Since September last year, I have been on a massive health and fitness journey. It’s not something I’ve spoken about a lot on the blog or on Instagram, but it’s been happening quietly in the background. I’ve been curvy since I hit puberty and most of my late teens were just a massive struggle to force my body into a shape it was never meant to be. One of the greatest things to happen in my life was my discovery of the body positivity movement. Shifting from a mindset of extreme self-loathing to one of acceptance took years. It sounds so simple… this idea that we should all just love ourselves, but when you really don’t like what you see in the mirror, it’s hard.
Of course, one part of being overweight and really hating everything about yourself is that you end up going through this intense cycle of dieting. You try every potion and pill on the market in the hope that at the end of the bottle you’ll find the girl you’ve been longing to become. She never appears and then you start the cycle all over again. I know that if you are reading this and you have been overweight, all of this will sound really familiar. After I stumbled across the body positivity movement, I started reading more. I wanted to believe that there was another option. That I could end this terrible cycle of self-hate and useless dieting. And wow, there was and I did. It was great.
Little by little I started chipping away at the self-loathing and began to really see who I was. And to really embrace who I was. To look in the mirror and feel a sense of pride at the woman staring back at me.
Fast forward a 2 years, I attended a gala dinner for work. I bought an AMAZING dress. I tried it on and took a selfie. I didn’t own a full-length mirror at the time. What I saw in that selfie made me feel amazing. I looked gorgeous. I got my hair and makeup done and went off to the event. A few weeks later I looked at the pictures taken at the event and I did not recognise the woman I knew was me. In my dive into accepting the way I looked and shying off diets, I had built a little bubble for myself. And in this bubble, everything was ok and I was fine and there was nothing wrong with slipping into incredibly unhealthy eating patterns. There was nothing wrong with binging and hiding food and getting up at 2 am to stuff a slab of chocolate into my mouth because that is what my body was telling me it needed.
Looking at those pictures I saw all the damage I had done to my body and I was so ashamed. Not because of how I looked, but because of how badly I treated my body, the only vessel I have to carry me through this life.
I decided I needed a change, I needed to stop and re-evaluate what I wanted, and ultimately, what I wanted was to be fit and healthy and live a long life for my girls. So I made some changes and I’ve lost over 10 kilograms so far. Hooray me.
When I started this process at 110 kilograms, I was a size 44. I was working out in Pick n Pay clothing sweat pants because I could not find any affordable, cute activewear for my size. As a size 44 woman on a massive health and fitness journey, few things infuriated me as much as the lack of options when it came to shopping for plus size activewear.
In South Africa, the average size of most women is 16 or 40. And yet most brands stock sizes that end at XL which usually translates to a size 14 or 38! Yes, you read right. We live in a world where size 12 is considered large. Size 12. To me and my size 44 ass, this seemed ridiculous, by that logic, I was an XXXXL.
All women want workout gear that is well-fitted, functional and my gosh, dare we say, cute, but, for plus size women, this is looking for a needle in a haystack.
So in true Two Babes style, I went on a try-on spree. I hit up my favourite jaunts for plus-size wear and tried my flippen best to find the best in budget activewear. Guys, it was not easy. When I planned this post with Kim, I had planned it to be this big reveal, this “ta-da” style post about how great, affordable plus-size activewear exists and you just haven’t been looking in the right places. The sad truth is, it doesn’t exist. While I managed to find a few really great options, most only leaned towards slightly extended sizes and not a full plus-size size curve. Most of what was available was black and boring. But let’s dive in anyway:
Wow! What a great brand to find. They have a rnage of kids and adults activewear in a lot of really funky colours and prints. They are priced moderately with leggings starting at R220.
Shop here >
Hands down, THE MOST INCLUSIVE SIZING ON THE MARKET. Listen, Nike comes at an insane price point, but the quality is superb, the designs are funky and fun and they have something to suit every taste. Their plus-size curve runs from size 18 to size 26.
Shop here >
The perfect option for apple-shaped bodies. Donna is priced quite high and to be honest, if you were going to splurge on leggings or bras, I would suggest rather going for the Nike option, but (and this is really important) if you are apple-shaped, you cannot go wrong with Donna. Their cuts really favour this body shape and as a pear myself, I always find that things don’t fit quite right. The leggings from Donna are priced between R399 and R699.
Shop here >
MOST RECOMMENDED IN THE DM’s. I have heard so much about Kheper and I finally caved and bought a pair of their tights and let me tell you, they are worth every single cent. Priced at R450 they are by far the best in terms if value and fit. These tights do not move. They sit high in the waist and that’s where they stay. I love mine and out of all the options I looked at, these would be my highest recommendation.
I want to end this post off by saying that I have always been supportive of the body positivity movement, it has done so much for me. I really believe that it is possible to work on yourself and still love yourself. These two processes don’t need to be at odds with each other and if you’re starting a journey, send me a DM. I’d love to encourage you and support you in any way I can. And if you’ve stumbled across some amazing plus size budget activewear, PLEASE TELL US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!