‘I have the biggest legs in my family’: Asian woman bullied for having ‘fat’ pins for years reveals her community’s strict beauty standards and obsession with being skinny – and how she found self-love after refusing to wear skirts
- Lisa Dieu, 28, from Sydney’s west has revealed how she learned to love herself
- She hated her body because she didn’t fit within ‘community beauty standards’
- She was bullied throughout school, in her relationships and in the community
A young woman has revealed how she has finally come to terms with her strong thighs and quads after feeling ashamed for how she looked for over 24 years.
Lisa Dieu from Sydney’s western suburbs never fit the mould of her community’s ‘acceptable beauty standards’.
But she was also cruelly taunted at school and found herself surrounded by people who would belittle her daily about her body.
‘There is a beauty ideal within the Asian community framed around being skinny,’ she said.
Lisa Dieu from Sydney’s western suburbs never fit the mould of her community’s ‘acceptable beauty standards’
She has finally come to terms with her strong thighs and quads after feeling ashamed for how she looked for over 24 years.
‘I have the biggest legs in my family, so I didn’t fit in, and some people made me feel bad about working out so I wasn’t fat – but I wasn’t fit,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
The body shaming first started when she was young and by the time she got to high school she was an easy target and knew, all too well, how nasty teenagers could be.
‘It sounds messed up but I have been insecure since I was a kid, and when I was a teenager I decided not to wear skirts or shorts because I hated my legs so much,’ she said.
At her first job, as a retail assistant, her boss told her if she had skinny legs ‘it would be better’.
Her friends even criticised her legs, and told her not to work out because they would get bigger.
But she has managed to break free from the decades of cruel taunts, from her self-loathing and her discomfort showing off her legs.
And has worked hard on embracing her body and learning how to love herself.
She now works as a fitness trainer, is a bodybuilder and has released her own active wear label to encourage women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their bodies and lead an active lifestyle.
‘I have large legs but a small waist so I found most of the active wear I bought would gape at the waist,’ she said.
Now she is engaged to Garry, a man who loves her and encourages her to embrace her body
WHAT ARE LISA’S TOP SELF LOVE TIPS FOR OTHER WOMEN?
It took Lisa over 20 years to learn to love herself, she doesn’t want other women to have to go through the same thing.
Here are her top tips for fostering self love.
1 – Healthy eating – The food you fuel yourself with can have a huge impact on how you feel each day
2 – Practicing mindfulness – Putting aside time each day to improve your mental health is key
3 – Happy time – Making time to do things which make you happy is important – for Lisa that’s pole dancing, climbing and photography
4 – Exercise – This helps to release happy hormones into the body
5 – Positive self talk – Blocking out the negative voices is important
6 – Rewarding yourself – When you kick goals rewards are a great way to keep going.Lisa rewards herself with new gym wear, eating out and guilt-free Netflix
She has released a range of workout wear which suits ‘different’ body shapes – so all women can feel comfortable in the gym
‘I wanted to be able to wear something I could feel comfortable in, I wanted something that was flattering on the glutes – I wanted to embrace my curves,’ she said.
She spent most of her life avoiding the gym because she didn’t feel like she belonged there – but that is where she ended up finding her biggest supporters and her self-confidence.
At first she didn’t believe the compliments they gave her, especially when they were about her legs.
‘I thought they were just being nice, that they didn’t mean it. But women will come up to me and ask how I built my legs up,’ she said.
She just has to laugh and tell them she was born with big legs – something she can now be proud of.
‘The first thing my current partner noticed about me were my legs, he loves them,’ she said.
Her confidence has exploded – and since joining the gym she has found a community who accepts her and makes her feel beautiful despite her body shape
WHAT IS QUADDESS APPAREL?
Quaddess Apparel is the name of Lisa’s workout wear label.
Every piece is available to size 16 and larger sizes are available in some styles.
Prices for shorts start from $45.
Leggings start from $60.
Tops start from $50.
The most important thing Lisa has learned so far is how important it is to have a good relationship with your own body.
‘Even when I was on my fitness journey and meeting goals I wasn’t happy until I loved myself,’ she said.
‘I am now on my off season which means I am five or six kilos heavier than when I am on stage and I still love my body,’ she said.
She has been in body building for five years now, and won trophies for her physique.
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