About the Episode

The body positive rhetoric that shows up at this time of year is failing folks in larger bodies. So in this episode, I’m rewriting the narrative, and sharing 7 ways in which you can prioritise joy and honour your needs, especially during the uncomfortable summer months.

We’ll explore the difference between joy and happiness and some of the ways I struggle with the concept of joy in a larger body. I encourage you to think about what you enjoy about the summer and to focus on those activities, emphasising the importance of getting creative and finding ways to nourish oneself emotionally and mentally.

You’ll also hear me talk about my recent experience watching the film ‘Your Fat Friend’, what I’m working on and the upcoming Summerween sticker sale starting July 1st.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Journal Prompts:

What activities or hobbies make you lose track of time?

What’s a simple pleasure that always brings a smile to your face?

Topics discussed in episode 005


00:00 Introduction and Personal Reflection

01:52 My Thoughts & Feelings After Watching Your Fat Friend Film

10:52 Feeling Like An Imposter in The Anti Diet Space

13:05 What I’m Working On

17:57 Why I’m Prioritising Joy This Summer

22:07 Prioritising Joy As A Fat Person

29:09 What do you like about summer?

33:01 Getting Creative: Creating A Summer Bingo Board or Bucket List

37:26 Host A Summerween

38:34 Making Virtual Plans for Connection

41:25 Reading Plus-Sized Stories for Representation

44:17 Finding Support in Fat Communities

47:21 Practising the Bare Minimum for Self-Care

52:56 Journal Prompts for Reflection


Melanie [she/her] (00:00)
Hello friends, welcome to episode seven of The Culture of It All. I am really excited to sit down and chat with you again today. I feel like I say that every week, but honestly podcasting is my thing. I love doing this. It feels like I’m catching up with friends. It’s just so easy for me to talk about things that I’m passionate about. It’s always been easy for me to do that. It’s never been easy for me to write essays. Really wish back in school they’d had an option that you could just…

talk about what you had learned because I would have probably passed all of my exams with flying colours but instead of having to sit and write about things that I just couldn’t articulate it. So yeah this is why I love podcasting. But we’re continuing our summer series. Now today the summer, the sun is shining and the sun is shining and it’s starting to get a little bit warmer. It still feels like it’s a lot

cooler than it has been the last few years. I know for some of you all, if you are listening from the US, I know that you’re having some really hot weather right now. So hopefully we can continue to share some tips and ways in which you can stay comfortable and cool and just try and find some peace during this hot weather. Today’s episode, we’re going to be looking at seven ideas to prioritize joy and honor your needs.

This is a really fun episode to outline and I’m really excited to get into it with you. So yeah, welcome to episode seven. I wanted to just chat about a couple of things before we get into the episode. So I just watched Your Fat Friend film by Jeanine Finlay. It features Aubrey Gordon. Some of you may have seen it. I had the absolute pleasure and fortunate opportunity.

to watch this film back in February at a local independent cinema. I didn’t really know who Aubrey Gordon was. I had seen people talking about this film. I had heard of Maintenance Phase, her podcast. I knew about Your Frat Friend, but I didn’t really know. Like it was like on my peripheral.

But I didn’t really know anything about her or, you know, how she’d kind of became well known, I guess, in the public eye for what she writes about. And I was like, you know what, I really want to go see this. And I’ve not been to this independent cinema before. So I rang my mum and I was like, let’s go. So we went. There were so many things, so many feelings about going to this film.

It was one of the first times I’ve ever been in a space where I felt really comfortable. And what I mean by that is being in a room full of other folks in larger bodies, being in a room who, where even if there were people who were in smaller bodies, They were there to learn about Aubrey’s journey and this experience. They were there to learn more about what she had been through and

That just filled me with so much happiness and joy. I feel like that was my first experience of fat joy in like a public space. And I sat watching this film and there was so many emotions, right? I resonated with so much of her experiences growing up. I resonated with her passion for swimming and being in water, but yet not doing that now as an adult because it’s just way more hassle than it’s worth.

I resonated with so many of her experiences with her mother in particular of, you know, doing diets together or whatever it may have been. And also, you know, being in a larger body and having to listen to people who are much smaller than you complain about the diets and complain about their bodies. There was so much that I was like, yeah, I’ve experienced this too. And I continue to experience this. And then there was the side of this, for me, at least my…

me watching the film there was also this side of her becoming essentially a public figure, becoming more well known, but going from anonymous to writing a book and so on and she gets doxed in the film. And I’m gonna be honest like this is one of my biggest fears. I am so afraid and I have been so afraid for eight years since I started a business.

online and started creating content, the more I learned and the more I spoke up and the more I tried to be myself, the more I became afraid of what people think. Not because I care what they think, but because people can be really fucking terrible. And that’s been something that I’ve been afraid of for a really long time.

being doxed or being, you know, harassed online and I’ve had so many coaches over the years and just people and I’ve read and I’ve seen and you know, I understand like, you know, you shouldn’t let that one person that will those few voices deter you from doing the thing you really want to do and you know, there’s people out there who need you and I get all that. I absolutely understand that and that’s why I continue to do what I do.

But I’m less afraid now of just making a decision for myself. I’m less afraid to say, if it gets too much, I can just stop. Like, I don’t owe anybody anything and I have to protect myself and my family. And it makes me angry because I’m like, why are people like this? And I know I can’t fix that, but it’s, you know, it’s just, it’s so hard. It’s one of the reasons why I started.

Culture of It All put over on TikTok and then just got blatantly harassed. I did two videos and got so much shit and I was like, do you know what? Maybe I don’t need to be here right now. Maybe this is not the place for me. And I didn’t like that feeling. There was part of me that felt like I was letting them win, but I was also like, this is just too much. I’m doing so many things that feel like they’re new for me and that are very vulnerable.

Putting myself on TikTok and being harassed and have horrible things said to me just isn’t my priority.

So yeah, that’s why I stick on Instagram because so far it’s been really pleasant. It’s been really nice and I’ve really enjoyed engaging with people, chatting with people, seeing this community grow and hearing from y ‘all. But yeah, I don’t think for a long time I didn’t realize that that was what I was afraid of. It’s interesting because…

When I started my business and I started in the health and fitness industry, I had a coach who was also obviously in the health and fitness industry and she was very much adamant that you should respond to every comment. You should, you should, you know, you shouldn’t delete the people who harass you or block them. It’s too much effort. It’s too much time. You haven’t got time for that. You’re building a business. Like that’s a fucking privilege. And I didn’t know that for a really long time. I didn’t realize that that

you know, I thought that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t just have tough skin. I couldn’t just get over it. And it’s like, no, actually this stuff really affects me because this is not just imposter syndrome. This is imposter syndrome reinforced by how people have treated me over the years in the real world. And doing this, recording this podcast, starting this podcast, chatting with you all, this has opened up so many, like,

aha moments for me. I’m like, I can really see things for what they are even more so than I already could. And I’m starting to understand how problematic so much of, especially the business industry that I was a part of, has been. Not just from, you know, being toxic and focusing on making money at all costs, but also the ways in which we coach people. And I’m just like, ugh.

It makes me cringe. So yeah, when I watched your fat friend film, your fat friend film, I can’t say that quickly. When I watched it back in February, it was really, really inspiring and also a real stark reminder of what I was afraid of. And it was just after that that I came up with the name for this show and kind of just put my foot on the gas and started putting everything together and…

developing this and what I wanted it to be. Last weekend I watched the film again. I watched it on Joltz, so it was available online on this independent streaming platform. And I watched it last weekend. I was so intrigued to see how I felt about the same conversations. And, you know, I cried multiple times and found myself kind of nodding along and…

also in between that time, since February, I have listened to all of the episodes of maintenance phase, fully up to date. Actually, I think they’ve released one this week that I haven’t listened to. I’ve…

bought Aubrey’s books I have started reading Aubrey’s books I haven’t finished it yet. But I, yeah, I just, I was kind of like, how did I not listen to this podcast sooner? And I think the funny thing is, a couple of years ago I think I downloaded Maintenance Phase and I started listening to an episode, but I just couldn’t like get on with it. It wasn’t the right thing for me at the time and I think I love that kind of…

I love looking back and seeing that kind of journey of I knew about this thing but two years ago I just wasn’t ready to listen to it. Now I’m laughing along, I think it’s incredible and yeah more conversations just like that. So yeah I just wanted to share that with you. I don’t know what they’re doing next with the film. I know that there are some you know ways in which they’re gonna I think they’re gonna be putting it out again. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend watching the film it’s so good.

And at some point when I actually finish the book, I will be doing a review for Substack about the book as well.

So one of the big takeaways after watching the film, I sat in my bed and I thought…

I’m still playing it a little safe and I know why because I feel like, and I’ve said this to a couple of people, I don’t think I’ve said it here, even though I’ve lived most of my life, majority of my life in a bigger body.

it still feels like I’m new. It feels like I’m new here. And what I mean by that is I feel new in the sense I’m being more vulnerable, I’m really putting myself out there talking about my experiences and my body and obviously there’s only so much I can say. I have a lot more to say and there’s only so much I can do and say in any given day or week. But

I feel like I’m new. I feel like I’m still figuring out where I land in this space. There are things that I really want to continue creating. For example, I want to continue sharing my clothing and because it’s something I’m really passionate about. It’s something that I went to school for and always felt like it was out of reach. And now that I’ve kind of figured out the few places I can shop and that, you know, that feels in itself.

such a privilege that I’m able to find things that I like and I can navigate that. I want to be able to share that with other people. I really love it. It’s a way of me expressing myself and also because I don’t really have any kind of consistent style and I’ve always felt like that’s a bit strange. It’s not, it’s just who I am. So yeah, I really love continuing sharing that. I love

having these conversations with you and talking about the books I’m reading and the representation I find. All that stuff is so much fun. But I also really want to know if there are things that you would love to hear from me about. I plan to do an episode or series of episodes talking about my time as a trainer, as a personal trainer.

So, yeah, I’m thinking about…

What’s next? I’m thinking about what’s coming up in like this in September time, heading into the fall or winter. So the moment I’m working on a few things. I am prepping for summer break. So here in the UK school finishes mid -July. So we have about

five weeks maybe, four or five weeks until school finishes. Yeah, so I’m just prepping for that. I don’t really know what we’re doing. I haven’t got too many plans yet. I’m just hoping that we can minimize the “I’m bored” and I can still work on the podcast. I’m also planning a Summerween sticker sale. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. So you may not even know I have a shop. I have a shop called OutlawCreatives .com.

And I sell stickers and I have been selling them for a couple of years. It’s been a crazy couple of years. It’s been a bit chaotic. I feel like I haven’t really been able to give it the time that I really wanted to. But now with the show and really focusing on talking about fat positivity and body positivity, it just makes so much sense. So, yeah, I have a shop.

over on my website outlawcreatives .com forward slash shop. I sell stickers. The drawings are all done by me. I, it’s funny when I look at the sticker sheets I can really see the progress that I’ve made learning how to use Procreate. But there are a number of sticker sheets and vinyl stickers available on the website. And I decided to do a Summerween sale because first of all, if I haven’t already shared this with you, I love Halloween. I am a spooky bitch.

I love all things spooky. Often when I sit down to draw or do something creative that is basically what I’m inspired by. But it’s like, I was talking just a minute ago about how I don’t have like this consistent aesthetic or style. I’m like Hello Kitty and horror. Like those two things together. Like I love that kind of Hello Kitty vibe. I love that stuff. But I also love horror and gore. And like there’s just this kind of weird…

this weird, the weird relationship between the two. But obviously there may be other folks out there like me. So, you know, if you also love being creative and you’re happy to be creative with like fun things and bright colors, but also black is fun too, and you want to be using lots of spooky things, come and check out my Summerween sale. So the sale is going to run from the 1st to the 31st of July.

I’m going to be putting together some Summerween bundles. I’ve got some stickers that I did last Halloween and I’m going to be putting those into some bundles and I will be sharing all of this over on Instagram. And also if you’re on my email list, you’ll get some information updates there as well. And of course, in July, when I release episodes, I will let you know.

what we have available. So yeah, there’s going to be discounts across all of my vinyl stickers and sticker sheets. And I’m just, I’m really proud of these. I’m really proud of the diversity and inclusivity and body positivity in these stickers. It doesn’t mean there’s not more room for me to develop these and draw different bodies, but it’s been, it’s been a journey. Just trying to figure out the best ways to do it. And also teaching myself how to use Procreate in like the last couple of years.

and I still struggle so much. Anyway, so that is what is happening.

My kid and I are also reading together at the moment and I’ve got a Goosebumps, like one of the original Goosebumps from like 1992. We’re currently reading that and he’s really enjoying it so I think we’re gonna continue reading some like YA spooky books. Hopefully he’s not gonna be terrified. So yeah, we are embracing this and I’m also planning out my summer reads as well so.

planning out what I’m reading over the summer and in July I am gonna be trying to read more spooky books. I found this whole sub -genre of like spooky, like horror romance. I was like, that sounds great. So I’m gonna be reading some of those books as well. And if you want any summer reading recommendations, I have an episode up on the sub stack and I’m also going to be sharing another review.

shortly over on Instagram because I’ve just got an ARC copy of the second book from the Glendale Magic series by Mary Warren. I’ll be talking about her a little bit later on as well so yeah, so much to happen. Anyway, I’ve been talking for like 20 minutes we haven’t even got into the episode. Okay let’s get into it. So I don’t think I have any content warnings for today. again as always though if we are talking about something that makes you feel if it’s triggering, it feels uncomfortable, if it’s something you’re just not ready to listen to,

You can either skip ahead or of course sit this one out. So how did this episode come to be? Seven ideas to prioritise joy and honour your needs. Well it started because I was doing some research for the summer series and I came across a blog which was Seven Tips to Have a Body Positive Summer and I was like alright I’ll have a little look at this and I started reading and as I read the blog…

I was like, this blog isn’t really written for folks with bodies like mine. It’s not written for folks in larger bodies who have spent their lives being told that they’re too big, that they take up too much space, that they expect too much, that they are too much, that they should just be quiet. It’s not written for folks who can’t just wear the bikini or wear the damn shorts because the bikini and the shorts don’t come in a big enough size. And even if they did,

People would openly judge and criticise their body for sport. It’s not written for those of us who worry about sweating and hygiene in the summer as we try not to become a stereotype. The blog, it was written for thin people. It was written for thin, able -bodied, cis women in particular, people who likely already fit in to some or most of society’s beauty standards.

And there are so many real barriers to finding comfort in the hot weather when you’re in a larger body, and they aren’t all just about feeling self -conscious and shorts. So much of the body positive inspiration that we see is a message of trying to like, love yourself, but it’s loving yourself out of very real disadvantages and bypassing a systemic issue. Blogs like this consistently fall short, and these are the narratives that we are basically swimming in.

every day as we head towards the hot weather. And like, let’s not forget that the past 12 months have been exhausting for fat folks, for folks in larger bodies. We have seen a steady rise in conversations about weight loss drugs and weight loss surgeries. And one of the things I’ve learned since 2020 is to practice duality. Two things can be true at times like this.

And I really lean into that because it’s so important to allow ourselves to take a break from the noise without giving these companies a break. You know, and it’s it’s definitely a practice and it’s something that doesn’t always feel. It doesn’t always feel joyful, it doesn’t always feel possible, right? It can feel like a lot of hard work to be managing how we are feeling, giving ourselves a break whilst also having empathy for others and.

not allowing these companies to continue to destroy all of the hard work over the last number of years to try and end weight stigma. To try and fight for fat liberation. So I decided to rewrite, or re -record I guess, the narrative and explore seven ways in which we can prioritise

joy, especially fat joy, and honour our needs this summer. And maybe, just maybe, by prioritising joy and honouring our needs we will get what we need, whether that’s body positivity or something else. Because so much of that blog post was, it was surface level. It was encouraging you to love yourself out of imposter syndrome or love yourself out of…

weight stigma and it’s, you know, it’s just not, it wasn’t doing it. So we’re going to redo it. Okay. So let’s talk about joy. I have a weird relationship with the word joy. My dear friend Ashley Looker at Unique Holistic Happiness. I am all, I can’t get these like words out today. Unique Holistic Happiness. She, if anybody ever says to me, I want to learn about joy, I’d be like,

go speak to my friend Ashley. Because this is something that she is so passionate about, something that she so loves to talk about, loves to teach. Anything about joy that I have learned, I’ve learned from her. So when I think of joy, I think of Ashley. And I really had to dig deep and think about my relationship with joy, because joy is different from happiness.

Happiness is something that measures like how good we feel over a period of time. But joy is about feeling good right now, right? In the moment, joy brings us into the present. And I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time worrying about the future. And especially in the summer, especially in the summer, I, you know, I spent a whole year.

thinking about this summer, I spent the last 12 months getting ready and preparing myself and my body and thinking about this summer, I spent a lot of time worrying about the future. I think a lot of us probably do. And at this point I’ve decided it’s a reality for me. I do have to worry about, or at least think about and plan for the weather or going into a social situation, going on holiday, going out with my kid. I have to pre -plan those things.

And this is something I’ve noticed a lot in the last couple of years. I was going to say, I don’t know why I didn’t used to think about, I didn’t used to think about these things pre 2020. And why all of a sudden now my thoughts are much more consumed about where am I going to park? You know, am I going to be able to get in and out of my car door?

because that has become something I’ve had to battle in recent years. And I think the reality is, four years ago, five years ago, even though I was in a larger body, I was still trying to pursue a smaller body. In the last four or five years, that has ended. I’ve stopped pursuing thinness.

With that I have also learned to accept my body and fight for what I believe my body and other larger bodies deserve.

And I’ve learned so much. And I think what I’ve realized is that there is so much mental gymnastics when you are in a larger body, things that you have to think about.

that I understand why for so many of us we just don’t do those things because it’s too much, it’s too much, it’s too much to think about where am I going to park? Is there going to be enough space? Are there, you know, how many flights of stairs is, you know, do the chairs have arms? Am I going to be able to fit in the booth? You know, all these things we have to think about. And there’s so much more that’s just, you know, a little bit of what I can think about off the top of my head.

And in addition to that.

recognizing that when I’m accepting my body as it is and I’m thinking about all the things that actually limit my joy, that prevent me from being able to experience these things, it’s just mentally exhausting. It’s really, really exhausting. And knowing that this is put in place by thin people really hurts.

really hurts. So I don’t think that when it comes to joy and being in a larger body, I don’t think that we can just say, we need to be present. We need to be in the moment. We can be in the moment once we’ve thought about all the things that we have to think about. I’m going to be really realistic about that. And maybe somebody won’t agree with me. That’s all right. You don’t have to. But from my experience, this is some of the kind of

crunchiness I experience with joy. So that’s just a little bit from my perspective of joy and when it comes to honouring our needs, honestly asking myself what I need has become the most important question in my life. The most important question in my life.

I’m constantly encouraging my 10 year old to ask himself that as well.

The first time I came across this question was a few years ago. I was working with a client and on her marketing we sat down to have a conversation. She, just hired me and I said, so what is it you need from me? And she said, I don’t know. Nobody’s ever asked me that question before. And I recognized in that moment that this was a really powerful question because we often think about what we want.

And we’re often told to think about what we want, what do you want in life? But what we need? It’s so different. It’s so much, to me it’s really gentle. It’s much more personal. I feel like asking yourself what you need is much more vulnerable. I think it’s easy to say I want this, this and this. And we’re taught so often what we’re supposed to want by society, so I feel like it’s really easy to just be like, well, this is what I want.

because that’s what everybody wants, isn’t it? Yes, but what do we actually need? So I started practicing it in relation to my business and I started using it with clients. So every time I sat down with a client to look at their marketing, I’d be like, what do you need from me? Like, I know what I can do, but what do you need from this? And then over time, when I started my intuitive eating coaching or practice, I should say, a couple of years ago, this came up.

And it was like, this kind of smacked me in the face when I was like, I’ve been asking other people what they need, and I’ve even been kind of asking myself what I need, but I haven’t been doing that in relation to food or movement or my feelings. And so it just became a constant practice. It’s not about perfection. Sometimes what I need isn’t possible, right? Sometimes what I need is not possible.

Sometimes I need to just sit in the stuck. I need to sit in the feelings. I need to hug the cactus. I need to just go through it and then maybe I’ll get what I need. And sometimes what I need isn’t something I can give myself. Also really vulnerable if we need to ask someone else what we need. It’s a really simple, but I think emotionally complicated question. So in this episode, I…

want to give you ideas, options, reframes to continue nourishing yourself whilst we fight for fat liberation. The only way we can fight for fat liberation is if we are also nourished. And I don’t just mean like through food, I mean just generally emotionally nourished, mentally nourished. So let’s get into it, let’s get into these seven tips. So the first one is more a question. I want you to think about or ask yourself the question of what…

do you like about the summer? What do you like about the summer? Because even though I complain, and this is how the whole series is born, there are things I really enjoy about this time of year. I really enjoy grilling with my family. I love making a fancy soda. Like, fancy sodas.

I just love it. I don’t really drink like alcohol, so I tend to make lots of like non -alcoholic spritzes and things like that. I just love it. I love taking my kid to the ice cream van, especially after school on a hot day. He’s like, can I get an ice cream? And I’m usually like, yes, you can. Because I want him to have those experiences and those memories. I love going to the cinema and sitting in the air conditioning. It’s so much fun, honestly.

It’s one of my go -to things over the summer because often a lot of the kids films come out in the summer holidays. So probably once a week we will go to the cinema because it’s an opportunity for us to get out of the house and do something together and it’s air -conditioned and we can sit and we can have ice cream or we can have a soda or whatever it is we want and we can be in the cool air -conditioned cinema and I really enjoy that and it’s for me it’s also about challenging.

some of the ways in which I was brought up because I think I shared this in another episode, there was so much pressure to be outside, to be doing things. And like that’s all well and good, but when it’s really hot, I don’t want to be outside doing things. I would quite happily watch a movie and that’s fine. Another thing I really enjoy doing is having water fights in our garden. I remember the first time I ever kind of encouraged Greyson to have a water fight, he…

He was quite young. I think he was like three or four. He was soaked. He just thought this was the best thing ever. He loved it. So I really love that we’re both a bit of a water baby. So that’s really fun. Paddling pools. I love just getting a little paddling pool and like putting some water in and just sitting around the edge and dipping my feet in. I love it. One of the other things I love that I have no control over is thunderstorms and the smell of rain on a hot day. I’ve talked about this I think on the show.

of my favorite things is when it’s like cloudy but it’s hot and then it’s gonna rain, you can just smell it. And I open the windows and I put on some Janis Joplin, it doesn’t have to be Janis Joplin, but that’s my kind of, that’s my memory, and like some incense, it’s just, it’s heaven. It’s also not because it’s hot and sticky but it’s also really lovely. I love listening to the rain, it’s one of my favorite like ASMR sounds. So yeah, ask yourself what…

do you like about the summer? One of the really, I think a lot of the common things that come up is like going to the beach. I love the water. I don’t like the beach only because it tends to be really busy. That’s… here I live quite near the coast. I just, I don’t utilize it enough. Maybe I will this summer. Maybe I should put this on my bucket list, which I’m gonna get to shortly. But yeah, maybe that should go on my my Bingo board bucket list. So the second tip is to get creative.

whatever that means to you, get creative can be a really wonderful way to prioritize joy. I believe all of us are artists. I don’t think it has to look a certain way. I think we can create in whichever way we want. Yesterday I sat down with some watercolors

because I was planning out my bingo board bucket list. This is something that I’ve done in the past with my kid when he was younger and I wanted to do it again. I wanted to do one with him, but I wanted to also do one just for me.

something that really focused on things that would help me to prioritize my comfort and joy and reduce my anxiety, right? Creativity really helps me to reduce anxiety, feel less stressed. It’s one of those things I can lose time in, right? I can lose plenty of time doing. And it really helps me to embrace my inner child because…

I’ve always been very creative and I’ve always loved art and drawing. But there are also many times that I’ve not felt good enough and I’ve had imposter syndrome. I experienced that growing up and to the point I just stopped doing it. And I really took a lot of time to get back to a place where I felt comfortable drawing and creating. So I’m creating a summer bingo board and a summer bucket list.

And I’m doing this with the intention of both creating experiences and memories on my own and also with my family, and also doing some things that bring me joy. It’s kind of like a reminder for me to do the things that I love in the summer, right? From that first, that first tip, the things I actually do enjoy, it’s about remembering that there are things that I like.

and things that I can do and whilst I can, don’t have to do them all the time or every day or every week, but I can, I can embrace those pieces of, of summer. So some of the things that are going to be going on mine, water fight definitely. I think I’m going to buy a paddling pool, just a very small one for us to have in the gardens. And I want to sit out a bit more in the summer this year. We didn’t sit out at all last year. so I want to do that a bit more, sit out in our garden because we have a nice garden.

And so I want to sit out there. I also want to make fancy drinks, fancy sodas, experiment with that. I also want to learn some new recipes, a couple of recipes. I’d like to put together some nice salads. I really, really love a good salad and I love a lot of flavor. So I really want to find some salad recipes that aren’t really like boring. And also maybe like some sweet recipes, something that me and my kid can do together.

maybe some kind of cookies or something like that. There’s like definitely some cooking and baking and things like that on the agenda. And you know, maybe I’ll maybe I’ll add go to the beach. I will make sure I take pictures to share with you as well. But yeah, maybe I’m maybe I’m thinking about doing that now. But I really want to just encourage you to get creative.

that means whatever it can mean to you. Maybe for you that is writing a list inside of your journal, I’m going to be doing it in my bullet journal and I’m going to do just use stickers and washi tapes because

the thought of having to try and come up with some ideas right now to paint or draw is just, it’s just too much. I don’t have the mental energy for it. So I’m like, you know what, I already have so much washi tape and stickers and definitely summer themed ones. Lots of sunflowers is probably going to be the theme. I’m going to share it with you over on Instagram and I’ll put it over on sub stack and yeah, link to it. And also I’m going to, I’ve been putting together one in Canva so that if you want something that you can just like colour in then –

got you, I’m gonna put that on there as well, link to it, sub stack and via email over in the show notes so you can download a template as it were to create your own because yeah sometimes the creative part is a little bit overwhelming but at least with this you can still have fun with stickers and colours if that’s what you want to do or leave a blank whatever floats your boat. But there you are.

So the third one that I’m going to be doing, a way that we can prioritize joy, as I said, doing things you love is really important. Throwing a Summerween. As I said, I am preparing for Summerween is on my bucket list for the summer, our first ever one. I am embracing the spookiness this July. I’m picking out books with spooky themes and spooky vibes. I’m going to try and watch one new horror movie every week. And then I’m ending the month of July with a family Summerween.

I’ve been saving, I’ve seen lots of videos on TikTok and I’ve been saving them to kind of come back to and think about what we’re gonna make. I think we’re gonna make ghost shaped pizzas. I don’t even, I haven’t even thought about how that’s gonna happen, but that’s the possibility. I’m also thinking about maybe making some cupcakes, like the ones that have like the chocolate ones with the like ground up or like crumbs. That’s the word I’m looking for. And the gummy worms, I’m thinking about something like that. And as I said, watching a couple of kid appropriate spooky films.

So yeah, that’s the way I’m prioritizing joy is throwing a Summerween, embracing my favorite season and yeah, maybe we’ll even get some Halloween decorations out. Who knows?

Another way we can prioritise joy is making virtual plans. This is something that was really common for me even before COVID because having an online business, I used to use Zoom all the time, I’d have like virtual coffee chats and it was really fun because I could connect with people all over the world and so making virtual plans is a really

nice way to stay in the comfort of your own home, but still maybe hang out with friends or family or whomever it might be. And you know, you can have a movie night or dinner or drinks or a dance party or you could read together. I probably do two or three maybe, virtual kind of hang out each month with friends.

a couple of us just catch up every so often and we also chat via Voxer in between so we’ll kind of just share any updates what’s going on in our world because my friends mostly live in the US. So we’re thousands of miles apart. some of most actually I haven’t met any of them. That’s what I was gonna say. Most of us haven’t met. None of us have met. I haven’t met any of these people in real life but they still are considered to be very close friends and every so often I will get creative.

and we’ll kind of go back and forth, maybe it’s like pen paling, that’s always really fun. But yeah, we will do little like virtual hangouts, we’ll make tea, we’ll make coffee, we’ll just chat, update each other. We get into like some really random conversations as well, but it’s so much fun. And I really, really love being able to stay in touch with people, even if it’s virtually, that’s something that I really enjoy. And yeah, I think it’s a really nice way to be able to…

stay connected, right? We did it before and I know for some people having that human interaction is really important. For me, as I said, most of my friends are not in this country, so it’s just easier for us to, and you know, possible for us to have these virtual plans, virtual chats, virtual hangouts.

And it was really common, especially in online business, to do like open office hours or these kind of group settings where you kind of all come together. So those can be really, really fun. That’s something I hope to develop in, you know, in a community here as well is having kind of online times we can come together. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but yeah, stay tuned. The next thing is reading plus those stories. I feel like this has come up a lot.

I was like should I add this again? And I was like yes I should because representation matters and reading stories with plus -sized characters just fills me with so much joy. Fills me with so much joy. Especially when those characters get happy after afters. I’m really looking for more stories where we also have plus -sized male characters. That doesn’t seem to be a common

common theme in these stories. These are often – and I understand why to some extent, but if I was going to write a plus size story I think I’d make both characters plus size. I really would. And you know, I don’t know if anybody would read it, but I’d also think a lot more about the words I use to describe, especially like, her body. And I think about it from my point of view because I think I’ve said this, I shared it recently on Instagram.

I get really frustrated when authors will describe a character’s plus size and there’s a really big focus on the size of her body, but then there’s these really contradicting descriptors where I’m like, this person isn’t plus size, like they don’t like their body, right? We all experience body image issues, but this person isn’t plus size. So yeah, I really, I think about that a lot. I think about it all the time. It like lives rent free in my mind. If I was to write a book.

This is what I’d write. But yeah, reading Plus High Size just, it makes me really happy. And one of the ways we can do this, again, like a virtual fun thing you can do, is doing a buddy read. These can be so much fun. So no matter the genre, right, you can do a buddy read with somebody.

And the app Storygraph, it allows you to track both you and your buddies reading and you can update where you’re at in the book. And so you could ask each other questions or share thoughts, but the app is designed so that it doesn’t spoil the book for the other person. So the other person hasn’t read that part yet, it won’t spoil it for them. And then when they get to that point, they can then like also read that question or that thought.

So, yeah, I’m all about having buddy reads and I think it’s so much fun.

especially if you’ve got a friend who’s into similar genres as you, or if you both want to read something completely different.

And also you can follow me on Goodreads if you would like to see what I’m reading this summer, if you would like to look at how I categorise my books.

My never -ending TBR list I will link to my Goodreads over in the show notes as well. And I will also link to some of the authors that I frequently read and recommend who also write plus size stories and do it such such a good job of it. So another way we can prioritize joy is finding support and fat community.

Something I think about a lot, right? Finding support in a fat community. I have so many people that I’m connected with online. I really, I have a vision, a dream that I really want to create that community in person. It’s not something I quite know how to do just yet. I don’t know if I’m ready, but it’s something I really want to develop locally where I live because I know I can’t be the only one.

And I keep coming back to Full Circle when I went to see the Your Frat Friend film. And I was like, I’ve never been in a space where there’s this many people in larger bodies all at one time. And it’s incredible feeling. I haven’t spoken to anyone. It just feels incredible to be with you all. We’re all here for the same reason. So that is something I think about a lot and I want to develop. But in the meantime…

You know, finding support and a fat community online is so, so important. there are other podcasts. There are so many other anti -diets podcasts. Here’s a few of them. I will link to them again. Satisfaction Factor with Sadie and Naomi, Fat Joy with Sophia Apostol Body Grievers Club by Bri Campos, Fats on Film from Hannah Ogilvie, Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith Those are just a few of the podcasts that.

I’m subscribed to, that I listen to on a regular basis, and some of the people that I love to also learn from online. If there are podcasts that I haven’t mentioned that you also love, please feel free to share them with me. I would love to – I’m always looking to add more anti -diet podcasts, more anti -diet creators

There’s also other ways we can find these communities. I’m actually in a plus -size community on Reddit. I kind of came across that by accident when I was researching for the show. I just look to see what people are asking, what conversations are happening.

And my experience so far is that the moderators do a very, very good job of trying to manage comments. They try to manage any negativity or hate comments. They’re very, very good at kind of the way in which they have.

moderated that, so it’s really positive as well. Patreon, right? There are so many communities over on Patreon that we can be a part of and connect with. One of my favourite people, Lindley Ashline, she has a Blanket Fort community over on Patreon. And so, you know, there are different communities and groups within that where you can connect with other folks in larger bodies. And also, you know, over on Substack.

I’m over there and there are a number of other creators who also write and create over on Substack, sharing blogs, podcast episodes, videos, all sorts of things. I’m still learning to get to grips with Substack. It’s something that I’m still trying to figure out, but I really, really enjoy being over there. My final tip for you is to practice the bare minimum.

I’m making a face, you can’t see me. I’m sharing this with you because I know how powerful it is, but just know it’s something that I’m also trying to practice. Practicing, the bare minimum, is, for my ego, it’s so hard and you may find it the same. What do I mean by this? So this kind of came up with my coach a couple of months ago. One of the things that I have continued,

To… I say struggle, I don’t really feel like that’s the right way of describing it. Trying to navigate movement, right, in my larger body as it is right now, coming from a personal training background has been really really tough. Really really tough. And it’s like I have all this information but that makes it harder. Right, I have all this knowledge but that makes it even harder. It makes it even more complicated. It’s…

holds me back at times. I know what I enjoy doing, but it’s like a certain set of parameters and circumstances that are pretty much impossible for me to set because I don’t have the funds to do that, I don’t have the space to do that. So it’s kind of trying to figure out what, you know, what I can negotiate with myself. And a conversation that came up for us was what is the bare minimum? And I was like, hmm.

I don’t know. And it was about walking because I kept going for these walks and then there was just like so much going on in my head that I was just exhausted by the time I get back mentally and physically.

And she said to me, what’s the bare minimum? Like, what’s the bare minimum that you could do? And so I started walking to the end of my road and back. My ego had to sit out during that time because it was really, really difficult for me to just navigate the fact that I was doing the bare minimum. Because there were so many negative thoughts that came up for me. And I kept doing it. And I kept recognising that I am…

still doing something and even if I didn’t want to do anything that’s also okay. Like I don’t owe anybody this but I have these physical goals I wanted to be able to focus on, you know, these physical intentions I guess that I wanted to be able to focus on and doing the bare minimum.

would be enough.

Yeah, it was, it was really interesting experiencing this. And even now, you know, one of those, one of those pieces of movement that I love is swimming. And so as I’ve shared over here on the show that we started doing a family swim, but we’re doing it every other week. And honestly, I would rather, I’m really loving doing it.

But I also have said to myself, but if it was every week, maybe I wouldn’t love it as much. You know, maybe anticipation of doing it every other week is actually what I need to feel excited and look forward to it. If it was every week, maybe I’d be starting to be like, here we go again. You know? So it can be really hard to do the bare minimum. It can be really hard to slow down when you’re in a larger body because there’s a lot of stigma.

associated with that. There’s a lot of stigma and negative stereotypes associated with being slower, like physically slower.

But I often think about this because I think I live a pretty slow life and I’ve thought about what does slow living mean when you’re in a larger body?

Because to be able to live a slow life, first of all, is an absolute privilege. And also when there are so many negative stereotypes and there is so much stigma around being.

in a larger body and we think about it as we’re lazy or there’s something wrong with us, which is just not true.

And so I actively try to challenge those stereotypes. I try to challenge that for myself, looking at what the bare minimum is, being okay with it.

And funny enough, I had a conversation with someone on Instagram recently, it was conversation with Bri from Body Image with Bri. She was talking about movement and what she was prioritizing. And she said to me, you know, if you prioritize joy and rest, I guarantee you’re still moving. And it really got me thinking because I think I’m pretty good at prioritizing joy and rest. But I think it’s only on paper.

I think sometimes I really really struggle to prioritize joy and rest because as I said before, for me prioritizing joy isn’t as simple as just living in the moment. There’s too many things to think about. So yeah, practicing the bare minimum.

It could bring us joy. It might be exactly what you need.

so much to think about, right? So as always, I do have a couple of journal prompts to end today’s episode with you. Today was a long one. We have – I’m looking at the time and it’s like over an hour. But I’ve got a couple of journal prompts before I sign off. The first one is –

What activities or hobbies make you lose track of time?

What activities or hobbies make you lose track of time?

Think about the things that the activities, the hobbies do that for you because there’s a good chance those things will bring you joy. There’s a good chance that those could be the bare minimum. Those could be the solution when you ask yourself what you need and you’re not sure.

Practicing those activities or hobbies might be the thing you actually need in that moment.

The second journal prompt is what is a simple pleasure that always brings a smile to your face?

What is a simple pleasure that always brings a smile to your face?

I would love to know. Please feel free to come and share those with me over on Instagram. I’m sitting here smiling right now. I’m like, I’m podcasting. Podcasting is something that really makes me smile. I really, really do enjoy it. Other things make me smile? Reading. I love doing that. A lot of things actually I mentioned earlier on in the episode. Water fights, being in swimming. Being in swimming? Being in a pool. Swimming.

Those things bring me a lot of joy. They make me smile. So yeah, have a think about it. Feel free to share it with me. If you have any questions about today’s episode, by all means, please come over to Instagram and ask. And yeah, I will see you next time for episode eight and carrying on this wonderful journey in our summer series. See you next time, friends.