So, let’s be honest – this post is the elephant in the room I’ve avoided writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed or shy, but more wondering how I can find the words to say that really convey my feelings on the topic of weight and body positivity in the fashion industry, from my own experience. With that said – here’s my thoughts.
It’s no secret that I want girls to feel good about themselves, no matter what size they find their jeans in. I’ve organized model diversity shoots and put together outfit racks for girls who thought they had no options to look stylish. I’ve written articles on finding your confidence, and given advice to girls who struggled with their bodies. And over the past two years of blogging, I’ve felt beautiful and confident the majority of the time.
However, I’ve also felt the heaviness of being the size fourteen in a room full of two’s in brand shoots, or feeling on the edge of the industry because I fit into the last size they make. Being a curvy gal in the fashion world takes tough skin and a big personality – but let’s fast forward to today.
I lost 40 pounds and counting over the summer, and I feel so awesome. The clothes that never fit are now falling off, I bought (and rocked) a new bikini for the summer and I finally feel comfortable stepping out in a basic tank and jeans without having to adjust them every few minutes. As the girl who gained the freshman 15+50, I’m beginning to remember what it felt like to be me back in high school.
Since I know you guys are going to be asking how, I started intermittent fasting, which has been a game changer for me. I fast for around 20 hours each day, then eat a hearty, balanced meal for dinner that comes out to around 1,400 calories. I also picked up weight lifting and HIIT cardio, which I do 3-4 times per week. For my girls who are impulse eaters or snack when you’re bored, fasting is such a great way to take back control of how you eat and how much you’re putting in. If you want more info, check out my favorite trainer who’s been fasting for years – he breaks it down on his Youtube channel here.
If you’ve never had to lose a significant amount of weight before, it feels a lot like stepping out of a suit you couldn’t take off. You’re still yourself, but you can see and feel what was underneath all along. And while it feels empowering to see change, it also struck fear into me.
How could you possibly feel afraid while becoming who you’re supposed to be?
Ah, that’s the funny thing. When you’re able to see your former self from another body, you realize what you kept about yourself in it. The comfort blankets you covered yourself in are now gone forever, and you’re exposed to the world, whether you like it or not.
I didn’t hide from my body, but I hid from myself inside it.
They say be careful what you wish for because you don’t always know what you’re going to get, and that’s how looking in the mirror feels now. You wish for a better version of yourself, but how does it feel when you get there? You climb to the top of the mountain only to realize everyone is looking up at you, wondering what comes next. The comforts of base camp are gone – you’re forced to do more, because the excuses of “I can’t” are gone – you already proved you can.
So here I am, standing closer to my goals than ever, and I’m facing an identity crisis.
If I let go of everything people expected of me, as I WAS, who would I present myself as?
What would I change?
What risks would I take that I thought weren’t possible?
I thought my bright, colorful fashion made me stand out, which it did, but would you believe I was actually hiding from the me I wanted to be behind that? The pieces in my closet I was always drawn to were often a way to keep me from embracing the things I WANTED to be, but thought I couldn’t become. Clothes became a distraction from the goals I was too scared to reach, because I felt inadequate in other areas of my life.
And don’t get it twisted – the person I wanted to be wasn’t a body type. The goals I was longing to reach consisted of more than a clothing size – it went to the core of the person I wanted to be, size unrelated.
I know my bigger girls will relate to this, because it is SO true:
When you’re bigger than average, the pressure is on you to go ABOVE AND BEYOND to have your talents taken seriously. Your body stops serving as a state of being and turns into an obstacle that defines the way you view yourself and the dreams in your heart. I never hated my body – ever – but the inner criticism of my work and my life never stopped. If I did as well as everyone else, or even better, it was never good enough to me because I wasn’t good enough to me.
Now all of the sudden, that obstacle is melting away in front of my eyes, and the picnic that is my doubts, sitting on the other side, is being disrupted. The inner monologue has died down and all I’m left with is my own realization that the potential has always been there, and now it’s free for the taking.
That’s it – all I have to do is walk up and take what I want, but that means taking the next step. Now that all the excuses are gone and the obstacles have fallen to the wayside, all I have left is the choice to level up. It’s time to embrace the person I’ve always been but could never see. It’s time to stop being afraid of the mountain top and get ready to look from the top and see everything that’s possible.
With that, let me send a giant virtual hug to all my girls reading this. Strive to be healthy, and strong and the most vibrant version of yourself, but don’t let your body define your possibilities. Step out as far as you can on the cliff of your dreams and jump head first. It took a weight loss journey for me to see the holes in my confidence, but know you don’t have to wait to be a certain size to DIVE into opportunity. Let your true purpose lead you forward and tear down the obstacles you connect to your body. You’re enough right now, and you’re valued.
So, if you see me rocking blue hair and more leather, don’t think I’m not myself anymore. It’s just a reflection of the person that’s been hiding inside this whole time, but isn’t afraid anymore.