by Charly (Pinecones and Posies)
I have always loved the outdoors and recently started adventuring out more and more around the Lake District. I didn’t grow up here and moved to Cumbria from the South Coast of England 2 years ago and then fell pregnant so my adventuring days were very limited.
Over the last few months I have really ignited my love for being out in nature. Going on hikes, trying cold water swimming for the first time and just spending time outdoors. I have been really enjoying it and I’ve met some amazing people.
Wild warrior women!
However, there is a bit of a dark side to the outdoor community and society in general when it comes to being a plus size person. Doesn’t matter if you are male or female but if you are over a size 16 you are classed as plus size.
Anyone who has a round belly, a big bum, wide hips or just generally on the larger and curvier side are made to feel like they shouldn’t be able to go hiking or swimming or any outdoor activities because of their size. Not because of their fitness levels.
You can be fat and still hike up Scafell Pike, you can be fat and go swimming in a lake or the sea in the middle of winter, you can be fat and still ride a bike down a mountain. You can be fat and still go on adventures!
It doesn’t matter what size or shape you are, you are still able to enjoy the outdoors.
Unfortunately a lot of society disagrees with this and us plus size people are made to feel like we aren’t welcome in the outdoor world, we are judged by how we look first and we must be lying when we say we have hiked up a mountain or even run a marathon. I haven’t experienced any trolling on social media due to my size yet, I am waiting for it though which I shouldn’t be, but I know people who have had to deal with some awful comments about not being allowed to take part in outdoor activists etc due to their weight, body shape and even the way they look. I also get given looks and snide comments have been made about my weight (I am a size 26) while I’ve been out and about. These sort of things used to knock my confidence and hurt my feelings a lot to the point I’d be in tears. Now I shrug them off and try not to take them to heart. I then pity the person who has made them as they obviously have an issue with people breaking the mould.
Photo credit @happyjustwandering
I have experienced, from a young age, bullying and name calling due to my size which left me hating my body and how I looked, well into my 20s. I’m 31 now and I still struggle with body image. Even after I gave birth to my son, 13 months ago, and my body changed. I have struggled to accept how I look. I am on the right path now with accepting my body especially after meeting some amazing and supportive ladies in the outdoor community. My confidence has started to grow and the same for getting out into nature.
I also suffer from anxiety and depression and I find getting out into nature really helps calm me and I find if I haven’t been able to get out for a while my mental health gets really bad again. For me the outdoors is therapy!
So if you are reading this and thinking that it sounds a lot like you and you’ve been feeling the same way. Then here is my message to you.
Don’t put yourself down, you are beautiful inside and out and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, you are not defined by the way you look and don’t let your weight stop you from achieving those goals that you want to achieve.
Start off small and slow and build yourself up to those bigger successes.
I never thought I’d be accepted into the outdoor community and I am more and more each day.
Here’s to being fat and outdoorsy!!
Thanks for reading!
Pinecones and Posies