Basketballs….

I have never *actually* swallowed a basketball.

Trust me, if I had that level of talent I would be off exploiting it all over the world. You’d see me slam-dunking on every TV show and possibly tapping into a golden market of adult entertainment (She swallows whole balls…sorry)

The name of this blog comes from a little story about a little girl who loved to dance.

It was 1985. Legwarmers were considered to be a sensible fashion choice. I was 5 years old and a show-off. (That is possibly an understatement, as my family will be able to testify. Our bay window was my London Palladium and I would often refuse to come out from behind the curtains until they reached a level of applause I deemed appropriate.)

The sensible option was to enrol me into a local dance class and hopefully channel all of this energy into something wonderful.

I already had a leotard.

I can remember entering the dance studio via a shop that sold sparkly tights and just knowing that I was in the right place. I would do whatever it took to have glitzy legs.

As far as I was concerned I had landed in Fame.

Lots of the other little girls had clearly been going to the classes for quite a while and I watched them as they twizzled and swizzled (actual technical dance terms) until the teacher arrived.

We lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder. An army of black-leotarded five year old giggly girls all waiting to get their groove on.

The teacher walked up and down the lines, saying hello to a few girls and fiddling with a hairbun here and there. And then she came to me, a new grinning face. She laughed, poked my middle and said,

“Look at you! You look like you’ve swallowed a basketball!”

It was 27 years before I stepped into another dance class.

(I’ll come back to these grown-up dance classes when we reach the ‘taking my clothes off’ section of the blog….Do I know how to tease or what?!)

But the lesson (it took 27 years to learn) is that I love to move my body and I shouldn’t let anyone stop me. Did it really matter that my leotard was a bit tighter? Did it really matter that my belly stuck out a bit more than the others’?

Of course not.

Grab your basketball and get your groove on. Be different. Stand out. Take up space. Find joy. Buy sparkly tights. Smile and do what you love.

Now, who fancies a dance?

I’ll bring the balls.

January Blues

January is a tough month for fat people.

It’s really quite difficult to fly in the face of expectation year-round, and keeping your head held high throughout the fat-hate storm which always peaks at this time every year, is a bit of a challenge.

A new year, a new you! (Is there something wrong with me?)

Lose 3 billion lbs in just 10 days! (by disordered eating? Hmm..think I’ll pass)

Get the body you’ll love! (…or I *could* try to love the one I have?)

Gyms are heaving with the temporarily well-intentioned, all decked out in their new kit (all the gear, no idea) whose membership cards won’t see the light of day past February. Yes I’ve done it.

Celebrity workout DVDs. (Actually *anything* to do with celebrity diet endorsements….*sigh* This is an entire post of its own)

I’ve been there.

I fully understand but can’t help but pity the belief that becoming less = becoming more.

For the majority of my life I shared that belief and continued a cycle of punishing self-hatred because I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make myself small enough to feel happy, no matter what I tried.

January and Mondays were my biggest trigger points for disordered behaviour. Who would have thought that a calendar month and a day of the week could be quite so intimidating? Again it was the idea of ‘newness’ that appealed so much.

‘I can Etch-a-Sketch shake this horrible person away and draw a brand new smaller one!’ (entirely with sharp straight angles and absolutely NO curvy lines whatsoever….how tough are they to actually draw something?)

I would sit with a notebook (I have a thing for stationery) and a calculator (Excel hadn’t been invented yet) putting my GCSE Maths to its only practical use by working out the magical formula

If I did xxx and ate only xxx I could lose xxx and be a size xxx by the time I have to go to xxx and look amazing and xxx will fall in love with me and life will be PERFECT!

I faced each January and most Mondays with the same optimistic belief that ‘this time would be different’ with varying degrees of success.

My name is Kate and I’m a size 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24.

I’ve been each of them at various points in my life.

Did I feel happier at my smallest? Nope. But did I feel more accepted? Hell yes.

The fundamental problem was my inability to maintain the extreme behaviour necessary for me to remain that way in the long-term. I simply wasn’t created to be small. Effortless or otherwise.

It took me a while to find my groove (more on this to come) and if I’m honest (which is kind of the whole point of this blog) then I still have quite a way to go to get there yet.

I’m not saying that dieting is wrong or promoting a healthy lifestyle is offensive. Of course not. I just know that I wasted so much precious time feeling unhappy, ugly and unworthy because of a deep-rooted belief that being a fat person is wrong and something to be ashamed of.

NEWSFLASH – BEING A FAT PERSON IS OK!

I am in no way promoting an unhealthy lifestyle (I’m not an idiot,who wants to be unhealthy? I want to live FOREVER….baby remember my name) however I have taken the tough decision to scream ENOUGH!

ENOUGH with the shaming, ENOUGH with the loathing and ENOUGH with the punishments.

Instead I will cherish, love and take care of this healthy abundant body I have been blessed with.

It’s the only one I’m ever going to have, so why would I treat it so badly by inflating and deflating it in a continuous cycle?

Just so we’re clear…I’ll still be your friend if you’re dieting or being a gym bore. I’ll still nod and smile in all the right places when you poke and prod your body and complain about how ‘disgusting’ your non-existent belly is, because maybe you don’t realise that you’re fat-shaming. I’ll still love you because you’re my friend, no matter what size yoga pants you’re wearing. (When did we start saying pants = trousers btw?)

But I will also try to give you a window into my big fat world and hopefully play a big fat part in making it far more fun for fat people to be a part of.

I said the ‘F’ word an awful lot then didn’t I?….Get used to it, it’s MINE now.

I have wanted to write this for a long time but have never been brave enough.

THIS is the kind of ‘new me’ that I’m happy to become this January. Without a calculator in sight.