Of all the signs that I need to go on a health kick, there is just one that has made me actually do it. Others, I ignored. Like the time I wore a maternity top to work (well it was the only clean plain black top I had…) and that day when everything I ate was beige. Oh and that moment my three year-old said to me, “Mummy, is there a baby in your tummy?” was one that filled me with joy.
But I’m now two days into a new healthy lifestyle (blergh, hate that phrase) and what’s the reason? I’m too fat for Zara.
Not being able to shop in Zara is quite possibly one of the worst things that can happen in life. Let’s forgive the fact that I’m being slightly melodramatic here and consider that it’s the best shop for basic tees, colour pop blazers, cute skirts and on-trend dresses, never mind the winter coats and knits when it’s cold weather. Nine times out of ten, when you admire something that a friend is wearing, she’ll tell you it’s from Zara. It’s the new Topshop, now that Topshop only seem to be catering for super-skinny fashion students. And it doesn’t even matter that lots of people have the same top/skirt/trousers as you, because it’s Zara and we’d choose wearing the same Zara top/skirt/trousers as everyone else over living a life without Zara.
But recently, my Zara purchases have been limited to jewellery (they do a ridiculously good statement necklace) and the occasional XL top (but not everything comes in XL – oh and it’s just brilliant that some of their clothes only come in S and M *eye roll*.) I can’t even buy shoes there because I’m a size 8 (their biggest size) and their shoes come up small. So I’m basically a big-footed fatty in their eyes, which does wonders for my self-esteem.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I genuinely needed to start eating more healthily anyway, I’d start a one-woman mission to get fashion brands to extend their sizes to reflect their customers’ needs. It’s crazy that so many high street retailers only stock up to a size 16. And don’t get me started on Oasis, who a couple of years back, changed to sizing some of their products as S, M, L (Large is a 14-16 according to their staff. How is that even helpful? It’s probably too big for a size 14 customer but too small for a size 16 customer.) Needless to say, after years of shopping in Oasis, I haven’t been in, since. If you ask me, fashion brands should do away with plus size ranges (which are usually stocked with JOLLY floral patterns for fat women’s BUBBLY personality) and just concentrate on offering their regular range in more sizes.
But it’s time for me to make a change. A change that I’ve ignored making until now because – bizarrely – I appear to have the reverse of body dysmorphia. I look in the mirror and see the slim person I used to be. I walk along the street and in my mind, I’m a size 12. It’s only when I catch sight of my reflection in a window or the time I saw a photo of myself at a kids’ birthday party and thought ‘Wow, who’s that fat lady?’ that I remember. Shit. I’m fat now.
So while I don’t believe in diets (The 5:2 can jog on, as far as I’m concerned) and I don’t think you need to be skinny to be happy (read Bryony Gordon’s ace piece in The Telegraph on this and Daisy Buchanan’s The Debrief piece on finally feeling happy about being a size 14) I do believe in making small changes for the better. And it’s time for me to stop ignoring the fact that I got fat. So sweets, chocolate, cakes are out. Chips are gone. Fizzy drinks are in the bin. It’s all about salads, lots of protein and veg, and small amounts of carbs. Two things I might still indulge in are my skinny lattes and wine. Don’t make me give those up. Please.