The Ultimate Diet.

Apologies for the lack of posting; new job means getting used to a new routine in a new phase of my life.

As I’ve said before it has been my own journey through body image issues and self-discovery that has led to me to this new place of positive body image activism. I only recently noticed that an old triggering point had arisen once again: gaining weight. I spent too much time in my teenage years and early 20’s battling my own mindset about how I looked, how I should look and struggling to disassociate my worth from my weight. So this now felt like a great time to test whether I could walk the walk, after I’ve spent so much time and effort on here talking the talk.

A UK size 14-16 is where I have averaged out throughout my adult life; I used to be positively ecstatic if I fitted into something smaller as the numbers meant a lot to me. Looking back now I can see just how much they dictated how I felt about myself at 18 years old, even though it’s so clear I have always been an average or below average size. But I was cross with my body because I felt it didn’t allow me to be the person I wanted to be.

I tried to stick to the ‘rules’ of how women considered ‘curvy’ should appear. Try to keep your hair long and full, it will hide excess chins and it’s more feminine. No boots, we don’t want to make those legs look bigger do we? Try a flared jean instead to balance out those proportions. Accentuate your waist as it’s the smallest part of your body, we need to see how small you can be! Try an A-line skirt to skim and cover your hips. Three-quarter length sleeves will hide any unsightly bingo wings. PUT DOWN THAT TANK TOP!

This kind of thing really annoys me. I’m not a piece of fruit.What it should say is: Are you human shaped? Then wear whatever the hell you want.


I was lucky I have family who tried their best to balance out the negativity I was picking up from outside, but those external influences are strong at a young age. The message I received from the media was that we must always try to be smaller, more fragile…

Women should aim to take up less space.


Are you confused?


When actually, if pinterest had been around then, mine would have been filled with cropped hair, mini skirts, doc martin boots and skinny jeans. Now this isn’t to say I NEVER wore any of these things, because I did. But the point is how I allowed myself to feel in them, and if I had been brutally honest, I usually felt uncomfortable. Thankfully, nowadays I’m way more relaxed, so much so that I almost missed the opportunity to write about this, simply because it didn’t become a ‘thing’ in my life.

Until summer I’d spent a period of time being at the smallest I’ve ever been at a 10-12. It wasn’t something I’d taken much notice of because I no longer weigh myself or particularly pay much attention to what size I’m buying. I was eating on the go and exercising 6 times a week as a way to de-stress my way through my fourth and final year at college. Although I had no time to socialise and was in bed by 9 most nights; I wasn’t obsessive, I wasn’t restrictive or negative, it was just my life and routine at that time. The only other time I have been that size was in the end stages of my time living away from home; when I was devastated by bereavement and possibly suffering from a mental breakdown. Nevertheless, at this present time I was casually applauded for this change in all situations; at college, at the gym, at church and when I was out socially. Years back this used to make me feel really good; but now I just smile awkwardly so as not to be rude, but know that on the inside I’m eye-rolling. When one girl noticed my disdain for the ‘compliment’ of “you’ve lost weight, you look amazing now” I was told to “enjoy it” and that “you love it really, everyone likes to hear they’re thinner.” I’m at a point now where if that’s what you think I’m thinking, you really don’t know me at all.


Smaller, earlier in 2014. That skirt might not fit now…but it is JUST a skirt.


When I finished college everything changed. I had kept my head so focused on that end goal for 4 years, I really hadn’t thought of life beyond getting that certificate, because if you had told me 5 years ago that’s where I’d be, I wouldn’t have believed you. My routine changed; I was job hunting, writing, not working out much, happily spending time re-focusing on what the next journey could be. The whole rhythm of my life changed again. I wasn’t sad to leave college, I had gained everything I wanted out of the experience. It wasn’t all easy, as change seldom is but I’m focused on all the privileges I am blessed with in my life that some people don’t have, one of the biggest privileges of all: choices.

And as I contemplated all the things I have achieved so far that I am actually proud of and all the things I still hope to achieve, I wondered how they could link in to my blogging experience. I got my answer when I was getting dressed later that week; a proportion of my clothes no longer fitted and I found myself just casually tutting instead of blind panic. Sure, it was annoying, those skirts my mum had taken in would need letting out and still might not fit, I even hulked out of one of my favourite shirts…

I lift weights at the gym to be strong not to make myself small, so feeling a bit she-hulk was kind of awesome.

I lift weights at the gym to be strong not to make myself small, so feeling a bit She-Hulk was kind of awesome.


But I didn’t freak out. I just adjusted my diet a bit and aimed that I’d stick to 2/3 workouts that I enjoy a week whenever they fitted into the rest of my life…but my size didn’t change. And I finally got it, that this is my natural shape. The thing that so many women fight a daily battle against. Because you can never win when you make yourself the enemy. As long as you’re healthy (whatever that is for you as an individual) and happy you are winning. I may have gained physical weight, but I realised I’d finally lost what I had needed to all along, I’d lost the emotional weight. Don’t underestimate it, that’s a lot heavier than you might give it credit. You’ll be so much lighter to do all the things you want to do, to dream all the things you might do. Lose the guilt associated with taking up more space in the world. Lose the shame that you’re ‘letting yourself go’ if you skip a few workouts. Lose the fear of being less attractive because in real life you can’t Photoshop yourself to perfection. Lose the hate that you will be worth less because you weigh more.

That is the only diet you will ever need. Lose your emotional weight.

This will mean so many different things to people, that I couldn’t begin to cover it here, but start the ultimate diet by focusing on the achievements in your life that have nothing to do with your weight and appearance. All the positive things and things I am most proud of: finishing school, travelling, always working at any job I could find, re-discovering my christian faith, having wonderful family and friends, overcoming depression, supporting gender equality and gay rights, getting my degree, appreciating what I have, always keeping hold of my dreams…you wouldn’t need to know the number on my scales or the number in my waistband for any of those things.



So what have you done?

Found out who your true friends are and cherish them?

Made peace with something or someone in your life?

Studied towards something that means a lot to you?

Fallen in love?

Have a wonderful family?

Got a job you love?

Left a job you hate?

Travelled alone?

Faced your fears?

Stood up for what you believe in, at all costs?

Always remember those things. The positive and negative, the light and shade in your life is who you are; your spirit, experiences, memories, choices and changes. Not your physical body.


We will all be smaller and larger at different times in our lives but we must never let it dictate our worth. I will keep saying this, over and over: your weight has NOTHING to do with your value in life. If you’re a size 6 or a 26; you can be whatever you want, your dreams are just as valid and attainable as the next persons and you can be beautiful and sexy. So don’t wait to lose weight, or gain it, before you start living your life and being you. It goes by so quickly, there’s only one you, there will only ever be one you. So make it count.

Oh and stop being an apple, rectangle or pencil and wear what you want. Your ‘bony’ legs or your ‘spare tire’ aren’t going to kill anyone. And just FYI, I recently graduated, bought more miniskirts, now own multiple pairs of boots and chopped my hair off…and it feels great.

Thanks to Beauty Redefined for the celebrity quotes.


Change your world, not your body.

It’s a misconception that confident people have always been that way, or that they hide some terrible ‘flaw’ behind the mask of confidence. Although both can be true; sometimes you just need to find your feet and blossom into a truly confident person, usually through your perception of the world and your interactions within it. And more often than not, this requires change. A change of perspective and an open mind.

In my previous post I wrote about how I became interested in feminism and equality, and it was during this time my interest bought me to many sources of inspiration.

Throughout my school years I was bullied because of my weight and appearance, something I know unfortunately too many of us can relate to. I was the ‘fat’ one, even though I’ve never been above a size 16. It never made sense to me. I come from a home where I have always been told I am smart and beautiful, so although the taunts were hard to bear and sometimes it was exhausting, I trusted my families judgement better. I know others who weren’t so lucky.

I feel I grew up not seeing a diverse enough range of bodies in mainstream media. I had people I looked up to, sure, but I wish I had seen more fabulous curvy ladies like me. I loved Dawn French because she was so unapologetically herself but that just wasn’t enough.

My weight has always fluctuated; I really really LOVE food, I put on weight easy but I exercise regularly and enjoy it. I spent years never fully being myself, holding parts of myself back or not doing things until I could ‘lose some weight’ or change in some way. It seems madness to me now, when I not only like but appreciate what I see in the mirror. But a lot of people never emerge from that negative cycle.

So I offer up to you now some great resources of inspiration for me personally and hope it encourages you to find your own. This post tends to veer on the curvier side as that is a body type I feel is not represented well but hopefully there is something for everyone. I know I have some male readers so apologise for the distinct lack of men but I’m only just scratching the surface with this, so in time I will develop a broader knowledge base . In the meantime perhaps, as a starting point check out Jackson Katz an anti-sexism activist who was featured in the Miss Representation film.

But this is for all of you, male or female. To remember that all different shapes and sizes are amazing and those inside deserve respect.

Laura Wells

An environmental scientist with an extreme passion for our oceans and protection of biodiversity, international plus size model and a promoter of positive body image. She is one of the first plus size models I came across during my research. ‘Plus’ size causes a lot of debate when models like Laura state they are only a UK 14-16 but the industry starts at an 8-10 and at the moment that is just the way it is. She doesn’t gripe about this: an industry that has given her so much. Instead she talks a lot about healthy body image and also being more than just your appearance, highlighting the importance of education and global causes.

check out her Facebook page for links to all her projects and other sites.



The creation of artist Duane Bryers, ‘Hilda was one of the only atypical plus-sized pin-up queens to grace the pages of American calendars from the 1950s up until the early 1980s, and achieved moderate notoriety in the 1960s.’ Full of fun and not shy about her body, she’s out living life through fabulous illustration.

See more at



OH this woman is stylish! She runs a personal style blog aiming to showcase high fashion is for all sizes and has collaborated with swimsuits for all on a range of diverse sized swimwear. It was this picture that first caught my eye…she is so right.

Go to her website for great posts and beautiful clothes.



Another wonderful fashion blogger, Nadia is also a brand ambassador for She is one of the people featured that encouraged me to just GET OVER myself and my fear of wearing shorts.

Go to her website for diverse style and ways to wear the newest trends.



I’ve previously interviewed Cherry on her involvement with the modelling industry and her struggle with body shaming due to being smaller. It’s important to highlight that although smaller body types are better represented, this kind of image based bullying goes both ways. Cherry has many fashion and beauty collaborations and supports the Bombshells Against Bullying campaign, all of which are all mentioned in the interview ‘A bite of the cherry’

Her Youtube channel also has great hair and beauty tutorials.


A former ‘straight size’ model who instead of suppressing her natural figure to fit the industry decided to embrace her body and switched to the plus size industry. One of her former agencies dropped her for being ‘too big’ at a size 10 (yes, really!) but she didn’t let this stand in her way. She has launched The Curve Project in London, the UK’s first plus size model workshop, offering advice, inspiration and body confidence masterclasses.



I found out about Tess through Cherry as they have done various events and videos together. She always wanted to be a model but struggled with bullying and rejection from the mainstream agencies. Following a passion for beauty she became an amazing makeup artist and began blogging, through which she built up a strong fan base. Recently named one of the world’s top plus size models by Refinery 29, Huff Post, & Vogue Italia, her career has really taken off in the last couple of years. She has fulfilled her dream of modelling and uses her platform to be a fierce ambassador for women’s empowerment.

Founder of the #effyourbeautystandards movement, more images and links can be found on her website. I spend way too much time following her updates!



In the last month Denise walked the runway at both New York and London fashion week with naming her this seasons break-out plus size model. She has been the face of Levi’s, Forever21 Plus, Target Plus, Kohls, Macy’s, and stars in Nuvotv’s series Curvy Girls. I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of her in the future.

More of her editorial work can be seen on her website.



American plus size model Ashley is also making waves in the industry by spreading the message of positive body image. She recently walked the catwalk for the SS15 Evans Design Collective which was full of beautiful pieces and a breath of fresh air to see a variety of different body shapes wearing the clothes. She also has a lingerie collection with plus size retailer Navabi. And like many of the women featured in this article she encourages those who can to exercise with the #curvyfitclub. recently named her as one of ‘the new role models’.

Ashley Graham website



This book was essential for my dissertation, I have read and researched both praise and criticism for it and highly recommend you read it.



At first I found the HNS title a little problematic, however it is not stating there is anything wrong with being skinny, as for some of us this is a natural body shape. It is simply a comment on societies ability to make certain body types ‘fashionable’ and desirable over others. They have turned this on its head and suggested ‘how about we make health the priority, the most desirable thing’. Now I’m a believer that ‘healthy’ is different for everyone, not a one size fits all deal, so I always just take what I need from healthy living resources and apply it my own way. HNS is great for this as there are plenty of good recipes, workout tips and messages of positive thought!

You can find out more about founder Katie (above) and her husband Bradford on the website and facebook

“Healthy is the New Skinny is about revolutionizing how we think about, talk about, live in and love our bodies.”



When the news broke that Abercrombie and Fitch CEO had stated that he didn’t want ‘fat’ or ‘not so cool’ kids wearing his companies clothes I felt like face-planting my desk. However Jess Baker had a much better response which I found through Huffington Post. This lead me to her unique brand of awesome-ness on her website The Militant Baker where she describes herself as:

“A mental health professional, pastry chef, ex-art major, crazy cat lady, fat model, fiery advocate, and total pain in the ass.”

She has very recently given up her 9-5 in pursuit of becoming a full time international body advocate and I wish her every bit of luck, she’s already doing a fabulous job. Her website has a great selection of intelligent and funny articles to check out, as well as her Ted Talk!



she also had on one of her posts this awesome quote (via tumblr)

And that is right, being a Body Image Warrior isn’t always easy because it can feel like a battle. But every time I think it’s too hard to fight such a huge industry and ingrained societal ideals, I remember what it was like to be 14. To be a teenage and to be taunted for simply looking like you, and I remember is it so worth standing up for what you believe in.

Yes there are more terrible things happening in the world but as Jess Baker says in her Ted Talk; it is not superficial, because how you perceive yourself on the outside effects the inside and your whole participation in life (watch it, she explains it in more depth). Happiness and health start from within, they are things that are different for everyone and look different on everyone. But more acceptance and respect means more happy people, which makes a better world to live in. And to me, that sounds far from superficial.

So go, get searching, take these few inspirations and use them as a springboard to find your own positive body image warriors. But remember it all starts with YOU.


Mini style updates

Being one of the many recent graduates means funds are low, but that can never stop my beady eye. If you’re like me and love fashion but are short on cash, just focus on simple updates so you can re-use your summer wardrobe but keep it feeling fresh. I should point out the most sensible tip is to resist altogether…but that’s not where this is going.

Now I’ve always been a fan of the bum bag, even before they were adopted by hipsters and transformed into a ‘must have accessory’. When I was a kid I tended to have them in neon colours, made from that thick rucksack material. Practical.

But recently they have had a makeover. US brand Hipsters for Sisters have transformed them with a chic and slender update.

You can wear them as pictured, or the long strap is adjustable to wear across the body, or can be removed completely for use as just a clutch bag. I love them and they have been hailed as very ‘reasonable’ at a conversion of around £67. A well made product? Definitely. But not for the likes of my budget at present. I’m currently forming a cunning plan to try and make my own from an old clutch bag and a double clasp chain if I can get my hands on one. Watch this space. In the meantime have a look through the rest of the collection here. I particularly love this leopard print one:


These faux pearl earrings also caught my eye in River Island, a little twist on a classic piece. £4.


And lets not forget shoes, my own personal obsession. I always tend to favour buying impractical heels but the latest additions of flats in stores are looking promising. We want to be comfy and although plimsolls may remind you of school P.E kit, these embellished ones from New Look are a far cry from that. They’ll look great with a lighter wash jean worn turned up at the hem for a relaxed but stylish vibe. £19.99.

I recently bought a pair from Primark and they are so comfy.

I’m always drawn to white things, which is unfortunate as I’m rather messy and tend to spill things. And my favourite kind of shoe is usually with a pointed toe, so what a dream these are…

At £68 from Office they are pretty expensive but they are loads of versions all over the high street at the moment. I’ve always felt a bit clunky in loafers but the angled toe makes them feel more delicate and stylish to me.

Enjoy browsing the new season trends as they start to swallow up the space in the stores where the sunglasses and bikinis once lived. My feet have started to feel cold in flip flops which makes me sad. But I suppose sparkly pumps are good transition.

Think ‘Unlimited’

I have been lucky enough in between work this week to travel up to London for the career advice and inspiration sessions hosted by GoThinkBig.

I applied way back at the beginning of the summer and booked my accommodation and travel straight away because I was determined I would be going; luckily that paid off!

Entering into the final year of my degree *sobs* seemed like a fitting time to hear from people experiencing success in their chosen fields. You were able to select two of the four talks to attend and I was pleased to find I had gained a place on the fashion and media (sport and music were also available). It was clear when I arrived that I was in a very small minority of those above 25 but my old anxieties are now replaced by a quiet contentment that I already posses a certain level of ‘life experience’. And when I sat myself down next to a lovely young girl named Amy, 17,still at school and figuring out what to do with her life, it got me thinking about my own path.

I can barely believe it has been nearly 10 years since I left school. I spent a long time feeling like I hadn’t achieved enough and wasted too many years but I can now look back and see how all the experiences both positive and negative have shaped the very determined and ambitious person I am today. Now that all sounds a bit self-congratulatory but I’m not ashamed to say I’ve worked very had to get myself where I am now both physically and mentally. Soon to graduate and to start finding a career, to the outside it seems like I’m only at the start. It’s true I have spent a lot of time fumbling back and forth through the beginning chapters of my story before realising the absence of any clear plot; but like any good novel it has to be edited and re-drafted before it’s ready to reveal a synopsis.

The key is to know when to stop re-drafting and move on

..which takes me to the present.

Now in the grand scheme of things, being 17 wasn’t really that long ago for me, although it seems like decades ago. Perhaps this is because during that time in between you do the vast majority of developing who you are.

What they don’t tell you at school is that often you will be a completely different person heading towards your thirties than you were as a teenager. The decisions, loves, hates, aspirations may all completely change too. And that’s ok. It’s also ok I might add to know what you want to do from and young age and stick to it. More power to you!

Because of financial, social and just general stability factors, most schools tend to push a single focused career agenda instead of the ‘have a go at a bit of everything until you find your niche’ route. In theory I guess this makes sense but sometimes you’ll be better off for following the latter.

Make no mistake, I do not mean for people to drop out of school and be a bum until they have a light bulb moment; those only come from already engaging in something and stimulating your brain. Education is such a wonderful privilege and should be taken full advantage of. What I mean to say is, be driven by your passion and not what career you or others think you should have.

Because if you have passion, you will make it work.

This was the underlying notion put forward by all the GoThinkBig speakers yesterday. A special mention to Sabina Emrit, founder and editor of Access-Fashion who was kind enough to stay after and answer even more questions from me and impart some invaluable advice.

It was reassuring to hear everyone on the panel’s individual paths; how their career journeys were never linear, involved a lot of hard work but essentially bought them to a successful outcome. These are not people who then just sit back and rest on their laurels, you could sense the relentless desire to harness creative energy and ideas. What I really took away from the session is that qualifications do indeed help your chances at employment but enthusiasm and happiness are the qualities that are always remembered.

I also picked up the importance of not to ‘pigeon hole’ yourself with what you do. That’s one of the main reasons I chose a photography degree; I’m so used to the uncomfortable and worried expressions I’m met with when I say may not actually become just a straight photographer after I graduate. Why? Why, they ask me did I do it at all then. The answer is simple: because I love it. But I’ve never treated getting a degree as a subject specific, blinkered experience. I chose a degree I knew I could stick at for 4 years and not tire of it and one that would give me transferable skills so I would be able to branch out further into the creative industry.

When I think back to all the changes I’ve gone through in terms of who and what I want to be, I’m grateful for them. You can look back at things and see them as a ‘waste of time’ or you can realise the value of them, the key is to find what lesson you learnt from each of them and how it informed you to be able to move forward to what you do want.

At one point in time I have wanted to be one or more of these things…and I was very serious about them:


Fashion Designer


Storm Chaser


Opera Singer

Guitarist in a band

Wedding Planner

Creative Director of a magazine

Interior Designer

A character from Animals of Farthing Wood

Visual merchandiser

Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance’s wife (yes that IS an aspiration!)





Only a few will always remain unchanged and those are the ones you need to follow. Some are just physically impossible.

But inevitably change is what leads us to success.

Humans have been adapting since our beginnings, it is how we progress and grow individually and as a whole. So, if you get to 20, 30, 40 and beyond and feel the pull of a need for change, well there’s certainly no shame in that. It could be just what you need.

And if you’re doing something extraordinary, it may even be just what the world needs.