight, I wasn’t able to hide. It’s showing my problems, everything I despise about myself, and you know what? It didn’t feel as terrible as I thought it would. I was self-conscious, yes, but I was still able to enjoy my friend’s wedding as two people in love getting married.

So, I’m happy.

Emma

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In preparation for my friend’s wedding, I am pampering myself. I got my nails done for the first time ever today, and they look lovely. I chose to get my nails done properly because I want to make myself feel as brilliant as I can whilst my upper arms are on show. Plus the bride and most of the bridesmaids are getting there’s done professionally, I don’t want to be the odd one out!

And tomorrow I’m getting eyelash extensions so I may flutter my lashes seductively at the groomsmen. What? Like you wouldn’t!

When I walked to the bus stop, I put my shoulders back, held my head high as I suspected people were looking at me, I thought “Well I’m beautiful, why do I give a fuck?”

This project is helping to remind myself that I do have that voice telling me I’m not so bad, I just sometimes lose that voice. But it is there. I just have to keep cheering it on.

What do you do to pamper yourself? And do you ever have to remind yourself that you’re not so bad after all?

Emma

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This week I’m posting something positive everyday for operation well-I’m-beautiful-why-do-I-give-a-fuck? Because this week I’m exposing my upper arms in public (!!) and I need all the positivity I can get. The following post starts off negative but it gets happier, I promise.

This takes a lot to admit: I’ve gained 4 stone in the past year. Probably more, as I weighed myself months ago, but that weigh-in was followed by a binge, my last proper binge, and I’ve got too many social events planned to weigh myself again. By this I mean if I weigh more than I did a couple of months ago, I’ll be a hermit for at least a week.

I am ashamed at my weight gain, but it’s not surprising. I gained weight in my last year at Uni, my bingeing becoming more frequent, so did my overeating. I walked everywhere in Plymouth and it became more difficult, I stopped having the energy to walk places unless I was on a sugar high.

When I came home from Uni, having dealt with increasing Depression I stopped walking everywhere. Bristol is a much bigger city and buses and cars are necessary. Not only was I depressed about my weight, but I was disappointed in myself because the CBT I received and body image therapy hadn’t been enough, and in my eyes, this was my failure. I was going back to the place where all my issues with food started, where I didn’t have a job, and with the knowledge that I’d just been through Uni, supposedly the best years of my life, feeling like the frumpy oddball in the corner.

Basically, I had failed at life.

Depression increased as my activity levels headed in the opposite direction and bingeing and overeating became an everyday thing. I didn’t have a focus to take my mind off things, I couldn’t get a job and had no money plus huge student loans to pay off, and I was getting like, 18 views a day on my blog.

My Hair Had Gone Fluffy. The Less We Say About That The Better.

So I stopped going out, blaming myself for everything and wallowing in self-pity, with bouts of hoping for magic weight loss. Then, before I knew it, it was September andGraduation. I look back on Graduation as the worst weekend of my life. It was excruciating. My Dad filmed me walking on stage and shaking some woman’s hand as my name is called, and I walk down the steps and round the hall with my head down, avoiding eye contact. My parents said the sadness was written all over my face, that I looked as if I wanted the ground to swallow me up.

The night of Graduation I did not want to leave my hotel room, yet I knew I would regret it if I didn’t, and also get a lot of flak for missing the last night out.

A group of us went out to the student union and attempted to get drunk. It was freshers week, and for all of you students or ex-students, you’ll know freshers week is crazy busy full of first years getting ‘off their tits’.

I was stood at the bar in front of a group of lads, probably first years, 18 year olds wanting to get pissed and sleep with some equally drunken girl. One of the drunken guys at the bar got his drinks and started to turn back and sidle through the crowd to his mates. He held the drinks high enough to avoid bumping into someone, which happened to be above my head. I tried to shy away, some beer spilt on me. A bit went in my hair but most of it sloshed down my dress, the first dress I bought from a plus size shop for a night out. My Graduation night. Which I already felt was a complete disaster because at this point, I was 2 stone heavier than when I left Uni.

He didn’t apologise, but walked off, and one of his mates said “she looks better that way” or “It’s an improvement”. It wasn’t possible for me to be more embarrassed.

I was about to leave after that. If I was slimmer, my initial reaction would have been to turn around and make some comment which contained the words ‘fuck’ and ‘off’ but I couldn’t be feisty, because they had verbalised what I’d been feeling. In my mind they were completely right. They hadn’t even said anything about my weight, but any comment at that moment was enough. My only option was to go to the bathroom, sit in shock (whilst having a wee, I’d had a couple of drinks by then, you can’t blame me) and leave without telling anybody. I could go back to my hotel room and have a major cry, the cry that had been building up in me since I’d woken up that morning and realised that I’d had 4 months to lose weight and I hadn’t done it. Again. 

As I was waiting for the acceptable time to walk away from the bar so that the guys didn’t know they’d gotten to me, I stopped myself.

At the time I didn’t think too much about it.

Fuck it, it’s my graduation night, I’m not going to let some piece of shit first year’s comment make me leave the SU. I’ve been getting pissed in this place before he was even born! Ok, that was an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

I hadn’t seen my friends for months, so I got my drinks and left, and I did something I would never have done before – I told my friend what the guy had said. She was sympathetic, and then we went and sat down.

And that moment, my friends, is exactly how I know that I’m going to make it.

My Graduation, a day where I was supposed to feel proud of my achievements, was full of self-hate. The evening, which was meant to be a special night of celebrations, was full of self-hate. But I stayed. I stuck it out. Self-hatred and all.

And that’s the point.

Every fibre in my being didn’t want to go to Graduation. I lied about being excited about it, I smiled falsely at every opportunity. I let people take pictures of me, knowing very well that my double chin would make an appearance despite the turtle neck thing I do to hide it. But I still did it.

At the time I didn’t think I had a choice. If I didn’t go to graduation I would get so much shit from friends and family, so I thought I had no choice. But I did – I could have said I wasn’t well. Or that I was on holiday or something. It would have saved money, and I know that my immediate family would have understood. I had the choice, and I went. I faced my fears head on. Yes I suffered for it, I felt awful for weeks. I cried to my mum a lot and I didn’t leave the house for a while. But I wasn’t the girl who cried and ran out in embarrassment. I was the girl who feigned disinterest and got drunk.

I’ve started to realise (I know, 22 years and I’m only realising I have a choice in stuff?) that I do have a choice.

I’ve noticed an old friend who’s a bit of a dick has lost weight and gotten a girlfriend. Everytime I saw something new on facebook I felt terrible. He’d lost weight (something I’ve failed at) and despite being a dick, he’d got himself a girlfriend?!

So I deleted him.

I don’t need that shit. I don’t need to feel bad about myself because someone I used to be friends with is outwardly doing better than me.

Bam! Deleted. I’ve taken control of my life, one less negative on my list.

My friend’s getting married this week and I’m bridesmaid. I’m terrified of showing my arms and being in front of so many people and having to go out for a hen night when I’m accustomed to staying at home all day every day. I could have made an excuse before we got fitted for our dresses, or even dropped out later. I could have accepted that my friend would think less of me for not making an effort for her big day. I could have chosen to drop out, but I didn’t. Her friendship means more to me than continuing to let people down last minute because my anxiety gets the better of me.

I chose to push through the issues for her wedding day, and to be as good a bridesmaid as I can possibly be under the circumstances. I am not perfect, but I’ll be there.

Bam! Decision made. I will not continue to run from situations that scare the shit out of me.

A couple of weeks ago me and my Mum signed up for Race For Life (which was postponed by the way due to the weather. Everything you’ve heard about England and weather is true). I wanted to do Race For Life to raise money for cancer research, but also to have a reason to be proud of myself. I struggle with low self-esteem, but walking 5km is undeniably a good thing, as is raising money for a disease that affects so many.

Bam! I signed up to do it, and I’m keeping to my word… whenever it’s rescheduled for.

I’m not an angel, none of these decisions were easy – it took me months to delete the old friend, i’ve asked to wear a bolero for the majority of my friend’s wedding day, and it took me weeks to build up the courage to sign up for sign up for Race For Life.

The point I’m making is now I know I have a choice. If I’m asked for a night out but don’t feel comfortable doing this, I have a choice whether I want to push myself and go out with the possibility that it might be good or it might be bad, or I can choose to stay in my comfort zone.

This is my choice.

And that’s why personalised recovery (what ‘recovery means to me might not be what ‘recovery’ means to you) is possible. I am making choices which will determine my future, only I can stay with my disorder and only I can kick its ass.

Emma

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Fantastic post about combating ‘All or Nothing’ thinking by exercising and limiting binges for 3 days. Such a brilliant idea, baby steps to success guys, baby steps to success!

Emma

Ponderings & Affinities

I’m always up for a challenge, but not a routine.

After a week of binging, I once again attempted to get my act together. I am really inspired by those who complete those month-long fitness challenges, but I know that I am not healthy enough to go through with one myself. Of course, one must always be aware of the binge cycle, which readily accepts a health or fitness challenge on the condition that it be followed with more binging.  The fire to change keeps me trying.

I figured that a three-day mini challenge would be a nice compromise for me. It’s short enough as to not overwhelm a person and just long enough to chip away at old habits. If  I did well, I thought, than I will continue with another challenge and then another longer challenge.

This is the first health challenge that I ever completed!

Here is what I…

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Fun Friday!

This is an old video, yes, but it’s still brilliant and it’s continuing the theme of random happy dancing! Except it’s not random… but it IS happy.

You’re welcome!

Emma

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Lately I’ve struggled to go for a walk outside every day due to depression and not pushing myself. I’ve always known exercise makes you feel good, but I came across this article which explored how walking can be beneficial in coping with depression.

Vigorous exercise is brilliant, and by vigorous I mean the getting-your-heart-pumping-and-sweating-a-lot kind of exercise.

Exercise helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects (Information found here)

I’m not quite sure about the increased body temperature having calming effects, I’m not really a fan of feeling hot but I suppose if it’s cold … warmth is good?

Releasing endorphins though is incredibly positive, as Depression causes a chemical imbalance which means a person’s mood is low and harder to lift. For instance, a symptom of depression is no longer feeling enjoyment in situations that the person found enjoyable before Depression.

Coincidentally, chocolate ‘can also lead to enhanced secretion of endorphins… the release of endorphins upon ingestion of chocolate likely explains the comforting feelings that many people associate with this food and the craving for chocolate in times of stress.’ (Information found here)

Ding ding ding! We have a winner. And it’s name is chocolate.

Eating chocolate makes a lot of people, including myself, feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes some people, including myself, gain weight. Bummer. No, it doesn’t cause weight gain, but as I’m person using chocolate to feel normal, then it’s not good for my thighs. Exercise on the other hand helps to improve mood (you’ve achieved something by walking a mile) and also physically would help with weight loss.

For those who have never experienced Depression or don’t fully understand why, if exercise is so beneficial, everyone with Depression isn’t out running a marathon, here are the reasons why:

  • Being restless and agitated
  • Waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy; doing less and less
  • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • Not eating properly and losing or putting on weight
  • Crying a lot
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Physical aches and pains with no physical cause
  • Feeling low-spirited for much of the time, every day
  • Being unusually irritable or impatient
  • Getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy
  • Losing interest in your sex life
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions
  • Blaming yourself and feeling unnecessarily guilty about things
  • Lacking self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Being preoccupied with negative thoughts
  • Feeling numb, empty and despairing
  • Feeling helpless
  • Distancing yourself from others; not asking for support
  • Taking a bleak, pessimistic view of the future
  • Experiencing a sense of unreality
  • Self-harming (by cutting yourself, for example)
  • Thinking about suicide. (Information found here)

All of these symptoms can be overwhelming, especially when a person doesn’t know that they’re Depressed or even what Depression is. It’s taken a long time, with the help of antidepressants and therapy, to get to the stage where most days I can go out for a walk, and more often I can get on the treadmill.

I think it’s easier to imagine the difficulties in exercising whilst in the throes of Depression like this: its 4am, you’re so tired that you can’t think straight, and someone asks you to come for a run. At that moment, you’re going to be thinking “Why on earth would I get out of bed to run? I’m knackered! The last thing I want to do is move.”

It’s difficult, It really is, but personally I know how much better I feel when I’m fitter, and since walking is very do-able, I’m focusing on walking everyday outside, and also partaking in yogalates and random happy dancing in my living room.

Random happy dancing also improves mood, although there hasn’t been a study in this, because … I made it up. But if you wanted to try it out, all you have to do is think of all the dance moves you would never do it public… and then do them. Seriously, people will congratulate me on finding a cure for Depression when they realise how effective random happy dancing is.

If you suffer from Depression, how does exercise fit into your life? And if you haven’t experienced Depression, what is your opinion on it? And how rich and famous do you think I’ll be when I bring random happy dancing to the masses?!

Emma

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I know I made Mondays the Well-I’m-beautiful-why-do-I-give-a-fuck day of the week, but this week has been a bit pants. I haven’t felt very well and haven’t been very positive at all. Which means I’m going to study my post-it notes and take some pictures of inspiration so I can do a positive, progressive post for Monday.

Life story over, I have a video to share with you. I am subscribed to Project Lifesize, a video blog on YouTube where this vlogger posts. Now I have to confess, I haven’t watched Project Lifesize in a little while. However, I saw this video the other day, and I thought it is the perfect video to all of the people who think it’s ok to abuse bigger people.

First off, her name is Meghan Tonjes.

She’s gorgeous.

I love her glasses.

She’s lost 60lbs which is 4 stone and 2 pounds, which is pretty impressive!

Secondly, she’s so, so right. People use health as a reason to goad fat people and criticise them, yet in most cases what they have a problem with is the aesthetic. Health rarely comes into it with bullies and ‘haters’ because they just want to hurt you.

And it’s fine to dislike a certain aesthetic. I’m not a big fan of the skinny look, as in Kate Moss. Her body is beautiful to some people, photographers call it art, designers love clothing her body. In my opinion, I wouldn’t like to have her body, because I like my own figure complete with bigger breasts and bum. However, I don’t judge Kate Moss.

She might be unhealthy for all I know, but she might have a completely normal relationship with food. She might exercise everyday for 6 hours but she might never go to the gym. I don’t know, honestly, and it doesn’t matter, because I would never be bitchy and horrible about her let alone bully her on twitter to purposely make her feel bad about her body. There is no point to that.

I love this video, especially the part where she says:

You never know where someone is in their journey with their weight, and you never know how someone feels about themselves.

That is so true. I’m at my biggest, and a couple of months ago I hit rock bottom. People may assume I’m greedy and lazy, but it’s so much more than that. I’m not healthy, no, but I’m trying hard to become healthy. And just because I’m not healthy, does that give people a right to chastise me? I don’t think so.

Do you think she’s got a point? Also, do you love the part where she says “fuck you”? I do. I like it very much.

Emma

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