About the Episode

In this episode, Melanie shares five summer survival tips from the perspective of a fat girl. She emphasises the importance of managing expectations, practising taking up space, embracing joy and comfort, starting with small steps, and checking in with oneself. Melanie also encourages journaling as a way to reflect and navigate the summer season.


Manage your expectations and honour what you need during the summer months.

Practice taking up space and challenge stereotypes about larger bodies.

Embrace activities and things that bring you joy, cosiness, and happiness.

Prioritise comfort and choose clothing that feels comfortable in hot weather.

Start with small steps and be gentle with yourself.

Check in with yourself through journaling and reflection.


Topics discussed in episode 005


00:00 Empowerment and Self-Discovery: A Plus-Size Journey

07:18 Tip One: Manage Your Expectations

10:41 Tip Two: Practice Taking Up Space

14:52 Tip Three: Do Things That Bring You Joy, Coziness and Happiness

18:04 Tip Four: Embrace Comfort

19:30 Tip Five: Start Small & Be Gentle With Yourself

21:09 Checking In With Yourself & Journal Prompts


Melanie [she/her] (00:00)
Hello friends, welcome back to The Culture For All. This is episode six and it’s our second step into our summer series. And today I am so excited to share this with you and to talk about these five summer survival tips from a fat girl, that fat girl being me. I cannot wait to dive in. Before I do that, I’ve got a few things I want to talk about. Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you. You’ll have been really supporting the show.

supporting this summer series, sharing it with your friends and peers and whomever. And I really, really appreciate it. A year ago, as I think I’ve probably already said a year ago, I started to explore different ways to take care of my body. I explored hygiene and simple self -care as a plus size person or someone with a larger body. And…

I just remember thinking, how did I go 36 years not knowing this stuff? And I kept thinking there must be other people who don’t know this too. And that kind of pisses me off. All right, that really pisses me off. But I wasn’t ready to share my part of that. I wasn’t ready to talk about my own experiences or journey. I had dipped my toe in a little bit. I had shared about my intuitive eating journey.

But I wasn’t ready to really have these conversations a year ago. And so the fact that back in February, I was sitting in my office procrastinating and listening to an episode of Maintenance Phase and I suddenly said to myself, well, it’s just the culture of it all. And in that moment, I knew in that moment, I knew that I was ready. I was ready to have these conversations. I was ready.

to put myself out there because that was something, I mean, I’m still a little bit afraid of it, but it was something I’ve been afraid of for the past eight years. For those of you who don’t know, I started trying to build a business eight years ago. And I say started trying to build a business because building an online business and growing an online business, it’s not as easy as everyone wants you to think it is. It’s not as easy as people make out, make it out to be. And I’ve had…

some great moments. I’ve had some real highs, I’ve had some moments where I felt very successful, and I’ve had some real, real lows. One of the biggest highs, weirdly enough, came in 2020 when my business grew exponentially and I was making money that I’d only dreamed of. But I was also working all the time and…

At the end of that year I got COVID and I remember just thinking, I can’t do this anymore. I guess I thought this is what I wanted, but it really isn’t. And the money might be great, but how am I ever going to take time off? How am I ever going to spend time with my family or go on holiday again when inevitably that will happen. We will be able to go on holiday again. And slowly but surely I divested from that.

business model and moved away from what I was doing and I guess then I felt a little off. I found myself spending a few years really just doing lots of different things. I did canva graphics, I wrote content, I then freelanced for a couple of years and I’m really really fortunate and privileged that I’m able to do that and to be able to have that experience of

not necessarily knowing where my next income is going to come from and being able to take that time to explore. What I know for certain is that

This year I knew I was ready to almost take a complete 180 from where I started eight years ago. I haven’t talked about this too much on on the show and I want to do a whole episode, I guess I just don’t know how to approach it. When I started my business eight years ago I was selling intentional weight loss. I didn’t call it that because I thought I was so much better than the diet industry and I really wasn’t.

And that feels really interesting to look back at. It feels really interesting to look back at the past eight years to see myself have this complete 180 from where I was eight years ago.

what I was selling and promoting and the content I was creating. And then eight years later to be sitting here talking about the very industry that I was a part of and to be able to see it for what it is. I think that’s what always astounds me is like, how did I not see this? But you only know what you know, right? So when you’ve grown up in it, it’s all you see.

So yeah, I just wanted to say thank you, because it’s felt like a bit of a whirlwind. It feels like it’s been five minutes since I started this, and also feels like it’s been something I’ve always been doing. So I really, really appreciate your support and the fact that you enjoy listening. So thank you for being here.

So before we get into today’s episode, I did want to just mention that to celebrate our summer series so that we can continue having more conversations about personal hygiene and self care in relation to larger bodies. I have put together a bonus episode over on Substack. It is available on all tiers, including free, and you can listen in by subscribing to the show over on Substack. You’ll get access to this content.

And in this episode, I walk you through my personal hygiene routine, discuss products I use, how they work, and I share my thoughts on the products too. If you would like to grab this bonus episode, you can head over to CultureOfItAllPod.Substack.Com/Subscribe So this is our second installment of our summer series, right? For the next three months, I will be sharing everything with you from my body acceptance and self -advocacy journey to my favourite products and routines.

because I cannot control the weather. The summer isn’t going anywhere and it’s probably only going to get hotter. And I refuse to feel ashamed for being a hot fat sweaty person. I decide that I’m going to take back this summer. I want to reclaim it. Even if I don’t enjoy it, I want to make it as comfortable as possible because we deserve comfort too. In our last episode, we talked all about self -advocacy and how that can lead to body acceptance.

I talked about the body acceptance spectrum. We looked at different versions of body acceptance and body positivity. And today we’re going to be exploring five summer survival tips. I don’t have any content warnings for you today. As always, if we hit a topic and it is triggering, please feel free to sit it out. And as always, you can find a full glossary of anti -diet related words, phrases, and terms over on my website.

which is OutlawCreatives .com forward slash glossary. Okay, I think that’s everything. So let’s get into this. So five summer survival tips. The first one is to manage our expectations. I think this is a biggie. This is a really big one. There is so much pressure to do lots of things during the summer. So much pressure. And…

I had to ask myself if I can just adjust my expectations and really honor what I need in that moment rather than trying to chase that kind of summertime high or that summertime bliss. I think, I’m guessing it’s the same everywhere. I can only, I can only share from my own experience, but here in the UK there is like,

There’s this like shift of energy that happens during the warmer months. And growing up I felt like there was so much pressure to be outside, so much pressure to be out with friends. And I am very much someone who likes to be my own space. I’m an introvert most of the time. I am a bit of a homebody. That’s more so since COVID. And…

I just really really like my own space. And that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that. And I don’t mind doing things, but I have to manage my expectations. Also, I have to manage my expectations in relation to how much I’m gonna get done when the weather is warmer. I might not be able to do things at the same pace that I normally can. So be gentle with ourselves and be okay with adjusting our routines or…

how much we can or can’t do. You don’t have to suffer, right? You don’t have to suffer. This comes from the belief that fatness is a choice and that if fatness is a choice then we deserve to be uncomfortable. But that’s not true. All bodies are good bodies, all bodies deserve respect and we’re allowed to take care of ourselves without having to change ourselves first.

One of the things I try to think about during the warmer months is kind of taking care of myself in the way that I would take care of my kid. My kid is still fairly dependent on me. And I found myself on occasion making sure that he has all the things he needs and then forgetting the basics for myself. So I try to think about if I’m taking water for him, then I’m taking water for myself. If I’m taking snacks for him, take snacks for myself.

was something that I worked on with my intuitive eating coach is again forgetting to take care of myself, forgetting to honour what I need but making sure that everyone else is okay. So yeah treat yourself as if maybe you’d like consider your younger version of you and what do you need when you’re navigating these warmer summer months.

And I know that food especially can be super complicated for many folks, myself included, but just remember that you still deserve to be nourished and you can be gentle with yourself as you navigate the warmer weather, The second tip I have for you is to practice taking up space. I feel like this is a really interesting one because we talk about taking up space.

with our larger bodies in terms of energetically, right? Showing our lights and shining bright and all those kinds of things. But when you’re in a larger body, I think practice and taking up space is really interesting because we physically take up more space. You know, we physically take up more space. And I think it’s important to be doing both, right? Absolutely.

shine your light and be bright, but that can be really hard when society treats you like you’re invisible even though you physically take up more space. Some of the ways I’ve practiced taking up more space myself is wearing less clothes around my home, nurturing that relationship with myself first, especially getting ready for the summer, warmer months. This can be a really, really gentle way to

prepare yourself mentally for wearing less clothing outside of the house. And this is something I thought about recently because in the summer months when it’s warmer I do spend a lot of time in like little bralettes or shorts. Now I wouldn’t wear those necessarily in public, that’s not something I would feel comfortable doing. But there’s also a time where I wouldn’t have even worn that around my own home. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing less clothing.

physically, emotionally, but as I have built this relationship with myself and nourished that relationship, nurtured that relationship, I’m willing to push those boundaries. I’m willing to wear less clothes, A, to stay more comfortable around my own home, and also just to build that relationship with myself and remind myself that it’s okay for me to take up that space, kind of physically take that space up within myself.

And there are some things that I’ve practiced over time, you know, knowing that my body is fat, my body is large, whether I hide my stomach or not, right, whether my stomach outline is visible or not, my arms are fat, whether I cover them or not, my body is literally big enough that people can see it. They might ignore me because of my size, but I’m still visible to them even if they don’t like it. And if they don’t like it…

That is their work to do, not mine. Are there still areas of my body that I won’t show? Absolutely. There are ways in which I will dress because it protects me. It’s a way of protecting myself. I don’t feel comfortable showing certain parts of my body.

But over time I have become more comfortable with pushing those boundaries, my own personal boundaries. I’m more willing to challenge the stereotypes of folks in larger bodies in the summer. I have practiced challenging those stereotypes and I also practice having like backup plans.

know if it’s adjusting again adjusting my expectations adjusting my expectations of maybe an outfit so that I can feel safer. I talked about dressing safely in a previous episode but for example if wearing a summer dress that is short feels a little bit like too much maybe I will pair it with a t -shirt maybe I’ll wear a loose fitting oversized shirt or something over the top so that I feel like I have

And I don’t have to feel as visible even though I am visible. I guess it’s also managing my visibility in a way that feels safe for me on any given day.

Third, survival tip I have for you is to do things that bring you joy, bring you coziness, and bring you happiness.

When we feel uncomfortable it’s so easy to feel like that frustration is never ending. We know that inevitably the weather will cool down at some point. There are things that we can do if we prioritise joy and they will allow us to feel a little bit more like ourselves. Maybe it’s a book that you loved as a teenager.

a nostalgic movie or a TV show or blasting your favourite music. I tend to cycle through re -watching my favourite teen shows that I grew up with. Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill. That is the TV that I grew up with. Some of my favourite nostalgic movies. Like The Labyrinth, 10 Things I Hate About You, Scream. These things just make me really happy. And –

There is comfort in knowing what to expect. There is comfort in knowing how it all ends. Janis Joplin is one of my favourite summertime artists. On a warm rainy day I open the windows, I light some incense and I just crank up the volume and like it just it’s… that is a moment for me. I absolutely love that feeling.

And I’ve really found myself trying to find cosiness during the summer months. It’s really hard sometimes, it can feel really weird to want to be cosy. You know, I can’t necessarily be wearing cosy socks and sweaters or hugging under a blanket. But my favourite season is autumn and I am a big fan of all things spooky. Yes, get ready for spooky season, because in this house it starts in August.

But I added a lot of spooky and dark and autumn decor to my home office. My home office is like my space in our house. And I did that last summer because I really wanted to embrace the season that I love and so that it was present all year round. During the summer months I’ll watch horror movies or spooky TV shows. And this year my family and I are going to host a summer ween. Lighting candles.

And incense it just gives me those cool weather vibes. Those are things that make me feel really cosy. Those are things that make me feel joyful and happy. Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to find those things and consider the ways in which you can bring them into the summer months. And if you’re looking for some inspiration for summer reads, books that you can…

get all cosy with this summer. I have a bonus episode going out on Substack this month with five of my favourite summer reads that also happen to have plus size female main characters. So that is your jam. Make sure you head over to Substack. So my fourth summer survival tip for you is to embrace comfort. Remember that you deserve to be comfortable too.

You get to show as much or as little skin as you feel comfortable with. I encourage you to choose clothing that feels comfortable in hot weather. It maybe also feels safe to dress in.

and choose colours or styles that you could also layer in other seasons. It doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable, it doesn’t have to feel risky. Right, choosing things that are comfortable for you means figuring out what’s uncomfortable as well, right, establishing what is comfortable and what is uncomfortable, creating those boundaries for yourself.

and then embracing what is going to bring you more comfort.

Comfort can also look like proper hydration, getting enough rest, wearing sunscreen. If you’re already uncomfortable, adding sunburn to that is not going to be fun. So I always try to add sunscreen to my morning routine when I know I’m going to be out in the sun and I apply SPF 30 to my pale face all year round.

My fifth and final tip is to start with small steps and be gentle with yourself.

You do not have to do all the things this summer. You get to choose, right? Pick the low -hanging fruit. Take the steps that feels like they’ll make the biggest impact to you. Maybe it’s buying one piece of clothing in a natural material or a loose dress and some anti -friction shorts. Or perhaps it’s practicing gentle nutrition and making sure that you feel nourished this summer.

Maybe it’s simply managing your expectations and honoring what you need throughout the summer months.

For me, last summer it was shorts. I bought a number of pairs of shorts. I have a weird relationship with shorts. To be honest, that relationship is still existing. I don’t know how I feel about them. I’ll wear them, but I don’t love them. They’re not the most comfortable thing for me. I also spent last summer testing out new body care products, something that I’ve embraced throughout the last 12 months. And now I get to share it with you guys.

Now that I feel like I figured out that part, I’m practicing taking up more space, wearing clothing that actually makes me happy and keeps me cooler.

But you get to decide what that looks like for you. Start with small steps. Just pick one thing. Be gentle with yourself.

So there you have it. Maybe these tips were a little surprising, but these are five ways we can survive the summer. These are things I’ve tried and I continue to embrace as we move into summer here. But as the 97 hit song said, trust me on the sunscreen. So finally, I encourage you to check in with yourself. I feel like this is probably the sixth summer survival tip.

But honestly, this tip is good all year round. Check in with yourself. Journal. Sit with your questions or thoughts. Give yourself five minutes to sit quietly. Journaling is a great way of taking time out for yourself and reflecting on your thoughts, feelings and experiences. It can be used as a form of meditation and it can relieve stress, but it doesn’t have to look a certain way.

Personally, I love stationary. It is one of my favourite things in the world. It brings me so much joy. I probably should have mentioned that in my embrace joy tip. Washi tapes, pens, notebooks, I love it all. But not everybody does. Also, it’s not always accessible. So just know that when I talk about journaling, journaling doesn’t have to look a certain way.

I feel like for a lot of us journaling can be super crunchy at times. I know for a long time I struggled with journaling. I felt like it had to look a certain way, I felt like it had to be full of gratitude lists, which is something I just don’t really vibe with. So just find what works for you. But I encourage you to think about the questions I share with you in each episode. And I have three journal prompts for you today to help you navigate this summer.

The first is how do I feel about my summer wardrobe? What do I currently have that I like and that I don’t like?

Second prompt is how can I manage my expectations of the summer? This is a season full of socialising, sunshine and sometimes we inflate our expectations. When our expectations don’t align with what is realistically possible we can end up disappointed or frustrated. So how can I manage my expectations of the summer?

And my third and final prompt for you today is, what did I enjoy doing as a kid on summer break that I rarely do anymore?

I remember the memory of hearing the ice cream truck, so whenever my kid sees the truck and asks, I try to always say yes, within reason. But I try to always say yes, because it feels so nostalgic.

So there you have it friends, five summer survival tips, three journal prompts for you. I hope that you have enjoyed today’s episode and I will see you next time.