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Screw your New Year diet

In 2015, I decided to stop dieting. I’d been on a diet for 10 years. 10 YEARS!!!! And it was the shittest diet ever because year on year, I started January heavier than the year before.

I went through cycles of starving and binging, salad obsessions and chocolate gorging.  I’d lose weight, lose interest and gain the weight back along with a few more pounds.

Well last year, I decided my poor old body had had just about enough. I’d had 3 surgeries in 18 months, a Stoma, a Jpouch, 2 hernias and a lot of meds and treatment. I decided that it was pretty wonderful that I was even still standing and so I should give it a break from messing with food.

Diets don’t work. You follow the rules and lose weight, but any short term food deprivation only leads to temporary weight loss.  If you loosen the reins and return back to your former ways, you will gain it all back.

I started thinking about why I was dieting. Did I want to be thinner, or was it just what is expected of me as a woman?  The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I’m actually very happy in my skin.  I like my big body, I think I’m soft and beautiful and hella sexy.


But we aren’t meant to say that are we? Especially not if we are ‘plus size’. We’re meant to be ashamed and apologetic. We’re meant to strive to be ‘better’. But what if ‘better’ has fuck all to do with the number in the back of your dress?  What if ‘better’ isn’t about being a size 6?

Humans are all different sizes and shapes, yet we strive to be like a very narrow, Western ideal of beauty that comes from fashion and media. It comes from air brushing, the use of very young models, the use of extremely thin models.  The pressure on women to conform is HUGE.  To look more like a tiny percentage of women. Isn’t that silly?

The funny thing is that my lack of dieting last year, means I start this year lighter than I was at the start of 2015.  It’s the first year that my weight hasn’t gone up and I truly believe this is because I took the pressure off myself, I refused to diet but that doesn’t mean that I decided to eat everything in sight!

When I diet, I am constantly thinking about food. I think about calories and my next meal, I dream of food and look longingly at cheese boards.  This year my focus was on other things, I don’t want to waste time thinking about food when there is a whole world of awesome to be thinking about!  My lack of dieting made me more in touch with my body, eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. Never denying myself of food but enjoying it and savouring it.

sam cleasby the poo lady

I’m learning all the time to love my body. It’s not easy, I do cave in sometimes and see photos of myself where I’m surprised by my size. But that’s usually because I’m viewing myself through someone else’s eyes. My confidence is dented when I think that someone else is looking at me and thinking about my shape.  In my head, I am Beyoncé. And Zooey Dechanelle. And Thandie Newton. And Superwoman. And Marilyn Monroe.

I’m a bad ass version of all those women blended into one shit hot mega babe.

And so it surprises me sometimes when I see a fat, 34 year old mum in gardening gear.

But you know, I do love my body. Are there things I would change? Yes. Do I want to be healthier? Yes. Will I diet ever again? No fucking way!

Healthy eating and exercise are wonderful, I think we should all eat delicious, unprocessed, bright, colourful, mouth watering food.  I think we should all move our bodies and take part in exercise that is fun and makes us happy.

We only have this one body and so it is really important that we take care of it by giving it the fuel it needs and working our muscles to keep us mobile.  Our physical health is vital.

But so is our emotional health, so take a moment and think about making your mind and spirit healthy too.  Acceptance and self love.  Celebrating not demonising. Give yourself the affirmation that you are beautiful.  Because beauty isn’t about looking the same as a 14 year old size 0 fashion model, it’s about your unique and bloody brilliant self. It’s about kindness and humour and confidence and love whether you’re a size 0 or a size 32+!!

This new year, you will be bombarded by adverts telling you that you aren’t enough. That you need to buy their products to change yourself to fit in.

Fuck fitting in.

sam cleasby the poo lady plus size eff your beauty standards

If you want to make a healthy change to your lifestyle, then go for it! But think about the long term lifestyle changes you might want to make, be aware that short term diets DONT WORK LONGTERM.  Find a physical activity that you want to do, do it with friends, make it fun, enjoy it!

If you don’t want to diet, don’t be led to believe that you must.  Enjoy your body, celebrate your brilliance and love yourself.

Sam X

How to love yourself

Im doing more and more writing about self esteem and body image and was asked to talk about ways to feel better about yourself.  This is part of my Love Yourself – You’re So Bad Ass work.

My guilty pleasure TV is Ru Paul’s Drag Race, it’s like America’s Next Top Model but for drag queens and its AMAZING.  Totally trashy but addictive.  Ru Paul has this saying at the end of every episode

ru paul if you can't love yourself

Totally right, we all need to love ourselves a little more.  And so here are my tips on how to love yourself.

STOP BUYING CRAP WOMENS MAGAZINES – any magazine that sells it’s rag by speculating about womens weight can go to hell.  Is she too fat? Too skinny? She’s got cellulite??? BURN HERRRRRRR!!!  No.  Stop buying and reading crap judgements of other women, its bad for the soul.

TELL YOURSELF YOU ARE AWESOME – you might feel stupid at first, but positive affirmations are a great way to start to think about the good things about yourself.  Say it out loud and say it proudly.  Remember that your body is listening to the words you say, so make them nice ones.

ACCEPT YOURSELF – I know this is easier said than done, but being accepting of yourself is the start of all things good.  Last year I realised I had been on a diet for 12 years and it depressed the hell out of me, for 12 years of being on a diet is 12 years of telling myself I wasn’t good enough.  I know I am overweight and I am actually losing weight right now for surgery, but in accepting that my body is beautiful just the way it is, weight loss becomes so much less of a big deal and therefore it becomes a little easier to lose the weight as I just don’t think it is the be all and end all.

Accepting how your amazing body is made will make you feel better.  That fold on your side is a beautiful and delicious imperfection that makes you unique, those wrinkles show your path through life, your scars are like the hieroglyphs of your story.  Learn to accept these things and learn to love them.

READ THIS QUOTE – “You are not fat.You have fat. You also have fingernails, but you aren’t fingernails”

GIVE AND ACCEPT COMPLIMENTS – Make a point of telling people when you think they look good, or you like their clothes, hair, perfume, anything.  And be accepting of compliments, I used to deny compliments all the time… “I love your dress!” “Really? This was from Primark and Im wearing spanx to fit it it!”  Nowadays I make a point of holding those denials back and saying “Thank you, thats really kind!”

GET OUT AND GET MOVING – Exercise really does help mood, getting out walking and breathe in that fresh air.  When I am feeling crap, I know the best thing for me is to grab the dogs lead, put on a big coat and get out walking.  It clears my mind, gives me perspective and gives me time alone.  I don’t always feel like it and sometimes have to force myself to do it, but I always ALWAYS feel better afterwards.

PERFECTION IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD – Perfection is unattainable, insisting on perfection often results in no improvement at all.  Accept that humans are all imperfect, and that is what makes us unique and beautiful.

perfect is the enemy of good

USE THE FOUR QUESTIONS – If you have a bad thought about yourself or your body, use the four questions of Byron Katie.  There is a Judge Your Body worksheet, fill it in and then use the four questions.

“In its most basic form, The Work consists of four questions and turnarounds. For example, your statement might be “[Name] doesn’t listen to me.” Find someone in your life about whom you have had that thought. Then take that statement and put it up against the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

Step 1 Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)

Step 2 Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)

Step 3 How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

 Who would you be without the thought?

Turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.”

It is about re thinking the way we automatically think things through habit and creating new thought processes.

THINK ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU THINK ARE BEAUTIFUL – and realise that beauty is about so much more that how we look externally.  Beauty is about kindness, love, wonder.  Beauty is different all over the world, the very narrow western ideal of beauty in magazines is not true beauty.

RECOGNISE WHEN YOU NEED HELP AND ASK FOR IT – Sometimes negative feelings are more than feeling a bit down, if bad thoughts are something that affects your life daily then perhaps it is time to ask for help.  Whether that is in speaking to your partner, family or friends or seeing a therapist or taking medication.  Your best port of call is your GP.  There is no shame in asking for help, it does not signify weakness.  Recognising when you need help shows strength and courage.  If you need it, ask for help.

Love Sam xxx