ENTERTAINMENT

Yes, be big and beautiful, but I know the costs that will come later


Think of this as a letter from your future self, written with love and empathy, not judgment, but containing important warnings that you hope you will be aware of that relate to your physical and emotional health.

When I see pictures of you and read what you have to say about body confidence – a tall girl in a world where the Holy Grail stays thin – it's like going back two decades and my younger one, too rediscover vivid self.

I was proud of my curves back then, too. And don't get me wrong. Unlike the hideous fat shamers that have come out of the woodworks to hurl vicious abuse at you, I find your hourglass figure – luscious hips and bust with a slim waist – really gorgeous.

Honey is pictured above. When I see pictures of you and read what you have to say about body confidence – a tall girl in a world where the Holy Grail stays thin – it's like going back two decades and my younger one, as well Rediscovering the lively self, writes journalist Alice Dogruyol

In fact, looking at pictures of you in bikinis posted on Instagram, in stark contrast to some of the cruel commenters, I don't see a "little pig" but a beautiful, rubenish young woman with the confidence to defy mending trends with two fingers on the haters.

I read that you are a size 18 while at your age I was a slightly slimmer size 16. However, the weight can really increase as you get older, like it happened to me.

In fact, even thin minnies sometimes fall victim to the dreaded spread of the Middle Ages. It's also a lot harder to lose. So if you carry on as you are, you will likely get taller.

I read that you are a size 18 while at your age I was a slightly slimmer size 16. However, weight can really increase with age, as it happened to me, writes Alice Dogruyol pictured above after losing 5½

I read that you are a size 18 while at your age I was a slightly slimmer size 16. However, weight can really increase with age, as it happened to me, writes Alice Dogruyol pictured above after losing 5½

I agree with you that diets can be toxic, but there is also plenty of new scientific advice out there that has really helped me. Strategies like intermittent fasting have worked wonders.

On my heaviest two and a half years ago, I weighed 20st 7lb, was 22-24 tall, and had a body mass index (BMI) of 43.5, which put me in the very obese category.

After I was 40, tests also showed that both my cholesterol and blood sugar were at the top of the normal range and would get dangerously high without diet changes and significant weight loss.

This would increase my risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which has been linked to a much higher death rate from Covid-19. Terrifyingly, about a third of those who lost their lives to coronavirus were diabetic.

Likewise, a blood analysis using a C-reactive protein (CRP) test showed that my inflammation levels were too high, which significantly increased my risk of developing coronary artery disease and thus a heart attack.

It's all scary to face a woman until she is middle-aged. But the wake-up call that eventually triggered my drastic dietary change – throwing away cakes and cookies, pizza and pasta – came six months after my 40th birthday.

For as long as I can remember, my biggest goal in life was to become a mother – I had three miscarriages in my late 30s – and when a fertility doctor told me that if I did mine drastically, my chances of a successful pregnancy would be vastly improved would reduce BMI, finally I sat up and listened.

The thought that being overweight combined with my relatively advanced age could deprive me of the chance to have a family gave me all the impetus I needed.

The irony of having learned all my life that I had "childbearing hips" (which, of course, is not a predictor of success in terms of motherhood) has not been lost.

I have since been on a strict diet – cutting out all carbs, sugar, and alcohol – and losing 5st 7lb.

I would like to lose a few more stones. And while on the 13th I am still considered heavy by many people's standards, I think carrying a baby would be good weight for my 5-foot-9-inch frame.

Despite the tremendous incentive I must have to be successful, it wasn't easy.

It's hard to imagine at your age – I found it easy to lose a few pounds in my early 20s – but as you get older and your metabolism slows down, losing weight takes serious willpower.

I wish I could go back to my early 20s when it was easier for the body to burn fat and adopt the healthy eating habits that I now have.

Calorie Conflict: Honey, 23, criticized her parents for asking her to lose weight as a child, the Mail reported above

Calorie Conflict: Honey, 23, criticized her parents for asking her to lose weight as a child, the Mail reported above

I'm 43 years old and have five tiny embryos – my eggs were extracted and fertilized by my partner's sperm in six procedures last year – that have been stored in liquid nitrogen in a fertility clinic tank, waiting for the optimal time to be transferred to my uterus .

Given my age and the fact that I will still be clinically overweight, I intend to have only one embryo implanted at a time – multiple births would put too much strain on my body – in the hope that one or two babies will become babies.

I am painfully aware that if I hadn't had to lose so much weight, this whole process could have started two years ago, and my partner and I could have a family now.

And obesity has also created physical problems that others my age haven't bothered with.

I know that if I'm not in better shape in my 40s and can't anymore, I'll have big problems in another 20 years because everything from my back and joints to my vital organs is put under additional strain.

Those health fears are a far cry from a decade ago when I was the figurehead for plus size women like you are today.

In 2009, I was Curvy Girl for Marie Claire magazine, giving advice on how to dress for your body shape. While there is a lot more choice in fashion now, it still takes more time and effort to perfect your style if you are oversized.

After that, I had a regular column in that paper called "Big Girl In A Skinny World" sharing my concerns about finding sarongs big enough to fit my girth and the challenge for tall girls like us to balance high heels on five inches.

Little did I know then, at the age of 32, that I would be winning another six and a half stones in the next ten years.

However, to never miss an opportunity, I started a company, Beauty In Curves, selling jeans I designed that secretly sculpt your figure and make you look at least one size smaller.

I think you'll agree that even women like us who appreciate the fuller figure will toast it, although alcohol is one of the things I cut out when I started my "baby formula" in early 2018.

While glad to be able to shrink – I'm back to size 18 – I loathe fat shamers and would never judge a person to be overweight.

When I look at a fat person, I think, "Oh my god, you must have been through stress or grief in your life to be this big."

I know that, like me – and possibly you – they consumed food like a drug to feel better about themselves.

I started eating when I was ten to cope with my beloved maternal grandmother's death from cancer.

Grandma spent much of her time in our family home in south west London and was my favorite person in the world. We were all upset when she died. It was in this year that I discovered comfort food.

I crept downstairs in the middle of the night while everyone else was sound asleep and made myself a hot sandwich with honey. It gave me a moment's relief from my deep sadness.

Over the years, when the stresses of life – exams, breakups, financial pressures, family problems – got their heads straight, I turned to food as the perfect antidepressant.

Neither my sisters, my mother, nor my father ever had a problem with their weight. So my parents, like yours, were at the end of their wits and tried everything – including enrolling in Weigh Watchers when I was 14, just like yours – to support me, which was often very wrong.

If I got a second helping of food at dinner they would say, "I don't think you really need this."

Mom even bought a little pig with a sensor that she attached to the feed cabinet so the pig would snort when opened, hoping to shame me before snacking.

Extreme pride: Alice on vacation at the age of 34. Over the years, when the stresses of life - exams, breakups, financial pressures, family problems - got their heads straight, I turned to food as the perfect antidepressant

Extreme pride: Alice on vacation at the age of 34. Over the years, when the stresses of life – exams, breakups, financial pressures, family problems – got their heads straight, I turned to food as the perfect antidepressant

As you know, these tactics don't work. In fact, they make matters worse – I would never have a cookie or two if I could polish off a whole packet.

I hear that your mother, film writer Jane Goldman, whose gorgeous Jessica Rabbit character I was aiming for in my early twenties, now feels guilty about these approaches.

I don't know about you, but to avoid confrontation, I secretly began to eat, which made my relationship with food worse.

It was only with the help of therapist Marisa Peer and the Hoffman Process, a week-long residential course that consisted of eight hours of therapy per day, that I began to deal with the underlying grief and stress that made me overeat in my late 30s .

Up until that point, like you, I was too busy living my life to the fullest to think about my size – in my early 30s, I started my own PR firm selling my personal jeans brand for curvy women.

I've had the time of my life From whitewater rafting on the Zambezi to living with clients in Las Vegas, nothing was hindering my weight.

After nursing a broken heart when a relationship with a man ended at the age of 30, I fell in love again with a musician who has been my partner for seven years.

I hope you too are enjoying your wonderful youth and one day you will find someone who loves you for who you are, curves and everything.

But please don't take the risk with your health and fertility that I did.

In addition to worrying about becoming a mother and the long-term damage I've done to my joints and organs, I currently spend too much time Googling "body lifts," a process by which the terrible sagging skin that is lost is eliminated so much weight is inevitably left behind.

Your skin is more elastic at your age – and now if you hit a healthy BMI, it is unlikely that you have all that excess skin.

However, I know that we live in an obese environment – temptation is everywhere.

From the moment you leave the house, like me, you're sure to be faced with sugary, high-carbon snacks – from Starbucks to Pret to WH Smith. . . Who can resist those £ 1 candy bars on the counter?

Even now, when I go to a grocery store to pick up my healthy fruits and vegetables, it's a struggle to wield the glove made from chocolate-coated peanuts and donuts. I know you have suffered from trolls who posted ugly comments under your pictures and then sent you personal messages asking you.

You point out that these men would be embarrassed to publicly admit that they are attracted to you, and I think you are probably right.

When I was about your age, I dated a man for a couple of weeks who realized how tall I was – a size 18. He was an actor so body image was important to him and I wasn't surprised when he was dropped me for a week much slimmer girl.

But the other men I've dated or had serious relationships with loved me and my body.

I've never been offended by a friend and wouldn't have tolerated it for a second – and judging from your attitude, I very much doubt you would, too.

It's good. But please don't let your role as an ambassador for plus size women blind you, like I did, to the very real health risks you are taking.

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