Why I'm ANTI Dieting

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Every January before this one, I made one of my goals 'Lose weight - at least two stone'. That started when I was 15 and continued for seven years, until I was 22. This year, upon turning 23 and ready to enter 2019, weight loss was a priority thanks to a health warning from my doctor. No set amount, however, and strictly no 'dieting'.

Because over the last couple of years, I've become quite "anti diet". I hate the word, what it means and I absolutely despise all the crappy fad diets that entice vulnerable and insecure women into their clutches with promises of extreme weight loss in minimal time.

I think - in fact, I know - that it's possible to lose weight without going on a 'diet' so to speak. Without depriving yourself of your favourite foods, without starving yourself and without living off appetite suppressants and shakes. I know, because I've done it - and so have so many other people. Dieting sucks and if you're considering making 'dieting' one of your resolutions for 2019, I'd urge you to think again... and I've got some pretty good reasons why.

If it's about getting healthy, then it's about more than dieting.

If you want to diet to get healthy, you're going about it the wrong way. Being healthy is a lifestyle. Everyone should be encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle, and it's so simple to do - eat correct portion sizes, enjoy everything in moderation and get at least thirty minutes of exercise a day. Walk to work, take the stairs, go for a stroll in the evening, do a workout - whatever takes your fancy. It's recommended that most people aim to walk 10,000 steps a day minimum, so maybe start there.

You can eat food you want, if you eat in moderation. But that's not to say you can't over indulge! We all have days where we eat a large pizza, share bag of Doritos, down a bottle of coke and finish it off with some party rings (Just me?) and that is absolutely okay. Food is there to be enjoyed, so it's only right that we... you know, enjoy it! If you are worried about the weight you may put on or about any negative impact on your health, make sure you do additional exercise. Go for an hour long walk instead of half an hour, swim ten extra lengths, do an extra workout.

But if you're not fussed, that's also fine. Sometimes you just want to enjoy food because it tastes so damn good, and that's great! Normal! Totally okay!!!

Healthy lifestyles might take longer to achieve than a quick fix diet but they are more manageable, allow you live a more fulfilling life and are easier to maintain. Living healthy has so many more long term benefits than doing a quick shake diet before your summer holiday in a desperate bid to get a 'beach body' (ugh).

Your physical health is important but so is your mental health

It's great if you're in good shape, but not if you've destroyed your mental health to get there. Constantly counting calories, feeling guilt for eating certain foods and disordered eating are damaging to your mental health and can result in eating disorders that can require medical intervention/assistance.

Dieting is terrible for your mental health. It creates food fear, food anxiety and generally an unhealthy relationship with food. Healthy lifestyles allow you to enjoy all the foods that you want to whilst making sure you exercise enough to maintain a healthy weight, without having to stress about how much fat you're consuming or how many calories are in a Krispy Kreme donut. You can enjoy food with peace of mind, and that's important.

Your mental health can be so strong - but it can also be so fragile. It's important to look after it, and not to destroy it by succumbing to societal pressures in regards to losing weight and trying to be a certain size.

There is more to life than being a certain size

On your death bed, what are you going to regret more - all the delicious food you missed out on or the size of your thighs?

This world is full of so many incredible places to visit, exciting things to explore, delicious cuisines to try. You can do so much, opportunities are endless - and yet life is so short. So much to do and so little time, don't you think? Do you really want to spend that time worrying about your size, your weight or what you're eating?

Life is seriously too short to spend any of it dieting. Eat well, move enough and you should be healthy and happy! It's so simple, and so much better for you than any kind of diet.

And finally...

Diets just don't work

Plain and simple. Sure, they work in the short term but - and it's an important but - depriving yourself of calories, and essentially starving your body of any proper nutrients - is not good for you. It's not healthy and it's not sustainable either. There is no way anybody can permanently maintain a certain diet and be healthy.

Your body literally needs food to survive which means you have to eat. Appetite suppressants and shake diets (even if it's only one shake a day!) are a big no - no! Realistically, no one is going to be on a diet every single day for the rest of their lives, which means one day you're going to break the cycle and come off that diet. What's going to happen? You're going to slip back into old habits now that you're 'free' and it can lead to binge eating. In fact, studies have shown a crazy statistic that claims that almost everyone who goes on a 'diet' ends up actually putting weight on - because they just don't work!

Sure, they work in the short term, but that's all they are -  a short term fix!

Furthermore, yoyo dieting (trying different diets with breaks in between of "normal" eating) really wreaks havoc on your metabolism, which is no good at all.

Diets. Don't. Work.

If you want to lose weight, that's fine. Go ahead and lose weight. But do it healthily. Do it properly. Do it in a sustainable way that you're going to be able to manage for the rest of your life. Be realistic with it.

Stick to portion sizes. Eat a balanced diet. Walk 10,000 steps a day. Exert yourself a couple of times a week. Eat a little less, move a little more. Enjoy food, enjoy exercise and enjoy life.

Because no one enjoys a diet.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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All of my dimples are cute!

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Before we start, please forgive the title image - it's the only photo I have where any of my cellulite is on show! Zoom in and you'll see it better...

You may have missed it, but this weekend an Avon advert was brought to our attention – an advert for some kind of ‘solution’ to cellulite. One version of the advert featured a woman sitting down, thighs on show, and read “dimples are cute on your face (not your thighs)”, whilst another variation of the advert ironically read “Every body is beautiful”

It was actually the American branch of Avon, Avon Insider, who created the ad and brought it to life. However, after being attacked by Jameela Jamil on Twitter, both Avon and Avon Insider admitted they’d missed the mark with their advert and advised that it would be taken down and wouldn’t be used anymore.

As great as that end result is, I just can’t get over that it’s 2019 and this is still a thing – targeting women’s ‘flaws’ in advertising to make money and sell crappy products that are made to make us feel better but in reality don’t actually achieve anything.

How dare Avon sit there and dictate what dimples are cute and what dimples aren’t? I love all my dimples, particularly the ones on my bum and thighs because some days, those dimples need a little more loving than the ones that society chooses to accept – the ones on my face.

I wish that companies would get a grip and stop telling us how we should feel about our own bodies. I wish that companies would stop creating new flaws out of nowhere and brainwashing us into agreeing that yes, actually that part of my body is awful and I must change it using their product! I wish companies would stop making money from women hating themselves.

Because essentially that’s what’s going on. Companies tell us something is ugly or needs changing, through mass marketing and celebrity endorsements they manage to convince us that they’re right and we buy into their products that claim they can help us overcome said flaw.  Our money goes right into their pockets so that we can solve a problem that we didn’t even know we had. Of course, the product doesn’t work, we become more aware of the issue, we see more perfectly flawless photoshopped celebs endorsing the product and we keep buying into it. It’s a toxic cycle that we can’t seem to escape from.

Open your eyes! Expand your mind! Do some research!

‘Flaws’ such as body hair and cellulite weren’t even an issue before the 50’s. Women weren’t fazed by stretch marks and dimply skin and a bit of hair under their arms. No one cared! These ‘flaws’ have only been brought to light by clever marketing techniques that now make us all believe we’re supposed to be god damn flawless.

No scars, no stray hairs, no cellulite, not one ounce of fat on your body, perfect hair, no spots, big lips, perky boobs, thick thighs, tiny waist, flat tummy, long legs… the list continues to grow, and as it does, it becomes more and more unrealistic and unobtainable.

I will admit that I’m chubby – perhaps even verging on fat, depending on who you are and what your perspective is. My boobs definitely aren’t perky, I have stretch marks seemingly left, right and centre, I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs and I have dimpled skin thanks to my cellulite across my arse and my thighs.

But guess what? I feel attractive, I feel sexy and I feel confident. I feel so empowered by the fact that I can defy what the media tells me I should be, that it makes me feel even better about my own body. I’m comfortable in who I am, who I want to be. I know that my body will change continuously throughout my life – when I’m pregnant, when I eat more or less, at different stages of my cycle, when I go through the menopause, when I’m a mum, if/when I get ill.

My body will always change. It is a flexible being that can be altered so easily. That’s why it’s so important that I pin my worth, my sense of belonging and self-love on more than just my body. It’s important for everyone else to do the same.

Flaws or no flaws, Kim Kardashian or Sarah Brown from the house next door, we are all perfectly imperfect in our own ways – and we are all so much more than our bodies. We are our sense of humour, our intelligence, our kindness, our good nature, our skills and expertise, our good qualities, our bad qualities. We are made up of one hundred different things, all of which make us who we are far more than our bodies ever will.

We need to be reminded of that way more than we need to be reminded that the world wants us to constantly change.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Thank u, next.

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When Ariana Grande released Thank U, Next it was destined to be a certified banger. Girls all over the world could scream about their exes in the form of a catchy tune all over again - something they hadn't really had the chance to do since Little Mix released Shoutout To My Ex.

Despite the song being deliberately catchy and one that I automatically loved, I couldn't help but mock it. If memory serves me well, I even put out a tweet saying how much I loved the song, but that I would never, ever be grateful for my ex. My ex, who physically and emotionally abused me for years. My ex, the drug dealer. My ex, the generally nasty piece of work that he was. He put me through endless hell, cheating on me, lying to me over and over - and I was supposed to feel grateful for that? Nah, you're alright.

With that being my initial stance, I enjoyed the song without actually relating to it. However, as time's gone on and I've listened to the song more and more (almost daily, in fact), it's got me thinking that maybe I was a little hasty in my judgment. Maybe, just maybe, I was actually hugely grateful to my utter cockwomble, knobjockey, douchebag, fuckwad, dickhead  ex.

After all, it was my ex who dragged me down to absolute rock bottom. My ex who made me feel unwanted, unworthy and like I was doing every single thing in my life wrong. My ex who lead me into self harming, who made me feel, at times, that I wished I was dead. My ex who flat out told me he wouldn't come and visit me if I went to university - hence me not going. My ex who told me I couldn't wear makeup because he didn't like it, who told me that I couldn't dye or cut my hair or go out clubbing without him. My ex who told me I looked no different without my braces, or with glasses and never, ever told me I looked beautiful. My ex who reduced my whole being to zero and made me feel like shit on his shoe. Made me feel like nothing.

But just like a phoenix, I've risen from the ashes of what was truly a very sorry life I was living. I became the very best version of myself I could be. I've made new friends and have a thriving social life. I've been to festivals and endless gigs, I've dated and had hilarious drunk nights out and one night stands. I have more good memories from the last three years without him than I have from the six years I spent with him. I've travelled more than I could have guessed I would, and even been to bloody Ibiza. I have a blossoming career, I've achieved so much I can't even recap it all here. I'm more financially stable than I've ever been without my ex draining my bank balance to run his business. I've found love again, something I thought would never happen. I've adopted a cat. I've moved into my own home!

I've found self love and body positivity. It's enabled me to be comfortable in my own skin, my abilities and just generally in my life - and at the same time, allowed me to help so many other young girls and women feel the same.

Since my absolutely horrific break up with my ex, I have only become better and better. I really feel like I am currently the best version of me I could be, and when I think about who I was with him, and who I am now, I just feel so gloriously happy that I think I might actually be grateful for my ex. I'm living a life that the Flo back then could never have even dreamed up for herself, and I wish I could go back in time and reassure her that eventually, she would escape and that things really would get better.

My ex taught me to love myself and gave me the opportunity to become who I should have been all along! Of course, he did it in the worst way possible, but he still helped to do it. He taught me real pain. He taught me how it feels to be at the bottom of the heap, at absolute rock bottom and seemingly past saving. But he also taught me that I was able to stand on my own two feet and could rise to any challenge put in front of me. That I could live without him, be better without him.

I endured and survived every trial and tribulation he put me through, which taught me that actually, I can get through anything life throws at me. He changed my life for the worst, which forced me to change it for the better. I couldn't have done any of this without him - better still, he helped me to better my life whilst swiftly exiting it... and of course, set me on a course that would eventually lead me to the love of my life, who it seems I was always destined to be with. My gorgeous, wonderful Jonny.

So thank u, next. I'm so fucking grateful for my ex.

Love from,
Florence Grace

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Coming off the contraceptive pill (Take 2!)

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I have been on the contraceptive pill for as long as I can remember. Actually, I can't remember if I was 15 or 16 when I started taking it, as my memory is sort of hazy, but I think I was 16. Me and my then boyfriend had been having sex for a few months and, after hearing a lot about it from my girlfriends at school, I decided I didn't want to use condoms anymore. I wanted to be on the pill instead. No money spent on condoms? Control over my periods? What wasn't to like?!

Oh, naive little me.

Fast forward seven years later and there I am, hooked on this tiny little pill that I pop on the regular, despite the fact that it makes me feel like utter shite, all in a bid to make my life 'easier' by not needing to use condoms. Wow.

Okay, okay - it's not true I was entirely hooked, because I had previously taken a break. Back in 2016, fresh out of a relationship and not at all interested in having sex with anyone ever again, I had no need for the pill. Add to that that I was seeing more and more bloggers, like Tara Costello, write about the dangers of the pill. Tara provided me with more information about contraception and the havoc it can wreak on your body and just how awful it is for your mental health, than any doctor had ever given me. It was game over for me. I wanted out.

I couldn't believe I hadn't been educated on anything to do with the pill by my doctors, or even teachers during sex ed. Especially on just how damaging it is to your mental health. Here I was, 21 years old, having been on the pill for five straight years and utterly clueless as to what I was actually putting in my body and how it was actually affecting me. That's mad, right? I couldn't believe it.

So I stopped taking it. Just like that, I decided that I no longer wanted to put this hormonal monster inside of me all for the sake of easier sex. And guess what? I felt great. I lost weight, my mood swings lessened drastically, my boobs didn't shrink like I'd been told and my sex drive was also not affected. Obviously the first question every one asked me was "Oh my god but what about sex? You'll have to use a condom!!"

Cleverly observed. It's good to see you took your sex ed classes, kids.

Truthfully, I only had sex a handful of times whilst off the pill, some with condoms and some without (where a morning after pill was purchased immediately afterwards. Thankfully I am a) a lot more responsible now and b) both baby and STI free). The condoms didn't bother me, and neither did the lack of control over my periods, because finally my body was my own again and I was in control of it. No one else, just me.

However, when I found myself back in a relationship in 2018, after an almost two year break from the pill, I found myself leaning back towards the idea of it. Yes okay, my moods would be atrocious, I'd gain weight and I'd be pumping myself full of hormones I didn't need - but it was worth it for sex without a condom, right?

God, I just want to kick myself. What's with all the stigma surrounding condoms anyway? They're not that bad! Society has made us think they're awkward, uncomfortable and that they ruin sex - when in actual fact, they help to prevent you from getting pregnant and protect you from getting any sexually transmitted diseases! You can even get super thin 'invisible' ones now that you can barely feel at all. But instead, it's apparently more desirable - and socially acceptable - for a woman to go through minor surgery to get an implant or the coil put in place, or to pump herself full of hormones by taking the pill, just so a boy can experience slightly more pleasure without a condom? Wow.

After being on the pill again for over a year, I decided in 2019 I wanted to come off the pill, maybe using something like the patch (which a friend told me about and I had never heard of previously!) or maybe just using condoms. As always, Jonny was 100000% supportive and understanding and wanted me to do what was best for me, for my mental health and physical health. I had planned to give it some thought, but on New Years Eve (perfect timing hey?) doctors made the decision for me and said I was no longer able to take the pill I'd taken for most of my adult life due to health reasons. I was crushed, so upset and totally stressed about what I'd do now.

But really, it was a blessing in disguise. I'd said I wanted to come off the pill in 2019, and here I was, literally about the enter the new year without the pill. Really, I was happy.

It's only been two weeks without the pill now but already I feel better. Yes, my period was marginally longer and slightly more cramp-y than if I'd been on the pill, but other than that, everything has just been better without it. I've been feeling happier and having less mood swings, I feel generally lighter and happier within myself - and out of nowhere, my sex drive has been through the roof. Jonny can barely keep up. I can barely keep up with myself! It's crazy.

The weirdest part is that when you're on the pill, you don't feel like anything is wrong. I don't feel like my mood swings are abnormal, like my weight gain is excessive, like my sex drive is dulled down. You just think that's just how you are, until you come off the pill - and then your eyes are opened and you realise that actually, your quality of life was supposed to be better than this.

I never want to go back on the pill again - and I'd never, ever recommend it to anyone either. I know there are some benefits for people with certain conditions and illnesses, but if you're taking it simply because "you don't want to use a condom", I would seriously urge you to think again. Both times I've come off the pill I've felt one million times better than I ever did on the pill! They're not healthy, they're not good for you in the long term and they seriously just ruin your hormonal balance and, more importantly, your mental health. Depression is a severe side effect of the pill that needs to be talked about more - and do you really want to suffer from depression just to have easier sex? Don't be daft.

I wish younger me had had more advice. I wish younger me had had more guidance. But you live and you learn, hey? I've lived and definitely learned - and now I want you all to learn, too. The pill is bad news and if you don't have to take it, I really wouldn't recommend it.

Have you been on the pill before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace

You can read my previous posts about the pill here, here and here
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