I wasn’t putting ME first…

Pummelled by the media telling me how I should look, feel, react, love, play, run, jump and work, and thinking about learned behaviours, I’ve recently been forced to reflect on how this is working for me…

The Herald Sun reported this week:

Beyonce hit the stage this week, just on four months after having her baby, 27kg down and looking amazing. “Y’all have no idea how hard I worked,” she exclaimed to her fans during her concert in New Jersey last Saturday night.

“I had to lose 60 pounds (27kg). They had me on that treadmill. I ate lettuce.”

My first reaction, wow she looks amazing!

My second reaction – “they” had me on a treadmill? Imagine having a “they” watching over you and ensuring you’re the appropriate weight – what pressure. No thanks!

Then I started to think about what pressure I put on myself.

When someone needs me, snap, I’m there. If someone’s coming to visit, it’s like the Queen of England is about to arrive and all must be in it’s place and looking great…

Which started me thinking, what does the Queen of England (or said visitor) have that I don’t? Don’t I deserve a mess to be tidied or a broken object to be mended? Well, of course I do.

What time am I dedicating to what I need? Why are my thoughts about others first and myself second? (Of course as a mum, fiancé and business owner, sometimes it’s just simply not possible to think about me first, but you get my meaning, there has to be some balance to this).

I apply a positive approach to my outward appearance; I’ve always put my best foot forward, made the most of who I am every day. I always dress for ME, I wear nice clothes and I make an effort. That’s just me. But when it comes to making time for me, I’m not so good.

I also work very hard, I’m a mum, step-mum, fiancé, daughter, friend, sister, and business owner. Like most of us, my time is not my own and I am constantly on the go. I’ve been known to sacrifice sleep for example to get the job done, and to keep up with my To-Do List, especially when it comes to my business. Down-time is not in my dictionary. This way of doing things has come back to haunt me!

Last Year I quit smoking, after 22 years of smoking – you might remember my blog.  Shortly thereafter I lost my dad suddenly. The shock of these two events turned out to be too much for my body to take. And BAMM, my health took a nose dive.

It’s been a long 11 months. Over this time, I’ve had expert help, it turns out after months of tests and trial & error approaches that I have a metabolic condition that causes my body to not retain vital nutrients, causing all sorts of horrible side effects. In addition, I have extremely low vitamin D, and I am anaemic.  To top it off, the lack of nutrients (even though I eat a good diet and exercised regularly), caused me to literally crash with no energy, at its peak unable to walk far at all.

To add to the challenge, no standard medications can assist my condition; it’s simply a condition that is supported with supplements, and lots of them and a change of attitude/approach to my life.

AND in case this wasn’t enough to deal with, during this time of illness my body put on 18kgs.  Test results last week proved, in writing, that high cortisol and other complications with the condition have 100% contributed to this weight gain.  It’s taken all my strength to not panic about the weight gain, to understand that my body is sick, and as it is healing it is evening out again to it’s natural size and weight.

I’ve experienced some interesting reactions from healthcare providers (Namely GPs) during this process which has appalled me. I am working on some blog posts to address these experiences and issues and I know from talking to you that this occurs on a regular basis.  This sort of attitude from “trained healthcare providers” certainly doesn’t aid an improvement in health/attitude when you’re being judged for something you are not in control of!

I’m happy to report there’s been a huge turnaround in the past two – three months, with the help of the gorgeous Andrea Hepner from Hepner Health (Period Pain Guru), and my gorgeous Superman Pete, My mum and my kids, I’ve had expert love and support to get through this hellish year.

I’ve had to surrender to my body, and work with a team of people to understand what it needs and ensure the best care I can.

One of the main lessons I’ve learnt is that if I don’t put myself first, I can’t be there to look after my family.

I am on a path of creating time for myself. Of balancing work and life – no mean challenge!

The challenge is working that ME time into my every day,  to being smarter with my time, to saying NO more and ignoring the pressures of the media, ignorant medical professionals and others about how I should and shouldn’t look, and focussing on being the best ME I can be, for ME and then for everyone else.

Last weekend my very good friend Erika came down from Brisbane, we had time on the couch watching re-runs of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (always entertaining), then we shopped at TS14+ outlet store and grabbed some amazing bargains (retail therapy is good therapy right!), and filled our bellies with the most amazing cheese fondue I’ve ever had, but most of all we talked and talked and had a wonderful time.  Friends time is always good for the soul! I need to do this more often.

Janine & Erika – “Time with good friends is good for the soul”

I’ve started a checklist for myself, of things to ensure that I have in my life everyday:

  • Space of my own at home
  • A GP who I can relate to and who puts my health first, not my weight
  • Healthy, nutritional food and good exercise to nurture my body
  • Good friends and positive people around me
  • Family time
  • Time with my fiancé
  • Time doing nothing!

This might seem pretty simple, but it’s a good start.  And the most amazing part, once I had my light bulb moment, and stopped pushing hard to meet all the rules and deadlines I’d placed on myself, it’s all fallen into place.

Now I must practice this new found approach EVERY day. What can you do to make positive changes by putting YOU first in your day?

Love your shape!

Janine x

Are you “bumper sized?”

Sitting drinking my morning coffee, I opened today’s Herald Sun to page four and my eye skipped to the gorgeous model with the yummy fur around her neck.

Mmmm, “Bigger keeps getting better and better”  I ponder what that might be and then I begin to read the article which starts with “Bumper sized Victorians are ruling the retail roost…”

BUMPER SIZED??????????? Now that’s one I haven’t been called before – how about you?

The article goes on to talk about how some retail outlets are reporting a 70% increase in their plus-size fashion business since 2010. Duuuurrrrrrr!

And prices for plus-size garments have plunged…. (Should I be grateful to now be paying almost what the mainstream sized women are paying for their garments?)

It then goes on to quote representatives from KMart, Big W and Target who are reporting a spike in “demand for fashionable plus-sizing.” Yep!

The good news is that Target are planning to expand their core range to size 20 instead of 18 – well that’s welcome. But for those of us who often fall outside the “standard” size cuts – this makes no difference.

The bit that got me the most apart from the “Bumper sized” beginning was the last quote from Ladieswear Manager Amanda McCabe Phillips who stated “Customers wanted to be fashionable”.

No kidding captain obvious!

We also want quality AND we want fashion that fits our curves and is on-trend. Why is it news that plus-size women want to be fashionable and are demanding fashion?

Ten points for trying guys, but seriously, there’s a long way to go.  Baby steps is good, but let’s step it up a bit, not just with the quality and fit of the garments but with the attitude too.

Personally, I’d rather spend my money on brands that are actually doing something positive, are creating garments with quality fabrics, designed for my curves and representing them on realistic figures. Labels such as 17 Sundays, Hope&Harvest, TS14+ and virtu, just to name a few.

Love your shape!

Janine x

One year on… The Plus Side of Quitting

Ever noticed how life just whizzes by sometimes. Since going live with my new website on the 19th April, I’ve been inundated with well wishers, shop & style bookings and so much more. My wholesale Fashion Agent work has been busy with the release of the new season 17 Sundays samples and I’ve been on the road enjoying visiting stores around Victoria.

Today I realised that yesterday was a very special day. It is ONE YEAR since I quit smoking!

Now I’ve never called myself a quitter before, but I’m proud to say I AM A QUITTER and I’ve stayed a quitter for 365 days straight – cold turkey! What a challenge. This past year included my beautiful dad passing away suddenly in June 2011, to say I’m still shocked is an understatement. Then about three weeks later I became very ill and have been battling a health condition ever since. Not exactly the easiest time in my life to decide to give up a 22 year old habit!

I DID, and I did it successfully. I invite you to re-visit that time in my life by reading my blog The Plus Side of Quitting, written daily at the time for the first 16 days of my journey.

Today is day 366 of being a non-smoker, I’ve NOT smoked 10,950 cigarettes and I haven’t spent $4,368 during that time! AND I feel better for it. Now that’s alot of pluses!

I’m sharing this with you all as part of my committment to remain accountable to myself for my personal and emotional wellbeing.

My advice to anyone out there considering quitting smoking, do it when YOU are ready. I agree with the philosophy that the QUIT campaign tout, don’t give up trying to give up. This is about the fourth attempt I made to quit, the other times failed, but this one worked. No rhyme or reason, I was just more ready this time. NEVER give up trying to give up.

I’m off to revamp my wardrobe ready for the new season.  Stay tuned for some fashion posts coming your way soon. In the meantime, if you have a question on anything curvy/plus-size – email me janine@janinemison.com.au or post a comment by clicking on the speach bubble on the top right of this post and I’ll make a point of including the answers in my upcoming posts.  I’m loving this new space and it’s just the beginning…

Love your shape!

Janine x

P.S. Don’t forget to join the NEW facebook page here