Love Your Cellulite

 

A few weeks ago, I was away on holiday with my family (hence the lack of posts!) Unsurprisingly, the holiday inspired a body-image related post – with an especially unusual name (I bet you haven’t heard those two in the same sentence before). Yes, it might seem like an oxymoron to reference cellulite alongside ‘beautiful’; because we are told that the two don’t mix. We are told that we should banish and eliminate cellulite using expensive creams, lotions and surgery. It is often given unhelpfully negative personifications such as ‘unsightly orange peel’ – so naturally, we want to get rid. We’re also sold this misconception that if we have cellulite, we must be fat. So here I am (cellulite and all) to banish these theories and to prove to you that actually, cellulite ain’t that bad.

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I noticed that throughout our holiday, my mum was especially self-conscious. She seemed to be constantly comparing herself to others and putting herself down.  In the end I found this pretty annoying because really, there is nothing wrong with my mum! But I know it’s something I have done often in the past, so instead I tried my best to support her and help her to feel better.

One of the things she was especially hung up about was her cellulite. Now to me, it really isn’t that noticeable – but to her, it’s hideously obvious and ‘ruins her legs’. Understandably this makes wearing swimming costumes and bikinis a bit tricky – but unfortunately she had little choice in 45 degree heat!

I did my best to convince her throughout the holiday that the cellulite wasn’t really that bad at all – and besides, it only made up a small part of her. Women of all shapes, sizes and ages have cellulite – I have cellulite. It really is very much part of being a woman and something which I can understand people being self-conscious about, but really believe shouldn’t be such a sticking point. We don’t often see super-slender, airbrushed models with cellulite (especially advertising numerous anti-cellulite products which in themselves imply it is something to be banished!) – but in real life, (i.e, on a beach) you see it on nearly every woman. Sitting on a beach of many women, all of varying ages, shapes and sizes, I noted that over 70% had cellulite. Yet they were all individually beautiful! In addition, many of them seemed perfectly confident lying in the sun or splashing about in the sea even though they possessed this ‘defect’. I pointed this out to my mum continually, but it didn’t seem to have much effect.

On the last day, I found a wonderful example which I hoped would change her mind. I’d spotted a beautiful girl being ogled by blokes as she lay on her sunbed – wearing a red bikini with dark skin, waist-length wavy dark hair which shone in the sun with oversized sunglasses shading her eyes. It was clear that she was beautiful, even though she was lying down in the shade. Several hopeful guys sauntered up to catch her attention and try to talk to her within the space of a couple of hours. Then late in the afternoon, she was asked to translate in Russian for the sunbed guys, who were desperately trying communicate with the couple on the loungers next to us who couldn’t understand why they needed to pay. She stood with her back to us as she explained that the sunbeds would cost so many dollars – and as she did I couldn’t help noticing that actually, she wasn’t as slim as I’d had her down to be when I’d seen her on the sunbed from a distance. Standing before us now, I realised that she was actually a size 12 or 14, maybe even a 16, with wide hips and lumpy thighs, topped with a large bottom which was covered with ripples of cellulite. Yet this didn’t detract one little bit from her beauty. In fact, these features enhanced her beauty. She was gorgeous – cellulite or no cellulite.  I watched as she walked back to her lounger and waded out into the sea with her friends. She seemed carefree, happy; unaware of how beautiful she was but completely oblivious to her so-called ‘imperfections’. This was so refreshing for me – and straight away I pointed out to my mum how beautiful she was – to which mum agreed. Then I asked her if she had noticed her cellulite. She said she had – but that it hadn’t changed how beautiful she was. So then I turned it round for her and asked – ”why should it make any difference to your beauty, either?’

In Tough Love I talk about how we see others differently from ourselves – and this is most certainly an example of that. We tend to see the merits of other people before we see our own – or worse, we don’t see anything positive at all when we look in the mirror. But actually we fail to see when we have positive things which reflect in others – and the so-called ‘negatives’ which we have come to believe are embarrassing or defective parts of us because of harmful outside influences are magnified in ourselves but ignored when we look at other people. It’s holiday season – so try to be kind to yourself and remember that you are beautiful just the way you are – no matter what you may think is ‘wrong’ with you.

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Enjoyed Love Your Cellulite? See more like this in my book here.

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Stefania Ferrario: proud to be a model, but not proud of the ‘plus size’ label

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I came across this story this week and had to share it with you! Australian model Stefania Ferrario, who is a UK Size  6-8, recently posed with the caption ‘I am a model’ to demonstrate that with or without the plus (or the model status) she is a beautiful woman.

“I am a model FULL STOP. Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you’re above a US size 4 you are considered plus size, and so I’m often labeled a ‘plus size’ model. I do NOT find this empowering. It is harmful and damaging for the minds of young girls to call a model “plus.” Let’s have models of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels! I’m NOT proud to be called “plus,” but I AM proud to be called a “model’, that is my profession! #droptheplus”

Enough said!

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‘There is no wrong way to be a woman’ – Denise Bidot

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Beautiful plus-size model Denise Bidot has teamed up with Swimwear For All to create a campaign which runs in the same fabulous vein as Panache and Cacique’s recent advertisements empowering women and attempting to challenge current stereotypes surrounding body image. You all know how big a fan I am of this sort of thing!!

I can’t gush about this latest campaign enough, especially given what Denise herself says about body image:

‘There’s no wrong way to be a woman. It’s time to stop apologizing. I want women to feel confident and sexy by knowing that there’s nothing wrong with being yourself. Forget all the rules! I love everything about my body. Every bit of it … the cellulite, the stretch marks, everything that I thought at one point was an imperfection, I now realize is everything that makes me unique… curvy women shouldn’t apologize for anything. They should wear a swimsuit that makes them feel comfortable. It’s all about the confidence. They shouldn’t worry about anything.’

These inspirational words got me stopping and thinking – because although that’s exactly what I advocate, I’ve never heard it said so plainly by someone in the public eye like Denise. What’s more, all images from the campaign are unretouched.image

Hats off to Denise and to Swimwear For All – good work! You can see pictures of the lovely Denise from the campaign here:

 

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Panache Lingerie ’s new advert is ace

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I recently wrote a post about Lane Bryant’s fabulous ‘I’m No Angel’ campaign for Cacique, which featured gorgeous plus size models with the message that any size, ‘skinny or curvy’, is beautiful (a message which I just LOVE!).

Now Panache Lingerie have released an advert to rival Cacique’s with a similar sentiment (once again wildly popular with me) – the fact that there is more to a woman than the way she looks (even if she is a super-hot model). The ‘Role Models’ series, which features several models and prominent figures including Marquita Pring and Amy Hughes, focuses on all the other areas of the models’ lives which come together to make them powerful, beautiful women – just like you or I.

I’d love to see more brands doing this – advertising their products as items which enhance self-esteem and natural beauty rather than pointing out ‘problems’ with women which need to be ‘fixed’, or promoting unattainable standards of beauty and warping our perceptions of who we are and how we look.

Have you seen the campaigns yet? Take a look here!

 

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Inspirational women: Kelly Clarkson

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Kelly Clarkson has recently made a comeback after some well-earned time off to start a family. Whether you like her music or not, it’s hard to deny that she’s got an incredible voice – and she always seems SO nice and genuine along with it.

So I was really sad when last week she was the target of several bullying comments aimed at her because of her size. She’s always had a yo-yo weight issue which she openly admits – and coming into the public eye having just had a baby means she’s understandably a little heavier than she might like to be. Either way, she’s still beautiful!!

Unfortunately there’s a few others who (maybe they’re jealous) have overlooked her musical talent and the fact that she has just had a baby to poke holes in her with vicious ‘fat’ comments. First to wade in was public hate figure Katie Hopkins – who in fairness has probably offended every single person in this country and abroad with her racist, sexist, fattist and generally unkind comments. She felt the need to hit out at Kelly on Twitter, suggesting she had ‘eaten all of her backing singers.’ She also made out that having a baby a year ago ‘was no excuse’ for being ‘fat’.

Then two American radio hosts made cruel remarks about how she ‘blew up’ and should ‘stay off the deep dish pizza’ live on air (she just had a BABY???). They’ve since apologised sincerely – but really the damage has already been done for millions on insecure women who are vulnerable after having a child and feel fat and ugly. Nice one guys.

The nasty jibes Kelly’s been subjected to this month have been labelled ‘fat-shaming’ by the press. Isn’t ‘fat-shaming’ a horrible word? It almost suggests that it was deserved in some way.

Poor Kelly!

But honestly it looks like I’m probably more upset about this whole fiasco than she is. She (quite rightly) said:

“It doesn’t bother me. It’s a free world. Say what you will. I’ve just never cared what people think. It’s more if I’m happy and I’m confident and feeling good, that’s always been my thing. And more so now, since having a family—I don’t seek out any other acceptance.”

Amen!! I’m glad Kelly has this level of confidence but for many of us that’s just not a reality – and these comments would have really stung.

If you’re being bullied or if you ever have anyone make an unkind comment about you – remember – your life is nothing to do with them. Their motive for trying to make you feel bad about yourself says more about them than it does about you – it’s probably the result of their own jealousy or insecurity – or perhaps they’re just stupid!! Either way, know you’re beautiful as you are just like Kelly, and that there’s much, much more to you than how you look.

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Inspirational Women: Lane Bryant’s #ImNoAngel Campaign

You might have read my post on Belle Vere a couple of years ago – and if you did, you won’t be surprised to hear that this week I was SO happy to see this campaign in the headlines!

Lingerie giant Cacique’s range by Lane Bryant launched last week – with a brilliant ad campaign which directly challenges the controversial Victoria’s Secret ‘Perfect Body’ campaign a few months ago. Provocatively titled ‘I’m No Angel’ with the tagline ‘I’m all kinds of sexy’ (CLEARLY referencing the elitist nature of VS advertising and lingerie sizing) – five of the world’s top plus size models (including Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine and Marquita Pring) are beautifully photographed beaming in black and white, looking like they’re having an incredible time.

The label ‘plus size’ does still annoy me a bit because honestly, it should read ‘normal sized’ – but there you go! It’s still really refreshing to see beautiful women who aren’t underweight or incredibly slim in a major ad campaign.

Do you like the #I’mNoAngel campaign? See more photos below!

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Inspirational women – Jennifer Lawrence

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I love the inspirational women section of the blog and I want to post more and more of these articles!

I was watching a film the other night with Jennifer Lawrence in it and it suddenly dawned on me that she hasn’t yet been featured in Inspirational Women and definitely should be!

In the zany, image-obsessed world of LA-LA Land, Jennifer is a breath of fresh air. She’s so normal. She’s funny, she doesn’t seem to give a damn what anybody thinks and she’s not afraid to be herself and be unconventional as a result.

When it comes to body image though, she is such a fantastic role model for women young and old alike. Refusing to conform to Hollywood’s standardised plastic and skinny form of beauty, instead she always looks stunningly beautiful whilst looking like someone you might bump into down the shops. She’s very strong and very brave to say the things she says and speak out against Hollywood’s – and the world’s – obsession with being thin.

She’s not too thin, and nor is she afraid to speak out against unhealthy expectations and stereotypes as well as the pressure she suffers herself being in the public eye in such a harsh environment of aesthetic judgement. She encourages women not to care what others think, not to follow silly diets, and overall to be themselves. Who can argue with any of that?

Here’s my favourite quotes: I don’t think they need me to elaborate on them as they are fabulous on their own!

On diets: ‘If anybody tries to whisper the word ‘diet’ to me I’m like ‘you can go fuck yourself.’

‘If we are regulating cigarettes and sex and swear words because of their effect on our younger generation, then why aren’t we regulating things like calling people ‘fat’?’

‘In Hollywood, I’m obese…I don’t want little girls to be like ‘Oh I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner!’

‘What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy?’

On refusing to lose weight for the Hunger Games: ‘I remember what it felt like to be 14 years old, looking at a Victoria’s Secret model and thinking ‘I’ll never look like that’. I don’t want to make someone feel like that.’

Who else is a fan?

Jennifer Lawrence Body Widescreen 2 HD Wallpapers

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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6 things we can learn from Maya Angelou

Many people had never heard of Maya Angelou until her passing earlier last year. Yet she was a woman who spoke her mind and turned the adversity she faced throughout her life into a catalogue of insightful, inspirational commentaries to encourage and bring positivity to others.

There are simply too many of her quotes that I take inspiration from to list here, but I’ve managed to shortlist just 6 to share with you today.

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‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.’

We are under so much pressure to conform in this life. If we stand out or are different, we are ostracised and singled out, we are ‘wrong’ somehow. But what is ‘normal’? We are all different. Plus, conventions are different no matter where you go – and everyone can ‘fit in’ – you just have to find like-minded people. What is ‘cool’ or ‘fashionable’ in one country or one era differs from one to the next – doesn’t that show that none of us are ‘wrong’? Trying to be someone else wastes everything that’s good about you; and prevents you from reaching your full potential.

‘You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.’

It’s easy to see one more negative thing at the end of a string of unfortunate events as the ‘last straw’. But think back now to something which at the time was equally as challenging – chances are you feel fine about it now, and possibly can even laugh about it. Part of life, and individual aspects of life, is dealing with the downs as well as the ups. Without the downs, there wouldn’t be any ups! And allowing yourself to go through them and deal with them means you can enjoy the ups even more.

‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.’

I often say that perspective is everything. This quote is very black and white – most of the time if we are stressed over something, chances are we can’t change it – that’s why we’re stressed. Especially if we have control issues.  

Often the worst things that happen to us are blessings (wearing a very good disguise!) and with a bit of reflection we can find something good in them. As human beings we are fighters, we rarely accept defeat. It’s this dogged determination that keeps us ploughing on. And how do we do that? We adopt a different attitude, see the positives and continue.

‘If you only have one smile in you, give it to the people you love.’

It’s easy to reserve the best side of ourselves for strangers, taking out our anger and frustration on our loved ones because they are there for us unconditionally. These people are there for you no matter what – they won’t judge you for how you treat them, but think about the effect it has on them. They deserve your kindness – and whilst of course it’s important (and sometimes imperative) to spend energy on people we dislike or who don’t deserve it, make sure you reserve at least a little bit for the best people in your life.

‘We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely acknowledge the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.’

Success doesn’t come overnight. Our society with its vacuous celebrity culture perpetuates the mistaken view that quite simply and with little talent or experience each one of us can be destined for great things. But it’s simply not true.

Each one of us has experienced our own struggle – even the ones who appear to have ‘made it’ have bad days and good days. We need to praise people for their achievements but also ask them: ‘What have you gone through to achieve this?’ Recognise that nobody is perfect, and behind every success there have often been hardships, failure and missed opportunities along the way.

In addition the more good you have and in being successful, the more you lose sight of how lucky you are and become greedy for more – that’s why gratitude is so important.

‘I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.’

Everything ‘negative’ that happens takes a little piece of us, sets us back a little bit. But often in time we replace that little piece which allows us to grow and move on. I think this is just a little reminder that we can and should learn and grow from bad experiences, rather than be reduced little by little to eventually be broken down by life.

It’s very much easier said than done – however I genuinely believe that it can be achieved with a shift in perspective.

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What’s your favourite Maya Angelou quote? (If you can pick just one!)

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Inspirational Women – Kate Upton

 

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She’s only 20, yet she’s a number one sex symbol worldwide. But there’s also something really refreshing about Kate Upton – she’s honest, she’s curvy and she comes across as incredibly normal whilst possessing maturity beyond her years. She just had to be a part of my Inspirational Women series.

She’s aware that she is a prominent person and a huge role model to women globally  because of her modelling career – but also has something to say about Photoshop culture and marketer’s responsibilities to women.

Of beauty and the falsehood of Photoshop, she says: “Most of the time the model is retouched and too skinny and other people get depressed by it…it’s not realistic for that model or for that woman reading the magazine to think she should look like that.”

Of her own body image: “Everybody goes through hard times, regardless of if they are being criticised for their body.”

Some might say Kate speaking out is ‘all very well’ considering she is a beautiful globally recognised model and a prominent part of the industry itself. No, she’s not necessarily brave or noble, but she speaks with kindness, honesty and integrity which may inspire other women and also proves that each and every one of us has bad days. What do you think of Kate and her comments?

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Marilyn Monroe – An Inspiration in more ways than one

 

I love Marilyn Monroe. She’s famous for many uplifting quotes about love and life, despite her own troubled existence and many difficulties. She once wrote: ‘Wishing you were someone else is a waste of who you are’. Yet she had numerous plastic surgery procedures throughout her life, rendering her an almost entirely different person from her former self, unrecognisable from the young Norma Jean. Despite this however her natural beauty and infectious personality always shone through.

There is that hypocritical voice inside all of us, I believe. We all know that what she says is right, yet still we insist on relentlessly berating and ‘improving’ ourselves. How can we beat this cycle?

Amongst other things, perhaps we can take heart from some of her other famous musings on life. Here’s my favourites below along with what they mean to me – please share your favourites too!

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‘She was a girl who knew how to be happy when she was sad, and that’s important.’ – Marilyn herself struggled with numerous demons throughout her whole life. A tumultuous childhood coupled with a rise to fame at a young age, added to by a string of high-profile failed relationships must have put a lot of strain on her, and she admitted she frequently felt isolated and depressed. Yet as she rightly identifies here, it’s not feeling sad that’s the issue – it’s how you feel better. If you can at least ‘fake it till you make it’ you’re already winning half the battle.

‘Imperfection is beauty’ – Damn right. There’s no such thing as perfect (if I had a pound for every time I said that I’d be loaded!) – it really is true. Little quirks which some might see as imperfections, such as moles, cowlicks, freckles, the way your nose is turned up slightly at the end…they make us who we are. You might see them as imperfections because they have been pointed out to you as such, but remember that people often throw stones at pretty things. Perspective is everything – look at yourself as a whole and try and see ‘imperfections’ as beautiful additions to your whole self.

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‘We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.’ – A stark reminder that life is too short – something which unfortunately Marilyn herself fell victim to. When she died at the young age of 36, she was about to embark on an exciting new phase of her career after taking time out due to illness, and talked of her ambition to start a family. We often get so caught up in the trivia of modern life and how we look yet it’s essential not to forget what’s really important in life and live it the way you want to.

‘Sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can come together.’ – Excepting bereavement, I believe that everything bad that happens to us in our lives happens for a reason. When one door closes, it is so that another can open. I’ve had a lot of bad things happen in my life, yet every time I have been through something difficult, something better than I could ever have imagined has come from it. Each time you’re going through a hard time, you simply have to believe that something better is waiting for you on the other side.

‘Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there is so much to smile about’ – This one is so, so important. We all have bad days, we all have days, weeks, months and even years where we feel like the world is against us and there’s no way out. But life itself is wonderful. It’s overcomplicated in the first world into a competition that essentially we all lose at. But if you look at it simply, think about all the positive things that happen every day. The sun rises and sets, birds sing. If you’re lucky enough to have family and/or friends, pets, someone who loves you, think about that. Think about the food on your plate, the roof over your head. It’s easy to forget the ‘mundane’ in search of the spectacular, yet if you really look at it, it’s these small things that are the most beautiful, and the most important.

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