Not so wonderful world of fitspo…

 

Fitspo, short for fitspiration has been flooding our social media sites for years now. In attempts to disguise weight loss as promoting thinness it instead fills our feeds with much “healthier” toned and slender athletic bodies. #StrongNotSkinny.

Fitspo is just another damaging movement that is triggering obsessive behavior and creating another narrow body ideal, that is unachievable for most people. They claim to promote strong not skinny bodies yet all those bodies pictured are slim. So what they really mean is “strong and skinny is the new skinny”. So now you don’t have to just worry about your dress size you also need to worry about your muscle definition. They use images of slim toned bodies with quotes overlaid such as “excuses don’t burn calories”, “sore is the new sexy”, “its easier to get up and work out every day than it is to look in the mirror each day and not like what you see”. Just a few of many, damaging and dehumanizing statements from the fitspo community. Fitspo claims to promote a new ‘healthy lifestyle’ rather than dieting, and suggests to be all about self love, while still promoting the idea of weight loss as the only way to achieve self love. Below every insta picture we can guarantee you’ll see hashtags such as; #fitspiration, #fitspo, #strongnotskinny, #weightloss, #fitfam, #noexcuses #thesweatlife. With no worry for the mental health of the people viewing the images and “motivational” quotes. They’re just peddling another unrealistic body shape that is not achievable by the majority of the population, leaving them feeling shit about themselves even more.

Fitspo accounts have also been creeping their selves into the bopo movement and you may wonder if you can be fit and exercise whilst being body positive? The answer is yes, however not fitspo. You cannot claim to be body positive and still hashtag strongnotskinny, therefore shaming people who are skinny but not muscular. You cannot promote weightloss and “clean” eating in attempts to motivate others into doing the same. That is not body positive. Nor is it taking into consideration ED recoveries and the fact your content could be a trigger for them.

Artist credit- Frances Cannon
“There’s no excuse to not exercise”

What about those individuals with disabilities or illness which prevents them from exercising? Those who have struggled/are struggling with eating disorders and exercise addiction who don’t workout to protect their mental health? Or those who simply lead a sedentary lifestyle by choice, everyone is worthy of self love regardless.

Exercise should be for enjoyment and a choice which is no ones business but their own and they shouldn’t be ridiculed for this.

Exercise should not be used as a punishment for not eating ‘clean’ or missing a workout. You should focus on the feeling exercise brings you such as; feeling of accomplishment, endorphin rush, stress relief, improved sleep, improved stamina and new found strength. Respect your body and its limitations, scrap the “no pain no gain” mantra. Stop comparing yourself to others capabilities, there’s no shame in going at your own pace. Your mental health is more important than your physical fitness level.

Fitspo is full of weightloss pages of people sharing their stories, side by side pictures comparing their body before weight loss to their new strong and skinny body, telling others that they must also lose weight to be happy and accepted in society. However, it should be noted that it is not an individuals fault for believing in the fitspo industry. We have already been taught we must be skinny to be successful and with the added requirement of also being strong, it only makes it more difficult for people to be happy with their bodies as they are. Again just another way for businesses to make money off insecurities they have told us we should have. Continuous amounts of people becoming online coaches getting a profit from selling diet supplements and work out programmers by telling people “today is the first day of the rest of your life”. Stop buying into this! They are sale people and their aim is making money, they’re clever about how they attract people and will target those who aren’t happy with their bodies as they know they will do anything to look like the people in those pictures. Including spending ridiculous amounts of money and putting themselves in danger. Diet pills, detox teas and protein powders are the new necessity for being ‘beach body ready’, and without spending all your money on this crap how would you ever get the perfect body?


Spoiler alert: the truth is you have the perfect body. You don’t have to restrict your meals or force yourself to workout for hours every day to have the perfect body, as much as the diet industry would like you to believe. Adding the need to be strong and muscular to your weight loss doesn’t make it healthy or a lifestyle change, it is just as damaging an idea as dieting is. So why not just ditch the bollocks and be happy with your body exactly how it is. Appreciate all the things that your body and mind allow you to do right now, rather than focusing on pushing your body to extremes for the purposes of fitting an unachievable ideal. No matter what your abilities are your body is amazing and it certainly doesn’t need constant criticism for simply doing its best to keep you alive.


Remember to be your on best friend, you do not need anyone or anything to approve your worth, the only approval and validation you need is your own!

All our love, CP and SJ x

OOTD: MOM JEANS

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Since becoming body positive we have tried to venture out into new styles and wear clothes we wouldn’t have dared to before. Without throwing ourselves too much in the deep end, we decided to give mom jeans a try and we fell in love. They’re comfortable and easy to style and we’ve loved styling outfits with them.
Something that we’ve been afraid of showing for a long time is our lower stomach. Always seen it to be so ugly and disgusting to have that extra flab hanging over so would cover it under long tops, flowy dresses or baggy jumpers. God forbid anyone would see the “muffin top”. Being confident in the body that we have has allowed us to accept all the parts of us that we have been taught to consider as flaws. We always loved this style in jeans on other people but never thought we could pull them off. Turns out we look fab in them!

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Savannah:

Top – Keep It Bright

Jeans – Yours

Blazer – Topshop (similar linked)

Bag – Faith (similar linked)

Shoes – Converse

In my new mom jeans my big belly roll is on show for all the world to see and I couldn’t care less. It would have made me so uncomfortable just last year but now I’ll happily tuck my top into the jeans and show off my fab and flab belly.

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Courtney:

Jeans – ASOS

Top – ASOS

Belt – ASOS (similar linked)

Shoes – Converse

Jacket – Alternative Topshop

Bag – ASOS

For a long time I hated wearing jeans and never owned a pair because they’d be so uncomfortable, digging into my belly as I would force myself into tight jeans to try and suck in and flatten my lumps and bumps, being afraid that baggy jeans would make me look even bigger. Not anymore! Mom jeans are the perfect style for me as I love high waist jeans and how well they fit my body. Who cares if people can see my big belly roll.

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All our love, CP and SJ x

Scarecrow Halloween Tutorial

We spent two days creating, filming, shooting and editing our Scarecrow look for Halloween. It was so much fun; here’s how we did it…

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Savannah:

To make the outfit Courtney found an old, striped shirt (a plaid shirt would work as well) and some old, blue jeans. I cut off the collar of the shirt because Courtney made a collar out of the hessian fabric by holding one strand and scrunching up the fabric around it. Then added some fake blood and black cream face paint for a scary touch.

I sewed on a few patches of hessian fabric to match the face mask as well as some scraps of fabric to create an aged scarecrow look. I also stuck on some pieces of hay with liquid latex on the jeans to look like the scarecrows stuffing. I put fake blood on the shirt to make it extra spooky.

To finish off we added a pair of gloves and two wrist cuffs, made the same way as the collar, to cover up the rest of the arms. Courtney used a piece of rope for a belt around the shirt and wore black boots.

Courtney:

To create the mask I used hessian fabric, I cut two pieces for my eyes and one for my mouth, cutting out slots where my eyes and mouth are. Before sticking them down, I coloured my eyes and mouth with black face paint and set that with black eye shadow. I used liquid latex to stick the hessian pieces to by face, making sure not to get the latex on my eye brows. I then picked out 3 strands from the fabric to plait, to create thicker strands which I used to create stitches, connecting the patches together and giving the effect of a stitched together mouth. After sticking everything down, I dirtied up the face with black and brown paint, then added artificial blood for extra effect.

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THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

  • Old shirt
  • Old jeans
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Hessian fabric
  • Rope
  • Sewing kit
  • Spare fabric for patches (optional)
  • Hay
  • Liquid latex
  • Black and brown face paint
  • Black eye shadow
  • Artificial blood
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrushes and sponge

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Watch our tutorial here: SCARECROW HALLOWEEN TUTORIAL

We hope you enjoy,

All our love CP and SJ.

Misconceptions about body positivity

Although we haven’t been on our body positive journey long, we’ve dove head first into the deep end. It’s the best thing we have done to free ourselves from the body image and diet prison we were locked in. We have already received judgemental messages and negative comments on social media and from those around us. Negative comments were something we 100% expected when we chose to give ourselves a voice and speak out about our experience and posting images of ourselves online. For people have no experience with body positivity, it cam be a confusing concept. Many people misunderstand body positivity as promoting obesity, encouraging unhealthy habits and dissuade exercising. However, this is far from the truth. So we thought we’d cover some common misconceptions about body positivity.

1

Body positivity is only for women

Not at all. Although many body positive activists in the media are woman, body positivity is about including every gender. Men often get excluded from the body positive movement as many aren’t as vocal about it as women. I guess the fact men have been taught not to show emotion or share their insecurities. Men experience the same body judgements and social expectations. We should encourage men to join the movement, give them a space to share their story and be a role model for other men.

No wonder you’re overweight if you don’t believe in diets

Just because we don’t believe in diets doesn’t mean we stuff our faces with all the so-called “bad” foods. Diets cause disordered eating and unhealthy relationships with food. Dieting is a full-time job, it requires you to restrict your food, count calories, punish your body with exercise. All similar characteristics of eating disorders.

We believe in eating intuitively; eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not. You don’t and shouldn’t label foods as “good” or “bad”. Food is food and should be eaten when we’re hungry. Intuitive eating is learning to listen to your body and it’s hunger levels. Understanding whether you need a light snack, meal or you’re not really hungry you’re maybe just bored. And learning to know when to stop eating if you’re full instead of eating everything in sight. It’s not easy training your mind to listen to your body after all the years we’ve been going against our natural instinct and ignoring the signals your body is giving you. It takes time, patience and practise. It’s helpful to research into intuitive eating to help understand more. If you want to learn more – 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Can I still be body positive and exercise?

The simple answer is, of course you can. We’re in no ways saying that you should quit all exercise or physical activity and sit on your arse all day (unless you wanna). Exercise is obviously beneficial for your well-being and can be a great way to promote your health. The only problem with exercise being the ideals of what and how you should stay fit can become unhealthy. Diet culture and social media have created the idea that the only way to exercise is to train like a body builder, be strong not skinny and ensure it causes you physical pain since, ‘no pain no gain’, right? Exercise has become solely for the purposes of weight loss but it doesn’t have to be. Body positive exercise should be to increase your health not to decrease your dress size. Exercise should be enjoyable and fun, it shouldn’t be seen as punishment for that ‘naughty’ binge you had at the weekend. By all means exercise, but never punish your body or think that you NEED to work out to improve your physical appearance.

Art by Frances Cannon

But being fat is not healthy?

Within just two weeks of creating our Instagram account we received a comment suggesting that we could not treat our bodies with love because being overweight is unhealthy. This person had never met us personally but made the assumption that because we are fat, we must be unhealthy. Weight does not equal health. “Health is so much more than the one-dimensional image we have been given by the media to aspire to” (Megan Jayne Crabbe – Body Positive Power). You cannot know if a person is healthy or not just by looking at them. Fat people can be healthy. Skinny people can be unhealthy.

Did you know obesity research is funded by the weight loss industry? Meaning their sales go through the roof after people reading these articles screaming about how dangerous fat is. And did you know the BMI number for overweight was lowered from 27.3 to 25. Meaning millions of people became overweight without gaining a pound. 8 out of the 9 people responsible for this decision had connections to the weight loss industry meaning they could financially gain from all these more people being classed as overweight. Ludicrous right?

Believing that overweight equals unhealthy is a very easy assumption to make in our society. But the truth is there is so much more to health than a person’s weight.  Nonetheless, being physically or mentally unhealthy does not mean that you are unworthy of self-love. Being body positive with the requirement of health is not body positive. Everyone, regardless to health is worthy of self-love. We all know someone who eats junk food 24/7, never exercises and stays thin so why are people so reluctant to believe someone who eats healthily, exercises and stays fat?

Learning to love yourself is hard and you’re constantly getting knocked back, due to the constant reminders you see telling you life will begin once you lose weight, bollocks to that! We’re not wasting another moment buying into the bullshit. Self love isn’t going to happen over night, but it neither did hating yourself happen overnight. You have to allow yourself to heal all your past pain and get in touch with yourself.

Some of you may think ‘I could never love myself’. You can and we believe in you.There will be times where you may experience negative comments first hand or see/hear them. You may catch yourself wondering if they’re right and if you should just give in and resort back to hating your body and damaging your mental health. Even we have those days; “Is it worth it? Is it worth all of these hostile comments? Can I cope with the pressure of having to be that strong, powerful figure?” Yes, it is worth it. It is such an empowering community, where everyone is accepted, supported and encouraged to love themselves. It promotes self-love, self-care and self-worth at any size, race or ability. If we can help and educate another person to be happy within their own skin, we come one step closer to making the world a better place.

All our love, CP and SJ

OOTD: Autumn in London

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It’s the season for cosy sweater, falling leaves and our favourite, Halloween! So here’s our take on welcoming autumn colours into our wardrobes. Not quite cold enough just yet for loads of layers but is time to get some staple autumnal pieces and, our recent trip to London obviously called for new outfits.

Courtney found the perfect mustard jacket which is a staple for this season and will take her right through the colder months, going with pretty much every colour and brightening up any outfit.

Savannah teamed a floral mustard, mesh overlay dress with a denim jacket and converse, for a casual everyday look. Or could easily dress it up with some ankle boots and a leather jacket or tailored coat.

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Dress: New Look

Jacket: Vintage

Shoes: Converse

Bag: Primark

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Top: Missguided

Jacket: New Look

Trousers: New Look

Shoes: New Look

Bag: Primark

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All our love, CP and SJ

Fat and Fabulous: how to fight those diet demons and love YOU

“Going to work so hard this time, this is it! Going to sort my diet out, have no bad food. This time next year we’re going to be so skinny. Can’t wait to post my transformation pic!”

This is the type of conversation we would have earlier this year, when we joined the gym determined that this would finally be the time we would stick to our diet and exercise regularly. This time we will lose weight and become happy with our bodies. But we now think FUCK THAT. We spend our whole lives hating our bodies, constantly striving for perfection and hoping to be a ‘better version of ourselves’. Our question now is, how did we become to believe that we weren’t perfect exactly how we are right now? At what point in our life did we begin convincing ourselves that how we look is not okay; that we have to punish our bodies with strict diets and painful exercise routines

Courtney – All my life I have been that ‘chubby kid’. I began dieting at a young age, constantly weighing myself and comparing my body to my friends. I was never severely bullied but there would always be snide comments being said behind my back or shouted at me as I walked down the school corridor. Words hurt and it would always get me down but I would never let it show because we’ve always been taught to ignore bullies until they get bored. Even if I did speak out I would be told the solution is to go on a diet to lose weight. A moment in my life that have stuck with me; when I was 12 I was admitted to hospital and being weighed/measured is protocol. They had written my weight down and labelled me obese, the nurse was surprised and said “Oh you carry it well.” Although being labelled obese upset me and lowered my self-esteem, I took the nurses comment as a compliment.

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Savannah – One of my first memories of believing I was fat and therefore ugly was when I was 10 years old. In primary school I was part of an athletics club that went on a sports trip; which I didn’t feel like I should have been able to go on because I was too fat. As a ten year old I saw myself as far too large to possibly go on an athletics trip that I thought should only be for ‘fit and thin’ children. I don’t remember a time in my life before I began telling myself this and believing that I should constantly have negative thoughts about my body because it was not the ‘ideal’ body type.

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I’m sure most of you have experienced similar situations and had the same thoughts. Please know, this is not our fault. All our lives we have been shown an idealistic body type and taught that looking a certain way should be our main goal in life. Becoming this ideal is sold to you as the only way to truly be happy and successful in life. When we were younger there were no plus size celebrities or body positive activists to look up to. We were surrounded by magazines full of pictures of women with big circles pointing out their flaws and a new diet plan every week. In films only the slim, pretty girls would have a happy ending and fat characters were only there for comedic value or to be made fun of. On television, adverts show us what we need to change about our bodies and what products we should buy to make us feel better about our bodies.

What better way to generate money than to make people feel ugly and unhappy with their bodies and then sell them the solution. Anti-aging creams, tummy toners, weight loss programmes, hair removal products, workout DVDs, and exercise machines that claim to solve all your life problems. Sending you the message that if you don’t buy these products you will be ugly and socially unacceptable.

WHAT A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS!

So much of your time is wasted dieting and worrying about a number on the scales, what foods you should or shouldn’t eat and feeling guilty for having a ‘cheat day’. Guilt should have no place in your eating world, food is food. Eat that cake if you want it! Eat intuitively, your body will tell you what food you need. It might be a chocolate bar or a salad and you shouldn’t associate your emotions with what you eat. You could write an entire book on how fucked up diet culture is, but just know it’s really fucked up. Here’s a blog post focusing on how diet culture is bad for your health: Exposing the Scary Truth About Diet Culture

Why are we so scared of being or getting fat? Fat is just a word, a descriptive word. Megan (bodyposipanda) says in her book Body Positive Power, “Fat is not a bad word, it’s just a way of describing bodies. It should hold no more negativity than ‘brunette’ or ‘blue-eyed’, and it definitely shouldn’t be something that has the power to destroy our entire sense of self and leave us living in fear of our own bodies.” Being fat is not the worst thing in the world.

We’re not here to promote obesity, the idea is that every body is perfect. No matter your shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender or ability. The exact way your body looks right now is fab and you do not need to change it. Adjusting yourself to fit the ideal body type created by the media will not be the answer to all your troubles. If a diet was the secret to happiness, wouldn’t we all be happy. You should accept and admire your body no matter what it looks like and what flaws you have been led to believe you have. Don’t look for flaws, look for the reason you were made to believe you had them in the first place.

Our top tips to become more body positive

  1. Unfollow all those accounts on social media that promote the idea that you should change how you look – the fitness Instagram account, the person who posts all about their new diet, all of it,
  2. Tell yourself how beautiful you are – stare at yourself in the mirror and no matter how silly it feels or how much you don’t believe it, remind yourself how important, beautiful and worthy you are and admire the way you look,
  3. Surround yourself with other body positive people – you can leave or change conversations surrounding diet culture that make you feel less valued, be around people who accept you for you and support your goals,
  4. Be your own best friend – you wouldn’t insult your friends the way you may do yourself, compliment yourself, take care of yourself first, practice self-care
  5. Don’t’ compare yourself to others – you can appreciate the beauty and life of others without having to question your own, don’t worry about what other people think,
  6. Take yourself out of your comfort zone – do that thing you were scared of doing before, wear those clothes you were told not to wear,
  7. Speak out about things that make you feel uncomfortable – educate others on how their words make you feel and could affect someone,
  8. Here’s some inspirational people to follow on Instagram & YouTubeGracie Francesca, Body Posi Panda, Callie Thorpe, Love From Danica, Choose Life Warrior, Felicity Hayward.

Caira Lee said in her Ted Talk that we should try “Looking in the mirror once a week and saying; I am the most important person in the world, to me. I accept that person, I admire that person and I will do everything in my power to see that persons dreams come true”.

Loving your body or just accepting it for what it is, is a revolutionary act. It is totally contrarian to believe that nothing is wrong with your body, it’s not just about changing your own mind set, you’re going against everything that women have been taught to believe and that’s powerful. You will have days where you feel stuck in your old ways and that’s okay. Eventually you will internalise all of the beliefs about how important, valuable and worthy you are, regardless of your body.

All our love, CP and SJ

Hello, blogging world!

We’re Courtney and Sav, beginning our blogging adventure. Joining the body positive movement to help others on their journey to self love and acceptance.

Get to know us:

Two northern girls dancing our way through life, here to share our experiences, tips and advice for all things curly and curvy!

Courtney Paige:

  • Aged 21
  • Makeup artist
  • Nando’s enthusiast
  • Gin lover
  • Party trick = the splits

Savannah Jane:

  • Aged 22
  • Retail worker
  • Cheese enthusiast
  • Strongbow lover
  • Party trick = sick dance moves

Why have we started blogging?

Everyday we are learning more and more about body positivity and new ways to love ourselves. We hope by sharing our experiences, we can inspire and empower others to do the same. We plan on posting fashion, lifestyle, travel and girly chats.

Come join the party!

All our love, CP and SJ.