Tag Archives: fat

Big Expectations

fatWell, that’s several hours of my life I’ll never get back.

I wanted to buy a plain navy blue t-shirt.

And that’s it.

Not much to ask?

I’ll admit, I’m big, although not excessively over the UK average.

Yet searching online I seemed to fall down a rabbit-hole of ghastliness.

I won’t bore you with the details of my ever-frantic searches, but suffice to say, if you’re a big gal, you bound to wear clothes with:

  • Ruffles
  • Huge dropped hems at the back
  • Sequins and cheap beads
  • Ridiculous slogans (no, I don’t ‘Blame It On The Prosecco’)
  • Garish patterns, swirls and side-ties (why?)
  • Lazy tailoring and all-round general baggy fits, i.e. sacks.
  • Lace. Lots and lots of lace.

Even at the higher end price range, the choice was dismal. Nothing was understated and elegant, or just … basic but well made.

In my job as a building project manager, I only spend one or two days a week in ‘normal’ clothes. More often than not I’m in steel-capped boots, cargo trousers and a hoodie. Hair pulled back in a ponytail and some lip balm for the chilly mornings. My other outfit is jim-jams as soon as I get home and fall asleep on the sofa.

So when I wear ‘normal’ clothes, it would be nice to wear something smart but casual. Well-made, classic. I’ve never been known for my fashion sense and never well be, but it’s refreshing to emerge from a cocoon of dust and mud with clean hair and no black bits in my ears.

Back to my tale of woe – a navy blue t-shirt. I dismissed the one with the sequinned pocket and dropped hem. The baggy one. The one with lace inserts. The one slashed in odd places. The one exposing bare shoulders.

Instead, I dug out my huge pile of ‘too fat to fit now, could possibly fit in the future’ clothes from my cupboard. And there, right in the middle, was a lovely t-shirt. Ok, so it has a scattering of tiny beads, but they’re so small I might snip them off.

If I breathe in, it fits perfectly.

I might not be able to talk much, but it makes a change from my hoodie?

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Reframing The ‘F’ Word …

fattyIt’s weird.

I’m more likely to define myself as ‘fat’ than as ‘living with MS’.


I’ve struggled with weight gain since I was diagnosed back in 2012 – through a combination of medication, thyroid, stress and comfort eating.

I’m not going to lie, I put my chubby hands up to the last one.

I had a wonderful conversation with a friend on Monday and mentioned that I tell everyone I’m fat, almost as a matter of course. Why do I do this? I mean, they can see it; I probably fill their entire periphery vision in one fell swoop. I’m kinda hard to miss.

She asked me why I did this and I really had no explanation other than I’m so unused to being this size – I’m the biggest I’ve ever been – it’s almost a novelty. A curiosity. To use an unfortunate phrase, is it about getting the elephant in the room out the way?

MS is such a ‘normal’ part of my life now, but being this size isn’t.

I’ve tried to embrace this new body, but found out I really didn’t want to. And I don’t understand this. I’ve met incredible women over the years, through my travels and in the UK, who were far larger than me but happier. Celebrating and indulging wholeheartedly in life in a way I can’t imagine.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy, just miffed. More so as I have beautiful clothes hanging in my wardrobe that look a bit silly on me. But do they? Maybe I should stand a bit taller in the mirror and not give a damn about the spare tyre(s) and let my character, my inner essence, do the talking? Isn’t that what life is all about?

I watched an eye-opening episode of ‘First Dates’ this morning (I’m always up early and have ages to fill before work). There was a lovely guy, a tailor on Savile Row. He’d lost a lot of weight a couple of years before but was still conscious and a little overweight. The date went well although he mentioned his weight at every opportunity and you could see his lack of self esteem.

The result? His date thought he was wonderful, but his confidence issues were a turn off.

A great insight. But it got me worried about my potential dating advert, which was already dire:

40-something, divorced, one Teenager, one cat, have an incurable progressive illness – WLTM similar

And fat?

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Feeling Awfully Tubby (F.A.T.)

pashminasDespite the lack of thyroid meds, my gland still refuses to play ball and my weight stubbornly refuses to drop.

Not one teeny tiny eeny weeny pound.

The remnants of a relapse haven’t helped, but, really?

So. I’m in the middle of a conundrum:

  • First, the scary thought – this could be me, like, forever.
  • Second, I may never, ever feel the unparalleled joy of a size 14 pair of jeans, ever again.
  • Third, I’m so unremarkable that people don’t even sympathise with, ‘such a shame she’s so large, she has such a pretty face.’
  • Fourth – plastic surgery?

Where do I go from here? Well, I’ve counted my options; I could:

  • Brave the Larger-Ladies stores
  • Buy fun-and-large-jewellery to draw attention away from tree-trunk thighs, triple chins and chipmunk cheeks
  • Dye my hair a ‘wacky’ shade (blue/pink/magenta) so people don’t notice I’m actually a walking, talking blob

It doesn’t help that The Teenager has transformed his body over the last year and is now a strapping 6′ 4” muscly-peep and scrutinises everything he eats to the nth calorie. He’s offered to take me to to his gym – preferably late at night – just in case he bumps into his mates. He shows me simple exercise I can do with cans of beans and bottles of Evian.

No matter how many times I play I Am Woman, it doesn’t help.

Invincible? Erm, no.

I have a new plan – invest in those large pashmina/throws. M&S sell a nice range. Just wear all black underneath, chuck on a pashmina/throw and a bit of an attitude and I could be ready to go? Or are they picnic blankets in disguise? Was I in the wrong department?

It’s a learning phase. I must bring forth my inner loveliness, whatever that means. People may balk at my bulk, but I should always present a positive and shining aura.

I’m trying.

Tbc …

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Teenagers …

teenagerThrough the unsettling last couple of weeks, The Teenager has, in his own indomitable way, never failed to put a smile on my face.

Teenagers are just fabulous – they may wreck your house, bankrupt you and leave wet towels everywhere, but you get a refreshing honesty from them in return.

Take yesterday. He leapt downstairs in boxer shorts en-route to his Special K, and paused to show me his body-building moves.

At the time, I was catching up with ‘Come Dine With Me’ (final episode of six), absent-mindedly dipping into a bag of crisps.

‘Aaaaand, this (new pose), aaaaaand this (deep squat), aaaaaand look mum (muscle flex).’

‘Wow, that’s lovely dear. Most impressive.’

‘You jel?’


‘Well jel, yeah?’

‘Oh, yeah, very jealous. Well done!’

‘You know mum, and don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re not fat, not like that programme about obese people who have a year to save their lives, like, you could do it in a couple, you know? I mean, if you act now you could even get a Valentine’s card, you know?’

‘Yeah, thanks for that.’

Last week we were in the car (I was probably driving him to the gym) when, out of the blue, he said,

‘Muuuuuuuum, do you ever blog about me?’


‘You know I do. You even have a compliment on an Amazon book review. So, yeah.’

‘I forgot.’


‘Am I like, the main character?’

‘Oh look, we’re here already, have a great training session, ta ra!’

A couple of days ago, I was trying to wrap up some uni work when The Teenager texted me (he was upstairs). Expecting yet another video of wrestlers/Adele in a car/cats scared of cucumbers (google it, it’s odd), I ignored it. My phone went again.

‘Mum. You are a Legend. I love you.’

I melted then texted back,

‘Aw, and you are the best son ever!’

‘D’uh, you’ve only got one.’

‘I know. Still love you. Monkey.’

‘Calm down. Can you make me some toast?’

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Positively Confusing?

RubenesqueI have been fortunate enough to be interviewed recently about my book.

Half-way through, still being recorded, I asked, ‘Gah, am I sounding too positive about MS?’

A conundrum.

Rewind two years and the interviewer would have discovered me flat on the floor, holding up a wine glass, chomping on a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk. And no doubt crying. I was in a dark, shadowy and very different place.

How best to portray life with MS, almost three years after being diagnosed? I don’t want to be labelled a ‘survivor’, ‘a sufferer’ or to be hailed as ‘fighting back, despite all the odds (TM).’ I am just me, who has forged an entirely new and unexpected path through the maze that is MS. I’m still eating far too much chocolate, I’m still fat Rubenesque and I’m now officially over the hill at 41.

Is there such a thing as being positively ok with MS? Hmm. It depends.

If I’m honest, 90% of the time I think I am now used to the vile intruder that is MS. I love my home life, I love my work and I love being in Uni. Life is looking rosy and positive. It’s the other 10% that can be problematic, as anyone living with MS knows.

It’s the relentless fears, the creeping spectre of progression that haunts our darkest moments and I’m not immune to this.

But. In the meantime, as I said to the reporter, I have achieved a lot more since MS than I could ever have dreamed of. Being sacked unceremoniously from work simply for the crime of having MS was merely the start. Being bullied into submission by the very same colleagues, who just before diagnosis treated me with respect, ignited a passion to ‘live well with MS’.

So I am now living a life I love, in spite of MS. MS is with me every step of the way, excuse the pun, and it still continues to trip me up when I least expect it. The dark days are still with me and I doubt they will ever leave, but I am learning to live with them.

The article comes out tomorrow in the national newspaper of Wales. My only fear is the photograph. I am quite possibly the most un-photogenic person ever. The word ‘chubby’ springs to mind, as does ‘Paleo’, meh.

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