Saturday, 20 July 2019

Why I'm quitting diets for good

Why would a fat girl want to quit dieting?! 

From an extremely young age, I was aware that I wasn't as petite as the other girls in my reception class. I had a rounder, squishier face and the tops of my legs spread out across the width of the red, plastic chairs when I sat down. I didn't really know how much that this would matter later on in my life, but I was very aware that my body was different to the other girls in my year. 

Once I joined junior school, I became even more self-conscious of my body being bigger. I was pretty into sports, and already well aware of what "good" and "bad" foods were. I knew how I wanted to look. I certainly knew how I didn't want to look. I knew fat was bad. Fat was ugly. Fat was lazy. Fat was unattractive. Fat was unsuccessful. Fat was unambitious. I knew all these things and yet I didn't know what it actually meant. I just knew it didn't make me feel very good. It made me feel even worse when one of the boys I played football with told me that I wasn't allowed to play any more because I would take up half the pitch. 

Secondary school was hard. I know it brings lots of different struggles to different people, and I actually for the most part enjoyed it, but it's particularly tricky when those closest to you hurt you the most. My best friend had been calling me Mastaf to everyone, even to myself, when one of the other girls in the group pulled me aside and said "hey, did you notice that Mastaf is Fat Sam backwards?". I'm sure everyone reading this can relate, but when someone you thought you could trust pulls you down by your biggest insecurity, that shit is painful. From then on, the other girls in the group told the ringleader how unfair and uncool is was to do that, and I moved on. (thanks, gals)

I feel like you know where this little tale might have landed me. By the age of about 14, I had some serious body image issues. I was on a diet pretty much constantly. I would make sure I had done at least 100 (rising to 250) sit-ups before I went to bed every night. It still wasn't good enough. I never "won". Even when I felt like I had won and got my first proper boyfriend, he'd forced me to weigh myself in front of him and he suggested I joined the local weight loss club. I skipped meals. I never got substantially smaller. When I did lose chunks of weight, I only gained it back again. Over the years, I only took up more space in a world that I have been told I need to take up as little space as possible. 

Personal history lesson aside, all of these factors only fed (no pun intended) my already poor relationship with food. I was "dieting" from a relatively young age and was incredibly aware of the moral values that foods were portrayed to hold. I found myself being made to feel guilty around food by family, as some diets I found myself on encouraged enormous amounts of certain foods. Those closest to me weren't to know - and I don't blame them at all - as they were only products of the same conditioning that gave me my disordered eating in the first place. 

As long as I can remember, I have only ever seen one female body type sold to me. She's tall, thin, probably blonde, white, able-bodied, successful, and likely wearing some form of workout gear. If this describes you; congratulations! I am throwing ZERO shade at people who fit this ideal, but I feel the need to speak for those of us who don't. We are conditioned to believe that the individual described above is the way to be fit, healthy, successful, loved, respected, and valued. No matter how determined I was that "this diet is going to be the one", I honestly never achieved what controlled my thoughts every day. Restricting what I ate only made my relationship with food worse. It was my fault; of course it was! I didn't try hard enough, I didn't throw enough money at it, I didn't have enough willpower, I didn't follow the rules closely enough. I became so obsessed with diet culture that there wasn't enough room for anything else in my brain. Funnily enough, it was when I really became absorbed by diet culture that I found my anxiety at it's worst. But more recently I have started to question this image that has been sold to us for our entire lives. Is it REALLY worth it? Will being a size 8 really solve all my problems? Will people love me more? Surely I am worth more than how my body looks?

I'd decided that I had spent far too long already worrying about my body offending others, and I flatly refuse to let it steal any more of my time. I've already wasted so many years of my life not doing things or wearing things until I am a certain weight or size. It makes me really sad for people like my mum who have been sold (literally) this ideal for such a large portion of their lives, and there has been pretty much zero push-back on it until now. There is a lot of confusion around what body positivity really is, and it gets a lot of criticism from people saying that it "promotes obesity", which I can assure you it doesn't, although we do need to consider that there is a whole lot more to health than weight alone. Body positivity is simply that ALL bodies are worthy of love, value, dignity and respect. Big ones, small ones, and everything in between. It's the belief that you ARE enough, exactly as you are. 

The problem is, telling people they need to be smaller is a real money maker. The diet industry is worth around £2.8 TRILLION globally, and the weight-loss companies are relying on repeat business when inevitably we fail their diets (correction - they fail us), and we keep throwing money at the next big thing that promises to make us smaller. These huge companies can make ludicrous amounts of money by telling us that our bodies are the problem, and then by selling us the solution. 

I have decided I have spent too much time and money on diets that don't work. Which for 95% of the time is true. Only 5% of people who go on a "diet" actually reach their goal weight and stay there. I have decided my happiness is worth more than fitting into a dress size smaller. I am totally not suggesting that we all finish reading this and go and gobble up 10 doughnuts (but if you want to, that's cool). Nutrition is definitely still important. But how about we just listen to our bodies, and not track/count/calculate/syn everything we put into them? It's a scary concept for those of us who have been a part of diet culture for so long. This is something I feel super passionately about, so expect to hear more from me on this. 

I hope this has been a bit of an eye-opener, and maybe offers a slightly different viewpoint on diet culture. There will be more posts to follow which will dive a little deeper into why diets don't work and why thinness doesn't always equal health. 

Love always,

Samantha x 

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Monday, 11 June 2018

Hard Times


Completely unrelated to a novel by Mr Charles Dickens or a song by a pop-punk band, this is a blog post somewhat to do with why I've been away from my beloved blog and how I've been coping with life. 

There's potentially a fine line between what is OK to share on my piece of the internet and what should be kept private. There may well be an update very soon on what's going on with me, but my family and I have had some health issues lately, and it's felt pretty overwhelming at times. My dad is now out of hospital and recovering at home which is great, and that's one thing I'm finding much easier to cope with now. But these tricky times have made me think about what I'd like to do aside from work to keep myself busy, and how to make myself feel a little less like I'm drowning in everything that's going on. 
(bare with me, it's nothing groundbreaking but there's some interesting things thrown in here!)

Most obvious coping strategy first: my blog. It's a year old now, and I started it last year when I was having a tough time of things. I've been away 'cos I've not known what to write about when I've had lots going on in my life. I didn't think I'd write about it because now (a very small amount of) people actually read my blog, I didn't want to bog anyone down with personal life stuff that is of no relevance or interest to them. It's always hard to get back into something when you've left it alone for what feels like too long, but I knew I had to come back to it. I didn't fancy buying anything to review, and nothing exciting has happened for me to write about either. However, I started this just as my own little venting space, so why the hell shouldn't I use it for whatever is going on, good or bad? And so; here I am. 

A couple of other things I've been doing to help myself to feel more in control are a little odd, but I guess do make sense when I think about it. I've spent a lot of time cleaning and tidying - the flat has never looked so good! There's something really satisfying about scrubbing your living space within an inch of its life, and I am definitely someone who feels better when their environment is clean/tidy/good/(insert all nice and lovely words here). I've also found a lot of interest in eating a little bit better and paying more attention (occasionally) to what I put in my body. Don't get me wrong, I definitely still have issues with food and body image, but I definitely feel more in control when I pay what I'm eating more attention.

I think that's what both of these points above come down to - control. When I'm feeling so overwhelmed with everything going on around me and I can't do anything to change it, I'm definitely finding comfort in being able to control the things I CAN change. My environment and my food being just some of those.

I don't consider myself to be a religious person, but I have had a few people lately say "god never sends us more than we can deal with". Now, despite not being religious, this has (somehow) brought me a lot of comfort. It's a reminder that people are going through some really rubbish times, and we do always come out the other side, one way or another!

Really simply, I've just been trying to do more things that make me happy. Making time for a bath of an evening, spending that little bit extra time making something yummy for dinner and watching The Greatest Showman 2305827 times all help to make the days feel a little bit better. Maybe I've been a little more introverted than normal, but I'm okay with that. I'm still regularly seeing people who make me happy, whilst also making time for myself. 

If you're having difficulties coping with things in your life right now, focus on what makes you happy and feel like you have choices. Do you want to stay indoors with your 4th day unwashed hair and watch your favourite film with a pizza or do you want to go out with some pals and some gin? Or both?! How you want to cope with crap going on in your life is completely your call. Your friends may want to drag you out or invade your home if they know you're struggling and that's cool too. They always know just want you need! It's wise to take on board their view on things too, after all they are some of the people who know you best.


How do you cope when you're feeling overwhelmed? Let me know in the comments and let's have a chat. Hopefully I won't be away for so long next time!

Love always, 
Samantha x
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Thursday, 15 February 2018

New Flat Tour!


Oh well, HELLO there! It's been a while, hasn't it?! As I'd been going on about for ages, I've been spending a few weeks moving into our new home and getting things sorted. 
Through the stresses and tantrums of buying our first property together, many lessons have been learned and many pennies have been spent - all of it 100% worthwhile and I'd do it all over again for our sparkly, new home! We were so lucky that we got the first place we viewed and went for. 
Today I'm going to show you around and talk about some of my favourite bits of our lovely home.




First I'm going to talk about my favourite place; our living room. This one is kiiind of a two in one as it's open plan with our kitchen at one end, but I think we've got the whole "two separate rooms" thing done quite well with the help of our beautiful corner sofa sectioning off our living space. My favourite area in this room has to be my ladder shelves. It was silver and pine (I've had it since I was about 12!), but I bought a can of copper spray paint and my dad took on the little upcycling project! I keep some of the books I still have to read and some pretty lil ornaments on here, with some fairy lights draped over the top. Cute! We also have huuuge windows in our living room and the view is just beautiful - I can sit and look out across the water and trees for so long.




Attached to this room is our kitchen, and as a keen baker I was SO excited to have so much worktop space! It's great having such a modern kitchen too, as the home we used to rent together had a teeny electric stove, a sink, and enough room for one person at a time. Now look at what we're working with!! I understand it's still not huge but we are absolutely smitten with it and considering where we came from, we are even more appreciative of what we have now. Being the foodies we are, we LOVE this space of our new home. Above my dining table, I have a string of some of my favourite photos
 (printed on Printiki at www.Printiki.com and you can use my code 4CGKAKEQ for free shipping!) which adds such a nice, cosy touch.



I feel like I'm going to say this about every space in our home, but I am absolutely in love with this room. Our old house didn't have a bathtub (which broke my heart on a daily basis), but look at what we have now! We both had baths within our first 24 hours of getting the keys to our home and many a Lush bath has been had over the last few weeks. Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for my bank balance) I always have a healthy stash of bath goodies from Lush. Even Sean partakes from time to time too! It's such a bright room too which I absolutely love.




Our bedroom is the one room that I'm not happy with just yet. It's not finished but I don't know what to do with it, I'm hoping you might have some ideas to leave me in the comments! It's actually such a big space, and the main attraction here of course is the bed. We invested in a Casper mattress and haven't looked back since. We've been here almost a month now and sleepy time has been completely transformed! Another perk of moving house is the excuse to buy lots of loving new bedding (the one here is from Dunelm) and bedding is DEFINITELY my weakness. I just can't get enough! We have loads of wardrobe space (yay!) so lots of space for new clothes 😁



The last space to show you all is definitely the least exciting but I need your help with this one too! Our hallway is beautifully modern but plain, and I feel like it needs a little bit of somethin' to jazz it up a bit! We did do a very grown up thing of going to a garden centre and buying houseplants, so at least the hallway has a bit of prettiness. 



So there you have it - our beautiful (in my opinion!) new home. I'd love to know what you think we could do with the space we have as a bit of inspiration wouldn't go a miss. Let us know what you think we could do especially with the bedroom and hallway! It's all been worth waiting for and it still doesn't really feel real. Now I'm back with this post, I hope to chat to you all again much sooner! 

Love,
Samantha x




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Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Reflection


So the time has come after all the festivities to look to the year ahead. Whilst sitting here full of cheese and gin, I just wanted to try and find some words to talk about this year.

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Saturday, 30 December 2017

What I got for Christmas 2017


Christmas is by far my favourite time of year. Cheese, chocolate and roast dinners galore. Of course they are my highlights; I am a foodie. It's also the season of giving and sharing and I thought I should show you lovely lot some of the things I was lucky enough to receive from my family this year. 


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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Why I'm not doing Blogmas (& my advent calendar!)


It's that time of year when it seems like anyone and everyone who has a blog or a YouTube channel is announcing they will be doing Blogmas or Vlogmas. For those of you who don't know what this is, it's blogging or vlogging every day for the first 24 days of December. I thought I'd take a moment to tell you why I'm not and why you shouldn't feel pressured to either.

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Glossybox Review November 2017


I know, I know, I''m late again - but at least it's given me ages to get a real opinion on the products I received in this month's Glossybox.
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