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Do you remember when you learnt fat=bad?

Social media, marketing, films and TV are putting more pressure than ever on people to feel they have to look a certain way. We also are in a time when there are many voices standing up for body confidence which was something very lacking as I was growing up.

I was born in 1981 and was a teenager in the era of Kate Moss, heroin chic and waifs. But I remember vividly the first time I realised that society equates fat with being bad.

Princess Diana’s cellulite

And ironically enough it was a story about Princess Diana that started it. Someone who later we found out battled eating disorders. She was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. And it was this story that first made me go on a diet and feel rubbish about myself.

It was 1996 and photos came out in the tabloid press of Diana leaving the Harbour Club fitness centre in London. She was wearing shorts and the story said she had cellulite on her thighs. One newspaper called her Princess Lumpy Legs. Wow, just wow.

It was literally front page fodder and was on the tv news, everyone was discussing it. So much so that the princess denied she had cellulite publicly. Saying the dimples on her thighs were imprints from a bar stool she had been sitting on.

Several tabloids then actually hired models. They attempted to re-create the photographs to prove or disprove whether the bar stool could cause these marks.

I’d never even heard of cellulite before this, but suddenly it was all anyone could talk about. I remember seeing girls at school squeezing the flesh on their thighs to check if they had it. I thought to myself that it must be a horrific thing to get. If the worlds most photographed woman had to speak out and deny it.

Body confidence

It was probably the first time I really started judging my body I was 15 and very skinny. But these stories told me that even the slim Princess could have cellulite and be totally shamed around the world for it, so what hope did I have?

In the weeks after, every newspaper, magazine and tv show was all about what diets and exercise you should do to avoid this dreaded scourge of cellulite and I took it all in. I went on my first diet and starting buying fitness videos. I never had an eating disorder but the story really affected me and changed the way I viewed not only myself but other women and I dieted for the next 20 years.

Nowadays I have learned to love my body, whatever size or shape it is. I’ve been very slim and currently due to two hernias and extreme pain stopping me from even walking very far, let alone exercising, I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m not actually happy with my weight and shape right now, but that’s down to feeling out of control and weak not the weight itself.

After surgery I will be working on getting strong, but none of this is for anyone else nor any other reason than I want to feel strength in my body, I am so looking forward to getting back out and walking my dogs, in dancing in bars and my kitchen, in swimming and kayaking and gardening and just being a happy, active me! I have no aims to lose a certain amount of weight or to look a certain way, I just want to feel strong and like me again and I know I can feel that at a size 10 or a size 18.

sam cleasby ileostomy colostomy bag blogger body confidence

Does fat = bad?

I have learnt that fat does not equal bad or ugly or shame, it’s only hateful and hurtful words that make us feel those emotions. I have learnt that my body is beautiful and wondrous and my wobbly bits, my cellulite, my scars and my ostomy bag are all part of that. I’m beautiful because of those things, not despite them.

So though social media does expose us to so many more negative images and stories, I’m glad we live in an age where we hear the positive stories and body confidence too. Where we can see women of all shapes and sizes looking fabulous and telling their stories of self love.

Jameela Jamil instagram body confidence

I saw this photo of Jameela Jamil in her Instagram this week showing her cellulite and it made me reflect on how differently that image was accepted compared to the photos of Diana and it makes me feel like things are changing and it is becoming easier to love your body, however it looks. Her campaign of body confidence has been so inspiring.

I’d love to hear your stories, do you remember a time when a news story changed the way you feel about your body?

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xx

When do morals matter more than money?

You may have seen the queen that is Jameela Jamil calling out the Kardashian’s and other celebrities for their earning money from the promotion of weight loss products such as appetite-suppressant lollipops,meal-replacement shakes or “cleansing” teas that act as a laxative. Also her satirical video.

In response to Khloé’s promotion of Flat Tummy shakes, Jameela said “If you’re too irresponsible to: (a) own up to the fact that you have a personal trainer, nutritionist, probable chef, and a surgeon to achieve your aesthetic, rather than this laxative product…and (b) tell them the side effects of this NON-FDA approved product, that most doctors are saying aren’t healthy…then I guess I have to.”

Kim has said regarding her Instagram adverts “If there is work that is really easy that doesn’t take away from our kids, that’s, like, a huge priority. If someone was faced with the same job opportunities, I think they would maybe consider.”

No. Just no.

Momma’s gotta work

I’m a working mother living with chronic illness, I’ve got one kid going off to uni this year and a 14 and 16 year old who are all bloody expensive! If I can get work that is easy and doesn’t take me away from my kids then hell yes I’m going to consider it!!

But despite the fact that my family’s need for financial security is far more intense that the multi millionaire Kardashian’s, morals come first every single time.

If you are a blogger, an influencer, a public speaker, someone who has a following then you have a responsibility to use that privilege with care, sensitivity, thought and love. You have a responsibility to put your followers health before your own bank statements.

I have been offered money to advertise so many things; Diet shakes, miracle IBD cures, weight loss fads and more. Money that would make my family more financially secure, money that would cover the loss of earnings of having 8 surgeries in 5 years, money that would relieve some of the stresses of having to reduce my work hours because my body can’t keep up with the physical strain.

Ive been offered money by companies that may well believe in their claims that their products can reduce symptoms of IBD, but until I see doctors telling me that these things are safe, that they work and having the knowledge that they aren’t just out to make money from desperate patients, I ain’t going to advertise it!

Money and my blog

I run this blog because I care deeply about raising awareness of chronic illness and disability issues, because I love sharing my story in the hope of making just one person feel less isolated. And I do it for free and out of my own pocket.

I do take adverts, but each request is only taken if I truly believe in the company and can find proof that they are decent businesses providing something that I know at least some of my followers will have an interest in.

If you take into consideration the hours and money I put into this blog and the So Bad Ass social media, I run at a loss. This blog will always be free to access, I always want the support offered to be available to as many as possible and yes, I am trying to think of ways to bring in some revenue so I can keep it going.

You may notice I don’t have many ads, this is because I’m so careful at what and who I will advertise here because my blog matters to me, it’s my baby. And my readers deserve the best.

So forgive me for not shedding a tear for a multi millionaire who chooses to promote potentially dangerous and certainly questionable weight loss products to their audience because it’s easy money.

When do morals matter more than money in blogging and social media?

Every. Fucking. Time.

✌🏽& ❤️

Sam xxx