stop trying so hard

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Why are we trying so hard to fit in? Why do all want to lose weight and get thin? Why do restrict our food (only to binge after) and constantly work out in the gym to get a good body? Why do we care about what other people think about us? Why do we care so much about how many likes we get on Facebook and Instagram? Why do we care whether or not other people see as beautiful and thin? Why do we care about wanting to look a certain way and be a certain way?

Through my years of struggling with my eating disorder and body image issues, I’ve come to realize that much of my problems stem from a desire to look a certain way and gain social approval from others. Blame social media and the current body and beauty trends if you will, but it seems the type of body gaining lots of positive comments are “slim and lean” and “small waist, big booty”. I ask you to take a look at Instagram and look to popular social media influencers such as fashion bloggers and fitness models, and let me know what the most common body type is. I ask you to take a look at beauty pageants, at Hollywood and television and I ask you to tell me what the body type that gains the most positive attention. I ask you to look at magazines and tell me whether you see more titles telling you to embrace your body instead of dieting and losing 10 pounds and how to disguise your flabby belly.

The glamorization of certain female body types are harmful, to say the least. It triggers unrealistic expectations and undeserved body comparisons. It makes many of dislike our bodies and think negative thoughts. We start living the get a body because we want the same validation. After all, who doesn’t want to be complimented and admired and revered? Humans have an innate need for social approval and validation. We want to be accepted, to be liked and to fit in. But at what cost?

It doesn’t matter whether or not we have a curvy figure or not. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have long toned slim legs. It doesn’t matter if have a belly that jiggles and folds that we sit. If I do, does  it mean I’m less of a woman? How am I being judged based on how flat my belly is or not?

We need to stop thinking that being thinner, being curvier, being taller or having certain body types or certain appearances will make us happier. As someone who’s spent years trying to look a certain way, I can honestly tell you that you will be wasting your time. You can never be thin enough or curvy enough or sexy enough for some people. We’re not put on Earth to physically please others with our looks. The only thing that makes us happy, is to live our lives doing what we love without the validation of others.

You are allowed to live and be here and be present in your whole authentic self. You are allowed to post those “unflattering” photos of yourself on Instagram. You are allowed to leave the house without makeup (but with sunblock!) because you don’t need to wear makeup to be yourself! You are allowed to wear a bikini and cropped tops even if you aren’t skinny. You are allowed to be wholly you because you deserve to be here. You are allowed to love what you see in the mirror. 

Stop trying to please others and live for others. Live for ourselves instead. The more we keep trying to live up to the expectations of others in order to gain approval and validation, we slowly begin to lose ourselves. We begin to live for other people’s approval. Our self-worth becomes dependent on them; without it, we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Let’s just and stop sacrificing our happiness and sanity to live up to a certain beauty ideal. Live for ourselves, and live to be the best version that we can be without conforming to the pressures of beauty ideals. Because, fuck its exhausting.

The ones who accept us only if we look a certain way, aren’t the ones who should be in our lives The ones who accept us no matter what shape and size we are, are the ones who truly care for us.

I’m tired of hating my body cos I don’t.

Dancers face their own personal body images issues as well and as a chubby dancer myself, I completely relate to what Azzura has blogged about here. For those of you dance, do you face any body image issues? What are they? Am also in the process of interviewing Azzura (read: creating interview questions hehe) so stay tuned!

Inspiring People.

I actually grew up with various issues about self-image; as a part Indian-part Malay chubby Muslim Malaysian female, social situations can take sudden hostile turns at any point when people find it frustrating when they can’t put you in a ‘category’. Growing up, I felt confused and often nervous to explain my background….. it just seemed like whatever my answers were, I was always giving the WRONG answer. How can I look Indian but have a Malay name? How can I be Muslim but look Indian? Etc etc. I just AM, ok.

However, luckily I had a loving family that nurtured me into an outgoing child, and somehow I was able to get past all the identity-crises and I grew up a confident child and teenager who had lots of friends. There might’ve even been a boy or two who liked me in school — but well, it was usually…

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Happy 2016!

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Happy 2016! I can’t believe how fast time has gone, that a year has gone by in a flash, that so many events have happened in the span of a year but it seems like it all happened within months instead.

I haven’t blogged in the longest time ever. I usually need bursts of inspiration to be able to chug out a meaningful post and I suppose I’ve been going through some events with regards of eating and body that have sucked up my writing juices.

Anyway, before I embark on “welcome to the new year” reflection post, I’m entering 2016 dressed in an outfit inspired by the fashions of the 1950s. That era showcased women with swishy swing dresses, full skirts, pin up dresses, cropped tops, cigarette and capri pants & for some strange reason, bullet bras (think Madonna’s cone bra that John Paul Gaultier made for her).

I love how feminine the 50s fashion looks and I so decided to pair these cropped jeggings with my green halter and blue cardigan. I threw the bow-tie headband at the very last minute and I think it brings out the feminine playful vibe of the era.

I never thought I’d do cropped/capri pants as I thought I’d emphasize my muscular calves which gave me second thoughts but hey hey after months of learning to restructure my negative thought patterns, I just decided to f*** it and wear it because I like the overall look of it. The only drawback I have about the pants is that they are jeggings, are slightly tight at the waistband, but a good comfortable fit around my thighs. One size up and the jeggings hang loose on me. UGH. Frustrating. I’m now on the lookout for cropped jeans because I think I prefer a stiffer fabric so if anyone in Singapore reading this can recommend places to get good cropped pants or jeans ending above the ankle, HELP A GIRL OUT THANKS.

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I’m not going write a long-winded post elaborating the events that happened in 2015 and detailing the lessons I’ve learned, but I do want to list down some of the events I’ve experienced that, looking back, seemed quite significant

  • Performed at the Singapore International Latin Festival 2015.
  • Took not 1, but 2, solo trips to Japan (Osaka & Kyoto) and Thailand (Bangkok)
  • Got my first tattoo.
  • Graduated with 2nd upper class Honors.
  • Got to see Yanis Marshall perform live.
  • Taught Introductory Psychology to secondary school students as part of a temporary work stint at my former school.
  • Got into 2 performance teams (Ladies’ Junior Styling & Alma Latina)
  • Finally forgave myself for my a past mistake that I didn’t realize had been emotionally and mentally weighing me down.
  • Re-discovered my self worth by choosing to walk away from a casual relationship
  • Stepping out my comfort zone more and experimenting with more makeup and clothing choices
  • Wore a swimsuit (a monokini) for the first time in years. 
  • Going on more informal photoshoots.

 What seemed like negative events which I wished had never happened had strangely enough, turned out to be blessings in disguise. Not only did some (1) give me more time to be able to pursue and train more in dance, (2) grant me more time to establish closer bonds with my family & (3) allow me to make more new friends in the dance scene – some of whom have been unlikely sources of wisdom and helped in personal growth, some have also tested my character and pushed me to become a stronger, better and wiser woman more cognizant of what she is worth, what she deserves and what she should and shouldn’t do in similar situations.

I’ve also been going through episodes that continue to challenge the way I think about my body that is pushing me to alter my thoughts about my body shape. I’m continuing to try and make peace with my body and being less critical of it and am realizing that its getting slightly easier to reframe my negative thoughts into more positive one.

Additionally, I’ve been thrown into a couple of phases during which I abandoned mindful eating and started overeating, causing weight fluctuations and mood swings which have definitely made me realize that I need work more on body acceptance and what it really means to eat mindfully and healthily.

I don’t have resolutions for 2016. Instead I have goals. Intentions. Positive calls to shift and grow and make me a better empowered person. Some of which include:

  1. Training and improving my dance
    • Get better at chaine turns (traveling spins)
    • Work on musicality
    • Find my personal dance style
  2. Read 2 books per month
  3. Continue working on self-acceptance and mindful eating because recovery is a lifelong journey with unexpected paths, twists and turns.
  4. Be a more conscious shopper and purchase clothes that are versatile as opposed to buying many one-off statement pieces.
  5. Blog more about my journey toward body positivity and eating disorder recovery!
  6. Take more risks & learn from them.

I realize the last listing may not be considered a goal, but more of a challenge. But I do think risk-taking is an essential element to growth. A friend wisely told me: ” Taking risks is so fundamental to human nature. Curiosity and exploration is what makes us human. Closing ourselves off from the possibility of experience because of fear/worry, would lead to many paths untaken.” No risks = no journeys taken = no lessons learned.

Also, I really do I gotta blog more about my body positivity journey and the triumphs, challenges and lessons of my eating disorder recovery. I realized there was a burst of posts about body image earlier this year, which slowly faded off as the year came to an end because I was going through some personal work-related issues that drained the life out of me. Hopefully this year things will be better and I can spread more messages about body love and acceptance ❤

Happy New Year all! What are your goals for body positivity and ED recovery in 2016? Let me know I wanna hear them! Til the next blog post (soon I promise!)

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how to achieve body confidence

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this marriage of billowy culottes and the modern jumpsuit screams versatile and oh so comfortable in Singapore’s hot & humid weather

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I first started this blog with the intention of documenting my journey with recovering from an eating disorder and developing a more positive relationship with body. To further my progress in achieving a healthy body image I began doing some “photoshoots” to capture my outfits and incorporating them into my blog until it became something of a body-positive-eating-disorder-recovery-kinda-sorta-fashion blog. I’m not an exclusive fashion blogger. I don’t go on photoshoots & I tend to write more about body positivity & ED recovery than fashion, but I do love dressing up & sometimes use photography as a way of developing a more positive body image because I have always avoided expressing myself through my personal sense of style during the height of my eating disorder days. I felt so miserable not only hiding my body in baggy loose shirts, but also avoiding mirrors so I wouldn’t have to look at my body & ended up hating the way I look. 

Throughout my recovery journey, doing these #semiprofesh photoshoots (because you know I don’t have a camera and use my phone instead), I’ve come to learn some things about achieving body confidence:

Wear the right clothes for your body & wear clothes that reflect your personal style.

I know that the body-positive community urges women to ignore these so called “fashion rules” and to “wear it if they like it”. Here’s my 2 cents and you can either accept it or reject it but let me just bring lay my own perspective on the table all right. I do agree in “wearing it if I like it” because after all, I’ve passed over many many outfits that I liked but never had the courage to wear because I felt I wasn’t skinny enough to look good in them. However ever since I embarked on my eating disorder recovery I’ve taken baby steps out my comfort zone and started wearing sleeveless dress, jumpsuits and even a body con dresses once because…well, because I can and because I’ve slowly developed a more positive relationship with my body to allow myself to don these frocks. However, having said that I also believe in striking a balance and actually choosing clothes that are both suitable for your body type AND reflect your personal sense of style. 

Wear clothes that reflect your style

Listen, not all trends will work for us, its not your responsibility to follow trends. Just because people are telling you to “wear it if you like it” doesn’t mean you should follow them and that it will work for you because it just ain’t you. Wild retro or animal prints may be the rage but I’m not about to jump on the bandwagon and deck myself in them because…its just not me. Find clothes that express your unique personality and work it, because confidence isn’t about following trends and looking like every body els;  its about letting your inner personality shine through your clothes and being yourself without the need to conform to something else. Know what styles work for you and what doesn’t. Don’t compromise your style to fit in with others, coz it ain’t worth it. You are a work of art. So work it.

Wear the right clothes for your body

When I say to wear the right clothes for your body, I’m not talking much about dressing to look thinner. I’m talking about wearing clothes that are of a good fit so that you feel comfortable and confident in it. For instance, I have broad shoulders and thus, am top heavy and let me tell you, I’m not going to wear large, oversized kaftan tops because it will exaggerate my frame and make me look disproportionate & with extra fabric floating around my body, I’m just going to look like a disheveled frump. I’m not going to wear something that’s too small or a “just-nice” fit because it makes me feel uncomfortable or like I cant breathe or that makes me keep tugging at the top so that I have room to move my arms. Yes, I can wear the top if I want to if it looks absolutely gorgeous and stunning, but at the end of the day, I personally don’t want to look frumpy; I wanna look good. If you choose good fitting clothes that suit your body, you will look good and you feel good. No scratch that, you feel #badass.

If you don’t want to wear a certain something (e.g. cropped tops / high waisted jeans) because you’re still struggling with bad body image, then don’t, simple as that. You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon and wear something if it doesn’t make you feel good about your body. It doesn’t make you a body-shamer. It makes you…well…you. It just means you don’t feel good in it, end of story. Don’t force yourself to do something if you’re not ready for it because it’ll do you more harm then good. The priority is to take the time to understand the relationship you have with your body, and work on ways to improve it. When you’re ready, then by all means rock that outfit like you were born to wear it no matter what size you are. 

Stop fat-talk; change your inner dialogue

 I talked about the importance of positive self-talk in my previous post here: [ positive self-talk and body image ] . How you talk to yourself about how you look and how your body impacts body confidence. You can’t expect to be confident about your body if there is a voice saying that you look ugly and you look puffy in an outfit and telling you that you need to lose weight and you need to change out that outfit because it looks better on a thinner person. Criticizing yourself won’t change your body, and it’ll only attack the confidence you have in yourself. You can’t change the situation, so change your attitude. When you find yourself automatically pointing out your flaws when you look in the mirror or looking at the photos of yourself, STOP IMMEDIATELY. Change the channel and reframe your thoughts and and highlight the positives. “I am not fat, I am curvy and I can rock this dress” – stuff like that. The more you look out for imperfections, the more likely you are to make looking out for it a habit. Remember, what your mind says, your heart follows.

 Stop avoiding mirrors or pictures of yourself 

This is the one thing that I myself am also working on still. Too often those of us struggling with body image tend to avoid mirrors because we don’t want to see our bodies. But the truth is, its just keeping us in denial. To have a positive relationship with your body and be confident with it is to accept that this is the body that you have right at this very moment. In the past, I absolutely hated taking pictures, looking at myself in pictures and sometimes even standing in front of the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw – the rolls, the flabs etc. I didn’t like the body that I had because it disgusted me. But I believe its essential to spend more time with the mirror to come to terms with reality and learn to stop picking my body apart and criticizing it. That was why I started incorporating photoshoots in some of my blog posts – it was a journey of coming to terms with my body, that these pictures are a reflection of what my body truly is and to learn to stop picking it apart to love and accept myself more. 

Hang out with body positive people 

This is like a total no-brainer. If you hang out with people who are also tearing themselves apart, picking their flaws and constantly complaining about their thighs and stomach, you’re going to end up being just like them and feel even worse about your body. The key to improving your perception of yourself is to associate yourself with people who is body positive and who don’t rag on and on about their body. My best friends are super body-positive and I rarely hear them talk negatively about their own body and trust me, its great to be in the company of people like that because it makes you think of all the negative things you’re saying and how awful they actually sound. Like, would you even say that to your friend? Plus, it also motivates you to want to stop saying them. After all, who likes hanging out with people who are always complaining about cellulite and fat and whatnot? Its just depressing. You don’t need that shit in your life.

Stop caring about what others think

The reality is that there will be people who will have negative opinions about you. They don’t know you and they don’t care about you. Not everyone is going to be kind and accepting. People are judgmental and no matter what we wear, what we look like, how much we weigh, how we dress, people will always have something to say. If you’re going to be “oh my god I don’t have thin arms and what if I wear this sleeveless top wont people think I’m fat?” or “oh my god my legs are so muscular people will think I’m so unfeminine” you’re not going to be happy and you’ll probably end up just staying at home and dwelling in your misery. I mean, why place your happiness and self-esteem in the opinions of people whom you don’t even know and whom you will never even see again? Even if you do know them, why place your happiness in their hands anyway? Don’t let their opinions be the be-all and downfall of your self-esteem.  

Find a role model

I’m not sure about you, but for me, I find it helpful to have a role model to look up to, especially in times when I’m feeling vulnerable about my body. I’m not skinny, and in a society that continues to glorify thin bodies, I sometimes feel ashamed about my curvy/muscular body and find the confidence in myself depleting as fast as women running toward the sales. I still have problems accepting my body, especially my arms, legs and my tummy because because they’re not toned or thin as society thinks should be. So I look to role models such as body-positive people I find on Instagram who share in my struggle with accepting their body but find ways to embrace themselves. I also look to fashion bloggers and some plus-size media personalities such as Ashley Graham & Nadia Aboulhosn who rock their bodies in whatever they wear. They inspire & motivate me to want to channel their confidence and remind myself that even though I’m not be skinny, I don’t have flat tummy or a tall thin body, I sure as hell can still rock a body con dress if I want to. 

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  Stop holding yourself to unrealistic standards 

Be kind to yourself and stop comparing yourself to others, especially people who seem to fit the physical standards of what society, or even what you think is perfect and ideal. Perfection doesn’t exist, beauty is subjectve and you can never be beautiful or thin or curvy or lean enough for anybody. When you compare yourself to unrealistic standards in the media or to other people, you’re treating yourself to a one-way ticket to poor self esteem. There is beauty in diversity so embrace your body type for what it is. You may not have some things other girls have, but then again, you yourself have some things that other girls don’t that they wish they have. 

When you are confident with your body, you unleash your inner queen and your confidence shows in the way you carry yourself. 

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What are some ways that you guys use to get body confident? Leave a comment and let me know!

#BornAndMade

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I love campaigns that seek to empower women. In a society that bombards us with messages telling us that we’re not skinny enough, not beautiful enough, not strong enough and not powerful enough, its sometimes easy to forget that our purpose here on Earth isn’t to look and be beautiful to gain the approval of others.

The #BornAndMade campaign is a marvelous brainchild collaboration between beauty brand Carol’s Daughter & activist organization I Am That Girl that aims to bring all girls and women together and celebrate their individual beauty, worth and uniqueness. By extending the message of self-love, it hopes to remind women that they are already beautiful and worthy and that they don’t need to fix themselves to live up to the expectations of what other people see as beautiful.

In a world where many of us struggle to find our authentic selves, its important for us women to remember our strength, our worth, our value & our beauty. Whilst making my own personalized picture on the website, I reflected on my journey – the obstacles, the triumphs and the failures, my struggle with recovering from an eating disorder since I was 17 & my journey to developing a more positive body image. It’s made me realize that I managed to overcome every obstacle that life has thrown at me. Up til this point I have survived everything that has been thrown my way. Up til this point in my life I have a 100% survival rate and I’m damn proud of that. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder
  2. Beauty is more than just physical looks.

We live in a society that measures beauty in terms of physical attractiveness; where beauty is defined within the parameters of such small characteristics and by standards are not all women can actually achieve. I mean how the hell am I supposed to get my eyes to grow bigger if you say women with big deep set eyes are considered beautiful? I can put on mascara but once I remove it, am I no longer beautiful? Despite being a modern society, women are still are commoditized; a commodity to be judged and valued based on how small your waist is, how busty you are, how clear your skin is, how smooth your hair feels, how straight your teeth are, the curves on your body, even our sexual orientation and sexual history. If a woman is too thin, she has anorexia; if she’s big she’s obese.

As women we need to be empowered to not only recognize this, but also reject it and bask in our own uniqueness & embrace them. We need to know what we are made of because that is what helps us continue being our true authentic selves. If we are constantly seeking validation from others, then we have lost ourselves; our worth has become displaced.

If you say I’m beautiful, thank you I accept that compliment whole-heartedly 😀 But I’m not just a beauty. I can’t always base my self-worth and self-esteem on physical looks because I’m never going to truly happy that way. Its taken me a long and incredibly tumultuous time to accept that I have a curvy body, and that I can never be thin enough for anybody. Even now I still struggle with feeling good about myself because I still struggle with wanting to be taller, thinner and leaner. Looks can and will eventually fade, and when they do, its what’s underneath them that will make you who you are. Love yourself enough to know that you are not defined by your looks, your weight or your size. Embrace you who are on the inside, instead of trying to be one that others think you should be. 

So let me ask you: how will you describe yourself if all of us women looked exactly the same? What sets you apart? What makes you special? What makes you you?

Underneath my physical exterior, I’m also insightful, I’m smart and I’m creative. I can make people laugh, I can dance salsa and bachata, I love watching Sex and the City and action movies. I’ve traveled on my own, I wake up everyday and continue fighting the demons that make me exhausted the day before, Some days I love my body but on other days I cry about it. I’m witty, I can be indecisive and I’m a performing arts junkie. I’ve been lost but I end up finding myself. I’m not going to base my self-worth on what you think is beautiful because that’s disempowering. Beauty is subjective and I refuse to be disempowered. Yeah I’m gonna fall every now and then, but I’m going to get back up on my feet because

I am made with strength and a whole lotta sass.

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Love Your Body Week: Look 1- Back to Black

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This week I shall be dedicating posts in support of Love Your Body Week (7 Sept – 11 Sept), that’s jointly launched by the Butterfly Foundation and Sportsgirl. To those of you who may not know, the Butterfly Foundation is a organization in Australia that not only provides services to individuals affected by eating disorders and negative body image, but also reaches out to friends and family members of affected individuals to give all of them the care and support that they need. I love this because eating disorders don’t just affect the individual diagnosed with it; it has an indirect impact on those closest to him/her as well. The Foundation also advocates for the development of a healthy body image and they do so by offering a series of workshops to schools & programs to raise awareness about the role of eating disorders in body image and instill body confidence in everyone. In line with the Foundation’s overarching objectives, the Love Your Body Week aims to emphasize the importance of having a healthy body image, developing body confidence & also to remind individuals that our self worth is not based on our body shape or size

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What exactly is body confidence? Body confidence isn’t just about feeling and looking good. Its about being confident with the body that you have. With th Throughout my years of struggling with body image, I’ve learned that body confidence comes to us when we do these two things: when we accept our body and then embrace our body. It means:

  • Accepting and acknowledging that the body you have right now is the best and only body that you will have at this very moment & choosing to be okay with it.
  • Accepting and acknowledging that you have a body shape that’s different from others,  that there are women who are thinner than you, curvier than you, leaner than you and/or taller than you.
  • Accepting and acknowledging that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes but instead of criticizing yourself for not being as thin as others, you choose to be okay with it instead of spending the next few days/weeks/months/years mentally bashing yourself over it.
  • OWNING YOUR BODY LIKE YOU MEAN IT BECAUSE YOU ARE A QUEEN

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Everyday we are flooded with messages from the media, from society, from the diet, fitness and fashion industry, and sometimes even from our friends and family that out lumps and bumps should be flattened, covered or sucked out to achieve a svelte body. This causes so many of us to question our looks, cause us to lose confidence in ourselves & look into ways to alter our appearances to live up to a standard that is almost imposible to achieve unless you have Kim Kardashian’s parade of stylists, nutritionists, trainers and makeup artists in the palm of your hands 24/7. The unhealthy messages wasseverely impacting my body esteem and I spent a long time believing I had the wrong type of body; a body that’s unworthy and ugly.

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When we accept our body the way it is, we treat ourselves with love and respect; I believe body confidence is reflected not only in the way we speak about our bodies and how we carry ourselves, but also through the way you dress. When I hated my body so much when I was younger, I blatantly refused to wear dresses, short skirts and sleeveless tops. I hated that my arms were skinny enough. Cropped tops frightened, and I guess to a small extent, still frighten me because I don’t have a flat stomach and I was wearing black most of the time. I love dressing up, but my body image problems overwhelmed and prevented me from expressing myself through fashion. The only outfit I’d considered safe was big baggy black long sleeved tops with blue jeans or denim shorts. I rarely/hardly wore sleeveless things or slim-cut clothing. White pants were out because the magazines say white isn’t slimming. Dresses were too feminine for my unfeminine body. I felt trapped and unhappy.

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Since I embarked on my eating disorder recovery, I’m learning how to respect my body more. Its taken me a long time to accept that my body is curvy, yet there are days when I have trouble embracing my body because some part of me still wishes I were taller, thinner and leaner. However my acceptance journey is reflected in my choice of clothes. I’m slowly stepping out my comfort zone and experimenting with different styles, cut and even color.

HENCE, in honor of Love Your Body Week, I’m going to combine body-positive blogging and fashion blogging in which I will share some of the outfits that reflect my style, and acceptance of my body that pushed me to step away from loose baggy ill-fitting black tops and jeans into things that actually make me feel beautiful and good about my body. And, also because I love fashion 😀

Today’s post will be a MAJOR MAJOR throwback to the very first official photoshoot I did with a friend last year at Gardens by the Bay. It was probably my first time doing a photoshoot in collaboration with another body activist (HI NISSA WE GOTTA DO THIS AGAIN) for a post which I did last year about fashin and body empowerment and so I thought it apt to revive it for this occasion because it

100% carries the message I want to spread to others about body confidence today, especially if you yourself have low body confidence which makes you feel ashamed about wearing certain clothes so go read it thanks & i know it might be a slightly long read but it’ll only take up like 5 minutes of your time or even less! (read it here).

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Fashion isn’t just about showing the world your style, wit and flair. Its also a reflection of how you feel about your body. If you’re confident about your body, you don’t choose outfits that hide your body out of shame and hatred. You choose to wear a particular outfit because you feel confident in it and confident about your body, you feel fabulous in it and you choose it because it screams “I’m wearing this outfit because I’m okay with my body and I don’t care if you have a problem with it and I am going to rock this!’

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A black dress is a must have for every woman. I have 4. They’re clean, simple, classic and versatile but sometimes I feel the need to style it up with accessories to showcase my own personal touch. I paired this black bowler hat for that off-beat hippy vibe to add some edge to this classic straight-cut midi dress, before finishing the look with ankle boots. Sometimes when in doubt, you just have to go back to black.

10 minutes with Blair Thompson

Welcome back guys! Today’s interview is with a wonderfully gorgeous aspiring undergraduate/ aspiring dietician / warrior, Blair Thomspon ❤

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Blair runs an instagram account: @bodypositiveeverydamday (*hint hint: go check her out and also, yes its dam!). I decided to reach out to her because she posts the most amazing inspirational posts and messages. She reveals her hopes, her dreams, her fears and her vulnerabilities in her posts & whole-heartedly shares with her followers her journey toward body acceptance and recovering from her eating disorder. Her triumphs and her struggles reflect those of ours and that’s what makes her so incredibly relatable. In a way, she’s us. Its as though there’s a bond because she makes one go “oh my god yes that’s me I was going through the same thing and I’m not alone”. In a way I can’t help but feel connected to her, tied by our shared understanding of the same trials and tribulations about our bodies we go through as we continue fighting our eating disorder; as though we know each other even though we live on opposite sides of the globe.

That’s the beauty of it all – shared struggles bring people together.

Blair’s responses came at such an opportune time, because the day I received her responses and read them (August 29), I was going through an incredibly bad body image and eating day. PMS was currently still is hitting me, and when that happens, I get really bad bloating. Its so bad until my tummy actually hurts and I can’t stand up properly and need to lie down because it feels as though my tummy is about to burst. I start swelling & puffing up like Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it was giving me really bad body image issues. Plus, I wanted to eat so many things & it was bringing back a lot of unhealthy negative thoughts about restricting and body-bashing. It made me feel like I was taking 53 steps back in my recovery, that I was relapsing because I was slipping over and over again.

Not only did Blair share some of the current struggles I go through, she spoke about some of the things that I actually, up til now, still fear admitting. But then I learned: There is NO one way to recover. People are going to struggle with negative thoughts handout disordered eating, sometimes on some days, sometimes everyday. But that’s all right, and that doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human. When I slip and make mistakes, binge or cry and restrict or throw tantrums, I always end up thinking that there is no other person out there going through what I’m experiencing because like what a wise friend once told me, when you’re hurting, little else matter. But then there are people like Blair who remind me that I am not alone, who share their accounts of same pains and use their struggle to help others and help themselves.

So thank you Blair, for sharing your story with me and reassuring I’m not as wrecked as I make myself out to be and that even though I am still broken, still recovering, still fighting, still bingeing, still struggling, still crying, what’s more important is that I am still brave enough to continue fighting these demons that I have been fighting since Day 1.

I will share some of her personal Instagram posts with you at the end of the interview so as to give you a sneak peek into how she motivates her followers. Until then here’s introducing to you, Blair Thompson ❤

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Hi! For those unfamiliar with you and what you do, please introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Blair Thompson; I am currently recovering from binge eating disorder. I developed this disorder while I was recovering from anorexia. I am getting my degree as a dietitian, so that I can help people with eating disorders, so I will specialize in eating disorders. Right now I am trying to help others by trying to spread the word to be body positive, to love yourself at any weight or at any size.

Why did you decide to create an Instagram account about eating disorder recovery and body positivity?

This is an awesome question. I created mine because when I deep down wanted help with recovery I never got the help. I got dangerously thin, and I knew there was something wrong, I was tired of being afraid to eat, afraid of fat. I always thought about food and working out. I wanted help, but I never got it, so I tried to recover on my own, I had no support, so I ended up developing binge eating disorder and now I have so much support and I go to a therapist and a nutritionist. I really want to give back to every person who is suffering with an eating disorder, so I use my instagram to help others.

Could you share with us your eating disorder story?

I will gladly share my story. Growing up I was chubby, I was not a little thin person, and I am short but compact. I was very athletic and good at every sport I tried. All I wanted to do is have fun and run around, I did eat a lot of food, mostly junk food, but I was happy and so healthy. I moved a lot and at every school people noticed that I was fat, and they would tell me. I got called fatty all the time, people would make fun of my chin and tell me that I had no chin. My dad told me that once I got older I would be more concerned with my weight. I did not understand what he meant. Then in 8th grade I really liked this guy but he did not like me because I was that fat girl that was shy but really nice. I decided to leave and go to boarding school, when I got there, people called me fat, guys were like “ I can’t date you because you are fat”. I had to be “small”, “thin” to be attractive. I took all of that to heart; I was tired of being ignored. I started to eat healthier, eating less, and working out a lot. I came back sophomore year and lost about 15 pounds, over a year. Everyone told me that I looked so much better. I felt so good, people who ignored me, were in love with me. People treated me with respect and they treated me so much better. Then I had guys flirting with me and complementing me from left to right. I was in heaven. I had a ton of boyfriends from sophomore year to junior year. I loved the attention. Most guys I dated were over the Internet, some in person. The guys at my school were starting to notice me, and one guy touched me in a sexual way, and I felt so uncomfortable. I told a teacher about it, and it was called sexual abuse, he was so mean to me. Each guy that I dated tried and did force me to do things that I did not want to do. They were attracted to me because of the way I looked; I tried to find self-love through an unhealthy way through guys. It did a lot of damage on my self-esteem, I thought that when I got thin, I would feel loved, more importantly I would love myself. Turns out, I did not love myself, I hated myself, I would workout and eat nothing because I thought that it would help me with my self-love problem, but it didn’t. I had poor relationships with guys, one guy tried to have sex with me, but I wouldn’t let him, so he forced me to give him a hand job, I was so scared, I couldn’t move and then after I just cried and cried. I ended that, and I thought it happened because I was ugly, and not thin enough. My problem got worse and worse, my negative thoughts were awful, I self harmed every time I ate, I hated my body and that fact that I had to eat. Eventually I got into a relationship with a guy that I am with now, it is a serious relationship, but he had to deal with me cutting, and being depressed and anorexic. Our relationship almost ended so many times because I cared more about being thin, and feeding my eating disorder rather than focusing on our relationship. It happened again when I started binge eating. Eating disorders love to ruin relationships because it wants you in isolation, and it will do anything to get you there. Now I am still struggling with negative thoughts, and my binge eating disorder, but I am trying to take it one day at a time, hopefully one day, I will be binge free.

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What made you decide to seek help?

The fact that my eating disorder ruined my life, and it made it so that I was not able to function in life, I couldn’t do anything, or enjoy anything. My relationship was falling apart, my grades were falling apart, I was falling apart, I just honestly wanted to die because I couldn’t and can’t stop eating. I knew that I needed the help, and once I decided to get help, the easier it was for me to chose recovery and learn how to deal with my mental problems.

Have there been times when you felt tempted to return to your old habits? How did you overcome them?

There as been meaning times I have felt tempted to return to my old habits. I don’t starve myself anymore; it has been 2 years since I last starved myself. I actually binged ate today (August 28, 2015). I have not cut since 2013. I overcame not starving myself because my body was slowly breaking down and shutting down, I needed food, so my body made it so that I couldn’t stop eating because I starved it for 5 years, and I had my binge eating disorder for 2 years. I have not successfully been able to stop a binge, but The longest I went without binge eating was 3 months, but recently I can only make it about 2 weeks. I have been trying to eat food in moderation and eat food that makes me feel good.

What do you think it means to be “recovered” from an eating disorder, and what are some steps that you take to ensure that you stay on the path of recovery?

To me it means that you choose to be recovered everyday, to know when you are having eating disorder thoughts or negative harmful thoughts. I honestly do not think people can get fully cured from an eating disorder. Even though their weight is restored, does not mean that they are fully recovered. Everyday I tell myself to be positive, that my body is beautiful even though I have fat, and that I still have binge eating episodes. I am perfectly imperfect. Yes I am fat, chubby whatever, and I know that recovery is a bumpy path but giving up is not an option, even if I do fall down one day, I get up and keep going.

What happens when you “fall down”? Could you give us some examples? How do you get back up on your feet?

This is a perfect question for right now. Today I have had a hard day because I had an urge to binge eat. I tried to fight it all day, but then after dinner I just ate everything, I couldn’t stop and I can’t stop. My stomach hurts because I ate too much. I try very hard to not let my falls get me down, I try to tell myself that it is okay, that I am okay, to just breath, and just relax. I cry, crying does help, and I let myself feel everything, because I fall every time to quiet my mind from all the feelings. It is unhealthy; it is so healthy just to let yourself feel every feeling.

What has changed since embarking on recovery, in terms of your perception of yourself, your mindset or your attitude?

A lot changed, my life attracts more positive things, like people and more opportunities. My life is so much more enjoyable; I find pleasure in doing the simple things in life again. I can go out, I can eat out and not worry about food, I can enjoy my friends, and family. It just makes life a happier place, it makes my mind a lot healthier, and my mindset and my attitude is les negative than before. I am working on becoming a more positive person.

Recovering from an eating disorder is slow and can be tiring and equally stressful with lots of obstacles along the way. What advice do you have for other women struggling with their own eating disorder journey?

My advice is to meditate, find a place to write how you feel, be open, and be open minded. Share your story, and struggle to the world through instagram, do not hide; you deserve to have your story be heard. Your ups and downs, your advice through what you go through helps so many people as well. Be honest with yourself and others through your recovery journey.

What was your relationship is to your food before recovery? Did you see it as the enemy or something to be feared? What about now?

Before recovery, I couldn’t eat food, I was afraid of it to the point that I couldn’t stop eating it. I only had good or bad food, so I was not allowed to eat bad food, never ever, which lead me here to binge eating. I saw it as an enemy that I should not have or enjoy. Right now I am actually struggling with my relationship with food, because sometimes I do fear it, and sometimes I do not enjoy it, I try to eat it so fast to get it over with, but sometimes I try my best to enjoy every bite because food is not the enemy and it is not something to be feared.

We live in a society that continues to glorify thin bodies. Despite your quest toward acceptance of your flaws and your vulnerabilities, have you at times, wished you were thinner? How do you overcome that? What can we do?

I wish I were thin everyday, even when I was thin. Sometimes being thin is not even enough. I overcome it by remembering what it was like being thin, it did not help me with my problem, I still hated myself, that is when I realized it has nothing to do with my weight but more with my self-love. I was thin, and it is not as glorifying as people make it to be. I think if we just focus on who were are as a person and focus on what we can do for others and ourselves then we will be able to see more beauty. Instead of looking outwards we should look within ourselves, that is when we will realize that being thin will not help with what we are looking for. Everyone is different, some people are naturally fat or naturally thin or in between.

When you look back to who you were before embarking on your recovery journey, what are some thoughts and feelings that you have about how far you’ve come in terms of how the process of recovery has empowered and changed you?

I realize that I was a lot thinner when I started my recovery journey because I had to restore my weight, but binge eating has had a toll on my weight as well. I am learning to have a balance life, and moderation with everything because I tend to go one extreme to the next. Right now I have come a long way, I use to binge eat everyday, and I use to workout everyday, but I injured myself. So I can’t workout at all, but I can mentally handle that now. I can mentally handle eating too much or eating out. I can eat out with my family or boyfriend or friends. It has changed me in so many ways; I am more flexible with my food and my life in general. I am more willing to do more things because I don’t have to worry about what to eat or what not to eat. The process of recovery has empowered me in a lot of ways as well. I can now share my struggles and my journey with others, and inspire others to do better or be better. I try to be there for everyone, and I can because I have been through the worst parts, and the good parts. I can learn from others as well. I am always willing to learn new ways to recover and help people.

What are some fears that you have about the future when it comes to your eating disorder recovery? How do you stop yourself from stressing out about it (e.g. I personally fear that having children might trigger body image issues!)

My fear is that my binge eating disorder will give me other health problems; I already have a lot already from my anorexia. I have physical injuries from working out too much and starving my body. I am afraid that I will become so physically unhealthy that I will me miserable, I want to be able to go out and do activities, I want to enjoy running around, going on bike rides, and just feeling good mentally and physically. I usually watch tv, talk to a friend that I trust, Post motivational pictures on my instagram. I love listening to music; it helps a lot with stress. I basically fear being unhealthy.

14. Young women are facing a lot of double standards in society as compared to men, and are increasingly becoming sexualized in the media. How do you think this is affecting the way women (and even adolescents) see themselves in terms of their body image and/or other mental health issues?

Ugh. This is another good question. I feel like women are taught that we need to look good and be attractive for men, and only men. A lot of my eating disorder problems come from this. Being that unattractive girl, many older women try to teach us that we need to look good in order to do well in life, we need to look good for men and if we don’t we have basically failed in life. Even women see other women as sexual objects, especially the one’s who are “attractive” and we are all thinking to ourselves that we wish we were attractive like that so we can achieve being liked by men. We can’t help it, we are taught this way and it is put in our heads from the very beginning. I think it is a big thing for mental health issues as well, it is put in our heads that if we are not attractive then we are not good enough, and living life feeling not good enough is horrible. We treat ourselves with disrespect, we allow ourselves to do harm things to our own bodies or we put ourselves in harmful relationships because we think we deserve that because we aren’t “attractive” but in reality every person is attractive. We all deserve to be good enough and to feel good enough. We are more than just bodies and our looks, we are a soul that has a body, and we should take care of it, and take care of our soul.

How do you wish to see yourself in the next 1 year? 5 years?

I wish to see myself binge free in 1 year with a job, and having fun volunteering and getting experience for my dietitian degree. In 5 years I hope to see myself as a registered dietitian that specializes in eating disorders. I hope that I will be living with my boyfriend, and hopefully we will be more than that by then. I hope that I will still be binge free by then as well.

What do you think it means to be a beautiful & empowered woman?

To me being beautiful and empowering has everything to do with personality, you can look good but if you have a bad personality than I am sorry you are not an attractive person because your personality is harmful and mean towards others. If you have an amazing personality and you are a truly amazing human being then you are considered a beautiful empowering person to me. If you are willing to help others and to help yourself than I still will believe that you are beautiful person. I do not believe that there are ugly looking people in this world, only ugly personalities. Looks change, we get older but our souls will live on forever, so love yourself always, no matter what you look like.

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“I am trying to accept my belly and body as it is. Tonight was hard. I don’t know if I would consider if I binged ate or not. I ate a lot of food because I was hungry, but I had that out of control feeling &  started crying because I binged ate on Monday and I was like I don’t need this right now. I also went to therapy on Tuesday. Which helped me a lot. But i am still struggling with food. I probably don’t eat enough throughout the day. And hen at night I get too hungry and can never get full. Ugh. Recovery is hard, but it is worth it. And I never want to go back to starving myself, but I also seem to overfeed myself now. One extreme to the next. I am slowly learning moderation and what it means to have a balanced life and a balanced diet. “

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“Today I had to look nice because of a school project. I felt so good and I actually felt I looked nice lol. But then I sat down. I don’t have a couple of belly rolls. My whole stomach is a roll that rolls over my underwear and sticks out of my dress. It made me so upset that I got a headache and I felt so lightheaded and dizzy, I got so tense and my whole body just started to hurt. I couldn’t focus and I couldn’t think straight. I just felt like I was there. Watching everything happen but not being aware of my surroundings. Then I thought to myself that I need to eat less and do this I need to do this and do that. Or I eat too much or whatever. I get upset because I am a recovering binge eating now. Not recovering from anorexia which wouldn’t be a bad thing for me eat too much, because my body needs the food to live. But now it is like, I need to learn to balance between binge eating and anorexia. Which would be moderation and balance and a healthy mind. I am allowed to feel upset, but I have to accept what I feel and move on in order to grow and recover. “