“Three years ago I was part of the self-loathing club. When I looked in the mirror, I felt disgusting and ugly. Shopping was my idea of hell and I would only dress in black. In fact, I convinced myself fashion was
I hated my size 22 body. But I hid it well behind my bubbly, happy, personality. Deep down however, I was determined to lose weight at any cost. Diets? I tried them all. The cabbage soup diet was as disgusting as it sounds. Atkins gave me hideous breath, lethargy and headaches, while detox drinks and counting calories became a daily obsession.
My desire to losing weight became an addiction. Very few people knew how I really felt apart from my boyfriend, Dan, 26. He would tell me that he loved me and that it didn’t matter what I looked like, but I hated him seeing my naked body.
In 2011, in another attempt to stay on track, I started an online diet blog. Dan and I had booked a special holiday to Barbados – I saw it as my chance to really prove I could lose weight and I thought the blog would make sure I didn’t fall off the wagon. I was sure I could finally achieve it and it was nice when readers would send me messages of positive encouragement, spurring me on in my weight loss.
I started with a healthy lifestyle plan and began losing between eight and two pounds a week. Receiving praise when I lost weight became addictive, so much so that I felt like I wasn’t losing it fast enough, which is when I turned to drastic measures. I began to drink laxative slimming teas to help speed things up. They would cause agonising cramps, but I didn’t care as long as I was losing weight.
But everything changed after a bad week where I let my healthy eating slide. Instead of losing weight, I put on four pounds.
My anxiety was the worst it had ever been. I was furious at myself and I felt sick at the thought of telling the world I’d put on the weight. It just reaffirmed everything that I thought of myself. I was a failure.
The deadline to my holiday was looming and I was beginning to panic about not having anything to wear on the beach. I sat on my sofa and miserably searched for ‘plus size swim wear’. I wasn’t having much luck when a blog post came up. It was written by a girl called Gabi Fresh and it was about her life as an American plus size fashion blogger and her personal style. It was hours before I finished reading.
The impact was profound. There was one photo in particular of her in a high-waisted bikini that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It was mind-boggling to me that there were plus size women out there that lived normal lives, wore fashionable clothes and were happy.
For me, that moment was life-changing. I decided the diet blog had to go. If I was going to lose weight, I realised it couldn’t be from a place of self-loathing. I binned the slimming tea and ordered a high-waisted bikini instead.
It wasn’t until I put it on for the first day of my holiday that I realised that something inside me had shifted. I remember thinking ‘this is me now’ and I felt different. I felt proud.
When I came back, I decided I would share my own bikini picture on my new and improved blog FromTheCornersOfTheCurve.com. I will never forget the day I shared that photo, for once I wasn’t ashamed of my body. And the feedback was incredible. So many readers of my blog started telling meI was brave for doing so, that I looked lovely and wished they could gather the confidence. It was the first time many of them also spoke about being self conscious about being plus-size on the beach.
Over the next few months, my interest in fashion grew and I began posting my own outfits online. Before long I was being invited to top fashion shows and events. In January 2013, my confidence skyrocketed when I was asked to model for Evans clothing. Now, I’ve modelled for loads of brands and even been featured in Vogue Italia.
These days holidays no longer give me anxiety. Last December, Dan and I travelled around South East Asia for 5 weeks. Whilst there we hiked through jungles, kayaked, swam in waterfalls and lakes and one night at sunset, after nearly seven years together Dan got on one knee and proposed to me, his size 22 girlfriend. I said yes and for once felt that I deserved my happy ending – one that I thought I would never get unless I was slim.
Of course, I still have insecure moments, and I admit I have my own health issues to work on. But now I treat myself and my body in a much more positive way and I use my blog as a daily reminder that we all deserve to live a happy and fulfilled life no matter our size.
By Callie Thorpe