Why I've felt ashamed to write an update about my health story | Nikki Parkinson | Hashimotos | Nike mannequin

Why I’ve felt ashamed to write an update about my health story

Nikki ParkinsonHealth 27 Comments

Editor’s note: This post is not meant as medical advice – please see your health care professional/s and work together on a plan that works for you. If you’re new to the blog then you can read the archive of these posts. I first wrote about my Hashimotos health story back in 2013, when I had a major mental shift in the way I approached my health.

Oh, MY, I’ve been sitting on this post for a very long time. More than a year, in fact. And I feel I need to explain myself. 

I haven’t given you an update on my health story because I’ve felt that I’ve somehow failed. And do you know why I’ve felt I’ve somehow failed? Because despite being committed to regular exercise and eating well, my size has not changed, ie I haven’t lost any weight.

Now, I don’t know my actual weight because I don’t weigh myself. But I do have a wardrobe of clothes that tell me I’m the same size as two years ago. And this, THIS, feels like I’ve somehow failed.

It’s the spiral I’ve felt my entire life, from chubby child to the teenager with “puppy fat”, to the adult who could just never be smaller than a size 14. It’s like I’ve never been enough; that no matter what I do in terms of exercise and eating healthily, that stupid negative self-talk wins over any positive steps I undertake.

For goodness sake, I’m 52. ENOUGH with the negative. Apart from having Hashimotos, every other health marker gets a tick of approval. I am healthy. I exercise five times a week. I eat whole foods that we cook at home. Yes, I love my wine but it doesn’t rule my week.

But the sadly and triggeringly, the negative follows me and so many other women. 

Nike plus-size mannequin | health story

This week I was so happy to see that Nike was using plus-size mannequins in their in-store displays (as an FYI we’ve used a plus-size mannequin since we started our online store four years ago!) … but that happiness was short lived. A particularly nasty, short-sighted, fat-shaming journalist wrote an opinion piece slamming Nike for encouraging obesity. And if that wasn’t enough, in true Internet fashion, it was “stacks on” in the comments … on that article and in social media. 

All the negative stuff that has been in my head my whole life was thrown back in my face.

It hurt for a minute but then I thought f%&k that.

I am good enough to wear activewear.

I am good enough to wear activewear and exercise.

I am good enough to run.


If you needed to hear this today, then please really HEAR it. You ARE enough. You CAN wear activewear. You CAN do as much or as little as you want in that activewear. Your size does not represent success or failure and it definitely does not define your health.

Why I've felt ashamed to write an update about my health story | Nikki Parkinson | Hashimotos | Nike mannequin

Me ready for an early-morning session at Body Smart where all all sizes, shapes and ages are welcomed.

View this post on Instagram

I KNOW. Shock horror. It's a video of a size 14, 52-year-old at the gym exercising. Take that every negative, shameful, hurtful comment that has been doing the rounds of media and social media this week following the forward-thinking move of @nike to include a plus-size mannequin in its store displays. I can only imagine what the fat-shaming comments are doing to young girls and women. They're certainly far from motivating.⠀ ⠀ You know what is motivating? Seeing women of all shapes, sizes and ages exercising for health benefits that go far beyond weight loss. It's seeing activewear companies offer great-looking, comfortable products to suit sizes above a size 14. And it's being able to work out, go for a run and not be worried you'll be judged because you don't have a size 6-8, perfectly ripped body. For too long I let that kind of sh*&T stop me from exercising. ⠀ ⠀ I changed that mindset more than two years ago (thank you @body_smart for creating a welcoming space in which I don't feel judged). I don't weigh myself. If I used weight loss as a benchmark for exercise success, then I'd have given up long ago (I have Hashimotos – Google it, or search my blog for how frustratingly unfair this makes any weight loss efforts). I exercise to feel mentally well and I exercise to feel strong. And I suggest you do too.⠀ ⠀ I'm but one voice championing @nike and disgusted at the reaction this company has received. Take a look at posts by @jessheading @shellyhorton1 @drnikkistamp and @fionafalkiner for some great opinions and insights.⠀ ⠀ #hashimotos #healthyish #fitspiration #nike

A post shared by Styling You™ | Nikki Parkinson (@stylingyou) on

PS. Make sure you read Shelly Horton’s post on 9Honey and Dr Nikki Stamp’s Instagram posts here and here.

Comments 27

  1. Thanks for writing this Nikki.

    Treating ourselves with kindness and respect is an everyday challenge. The constant hammering from all sides about appearance, weight, fitness, food and all the rest of it can get in the way. Not to mention how we’re meant to be acing family/empty nest, husbands/partners/singleness, home, work/career, aging parents (if we’re lucky enough to still have them with us). On and on and on.

    I love your style tips, I love your hair(!). I also love Dermalogica.

    I thought the Nike models were great, and wondered what the unkind and judgemental remarks about them meant to the writer. My sense is that it wasn’t communication, it was venting of fear of falling off whatever treadmill the writer was on. Not a happy or constructive way to live.

    We would all benefit (and so would everyone else) from being kinder to ourselves.

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      I love this sentence Deb: “Treating ourselves with kindness and respect is an everyday challenge.” It’s so true and something that we all need to be mindful of. Thanks for your lovely words.

  2. A-freaking-men to this entire post! I honestly thought what Nike did was amazing & sent a powerful message to the world that women & girls of ALL shapes & sizes CAN workout, regardless of whether they’re a size 6 or 16. It saddens me that people have been nasty about this, but unfortunately it’s not surprising given we now live in the age of clickbait & social media trolling.

    In all honesty Nikki, I think you would put me to absolute shame with how fit you are! (And I say this as someone of a more “normal” size who suffers from gymtimidation & who isn’t exercising much atm because, winter – although what is normal these days?) I think you look rather toned & terrific actually. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore, or something you do for purely aesthetic reasons. It should be a matter of health, whether that be physical or (even better) mental. Keep doing what you’re doing Nikki & don’t be so hard on yourself!

  3. Hello Nikki, my name is Raquel, I do not really write comments.But I am sad ☹️ and shocked by the fact that some people can be so narrow minded.You do look like someone who exercise, you look toned, beautiful skin and gorgeous smile, those are sings of a healthy body and most important healthy mind. Let’s don’t waste energy on getting upset by looking at number ,measurements ,etc.Love your bodies girls just the way it is .Cheers

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  4. Screw the narrow minded people that can’t see past their own issues! It’s not about the scale, it’s about you and not what anybody else thinks. If you are happy and achieving your own goals, that’s enough!

  5. Dearest Nikki, thank you for the write up. I never really comment on things ( 1st time for everything). For the record I think you are pretty fabulous and look amazing and healthy. Thank you for the reinforcement that we need to be happy with what we have and that the ” mean girl” in our heads needs to be shown the door and hopefully the door hits her on the way out.I am nearing the big 50 this year and constantly telling myself that I do not measure up ( that’s the mean girl ), but I try to remind myself that I am lucky to have a wonderful supportive husband and 3 beautiful children. Yes, I need to work harder on myself in areas ( ok…..alot of areas)I am no “yummy mummy”and wish there was a Body Smart in my State. I tell myself I am a renovation rescue..Your blogs & posts are what I flick to when in doubt of what to wear as a plus size woman, THANK YOU for showing that we can all feel and look beautiful in your clothing range and you have created a safe place for women to share their ideas and posts. ( I have a few pieces)I heard a quote last night. ” We don’t need to to just survive life…..we need to live life”.Keep going with all you do and thank you for having a voice.

  6. Well said Nikki I saw that article and couldn’t understood what she hoped to achieve by it ? I have actually reduced my social media exposure as these sorts of comments are not helpful. I totally get where you’re coming from . I now try not always successfully to remind myself that my body is healthy and fit and I’m alive and living life which some don’t get a chance to do. Thanks for your post x

  7. You are indeed an amazing woman. Not only coping beautifully with Hashimoto’s, but creating the most interesting and delightful business. What an inspiration and great motivator to all of us.

  8. I Agree with you Nikki – I am plus size and so wish ALL clothing – fitness, formal or everyday would be size inclusive! It’s so disheartening to see all these beautiful garment options – stores with multiple levels, entire shopping centres, online stores and brands make you feel like you are bender enough and exclude you.

  9. You’re an inspiration Nikki! I have loved following you along your wellness journey and it’s kick arse that you continue to show up to exercise five times a week. Stay proud, and keep staying strong in more ways than one.

  10. For anyone who is wanting to put their focus on their health (which is physical, mental, social health) and push back against diet culture and negative body image, get yourself a HAES (Health at Every Size) alligned, weight-inclusive practitioner (see HAES Australia website). You will never look back and there is a whole community to support you and have your back.

  11. Nikki I am in awe of your daily routine for be the healthiest you can. It comes at a ‘price’ because you have to do this to be well & as your biz is clothing yet no-one in their right mind would say you are unfit or fat. Please know you are not alone in old voices in your head thing. I lost a big amount of weight over the last 4 years (I was in obese range) but it came at a price: anxiety, IBS and then cancer. Surgeries to my mouth meant I could not eat much at all & suddenly I was PRAISED for my changed body. I admit I liked that & that in 2017-18 At age 68 I literally had to buy new clothes. Great! And then I got some teeth as part of my reconstruction & oh boy, I could eat a bigger range of foods. I then ate. It was good! And then I put on weight … which my head and neck surgeon said was good for recovery in head & neck cancer. So when I had to give away some of my clothes – not all – I judged myself very harshly for a 6 kg weight gain in 10 months. My old critical voice (from my Dad as a kid) was back & I have had to taken great steps of confidence to reduce this voice and eat for nourishment and enjoyment. Weight sure can screw with our minds. I walk at least 6-7 K steps a day now and have reduced the treat foods but My thinking needed to change when I realised I was “thinner” when I had cancer…but I am now “healthier” in recovery. You are doing an amazing job of opening up conversations like these. Thank you Denyse xx

  12. My gorgeous Nikki, you are strong, you are fit, you have stamina. I wish I could say the same about myself.
    Love you long time xx

  13. I watched you do that exercise on IG and I was so impressed! You look strong, healthy and happy. You make size 14 look goood!! Keep up the good work!

  14. Thanks for this post. I think as long as anyone wants to exercise, they can wear what they want.
    Years ago I did aerobics classes with an older friend. I was self conscious and wore a loose t-shirt and 3/4 pants while my friend wore an Aqua blue leotard! She didn’t care what people thought!
    I’m glad these days there is plenty of choices for active wear.
    I have chronic pain from a spine operation but manage to exercise when I can and people like you are inspiring. Thank you.

  15. Nikki I think you’re amazing. Your fitness posts inspire me, not because I want to be thin or ‘ripped’, but because you are committed to an exercise routine. And that takes effort and guts. That’s what I admire. And just fyi, I actually do think you’ve changed. You stand a little taller, your smile is wider and you look strong, resilient. Now that’s something any woman wants to be. Congratulations

  16. I’ve been struggling since I finished work last year. I’d had a good loss after weight loss surgery but I’ve kinda dropped the ball. I’ve not really done any exercise and I’ve been eating badly and gained some weight. I’d only wanted to lose another 10 or so kg before this happened (making me easily a 18 but possibly a 16 in some clothes), but now that’s spiralled up to almost 20kg again.

    I hate relying on the scale but I tend to freak out when I haven’t gotten on for a while to find I’m suddenly 5kg heavier etc… I look forward to the day I feel like I’m being ‘healthy’ enough in my everyday life that I feel like it SHOULD be reflected in my weight and that it doesn’t matter.

    I know some of it is temporary – it’s all a little overwhelming and I’m at home too much and just feeling like everything is pointless. However… like you I need to remind myself that the little things help – particularly in terms of my health and I really need to restart some cardio exercise (even walking) for my fitness.

    I think you’re looking great and am very envious of your commitment to exercise and your health so keep up the great work.

  17. I’m an exerciser and have been for more than 20 years. I have run, lifted weights, danced, done hot yoga, spin, boxing and bootcamp, trained with a personal trainer, by myself and in group.

    At almost 54 I do what I really enjoy which currently looks like reformer pilates three times a week, HIIT bootcamp and boxing twice a week and a 7 km walk with my husband three times a week. My weight varies with managing my mental health, but we’ve made some really big changes this year to what we eat and drink: very little processed food and significantly reduced refined carbs and dairy.

    It’s all my choice to feel the best I can. At the end of last year I was more than 11kgs heavier but doing the best I could at the time. I was still getting out in my active wear because it made me feel better- but then I think I’m too old to really care what anyone else thinks. What a great age this is to be!

  18. Dear Nikki you haven’t failed you have succeeded you are still a size 14 which is absolutely awesome AND you haven’t gone up in size well done! You are fit as you exercising 5 times a week which is amazing and such dedication and your health is under control. So be very proud of yourself.

  19. Aren’t a lot of these ‘journalists’ being paid for opinion? And they try to be as controversial as possible for clicks? I didn’t see this article but I take it with a grain of salt. How does writing the article make anyones health any better if that’s the goal. And all the commenters piling on? Imagine being them. I fall into a pit of trying to understand the hypocrisy trying to get my head around all the rubbish spin on this. How are plus size people supposed to get ‘healthy’ if they can’t buy exercise gear? They should just remain invisible to the world until they get with the program and be thin?

  20. Notice nobody ever fat shames a male? Why is this? Why is it ok to embarrass us & think we won’t respond? I think you look fab Nikki. I am a 59 year old women, I wear activewear (only to the gym though, as I don’t feel properly dressed if I wear it outside of the gym, but that’s just me), I have a trainer once a week, I exercise 5 days a week, I run around after 3 grandchildren & I am between a 12-16, depending where you shop. I could probably stand to lose a few kilos, but I’m not out to win any competitions. Beauty is not about what you look like, it’s about how you feel, how you move, how you connect with others, how you project & portray yourself. My husband is a bug believer in keeping oneself fit & healthy, not skinny & healthy, BUT fit & healthy & if he thinks I look fab, then that’s good enough for me. Keep doing what you’re doing Nikki, you look amazing!

  21. Amen to that. I have lost about 6kgs over recent months, my focus has been health – reducing body fat, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and keeping my bones strong. I too am still the same size – 16 – because I have lost weight all over, not just on my trunk. I feel better and yes I look better too, but my size is the same. So what I say, I know my own results and they are working for me. Keep on inspiring lovely woman xx

  22. I hear you! I wish people would keep their crap to themselves, that journo has caused a lot of heartache. I am 58, thanks to you I have never felt better about myself. I am losing weight but for my health. My cholesterol has gone from 4.9 to 3.2, and with a family history of heart disease I’m protecting mine. You are strong, inspirational and successful Nikki. The world needs more positive influential people like you. Too much nastiness, judgemental rubbish floating around. X

  23. Great post Nikki! So many of us enjoy exercise and taking care of ourselves, and yet the negativity always finds a way in. Time for us all to recognise we are enough!

  24. Oh Nikki the negative follows everyone whatever size you are.
    You are a fit healthy woman in the prime of her life doing things I’m sure most people are jealous if anything.The size of our body doesn’t define us nor does it accurately show what we can do.Keep on being real and true to you Xx

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