Monday, August 1, 2011

Count down to Be Body Positive day on 8/7 begins!

Check out these ladies at Shaping Youth! They are definitely Body Positive! And that's why I'm featuring them on the first day of this countdown.This group attacks the root of where our body image issues stem from and are fostered every day... they media. They focus on media and marketing's influence on kids.

“We’re using for-profit media that SO often focuses on improving women’s bodies, and featuring parts of their bodies, instead using it to promote simple, uplifting messages that do NOT drive a profit – they remind women their worth in a world that often confuses them about that.”

  When you see the billboard off of the highway that shows before and after pictures of liposuction patients who have lost all that unsightly belly fat... and you start feeling bad about yourself... think about how the companies doing this procedure are making money off of feeding your insecurities. I say... give them the finger as you drive by, remind yourself of one of your best assets and move on with your day. Don't let them decide how you feel about yourself for the rest of the day.

When you change the way you look at things... the things you look at change! Take the power away from those messages!

Love you!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What does being body positive look like?

In March of 2011 I signed up for and attended the Be Body Positive workshop in Marin. While there I met this awesome redhead named Monica and friended her on Facebook as soon as I got back to Sacramento. She had an amazing photo album called "Goddess". I was inspired by her curves and the beauty of the photographs. I too, wanted a Goddess photo shoot! I contacted In Her Image Photography and and booked my session for June.

As some of you know, I had weight loss surgery in 2007. After years of yo-yo dieting, I thought the Gastric Lap-Band would be the answer to weight problems for good. In 18 months I lost 130 pounds and found myself in a size 8. I had always wanted to do pin-up photos but had never allowed myself to because I never had the right body for it. So I booked a session and I took some fantastic photos. I thought that seeing the photos of my new body would help it sink in, would help me feel comfortable in this new strange and small body. Getting thin did not feel or look like what I had hoped and dreamed it always would. But the experience of the photo shoot that day stayed with me. It was the best day of dress up ever.

Shortly after the photo shoot, I got really sick and the doctors found out my Lap-Band had slipped out of place and they had to schedule surgery immediately to fix it. I woke up from that surgery to find that they had to remove the whole set up completely. I was devastated! They told me I'd be fine, keep doing what I was doing (eating 1000 calories a day). No one prepared me for the effects this would have on my body, my metabolism, my emotional well being... As soon as I recovered from surgery the weight started piling back on even though I was still hardly eating anything. It was unbelievable to me how fast the weight came back despite my efforts to control everything. 

I set out on a mission to stop this cycle, learn how to heal my mind body and soul. This began with learning about Intuitive Eating to recover from binge eating, which lead me to Being Body Positive and learning about Health At Every Size. So when I saw Monica's pictures, I knew that this was the best way I could close the loop and heal from the torture and shame I've put myself through in order to try and look like what society tells me I should. I have made tremendous progress over these last two years, unfortunately it is not reflected in my pant size as one hopes it would... but this is me. This is what total size acceptance looks like for me right now. I'm no longer trapped in the shame of body hatred. Today I'm able to enjoy my body and celebrate what it looks like right now. Regardless of what size I wear and it no longer stops me from getting what I want out of this life.

Images courtesy of: In Her Image Photography

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Info on the swap

Saturday, April 16th from 1-4pm
The Artisan Building
1901A Del Paso Blvd
Sacramento, ca

$5 admission
5 item minimum
Clothes must be in good clean condition. No stains or holes.

We will have dressing rooms.

Proceeds benefit Beyond Hunger
Leftover clothes will be donated to CASH and WEAVE thrift stores.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Plus Size Clothing Swap

In early March of this year, two friends and I headed west to the bay area for a sneak preview of a documentary that was being hosted by Beyond Hunger as a fundraiser event. The documentary is titled: America The Beautiful, Health for Sale - a film by Darryl Roberts, due out in August of 2011. We were so excited to be able to attend such an event, we purchased VIP tickets for the silent auction and Meet & Greet with the film maker after the viewing. It was amazing. The movie was powerful, truthful, hurtful and inspiring. At the auction that night, I purchased my "YAY" scale. All the numbers are removed and in their place are positive affirmations. (more on the movie and the significance of the scale in future posts)

During our round trip drive to San Rafeal, my friends and I had a heated and passionate discussion about being a plus size women, the challenges and stereotypes we face, the obstacles we climb and most importantly FASHION. Or actually as the case may be... the very lack of FASHIONABLE options for curvy gals. We lamented about how often we change sizes, how hard it is to find things that fit and look good, having a hard time shopping for affordable or second hand clothes. That Wednesday night, cruising along highway 80, we came up with the idea to host our own, plus size clothing swap!

We've all been swapping clothes from garages and closets over the years. Why not make it official. Open it up to the public? Make it a fundraiser? Get the word out! We found a niche and filled it. If even only for ourselves or our closest friends!

These were not just day dreams. When you have that much passion and women full of ambition and drive...this turned into a PLAN. The very next day, we were hot on the trail. A location was booked, a flier was made and we started putting the word out. All volunteer, all for our favorite charities: Beyond Hunger, CASH and WEAVE, and all for fun and fashion for fat chicks! Finally, something for us. A panacea of clothing to dig through and try on and play dress up with my girls!

While spreading the word I've been thrilled with the responses of women saying "Finally!" "this is awesome" "darn wish I could make it, I would love to go"! There has been a down side however...Along the way while promoting this event, I've encountered a curious predicament.... when I asked people to spread the word or if they knew anyone to give the flier to...some balked. It's almost as if they were thinking "I might as well call my friend fat... here fatso, a place just for you". Husbands were not thrilled about advising their wives...the recipient of this notice might be... gasp... offended!?!?!?!

I guess this crossed my mind as I was including friends on my email blast and creating the event invite on Facebook... I even put a little tag line "this is not targeted, just spreading the word". I didn't want to comb through my friends list taking a mental inventory of every ones body size. I work to hard not to compare and to respect individual beauty. This has been a tough one to approach.

But this is what we truly believe and what our mission is. I hope that women of all sizes can see this and appreciate it.

The event was created to celebrate and promote positive body image. No matter what your size. We want to feel special. Included. An event for us where we don't have to worry if they'll even have my size. We don't want to feel self conscious about other shoppers or being the biggest girl in the room. We want to shop freely and cheaply. As one friend refers to is as "the movement". Coming out of the shadows and taking up space. Not feeling like you have to WAIT until you lose weight and get to your ideal size to enjoy clothes and take part of such events.

We have also run into the question about why it's only limited to just Plus Size. The suggestion was brought up, by a well respected leader of positive body image, that we might have an Every Size swap in the future. Still promoting the same positive body image and sharing the message of being Healthy At Every Size.  We decided we will consider it in the future. Plus Size only is not meant to exclude but rather promote and include a missed demographic that needs some serious TLC. These events are something we'd like to see be a seasonal standard in our area. A reason to save your clothes and have something to look forward to. They are all volunteer planned and coordinated and will always benefit a worthy charity and will soothe our souls and warm our hearts.

Peace. Love. Music. Fashion. For all my friends!

Please share your thoughts, opinions and feedback on the topic.
Have we been so brainwashed by a society and culture that obsesses about beauty and thinness, that we feel offensive if we are suggesting someone might be plus size?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a LOVE/HATE relationship

It's complicated right? The relationship with your body. In an effort to make any change which direction do we head in? Do we choose Hate to keep ourselves in line or do we choose Love to gently guide us?

    Sometimes I ask myself, "Why can't I get this by now?" Why is this so hard? Why can't I just stop overeating and be motivated to exercise more? Then I think, I need a plan. I need to get into action, get my shit together and just stay on it! Then it becomes a battle between me and the willpower to stay with the new plan. I feel that in order to succeed I must beat my willpower into submission. I am weak, no good, never make it... And it goes on and on. I'm the monkey on my own back treating myself like shit in order to reach a goal that I'm infatuated with, a belief that obtaining this goal will satisfy my life... Then I cant take it anymore and I binge. I'm off the wagon. I'm no good...see you failed again!
Ugh, does any part of this vicious cycle sound familiar to anyone?

     In the past I always felt that I needed to implement my own militaristic style of control over my behaviors in order to keep myself from acting badly. But when I do that, I end up rebelling against myself and run towards all the bad things I've been forcing myself to avoid. I felt that if I was accepting or gentle with what I wanted to change about myself, I'd get lazy, I was giving in, and Giving up

     Think about this: If you love someone else, do you treat them badly and put them down all the time? NO! If you love someone,  you treat them well, with kindness and respect. Why is this so hard for us to do for ourselves. I recently had an Ah-Ha moment when I realized that all this negative self talk leads me to treating myself harshly by the end of the day. What if I change my outlook to love and acceptance towards myself... will I start treating myself better? will I want to naturally take better care of myself and my health?

     Throughout my journey I find that the more gentle and loving I am to myself and the less harsh and restricting I am, the better I actually treat myself. When I'm in a place of self love and acceptance, I respect and honor by body. I'm more in tune with what I need to do to take care of myself to meet my goals. I can ask myself "am I really hungry right now and if so, what am I really hungry for?" or "what physical movement would feel good to my body right now?" instead of being obsessed about all the BAD food I shouldn't be eating or how much exercise I need to do to burn off the calories I just consumed.

     So I say, ENOUGH ALREADY! Be nice to yourself. This is the only body you have to carry you through life. If you live in a nice house and have nice things, you don't trash your house. You treat it well, take care of it and ask others to do the same. Why aren't we like that with our bodies and ourselves?

     Negative thoughts and ideas still float through my mind frequently. The change has been that now I recognize them as such and dismiss them instead of adopt them into my self conscious.

I challenge you to think of Love and not Hate next time you start feeling bad about yourself and want to embark on a path of change.

YOU get to decide how you feel about your body and how you treat it.
Don't let society and the media choose how you should FEEL about YOUR body

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Can we focus on changing our lives and not just our size?

In 1998 I was working at Lane Bryant in Santa Barbara. Our store always fell short of daily sales goals and the store was empty a lot of the time. While standing behind the counter one day I realized what a coincidence this was to how I felt just living in Santa Barbara at a size 14/16 and always feeling like the biggest girl in the room. This was an exaggerated perspective from an 18 year old middle class chubby girl growing up in the land of the rich and skinny... oh and didn't I mention blond and tan? I had no role models in my size group other than Mom's and school teachers, it felt. And that was about the only clothing I could find at the time as well.... I felt that by working at Lane Bryant I was doing something and promoting healthy body image and showing the superficial world that big girls are beautiful too. At that time I was also trying to convince a local modeling agency to bring me on as their first Plus Size model. I had dreams of being a fashion designer and promoting fashion lines that real women could wear and how I'd take the fashion industry by storm.
But, I was also a typical teenage girl and suffered from horrible body image problems, hated being fat, was binge eating and compulsively weighed myself multiple times a day and just plain wished that I were thin. If I was thing, then I'd be like all the other girls I went to school with and then maybe I'd fit in, have the life I want... oh and get a cute boyfriend. I also felt sometimes that accepting your size was giving up or giving in, saying that you weren't committed to changing for the better and that i better stay on the diet and self hatred band wagon with everyone else. It is hard to stand for what you believe in, when what you believe in isn't the norm.

I'm all about fake it till you make it thinking and turning lemons into lemonade. I was desperately afraid of being viewed as fat and lazy. I would never wear casual clothes, always had makeup on and tried to look my best. I thought if I was funny, educated and fashionable, maybe people wouldn't notice my large ass and I could seduce them into not judging me. I felt I was defying the stereotypes of big girls. I'd show them all they were wrong! But still suffering inside. I would never show it to the world though. This facade of confidence served me well though and got me through my 20's.
While working at Lane Bryant, we were promoting a book called "Change your life not your size" and it was written by a plus-size model (I no longer have a copy and cannot seem to find the book online). I was stoked. Finally a book I could dive into, jump on board and help carry the message! Women: Live the life you want right here right now, stop living in the shadows because you weigh more than others! You have worth! You deserve it! When I got to the end of the book however,  saw that the model ended up losing weight in the end anyway. I judged her as a SELL-OUT  for losing the weight and felt in the end it was just another diet book or sorts. I put the book down and forgot about the model but always kept the message with me... "Change your life and not your size".

Through the years we've seen full figured women in the media and the spotlight, sometimes ridiculed for their extra flesh and flab and sometimes celebrated for defying the image of beauty and showing that big girls are desirable too. These full-figured women in the spotlight don't seem to stay that way for long, they don't stay or large and lovely role models for long... It's as if, once they finally make it big and more spotlight is shown upon them, the smaller they become until they are an accepted size and no longer noted as the big girls. A few of my favorite examples have been: Christina Ricci, Kate Winslet, America Ferrera, Jennifer Hudson, Camryn Manheim & Tyra Banks to name a few... If we do ever end up finding a role model with curves... we are let down again.

Do these women actually change their life and the weight falls off as a side effect of success?
Or do they fall prey to the diet industry and the pressure to be thin like everyone else?
My point is, there are not many real Role Models for a full figured woman.
In the future, I will feature blogs on full figured women who inspire me and who I believe can be called a role model.

Does this upset you? Do you always feel that you must CHANGE your body size in order to be accepted, loved, or desired?
Can you as a woman walk into ANY clothing store and know they carry your size?
Can you buy any magazine and know that you'll be able to relate to maybe just one of the body sizes portrayed on it's pages?
Can you find comfortable exercise clothes or a sports bra in a plus size?

Today I went to a newsstand downtown and searched for ONE magazine that was either Plus Sized or had a mix of models body sizes. There used to be one or two magazines FOR plus size women, but not any more. The feminist magazine BUST is the only one I can find with varied sizes in models.

What I did find were rows and rows of women's magazines, appealing to all different demographics, and nearly every single one of them had something on the cover about dieting, losing inches, flat belly's, losing baby weight, slimming secrets and the like. On the other rows I saw magazines like US Weekly and People that show graphic pictures of cellulite ridden thighs and women with bars over their faces so you can try and guess who let themselves go and who has the guts to show themselves in public looking like that.

I'm personally FED UP with the lack of representation that this growing (literally and figuratively) population of women have in mainstream media. Is FAT the last minority with no civil rights?  Fat is feared. There is a war on obesity! Who is afraid of the big fat chick? Everyone it seems!

Well I'm here to finally speak up and speak out. I'm for size acceptance! Loving who you are right now. Stop thinking you have to change your body to be the person you want to be. I'm here to show you that you can change your life, live your life and be amazing without changing your weight!

I have thrown away my scales and thrown out all my skinny clothes. I'm living for Right here Right now.
This blog is going to be my outlet for things I love, things I support, things I'll promote and things I want to cause a reaction and get people thinking!

Accepting your size doesn't mean giving up or giving in... it means your MOVING ON!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Lucky Bombshell gets to work

I've been bitten by the bug of ambition and I consider myself to be pretty damn lucky!
This is my starting point.