Real Talk: I Hate That I Hate That My Boyfriend is Skinnier Than Me


By Alexandra Cioppa

In 2013, Adam Levine was named sexiest man alive. And from a strictly objective point of view, sure, he’s a good looking guy. Personally, I’ve never found him all that attractive. Whenever he comes up in conversation (and surprisingly, this is quite often), I always say, ‘yeaaahhh I guess he’s cute but he’s just so skinny, I feel like I might crush him’.

This has always been a weird fear of mine. I could trace it back to this episode of CSI I once saw as a pre-teen where the woman accidentally rolled over and smothered her sex partner to death. I could also get into the fact that hitting puberty made me as a curvier and in a pivotal point, my self-consciousness stuck with me for life but let’s not get Freudian here. I’ve just always felt like I needed any guy I was seeing to be bigger or at least, as big as me.


Continue reading


Lookin’ Good Girl: Interview with Diana Di Poce, Creator & Editor of DARE Magazine

Written by Vanessa Vaillant


Diana Di Poce is a Ryerson University graduate, Canadian entrepreneur, and editor of DARE magazine, Canada’s first plus-sized fashion magazine. With plus-size fashion on the rise, it is wonderful seeing Canada have it’s first plus-sized fashion publication. I was lucky enough to interview Diana and find out what life is like this plus-sized fashionista, where her favourite places to shop in Toronto are, and some tips on dressing a curvy body.  You can find Dare Magazine online here.

Q – What is life like as a magazine editor and entrepreneur?
Life as a magazine editor and entrepreneur has been wonderful. Having the opportunity to meet and work with such inspiring individuals throughout the past year has been a dream come true.

Building a platform with my team to share information with curvy ladies on the latest in plus size fashion, celebrities and beauty has been such a great experience and I am constantly amazed by the amount of emails and notes that we have received from our readers. They are extremely supportive of DARE and express this on a daily basis. They inspire us in every way possible!


Q – Tell us about DARE magazine.
DARE Magazine is Canada’s first plus size fashion magazine. Founded in May 2013, DARE is the curvy woman’s digital go-to-guide for the latest in fashion and beauty news, tips and trends. A destination for fashion-forward ladies, DARE is committed to featuring top celebrities, bloggers and models to inspire plus size women worldwide to be daring with their style and to flaunt their curves. All women can be fashion-forward no matter what size they wear—style truly has no size.

Dedicated to catering to women sizes 12+, DARE is a quarterly online publication that offers readers style and trend tips, shopping advice and beautiful fashion editorials. DARE has worked with leading plus size fashion bloggers, models and designers such as Jeanne Beker, Cycle 10 winner of America’s Next Top Model Whitney Thompson, singer Mary Lambert and Karyn Johnson of Killer Kurves to fill our pages with the latest in style.

DARE has reached thousands of viewers worldwide and has received incredible press reception from sources such as Perez Hilton, The Thought Catalog, CTV News and newspapers across the country (Metro News, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, etc.).

Q – What made you decide to create DARE, the first Canadian plus-size fashion magazine?
DARE was developed as part of my fourth year thesis project, a requirement of the Ryerson University fashion communications degree program. I have had a passion for art direction, graphic design and fashion since beginning my degree, so I knew that creating a magazine was going to play a major role in my final project.   I have also been plus size most of my life, so the creation of DARE, a magazine speaking to the curvy, seemed so natural. The drive to create such a magazine came from the lack of diversity seen in fashion today and the fact that as a stylish curvy woman and magazine lover, I had nowhere to turn for my fashion fix. Therefore, when asking myself what to include in the magazine and whom I should be targeting, the answer was simple: women like myself!My professor and mentor, Ben Barry, helped to guide me through the process and has supported the magazine and me since day one.

After the launch of the first issue (the Spring/Summer 2013 issue), the feedback from readers and the press was incredible. It was at this point that I decided to pursue DARE.


Q – What got you interested in plus-size fashion?
I have always loved fashion. From dressing up dolls as a child to constantly researching upcoming trends as a teenager, fashion has been a passion of mine since a young age. As a plus size teenager, being fashionable was a challenge at times, however I used my love for fashion to create unique outfits (or so I thought at the time!).

My interest in plus size fashion really came about when I first started my research for DARE. Coming across this whole new world of amazing curvy models, bloggers and icons was amazing! Not only did these ladies inspire me to create DARE, they also boosted my own self-esteem and made me feel beautiful no matter what dress size I wore. With this, I knew that Canada was missing a magazine like DARE and that I needed to change this.

Q – What do you think are some common faults that “straight-based” magazines make when discussing plus-sized women and fashion?
When discussing plus size women and fashion, I believe that “straight-based” magazines often stick to very basic styles and don’t offer enough variety. As the average North American woman wears a plus size, the curvy reader would love to see several pages dedicated to showcasing clothing available in plus sizes, rather than just one page in several cases.

Q – What are some of the best experiences you’ve had writing for DARE magazine?
I’ve had so many wonderful experiences working on DARE! Some of the most memorable moments have been interviewing and filming a beauty tutorial with America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson, interviewing songstress Mary Lambert, working on set with international models Kristina Yeo, Clementine Desseaux and Anita Marshall and receiving unforgettable emails from curvy women around the world expressing their love for DARE.

Q – Who are some of your plus-size fashion inspirations?
Some of my plus size fashion inspirations are Canada’s own curvy bloggers, Karyn Johnson from Killer Kurves and Karen Ward from Curvy Canadian—these two ladies are always on-trend and make Canada proud! I am also always keeping an eye out for celebrities Amber Riley, Rebel Wilson, Queen Latifah and Mary Lambert; it’s so inspiring to see these starlets embrace their curves on the red carpet. Finally, models Clementine Desseaux, Denise Bidot, Anita Marshall, Kristina Yeo, Fluvia Lacerda, Ashley Graham (the list goes on) are always confidently flaunting their figure in the latest trends.


Q – Where are some of your favourite places to shop for plus-sized fashion in Toronto/Canada?
My favourite boutiques in Toronto are Gussied Up, Your BIG Sister’s Closet and SexyPlus Clothing, these stores offer such a wonderful experience and carry the best in plus size fashion. Not to mention, the owners are fabulous curvy ladies! I also love checking out the latest styles at Forever 21+,Addition Elle and Dorothy Perkins at The Bay.

Q – What is your number one tip for dressing for curves?
Wear what makes you feel beautiful and confident! No matter what the latest trend is or what style you are told to wear based on your shape, it’s important to dress your curves in what makes your feel the best.

Q – Where do you want to be in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope that DARE is seen as one of Canada’s top fashion and beauty magazines! I believe that it’s extremely important to embrace diversity and to address women of all shapes and sizes in fashion. Thanks to plus size models, bloggers, readers and magazines, the importance of catering to all women has recently made a huge mark on the fashion industry. I hope that these changes continue over the next 10 years and that DARE can continue to be the voice of us curvy ladies.

All photos courtesy of DARE Magazine

Real Talk: Health vs. Diet – what is the difference?

Written by Basil Andrews

“…people think I eat too many chocolate bars…”

You may recall this accented line spoken by a young man in an easily ridiculed 90s commercial about acne. I remember making fun of the commercial myself and even after a continuous battle with cystic acne from the age of 14 to now at 26 that has included three and a half stints on the heavy-duty Isotretinoin (at the time marketed as Accutane now going by the gentler-but will still make you have deformed babies if you get pregnant while taking it-Claravis) I still find the commercial humorous.


It’s too lugubrious for the words “chock-o-late bars” to be spoken and for me to not laugh. But its legacy as cheesy 90s Canadian nostalgia aside, the commercial’s content has merit. It takes acne; a disorder often dismissed as being trivial due to its teenage onset (despite its known damaging psychological effects) seriously and refutes the unsupported notion that acne is caused by junk food. While I could go on about the effects of acne on ones self-esteem ad-nausea, the latter is the focus of this post.


There is a pernicious cult-like obsession among certain groups and individuals that believe diet to be the cause of nearly every disease, disorder and ailment. All one has to do is pull up the Dr. Oz Show’s episode guide to find that nearly every other episode is about miracle foods that will solve your health problems or dangerous foods that are causing your health problems. A quick glance at the top 10 most popular books about diet on Amazon shows that if they’re not about ones vanity they’re about how food can solve your health problems. Some of them obviously ridiculous like Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution, that posits that you cater your diet to your blood type in order to be healthy, while others like Foods That Fight Cancer: Preventing Cancer through Diet are a bit more specious.


It is true that there are foods that help prevent cancer, but should we base our diet around them? The American Cancer Society states that if do so we do so warily: “…it is rarely, if ever, advisable to change diet or activity levels based on a single study or news report“. Food is intrinsic to our health and I am not disputing that.  But do we require a book to tell us that vegetables will help us remain healthy?


But to blame shows and books like these would be misdirection. What they are is a reflection of a cold and calculated attitude towards food that has become too utilitarian for our most basic pleasure. Kilojoules and calories, cell-binding and flavonoids, they’re useful to know, but I pity anyone who makes them the focal of their diet. I’m reminded of Gertrude Baines, who died at the age of 115 in 2009 and ate a steady diet of bacon, fried chicken and ice cream. Ambrosia, the ancient Greek food for the Gods, was supposed to grant immortality for those who consumed it, and to me Baines diet was closer to Ambrosia than any contrived health-centric one. Food needs to become more pleasure-oriented and less health-oriented. A beer isn’t going to give you cancer anymore than a piece of broccoli is going to save you from it and chocolate bars did not give me acne. It’s always wise to apply the Aristotelian golden mean to what you consume, but less dietary masochism will make you happier and I read somewhere that happy people live longer.

Playwright Young Jean Lee strips down to naked truth with Untitled Feminist Show


Harbourfront Centre just recently announced that they would be housing the Canadian premier of Brooklyn-based playwright Young Jean Lee critically acclaimed work, “UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW”. Running from February 12-15, the show is without dialogue, clothing or traditional gender signifiers on stage.


The cast consists of five women and one gender non-conforming person; whom come from all different backgrounds artistically. For the entire 60 minutes of the show, all the cast members are nude. This nude performance engages the audience to embrace the bold celebration of the body in all its free forms and all its flesh and glory. It asks us to live in a feminist fantasy where bodies can exist free of shame.


I recently had the chance to chat with Young Jean Lee about her premiere run of the show here in Toronto. Check out the interview below:

(1) With “Untitled Feminist Show”, you use the nude body as a form of expression. Is this to show how vulnerable we are as people?

For me, the starting point of the show was the desire to see performers with a range of realistic female-coded body types who were 100% confident, fierce, and fabulous. Women are trained to have so much shame about their bodies and looks, and I thought it would be amazing to see people with female-coded bodies who didn’t seem to experience any of that, even without clothes or makeup. I wanted the nudity to be the opposite of titillating and objectifying, with the performers seeming completely powerful and
comfortable in their skins. Not all of them ARE comfortable in their skins, though. We have one performer (Becca Blackwell) who doesn’t identify as female and finds it quite difficult to perform nude, but within the imaginary universe of the show in which people aren’t stereotyped according to their body parts, Becca is able to play a character who feels free of those stereotypes even when nude.

(2) Your mantra is to, “write plays based on the worst idea imaginable,“ – how does this come to you? Does it ever make you uncomfortable?

Yes, I’m uncomfortable through the whole process, and always trying to make myself even more uncomfortable. I started working this way when I was writing my first play, and I was really struggling with it. My professor Mac Wellman told me to write the worst thing I could, and the trick worked.

(3) Has the Untitled Feminist Show evolved at all from when it first was put into production?

We always have new and different cast members who bring their own personalities into the mix, but the choreography of the show has remained basically the same.

(4) What is your thought process behind developing your stage shows / plays?

When starting a play, I ask myself, “What’s the last show in the world I would ever want to make?” Then I force myself to make it. I do this because going out of my comfort zone compels me to challenge my assumptions and find value in unexpected places. I try to work with different genres and subject matters for each new show. The bigger the challenge, the more inspired I feel. I don’t want to keep cranking out the same type of show because I’m so familiar with a specific way of working. I write my shows as I’m directing them, working collaboratively with my performers and artistic team and getting feedback from workshop audiences. Our goal is to find ways to get past our audiences’ defenses against uncomfortable subjects and open people up to confronting difficult questions by keeping them disoriented and laughing.

(5) What is New York City like to live and create in?

Awesome, because of the other people and artists. Expensive.

(6) What does the future hold and what would you like to see?

I just went to Locarno and Sundance with my first short film, and am editing my second. I’m doing a three-year video residency with the Wooster Group. Would love to make a feature soon!

Friday Foodie Five

Normally here on Friday Foodie Five I try to bring you some of the best stuff I’ve seen and heard online during the week. But I have to tell you, we here on the Toronto Squad have been working hard for a long time on something and we need to share.

For what feels like months, but has really only been a few weeks, Ama, Megan and I have been busy planning and co-curating an open call group art show called Fat In Public and the show’s opening was last night!

I would love nothing more than to share a few images with those of you who could not make it out to the opening and will not be in Toronto for the show’s week-long run at 2186 Dundas Gallery.


Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 1.43.50 PM
From Hamilton Squad Leader Carly’s Instagram, the hand-drawn window detail done by me.



Amarina Norris of Ursa Major+ made this one-of-a-kind piece that we featured in the front window, entitled ‘Sorry, Not Sorry.’ Look how PACKED 2186dundas was! Photo cred: Andrew Williamson.



Here’s me being forced to melt my robot heart by Ama. Photo cred: Andrew Williamson



This was the beautiful wooden chalkboard signage that Megan drew to drawn people in. Thanks to Food 416 for the rad photo that we found on Instagram!



Ren Bostelaar told me Drake was really into Melody Krauze’s Soft Core pillows featuring some ladies having a good time.



Set up was an absolute blast and all of us loved Sookie Bardwell’s plush piece, “Lady Bear”. Photo cred: Andrew Williamson



The crowd was bumping all night long with people showing up at 6:45PM! We couldn’t have done this without the love and support of all of YOU, our readers! So thank you for all your support. ❤

– – –

For those wondering about our gallery hours (who live in Toronto), please refer to our Facebook event page! Come and visit Fat in Public while it is happening Thursday Jan 30 – Wednesday Feb 5, 2014.

Real Talk: New Year’s Revolution

By Siobhan Ozege


I haven’t always been a bigger girl, but I have always struggled with accepting and loving my body the way it is at any given moment in time. In fact, for as long as I can remember, my New Year’s resolution has been that I wanted to “lose 20 pounds.” This seemingly tangible goal has been a negative staple for me across a spectrum of sizes, and it was only this year that I realized that losing that 20 pounds didn’t matter, because I would still vow to lose another the following year, and probably the year after that.


When we start talking about what it means to write a New Year’s resolution, it’s that old story of companies who fat shame you for how you ate over the holidays, who sell you gym memberships that you won’t use past February, or the countless piles of foam rollers, stretch bands, exercise shorts and at-home weight sets that you’ve convinced yourself you need to buy so you can be happy. We’re stuck in a cycle where losing weight has become positioned as literally the only thing standing between you and happiness. Now, I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s really important to check in with ourselves to see if there’s a thing we want to improve or work on so that we can live our most fulfilling and best life. I just don’t think it has to come from such a deep, dark, shitty place.


To be honest, the greatest weight I’ve ever lost was what I’m calling my ~*~New Year’s Revelation~*~. Since joining Fat Girl Food Squad in the fall, I’ve wrestled with my own understanding of how I can learn to love my body for how it looks, while still wanting to achieve my health and fitness goals through exercise and healthier habits. Does losing weight and eating clean necessarily have to come from a place of self-hatred and external body shaming? According to many, that’s apparently the case, although we all know that BMI has long been debunked as an accurate measure of health and fitness, and that fat shaming motivation actually does the opposite. We also know that fat stigma is very real and people deal with it literally every day of their lives in a variety of situations.


So, is the secret that you have to learn to love yourself before you can motivate yourself to reach your New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps. The most encouraging thing I ever did for myself was to break up with my scale, and make manageable health and fitness goals that I felt like I could tackle, and had actual ties to things that would make me feel better emotionally, mentally and physically. Whether it’s learning to run to improve your endurance, wanting to be able to lift heavy things, or learning a new sport, there are tons of reasons to make health and fitness a New Year’s resolution that encourages you to love your body and to love yourself.


This year, for the first time, my list of New Year’s resolutions/intentions/resolves or whatever you want to call them doesn’t include weight loss, though they are almost all distinctly health-focused. They include a push to be active at least four days a week, to drink more water, to cut down on my coffee intake, and to sleep more. And honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever really actively taken manageable steps to achieve these goals. Rather than eating salads for a week and then being bummed out when the scale doesn’t budge and giving up, I signed up for a two-month long all-ladies boot camp class that I do twice a week with two of my friends. This, combined with two days of cardio means I’m being active a minimum of four days a week. Check.

Exercising more is helping me sleep better, and it’s making me thirsty as hell, so I’m drinking water all the time. It’s also motivating me to try new things – I’ve decided to ride this motivation and take up yoga to help me de-stress from work and to improve my balance. Check. Check. Check. Now, instead of feeling crummy that the scale isn’t budging, I feel stronger, happier, and healthier. My arms and legs are stronger and leaner and my endurance is slowly increasing. Have I lost any weight? Who gives a shit! We all know that weight does not equate to health, and if I’ve learned anything from all of this, it’s to remember that fact every single day.

It Gets Fatter Project is Reorienting Desire Tonight in Ottawa


Tonight Ottawa is lucky enough to have the It Gets Fatter Project in town, hosting an event on Reorienting Desire. The It Gets Fatter Project is a body positivity project, started by queer fat people of colour FOR queer fat people of colour, and this workshop will serve as a space to examine how fatphobia structures our visions of desirable bodies.

We reached out to It Gets Fatter Project and they were awesome enough to answer some of our questions. We can’t wait to go hang out with them tonight.

Is this your first event in Ottawa? We’re excited to have you!

It’s Asam’s first time, but Sara presented the keynote at last year’s Project Acorn gathering. We are excited to be back!

Obviously being fat is a gendered conversation, but can you give us a quick rundown of why it was important for IGF to be a poc led project, for poc?

I think for fat folks who are racialized the answer to this question is as obvious as fat being a gendered conversation. The ways in which we experience body shame and body policing are so intimately tied to processes of racialization that I actually don’t even know how I could think about fatness without thinking about race, (or really, how I could think about the body without also thinking about the ways in which it is gendered and raced and classed etc).

Just to start off with, fatness & race are rarely discussed together within white fat activism. And yet, discourses around obesity often visibilize and centre on fat poc – even as these campaigns have little to no input from the people who are being used as props to signify the dangers of obesity. The idea that Black people have “bad” eating habits and only have themselves to blame for being fat is so pervasive in US pop culture it goes almost unquestioned or even unnoticed. And how fat racialized bodies are policed and shamed is intimately tied to histories of colonialism and imperialist and orientalist stereotypes of “the Other.” (For instance, it might be “liberating” for a white woman to walk around without shaving her armpits, but the same choice from a dark-skinned woc will mean she will often get read as a “savage” who doesn’t know how to conform to Western standards of hygiene and needs rescuing.)

When we started IGF it was because we didn’t feel there was any space in fat activism to talk about these things. There is a long history of fat activism being centred and being dominated by the voices and narratives of white fat people. Unfortunately, for a lot of poc these voices just don’t resonate because we don’t see ourselves in these narratives. It is impossible for poc to divorce their race from any aspect of their lives, and any discourse or activism that doesn’t even notice or mention race is obviously not gonna be very useful for most poc.

Finally, 500 years of colonialism has meant that so many Black, Indigenous and poc communities have internalized white, European standards of beauty and aesthetic norms. One of the most painful experiences I have had as a fat brown guy has been the constant fat shaming in my own community. But this is painful especially because I know skinny white bodies were not always idealized in my culture. There is so much anecdotal evidence (art, poetry, music, etc.) that shows us that all kinds of bodies were revered in South Asian culture. And yet because of colonialism that history is often lost or remains unspoken. These are conversations white fat activists wouldn’t even begin to know how to have. So I think all of these things illustrate the importance of poc only spaces for fat poc’s.

Are conversations about fatness, and specifically about fatness and race easier to have in queer spaces? How much does intersectionality play into the IGF project?

I think it really depends on what kind of queers are present in the room. Sometimes folks will internalize dominant ideas about race & fatness, and so obviously those conversations are even harder to have than with say, straight white folks who just don’t like fat or queer people. But IGF is born through the intersections we carry as queer, racialized, fat folks and so we try our best to make sure the spaces we create and facilitate are always keenly attuned to the ways in which intersectionality impacts our experiences of marginalization.

What’s the best response you’ve witnessed to fatshaming?

“Fuck you, no one cares about your diet!”

What do you think of the recent articles about how fat positivity isn’t just for bigger women? I noticed you used ‘self identify as fat’ on your tumblr. At what point does thin privilege take over self identifying as fat? Does it?

There’s definitely this hierarchy of who gets to be celebrated for speaking out on fat issues and who gets completely ignored. Even within fat activism supersize folks have often felt excluded (even at NOLOSE!). There’s also the danger of who becomes the “face” of “fat positivity”. The idea that Lena Dunham’s body is radical or revolutionary in any way to be so nude all the time on Girls just shows how much work there still needs to be done when it comes to body positivity. These are things we are still thinking about, but so far we haven’t had any issues with workshops or video submissions. At the end of the day, as long as folks are aware of the privileges they carry and how much space they take up, we’re not interested in policing definitions of fatness. Just don’t be a jerk about it.

Reserve tickets for tonight’s 6:30pm event at, by phone 613-789-4646, or in person at the Bank St. Ottawa location. 


[ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT] – Fat In Public an Art Show Presented by Fat Girl Food Squad

After spending the last several weeks accepting applications from artists (far and wide) for Fat Girl Food Squad’s first gallery show, Fat in Public, we are pleased to make the official announcement of the artists whom will be displaying art.

*Sam Abel
*Sookie Bardwell
*Ronald Caddigan
*Derrick Chow
*Elana Delaney
*Amanda Drodge
*Kristina Groeger
*Melody Krauze
*Jessica Levy
*Amarina Norris of Ursa Major +
*Megan Stulberg
*Yuli Scheidt


With Fat Girl Food Squad‘s first gallery showing and through our artists selected pieces, we intend to de-stigmatize the (fat) body and give an outlet for art featuring imperfect and sybaritically characters in equal measure.

FAT IN PUBLIC’s opening reception will take place on January 30th at 2186 Dundas (located at, well, 2186 Dundas in Roncesvalles, Toronto) from 7-11pm. Please come celebrate with us and help celebrate our artists.

We have been beyond excited about this show for quite some time now. You can click on “attending” here on Facebook, should you feel obliged.

One final thing to note! All of our artists pieces will be for sale that evening with 100% of the sales going back to the artists. So please, support your fellow artists!

Body Positive Sex: What’s Self Love Got to do with It?

We here at Fat Girl Food Squad are huge supporters of sex positivity and body positivity, which I think is pretty evident in all the work that we do.
So when we were approached by the University of Toronto to put together a workshop on body positive sex for Sexual Awareness Week, we were beyond thrilled.


Come join us on Saturday January 25, 2013 at Innis Town Hall for our two-hour workshop titled Body Positive Sex: What’s Self-Love Got to do with It? In this two hour workshop, we invite one and all as we discuss body positive sex and self-love. We will journey through all types of topics including (but not limited to):

* importance of self acceptance leading to the path of good & healthy sex
* our personal experience coming to live in and love our bodies
* ways to come to accept your body
* dating horror stories
* how to not fall prey to fetishization as validation
*how movement and a body in motion is a great way to love thyself

During our “Juice & Cookie & Dance” break, we invite attendees to take part in our set-up activities:

*Yuli Scheidt, co-founder and lead photographer of Fat Girl Food Squad will be setting up Photo Booth where you can express yourself (all photos taken are free). You can find some of Yuli’s work here:

*HaFA will be organizing a “Body in Motion” session, where you can be instructed how to move your body with a hula-hoop. If you would like to make a hula-hoop with HaFA, you can attend their session the day before our, Friday Jan 24!

For more details our on workshop (which is free to attend), peep the Facebook event page here. We really hope you’lll come out and support us.

Real Talk: Your Weight Doesn’t Define You



Editor’s note: This piece comes to us from our newest contributor half a world away, Madeline, in Tasmania, Australia. Read her full bio here.

With so much importance placed on appearance and beauty, it’s no surprise that so many young women and men struggle with body image issues. I’m no stranger to being full to the brim with self-hatred relating to my bodyweight. I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror at eighteen, staring down at my bulging stomach and dimpled thighs, trying to imagine myself as anyone but the person I was.

The media is continually bombarding us with unrealistic images of women and men, and it’s self-destructive to even consider comparing ourselves to models in the magazines. We’re constantly under pressure to be thin and fit the socially constructed standards of beauty. If we don’t fit then we aren’t considered ‘beautiful’. This pressure was what fuelled my determination to lose weight and become healthy to evolve into an obsessive fixation with becoming thin and beautiful. I possessed an unhealthy, negative body image and a list of insecurities far too long to count. I felt as though the number on the scale defined me, that it was a calculation of my worth as a person.

What originally began as cutting out junk food, quickly turned into me eliminating bread and cheese, and nuts and avocados. I spent days crying when I didn’t lose weight and became addicted to searching ‘thinspo’ tags on social media. I only talked about was weight loss, and I didn’t even notice it. Friends were probably rolling their eyes and my family, who were always extremely supportive, was becoming visibly annoyed with my constant weight loss talk. I didn’t realise what was happening to me.

I reached a breaking point in November 2013. I stood on the scale, crying over the fact that I had lost one pound. Really?


After talking through everything with my mother, I decided that things needed to change. I spent a week being spontaneous: I tried new things (such as fencing and square dancing), ate chocolate, went out dancing with my friends and even had my first kiss. But this was a tough transition to make. I had to reaffirm with myself what was important: be thin, obsessive and unhappy, or be healthy and free. That was an easy decision, but it was hard making that change. Yet, for the first time in a year I was actually living, and that feeling, that sense of freedom, was intoxicating. I needed to love myself for who I was, not lose myself in a quest for vanity.

This experience taught me a lot. It taught me that defining yourself based on your weight can cause a war inside your head, because what you are doing is believing that your body is a projection of who you are. Your bodyweight is no reflection of how you enjoy life, your strength or your worth. I’ve lost enough weight that it is quite noticeable, but I still have the same number of friends and I’m still doing the same things. I didn’t become smarter or have a better relationship with my family. I’m still the same person.

What is important is the need to stop equating ‘beauty’ with ‘skinny’, and ‘ugly’ with ‘fat’. We need to unlearn these socially constructed idealisations of what is beautiful and not let society define us. You need to remember that you are a person with a mind, soul, heart and a personality to die for. It takes a lot of hard work to stop comparing our bodies to the false images in the magazines, but it’s the key to being body positive.

And, if you still don’t believe that your weight doesn’t define you, watch this video: