What a long long time it's been! I haven't posted in a while (shock), and although most of that is down to a lack of time over the past few months, there has been something holding me back from posting. It's been a hard realisation, coming to terms with my actions so I'm just going to say it...
I am on a diet.
I feel so sad writing those words, and I really hope that it doesn't upset anyone reading this but unfortunately it is the truth. For the last couple of weeks I've been cutting out the old crispy chicken baguettes from Greggs (cry) and swapping it for a SALAD. Although it essentially is a diet, I really don't like to refer to it as that, I'm also averse to the terms 'lifestyle change', 'healthy living' and 'making smarter decisions'. Stripping it all back, I'm just eating a lot more fruit and veg and trying to think a bit harder about what I'm putting in my body - this has led to me losing weight.
In everyday life I am constantly preaching messages of self-love and self-acceptance, and I always try to stop people getting into 'diet-mode'. Food shouldn't be associated with feelings of shame, guilt or embarrassment - if you want to eat something, eat it! Enjoy it! No regrets. So I suppose I have been reluctant to post on this blog as I currently feel like a huge hypocrite, especially after having written an entire blog post on how unhealthy and damaging diet culture and more specifically diet-based businesses can be.
I would really like to emphasise that this 'lifestyle change' has come from a place of self love and not from a place of feeling like my body needs to change. Having now graduated from university (woo!), I am in such a better place mentally - I've been loving work, spending time with my boyfriend and family, getting back into a positive routine, and it makes seeing my best pals even more special. Although I'm doing just fine now, retrospectively I can see that I had really neglected myself when I was struggling with anxiety throughout final year; I wasn't eating proper meals, I rarely left the house and I felt panicky and low more often than not.
Differing from about 3 years ago, I can proudly say that I'm really happy with who I am as a person. I'm feeling myself at the min, so I felt like I owed myself a bit more in the old self-care department. Sure the odd face mask and essential oil diffuser is a nice touch, but in the wider sense I wasn't really putting in much effort. I'm pleased to announce I've now got a FULL SKINCARE ROUTINE and I think that means I'm officially a woman, but obviously I've also been thinking a lot more about what I'm putting in to fuel my body, ready to cut about being a bad bitch.
I'm literally being so dramatic even writing this post because I've only lost about half a stone but I just felt like it was important to think about how going on a 'diet' doesn't necessarily come from a place of negativity, but instead a form of self care as an extension of loving yourself and your body. I'm still a big ass jiggly bitch (and I still love it) but I'm now just running on spinach instead of pork scratchings, with the odd mac and cheese as a treat.
I really hope this blog post makes sense, and I'm excited to get back into blogging!
2 blog posts in one week!!! I'm on a roll!
I asked in an Instagram story for some suggestions on what topics I should write on over the next couple of weeks, and there were some great suggestions (make sure you check my blog regularly to see what I'll be writing). By far my favourite suggestion was talking about body positivity, following on from my previous blog post about being bigger than my boyfriend.
Body positivity and self-love are so important and very easy to preach, but it can be difficult to put into practise - especially when you don't fall into what the media deems conventionally beautiful. I'm currently the biggest I've ever been, and although I'm trying to get to grips with the idea of loving myself regardless of my size, I still have the fair few meltdowns.
A large part of me wants to drop about 10 dress sizes: I hate feeling like restricted when clothes shopping, I hate going to places where I know I haven't seen people since I was smaller, for fear of silent judgement of how I've let myself go. I've convinced myself that my double chin is the most horrendous thing I've ever seen, and that I don't care about my body as long as I have a skinny face. I used to be terrified to eat in front of strangers, again scared of judgement for being a big girl who enjoys food. I went to a wedding yesterday with my boyfriend and spent a good 20 mins having a tantrum just because I didn't feel pretty in my body or size – and yet, I scroll through Instagram fangirling women my size and bigger - the features I admire and actively envy on other people, I criticise and punish myself for having.
For me, this shows that my mindset is toxic: my body isn't the problem, it's my perspective on it. I wish I could look at myself the same way I do Instagram plus-size role models – it's so much easier said than done, BUT this needs to change. If I think big tummies are cute on other people, why do I hate mine? Why are the same characteristics ugly on my body, but beautiful on others?
I know this is such a common mindset these days, but we need to start cutting ourselves some slack - as well as taking time out of our day to stop and challenge the negative thoughts.
At the end of the day, it is so easy to sit and criticise, berate and pick out everything we hate about ourselves – if we could only compliment ourselves just as easily. So that’s my new mindset: although I do want to be more active and increase my fitness, I’m not a villain for being a big girl. My body is big, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
The next time I find myself staring in the mirror, rehearsing in my head all my countless faults, I will challenge it. My body may not look like other peoples, but it’s special because it’s mine – you only get one, so why not celebrate it instead of chastising? Celebrities and the majority of society are constantly pushing the message that it’s disgusting to put on weight – If I could stress anything in this blog post it would be that your body is what you perceive it to be. Instead of listening to the constant fat-shaming propaganda, please place worth on your own body.
Thank you for reading - don't forget to praise yourself and your body! We all have insecurities, but it's important to practise self-love in accepting these 'faults', and loving your body regardless. Despite size, colour, shape, you're a bad bitch if you believe it x
It's been a really long time since I've written a blog post or focused on Instagram (about a month) - I had to take some time out to focus on work and university, hoping I could come back to this as a refreshed, glowing woman. Unfortunately I've now finished my work and I've submitted my dissertation, and I still do not feel any better.
I genuinely thought that once I had completed my deadlines and made it to the end of the semester there would be a noticeable weight off my shoulders, but if anything it feels the weight has doubled. Last night, I submitted the electronic copy of my dissertation and was absolutely buzzing and then all of a sudden I was just crying in my room (lol shock). Instead of relief, I was panicking that I had done however many thousands words of absolute shite, that my tutor would hate it, that I had accidentally hidden some sort of offensive terminology, etc etc. Although it's normal to stress about big projects and important tasks, for me the nerves and worry always seem to accompanied by negative thoughts in my head.
Example: I had the most amazing birthday, was absolutely spoiled by my family and friends and yet there will still be a paranoid voice in my head telling me that I'm hated, that I need to be careful with who I trust, that I don't have anyone that cares: honestly it's so damaging to self-esteem and confidence.
Unfortunately it's a common part of anxiety; many people associate anxiety purely with panic attacks and increased heart rate, but it also brings along a horrible little voice in your head, sleepless nights from overthinking, a feeling that nobody understands how you feel and more importantly that no one cares. Since my mental health has become such a big problem, I genuinely dread facing university because I know that it brings out these feelings more than ever - it's a pretty shit feeling because I don't feel like the same person I was a few years ago.
I'm not writing this blog post to be like booooo poor me, but sometimes it's just therapeutic to write about your feelings - also hopefully help people understand that anxiety isn't just feeling a bit nervous, it can feel so overwhelming and hard to shake. I'm lucky in that I know home is a safe place for me, and always helps when I'm going through a low period - but it's important to also try to cope with the triggers and environments that contribute to negative feelings.
Thankfully, my best pals bought me some burning sage and when I go back to uni tomorrow I will be getting the bad juju the fuck out of my room, so that's nice x
Hopefully this blog post has helped anyone who's reading understanding anxiety a little bit more - and if you know someone who might be struggling, it might be worth reaching out (and maybe getting some sage to cleanse their bad space)
Thank you for reading!
It's been so long so I've written a blog post!! I asked for blog post ideas the other day and literally 60% of the suggestions were 'dealing with stress', which is great because that's all I feel at the minute. I had a little break from Instagram and blogging because I just felt so overwhelmed with everything going on - I used to think I was a great multitasker, but the last few weeks have shown me that isn't the case.
Christmas was the nicest break from university; I'm sure I've mentioned this before on my blog but home really is such a safe place for me - I never feel anxious and rarely have low periods as I love my job and I love being with my family but for some reason, university has become a big old trigger for me. I love living with my best friends but apart from that, being at uni makes my anxiety sky high and I find myself feeling isolated and generally down in the dumps.
To add insult to injury, I've had exams and an assessment centres and now I'm desperately trying to finish my dissertation whilst also working and prepping for important meetings with the same deadline at the end of the month. The idea of finding a grad job is just ANOTHER stress in my irrational panics, and whereas usually I would be shouting from the rooftops if was asked to come in for an assessment, I was invited in for a grad job and all I feel is dread and anxiety. I just don't see how I can handle that this month, with everyone else going on.
It's a pretty shit feeling because if I wasn't anxious in general, I reckon I would be able to handle it - but I am, so I can't. It's difficult to not feel frustrated with my brain when it feels like it's working against me, but it's time like these when I have to remember to cut myself some slack. It's normal for me to feel stressed; I'm in my final year of university whilst also working in a job that requires a lot of prep - surely it would be weird to not feel a bit stressed, and sometimes stress can be good! I (and anyone else this applies to) need to stop villanising my feelings and seeing them as a negative, or seeing myself as weak just because I don't feel calm 100% of the time. Don't punish yourself for feeling overwhelmed.
On the other hand, I (again, please take this in if you need it) need to know my limits: my dissertation is extremely important and so is my job, so if an assessment centre that requires a presentation and god knows what else comes along and it doesn't seem viable, it's okay to say no - mental health needs to come first. I know this can feel disappointing; I haven't exactly been inundated with job offers, so I know that I'll kick myself for passing up interview experience/a great opportunity with a good company, but there are other jobs out there - is this one really worth compromising my diss/my job/my mental health? It's important not to make a brash decision, work out the pros and cons but it's okay to say no, feeling chaotic and over-committed is not doing you any favours - don't feel guilty if you genuinely can't handle something.
I would say my biggest tip for dealing with stress is don't overwork yourself - I know people that stay up till 4am on a piece of work if necessary; it's just not good for your mind! Make sure you take regular breaks, try and get a normal amount of sleep - don't miss meals, don't just work work work. If you throw all aspects of routine out the window, your brain just doesn't do what it's meant to, and that can then affect the rest of your body. Make sure you take care of yourself as well as whatever is causing you stress; the two need to go hand in hand.
Last but not least, don't forget self-care - make sure you schedule in some you-time. Have a bath or a nice long shower, watch your favourite show or make yourself your favourite food. Put on a face-mask (classic self-care tip), or just sleep. Do something that focuses on you and your needs, and that makes you feel good after. You don't need to be working 24/7 to produce something good, you need to invest in yourself to be at your best.
Thank you all for reading! Hopefully this has helped if you are going through something at the mo.
Mind Charity - What is stress?
I thought I'd write a little bit tonight about something that has really been rubbing me up the wrong way recently - this is all the more relevant with the beginning of the new year; dieting.
I hold my hands up as being someone that has probably tried every quick fix I can think of to lose weight; appetite suppressants, meal replacement shakes, boot camp - I even attempted a 3-day juice cleanse once but somehow ended up in McDonalds 4 hours after starting...whoops.
I've tried Slimming World, I've tried detox tea and I've tried throwing up (not too proud of that last one). I've tried it all, but I've never come away with a healthy relationship with food or feeling healthier.
I would say Slimming World was my main success; I put on so. much. weight after my first year at uni - so much my mum cried. I spent the entire summer in the gym and going to SW meetings, and I lost 3 stone in 3 months. I was the literal star child of the SW group, every week I was given certificates and stickers but it became a weird obsession; I became this intensely competitive slimming world authoritarian. Although SW markets itself to change your lifestyle, it's easy to reinforce a negative relationship with food - I wouldn't eat the days of the weigh-in, just to make sure I didn't lose all my progress over something as silly as lunch. I would weigh myself about 6 times a day, just to make sure I wasn't self-sabotaging if (god forbid) I went over my syn allowance that day. Although I lost weight, I still did not have a healthy relationship with food.
It seems, at the moment at least, social media is bombarding us with adverts for 'flat tummy tea', appetite suppressing lollipops and various promises of losing weight fast. Not only do these campaigns capitalise on people's insecurities, but they're also a load of bullshit. It's okay to eat; it's necessaryto eat, so why are celebrities promoting these companies that villainise having an appetite?
I also think it's important to remember that there is no way in hell the influencers even use these products that they are happily selling to the millions; they're simply being paid to promote them whilst they carry on their lives with personal trainers, dieticians and various other luxuries that us normal folk simply can't copy. Even worse, these weight loss brands are using plus-size influencer's photos, without permission, to use as a 'before' picture - they're selling laxatives, that aren't even effective enough to warrant real 'transformations'.
Although I am trying to eat healthier and follow Slimming World recipes, I no longer feel like my life revolves around my weight. I put all the weight I lost back on (lol), but I don't feel the need to weigh myself 6 times a day or feel sad if I have a little comfort eat here and there. Our eating habits should not be weaponised, but unfortunately, that is a side effect of diet culture and the companies that sell it being so present in society today.
It makes me so sad that companies are profiting off of promoting disordered eating, so thank god for people like Jameela Jamil calling out the influencers supporting these brands. I think if you are looking to lose weight, for whatever reason that might be, there are so many other healthy pathways to pursue - and I think the first step is ridding your life of the word 'diet'.
Recently I've been trying intuitive eating (click for link); basically eating when your body tells you it wants to eat, and stopping when you're full (none of this appetite suppressant crap, mama's got a big ol' appetite) - there are some really positive books surrounding it; you're not depriving yourself, and you're listening to your body and what it needs. It also encourages you to 'make peace with your food'; allowing yourself to enjoy what you're eating, and getting rid of the guilt that can sometimes be associated with food.
If you're not trying to lose weight, please don't feel pressured from all of this 'New Year, New Me' propaganda and flat tummy praise on social media; it seems that brands are constantly trying to trigger insecurities by trying to grab our interest in waist trainers, teatoxes and various other 'quick-fixes'; but it's important to not play into the false advertising.
Thank you for reading!
When I was younger, I went to an all-girls school and I was one of the tallest there (I'm 5'11) - I remember once being in Year 7 and getting moved to the Sixth Form section of the whole school photo; because I was just too tall to be with the other girls my age. I've always been the tallest of my friendship group, as well as the biggest - I think because of this, I always assumed that it meant I needed an even bigger boyfriend so I could feel like I was in a stereotypical rom-com relationship.
For me, there is a huge lack of representation of relationships in the media - there is by no means enough representation of the LGBTQ+ community, of mixed-race relationships or of people of colour in general. I saw a tweet a few weeks back about how every low-budget Christmas film has the exact same movie poster (please see below)and it's such a good example of how the media feed us a cookie-cutter template of what relationships should look like, and it very rarely shows a female being larger than her male partner.
I met my boyfriend Alex whilst I was doing an internship, he's my best pal and I'm absolutely smitten - he's probably a good 3 inches shorter than me, and wears a size small whereas I veer more on the XXL side.
In my head, I never considered dating someone smaller than me - I didn't have many dating prospects, but I had still completely ruled out an entire group of people because it just isn't what we're told is standard for a heterosexual relationship. I constantly see tweets making fun of short men and tall women, saying that the girls aren't feminine and it used to make me feel mortified of my body; I would feel like I was some sort of girl-zilla that needs to find a 6'6 Viking to feel small and pretty and how you're 'meant' to feel when you're with a man.
At the start of our relationship, I felt so self-conscious about my height; I felt like I needed to give people a warning that I was taller, so they wouldn't make fun of me for being so much bigger than my boyfriend. I was worried Alex's friends would make jokes about him being with a female reincarnation of King Kong or that we couldn't have cute couple pics because I would look manly. Being completely honest; no one cares. I feel silly for feeling self-conscious about other people would think, because they don't care and frankly why should I?
I was definitely concerned about being with someone smaller than me (sorry if you're reading this mum), I thought I was this huge lump that would crush anyone who took a risk on me. In the beginning, I felt self-conscious constantly; I didn't want Alex seeing my cellulite or my stretch marks, I didn't want him touching my tummy or seeing my rolls - I didn't understand how he could possibly fancy me, because how could anyone find someone with my body attractive? I started to push Alex away because I just hated my own body so much, and even did stupid things to try and look better for him.
Alex never cared about or saw the things I was concerned about, and he tried so hard to make me feel good but in the words of RuPaul, if you can't love yourself how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?! (Amen)
It's so easy to pick out bits we don't like about ourselves, but it's important to remember that others don't see your body the same way. Here's the thing: my size was never a secret - you can't exactly hide being big, Alex knew my body type and he still wanted to be with me. Looking at it from that perspective, it's so silly that I constantly chastised myself when there was really no need - I was projecting all my insecurities onto the relationship, which just made me feel more self-conscious than ever.
Although my body type hasn't changed, I'm trying to change my relationship with it. I have wobbly bits, but wobbly doesn't necessarily mean bad- it's also okay that my boyfriend doesn't have the same wobbly bits. I still get a bit iffy about him touching my tummy, and sometimes have days where I get angry that I don't feel as feminine as I imagine slim, petite girls do but we're so much more thanjust a body; it feels ridiculous to place worth on something so insignificant when there are tonnes more meaningful aspects of my relationship.
If I could give any advice to those in a similar situation, it would be to forget what the media paints as a cute relationship - it's okay to be bigger than your partner! People don't feel the same way you do about your body, so don't let it affect your relationships with the people you love. Tall girls can be feminine, big girls can be feminine, anyone can be feminine - partners have no impact on that. Your partner would not be with you if they didn't want you; they don't see chub or cellulite like you do, they see something they find attractive. Above everything else, your relationship is no one else's business- as long you are happy and healthy, who cares if you're a bit bigger?
Thank you for reading!
As I mentioned in my last post, the past year has seen my anxiety reach an all-time high. I've always struggled with a little bit of anxiety before lectures during my first and second year, but returning to uni after completing an internship seemed to be a larger challenge than I expected.
Coming back for my final year of studies, I found myself struggling to breathe when thinking about attending lectures - I'd sit in my room trying to get myself together and ready to roll, but the overwhelming feeling of dread would always take over leading to me missing lecture after lecture. Not only has my attendance suffered, but I was also sleeping for only 3 hours a night, binge eating and not leaving the house - the thought of socialising made me feel sick. Anxiety took complete control, and I did not feel like myself one bit.
For me, it's difficult to explain how it feels when my anxiety kicks in - this was even more frustrating when I sought help with the uni wellbeing advisor, the university mental health team and my GP; I was met with constant "oh you study psychology so you understand all this!". In my experience, my anxiety feels like an ugly little gremlin that's on my shoulder - I feel him constantly there, even if I don't feel anxious I feel there is something looming that I should be anxious about. However, I am finally making headway and plan to continue throughout 2019, with medication and CBT.
So as January exams approach, I think now would be a good time (for both myself and anyone who reads this) to go over the coping methods that have really come in handy during my low points - just a few tips to give a helping hand when you feel overwhelmed.
If you are really struggling with anxiety, Anxiety UK is a great charity with loads of helpful resources - the tips below can be an added extra and definitely make me feel calmer, but I would 100% recommend having a look at the website x
1. Painting, colouring, anything creative
I was in a really low spot when one of my housemates came to me with her arts and crafts box, and we just sat and painted. When you're painting, even if it's just painting a blank page one colour, you're focusing on something that isn't stressful or weighing you down. For me, painting trees really helps me slow down my breathing and get myself together - it's also a really get-handsy activity. I always find it easier talking to my family or friends about my anxiety whilst painting or colouring - the conversation feels less intense and your feelings don't feel so all-encompassing.
2. Speak to your university!
I know this is scary; my friends had to push me but your university can put concessions in place to make your experience just that bit easier. At first, it was frustrating; I felt that no one was listening properly and I was being palmed off left, right and centre with 'try taking 4 deep breaths before a lecture'. FINALLY, I was taken seriously and the uni jumped into action.
Rather than taking my exams in a room of 800 people(no exaggeration, Loughborough is huge), I will now be in a room of maximum 40 people. Although I won't be pursuing CBT through the university, it's an option that is there! Universities can put plans into place where your attendance is not monitored, you study from home, etc. Knowing that things can be altered if you're struggling is reassuring, and I would recommend getting in touch ASAP if you are having an anxious downturn - you can also be eligible for special consideration/mitigating circumstances in exams and coursework if you are struggling with mental health (you'll need a doctors note).
3. Bedtime routines
I used to be that one kid that would ask their parents if they could go to bed earlier, rather than asking to stay up late - sleeping heavily was the easiest thing ever. Since being back at uni, I've found my sleep schedule is shot to pieces. It takes hours to fall asleep, I wake up constantly and never feel fully rested anymore. Over the Christmas break, I've managed to somewhat try to save my sleeping pattern.
No more phone before bed! I think it adds to my overthinking. Constantly checking social media, googling various ailments I'm suffering from at the time, looking at my bank account, the list goes on. I now put my phone away about 45/30 mins before I want to sleep, and crack out the old Kindle and grab a hot drink. Reading really does help relax you - it doesn't have to be anything intense (I'm quite fond of the free romance novels, even if a lot of them seem to be cowboy themed), but it gives your brain some time to settle down before attempting to sleep, rather than coming straight from stalking the Jenners on Instagram.
I know you're probably thinking, reading is not a revolutionary tip for helping you sleep BUT when I settle down for a little bit of literary flirting, I like to turn on my aromatherapy diffuser.
I love the idea of aromatherapy. I've got loads of little rollerball bottles for my wrists when I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, and they really do work! My diffuser was about £17 (I can't find the exact link but there are loads from Amazon)and I just put in a bit of water, a few drops of any scented oil and leave it to bubble away whilst I'm reading - the lavender oil especially knocks me out and is great if you are struggling to sleep. Side note - this diffuser is also really good if you've got a cold, pop some tea tree oil in it and it's like a Vicks dream.The diffuser is fab because it's a cold vapour, so no risk of accidentally burning yourself during your zen time.
Thank you for reading. Leave a comment below if you have any other top tips for dealing with anxiety at university!
Hello there, welcome to my blog.
It's the first day of January 2019, and what better a day to try something new?
I suppose now is the right time to introduce myself; hi, I'm Flo. I'm a 21-year-old Psychology student in my final year of university. I love horror films, dogs and makeup (especially big fat off fake eyelashes). I'm looking for a grad job, I'm completing my dissertation and I'm revising for exams - all whilst trying to embark on a journey of 2019 self-love and care.
I'm hoping this blog can be my little piece of sanity; talking about my student experience, my anxiety, my health journey - I'd like to welcome you to join me along the way; hopefully, we can both gain something from this.
2018 has officially come to a close, and I have a really good feeling about 2019. The past year has been full of highs - I travelled around Australia for a month with my best friends, I completed an internship at a global company, I've been in a healthy and happy relationship, etc. - there was a lot to be thankful for.
However, in other aspects, 2018 was one of the toughest years I've had in a while. I put weight back on after a big loss in 2017, I struggled heavily with mental health, specifically anxiety, as well as going through illness after illness - Glandular Fever was a particularly low point.
Because of these aforementioned troughs, I'm starting 2019 fresh - new and healthy recipes, new gym routine, even new bedtime traditions - but let me stress, this is to become a healthier human; NOT for anyone else's benefit or ideals. I'm hoping to improve my relationship with my body and my mind, without neglecting my strict deadlines and job applications.
My 2019 mantras are as follows;
Thank you for reading!