You keep making me ill…

Body Positivity has crept into the public conversation. On the surface it seems body diversity is gaining ground. We see larger models in ad campaigns. The high street is beginning to pay a little more attention to fat customers. Social Media is awash with bopo content. However, if you scratch the surface virulent fat phobia still thrives. Any progress is good, but the dangerous aspects of weight stigma remains strong. Medical bias against fat bodies wreaks havoc. As a chronically ill fat woman I frequently face this issue. In ten years of battling illness and the medical community, I have seen little improvement.

When I began having health issues, I accepted the consensus that was fat was bad and thin was good. I was in the process of some seriously unhealthy dieting when I initially experienced quite serious gastric pain. There were other symptoms, vomiting & difficulty eating, but pain was the standout. I progressed from short bursts to hour long stints of excruciating pain. My GP said it was most likely indigestion and/or heart burn. They could be surprisingly painful, I was told. Change my diet, lose some weight and things will improve. I tightened up my already drastic diet and continued to lose weight. My symptoms did not improve. In fact, they worsened. I began to have prolonged periods of pain. It would last for days at a time, leaving me unable to eat or move or sleep. It felt torturous. By this time, I was being sent to A&E by my GP and attending myself when the pain become unbearable. Drs continued to tell me it was heartburn/indigestion. They all said the same thing, change your diet and lose weight. I was prescribed omeprazole but had no investigation. No one listened when I told then I was hardly eating. No one cared that I was losing lots of weight. All the DR’s were dismissive of my pain. Most were patronising. Some were hostile. No one helped. This continued for over a year. On my penultimate visit to A&E I was in so much pain I could barely talk. I had thrown up so much that I was only bringing up bile & blood. I saw a deeply unpleasant man who vacillated between me being an hysterical woman and being convinced I was an addict seeking drugs. He gave me a cup of peptac (which I promptly threw up) and sent me home. I felt utterly beaten that night. I knew something was very wrong.There was no way I could feel this bad and there not be problem. But no one would listen. I was tired of being judged and looked down upon. I went home and cried.

Luckily, my mum visited me a few hours later. She was shocked when she saw the state I was in and insisted we return to A&E. With someone fighting (& I do mean fighting) fit to advocate for me I was finally taken seriously. A Dr finally ordered the simple blood test that would diagnose me with pancreatitis. By the time those bloods results came back my body had gone into shock. Had I not returned to the hospital that night I would have likely died. I spent 7 days in HDU. I was catheterised. Fed only fluids via drip and given a morphine pump. I don’t even recall that first week in hospital.

Afterwards I discovered that although I didn’t fit the usual profile for pancreatitis (often older men, big meat eaters, heavy drinkers), I did have classic symptoms. The pain I had been describing was textbook. The onset and progression of symptoms was exactly what was to be expected of pancreatitis. Had someone taken a minute to listen to me I could have been diagnosed on my first trip to A&E. I really believe if I hadn’t been a fat woman, that’s probably what would have happened.

I had several more bouts of pancreatitis and a number of gallbladder issues were diagnosed in the subsequent months. Ironically, I was to discover that my weight was not the problem. The most likely culprit was spending my 20’s yo-yo dieting. The fad dieting & resultant weight loss that Dr’s had always encouraged made me ill.

Almost dying because medical professionals wouldn’t look past the size of my belly wasn’t horror enough, I have also since been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A condition I did not suffer from before all the trouble with my pancreas. Pain specialists have told me that the physical and emotional trauma of such a prolonged period of undiagnosed severe illness is likely to have caused the fibro. So, I not only had to suffer multiple times with acute pancreatitis, I will now deal with chronic pain for the rest of my life. I wonder how different my story would if I were a size 10.

Near death experiences aside, almost every medical interaction I have involves some discussion about my weight. With multiple chronic conditions I am a complicated case. Every new symptom no matter how unconnected involves answering questions and listening to lectures about how fat I am. I must push for investigations & interventions because the first advice is always ‘lose weight’. Often, I must identify possible problems via my own research. You would be shocked at the number of times professionals have dismissed my concerns only for my theory to be confirmed when they finally do the necessary tests. I have my cholesterol, blood sugar and pressure tested an inordinate number of times and am usually met with shock that they all measure within ideal levels. When I tell medical professionals that I do not wish to discuss weight loss, my request is usually ignored. Explaining that I endured years of disordered eating and misery related to trying to reduce my size has no impact. My mental wellbeing seems entirely unimportant. Even when I am brutally honest about the fact the I used to starve myself, purge & use appetite suppressants Dr’s still advise diet plans. When my eating was at its most disordered, I was never dangerously thin. So, I was never considered at risk. The sizest attitude towards eating disorders is a whole safety issue in itself. For the record I am vegan with digestive issues that limit my diet. It would be difficult for me substantially change what I eat even if I was inclined to. All this falls on deaf ears. Weight loss remains a priority for almost every Dr I see. When I have stomach flares and lose weight because I can’t eat, I am congratulated. When I am in hospital unable to stop vomiting nurses will joke, they wish they couldn’t eat for a while. It is relentless and exhausting.

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It really doesn’t have to be this way. Fat does not necessarily mean unhealthy. Even for those who would benefit from lifestyle changes will not be motivated by harsh judgement. The impact on mental health of all this fat shaming is enormous. We know that diets do not work. Most people regain all the weight they lose and more within a year. We also know that yo-yo dieting damages our bodies. Medical weight stigma makes people less inclined to seek medical advice. If you know you will be shamed and belittled and ultimately get no help anyway, you stop asking. This bias against fat patients is dangerous on so many levels. It’s a risk to our mental health, to our physical wellbeing and to our very lives.

* health-and-the-fat-girl.tumblr.com

Check my nails…

I’m finding all this stormy weather a bit of a style block. It’s hard to look put together in a gale. The desire to stay even somewhat warm & dry is cramping my sartorial creativity. I have therefore expressed my individuality on my finger nails.

The Baba helped me select a new sparkly polish & I used it to full effect on this shatter design.

I can never get enough of that glossy black polish.

The non stop downpour inspired me to get a little nautical. There is certainly more romance on a wild sea than a drenched city street.

All those grey skies called for a little colour.

If a little colour feels good, one might as well go for a lot of colour too.

It’s getting hot in here…

It is hot. Too hot for some of us. Fat bodies have a few trouble spots in these kind of temperatures. This is my guide to keeping cool & comfortable.

Sunblock

I know this is pretty obvious, but it is essential. Remember to reapply often & maybe even up your factor. Also check that your sunscreen protects you from UVA & UVB rays.

Aloe Vera

If you do get a little too much sun, aloe vera is amazing for sunburn. Just pop a leave on the fridge and squeeze the gel inside straight into your skin. It is instantly soothing. Even if you’re not burnt the sun can dry you out & aloe is also an amazing moisturiser.

Beat the Chub Rub

Thunder thighs are glorious, but they don’t half chafe when you slip a sun dress on. I used to rely on bicycle shorts, but I hated having to add another layer. I was delighted to discover Ivy Verdure. It’s a stick that you roll directly onto your thighs and the will glide off each other all day. I’ve thoroughly tested it and it really works. It will last all day. Even when you’re dripping with sweat & on the go for hours it holds up. You can use it to prevent blisters too. Oh & of course it’s vegan.

Talc

Bung some on the soles of your feet to stop your shoes getting gross when you feet are going in bare. A little under big breasts holds off the dreaded boobs sweat.

Ditch the Underwire

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I cannot cope with underwired bras on this heat. For the last few months I’ve been thanking my stars that I found Wilde Mode comfort tops. They’re super comfortable & supportive. Plus cute as hell. My second bra recommendation for my more well endowed folks are these amazing invisible vests from Primark. They are the slinkiest, loveliest vests I’ve ever worn. They hold my frankly ridiculously saggy tits firmly in place whilst feeling like they aren’t even there.

Spritz Yourself

If you haven’t already, get yourself some cool spray. It’s everywhere from high end brands to the poundshop. Weird as it seems, it really works. Just a little can of water & some magic things that stay cold. Keep it on your handbag & spray on your pulse points for a quick chill down.

Hydrate

This is most likely apparent to all. Just in case, drink water. Lots of it. As much as you can get on your gob. Hydrate, hydrate, hysdrate.

Do You

Last, bit absolutely not least, wear whatever the hell you want. You don’t have to ‘get in shape’ for summer. You don’t have to hide anything. All clothes are for all bodies. Have fun, feel good & wear what you like.

My week in pictures…

Last week I tried to cheer myself up with a change of scene and mini treats. I had a little work in Edinburgh, so I booked a hotel and mixed business with some pleasure.

I received an exciting offer that included a photo shoot. I wasn’t sure I was up to doing a big scary thing, but pushing myself was a good idea. I definitely needed a reminder that other people recognise my talents. Work aside I took the opportunity to see a couple of my Edinburgh people whilst I was through. I spent an evening each with a couple of my favourite men and even got a tad drunkity two nights in a row. I rarely do much past 6pm these days. It was bloody lovely to get dressed up and have some adult fun. Cocktails & carry on was the perfect distraction.

ly h kerr, rose wine, Edinburgh castle, neon lights Nail art, lingerie selfie, #projectpostit and blurry lights

It was also amazing to relax. Stepping away from my day to day life made it possible for me to temporarily shut off the falling apart portion of my mind. Crisp white sheets, starting my day with a swim and a yummy breakfast (that I didn’t have to make) all did me good.

Tattooed feet in hotel bed

Back in reality I tried to not to kill off my sapling of good cheer. I took my baby nephew swimming, it’s almost impossible not to feel good around that boy. I’ve taught him to say LaLa, what I what I called myself before I could say my name. Believe mewhen I tell you, my heart skips a beat every time he utters those two syllables. I bought myself beautiful flowers and delicious smelling candles. Ruffled the feathers of fuckwits with my radical accessories. Then indulged in some soppy, feel good films, tried Greggs’ yummy vegan sausage roll and attempted to not to stress about the mountain of tasks I didn’t conquer. It’s the little things in life, right?

Fresh flowers Political badges, vegan sausage roll & tulips

Merry & Bright…

Merry Christmas, Darlings. However you celebrate I hope it was Merry & Bright (or at the very least safe).

I spent Christmas Day with the Toyboy’s family and all the days round about with mine. We had two little ones enjoying their very first Xmas and four bigger kiddies getting all hyped up about Santa. It’s a cliche, but Christmas really is better with children around.

I received lots of pretty presents & indulged in many delicious vegan treats (thank TB’s Mum & Sis). Of course I got spruced up for Mr Claus. I always got a fancy Christmas Day outfit when I was a kid & I’ve kept the tradition going in adulthood. This year I went for full on Sexy Fat Ballerina.

ly h Kerr, sexy fat ballerina

Bodysuit – Boohoo

Skirt – Ella

A plus size full length tutu is not actually that easy to come by. I ordered one on a whim and then fell for the idea of being a fat arsed prima ballerina. Unfortunately the first one never arrived. The second took much hunting down, but all that internet searching was worth it. This is a LOOK.

My clever sister somehow managed to predict my Xmas colour scheme and gave me the perfect accessories as part of my gift.

Next stacking rings ly h Kerr

Earrings & rings – Next

We’re now in that no man’s land between Xmas & Hogmanay. I intend to sleep lots, eat a tonne and cuddle little ones. I hope you have the opportunity to do the same.

Oh & Bronan loves his present. So much so that he barely moves off it. It’s a cat nip scratcher btw and god help anyone who even thinks of touching it.

Bronan Kerr

It’s that time again…

Just like that it’s time for another Friday quickie. Of the cruelty free variety. Part of my little spending spree was a few beauty treats. All of which were shiny & lovely.

It was my actually my sister who needed a mascara, but it looked so damn good that I kinda want a tube too. When the Urban Decay goddess told me it was half price I was apple paying the shit out of it. It was a good impulse buy. One coat gives me luscious long lashes. Two provides just as much volume. Troublemaker is giving no trouble.

Urban Decay Troublemaker
Urban Decay Troublemaker

Next is a staple for me, Barry M Plumpy Toocoat. It’s always the final touch on my nails. It provides a convincing gel finish & definitely gets me a few extra days out of my manicures. I love how much extra shine it gives my nails. The only down side is that it goes gloopy a little quicker than I’d like. I’ve yet to actually get to the bottom of a bottle. That said, at under a fiver and still giving a professional look I’ll forgive the small amount of waste. I don’t see me switching topcoat anytime soon.

Barry M Plumpy Toocoat

I have a bit of a thing for Barry M. It was one of the first ‘drug store’ brands to go completely vegan & cruelty free. It’s also one the best. From reliable beauty essentials to super funky fun cosmetics Barry is always ahead of the game. All of which is my excuse for never being able to buy just the one thing I needed. Case in point, this holographic eyeshadow topper. Shimmery two time goodness on it’s own. Multi coloured light catching magic when applied atop another eye shadow. I went for a purpley blue, but there’s three more shades & I suspect I’ll purchase the lot. I recommend that you get your hands on some too.

Barry m holographic eyeshadow topperly h Kerr

Troublemaker & Holographic Topper

Another cruelty free quickie…

It’s Friday and after a rough week I’m ending on a high. I got some unexpected, but very good news yesterday. Now I am sailing into the weekend relaxed & very ready to have some fun. I have a mini break planned, bunch of new clothes to show off & a tiny little nephew to smother in kisses. Before we get to all that, I have a cruelty free quickie for you.

I love being a ginger. I’ve always loved being a redhead. Sadly, the older I get, the lighter my hair becomes. To the point that people have started calling me strawberry blonde. That may not seem like a big deal, but it breaks my heart. Ginger nut is part of my identity! I’m too low maintenance to keep up with dying my hair, but the thought of losing my burnished tones altogether is just awful. Enter, Infuse My Colour, my salvation. It’s a colour infused shampoo that stops the fade in coloured & enhances the tones in natural hair. I bought copper in the hope that it would revitalise my natural colour. I was not disappointed. I’ve only been using the shampoo for 7 days and have already noticed a big difference.

ly h Kerr

Infuse my colour

I’m impressed at how quickly I have seen results & will definitely continue using the shampoo. Infuse My Colour is of course vegan & cruelty free. In case you were curious, here I am in my younger days as a proper, hardcore ginger.

Today I have a bonus quickie, lucky you. One of birthday gifts from my darling sis was some Kiko Milano products. I tried out the eyeshadow duo yesterday & it was a hit. It’s super soft & glides right on. Excellent pigmentation, even better staying power. I saw A Star is Born last night & wept like a baby; the eyeshadow stayed put. I love it.

ly h Kerr

Kiko Milano bright duo

A Star is Born incidentally is excellent. A beautiful interruption of a wonderful film. Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga blew me away, both displaying talents I didn’t know they had. Word of warning though, all those people saying it isn’t as sad as the Streisand version are LYING. Prepare to be destroyed.

My week(ish) in pictures…

It seems like we are actually getting summer in Scotland. It’s been sunny every day for week & shock horror, we’re getting used to it. I’ve been taking full advantage of the weather (& my sister’s maternity leave) to get out & enjoy my beautiful country.

Living in Glasgow is amazing. The city is a hub of culture; great architecture, food, bars, shopping, museums. Oh & Edinburgh is almost as good & just down the road. Plus 30 mins drive from the city centre is the stunning Loch Lomond & loads of other equally beautiful places. We really do have the best of both worlds & I’ve been exploring them.

I’ve been taking in stunning views, soaking up the sea air & swanning around my city rocking my summer wardrobe.

ly h Kerr, Balmaha

ly h Kerr, bath st, Glasgow ly h Kerr, National Gallery of Scotland

There have been movies & yummies with my favourite people. My nails have, of course been killer. Obviously #projectpostit has been getting around with me too.

Project post it, Glasgow

ly h Kerr, the toyboy

ly h Kerr, Tarbert, Kilberry bay

Ringo came to stay, Bronan continues to be the perfect meow. My little people light up my life & make me laugh so hard I look like a walrus. There was also a tiny bit hospital fuckery.ly h Kerr, Ayr, seb

Light, sky light, bff,

ly h Kerr, Nail art

I even fitted in a wee stint as a luxury bitch. The Toyboy & I had a night in a fancy hotel. Plus some general lazing around. You gotta take it easy in this heat.

Drink to that…

On Saturday I hit the Eaglesham Beer Festival with the Toyboy. The weather forecast was hot with thunder storms in the late afternoon. Not exactly the easiest weather to dress for, but I pulled it off.

Once the temperature rises above 18 degrees I start melting, so I needed something that I wouldn’t expire in. Luckily for me I stumbled upon this cotton beauty on Friday. If you feel like you’ve seen it before, you have. I already fell in love with it’s red counterpart; it looked so cute in stripes that I couldn’t resist it. They have a few other colour ways, so don’t be surprised if it pops up again.

ly h Kerr

Dress – Primark

Kimono – Asos Curve

Jellies – Forever21

Anyway, it was perfect. Breathable, comfortable & adorable. That still left those pesky rain storms to cater for. Again I had just the thing, my hot pink super Mac. This was a rush, panic buy for my weekend away, but turns out I love it. In the end it only rained half heartedly for 10mins. I was more than prepared.

ly h Kerr

Rain Mac – Asos

I completed my outfit with jellies (the perfect wipe clean shoe) & my brand new necklace. I’m not even going to bother saying a single about it because it speak loudly for itself.

ly h Kerr

Necklace – Fuck the Tories

So, the sun shone & the Toyboy enjoyed his beer. I mostly lounged on bales of hay enjoying the music. Thumbs up to Street Food Putter Club for the tasty falafel burger & Let’s Get Eclectic for the tunes.

I’m so fancy…

I have been plagued with another bout of hardcore insomnia & my mood has taken a little tumble in general. I’ve been fed up & feeling pissed of with world, which is not my beautiful life. So, I decided to take affirmative action & book myself a little bit of fancy.

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

There was a distinct lack of planning & I was trying to do last minute booking for a holiday weekend. Thus, it become more of a grab what you can than select your perfection. I did well, regardless. I secured the historic & fairly recently renovated Grand Central Hotel. We had plans for Sunday night so properly getting away wasn’t an option, but I was determined to be a luxury bitch even if I was doing it in my hometown.

If you feel kind of blah spending some time in a fancy hotel is good medicine.If you have a silly man to accompany you, the resulting carry on will perk you right up. Grand central gets points for massive bathroom, impressive staircase & general, well, grandness. The Toyboy gets points for remembering to get me an easter treat, drunken nonsense & carrying heavy bags.

Staircase chandelier

ly h Kerr

ly h Kerr

On Sunday night we nipped over to Inn Deep for some drinks & culture. Overheard in the Westend was an elective mix of live music, comedy & spoken word. The venue was perfectly suited for the event & the acts were top class. I highly recommend you keep an eye out for upcoming happenings. Also, Inn Deep do vegan bar snack, big thumbs up!

Project post it, Glasgow

Suitably inebriated we returned to the Victorian splendour of our hotel & enjoyed our huge bed. I am big proponent of just treating yourself. Waiting for other people to fulfil your needs (or wants) is a fool’s errand. If you have the means to make yourself happy, do it! Whether that’s buying yourself flowers, cooking yourself a 5 star meal or indeed booking a fancy hotel. Don’t hope other people will satisfy your whims; please yourself & then anything else is a bonus.

ly h Kerr

Rested & full of hotel breakfast I sprung into the new week. Productivity lasted until around 7pm Tuesday night when my stomach decided to revolt. Spoonie life, eh?