A Different Perspective

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Any pictures I have previously posted (apart from the last two) have always been  taken by me and by using a timer. I try to position myself at a flattering angle and crop the images so I only show the bits I am comfortable with.

Last week, for the first time, someone else took pictures of me. I felt self-conscious and exposed, as I wasn’t in control of the images being taken. Sexy was something that I definitely did not feel.

I rarely show images of my belly when I am standing up, as it is the one part of my body I dislike intently. However, I wanted to share this image, as this is how others see me.

 

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A Rant About ‘Obesity’

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I recently decided to check my body mass index (BMI) on the NHS website. Apparently, I am considered obese as my BMI is 32.9. I am quite heavy and I am of average height for a woman, so I was not surprised by this score. It’s recommended that I should be eating between 1731-2225 calories per day. In reality I would be surprised if I did actually consume more than the maximum recommendation of 2225. I would love to be in the region of 10 stone and 6 pounds, the maximum ideal weight for my height, but I doubt that is ever going to happen again.

I know I am overweight, but…

I eat very healthily.

I don’t like high-fat food such as pastry, burgers and sausages.

I drink around 8 units of alcohol a week.

I eat lots of chicken, fish, fruit and veg.

I love cheese, but rarely eat, or buy it. I consider it a rare   treat.

I don’t have large meals.

I only use extra-virgin olive oil, in small quantities, to cook with.

I love puddings and chocolate, but I am very careful to limit these to occasional treats.

I generally don’t snack in between meals other than on fruit, or an occasional low-calorie biscuit.

I walk between 3 and 5 miles each day, at a relatively fast pace. I should probably do more vigorous exercise.

I wear size 14 jeans and leggings.

My top half is generally a size 18 because of accommodating my boobs!

I have normal blood pressure and cholesterol readings

I don’t smoke and never have.

I have no aches and pains or joint problems, but I do suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which can make weight easy to gain, but difficult to lose.

On my last visit for an over-40 health check, the practice nurse was surprised at my weight and didn’t think I looked as heavy as I was. However, I was pleased that she did not seem unduly concerned about it either.

I do have a fat belly area, and always have had, but my legs, bum and hips are not too troublesome.

I was interested to listen to Dr Malcolm Kendrick on the Steve Wright show on Radio 2 last week. He was talking about health myths, and it is interesting to hear there is no medical study to support that a BMI over 30 defines a person as obese. Apparently, a 650 page report from a World Health Organisation meeting in 1995, documented that:

‘the reason why we decided that a BMI of greater than 30 is defined as obesity is largely arbitrary’.

It was also interesting to hear that the evidence for the five portions of fruit and veg a day rule is non-existent. Someone, somewhere once decided this should be a guideline.

Clip from the Steve Wright show

Basically, the message from Dr Kendrick is, do what makes you happy, but be sensible and do some exercise. Which, of course, is all common sense.

I am finally learning to accept my body shape. If I am considered as obese by an arbitrary rating system, so be it. I know I lead a relatively healthy lifestyle and don’t abuse my body. We are all individuals, with differing factors affecting our bodies and health, and the labels attached to us by society aren’t always justified.

Body Confidence

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So, why do I choose to post ‘sexy selfies’ and show my boobs and bum on Twitter?  Well, there are two reasons: first, it has helped to improve my body confidence enormously and, secondly, to be frank, I enjoy doing it. I have never been a ‘skinny chick’. Far from it. But I never thought of my body in a positive way as being voluptuous or curvaceous; only in a negative way as fat, plump, overweight or one of the multitude of other derogatory terms used in society.

I was always ashamed of myself for not having a flat stomach and felt I had to profusely apologise to boyfriends who saw me naked for the first time. In the workplace, I was generally more rotund than the other girls of my peer group and I carefully avoided the ‘how much do you weigh?’ discussions that inevitably occur in office chit-chat. Even my mum reinforced the belief that I was fat by frequently telling me that I would do well as a belly dancer as my belly wobbled so much! I had to conclude that having a washboard stomach seemed to be the most important life goal for the majority of women, but I knew that was never going to be a possibility for me.  Consequently, I never really believed that ‘larger’ women could be considered as desirable and attractive. A belief I held until last year.

Since around the age of around 18, I have had a bit of an exhibitionist streak, which has rarely been allowed to surface, due to my poor body confidence and less-than-enthusiastic partners. Having reached a point last year, where it was time to push a few boundaries, I decided to find out for myself if anyone really did embrace the ‘curvier’ figure and would genuinely find my body shape and size attractive. At the same time, it would give me an opportunity to explore my exhibitionist side.

I set about with my long-suffering iPad and experimented, over several days, with various images, finally deciding that a black and white filter was kinder to the flesh, which also gave me a bit more confidence that I might look marginally attractive. It took an awful lot of courage to post the first few pictures on Twitter. They didn’t get much response, as I had very few followers, but that wasn’t important. What mattered to me was that I had gained the courage to show a body that I was fundamentally ashamed of.

I pushed myself to post a picture nearly every day and I quickly began to get some wonderful comments from people; many of whom are still loyal followers nearly 12 months on. Those pictures were, and always will be, tasteful, and hopefully are considered as erotic by some. I enjoy taking the photos and I try to be creative and vary the images.

I don’t post photos as regularly as I used to but, when I do, I am still delighted by all the positive comments I receive. Reading them brings a smile to my face, and I try to reply to each one.  I don’t think I have ever received a negative or nasty comment, but I know that others have and it truly saddens me that a few narrow-minded people feel curvy women should stay covered up. Voluptuous and curvaceous is sexy and curves really do rock!