13 Questions with A Spoonful of Alice

Alice Dunbar is an ex diet blogger on a body confidence journey, helping her followers to accept themselves and be more confident with their in their bodies.

First off, how are you and how is your 2021 going?

Hello! I’m feeling pretty good today – the sun is shining after a dreary few days and I think I’m going for a sea swim at lunchtime, which always makes me very happy. 2021 is a right rollercoaster, isn’t it? I’m struggling a *bit* to keep up with all the social events post-lockdown, but I’m thankful to be feeling somewhat normal again!

Can you tell us about your journey online and how @ASpoonfulOfAlice came to be?

Of course! I started blogging back in 2015 – but, believe it or not, I actually blogged about weight loss and my ‘Slimming World journey’. Unfortunately I ended up becoming obsessed with dieting and developed some pretty disordered eating patterns – and no matter how much weight I lost, I didn’t feel any better about myself.

In 2017, I discovered the world of body confidence and the anti-diet movement – and my whole life completely changed. I realised that slim doesn’t necessarily equal healthy and that that beauty exists in all shapes and sizes, and my body acceptance journey began. These days, I use my platform to empower others to ditch diet culture, learn to trust their bodies again and feel wonderful just as they are.

What can people expect from your presence online?

I’m all about spreading my message in a fun and accessible way – so expect to see me dancing around in my underwear to early 00s bangers, writing thoughtful captions about my journey and sharing photos of my imperfectly perfect body for the world to see!

Alongside diet culture, body confidence and self love, I also speak openly about mental health, menstrual wellness (specifically my experiences living with PCOS and PMDD), sex education and a whole host of other topics. I share snapshots of Brighton life with my girlfriend and cats, and I’m always up for a chat on my stories!

We absolutely love your message, what is one thing you wish everyone knew about diet culture?

Thank you so much! Blimey, where do I even start? Most of all, I wish society understood that the link between weight and health is wayyyyyy less clear than we have been led to think. It is possible to be both fat and healthy – just as it is possible to be slim and unhealthy. In this country, we still use the BMI scale as a key measure of health – when the person who created it (who was a mathematician, not a doctor!) said himself that it isn’t fit for that purpose. The scale was created in the 1800s and was based on the bodies of cisgendered white men – so if that’s not you, it’s even less helpful!

What opinions would you love to see change in the mainstream media over the next few years?

Again, I could literally spend hours talking about all the things I’d love to change – but I think I’d have to say the notion that there is one ‘beauty ideal’, and everyone else is somehow wrong. Sure, there might be a few plus-sized people in the odd magazine these days, but when you consider that the average UK woman is a size 16, it’s crackers that this is still very much a rarity. I want to see clothes modelled on bodies of all shapes and sizes and fat people being represented without an accompanying weight loss story. Believe it or not, plenty of people are happy being plus-sized, but that narrative is hardly ever portrayed – I’d love to see a change there!

Can you tell us 3 tips to feel more body confident?

  1. Aim for body acceptance first – body confidence can feel very out-of-reach if you’re struggling with low self worth, so I always recommend striving to accept your body first. Learn to treat it with respect and remind yourself that what you look like is the least important thing about you.
  2. Fake it ‘til you make it – always wanted to wear a crop top, but just don’t have the confidence? WEAR THE CROP TOP ANYWAY. Yes, it will be scary at first. Yes, you might second guess yourself a million times before stepping out the door. But before long, you’ll realise that nobody is giving you a second thought – apart from thinking how confident you look, and wishing they could wear a crop top too!
  3. Diversify your feed – if you’re only seeing ‘perfect’ Instagram models with one (unattainable) body type, it’s bound to have an effect on the way you see yourself. Instead, fill your feed with bodies of all shapes and sizes – bodies of queer people, plus-sized people, disabled people, black people, asian people… as many people as possible, basically! The more diverse your feed, the more diverse your idea of beauty will become – and one day, you might just see that *you* are beautiful too.

As a fellow Brighton dweller, can you share your top places to go in the city?

I actually get asked this question so many times that I keep a note in my phone where I list my favourite places. It’s organised into categories and everything! Here are a few of my faves:

  • Pompoko – cheap, cheerful and delicious Japanese food
  • Baby Bao @ The Pond – THE most amazing Taiwanese bao buns
  • Bison Beach Bar – cocktails, fresh pizza and bbq dishes on the beach
  • The Open Market – stalls selling local produce and crafts, friendly cafes and relaxed restaurants
  • Tropical Sushi – the best sushi I’ve had in a VERY long time (and I’ve had a lot!)
  • Brighton Rocks – a tucked-away cocktail bar with lots of board games and a great happy hour
  • Trading Post Coffee Roasters – my spot-of-the-moment for brunch!
  • La Mucca Nera – authentic italian ice cream, wine and coffee
  • Marmalade Store – pick up a posh picnic before heading to the beach
  • Brighton Flea Market – my favourite place for a Sunday morning mooch

What are you currently working on?

In terms of my Instagram, I’m working on a new reels series called ‘Facing my fat girl fears’ where I film myself doing things I’ve always been scared to do due to my size.

Otherwise, I’m working on myself! I went to therapy this year which was very eye-opening – it turns out I’m codependent and a biiiig people pleaser, so I’m learning to set healthy boundaries instead!

Who are some of your current favourite follows?

I follow so many wonderful humans who have taught me so many things, but at the moment I’m loving:

  • @ScarredNotScared – because she is the queen of boundaries and I want to be more like her
  • @make_love_not_diets – because she is HILARIOUS and always finds fun ways to help me dismantle diet culture
  • @meganjaynecrabbe – because she is the reason I started this journey in the first place
  • @simplepolitics – because the media has been so confusing this year, and they provide a lot of clarity
  • @hunsnet – because everything they post just cracks me up

What does your perfect weekend look like?

I’d head out for brunch with my friends on Saturday morning, followed by a wander round the Lanes or a trip to the beach for a sea swim (the weather would be glorious, obviously!). In the evening, I’d cook a new recipe and it would work out PERFECTLY – then we’d watch Titanic, cry cathartically and go to bed by 9.30. I’d wake up on Sunday perfectly refreshed, and I’d spend the morning drinking coffee and reading in bed with my girlfriend (and the cats, if we’re being honest…). We’d make brunch together, then I’d spend the day filming AMAZING content for Instagram and doing little ‘self-care Sunday’ things like painting my nails and tidying up the mess I seem to inexplicably create throughout the week. We’d order takeaway in the evening and get so lost in conversation that we forget to watch telly! Bliss.

What do you always carry with you?

Tinted lip balm, headphones and an array of emergency snacks.

What would your last ever meal be?

I’d have to travel up to Newcastle (where I’m originally from) and head to Nudo Noodle House. They do this amaaaazing king prawn tom yum ramen, so I’d have that along with ALLLLL the sides (think gyoza, fresh sushi, salt and pepper squid etc). For dessert, I’d go to Olive Grove in Brighton – I once had the most incredible whipped greek yoghurt mousse with chopped nuts and honey there, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since!

What is one positive piece of advice you could give to our audience?

That being selfish is actually a selfless act. Hear me out – if you’re constantly giving all your time and energy to other people, then you won’t have enough left for yourself. At some point, someone else is going to have to ‘save’ you, and that will be a drain on THEIR energy. If we were all just a little bit more selfish and put ourselves first before helping others, it would genuinely benefit everyone!

I learnt that from Michelle Elman (@ScarredNotScared) and it absolutely blew me away.