4 articles Tag fat

The Realities of Being Fat and Pregnant

A couple of weeks ago, I read a viral Facebook post about a pregnant woman who’d been fat shamed after posting a series of photos online that she’d had taken of her and her bump. The story was then picked up by the Huffington Post after the woman was asked to take part in “The Honest Body Project”, a photo series which gives an honest look at women’s bodies.

The whole story was something which really resonated with me. Brittany Dykstra, the woman in the photos said “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and just last week I had maternity pictures taken to celebrate this horrible, but beautiful pregnancy. For the first time in about 35 weeks I felt beautiful, and was so excited to share this moment with my friends and family.”

She goes on to say “Later that day we got the sneak peak pictures back and I posted them on Facebook thinking my friends and family would think I was beautiful and would love them, however that wasn’t the case. All I received were negative comments about how huge I am, about how unhealthy I am, and about how they think my baby is going to be a 10 to 12 pound baby by the looks of how much I weigh. I literally went in the bathroom and cried for hours. It’s so hard being plus size, pregnant, sick, and getting negative comments about the way I look. If I’m happy and accepting of my body, why can’t everyone else just be happy for me?!”

Before I fell pregnant with Sausage, I wasn’t huge, probably around 12st, so a little overweight for my 5’4″ height, but not horrendously so as I have a large frame and huge boobs which tends to mean even at a ‘healthy’ body shape, I’m a little over what BMI charts say I should be. I gained a lot of weight during that pregnancy; for the first 4 months, I could barely eat anything at all and actually lost weight because of hyperemesis gravidarum. Then I developed gestational diabetes and despite trying to eat a low GI diet, the weight piled on. Once I’d given birth, I was in a cycle of depression and PTSD which meant that I never lost the baby weight and by the time I fell pregnant with Burrito Baby 5 years later, I was pushing 14 and a half stone.

I’d had every intention of losing the weight BEFORE getting pregnant again, especially as I was already diabetic, but I fell pregnant a lot quicker than I thought I would after having my implant removed, which meant dealing with pregnancy with a much higher starting weight than I would have liked. Like Brittany, once I reached a certain point in my pregnancy, I also felt a little more body-confident; my shape was suddenly defined by the life growing inside of me, not the amount of biscuits I ate, and while I wasn’t about to post photos of myself in lingerie on Facebook, I totally understand whet she meant about feeling beautiful for the first time in a long time.

According to the story, Dykstra started receiving abuse from family and friends regarding her weight, although no examples are given and I can’t help but wonder how much of this “abuse” was unwanted but well-meaning concern for her obvious weight problem. Because, while I am against the idea of ‘fat-shaming’ (lets face it, us fatties do tend to KNOW we’re fat, we don’t need to be constantly reminded), I do think it’s deluded to think that being overweight doesn’t cause health problems, especially during pregnancy. Being “happy” with your body is one thing, but being aware of health ramifications is also hugely important.

On a medical level, obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infection, problems during labour, increased birth weight, birth defects, babies with a high birth weight and even miscarriage. This isn’t about ‘fat shaming’ or ‘thin privilege’ – these are REAL risks, caused by being overweight.

On a personal level, I definitely found that being overweight during pregnancy adversely affected me. Hauling around a giant bump AND a giant body was genuinely exhausting and I honestly think my SPD and mobility would have been slightly better had I not been putting so much pressure on my pelvis with my excess weight (although and friend of mine, who is very slim, also had SPD, probably worse than my own, so I’m not saying obesity is a cause or necessarily means I suffered more, just that I don’t think it helped at all).

I’m not saying that Brittany Dykstra deserved to be abused for being overweight, nor am I saying that she deserved to feel any less beautiful than other pregnant women who enjoy the glow of carrying a child, but tip-toeing around the issue of obesity isn’t right either. Lots of women get pregnant at a less than ideal time of their lives and I’m sure that, given the choice, women would always choose to be in peak health when conceiving but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The thing is, weight is such a hot-button issue for most people. I know I’ve taken offense, even from medical professionals who’ve tried to talk to me about being overweight. It’s one of those things that people are hugely sensitive about because it’s so closely tied to their self-esteem, so choosing a moment where a mother-to-be is feeling good about herself to give her a lecture isn’t the best timing, not to mention the fact that she probably already KNOWS the issues AND has a team of health professionals telling her the same thing, but that doesn’t alter the fact that being fat and pregnant can be a problem, so it’s not simply a case of whether a person is happy with their weight.

What do you think? Are people overstepping the mark by expressing concern for her? Have you experienced pregnancy as an overweight person? I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences because this whole story has obviously struck a chord with me.

Are We Fat Because of the Weather?

Exercising in the SunshineFor the last couple of days, Husband and I have been getting out on our bikes for a few hours. In fact, in the last 2 days, we’ve ridden 23 miles, which is a piffling amount for my Husband, who’s a lifelong cyclist, but it’s a huge achievement for me, someone who’s been on a bike probably twice in the past ten years. Sure, I feel a bit like I’ve been repeatedly kicked in the perineum, but I’ve discovered that I actually really love cycling. Yesterday, we rode to Belfairs Woods and around the dirt track and I was knackered beaming by the end of it.

On our rides, I’ve noticed a lot more people out and about, exercising and enjoying themselves. Yesterday, we saw joggers, walkers, cyclists, even a whole bunch of kids taking advantage of the number of free tennis courts that we have around our area. Everyone seemed happy to be out in the sun and their energy levels were infectious. I couldn’t help but wonder if the reason that everyone was engaging in healthier activities was the fact that the sun was shining?

You have to admit, here in the UK, our weather can be appalling – this latest spate of good weather has only just sprung itself upon us after one of the worst winters on record and there’s no denying that cold, wet weather makes us all want to hibernate. When the weather is rubbish, we all like to stay indoors and indulge in comfort food and it’s infinitely harder to find the motivation to exercise.

When your house is warm and cosy, the thought of pulling on your running shoes and pounding the pavements in the cold drizzle is wholly unappealing. The other issue is the fact that we run out of daylight hours before we get a chance to exercise. Anyone who works 9-5 will spend the majority of daylight at work and running in the dark is not my idea of fun (or safety). So, the other option is a gym subscription, but even our local council run gym is now over £40 a month for a basic membership, which is out of a lot of people’s budgets.

Having said all of that, I looked into the statistics and was surprised by what I found. According to the latest data, 61.3% or UK adults are classified as overweight or obese, which is shockingly high, but by the same token 60% of Australian adults are also in the overweight or obese category, which goes to show that there are definitely other factors at work.

Obviously, I can’t blame the fact that I’m fat entirely on the weather, but all I know is this: I have been so much happier exercising in the sunshine this past week and I don’t seem to be the only one. Would we all live more active lifestyles if we had year-round sun?

What about you? Are you more active in the sunshine? Are you a gym bunny all year round or do you hibernate like me? Leave me a comment below.

Healthy Size?

I’ve been vocal in the past about my problems with my weight (for explanation of said problems, refer to this simple formula: Lazier than a sloth + Appetite of a blue whale = Arse like a hippo). Husband says I’m too hard on myself and that my self-criticism is too much, especially around Sausage, but I just like to think that I’m realistic. I can’t bear it when people who are overweight claim that the have no idea why they’re overweight. It makes me want to shout. It’s not difficult, if you eat too much and don’t move enough, you WILL GET FAT. That’s not to say that I judge people for being fat. I’m fat, I’m just not claiming to be in the dark about how I got here.

While I was out shopping today, rummaging through the sale rail in New Look, I heard a voice say “Excuse me, have you got this in a healthy size?”. I turned around to see a lady of about my age, probably about 6′ tall and clearly on the higher end of the plus size section. The sales assisstant asked her to repeat herself and she said again “Have you got this in a healthy size? You know, a size to fit a lady like me?”

Now, while I salute people for having confidence and self-love, I think this is actually very destructive. This woman was obviously very confident and happy in her own skin, but who in the world told her that being fat was healthy? There’s nothing wrong with being overweight, if you know the risks involved, just like smoking, drinking, etc. You’re an adult. If you want to fuck up your lungs/liver/pancreas, go right ahead, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that this is a healthy way to be.

I don’t think this woman should be criticized for being happy to be overweight, but this message that you can be fat and healthy at the same time is just downright wrong and quite frankly, dangerous.

As Sausage grows up, I’ll be encouraging to love herself for who she is and to be happy with her appearance, but I certainly won’t be teaching her that it’s okay to be fat. While I’d never want her to suffer the perpetual cycle of dieting that so many women live by, shouldn’t we be teaching our kids what healthy actually means?

What do you think?

Small Steps…

This is obviously not me....but it will be one day.

So, I’m not going to do what I’ve done before. I won’t put my vital statistics out here for all to see, it’s not productive so it’s pointless. But today, I made a small step toward my goal. I used our new treadmill for the first time, and not only did I do 15 minutes of brisk walking, but I did 5 whole minutes of actual jogging. Now, I’m sure all of you healthy, amazing people who run 5km every day are scoffing at my minor burst of energy, but this is a big deal to me. I am totally unfit, and I surprised myself by even managing to jog for five minutes, I thought I’d manage about 2 before my lungs exploded, but once I found my stride it was easier than I thought it would be.

I also wore my Zaggora HotPants for the first time and I noticed more than one benefit. Aside from the fact, and I’m sorry to have to share this, but I definitely, *ahem* sweated more in the areas that the HotPants covered, which just shows that the fat and cellulite burning magic is in action, one of the other things I liked is that they seem to hold everything in. If you’ve ever been overweight and tried to exercise, you’ll do that there’s an unpleasant and off-putting jiggle that tends to happen if you go over a gentle canter, but the HotPants really eliminated this and gave me the confidence to go for it.

Oh, and a little tip? The HotPants have very specific washing instructions, but if you take them in the shower with you after your workout, turn them inside out and rinse them out with some mild shampoo, then hang them over the shower curtain rail it makes keeping them clean super simple (That’s not endorsed by Zaggora by the way, just my own tip, I’ll probably find out that I’m perishing the material by doing that, when my hulking great ass bursts out of the seams, mid-workout!).

I’m hoping this is the start of something good, and you never know, if I start to see decent results I may just share my new stats with you! (Oh, and if you want some HotPants for yourself, I have a voucher for anyone who wants it giving you 10% off, just comment below and let me know)