Monday, January 27, 2014

New Body. New Style...Eventually.

     As a fat kid in the 90's I didn't have many options in fashion and style.  I shopped at two stores; Lane Bryant and the XXL department of JcPenney. I didn't have the luxury to think about my personal style or what image I wanted to project - I just walked in and grabbed what I could tolerate and what would fit. When the time came for me to start caring about my style, my style had been already chosen for me - outdated grandma look. 
5th and 6th grade. Not my fondest years. 

     Thankfully as I got older the clothing options for the overweight expanded and I no longer had to sport flowers and cats. High school was a battle to dress myself.  I hated shopping with my friends because I couldn't fit into even the largest size in the store. Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe where not stretching over any part of me.  I learned to cry at home and show my big girl pride face in public.  I tried several different styles to disguise my lack of personal style. I tried goth but my mom just about killed me. Hippie worked. Long skirts and flip flops, easy enough. By the time I graduated high school I had no style as my style. I wore anything including a sparkly red cowboy hat with matching red fringe boots (thankfully there is no photographic evidence).  In college it evolved into a punk look, black hair and piercings. By the time I was 21 I didn't like my look. I didn't like standing out because I looked hard, angry, AND fat.

     I started over. Gone where the days of chains on my pants and a bolt in my tongue.  Now I had glamorized myself.  My hair got bigger and my make-up got thicker. Lane Bryant kept me fashionable AND in debt. The make-up girls at Macy's knew they could sell me just about anything because someday I was going to find the magic powder that, when applied to my face, would make my butt look smaller. 

     This is the "look" that evolved with me as my weight dropped down until I was no longer able to shop at Lane Bryant and Torrid. Now I could shop ANYWHERE!! This was a dream come true for me, the ability to walk into any store and know something is going to fit. About this time is also when I had my very own life crisis. I wanted to live the glory days I never had as the cute high school girl. I wanted the cute dresses, the adorable shirts, and graphic tee's that, as a fat girl, I couldn't wear.  At 27 I probably should have just let that dream go but I walked into Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe and I bought those cute (way too short for me) dresses, and those adorable (look like I'm in denial about my age) shirts, and I rocked the graphic tee (with a blazer, it really was cute). With my make-up caked on and the most uncomfortable shoes I could find, I was ready to make memories. 

     I dressed like I was 16 until I hit 30 and I suddenly felt out of place in my Buffy the Vampire Slayer t-shirt. Recapturing youth and too much makeup was not talked about in Weight Watchers meetings. I wasn't prepared to not know how to dress myself. I  looked to women in my life that inspired me and realized none of these ladies where shopping in the juniors department and it might be time to embrace the 30 year old woman I had become. I struggle to make fashion choices that compliment me, I fight my inner fat teenager who wants the short low cut dress. 

To help combat these choices I have a set of rules I follow when I'm shopping:    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm learning to love my body and showcase it as it is.  I dress my best now because that super model body I keep waiting for isn't going to get here and in the meantime I need to rock what I have with style and class.  I may not have been able to be the teenager I wanted to be but I will be the woman I hoped I'd grow up to be. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photoshop Changed My Mind

     I don't want the flabby arms but I have them and I work hard to strengthen them. It's okay that I don't love my arms, their mine and I'm the one that has to live with them.  It's another emotion when someone points them out as a flaw, throws out insulting comments about how big they are, then Photoshops them to their standard of beauty.  I knew my arms were big but since when does that make them wrong? I was offended by someone thinking I wasn't beautiful the way I am.  I was offended that they thought they were doing me a favor. In that moment of mentally defending my arms, I discovered a seed of self love and pride.

     I stared at this photo of myself imagining those sticks were my arms. I couldn't make the image match. I come with big arms. They're big, not because they're fat, they're big because I USED to be 300 pounds! They are my badge of honor. This extra skin that waves along with me, I worked HARD for that.  I'm not a celebrity and I don't want to be treated like one, meaning, leave my "flaws" alone. This is not the cover of a magazine, these are personal photos that my family will hold onto and cherish for many years. I'm guessing someone might notice, out of all my pictures, this one I look different.  

     I don't wish to lie to myself. I do not want to look at photos that have altered my body. Blend out the zit, stain on my shirt, or even a wrinkle or two, but my body is what it is and it is beautiful.  My flab, rolls, stretch marks, and cellulite are mine. If I can learn to accept them so can the people around me.  I was so offended by the Photoshopping and someone thinking they were doing me a favor that I embraced my arms, mentally hugging them and telling them that it's ok, I see them as beautiful. 
     The Photoshopper who gave me those sticks taught me a valuable lesson. Without that image I may never had made peace with myself, with my "flaws". I do not see my arms as a flaw anymore. My body is not wrong; society is wrong for subjecting women to a beauty standard that isn't real. Celebrities and models are Photoshopped on everything. I could transform my body into the best it can be and it still would not be considered perfect. I need to see myself as perfect now because regardless of what I do to it, someone will find something wrong. 

    As for the photo that started it all, it lives under my bed (it's a large canvas photo). I can't look at it because it makes me sad. I hold on to it for several reasons - the most important being the lesson that came from it. This is the first summer I am not subjecting myself to cardigans in 100 and something degree heat to hide my arms. I show my arms with pride now, they have become my middle finger to unrealistic beauty standards. This is me, I am beautiful  and no one can make me ashamed of my body. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

They Let My Big Mouth on the Radio!

2014 began with me taking to the radio and spreading my body positive message! 
 To listen to the segment CLICK HERE.  

     My dream to be able to share my message on radio airwaves was made possible with the help of the amazing Ricky Cash and Aaron Phillips of Vegas Unwrapped.  These gentleman have helped me get my message out again and I am so thankful to them for the opportunity! 
      I am a real person with a real story. I have struggled with my weight and eating disorders since third grade. I struggled with my own self worth.  I struggled and continue to battle with a sugar addiction.  On my journey of life I have learned lessons, but the biggest lesson of all was to love my body. My body is never going to be perfect and guess what...neither is anyone else's!  
 During this interview, I am open and honest about what I went through. I am not shy and I use my voice to spread my message about loving our bodies and taking care of our mental and physical health. I also talk about me. Just me. I love ghost towns and everything rustic and vintage. My art has its own Facebook page; Glory Days Photography. I also had the joy of talking about 3 famous women that have inspired me in various aspects of my life. 
     I am proud of the growth that New Figure Forward continues to go through during its short time online. Thank you for the support and encouragement from my friends, family, and all of the amazing people I meet through my blog.  


Monday, January 13, 2014

My Second Chance

     At one point in my life, I did not think I was worthy of much. I believed that I should be thankful for what I had because, after all, who could love me? I gained 65 pounds in the 6 months leading up to my first wedding. I almost needed a new dress but was able to have it let it out and add a panel. I look back and can see what a huge sign that weight gain was; I was not happy. I walked down the aisle anyway because having a husband somehow validated me. 
     My weight gain continued and I found myself at 300 pounds within the first year of my marriage. I found myself unable to live the life I wanted and I felt trapped. One day, after wiping tears from my eyes, something inside me snapped and I changed my life. I walked into Weight Watchers and never looked back. I fought for my second chance. I shed my weight and discovered a woman who had outgrown her current circumstances and deserved a second chance. 
     During my weight loss, I was prepared for the physical change but I was not prepared for the mental change. The true change was in how I felt about myself. I discovered love, passion, joy, and self worth.  Some of the choices I was faced with after my weight loss were not easy. After immense soul searching, I chose to start over and honor the woman I had fought to become. 
     My ex-husband and I parted with a mutual understanding and forgiveness. We each went our own ways with the encouragement from each other that happiness was worth the pain of divorce. I did find my happiness. The new me got my second chance at love. When I was not looking, I fell in love with my best friend. We have been together for 5 years and married for over 2 years now.  Weight loss changes so much more than the body. For me, it changed who I was and what I thought I deserved. I am thankful for the day I broke - the day that made me change my life and never look back.  I found self worth and truly fell in love. 
     Here's to second chances! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cannot Pick It Up. Must Laugh.

       It is the day after my first Body Pump class and I hurt. Every muscle in my body is VERY aware of itself.  I didn't sleep very well because every time I would move the pain would wake me up. Am I discouraged? No. I knew I was going to be in for some pain and I am tough enough to handle it. What I was not prepared for was a moment in the grocery store today. 

     I am moving very slow today. I have kept my body moving though, still getting in my cardio, just not doing it as fast. I went about my day, holding back grunts of pain from getting in and out of my car or when my legs would almost buckle because my thigh muscles are shot.  I just keep telling myself to just move slow and steady. 

     I was in the grocery store juggling several items in my arms (I did not get a cart for just the few items I needed) when the universe saw an opportunity to remind me to smile.  I was balancing my stuff when the top item fell. Ok, no biggie, I'll just bend down and pick it up. WRONG! Nope. Notta. I could not squat down to pick it up with my leg muscles being so sore. I tried a few different maneuvers to pick up my item. No luck. I stood there in the aisle feeling defeated.  

     I shop at this store regularly and have for years so the employees know me. Thank goodness they do! I had one of the managers come over and ask if I was ok.  "You seem frustrated, can I help you?" I had to laugh. I pointed to the package on the floor by my feet and told him I could not pick it up. He gave me a funny look so I continued to explain I took Body Pump yesterday and have lost most of my motor skills.  He bust out laughing and then immediately apologized.  He looked so sorry for laughing at me that I had to laugh too. Here I am standing in the grocery store aisle unable to pick up the item I had dropped because I kicked my own butt in a weight class.  He picked up my item and wished me luck in my next class.  

     It is moments like this that remind me to never take life too seriously. Sometimes things are just funny (and painful). 

Friday, January 3, 2014

1st Time Around

While we wait for the pod cast to come in from my appearance on Vegas Unwrapped from January 2nd, you can listen to my first visit here (click here.) 

The original air date is October 24th. I start about 18 minutes in and continue after the break. 

You can get to know my story and the voice behind New Figure Forward.

Thank you for all the support!! 2014 is going to a big year, I can feel it! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Going LIVE! Details HERE!

TONIGHT I will be on Vegas Unwrapped radio
Tune in from 9-10 PM PST; Click here to listen LIVE! 
Aaron and Ricky at Vegas Unwrapped are like family to me. I have known both for years. Ricky knew me during my 125 pound weight loss. He has seen quite a few changes in me over the years.  I am stoked to be joining these gentleman again for a lively discussion.  

My first visit to Vegas Unwrapped.
     2014 is going to be an amazing year for New Figure Forward! This project comes from my heart and I am thankful for the opportunities it has brought me thus far. From my first visit to Vegas Unwrapped Radio, to meeting  Tess Munster, and an online high five from Jes at The Militant Baker, and not to mention the over 750 fans I received in 5 months, 2013 was good to me.  

     Tune in LIVE tonight as we kick off this year with an interview I'm sure will have you smiling. You'll hear that I am a real person who concurred my battle with weight and how I view my body. You'll hear how passionate I am about spreading my message of body positivity. Get to know me better TONIGHT!