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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Body Image (3)

Wednesday
May022012

My Dirty Little Secret

Today's post comes from our lady across the pond. Most of you #NoseyBitches (follow on Twitter, it's a hoot!) will know her as Anna, from Anna and The Ring. She's migrated to a fabulous new site, Far From the Wedding Crowd. Check it out for awesome weddingness. Anna's wedding journey closely mirrored my own in time frame and often times, WPMs (Wedding Planning Meltdown). Sometimes I feel like Anna is the British version of me. It makes me happy to know that somewhere, a version of me might have a lovely British accent.

Please welcome Anna and her Dirty Little Secret.

 

Once upon a time I was a happy and healthy child.

Then the chubbiness came. Nothing unusual. I was normal, albeit slightly introverted. Books fascinated me more than people yet I still loved being around people.

Then came 14 and a skiing accident. I remember there was ice and then my knee twisting in a strange direction and I guess happiness stopped.

The appetite remained sadly without the exercise. I continued to play some sports but I was never as fast or confident. I became my true introverted self.

I ballooned and have kept on ballooning since that day.

My body should be able to do amazing things. I should be able to scale rock faces and I should be able to run a marathon and I should be able to wear a dress without Spanx. (And yes I know should is a desperately dangerous word.)

It's so shameful to admit to myself that I am obese, yet to admit it to people who already see I am is even more soul destroying.

Of course I would love to be different. How I wish I were the size I was meant to be. How I wish I could wear the clothes I swoon about. Hence my shoe obsession. I shall never wear the pretty clothes. I shall never be anyone's best friend?

And yet never is a strong word. I guess all these things are actually possible but would you like to know my dirty little secret. A secret I really don't want to share but know that if I do share it might make me realise I'm an idiot. An idiot that can change her life.

Ok. deep breath.

Here's my secret.

There is a significant part of me (well of course it would be significant I have my own gravity!) which wants to stay on the large side.

There is a safety to being overweight. All of life's disappointments can explained away. People don't like me because I am fat. No-one will ever ask me to be a bridesmaid, but that's okay! It's just because I'm
hideous. Who would want to spoil their photographs with me. I hardly wanted to be in my own wedding album. I know I would judge me. I mean who really wants to eat supper sitting across from me? Boys didn't like me when I was younger because was large. Yes boys are shallow and I am happily married now but man, that hurt when I was younger. Young girls please note, sleeping around is not the root of all happiness.

Perhaps I am an intensely dislikeable person. How does one know whether they are a good egg? I think I have the capacity to be a very good friend, but how does one judge whether they are actually a good
friend? Does size preclude me from forming intense friendships? Will I always be the acquaintance? Does my weight imply I am a bad person?

My favourite quotation implies that I know the answer.

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.”

Leo Tolstoy

 

Perhaps, deep down, I know it is me? If I remove my weighty armour I will still be the same "unpopular" person?

Life is short and yet I am consumed by such thoughts and perhaps fallacies?

Is it the height of self indulgence or is it a pervasive evil thread that is destroying my life?

Should I be brave and force myself into my trainers? Will I magically become a better person or is that decent woman already there? Could changing my shape really change my mind?

 Anna, you've already been told how fabulous this picture is, and I know you aren't a fan of it for whatever reason, but trust me when I say THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL.

 

 

 

Monday
Jul112011

I Lied to My Therapist About ‘The Skirt’

image

Source

Several years ago, I was going through a life change that landed me in a not-so-healthy state of mind. I’ve written about it all before in a post called Does My Butt Look Big in This Gown? I finally came to terms with my not-so-healthy state of mind and put myself into therapy where I worked through some binge-eating and body dysmorphia issues. It was a tough row to hoe, but I managed to get through it. I learned some lessons and how to apply them.

The binge-eating thing was actually kind of easy to get over. I knew exactly why I did it, so it was just a matter of recognizing emotions when they happened and addressing those emotions versus ignoring/placating them with food. The dysmorphia gig is still a challenge. I see things that I know aren’t really there, or aren’t as big a deal as I make them out to be. It drives The Candyman  up the wall if I start in on myself. I try not to, but it can be difficult, particularly when I'm stressed out.

I’m not the crazy work-out fiend I used to be. As a result, I’ve gotten a little…let’s say soft. Yes, soft is the word.

My weight has remained the same, but I can tell that muscle tone is gone and parts of me are bigger. For the most part, I’m okay with a few changes. However, I’ve gotten to a point where the switch flips and my mind starts in on myself. I don’t like my shape or the way I feel, both mentally or physically. I’m on dangerous ground and I know it.

Back when I was in therapy, we talked about some of the triggers and how I judged myself. One of the things I would use to measure my physical self (since weight was never was something that provoked me) was The Skirt. I bought this skirt back in 1999 or so, on sale at the now-defunct Marshall Fields on State Street in Chicago. It’s a gorgeous, Oriental-looking silk brocade by ISDA & CO. and I simply love it.  Since it’s a woven brocade it has ZERO stretch. And I mean ZERO. That skirt was my measuring tool. If I could put that skirt on and walk and sit comfortably, I was “fine.” If I couldn’t, I was not “fine.” I let that fucking skirt rule my life at times, putting it on daily to measure success and failure. When I discussed this with my therapist years ago, it was a mortifying secret. I bawled as I told her. Now I look at it simply as slightly embarrassing, but in a quirky, funny sort of way. I don’t think of it as an ugly secret any more. At the time, my therapist told me to get rid of the skirt. She told me to get rid of it when I was ready, but to get rid of it.

Um, yeah. I wore that skirt to Marie’s (of Marie +Vic’s Unfake Wedding) rehearsal dinner this past April.

And I totally told my therapist I trashed it like 5 years ago. I totally lied.

I just couldn’t let it go because I do truly love it. I just stopped using it to measure myself. Um, until last week.

I know, I know! I’m a terrible patient. I’m a terrible person. I do have an excuse though. Wanna hear it? OK, here it is: I needed something to kick me in the arse to get me back on a healthy track. Honestly, I’ve been eating like a jack-ass. I’ve been eating whatever I want, whenever I want and not caring about the consequences. This behavior has come about little by little over the last 6 months or so. Before I moved, I‘d have at least 3-4 servings of fruit and veggies a day. Now, I’m lucky if I have one. My main source of calcium?  Cheese and mayo– daily. Fiber? Meh. See where I’m going with this? I haven’t been binge eating or doing any of that to replace emotions or anything, just eating like total crap. And once you let it go a few times, it just becomes a bad habit all over again.

So you realize that I wore the skirt to Marie’s wedding – this was at the end of April. It fit, not terribly comfortably when I sat, but well enough to wear. I put this skirt on last week and nearly died. So tight I would not walk out of the house in the thing. It was only two and a half months ago that it fit! I mean, WTF have I been eating? So I sat down and figured out exactly what I had been eating: crap. High fat, low fiber crap. *Sigh*

I had to get back on track and the only way I know how to monitor what I’m eating is by journaling my food via the Weight Watchers point system. It’s always been my wake up call. Some people (myself included) claim that food journaling can be just as neurotic as other eating disorders. For me, I don’t believe that is the case and my therapist encouraged it. It puts things into perspective for me. It reminds me how important it is to drink lots of water, eat naturally grown versus over-processed foods and to get creative with my meals. That creativity thing has been a challenge too. Since we eat at home nearly every single meal now, I’ve fallen on some easy recipes that aren’t always the most healthy for us.

I started back on the journaling on Saturday and last night, we had the yummiest dinner of spiced chicken and veggies cooked on the grill with homemade, super-yum hummus (recipe from July’s issue of O Magazine). Instead of eating the whole chicken breast, I ate half, added extra veggies on my plate and had a healthy about of hummus. I was stuffed. For me, it’s all about paying attention – making conscious decisions about what to put in my mouth, which I have not been doing. After two days, I can’t tell you how much better I feel. Is that totally cliché? Probably, but fuck it. I have to do what works for me and this works. Since I’ve been down this path before, I know it will take me a few months to get back into the swing of eating healthy foods without the use of a journal. I fall off the horse, I get up and get back on. It’s just like any other bad habit – practicing the new habits and making them a learned behavior takes time. I consider it a refresher course. We'll see how it goes! Wish me luck!

So do you find yourself waxing and waning in bad habit management? How do you manage your own?

*Please note that I’m not looking for advice on weight management, diets or eating disorders. This is my own call to arms and I encourage a dialogue on how to manage habits, not a neurotic frenzy on how to lose weight (though I apologize if the post reads with that tone). I think the internet has enough of that weight loss crap, don’t you?

Monday
Jun272011

Women Have Breasts!

I’m working my way through some possible visual as well as technical updates here on T30SB, so today, I’m re-posting a popular piece I wrote last year. It’s amazing that this post continues to be in the top 10 people read every week. I’m happy for that because I think the message here is an important one.It also ties in with some stuff I'll share with you later this week!

Original Post Date, June 10, 2010

Good morning, chickens! I. Am. So. Tired. While I'm happy to be blogging (I've been remiss), my state of insomnia has returned after being absent for quite some time. No bueno. No bueno at all. There's nothing worse than a lack of sleep. I've tried Ambien and a few other prescription sleeping pills as well as every over-the-counter med in existence, all to know avail. I've tried doctors. I've tried shrinks. Nothing seems to work and it blows. I think my next step will be acupuncture. I've never tried it and I've heard grand things. Anyone ever try it before? Lemme know.

But, insomnia is not what this post is about, so here we go...

I've been a wee bit behind in my magazine reading as of late. The household of The Thirty-Something Bride and The Candyman subscribe to The Martha Weddings, Brides, Money, Sports Illustrated, Bazaar and O. All but the SI end up on my night stand. For the most part, I read in the tub. It's one of the nightly exercises I do to trick myself into relaxing - I take to the tub with mindless reading. It's one of the first things I think about potentially missing if The Candyman and I ever decide to make some babies. My baths are that important.

So I'm flipping through May's Bazaar (I told you I'd been remiss!) and I wasn't even sure I wanted to read it, to be honest. While I adore fashion, I don't always subscribe to the content of these magazines. For instance, for the last couple of months, I've been bombarded by different versions of this ad, using this model:

OK, really Muiccia? Really? Do you think that this ad wants to make me buy sunglasses? It doesn't? You know why? Because as a woman, if I take my hard earned money and blow enough of it on a pair of Prada sunglasses, I DO NOT want to see a 12-year old prancing around in the same pair. Fashion on pre-pubescent girls is not what I call attractive. Not at all.

So, depending on my mood at the time, I may just haphazardly flip through my fashion magazines without really reading. I was doing this the other night and I saw a large font blurb in the middle of an article that stopped me cold.

"There's no point in denying it. Women have breasts," says Peter Copping.

Wow, really? This Peter guy? Someone sign him up for World's Smartest Dude Award, 'cuz man, he's a shoe-in. So of course I stopped my haphazard flipping and read the article. The article predominantly referenced the new Louis Vuitton by Marc Jacobs fall line - how he "traded in" the pathetic wafer-thin models for the models more akin to Sports Illustrated and Victoria's Secret. Interesting, so I read on. A few highlights from the article:

  • Marc Jacobs featured two recent new mom's Elle MacPherson (she's 46 now!) and Laetitia Casta who were both sporting some serious cleavage.
  • A recent issue of V Magazine titled "The Size Issue" that featured a ton of curvy girls was the highest selling issue in the magazine's history (it was launched in 1999). To see the amazing photo layouts from this issues, go here
  • Fashion show producer James Scully claims the look seen not only at Louis Vuitton, but also at Prada, Giles Deacon, Loewe and Peter Copping (the mastermind behind this whole "women have breasts" trend) for Nina Ricci is a direct result of the mandate thrown down by the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Health Initiative. The CFDA was organized in 1962. The CFDA continues to advance the status of fashion design as a branch of American art and culture; to raise its artistic and professional standards; to define a code of ethical practices of mutual benefit in public and trade relations; and, to promote appreciation of the fashion arts through leadership in quality and aesthetic discernment. Source
  • Crystal Renn (seen in pics below) recently wrote a book entitled Hungry, that tells the tales of her struggles as an anorexic model and her final acceptance of her natural curves.
  • Last holiday season Victoria's Secret launched the Miraculous bra that claims it instantly adds 2 cups sizes. It became it's best-selling bra in 10 years.

Interesting info, no? While I applaud the efforts of the CDFA and their push to stop using 15-year olds as models as well as the effort behind this article, it still smacked of resistance to real live women. Why? Because the article kept referring to the fact that "Curves are back!" Uh, folks - they never left. I read a super-interesting article here about modern day sizing versus that of the late 1930's. If you've got the time, give it a look-see.

The point is that it's the fashion industry who tweaks it all and it's super annoying. Depending on what store I'm in, I might have to buy a 2 (very rare and mostly when I'm a super-skinny stress monkey), a 4 (less stress), 6 (most of the time) or an 8 (more rare, but it happens). You cannot tell me that all of these sizes are using the same measurements! How in God's name is a woman truly supposed to shop when the fashion industry is fucking with our heads on a regular basis? Nothing pisses me off more.

So all the rage is the curvaceous, buxom and corseted styles of Louis and Prada. But what happens next season when some schmuck decides that wafer-thin is back? I think the approach of the CDFA's Health Initiative is a good one, but needs a LOT  of work. It also needs to approach the wedding industry with the same gusto is has the wafer-thin model thing. A Los Angeles Love wrote an interesting article here about dress shops and sample sizing. That too is an interesting read about how a woman, attempting to find one of the most expensive garments she will wear in her lifetime (on average) can't even try one on because sample sizes are limited. Sad sad sad.

So, in an effort to do my part and combat the stereotype of beauty and fashion, I'm posting what I think are simply stunning models. Makes me want to go have a slice of cheesecake for breakfast.

Ashley Graham

Crystal Renn

Johanna Dray

Marquita Pring

Tara Lynn

So my chickens, I must run. I am in Dallas this week for a trade show and I'm always super-swamped with all that is home decor. I hope to check in the rest of the week, but I make no promises! So in the meantime, do you think the efforts of the CFDA are worthwhile? Do you think they are truly well-intended or just a half-hearted response to their own fucked-up actions? Do you think a there needs to be a wedding industry related task force?

The original post has some intersting comments, what are yours?