Body image and health

I’ve always been a supporter of positive body image. Everyone should embrace their own body without having to feel that they must conform to the masses. Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin.

It’s quite a common occurrence now to see ‘plus size’ models being portrayed as loving their own bodies, especially on Instagram. When I was growing up all I saw in the media was, what I used to call, ‘stick thin’ women which most girls wanted to be like. Dieting was an important issue for young girls while I was at secondary school, when we were just aged between 10-14 years old.

I consider myself plus size and I had the confidence for the first time in my life to wear a bikini last year when I went to Spain for a short break. I felt fabulous and I plan to wear it again soon when I head over to France on holiday this Saturday.

In Spain last year

 

What initiated me to write this blog is when I read an interesting article the other day while I was browsing my Facebook feed. While the article supported body image, it was very frank about how the UK is facing an obesity crisis, and that people are not looking after their health how they should be.

We all know how to eat healthily, but it can be very challenging. It can be a struggle for me, as I have a sweet tooth and probably eat more food than I really need to. I am also on a never ending journey of trying to lose body weight, which I’m finding difficult for various reasons, but it’s probably mostly due to lack of motivation in this area.

The article then went on to suggest that even though it is good that people are becoming more body positive, they are doing so at the expense of their own health, e.g. models who are very/extremely overweight but are not attempting to lose weight.

We also all know that being overweight carries a lot of health issues, including high blood pressure, an increased risk of heart attacks and diabetes. It’s also a big cost for the NHS in the UK; medication to help with diabetes is on the rise as well as the amount of people having heart attacks due to being overweight.

However, there is still this increase in positivity towards larger people who are models or those who have the confidence to wear clothing which was once deemed only suitable for ‘thinner’ people.

After reading the article I must admit I found it hard to comprehend and get my head around at first. I support people who have the confidence to wear what they want, especially larger people since I class myself as ‘large’, but I also support those who are working hard to lose body weight. I guess it’s because I support people in how they want to embrace themselves and if they want to change their body to make themselves happier, then I support that too.

I am also a big supporter of the NHS and I think that a lot of money could be saved if people did look after themselves more, such as taking up exercise and eating healthily, since these would decrease the risk of heart attacks and other diseases related to being overweight/obese.

Another interesting point raised from the article is what constitutes being healthy. We are all different shapes and sizes. For example, there are some larger people who eat healthily and exercise, while on the other hand there are some thinner people who do not eat healthy food and rarely exercise. Of course I’m generalising here, but they serve as examples that we are diverse and everyone’s bodies are different.

Not all larger people are unhealthy and unfit. I know that I’m overweight, but I consider myself fitter than I ever have been in my life. I ran 18km the other day and then stuffed my face with birthday cake later on to satisfy my sweet tooth.

The article does raise some good points, I’m annoyed at myself that I can’t find it now as it was an interesting read. It certainly made me think about myself and my opinions on body image and health. I don’t really know how to conclude, but I do agree that while we all should be body positive, we need to look after our health as well.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear

Update #18

My blog has been on the quiet side recently. In fact, I only wrote 3 blogs last month: my previous update, one about my current situation and the other about my third attempt at 15km.

While my blog has been a little inactive, I got up to some fun things in June, which I thought would be nice to mention about for a change.

On the 9th June I went to see a stage version of Willy Russell’s play Shirley Valentine in Coventry with my parents. We’re all big fans of the film version and we admire Russell’s works (Blood Brothers is my favourite musical!). The production was really good and it was fascinating that Russell wrote the play with only one character on stage: Shirley Valentine.

The following weekend I went on a small trip to the National Justice Museum in Nottingham. It was an educational day out where I learnt about the history of the judicial system in Nottingham. There was also some history about women’s campaigning for the right to vote during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I liked the artwork that I saw below:

National Justice Museum, Nottingham

I also had a go at putting my head in the stocks, which was harder than I thought it would be (I have a big head!).

What crime did I commit?! 😛

The weekend after Nottingham I went to Skegness for the day with one of my best friends. It was my first time driving over 200 miles in one day, which I actually enjoyed as the route was nice with pleasant views. We got up to all sorts including shopping, walking on the beach, a game of pirate crazy golf, trying our luck on the 2p machines and eating ice cream and fish and chips, although the fish I had was more like a whale!

A huge portion of fish and chips!

The weekend just gone was a very social one- my parents held a surprise birthday party for two friends who have recently turned 65. My father cooked on the BBQ and we had lots of scrumptious food over the weekend. Yesterday I ended up going to an afternoon tea with my mother, which was delicious (and a sugar overload!).

Yet another afternoon tea

My blog will probably be similar to last month, but I will try to post some content for the next few weeks. I have some more exciting stuff coming up this month. I’m off to France for two weeks for a much needed break on the 22nd July, which I can’t wait for. I will definitely write a blog about my fortnight away in France.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

 

Update #17

Wow! We’re half way through the year already! Last month seems to have flown by in a blur, but I got up to a lot looking through the posts on my blog for May.

My blog was busy food wise last month. I made two lemon drizzle cakes, one for a bake off at my new job and the other for a ladies’ night in. I preferred my second attempt at making lemon drizzle cake. I used a metal tin rather than a silicone mould and using plain flour with a little dash of baking powder seemed to make a better sponge.

I recently went to a food and drinks festival at Alexandra Palace called StrEAT Life. This was a fun day out where I got to catch up with one of my university friends, and where we got to try some tasty food (and drink a lot of Pimm’s!). Last weekend in general was a binge food weekend, as I also went to a lovely afternoon tea and had fish and chips in Cromer.

Fitness wise was a series of ups and downs in May. I managed to complete a second 15km run and my 16th parkrun, but I have started experiencing pain in my shins. This has made it rather difficult when running. I attempted to run 15km at the start of the month but I only managed 5km because my shins were hurting a lot. I intend to go out running this weekend, so I’ll make sure to put some Deep Heat on my shins which my father has recommended to help ease the pain. I’d like to complete another 15km run before I move onto 17.5km for my training for the half marathon (which is only 4 months away!).

Despite the pain in my shins, last month marked one year since I discovered the parkrun in Guernsey. I am so glad that I was told about the parkrun; I enjoy going to my local one when I can make it on a Saturday morning. I ought to have a go at other parkuns around the area for a bit of a change and to meet more runners.

I mentioned about a night out for the fitness aspect of my blog, which was Peter Kay’s Dance for Life. It was a 3 hour dance-a-thon, which I think counted as a good form of exercise. The Dance for Life was so much fun and everyone was knackered by the end of the evening from dancing so much, but everyone had a big smile on their face.

I’ve been very quiet on the feminist front as of late. There’s lots of things I’d love to write about, but it takes me more time to write a feminist blog. I think it would be good for me to write at least one feminist blog this month. Do you have any suggestions for what I could write about?

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Update #16

It’s the month of May- how did that come around so quickly?!

I’ll admit, the past few weeks have been hard for me. I won’t go into details, but it always seems to be the case that when your life is looking up, it’s going to come down at some point. I’m at the down point currently, but I’ve had the comfort of my family and friends and I know what I need to do to move forward. My blog definitely helps me in this respect, as I can look back on what I’ve achieved and how I’m developing as a person.

April saw the end of lent, which meant that I could start eating meat again! I have enjoyed being back on the carnivorous diet, but I continue to opt for vegetarian options when I fancy it or when it sounds particularly tasty (I had a spinach, cheddar and butternut squash tart this weekend, which was so good!). As per tradition (for the past two years), I had bacon in a hot cross bun for breakfast on Easter Sunday and then a lamb roast dinner in the evening.

Before the end of lent I made two vegetarian quiches which worked out rather well. One was spinach and ricotta and the other was made with Mediterranean vegetables. Since starting my new job I’ve not had as much time to cook in the evenings, but hopefully I’ll be creative one night (or during the weekends) and make something new to post on my blog. I like to maintain the foodie aspect of my blog all year round, not just around lent.

Last month I signed up for the Leicester half marathon. On Sunday 15th October I will be running 21km (13 miles) around Leicester, which will be my biggest fitness challenge yet. I need to go out long distance running at some point, since 5 months will soon whizz by before I know it!

I ran my fifteenth parkrun in April. It wasn’t my personal best but it was nice to run on a beautiful Saturday morning.

I’ve just thought of this target- it would be nice to be able to complete a parkrun in 30 minutes by the end of this year. I think that’s an achievable target, considering that my personal best so far has been 32 minutes and 19 seconds. All I need to do is run 2 minutes and 19 seconds faster then I will finish 5km in 30 minutes- I can do it!

The feminist front has been quiet for me last month, but I like to keep myself updated with what’s going on in the movement towards gender equality. I follow many feminist pages on Facebook, such as Women’s Rights News, My Favourite F Word is Feminism and Feminists United. Generally there is a lot of positivity and empowering posts which make my day.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Update #15

Hello! Sorry it’s been a while. I hadn’t realised it’s been over a week since I last posted on my blog, but I have been rather busy recently.

Before I go through update #15 in my usual fashion, I thought I’d let you know that I started a new job on Monday. I finished my previous job last Thursday and went to Scarborough for the weekend with my mother. The weather was lovely and we both had a nice time, which was a sort of mini break before starting my new job.

View of Scarborough from the hotel

I’m glad to say that I’m back into walking to work again now! It’s a 45 minute walk for me to get to my new place of work. Luckily the weather has been on form this week which has made my transition into walking to work again pleasant. In my previous job I drove because there was no traffic and it took less than 10 minutes, so I used to have a lie in (or get myself down to the gym early in the morning).  For my new job, the traffic is quite the opposite so I find walking more beneficial. I can opt for the bus when the weather is poor or after work when I need to get back home quicker.

Gym wise, I’d like to have a go next week. The gym is a 15-20 minute walk from my new place of work, so I could walk or get the bus to the gym early in the morning, have a session there and then make my way to work. I used to get up at 6:15am for the gym when I drove to work, so I could still leave out at the same time and get to work on time after the gym.

Back onto the update. On the first day of March it was the beginning of lent. For the third year running I have given up eating meat during lent. During this period of time I become experimental in the kitchen. This is because I often have to do more of my own cooking as my parents carry on eating meat. I had a go at making a Spanish omelette, the first attempt I burnt it a little and my second attempt was much better and tastier. I also made a vegetarian pasta bake which was very tasty.

My biggest achievement fitness wise happened in March- I ran 15km for the first time! This was at the Resolution Run which was in aid of Stroke Association. It was certainly a challenge but it has made me more determined than ever to run the half marathon in October this year. I managed to finish 15km in 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Feminist wise, I wrote a quick blog about International Women’s Day on the 8th March. I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet, but on the 6th March the topic of wearing high heel shoes in the workplace was debated in Parliament. I had a quick scan through the transcript and the majority of people were in favour that forcing women to wear high heel shoes is outdated. I have been covering the story about Nicola Thorp who set up the petition in the first place on the site Viral Feminism.

I made some vegetarian quiches recently, so I will hopefully post about those very soon on my blog. But for now, happy reading and blogging!

 

Clare Bear

International Women’s Day 2017

Happy International Women’s Day!

My apologies that this blog is brief, but I wanted to make a contribution towards International Women’s Day in some way.

I wrote a quick blog about this day last year.  I mentioned what feminism means to me and the importance of it in today’s world, which still strongly applies. You only have to look at the recent news story about Emma Watson who appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, for which she was criticised because a feminist can’t flaunt her breasts. Of course the biggest thing has to be Donald Trump becoming President of the United States, in that wealth overrides his sexist and racist attitudes and past allegations of harrassment towards women.

I do believe that one day complete gender equality will be achieved. It will take more strong and powerful women around the world united to combat everyday sexism, alongside with men who also want to achieve gender equality.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear

Two years!

2-u

It was two years ago today that I set up my blog on WordPress. I can’t believe it’s been that amount of time already!

Blogging has to be one of the best things that I decided to do. One of my passions is writing and I enjoy writing about feminism, fitness and food, as well as poetry on my other blog Poclaretry.

I’d like to thank you all for your support, by reading my blog, liking/commenting on my posts and following my blog. I enjoy reading fascinating content which is shared by excellent writers on WordPress. I like the community of WordPress as well, where people are supportive of each other’s work and where advice is shared.

Here’s to another year of feminism, fitness and food!
As always, happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂