BMI = Bloody Meaningless Information

When the people and tools that could make a difference, actually have the opposite effect!

Last Friday was a public holiday here in Melbourne, and as I’d just returned to Melbourne after a fabulous holiday in Thailand and Cambodia with my family, I was keen to nip into my GP for a prescription. Alas the clinic was closed, so on Saturday I booked the carefully selected time of 2pm for an appointment as I knew I could duck in and out for the simple request….

About 4 years ago I developed insomnia.  To give you some back-story to my plight, back in May 2011 I decided to quit smoking.  I successfully did this by retreating to a lovely cottage for a week until the “grumps” were over and I could assimilate back into normal society 😉 A couple of days after quitting, I noticed that I was feeling different – but not in the positive way I had been expecting. Flash forward to mid June and my beautiful dad passed away suddenly. The shock of this event, and the enduring months that followed no doubt added to my health issues. Until then, apart from smoking, and obviously being overweight, my health had been pretty normal.  Now obviously with such a tragic event in my life, it would be normal to think that I would suffer from some emotional and potentially physical reactions. That’s what I kept telling myself when my body was so exhausted it could barely get out of bed in the morning, when I couldn’t sleep at night and when panic attacks and irritable bowel like symptoms began to present. This went on for a few weeks until it was impossible to ignore the warning signs. Something was seriously wrong. As we all do as women, we focus on our families, our work and just getting on with it, but this was becoming impossible.

I started googling (yep I know, not recommended, but still, I needed some answers). I presented to my then GP who offered Stillnox as a solution. WTF? No way, so I decided to try for a 2nd opinion. The next one I visited suggested that “If you only lose some weight you won’t feel so tired”. I was gobsmacked, and needless to say I left the office without a stillnox prescription and with no answers.

In the interests of keeping the story succinct, I finally, after visits to more than 5 mainstream doctors, I gave my friend Andrea Hepner a call. Andrea is a naturopath and runs a clinic called Empowered Health. I was unable to attend her office as I could barely move at this point, so she kindly offered me a Skype consultation and she went through a thorough line of questioning and testing that NEVER involved weight.  Andrea started me on the path of diagnosis and help, and I will be forever grateful to her for her incredible attitude and approach to health. It turns out I have a metabolic disorder. It seems this disorder is often dormant (as it’s genetic) until triggered by a stressful life event and it’s now clear to me now that I know what the problem is, that in the preceeding years I had been experiencing minor symptoms that were in hindsight the indicator that something bigger was coming!  I had adrenal fatigue bordering on adrenal failure, chronic insomnia, my iron level was so low that it was a miracle I was still standing and my bowel was so sick from the adrenal fatigue that it took months to improve.  In fact, it turns out that my smoking had actually covered-up the extreme symptoms, that with the stress and then quitting, in one hit came on with vengeance. With the help of Andrea, and thereafter an Intergrative GP who specialises in this condition, I have clawed my way back from this chronic illness into a healthy state.  I’m so grateful to my husband, my family and friends and of course the professionals who helped me during this difficult time, their support was unwavering. It’s incredibly scary to think that had I not been a “strong” person I would have been taking the advice of “professionals” offering incorrect medications and incorrect diagnosis of my condition.

I’m happy to say that this condition is completely manageable and I now take daily supplements to maintain the happy healthy place my body is now at.  Interestingly, my 12 year old son was diagnosed with the same condition just over a year ago, I was so relieved that he presented with the symptoms well and truly AFTER I had gone through the tough process of diagnosing it. When he developed it, I recognised the signs immediately and already had the help in place. He’s doing great!

So, back to that appointment I had last weekend. As I mentioned I see an Integrative GP who specialises in my condition, but for the everyday things, I have a local clinic that our family frequents. When my insomnia is bad, I sometimes have to take a sleeping tablet to “train” my sleep pattern back.  So I’m waiting for my turn, the GP calls my name and off we go into her office. She asks why I’m there today? I state that I’d like a repeat of my sleeping tablet prescription. She hesitates – which I understand, these drugs can be abused and used incorrectly, so knowing this, but knowing that I have a legitimate use for them, I’m happy to jump through the hoops to justify this.  However, the line of questioning then proceeds down the path of, do I feel suicidal? Am I depressed? Am I working on my weight? ummmm hang on, what????????????  She then launched into “diagnosing me” with sleep apnoea.  I don’t have sleep apnoea. My symptoms aren’t even close to sleep apnoea. I know this because I’ve googled the symptoms AND because I’ve already been down the diagnosis route before with a doctor to confirm this!!!!!!! She then decides that she needs to refer me to a sleep clinic for sleep apnoea. I said I was happy to see a sleep specialist if she thought that would help. She then tells me that she needs a few “facts” first. Yep here it comes…

What’s my weight? I tell her. What’s my height? I tell her. Then I hold my breath as I wait for the inevitable, I know what’s coming next. Yep you guessed it – “AAAGGGHHH”, she says after a moment of calculating… “Your BMI is Enormous!” (yep she said “enormous”), “I need to take your blood pressure”.

Are you serious? Take my blood pressure now…. I didn’t need to look at the result to know that it was going to be – high – very high!

She then asks if I’ve ever had an issue with blood pressure? “No”, I say honestly. “Right”, she says – clearly doubting my answer.

My blood pressure was at this point 133 over 90.  She then announces that I have hypertension and if I don’t “lose weight immediately you will be in serious trouble”.

Wow.

So at this point my heart is pounding in my ears, I’m trying to remain calm, ignore the bullshit, and focus on getting that prescription – with the knowledge that my Integrative GP – who I trust implicitly has NEVER worried about my weight during the whole 4 years I’ve been consulting her for the other condition.  The focus has been on wellbeing and health, never about my BMI.

The GP’s voice comes back into my awareness as she’s droning on about weight and what I can do to work on this. I consider losing my cool and having a complete rant at her. But then I realised – obviously – nothing I say to her is going to make any difference at all. It was clear that the moment she laid eyes on me she had decided what her course of action was going to be.

I stated “I do not wish to discuss my weight with you”.

She was shocked.

She was speechless.

She said “well, someone needs to help you”.

Did this woman seriously spend 4-6 years in University to earn a PhD? What are we teaching our doctors? How is it that I knew more than she did? and more importantly – do they teach these medical professionals that empowering your patient is their best chance at success? (no need to answer that – doh!).

She then huffed and puffed, made a big performance about printing out the prescription, handed it to me and said “Is there anything else? to which I replied, “no thank you, have a lovely weekend” and walked out.

255712-bmi-measurementI can’t stop wondering how if I had been a woman with a distorted body  image, would I have coped with this barrage of rubbish? What would I have done?  The damage that this attitude is doing to the population is overwhelming. It’s wrong. It’s actually creating a larger problem.

The fact that a qualified GP is still in this day and age using the BMI (body mass indicator) to calculate a patients’ health is gobsmacking.

For the record my BMI is 40 – based on the online BMI calculator I need to lose between 47-66 kgs to be a “normal” body weight. That is over half my body weight – wow, just wow!.  The current BMI formula (which is literally dividing your height by your weight) leads to confusion and misinformation.  In fact Nick Trefethen, Professor of Numerical Analysis at Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute wrote a letter to The Economist that “the BMI formula is flawed and is only a rough guide to helping people judge whether they have a healthy weight”.  It goes on to say that when the BMI calculator was developed there were no computers, calculators or electronic devices, so they opted for a very simple system.  Trefethen does wonder, though, why institutions on both sides of The Atlantic continue using the same flawed formula?  Good question?! You can read more here…  In fact, the flaws just keep coming, especially if you compare a “Couch Potato” to “an Athlete” with the same height and approx. weight, yet one does an incredible amount of exercise and the other doesn’t – their BMI is practically the same!  RIDICULOUS!

In my case, and based on my personal story above:

There is NO evidence that BMI induces Insomnia. FULL STOP.

There is NO evidence that “Stillnox” is going to cure my Metabolic Disorder, nor insomnia. FULL STOP

There is NO evidence that being rude, condescending and offering INCORRECT advice to a human who is obese, overweight or otherwise is going to help the “Obesity Crisis/Obesity Paranoia” that is so incredibly misunderstood.

I don’t dispute, nor deny or ignore that obesity has an impact on health, that is a fact.

I am obese. That’s a fact.

BUT, I am so much more than that, and so is my health.

On Saturday I posted about my visit on Facebook, within minutes I had ladies commenting on their own experiences with health professionals. Appalling is the word for it, so many stories (and for the record I have about 10 others of my own experiences I could have chosen to tell here).

One lady spoke of her 4 year old daughter deemed “Obese” at a Maternal Child Health Nurse check-up, another had a pain in her hip, her GP did a “poke around” the general area and then announced that if she lost weight it wouldn’t hurt anymore!!!???!!! – her Personal Trainer (!) diagnosed a muscle strain from exercise. Yep. That. And then there was the comment by a highly regarded dietician and Body Positive Ambassador who had a client come in this week after a visit to her GP for a rash, and left with a lecture on her weight and highly inappropriate diet advice – oh lordy, it just goes on and on. Oh and how about the women who commented on being shamed for their weight when presenting for their annual pap smears – wow, just wow.

As a survivor of cervical cancer it makes me shudder to think that a Dr’s attitude to obesity could prevent a woman having a potentially life-saving check-up simply by shaming her about her weight.

THIS APPROACH AND ATTITUDE NEEDS TO CHANGE NOW.

There ARE great GPs and specialists out there. There are organisations and professionals who are working hard to educate the general population of GPs and specialists, and working in our Universitites to change the education and “speak”.  Namely the gorgeous Sarah and Fiona at Body Positive Australia to name just one such organisation.

It’s time to change this. I want to create a list of BODY POSITIVE – Wellbeing focussed GPs and Specialists. I know that some have done this in the past, and I’d love to hear from anyone that would like to collaborate on this project. I will be setting up a page on my website to list these Drs, so that NO ONE has to be subjected to such pathetic and negative health care in the future.

It’s MY body,

It’s MY choice

and it’s MY right to have positive health care with an accurate and educative approach.

Stay tuned for the details of how to submit your recommendations of body positive health professionals, and feel free to share your stories below.

Love your shape!

Janine x

**Thanks to Becca for coining the term “Bloody Meaningless Information” -she kindly allowed me to adopt the term – says it perfectly don’t you think?!

PS – For those that consider the above to be promoting obesity – you are WRONG. This is about healthcare delivered in a body positive and empowering manner – not to mention potentially life-saving. It’s what we ALL deserve.

Oh Target Australia – I got your message loud and clear!

WARNING – Rant ahead….

(UPDATE: Post is here)

I’m just back from a visit to my local Target Australia​ store at Southland.

I’m heading up to Brisbane after Easter to work on a styling project (more details soon – I promise!), and so I wanted to do a little scouting of what’s available in plus-size at Westfield at the moment. I’m not usually a Westfield shopper, but for the purpose of this project, Westfield is our preferred location, so I hit up every store that boasts a plus-size range in my afternoon of research.

As I entered the Target store at the main entrance I was wooed by a display of garments that appealed to my “gypsy/boho” side. Ooooh, love. As I investigated further, earmarking at least 6 garments I wanted NOW, I scouted the racks for sizes. This label is called “Lily Loves” which is touted on the Target website as “youthful free spirited fashion designed to reflect your individuality and style at amazing value”. Mmmm, ok, so it’s a range aimed at teens, early adults – ok, but surely they also come in sizes larger than a 4-12?? Looking at the Target website I’ve deduced that this label goes up to a size 16, but I couldn’t find one.

Ok time to move on.

LilyLoves1LilyLoves2Feeling dejected, but not one to be put off easily, I headed through the next section, again drawn by some gorgeous styles and fabrics, this section is “Life&Style – effortlessly stylish casualwear designed in Australia”… nice. This was more like it, I found more than 5 garments I fell in love with, and the sizes on offer were 6-20 on the racks that I scouted. A quick check of the website tells me that they are selling this label in sizes 6-26 – but WHERE ARE THE size 20+ garments in-store???? No where to be seen. I tried on two styles in a size 20 – yep you guessed it, not a plus-size 20, a mainstream 20 that was not going to fit – ever.


Life&Style1

S**T Seriously?

Further I went, deeper, and deeper into the store. Oh there it was, the “plus-size” section. How novel to find it at the back of the women’s section.

I seriously wish I’d bought a tissue with me, I almost had tears streaming down my face.

Now remember – I wasn’t actually there with the purpose to buy, BUT I was there with the purpose to BRING IN CUSTOMERS to show them how to make the most of who they are today, and work with garments to help style their curvy figures.

If this experience bought me to tears (and I’m a convert of our fabulous Australian designers, so I know that what I want isn’t available at Target) – how would my customer feel?  BUT if one or two of those tops above had worked for me, I probably would have purchased. AND I would have made sure that Target is on my list of stores to visit with my styling customers.

Instead, this is what I was confronted with:

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BelleCurve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRUMPY, UNINSPIRED, SHAPELESS, DEPRESSING, HORRID, CRAPPY FABRIC, OVERPRICED – do I need to go on?

I’m not shy of  saying it how I see it, but I usually refrain from flat out negative comments. I try to be constructive.

Today however, I don’t even have a thread of anything to be constructive with after this experience.

Target, you should be ashamed.

Australian women deserve better than this.

The message I got loud and clear today is that you are happy to provide on-trend, affordable fashion for anyone that is a size 4-20 (mainstream)..

BUT preferably if they are in the 4-12 size range – there’s a plethora of options

AND if you fit into a 14-20 in mainstream, well, if you can find them on the rack – please buy them.

Anyone outside of that range. Sorry, you’re out of luck.

Target – Shame on you.

Australian curvy ladies – please support LOCAL AUSTRALIAN DESIGNERS – they UNDERSTAND what you want, AND they won’t treat you like you don’t deserve it.

I deserve better, We deserve better.

Love your shape!

Janine x

The Curvy Couture Roadshow 2015

Did you hear it? The thunderous applause emanating from the ACMI lightwell at Federation Square on Saturday night? Or perhaps you heard the excited chatter of guests as they queued up at the steps of the Collingwood Town Hall to gain entry to the designer market on Sunday morning.  I’m guessing if none of the above your newsfeed on Facebook and Instagram has been humming with all the goss, images and video feeds of the weekend.

The weekend began for me at the Bloggers Brunch. 11 lovely ladies met at a café in the CBD, excited and ready to go. Jess & Erin from CCR hosted our brunch and we were given an outline of the events over the weekend, invited to come backstage to meet the designers and models as they prepped and rehearsed that afternoon, and of course to stand in the media pit, front & centre at the show. The bloggers brunch gave me an opportunity to finally meet some of my fellow writers, we were a merry bunch and all bring something different to the Industry. Thanks for the opportunity to meet and chat about the event prior to the show, it was fantastic, and so was the smashed avocado & feta toast, coffee and fresh juice – LOVE

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There was much debate on social media about what everyone was going to wear. I chose my comfy Autograph Jeans and kimono with a blast of Red with my favourite boots.

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Organisers Erin & Jess chatting to the bloggers over brunch about the event.

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Our Media passes and the yummy juice!

Bloggers

(Left-right) Erin, Jess, Me, Melissa, Lily, Natalie, Omega, Ashley, Olivia, Elyse, Sam, Hayley

The Curvy Couture Roadshow blew us all out of the water this past weekend. You may remember me writing about the 1st Roadshow that was held in Perth in 2013, it was my wedding weekend, and although I was in Perth I couldn’t make it 🙁 Last year I was overseas and missed it again, so this year I was determined to be front and centre, and boy am I glad I didn’t miss it. By all accounts this year was bigger and better than ever.

You’ve heard me banging on for over 6 years now about “realistic & identifiable” representation of plus-size garments and how ONLY doing this will truly sell to the target market. The CCR proved this point – ten fold!

From the minute you entered via the red carpet out the front, the excitement was undeniable.

Sarah & I

Sarah & I

I was lucky enough to be gifted a ticket and invited Sarah from Body Positive Australia as my guest for the evening, we loved the chance to grab a photo together before we entered the venue. I was proud to wear my beautiful kaftan by Kaftans by Annalisa, a Melbourne designer, I love it, I felt comfortable all night, but also felt fabulous! (Wish I could say the same about my shoes, my feet were killing me! but hey they looked nice right?!)

MissScarlet

Miss Scarlet Did It

The catwalk show began with a BANG – BOOM Suzie the gorgeous red-head stormed out of the curtains to begin the show in Miss Scarlet Did It lingerie, followed closely behind by a bevy of beauties of all shapes and sizes – not one body shape was missed – everyone in the room could identify with at least one of the models. To start the show with lingerie was a stroke of brilliance, it proved to the crowd that CCR is serious about making their mark, and more importantly making the point that plus-size fashion is relevant, it’s now, it’s shaking and that curvy women love their bodies and want to wear sexy clothes. It wasn’t only the catwalk that was full of body positive women, the room was full of incredibly beautiful women, inside & out.

The next 2 1/2 hours were a mesmerizing plethora of designs, I loved that each brand represented had something unique to offer, they all had their own unique spin on representing their garments, and the passion of the designers, the quality of the designs and fabrics made you want to run so far away from what I call “The Usual Suspects” (you know, the brands that are available in the shopping centres) that it wasn’t funny. In fact, the CCR was a chance to be convinced (If you weren’t already that is) that spending your money at any store BUT these designers was just, well, it’s just crazy!

Being a preacher of “love your shape!” and a firm believer of identifying your own personal style and dressing for YOU, it only makes sense to buy from these brands, not only to support local Australian businesses, but to take advantage of some seriously amazing garment options. I have a “must buy list” that is a mile long (and will take me years to afford), but the fact that I have a list now, is just sensational. I can’t remember the last time I went shopping and wanted to buy EVERYTHING!

My personal favourite was Hope & Harvest, this label is on fire! The H&H anorak and animal print bomber jacket just begged me to buy them, but seriously EVERYTHING that came out on those amazing models, and to the beat of the jungle theme just wooed me in 🙂 The styling and choreography was brilliant, H&H are already a front runner in realistically & identifiably representing their garments in all their marketing, and this flowed on through their segment with streets models wearing all their designs. BRAVO!

Hope & Harvest

Hope & Harvest

Hope & Harvest

Hope & Harvest

Meri by Design/Eder+Berk were amazing, stylish, stylish, stylish. The cape jacket will be mine! This seasons’ range is a serious option for those of you who are looking for great options for corporate attire too, I only wish they were around when I was in the corporate field years ago. Sigh.

Meri By Design

Meri By Design

I hadn’t seen Lisa Kerr’s range before the night, my first reaction was LOVE for their marketing, the models came out with signs “I am Inspirational (which is a size 18-20) and another “I am Confident” which translates to a Size 14/16 – their Measurement guide is wonderful and brilliant marketing to me, their target market. The designs were chic and fun with great accessories. This is a label I want to know more about.

Lisa Kerr

Lisa Kerr

huudaverti appealed to my gypsy side, my need to look and feel unique & extraordinary. Whilst one of the designs I felt belonged in my kitchen (I just can’t get my mind around a dress that looks like an apron), all the other designs blew me away! The fabrics are incredible, so unique, just like the designs, and although the styling was more “unique” than I would style them, the beauty was I could see lots of key pieces I could incorporate into my own wardrobe that would not only suit my style, but finally allow me to express it more, as there truly isn’t another label that is coming at fashion from this angle in the plus-size market. The Designers (3 sisters) behind this brand are so fantastic, and I loved how they acknowledged their mum in the front row beaming proudly at them at the end of their segment.

huudaverti

huudaverti

I love the quirkiness of Misty Belvidere, her show made a big impression with bold colours and fun, exciting patterns. This is a brand to watch!

Misty Belvidere

Misty Belvidere

Bombshell Vintage opened with the incredible green emerald dress, I can still see the luxury of the colour and fabric in my mind, and teamed with the gorgeous red tresses of model Suzie with her smooth moves on the catwalk, I was in love! Vintage isn’t my thing, but if it’s yours, you NEED to visit Bombshell Vintage.

Bombshell Vintage

Bombshell Vintage

Harlow, it struck me is a true Melbourne brand as us Melbournites are known for our love of wearing black. Harlow didn’t disappoint with some great styles in black, monochrome and deep reds with some pretty cool accessories.

Harlow

Harlow

Oh my goodness I could just go on forever about each brand that showed on Saturday night, but I just can’t fit it all in!, so here’s of list of the other incredible brands that showed, please show them some love by clicking on the link and subscribing to their mailing lists to stay up to date.

Seraphim, Pho Sizzle, Nyata, Camilla Jayne, Big Blossom PJs, Icelandic Blue, The Professors Daughter

Sonsee Woman made a huge impression too, suddenly out strutted models in their underwear, tights and crop Sonsee T-shirts – full of confidence and fierceness! It was an incredibly empowering segment of the event. I personally own a couple of pairs of Sonsee, and wrote a post about them last winter, if you haven’t tried them yet – get on it! They are the ONLY tights I will ever wear again!

Sonsee Woman

Sonsee Woman

Beyond The Sea, I wish I had seen this range before my recent Bali trip – I would have found my new swimsuit straight away! LOVE that Beyond The Sea not only understands design, but offers fantastic quality fabric in DESIGNS! Yep, not just plain old black. Loved the fun presentation of this brand on the catwalk.

Beyond The Sea

Beyond The Sea

The reaction from the crowd during the show was fantastic, there was clapping, cheering, gasps, squeals, you name it, it kept coming as thick and fast as the realistic models pounding the catwalk. The buzz during the intermission was so great, and the show finished with a bang, with one look from every brand represented on the catwalk which was greeted with thunderous applause. And then it was over. Sigh.

I was lucky enough to head upstairs to the after party where I got to talk some more with the other bloggers, meet some of the models and speak to the designers. It was hard to sleep that night, the buzz of excitement was infectious and kept my mind and body going for hours and hours. Sunday was the Curvy Couture Designer Market at the Collingwood Town Hall where as a Media VIP I got to meet and greet all the designers with a glass of champagne in hand an hour before the general public arrived. I took full advantage of that hour to scoot around and see as many people as possible, I made it half way before the doors opened and the stalls & designers were inundated with people eager to do the same!

The VIP guest for the Runway and Market this year was Tess Holliday, an inspirational woman who has made history this year by being the first plus size model to be signed to Milk Management Agency. Tess was front and centre with her man at the Runway, she was clearly enthralled by the brands on show and hugely supportive. She was so humble and generous, happy to pose with guests for photos and speaking with them. I finally got the chance to say hi to Tess myself at the Market, and I bought one of her fantastic t-shirts with #effyourbeautystandards on it! I wore it for 3 days straight, I just LOVE it and what it stands for. My 11 year old son said to me on Tuesday morning when I pulled it on over my jeans to do the school run “Mum, you really love that t-shirt don’t you!?” LOL

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I think my only criticism (for want of a better word) in relation to this event was that there was no MC. I wanted to hear a welcome, an introduction, someone to work with the excitement and anticipation that was building in the room as we waited for the event to start – to bring it for us and at the end, after the fantastic finale walk by all the models and brands, I wanted someone to thank us for being there, and to tell us to mark our calendars for next years event. That was missing for me.

I’d like to take a moment to congratulate the organisers of this years event, it was fantastic! Congratulations to Jess, Erin, Kate, Teresa & Karyn. I know the huge hours and effort that it takes to pull something like this together, and you should be congratulated. Thank you for raising the visibility of our Australian Designers, for giving them an important platform to showcase to their target market and to the public in general. I just know that this event will go from strength to strength as it is an important vehicle for fashion for curvy women of Australia.

Congratulations to the designers who put in a huge effort to have incredible & show- stopping designs to showcase, for all the long hours you put in to be there all weekend and for being so welcoming and sharing your brand with us. You did us so proud! I hope that you’ve felt the love and pride from all of us, your customers.

BRAVO to the models, the Industry Models from Bella Model Management, and to the street models who worked hard to practise, practise, practise to ensure a smooth performance. It wasn’t just smooth – it was AWESOME!

BUY AUSTRALIAN, SUPPORT AUSTRALIAN, we have so much to offer.

LOVE YOUR SHAPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Janine x

Plus size guide to shopping in Bali

I’m a winter girl, I love to dress in boots and jeans, vests & cardigans, so who would have thought that I’d take to Bali like a fish to water and embracing the sweat that poured off my body day and night in the humid heat?

I first visited Bali in 1989, I was 18 and it was my first overseas holiday alone. Back then Bali looked quite different, Kuta was tiny, a couple of streets of shops and boutiques and the fantastic market by the beach, but apart from that there was very little western about Kuta. I had a great time exploring what was then a very different Kuta. Today Kuta is a place I work hard to avoid, the hustle and bustle and westernisation of the town is just too depressing, and I have to say that I am not too proud of the shenanigans of some Aussie travellers I’ve seen behaving badly and really not in my mind appreciating what Bali has to offer. For our honeymoon in September 2013, Pete and I decided to give Bali a shot and we spent quite a while sifting through information and vetting opinions on where to visit. Ubud was our location of choice, and it’s my new favourite place in the world. The peace & tranquillity, enough tourism/westernisation to be comfortable (read: great cafes with amazing coffee!) but in Ubud and surrounds you get a true sense of the REAL Bali. We loved Bali so much that we booked 3 weeks last June and took our two boys Zac & Jeremy with us for a family holiday, this time though we had a week in Ubud and then 2 weeks Lovina, Northern Bali. That visit was quite different, the north of Bali is spectacular and has minimal tourists, but so much to offer. We all fell in love with Bali all over again. So now that my mum has successfully recovered from stage 3 aggressive breast cancer, I knew it was time for us to have some mother and daughter time, and so off we went together for 8 days in Ubud, we just got back on Monday – it was fantastic! How lucky am I, 3 trips in 2 years.

Bali is a place where you can relax, enjoy and indulge in pampering. We had the most amazing one-hour relaxation massages for a mere AUD$10! Yep, I could have had 11 massages for the same cost as one massage at my local professional massage practitioner. And the quality of the massage was just spot on! We also indulged in a pamper afternoon where we had a one hour facial (clean, exfoliate, honey mask, face/neck massage and moisturising), one hour pedicure and one hour manicure – this 3 hours of pampering totalled AUD$31! In between this we toured Kintamani, the most incredible volcanic area of Mt Batur, the rice paddy terraces, Bali Bird & Reptile Park, lots of countryside and so much more. And then there’s the market stalls, streets and streets and streets of them, offering the most incredible assortment of garments. Unfortunately, as is the case in most of the world, the majority of the clothing is aimed at smaller sizes, usually up to a 12-14. There are styles that are “one size” and are kaftanish, so will fit to up to a size 18-20 but for me I found it difficult to find something amazing – it would fit, but then say it had a high neckline which of course doesn’t suit my body shape. So it was always a challenge. The obvious solution to this is to have things made for me. Just about every second sign you pass says “custom made also available”.  The tailoring industry is just huge, and every town/village has a plethora of women who have their own sewing machines and fabrics and can make or copy just about anything you can throw at them.

This visit, I got smart. I pre-planned what I wanted to have made, and I pre-bought and pre-washed (VERY IMPORTANT!!!) my fabric to take. I bought two cotton/rayon fabrics and some embellishments for the ties that I wanted. I pre-washed in cold water and dried naturally on the line, then ironed the fabric.  (Note: I had another two dresses made once, purchased the fabric from the tailor, and the dresses were made perfectly to size, one wash back home (even in cold water!) and they both shrunk at least one dress size 🙁 so please even if you buy fabric from them, make sure you wash it first before getting your garment made up).AFabric

I decided on a dressmaker, Made, who was located just off the main street of Ubud, she came highly recommended by our driver and friend who has had many years experience helping tourists source services.

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Made’s shop was really neat and clean and she had oodles of beautiful local fabrics. Her smile lights up the room, she is gentle and sweet and “got” exactly what I was after. I gave her two dresses that I had already and asked her to copy them for me. She was a little confused when I presented her with the embellishments I wanted for the ties on the dresses, but once I cut them off the twine they are sold on and explained she got it, and the dresses were exactly as I’d asked.

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Didn’t I say I’m a boots & cardigan kinda girl?! These dresses are perfect for dressing any season, summer with sandals and winter with boots & cardigans. LOVE

And here’s the dress on it’s own for summer

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So the total cost for these to be made was a mere AUD$65, that was for 3 dresses! (There’s a 3rd one in cheesecloth, but I didn’t photograph it). Bargain.

Don’t forget if you’re lucky enough to find something in the markets that is “almost” right for you, and a simple change would make it “perfect”, consider buying the garment and having it altered at a local tailor/dressmaker. It will cost the smallest amount to do this and you’ll have exactly what you want.

Now as I mentioned I am a huge boot lover. About 4 years ago when Pergoni Boots came onto the Australian Market I had a launch party and bought myself the most amazing pair of boots EVER. They were called the Jessica Boots, they were perfectly tapered to my leg, wide-calf and just bloody brilliant. I begged the girls at Pergoni to repeat the style, but alas they could no longer produce that style 🙁 So, because I couldn’t bare to throw them out, I wore them literally to death! Here’s what they looked like when I dragged them in my suitcase to Bali:

ABootsBeforeABootSoleBeforeYep, Ipretty worn out right?! I asked around when we arrived in Ubud, and so did our friend Made, and then he heard about Ardy, apparently the best in Ubud. So off we went, my pathetic worn boots in hand. Ardy was so welcoming, he sat me down, had a good look at the boots (which incidentally weren’t leather) and presented me with a huge bundle of leather swatches and said “choose colours”.  WOW! Seriously there were like about 30 different options. I had my heart set on brown and black, so I picked the (fingers crossed) just right brown and black. Ardy then went on to show me some examples in his shop of sole options, I opted for rubber non-slip. We bartered on price and agreed on the delivery time, 4 days time. I left the store feeling positive but a little anxious, as you just never know what to expect.  Four days later I arrived to pick up my boots. I entered the store to be welcomed by a huge smile and a very proud Ardy handing over his handy work. WOW WOW WOW, I was absolutely floored – they are stunning. The leather is just beautiful, the detail and finish, second to none, in fact, dare I say it, they were even better than the originals!

ABootsSolesNEWABrownBootsSitting aSo, for 2 pairs of premium leather, beautifully handmade boots, I paid AUD$170. Yep AUD$170. I’m so thrilled it’s ridiculous, and I’m just a bit pleased too that the weather has cooled down in Melbourne now, so I can wear them!! Hooray!

AArdyHIGHLY Recommend you get in touch with Ardy, I’ve seen other copies of boots and they just don’t compare to the workmanship and leather quality that I got here. Ardy can take orders via email or phone and can ship express to Australia for around AUD$30. Please tell him I sent you.

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 TIPS for shopping in Bali:

Barter! It’s expected. There are many fixed-price stores in the towns, usually upmarket boutiques or galleries where the prices are fixed. But the street vendors, markets and many market type stalls around the streets are all expecting you to barter. I’ve found from experience that what works best is to take the first price the vendor gives you, and drop your first price in the negotiation down to less than a third (yes less than a 1/3!!). Don’t be afraid, it’s an art to negotiate and quite fun. For example a sarong should cost you approx. AUD$5 (IDR 50,000) in the markets and street stalls. The vendor will say IDR150,000, to which you say “no, my best price is IDR 35,000”, to which they’ll respond “no no, too low. I give you special morning price, IDR 70,000”. “No! My best price IDR50,000”, to which you’ll normally get a response “ok, ok, IDR50,000, special good luck price for you”!  The other guide is to be aware that they will never not want to sell you the product, so if you refuse to go higher after a few minutes of back and forth, then you can be sure that the price you are offering is too close to their wholesale buy price, and they literally can’t sell it for that price. It can be quite tricky, especially if you’re new to the prices, but after a few goes you’ll get the hang of it.

Try to pay with Exact Money. I’ve been caught out a few times, gone through the bartering process, agreed on the price, let’s say IDR40,000 for this example, tendered IDR50,000 only to be told that they don’t have change! Then it becomes uncomfortable as you insist on your change. This has only happened a few times, but I try to keep the notes broken up into denominations to avoid any added stress.

Speak their language. It’s pretty simple really, I’ve travelled extensively over my lifetime, and it’s been my belief that when visiting another country it’s only polite to be aware of their laws & customs, AND to have a few simple words in their own language to show your respect. It’s appreciated by the Balinese and will always raise a big smile.

Good Morning        Selamat Pagi

Good Afternoon     Selamat Sore

Good Evening       Selamat Malam

Thank you             Terima Kasih

No thank you         Tidak, terima kasih

You’re Welcome    Sama Sama

Be Clear. When arranging to have something made, ensure that you are extremely clear with instructions to avoid disappointment. I’ve found most people in business speak reasonable English and understand well, but I’ve also benefited from the help of our trusted friend and driver assisting with any instructions.

Don’t be Insulted. It’s important to realise that in Bali the culture is quite different. I saw one poor girl in tears after a market stallholder was trying to be helpful and yelled out “I’ve got big size for you”. Truthfully, they are just trying to be helpful, not hurtful. It’s not unusual to hear “I’ve got big sizes for you”, “Dress will fit you miss” etc. Just take it in the tone it’s meant, to try to sell you something and smile 🙂

Keep your sarong handy.  In Bali to enter a temple you need to wear a sarong. The markets are full of options in beautiful fabrics and you can expect to pay around AUD$5 for a sarong. Make sure you have it with you at all times as you just never know when you’ll want to visit a temple where you’ll need it. I also found (just like in Australia) that most spa’s don’t offer gowns that are large enough and this can often lead to embarrassment. A sarong is a great option as you can just wrap it around and tie it in so many ways!

OTHER PLUS SIZE OPTIONS IN BALI

There’s a huge list of stores that specialise in plus-size in Bali. There are three that I particularly like and recommend:

Goddess on the Go – 2 stores in Ubud and 1 in Sanur

This store specialises in eco-chic fashion for goddesses petit to plus-size! There’s a huge range to choose from and some gorgeous accessories too. All of the garments are high quality and are lightweight easy to wash & wear. They go up to a 3XL (around a 24-26 but I found a lot of styles could fit slightly larger too). Click on the link above for the website and the image for facebook page.

AGoddessOnTheGo

Ketut’s Fixed Price – Last shop on Gang Sorga off Jl Sahadewa (Garlic Lane), in Kuta. It’s the 1st lane on the right after turning in from Jl Melasti. Ketut doesn’t have a facebook page or website! But it well worth the visit. Ketut has literally hundreds of options. Her store isn’t anything special to look at, but it’s seriously a treasure trove, she’s a warm and friendly lady who is passionate about offering plus-size options. Her dresses are between AUD$5 and AUD$10 each and you just have to say hello and ask and she’ll pull out bags and bags of options and take you around to a side lane where she has another mass of options hanging up to look at. Ketut goes up to a 4XL (26-28) and you will find a lot of same or similar styles to what’s available in all the markets around Bali. Please tell her I sent you x

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Divine Diva – This store is just Ace! It’s located in Seminyak and they specialise in resort wear. They export worldwide but the boutique is just lovely, nice and cool inside (with a comfy chair for your travelling companion to wait). You’ll find it at Jl Laksamana No.1, Oberoi in Seminyak. They stock up to a 3XL (24-26) and fit to a larger size in some styles.

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There are a host of other options too, but this blog post is getting so long! I’ll save that for another time. Feel free to share your experiences with us all by commenting below. Oh and if you’re heading to Bali let me know as I would highly recommend our driver Made who has become a family friend and just makes the visit that much more special and I’d love to ensure yours is too.

Enjoy – Selamat Menikmati

Love your shape!

Janine x

Realistic & identifiable marketing for plus-size brands…

Every Friday my inbox gets inundated with marketing from plus-size brands advertising their new stock or current sale. Every Friday, I have the same thought when I double click to open the email – why are the marketing gurus of these brands so determined to continue to market their wares incorrectly?

Over the past six years of working with curvy customers, I am constantly asked about why Industry models that are size 14 are considered plus-size? When from many plus-size customers’ perspective a size 14 is an average size and probably doesn’t even fall into a plus-size category. To be honest I find it completely frustrating too. In my Real Women Australia Plus Size Survey 2010, I polled 100 women and 100% of respondents answered YES to the question, “Would you like to see plus size models, larger than a size 12 in campaigns, advertisements and marketing of plus-size products?” and interestingly, many also went on to elaborate in the “comments” section about why this bothered them so much.

I’ve tried my hardest every time I get an opportunity to get in the ear of a plus-size brands’ management or marketing representative and my pitch has always been this…

Present each garment on two types of body shapes – giving the target customer an opportunity to identify with the garment and visualise how it might look on her own figure. More specifically, go ahead and continue to use your Industry “plus size” model, and add in another model – preferably around a size 20 plus, with perhaps say an apple figure and/or a variant such as shorter, small busted etc. Let’s face it, if your target market is women size 14-26, and your garments are designed to flatter curves, why market such a garment on a model with minimal curves?

I just don’t understand it. From my perspective it’s a basic principle of marketing to identify your target market and appeal to their needs to get their attention and more importantly ensure sale of your product! By continuing to market your product incorrectly, you are not only irritating your target market, but you are impeding your opportunity to prove to your market that you understand their needs. Again, a basic principal of marketing. It’s not rocket science.

There is much debate across the globe around the term “plus-size model”.  Laura Wells, a well-known Australian plus-size model who is an AU size 14, was quoted in this article about being referred to as a “plus size’ model in the modelling industry that “I am between 3-6 sizes larger than a normal, industry standard model.” “The term is there as a job title. But in reality, in the real world, I’m not a plus-sized person. That’s where the confusion comes about. It has a lot of negative connotations attached to that word. People don’t look at my body and think I’m plus sized. They think that I’m normal, because I am. I’m an average sized person.”

Robyn Lawley, arguably the most famous Australian “plus-size model” and designer in her own right, speaks openly here in an interview about her struggle to find work as an AU size 14-16, of how she was “embarrassingly sent home constantly” and grew to hate her figure before she learnt to embrace her shape regardless of the Industry standards. Her struggle relates to living up to the standards of the traditional Modelling Industry.

Indeed, two agencies, Bella Models and BGM Models have revolutionised the Industry by providing models over a standard size 10 to the Fashion Industry as a whole. Their models are beautiful and do an amazing job, and I fully support and admire the shift that they’ve been able to create in not only the Fashion Industry, but overall as to the acceptance of larger bodies being “normal” in print media and advertising.

Plus-size modelling however is quite different to plus-size womens’ bodies in general. The criteria for becoming a plus-size model is usually that you need to be between a size 10-18, aged between 16-35 and 172cms or above.

Curvy Revolution OIn 2009, I decided to test the waters and founded Curvy Revolution, an agency representing exclusively size 16+ women. Here’s a summary of what I promoted:

Our Philosophy

You can be the most beautiful woman in the world, but if you don’t have a positive body image and REAL body acceptance, that attitude projects through the lens… all our models are vetted for not only their unique physical beauty, but most importantly their attitude to their own bodies… thus they are beautiful both inside AND out.

Our Mission

  • To represent realistic, plus-size figured models that women can really identify with.
  • To promote positive body image, a healthy life-style and body acceptance in all women, regardless of size.
  • To break the mould of female model representation in Australia.

What is a Curvy Revolution Model?

  • She projects positive body image and has a REAL body acceptance.
  • She leads a healthy lifestyle.
  • She is beautiful both inside and out.
  • She is not robotic, but understands the importance of technical accuracy & training.
  • She is passionate about breaking the mould and pioneering a change in model representation.
  • She believes in REAL representation of plus-size clothing.
  • She believes she is deserving of making the MOST of who she is TODAY regardless of size.

What are the basic physical requirements of a Curvy Revolution Model?

  • Size 16+ figure
  • Fluid & confident body movement
  • Good posture
  • Clear Skin
  • Even, healthy teeth
  • Healthy, well cared for nails
  • Great smile
  • Open and clear eyes
  • Healthy and well-cut hair (no roots showing please)
  • Well groomed eyebrows

I was absolutely INUNDATED with applications, not just from Australia but from around the world. I didn’t have to work too hard to convince some brands to come on board and try us out. Now whilst I admit that my Curvy Revolution girls were not professional models, they were very passionate and dedicated to what we were trying to achieve, after all, they were the customer too, and believed just as much as did in what I was trying to achieve. They worked so hard, sometimes pro-bono just to get our work out there and prove a point. We proudly worked with brands such as Plus Maternity, Lisa’s Lacies, Fashion Exposed 2010, Plus Size with Style, Big in Black, Tekiero Boutique, Work, Rest & Play, Hope & Harvest, Mineo Bridal, Sequins & Sands, Capriosca Swimwear and Maggie T.

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In 2009 I ran a fundraising event for the Girl’s Night In where over 75 women attended. The format was a catwalk event promoting local plus-size retailers. The models varied from a size 16 to a size 24, and Kate was a size 18-20 and 7 months pregnant! It was sensational, the vibe overwhelmingly positive. The Curvy Revolution ladies and I received a standing ovation and I was inundated with feedback:

  • Every-body was represented, I’ve never seen that before, I loved it!”
  • “The models were incredible, so professional”
  • “I was so inspired to see a size 24 body shimmy down a runway – it was awesome!”
  • “I loved being able to meet the models afterwards and shop with the retailers, I wanted to buy everything after seeing the clothes on a body I could identify with”

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The momentum was building and the response was so encouraging. In 2010 I was rewarded with the news that I had been named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Melbourne by The Age M Magazine, I was so proud and so hopeful that this acknowledgement would help drive the expanding of boundaries and encourage a broader range of realistic and identifiable representation that would include bodies over the standard size 16.

I’ve stood behind and publically supported some great achievements such as TS14+ who are regularly featured at the annual Melbourne Fashion Festival with their own catwalk show, and City Chic who had an incredible reception with their Sidewalk catwalk show also at the Melbourne Fashion Festival where some of the Curvy Revolution models and some of my customers met me in Federation Square to support the show.

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Alas, all the hard work and dedication from myself and my team of Curvy Revolution models, and committed Industry businesses who saw the vision, and supported us was just not enough. I could no longer maintain the work pace without a sustainable income and I had to close the doors in late 2011.

I have however never faltered in my quest to impress upon the Industry the importance of effective marketing and encouraging the use of realistic & identifiable bodies.

“This is not only my own opinion,  but my voice echoing the thoughts of the vast majority of my customer base” Janine Mison, Love your shape!

With the explosion of the Blog Culture, we can now easily google plus-size blogs and see copious amounts of posts of images of everyday women off the street sharing their outfits and clothing recommendations with other like-bodied women. It’s become a lot easier to source information and more importantly to view images instantly. Danimezza founded Aussie Curves, one of the original Facebook closed groups where like-bodied, like-minded women could share information, offer support and so much more. This has spawned a huge number of similar groups and all of these resources help to add value to us the customer, and assist us with deciding on our purchases and styling our outfits. It’s never been easier in fact.

Just last week US blogger and well known plus-size identity Jessica Kane posted this image showing an outfit on an Industry Model AND the same outfit on her own US size 26 figure entitled “But what would it look like on me?” – she gets it!

Jessica Kane

In fact, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

I started to look around and take a bit of an inventory of brands that do in fact use larger than a size 16 Industry model… Hope & Harvest and Sonsee Woman sprang up immediately, but then I was really having trouble finding anyone else?!

Now of course in the past, I’ve spoken in detail about the pros and cons of this with brands. I’ve been told many, many times in the past that the key issue with shooting catalogues and campigns in larger than an AU 14-16 is that the “Samples” – which are the garments that are the final approved version – are sent to the Brand to be photographed for marketing purposes usually prior to the actual stock arriving and being available to the customer. Of course there is quite a lengthy process to photograph the range and then convert that into a marketing campaign (sometimes this can be months in the making). I’ve also been told that to change the sample size of the standard AU 14 (in most major brands case), to anything different would involve “Significant cost” to the business and is just not viable. So there you have it, that’s that.

Except I’m not willing to accept that as the answer.

You see, I’m a firm believer that if we could in fact motivate brands to move outside the standard marketing campaigns we’re currently seeing, we could in fact see a major shift in the buying habits of plus-size customers. With online shopping also being a huge influence on how people shop, this is even more important, because is most cases purchasing online involves not seeing the garment beforehand and more and more of us are relying on our trusty bloggers, instagrammers and Facebook resources to make decisions.

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So I’ve been thinking more and more about this, and I thought I’d ask the question of a colleague of mine, Harvest, head designer at Hope & Harvest, here’s what she had to say:

Janine:                  How do you choose a model for your campaigns?

Harvest:  

“When I’m deciding how to market a season campaign I look for “the person”, not the size. I want to represent the garments in a realistic way, and this translates into our sample size for that campaign being made based on the model. For example, with Katerina who is an Australian size 20-22 we sampled that season in a size L (20-22) and shot the range on her. However, when dealing with Industry partners we are still asked to send our standard size which is generally a 12-14 for our stock that will be promoted via their sites. For us, it serves us well as then we have images of both ends of the scale represented online, and we find this helps our customer identify with our garment and how it will look on their own figure”.

Janine:                  So you’re flexible with which size you sample your garments in?

Harvest:

“This doubles up the cost of our samples but because of this at least all women at both ends of the spectrum can see what our garments would look like on themselves, not having to use their imagination to guess! We see the added cost as a reasonable expense as it serves our customer well, and that’s our focus”.

Janine:                  Do you ever get feedback about your choice of models?

Harvest:

“OMG absolutely, Katerina & Suzie have a growing fanbase, the customer loves that we try to represent all types, body shapes, large/small busted, tall/short etc. We get nothing but positive feedback, so that reinforces to us that we’re on the right track for what our customer is wanting from us”.

Sonsee Woman is another brand that springs to mind whose advertising just tells me everything I need to know without having to look too hard. It’s right there in front of you, don’t you agree? Can you identify? See what I mean?

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This image sends me the message IMMEDIATELY that they UNDERSTAND what I’m looking for, that they understand me, their target customer. I have them committed to memory as a GO TO brand when I’m looking for hosiery. FULL STOP.

In a few weeks time, I’m off to attend the Curvy Couture Roadshow being hosted in Melbourne. This event is something close to my heart as about 4 years ago my good friend Erika and I put our heads together and invested a lot of time and money trying to get a similar idea off the ground. Our event was promoted as Real Women Revolution (those of you who’ve been following me a while will remember), we made quite a hit and got lots of press interest, in fact, we also got a lot of Industry interest as well as from the target customer, Australian women size 16+. Erika and I went from phone, to shop, to warehouse to boardroom all around the country and we talked until we were blue in the face. After 6 months of hard yacka and an encouraging amount of verbal support from the Industry, we were devastated that when it became time to put their money where their verbal agreement was, it didn’t translate. We had to shelve our idea. This hurt…it hurt really bad. My followers were devastated, we were devastated, many in the Industry were devastated as they could see the value in what we were trying to achieve but we just couldn’t get the dollar support we needed from sponsorship. So it was with great surprise and a lot of pride last year when I heard that the girls at Curvy Couture Roadshow which began in Perth in 2013, hit with a bang with their first Melbourne Event. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it as I was overseas at the time, but this year I’ll be there with bells on! They get it! They will be using a mixture of professional Industry models from Bella Models and Melbourne women trained by Bella to realistically & identifiably represent garments on the runway – they get it! – I LOVE IT! I hope to see you there.

A lot has changed over the past 6 years, and it’s very encouraging. Just over a week ago the gorgeous Tess Munster, a fashion model got a contract with UK modeling agency Milk Management. Standing at 5 feet 5 inches and wearing a size 22, this gorgeous lady is the first of her height and size to model for a major agency. HOORAY!

Ok so it’s in my nature to push those boundaries a little harder with putting this post together, and at the risk of rattling a few cages, I’m happy if that results in another shift, no matter how small.

Feel free to post your comments below, I always love to hear from you.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Melbourne Peeps – join me for some curvy yoga?

I find exercise a chore. There you go, I said it out loud…I know I shouldn’t, I DO exercise, but I seem to go in spits & spurts of committed exercising. I enjoy walking, dancing, bike riding and so much more, but when it comes to doing something regularly my mind always dreams of Yoga, Pilates or Zumba.

I’ve been procrastinating about these things for too long. You see, I have a knee injury (2 operations later 🙁 ) and it has fuelled my fear of injuring myself further, and my mobility is something I value highly.

A little while ago I started asking around my curvy friends and colleagues about what sort of exercise they do or don’t do, and about what motivates or stops them from exercising. There was a mixed response including fear, injury or lack of a buddy to do it with, as well as a host of ladies who DO regularly exercise and attend classes or a gym, and would love to expand their range further. By far the biggest response was that when it came to a gym, or regular class, nearly all of them wanted to attend, but felt too intimidated by a room of non-curvy members. Some even went so far as to say that they have given up exercising as they felt judged by others for even attempting to exercise. (VERY SAD FACE 🙁 ).

I’m not one to worry too much about others in a room, I love to loose myself in music, and find that if I’m exercising with music I don’t notice much of what’s going on around me. But speaking to so many other curvy ladies, I know that being in a room full of women dressed in Lorna Jane is a little confronting and overwhelming.

So I decided, it’s time to lead by example, conquering my own fear, might help someone else conquer their fear.

Body Positive Australia Logo

Sarah Body Positive Yoga

Enter, Sarah from Body Positive Australia. I’ve been following her for a while now, and we recently got in touch and talked about this exact topic. Sarah holds Curvy Yoga classes in her studio in Ashburton, Vic and after a very inspiring and encouraging discussion with Sarah where she dispelled all the myths and concerns (read: fears!) I had about my knee hindering my ability to do yoga, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and GO FOR IT.

I’ll be attending my 1st class ever on Wednesday 4th March 2015 at 8:00pm. Sarah’s offering an 8 week introduction course.

I’d LOVE it if you would join me? Go for it, bite the bullet too, get in early make the resolution today to move past your fear and TRY. I did, and I feel better already 🙂

I recently ran a competition via Facebook for a chance to win a 5 class free pass to attend courtesy of Sarah, I asked you to write in 200 words or less about your exercising phobias or successes, I received some amazing entries, but this one from Kate stood out, here’s her entry:

I’m so close to falling in love with my body all over again. I love my heart that is full of compassion. I love my brain, full of both silliness and wisdom. I like my legs, they are strong and take me to beautiful places. I like my arms, they allow me to hold the people I love. I like my big bottom that gives me a soft place to rest. I like my  tummy, a soft pillow for my cats. But I yearn to love my body, not just celebrate their respective parts and tasks. To find my curves, my heart, my wisdom and my body, whole. In yoga.

Kate

I look forward to seeing you on the yoga mat!

Love your shape!

Janine x