The other day I read a statistic that said 67% of U.S women are a size 14 or larger. My first thought was “Oh my God, this is amazing!”
I think the earliest memory I have regarding me critiquing my body was at ten years old. I had that baby fat that I can look back on now and say “aww, that was cute”, but I didn’t think so back then. Learning to love my appearance has been a challenge ever since. There was not a single year that went by where I didn’t think I had to lose a few pounds.
All throughout high school I tried diets, and hung pictures on my wall of the models I wanted to look like. I now look back and realize how stupid that was (especially when I look at pictures of me then, because I was so small).
I really started to gain weight in college. I didn’t go away to school or anything… I just love food! But after my clothes stopped fitting, it really took a toll on me. I’ve stood in dressing rooms and cried in the mirror because nothing fit right. I’ve stared at myself long enough to know everything I had wanted to change. The numbers kept rising, on the scale and on the tags of my clothing, and I hated it. I looked at my sisters, who are naturally thin & could eat whatever they wanted without a care in the world, and thought life was so unfair. Dramatic, I know. I would vent to people about how I needed to workout and I would get brushed off, often with comments like “whatever, you’re skinny”, when in reality I just knew how to dress/what to wear to hide my not so flat tummy. You can have a million people telling you that you look great, but all of that means nothing if you don’t believe it yourself.
But I’m over that now. Honestly, truly.
The older I get, the more I realize that literally EVERY BODY is beautiful. I remember seeing Ashley Graham on the cover of the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated & thinking, “damnnnnnnn, this woman’s sex appeal is through the roof! She is gorgeous!”. I see beautiful women of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis, and I’m always in awe with the way they carry themselves. It definitely prompted me to never walk with my head down. I always walk upright, shoulders back, and head held high. I get the “who do you think you are” jokes sometimes, but that just let’s me know my confidence is showing, so I’m doing something right.
My biggest tip is to stop looking at numbers and choose clothes according to what looks good ON YOU, not on the person you saw in the advertisements. The images of models will have you thinking that things should fit a certain way, when thats the total opposite of the truth. The minute I started dressing according to what complimented me and accentuated my assets, I felt like a whole new woman. Jeans and pretty much any other items of clothing with a lot of stretch are my best friends, and they make my butt look amazing! Gap and Old Navy are my favorites so far… but I’m still on the hunt for something even better. Dressing your best can lead to you feeling your best, which in turn enables you to perform your best. I feel unstoppable when I’m feeling myself. If you got it, flaunt it! (You know I had to sneak some Beyoncé in here somewhere)
Today, I stand at 5’9.5 and my weight fluctuates between 155 and 160. I wear a size 8 in jeans, but there was a time when I went into H&M and had to buy a size 12… what can I say, thick thighs and H&M denim are not always compatible (I always have to compromise for a pair of pants with a huge gap in the waist, so I don’t even try with them anymore). I have love handles and a pudge (when Draya from Basketball Wives called it a “fupa” I was like girl bye! Who doesn’t have one?! *rolls eyes*), but so what, that’s just more of me to love. I have cellulite and stretch marks. I have legs for days. I have a beautiful face, and an even better personality to match. I have so much love within me that I hope to spread and share with others, especially those who need it. I have fire within me to help with trying to make the world a better place, and to try to help girls around the world recognize their self worth. I am not just my appearance, but it’s nice to finally love my appearance.
I love my size and my character. I wear both pretty well. And guess what? If I lost a few inches or gained a few inches, I would still love myself the same way I do now, because I love the person that I am within.