Many years ago I met Sarah Harry, one of Australia’s leading specialists in Body Image and Disordered Eating. In my years of work in the plus-size Industry I have honestly never met anyone more authentic or effective at walking the walk when it comes to positive body image and how we feel about ourselves. I have valued the opportunities I’ve had to work with, refer to and receive guidance from Sarah over the years. I’ve especially enjoyed my Fat Yoga Classes and was so thrilled to see how Sarah managed to spread the word and influence women around the world to practise yoga.
Sarah believes you can’t heal the relationship with your body without doing some work to feel more comfortable in your body (your one and only home), so she has added the yoga component to help you find an embodied sense of peace in your body. The course is the first of its’ kind to blend psychology with yoga to help you heal and blends a healthy sense of humour and fun from Sarah with the latest research and her 15 years of clinical practice working with people with body image issues.
I don’t pretend to know everything about being body positive or correctly using the “politically correct” terminology to avoid offending or triggering others, I’m human, I don’t always get it right. I know sometimes we go off on a tangent and mean well, but don’t get it right. Perhaps this is one of those times. But I don’t think so.
At almost 46 years old I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body – lots of it things I wished I had learnt much earlier in my life – for example; that listening to fad diet advice is not healthy, that years ago I was convinced by the powers that be to not eat eggs every day because they would higher my cholesterol; or that I should eat low-fat everything – the list could go on for pages. Flash forward a number of years and low- fat suddenly equals too much added sugar and now it’s no sugar I should be touting – but now it’s ok for me to eat eggs everyday. Oh lord give me strength – who do you believe? Let’s face it whatever makes money for those that can benefit drives the media cycles and the marketing of all things.
These days I ignore the fads, eat in moderation, do my best to exercise regularly and know instinctively what is right for me. I don’t get caught up in the hype, I am head down, bum up working on my dream, raising my family and living my life.
Why? Because I listen to me – what makes me happy, what feels right.
Because I don’t need to BECOME, I already am.
Humans are driven by fear.
What would happen if we just stopped listening to the scare mongering when it comes to our bodies and just did what felt right for us?
My personal answer is – acceptance and love. I know, I did it.
Don’t think for a second that I feel perfectly happy with everything 100% of every second of every day, I don’t. Life is a journey, we are an ever changing being. I’m human. Fear lives within me. But these days, and for at least the last 8 years I’ve happily managed to feel happy, content and love myself and what I stand for and how I look with next to no effort.
So when two nights ago I saw the advertisement for Michelle bridges 12wbt challenge I sat bolt right off my seat and glared at the tv. I was appalled. My 13 year old son was watching with me, and he just looked at me and said “Wow”. Enough said.
The ad aired on prime time channel 9, and I’ve since seen it everywhere. It’s a collection of women living their “dream”, stereotyped of course because what’s depicted is not necessarily everyone’s dream.
The ad includes a voiceover spoken by Michelle Bridges. This is exactly what is said by Michelle in the ad:
“Become Inspired, Fulfilled, Motivated, Energised, Strong Body & Mind
Become your Dream
Become a Team
Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Training
WHAT???????????????????? Seriously???????? This dialogue is wrong on so many levels.
Immediately I start thinking to myself, hang on, I AM all those things and so much more!
Michelle, PLEASE stop insinuating that our bodies define who we are and I couldn’t possibly be any of these things without being part of your program. Or that there is something wrong with me.
There’s not enough space to write all the things I feel when faced with irresponsible advertising like this. Simply put, if someone chooses to join a program to lose weight, gain weight, exercise, learn, find a friend, create something new in their life – whatever it is, that’s absolutely fine. BUT NEVER should it be insinuated that there is something wrong if you don’t, that’s it’s not possible to be all of these things without joining.
Is it really so inconceivable to others that someone such as me (obviously the type of body that the ad is appealing to) who is a size 20-22, 46 years old with an apple shape and considered obese could be perfectly happy in their own skin, can be successful, liked, loved, happy, inspiring, inspired, fun and living her dream? I challenge you to give me a call and spend some time with me, I’d be more than happy to share some of my time with you and let you see that it is indeed possible, maybe even inspire you to let go of these unrealistic insinuations and images.
It IS possible for women of all ages and sizes to be all of these things – regardless of their size. Being a perfect size 10 (not my ideal, but the ideal portrayed in such advertising these days) and projected as medically fit and healthy does NOT ensure that you are happy, fun, fulfilled or any of the other things. It simply does not. That is a myth and it’s high time that it was understood as such.
This year I’m turning 46 – wow where did the time go! I was born with a head of beautiful dark, almost black hair (and I’ll tell you a secret, my mum used to have to use Vaseline to stick it down as I had so much hair it used to stick up all the time!! hahaha). In my 20s I sported a fringe, and then in my early 30’s just after my son was born, I decided it was time for a change and I grew out my fringe and haven’t looked back. However, as I neared 20 I suddenly realised that I had developed grey hair – not just a few odd grey strands here and there, but grey roots – lots of them!
By the time I was 25 I was 100% grey! Needless to say I have spent a lot of money and effort dyeing my hair. In fact, I’m a bit of an expert at it. The cost of hairdressing appointments and the fact that my hair grows fast – really fast – necessitating retouching up my roots at least every 3 weeks, adds up fast. My bathroom cupboard is filled with the stained towels and bottles of magic that keep my hair looking slick.
I can’t tell you the amount of hours I’ve spent stressing about my grey roots, and the imaginative ways I’ve managed to hide them over the years. One thing won’t change however, and that is unless I’m prepared to be 100% grey, I will need to continue to colour my hair. I’ve decided I’m just not ready for that yet.
One of the negatives of hair colouring, especially when only retouching the roots, is that no matter how very careful and expert you become, there is always an overlap of colour and over time this builds up and darkens the hair.
I’ve always tried to stay as close to my natural colour as possible (and for the record my eyebrows are still natural! albeit with a few wisps of grey I have to pluck out now and again!) – but recently I’ve been toying with the idea of what to do. I spoke to my hairdresser and she advised a couple of options:
Cut it all off and grow it out grey
Start colouring the roots a shade or two lighter and begin foiling sections of my hair over time until it lightens up; or
Continue as is
None of these ideas felt right to me and I asked her about stripping my hair and recolouring? She was not keen, and advised against it. I’ve pondered and pondered and felt stuck. It was time for a change, but how?
Recently we moved house. I decided that this was a good time to get another opinion and check out a new hairdresser, so I bit the bullet and called my local salon. I explained over the phone the situation and made an appointment for the next day.
This is what my hair looked like just before I walked into the salon 🙁
Upon entering the salon I was greeted warmly and ushered to a seat where I was served a lovely cup of coffee. Minutes later Kayla, my colourist came to greet me and sat down to discuss what I was wanting to achieve. Within minutes she had taken stock of the situation and called her colleague Emily, also a colour expert to join in and together they worked through my thoughts and hopes with me. What struck me immediately was their instant willingness to go for it! They were super excited at the challenge and after a quote was given and I’d been advised that I’d be there for at least 4 hours, the process started!
With two gorgeous ladies with the most capable skills attending to the challenge, I settled in patiently and surrendered to the process.
This was immediately after the colour had been stripped from my hair! Oh boy what a shock, I felt like an orangutan! The looks I got from those who hadn’t seen the beginning or the end of the process was priceless.
BUT it was all worth it, the final result was all I could have hoped for. Immediately my features were softened and I felt so much better.
A huge thanks to the team at Rokk Ebony, you guys rock! I’m so thrilled with my new colour and feeling confident and ready for anything. Sometimes self-confidence needs some help!
Happy New Year! Wow, what happened to 2016? I recently looked back at my blog and discovered I’d last posted in July! How did that go so fast? 2016 was super hectic and a wonderful experience of developing the wholesale agent side of my business at United Curves. The year just flew by as I was head down, bum up fielding the enquiries and developing the reach of our amazing Australian Plus-size Designers. Thank you to all my readers for all your loyal support, and incredible input that adds such significant value to the work that I so love – expanding the boundaries of plus-size fashion here in Australia. I am so excited for this new year and all it promises to be.
Goodbye Sunny Abu Dhabi
In early December 2016, it was time to switch off and take a well deserved break. So together with my hubby and son, we jumped on a plane and headed to Europe to spend Christmas with our family in The Netherlands. We’ve been planning and saving for this trip for so long we couldn’t believe it had finally arrived! We had the most amazing trip, stopping over in Abu
Hello Foggy, Cold Holland & France
Dhabi, somewhere I’d never visited before. On past trips I’d always flown straight through on long haul flights, but I have to say that I’m converted to stop-overs now, not only did it make the most amazing difference to minimising jet lag, but it gave us an opportunity to explore another region of the world I hadn’t been to yet. When we left Melbourne it was a balmy 25 degrees, when we arrived in Abu Dhabi it was around 18 degrees each day (it’s their winter there) so the impact of the weather wasn’t too much of an issue, however landing in Holland four days later, we were welcomed with 2 degrees, fog, cold winds and rain – oh boy was that a shock! It was time to start layering and I have to say given that I’m a real winter girl it was heaven wearing boots and tights and layers. We had everything from winter sun, hail, rain and beautiful snow. So grateful.
You already know that I’m a huge supporter of Sonsee, but seriously they are AMAZING! I took 3 pairs of Sonsee 100 denier hosiery with me, as well as a long sleeve body suit, my long sleeve layering slip and seamless bra. I lived in these items and have never been more grateful for well fitting, good quality garments. The hosiery fits like a glove, no rolling or sagging, just fits. You can hand wash all the items and the next morning (even in the cold climate) they are dry again – ready to go! Simple. I have never owned a pair of hosiery that I have been able to wear more than twice, we were away for 34 days and I wore all of those garments daily and they are all in the same condition they were when I took them out of the packet – now that’s quality!
I find when flying that wearing an underwire bra is uncomfortable when sitting for such long periods of time so I always wear my Sonsee seamless bra – it’s just so damn comfortable and although it is low support, it feels great and feels like I’m not wearing a bra. Bonus.
The seamless long sleeve slip and bodysuits are so versatile. Slips for layering under dresses or tunics/tops, and bodysuit for skirts and pants – easy. With the challenge of only having a 20kgs baggage allowance – especially during the winter months when you require so many more clothes it’s hard to pack well – not when you have Sonsee! The four items weighed next to nothing and yet apart from my winter boots, jacket & scarf were the most important items. When it’s cold out – the shops, museums & restaurants tend to overcompensate by warming the buildings too high that you need to peel off so many layers – so this worked beautifully for me and allowed me to be fashionable and functional all at the same time!
We had the most amazing trip and I feel refreshed and tanked up with family time – so important to the work/life balance. I did do some work whilst I was away and had the opportunity to meet up with a wonderful plus-size advocate and influencer in Holland during my stay and do a little shopping. More on that in the next post.
It’s time to get to work and plough head first into 2017.
Many moons ago I hosted a nationwide event for curvy women where we hosted VIP in-store events in every major city across the country, simultaneously. It was awesome. Sue Bowman who then managed a family business called Cheeky Curves in Adelaide hosted my event with a gorgeous Curvy Ambassador of mine, Natasha. The event was a huge success. Unfortunately the family shut the doors to Cheeky Curves about 2 years ago and Adelaide curvy ladies lost an important resource with regards to accurate bra fittings.
Flash Forward to June 2016 and Sue has opened what can only be described as THE most incredible luxe personalised bra-fitting service I’ve ever seen – Buxom Envy.
I was working in Adelaide recently and decided to book an appointment with Sue and invite along a couple of friends Kelly and Lisa, a local, who I know will benefit from this service too.
From the moment we opened the door to be greeted by the ever smiling Sue, we felt like a million dollars – that was before we’d been fitted! The service is located in a leafy suburb of Adelaide at 45E Sussex Terrace, Hawthorn SA, there is ample parking and the signage is beautiful.
As you open the door you step into a light filled room with luxe furnishings including the most amazing ceiling to floor length black & gold curtains surrounding the most ROOMY change-room ever! With comfortable padded seats, a beautiful display of bras & knickers and lovely attention to details like a beautiful window that appears that you can see the outside world and makes you feel like the outside world is looking in – but it isn’t! It is one-way tinted so that you have beautiful natural light without flashing your curvy bits to the world!!
Our session (a group booking) included coffee, tea and bubbles, macaroons and a personal consultation and expert fitting service. (To make a group booking with 3-4 maximum, email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lisa volunteered to go first and as she disappeared behind the lush curtains, Kelly and I relaxed in the plush chairs and chatted. It wasn’t long before Lisa glided gracefully out of the change-room with her first option of bra on – amazing! We dissolved into giggles as we discussed the “incredible impact that bra has on the girls” LOL. Sue has so many options to choose from, but what I loved is that you are not bamboozled by bras everywhere, you literally are provided with a selection of bras to try that are expertly selected by Sue. I was astounded at how accurate she was in selecting the correct options each time for all of us.
Kelly was next, always bubbly with a wicked sense of humour she had us in stitches, but equally, she was seriously astounded at the difference the bras Sue selected for her were accurate and flattering.
YES – she does realise it’s upside down! Kelly was thrilled when the sports bra she chose came in her favourite colour 🙂
Then it was my turn. I’ve been professionally fitted for bras consistently during my lifetime, and when at home in Melbourne I favour Brava Lingerie as my go-to store. The service and expertise there is second to none and they always have what I’m after. However, there is just something over and above in having your own personalised time to relax, enjoy and really talk to an expert about your options. The opportunity to share it with some good friends and make an occasion out of it is too good to pass up.
Sue specialises in sizes 8-34 (30-56) F-K cups and 18-34 (42-56) B-E cups and stocks the following brands, Elomi, Goddess, Freya, Tutti Rouge, Today’s Woman, Panache, Sculptresse, Elila, Hotmilk, Oh La La Cherie, Sonsee Woman seamless intimates & hosiery,and many more.
Sue, congratulations on your new store and fitting service Buxom Envy, the Adelaide ladies are so lucky to have you! I highly recommend you book yourself in to experience this service for yourself.
Don’t you think “my girls” look amazing in this post-fitting/wearing my new bra photo?!
Feeling the cold this winter – are you like me and enjoy the outdoors this time of year but struggle to find waterproof outdoor wear? Solution!
I had the pleasure of speaking to Monica who has over 20+ years experience running a ski shop in Victoria. Monica recently closed the store and started trading online and was astounded at the demand for the plus-size stock that she stocks and how quickly she sold out! It was obvious she needed to focus on this niche within a niche and is making many curvy ladies and men across the country so pleased that she has! Myself included.
Monica says the demand has always been there for plus-size snow gear and the most common thing that customers talked about was curvy women having to wear men’s snow gear 🙁 I’m sure most of us can relate to the embarrassment of things not fitting in the right places when it comes to outdoor gear. In fact with the diminishing presence of ski shops in Australia, finding a local ski or outdoor shop that stocks a size outside of the “normal” 8-16 size range is very difficult. Plus Snow launched perfectly on time for the Australian snow season in early June and the demand has been amazing.
Plus Snow are dedicated to providing plus-sized men & women a great range of snow gear designed for the plus shape, for women in sizes XL-7XL (up to a size 28) and for men up to a 10XL (63″ waist).
Plus Snow have gear for all sorts of outdoor adventures, not just snow. Please tell Monica I sent you.
I’ve been enjoying lots of outdoor activities this winter with the amazing group of women at Escaping Your Comfort Zone… hope to see you on the trails soon.