Z is for Zaftig

Zis for Zaftig. Do you know what zaftig means? I didn’t till I was frantically scouring the internet for words beginning with Z. It actually means, “having a full, rounded figure”. I can relate to that, so out of all the words beginning with Z, that was the one that caught my attention.

Having a full, rounded figure isn’t easy. Well, actually, getting a full, rounded figure is all too easy. It’s one of life’s bitter ironies that you can diet for months, and manage – after being super-virtuous and cutting out all chocolate, cakes, sweets, ice cream, and anything else that makes life worth living – to lose around a stone, only to find, after celebrating this milestone with fish and chips, that you’ve gained eighteen pounds overnight. It’s frighteningly easy to put weight on, but taking it off is a battle that seems endless.


Too fat? Adele

Unfortunately, in today’s society, having or being zaftig (not sure which it is) is frowned upon, unless you’re auditioning for a role in Hairspray. Thin is in. Confusingly, magazines insist that thin isn’t in at all, and that they advocate a healthy weight and want to employ “normal” sized models. Then they publish photographs of female celebrities with a tiny roll of fat round their tummy or a bit of cellulite on their thighs and scream about how these poor women have let themselves go, and inform us that said celebrities are depressed and battling “weight issues”. Good grief.

I’ve battled with my weight ever since I had my first baby. Actually, that’s not strictly true. The battles are few and far between. Mostly I just accept defeat and pretend it doesn’t matter. Occasionally I put down the cake long enough to decide that this thing won’t beat me and manage to lose half a stone or so. Of course, it goes straight back on. Usually, all my efforts earn me is a few bonus pounds. It’s like I’m trying to collect them. Lose seven, gain ten! Yay!

Too thin? Victoria Beckham

Too thin? Victoria Beckham

I suppose over the years I must have lost and regained the same amount of weight over and over again. All my weight-loss attempts have got me is an ever-increasing waist measurement. Maybe I should just have accepted my shape all those years ago and not worried about it. I’d probably have lost all the excess fat if I had.

When I wrote about Eliza in There Must Be An Angel, it was important to me that she wasn’t naturally thin. I wanted her maltesers_single_bag__70839to be a chocaholic who battled with her weight, and knew what it felt like to drink diet drinks alongside a family-sized bag of Maltesers. Eliza joins a slimming club because I think many, many women can relate to that. I certainly can. I’ve been to so many I’ve lost count. Lightweights, the slimming club run by Sophie Crook in Kearton Bay, is a mixture of all the clubs I’ve attended over the years. I well remember starving myself all day before class so that the scales would be kinder, then going home to feast because I had a whole week before the next weigh day! Madness, but I certainly wasn’t the only one.

I can think of several women in the public eye who are “bigger” ladies and look fabulous. Having said that, I ewes_not_fat_ewes_fluffy_photo_plaque-re78ed9b6bfc6441486e3d52c1233acbd_ar56b_8byvr_512have no problem with women who are slim or even thin. My problem is with the pressure put on women to look a certain way. It’s hard enough for “normal” women. Can you imagine the pressure on women in the public eye? Celebrities like Dawn French, Adele, Pauline Quirke and Fern Britton are constantly talked about in terms of their weight loss or gain, as if none of their other amazing achievements count for anything. Dawn and Pauline are brilliant actresses. Adele is a fantastic singer. Fern Britton is a great presenter and best-selling novelist. They are also loving mothers, best friends, partners, daughters, all round good women. Yet for the magazines, what matters is their current weight. Every pound lost and gained is documented. When they’re fat the headlines say they’re struggling, out of control and desperate. When they’re thin they say they’re obsessed, unhealthy and depressed. They can’t win. Who says thin is in? Who says big is best? Whose business is it, anyway? Thin or fat or somewhere in between, if you’re happy and healthy and accepting of your body, you’re beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!


This was my last post for the A to Z Challenge 2015. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts, and thank you very much for dropping by and for the comments you’ve made. I really appreciate it.

Have a great day xxcelebrate-311709_640

14 thoughts on “Z is for Zaftig

  1. Great word to finish on! Unfortunately this obsession with the perfect body never seems to stop. I wish people would stop buying the magazines and adding to it. I’ve really enjoyed your posts during the challenge. Really looking forward to reading more of your posts now the challenge is over 🙂


  2. Thank you so much, Alison.
    It really does get to me. Every magazine cover on the shelves seems obsessed with women’s bodies and how “imperfect” they are. One minute they’re telling you how to get the perfect body of Celebrity X, then the next they’re gleefully informing you that Celebrity X has fallen off the dieting wagon and now has a weight problem. They’re almost as bad with celebrities they deem to be too thin and they can be pretty scathing.
    I don’t like all the “Real women have curves” stuff that goes around social media, as I think that’s just playing into their hands and turning women against each other. Real women do have curves. Real women can also be extremely slender, or somewhere in between. They can be short, tall, fat, thin, shaved and waxed and plucked to within an inch of their lives or hairier than the Yeti. The point is, it’s their bodies and their business and they’re all REAL women! Grrrr!
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting again, Alison. Really appreciate your support over the last month. 🙂


  3. Wonderful last post, Sharon. Makes you think about what’s important and what’s superficial. I’ve been wanting to lose weight, literally all my life! At least since I can remember, even when I was really thin. Now, forty years after adolescence, I just try to be happy with my refection, so I smile 🙂


  4. I gave up chops a long time ago – and all potato i fact, just a teaspoon sized on with each main meal. I eat mainly veg and salad and meat, chicken on the whole, and some cheese and lots of eggs. And loads of fruit. I am insanely healthy (not been ill of about 10 years, not even a cold, despite a depressed immune system) and by these means I have managed to battle the zaftig. Luckily, i quite like veg and sale, and i am allowed chocolate and wine. Seems to work for me. One meal a week whatever I want. ~Liz Congrats on getting to the end! http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com (don’t use Twitter of Blogger links, they don’t work!)


    • Haha, I wondered what you meant about giving up chops! I really don’t like potato in any form. You’d never believe I had Irish ancestry! 🙂 Sounds like you’ve cracked the secret of good health and happiness without stressing about it. So that’s brilliant!


  5. Another wise and wonderful post Sharon. Congratulations on getting to the end of the challenge. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts this month. Now put your feet up and enjoy a bit of a break from blogging xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done on finishing tnhis mammoth blogathon, Sharon. I hope it has earned you new followers and a host of potential readers. Each blog post has been interesting, erudite and well written. I’m not sure I could have stayed the course. Put your feet up and have a well earned rest – and may zaftig never darken your door.


  7. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge Roundup | Rereading Jane Eyre

  8. Congratulations on a brilliant month of blog posts on a wide variety of interesting subjects. I’m zaftig/I’m a zaftig depending, as you say, on which it is and I don’t look at fashion magazines anymore because it’s too depressing! xxx


  9. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge 2015 Final Reflection | Rereading Jane Eyre

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