Today I have to talk to you about a topic that tends to get me on my soap box and ruffles a few feathers. It started off innocently enough. I was reading an article about how plus size models are currently a novelty and don't receive equal respect or representation compared to their smaller sized competitors. But then, I did the the thing you should never do if you want to remain calm - read the comments. Let's just say, I wasn't adequately prepared for what came next.
There was a litany of hate, spite, and even seething anger. Many of the commentators lashed out about the photographs of plus size models featured in the article, in particular, a photo of a woman in her underwear who wore a size 22/24. One comment in particular is still seared into my brain. The person raged about the obesity epidemic and how it was the fault of fat, lazy slobs like this underwear model who glorified being sick and unhealthy. Moreover, how dare she pose her underwear? No one could ever find this disgusting sack of lard attractive. Fat people, the commentator noted, are biologically sexually undesirable.
First I was appalled by the hatefulness and over generalization of their statements, then, I had an epiphany. Internally, I had said every single one of those things to myself at some point while looking in the mirror and I know I'm not alone. For the longest time, I refused to buy "sexy" undies or wear lingerie, or even wear makeup and clothes that were beautiful because I did not feel beautiful. I did not deserve to feel beautiful and I absolutely was not sexy.
As women, we are constantly bombarded by images of what beauty is supposed to look like. We internalize what we are fed by the movies, television, advertisements and it permeates our lives carrying over into what we talk about with our girlfriends, how we view ourselves, and how we view the women around us. It has to stop and we have to be the change.
We are all sexual creatures, it's part of our genetic code and being overweight or having stretch marks or lumps doesn't suddenly erase that. You should not feel ashamed of your body or ashamed to feel sexy because what you see in the mirror doesn't match the lies you have been feed by the media. Because what that hateful commentator doesn't seem to realize is that there are people who find a size 22/24 woman in her underwear beautiful and sexy and desirable.
When you stop focusing on things like your weight and your lumps and your stretch marks and start focusing on things like your mental health and your happiness and your emotional well being, everything changes. Understand this - you are beautiful now not when. When I loose 20 pounds, when my abs are toned, when my thighs are smooth. No. Now. This very minute, you are beautiful, and sexy, and desirable. So go buy those scandalous underpants, or wear that sequin party skirt, or do that boudoir photo shoot. And next time you look in the mirror, strike a pose, you sexy beast.
I'm so excited to share my review of our very first book club book for the Pure Romance by Deedre VIP Community. If you're a woman age 18 or over and you haven't joined our community yet, you can click here to sign up for my emails and get exclusive access. We'll be starting the discussion over this book in January, so dive into this review, then join the community for a free PDF reading guide and bookmark.
So, I think the best place to start is how I found this book in the first place. One night, after falling down an Instagram rabbit hole, I stumbled upon Caroline Dooner's page - @thefuckitdiet. A friend of mine and I had been bouncing between diets with minimal success and the title gave me pause and a chuckle. And I really, really liked so many of the positive messages in her feed. Naturally, I followed the link to her book, and then landed on Amazon and read through the reviews. Let me tell you - it's a mixed bag.
There are tons of glowing comments, and then there are the negatives. People up in arms calling her everything from irresponsible to outright dangerous and scandalous. I immediately downloaded a preview on my Amazon Kindle app and I was hooked.
My first thought was "where has this book been all my life?!" But as I started to share with others, I was met with a lot of skepticism and more than a few eye rolls. The thing is, this isn't a diet book. It's not another weight lost plan wrapped up in a clever and witty title. It's not even about loosing weight. So what on earth is it then?
As one of my therapist friends said, it's really cognitive behavioral therapy. Caroline Dooner is asking us to forget absolutely everything we have ever been taught about weight and diet and the culture surrounding it. She's leading the reader on the long and sometimes painful journey of healing their relationship with their body, with food, and with hunger.
There are two parts to the book, and part one is entirely dedicated to breaking down the myths surrounding diet culture and the science behind her claims. This section is extremely radical and for many, very hard, if not impossible to accept. Whether you find yourself a fan or not, this section is absolutely worth the read for chapters like "The Minnesota Starvation Experiment" and "Your Diet Might Be a Cult". Rather than giving diet advice plus meal and exercise plans, Dooner encourages people to eat what they want, rest when they need to, and be kind to themselves in the process. Maybe it's possible that loosing weight isn't the Valhalla we've chalked it up to be.
Part two of the book is aptly titled "How the Hell Do I Actually Do This". It's broken into four parts: The Physical Part, The Emotional Part, The Mental Part, and The Thriving Part. If you truly embrace her method, it requires a lot of introspection. Dooner provides a multitude of writing prompts and a supplemental PDF guide is available through her website when you sign up for her email list. She calls on readers to evaluate their relationship with food, with their body, and even with exercise. There's a whole section dedicated to "feeling your feelings" and Dooner says that this may require professional therapy.
All in all, "The F*ck It Diet: Eating Should Be Easy" is an incredibly worthwhile read. Whatever your end feelings about Dooner's ideology, this is sure to provoke some insightful and important discussions about how we view our bodies and our relationship with food.
Want to join the book club discussion? Join my Facebook Group Conk's Community: Women Empowering Women (for ladies 18 and over).
If you look in the mirror right now, what do you see? Wrinkles, cellulite, a saggy butt, the last few pounds you've been struggling to loose? Do you love who you see or have you been promising to love her as soon as she measures up? Hey, I've been there. I get it. And every single day, I fight to love who I am now and there is nothing easy about it.
As women, it's like we've been programmed to believe that we should be thin and smooth and hairless and constantly apologizing for or trying to fix our perceived faults. Next time you're scrolling through your social media feed, count the number of ads you see for weight loss, hair removal, and slimming underpants. If it were a drinking game, I'm pretty sure most of us would be under the table before too long.
So how do I do it? How do you do it? How do we love ourselves and our creases and dimples and stretch marks? There are 5 real things you can start doing this very second to shift the narrative and start embracing the body you're in.
Fill your feed with positive vibes. Follow businesses like @letsjoyn and @knixwear who celebrate our beautiful bodies just as they are. And follow influencers like @snacinbus and @curvyhipsandtintedlips who rock their style un-apologetically.
Join groups like my Facebook Conks Community:Women Empowering Women that strive to empower and educate women focusing on sexual and mental health and self-care over diet and appearance.
Get a set off dry erase markers for glass and write positive self talk on all your mirrors. It sounds silly, but surrounding yourself with positivity can really start to re-wire your brain. Seeing "I am beautiful and worthy of love" or "I am an unstoppable badass" every time you look at yourself really puts things in perspective.
Imagine your best self and write down a list of all her qualities - the catch, you can't include anything that has to do with weight or appearance. So instead of saying, "My best self is 30 pounds lighter" you could say "My best self has a degree in business" or "My best self doesn't let people put her down". Then make an action plan. What tangible things can you start doing today to make sure you show up as your best self?
Dress for yourself. If you love sparkly eye shadow and wild pink leggings - wear them! If you crave the comfort of a flannel tee and the perfect pair of jeans - rock it girl. You do you and to hell with what anyone else thinks. And the next time you look in the mirror, number 3 will be there to remind you of just how awesome you really are.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.