25 Oct

Bikini Confidence: Maria

Maria Overcame an Eating Disorder

It’s been a little while since the last Bikini Confidence post so I’m very excited that another blogger asked if she could take part in the series. Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop. Hers is a story of finding self-love, finding solace in friendship, and finding the courage to overcome an eating disorder.

There are times when I sit in the passenger seat of my boyfriend’s car, staring at the trees washing by like water colors, that I wonder what college would have been like without an eating disorder.

Sick

Well, three, technically.  When I moved miles away from any family and friends for a college campus in an entirely different country than the one I’d grown up in, I became anorexic, probably in some sub-conscious attempt to control my diet and physical appearance since I had control over little else in my life then.  My most absurd experience may be salting vitamins pills for a “snack” since I didn’t believe in digestion after 8 PM.

Before long, I started binging and purging, and it was only when I blurted to my boyfriend that sometimes I make myself throw up that I realized I had a problem.  I stopped purging after that, but couldn’t help but binge when I felt control over anything—my choice in dinner ingredients, an offhand comment made by a friend, the lack of my favorite toothpaste brand at the store—slip through my fingers.

Few people knew of my disorders and even fewer among those few supported me.  As I avoided social engagements for fear of being judged and of simply being seen, some friends became impatient while still others disappeared from my life.

Feeling Home Away From Home

Then, I studied abroad in Europe with eleven other students who were, at the time, strangers to me.  Because I did not love myself, I could only assume no one on the trip would find anything to love in me, and so I spent most of my time alone in the green foothills of the Alps before anyone else was awake, traveling alone to Assisi and Naples, doing everything as alone as possible.

That was until one night when my towel hadn’t dried from that morning and I went across the hall to ask another student for a towel.  As we chatted in my room, she said, quite matter-of-factly, “You should come hang out with us more often.  The guys think you’re gorgeous but awesome, and I need another girl to hang out with.  No, you wouldn’t be intruding.  All right, now it’s not an option.  You’re hanging out with us from now on.”

I didn’t believe a word she said at first.  Especially the gorgeous part.  I was 140 lbs in Italy, when I’d been 90lbs (and not menstruating) just six months earlier, and a steady, unmovable 120 lbs since puberty ages ago.  I hated the very sight of me in the mirror and couldn’t understand why anybody wanted to even know me, never mind invite me to a trip to Florence, Siena, and Rome.

I wish that I hadn’t been sick in college.  Sometimes, when the mood strikes me (usually during dreaded PMS week), I still cry about it.  I loved Europe but not as much as I loved the memories my new friends and I made there.  I loved being in peak physical shape and being the envy of beer-gut sporting college girls, but not as much as I loved the company of carefree friends I lost because I never told them I was sick.

Fighting Back

Still, it might have been college—the integral part of the environment that provoked my eating disorders—that allowed me to cure myself.

If there was ever anything I was proud of, something I’d never felt as insecure of or imprisoned by as my physical appearance, it was my intellect.  I’d always been at the top of my class, and I used my passion for knowledge to write my senior Honors thesis on the theory that eating disorders are the result of historic gender prejudice and the media.

This was my therapy.  For an entire semester, I raided the Internet, my notes on all my history and politics classes, and the campus library, steadily growing angrier and angrier over all the evidence supporting my theory.  I began to go into rages across the screen of Microsoft Word, typing madly that disordered eaters are not just anorexics, they are not just overeaters, they are not just white college girls looking to fit in, they are not weak-minded, they are not pigs, they are not guilty, they are not greedy, they are not lost causes.  It was into rage that I channeled my insecurity and overwhelming sadness, and for me, rage was easier to conquer than loneliness and despair.

My Honors professor gave me an A for my paper; I graduated Summa Cum Laude and left that campus at relatively the same weight yet in a healthier, more confident state of mind than I had entered it.

But this isn’t a typical success story.  The last thing of disordered eaters to heal is body image.  Mine is good some days, others not.  Am I stronger now than I was then?  Undoubtedly.  Do I care what others think of me upon sight?  Significantly less than before.  Do I wonder what it would have been like to experience college like every other girl?  I learned in researching for my thesis that 40% of college girls are disordered eaters.

Some days, I am still angry.



This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And, of course, my own Bikini Birthday post!

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
19 Aug

Bikini Confidence: Kate

Kate’s Body is Just Asking for a Bikini

The next guest blogger is my favourite writer on the web right now, so you can imagine I was pretty elated when she agreed to do a guest post for the Bikini Confidence Series. (Seriously, I jump on her blog immediately every time new content pops up on my reader.) Kate blogs at Eat the Damn Cake where she evaluates the relationship between women and their appearance, remarks something that she loves about herself with her Un-roasts, and collects photos of women eating cake (like mine) in her cake gallery. Her bikini story reflects on how she reverted from insecurity about her body back to the positive self-image she held as a young girl.


A Brief History of My Relationship With Bikinis:

Samantha’s relationship with bikinis is inspiring. They should make a movie about her journey. And, as a result, more women should go out and buy the bikinis they feel like they shouldn’t wear.

The whole idea that only some people “can” wear something, and everyone else is not allowed to is really obnoxious. It’s pretty clear that a lot of clothing is designed for a single body type (you know the one. Tall, graceful, malnourished, possibly on the brink of death. Or at least tall and slender). And it’s also pretty clear that bodies look all different. And lastly, I think we can all agree that pretty much everyone is wearing skinny jeans anyway. So we’re breaking the rules constantly. Except for me, because I still can’t figure out how to get the jeans past my ankles. They’re way too skinny.

But bikinis, on the other hand, seemed at first to be made for my body. I got my first one when I was ten or so. It was black, and I thought it was really sexy. Until I saw my best friend Emily’s bikini, which was plaid, and even smaller. It looked much more grownup. We traded, in what I thought was the coup of the century. I cackled evilly to myself, hid the bikini in the bottom drawer of my dresser, and never wore it. It was too scandalous. I knew my mother wouldn’t approve. She might take it away. And the bikini was too precious to risk losing.

By the time I was fourteen, I was wearing bikinis, rather than hiding them, and I was sure every boy who saw me in one fell immediately in love. Or lust. Either one was fine. I had no breasts to speak of, and a long torso, and one-pieces didn’t really fit right, but bikinis made me feel free.

I looked forward to summer. Thinking back on it, it wasn’t that I’d determined that, objectively, I had the ideal body for a bikini, it was that I was just proud of my body, and a bikini showed much more of what I was proud of than regular clothes. There wasn’t anything about my body in particular that was exceptional—I just liked it a lot. And I liked knowing that I liked it, and knowing that I looked comfortable.

Because I was an unschooler, and didn’t spend a lot of time in a crowd of my peers, I didn’t have a lot of other female bodies my age to compare myself to, and I wasn’t exposed to the judgment of a bunch of boys. I didn’t know where I ranked, and it didn’t occur to me that I had to rank at all.

Now that attitude seems almost impossible to have maintained, and I’m a little shocked by my past self, for being both so unaware and so fantastically healthy.

During college, I realized that in order to wear a bikini, one had to be more than just thin and confident. There were a certain kind of breasts that were involved in the look. A certain kind of butt. A certain silhouette (mastered by that girl who posed for all the mud flaps). Legs with specific measurements. The list went on and on. At the beach, I was tugging self-consciously at the wet cloth, trying to cover more of myself. I grabbed a towel.

I bought shorts for the bottom half, and a padded top. I tried to keep my clothes on for as long as possible. My body wasn’t something to be shown off anymore. The only bodies for showing off were the perfect ones. My body needed a lot of work. It needed to be carefully defended and protected. If it was set free it might run around humiliating me.

And it only got worse. I gained weight. My stomach stuck out for the first time.

This past March my fiancé and I went on a vacation that included a beach. I had to dig up an old bikini for the occasion. I hadn’t worn it in ages. It was black. And tiny. And unpadded. It was a hand-me-down from a friend whose breasts it was unable to contain. I was not looking forward to wearing it. I was thinking about what I might wrap around myself, over the bikini.

And then there I was, in the ocean, naked except for a few shreds of black cloth, in all my awkwardness and imperfection. We were jumping over waves. It was a little like being ten again. And the boy beside me, obviously he had fallen madly in love (and lust) with me.

When we got out I didn’t pull the towel over myself right away. Instead, we went for a walk. I couldn’t undo the years of lessons I’d learned so well about the many ways in which I don’t look gorgeous, but I could begin to remember a different way of experiencing myself. I felt a familiar hint of pride at having this body, not because of any one thing about it, but because it was mine, and I liked myself. I liked the way I fit together. And it seemed a little absurd that I had ever begun to compare myself to every other woman. As though I could ever be anyone but myself! As though anyone could ever wear a bikini quite like me.

*  *  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love my long torso. It’s just asking for a bikini.


This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And, of course, my own Bikini Birthday post!

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
11 Aug

Bikini Confidence: Super G

Super G has Super Legs

Today’s guest blogger in the Bikini Confidence series is Super G who writes about her delicious eats, healthy lifestyle, and sweet tooth at Me2Writes. I’m happy she wanted to share her story of how she shattered her negative body image, broke through her comfort zone, and headed to the beach to give a little leg in an oh- so-sexy bikini.

Hello everyone!

Super G here from Me2Writes.  I want to thank Samantha for giving me this opportunity! I love the idea behind Bikini Confidence Series.

Growing up, I was very skinny but with low self confidence.  Always wondering about my body image… Throughout high school, I was teased for being too skinny, or too short… And of course, I let all those negativities grow on me.  I became very self conscious about how my legs looked! Yup! of all things! Dreaming up the day when I’ll have non-crooked, scar-free, lean and long legs!

Then I went off to college. Like many other college students, I had packed some extra weight by the time graduation had come around.  Between classes, exams, finding a job, I didn’t have time to really focus on what went in my body.  And it showed… Still obsessed about my non- supermodel legs, I tossed my shorts and kissed my bikini goodbye!
Once I got out of school and started living and working in the Real World, I decided that it was time for a change! A change in the way I see myself. It was time to accept myself for who I am and how I look.  I am me!

In order to do so, I decided that it was time to focus on what went in my body. A healthy mind needs a healthy lifestyle. I focused on food and not counting calories.  Food is fuel and should be enjoyed!  I managed to lose weight in the process and feel comfortable in my own skin.
This year, for the first time in almost 5 yrs, I decided to face my fears; Showing my legs!


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I put on my two pieced yellow bikini and embraced my body. I looked in the mirror and loved what I saw!
I saw a confident lady no longer worrying about how her legs look, only grateful that she can stand on them!

This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And don’t forget my own Bikini Birthday post!

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
09 Aug

bikini confidence: Caitlin

Caitlin Loves Her Body’s Abilities

This next guest blogger wrote the book on body image. Literally. Caitlin’s blog, Operation Beautiful, has a mission to end women’s body image issues by reminding them of their true beauty through positive messages posted on mirrors in public places. She also blogs about her exercise and eating habits at Healthy Tipping Point . I’m happy to have her share thoughts on body image in the Bikini Confidence series.

Bikini Confidence is a funny thing.  For many years, I thought “awkward and uncomfortable” were synonymous with “bikini.”  Needless to say, I was lacking bikini confidence.  I was hyper aware of the fact that I had cellulite despite running dozens of miles each week.. and my stomach was certainly not a six pack.
How did I get from there to here – here being “I don’t care that I’m in a bikini in front of whomever”? Because I really do find that I’ve transitioned to a place where I really don’t mind.  I’m not shy… overall.  There are still some moments when I doubt myself, but in general, I don’t have negative thoughts running through my head at the beach.

Has my body changed? Not really.  But my perspective has.  I now see that my body is wonderful for the things that it can DO.  It doesn’t need to be photoshopped perfection like I see in the movies.  I can run for 26.2 miles, I can run 8:00-miles, I can skip and dance and laugh and make love.  Maybe one day my body will even pop out a baby!  That’s something amazing, and if that doesn’t give me confidence, what could?


This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And don’t forget my own Bikini Birthday post!

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
05 Aug

Bikini Confidence: Gabriela

The next installment in the Bikini Confidence Series comes from Gabriela of Une Vie Saine. After struggling with the burden of disordered eating, read how Gabriela was able to alter her relationship with food when she discovered how wonderful healthy eating made her feel.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Hi everyone! I’m Gabriela from Une Vie Saine. Thank you so much to Samantha for the opportunity to write a guest post! I love the premise of her blog. So many women (and men!) suffer from negative body image, especially when wearing a bathing suit.

Growing up, I was never a confident little girl. Though wasn’t really overweight, I wasn’t effortlessly thin like my athletic older brother, beautiful mother, and skinny classmates. Children can be cruel, but I was my toughest critic. I filled journals with words of self-hatred due to my little tummy and full cheeks.

When I reached high school, my preoccupation with my weight took a dangerous turn. Fed up with being bigger than most of my friends, I resolved to finally lose weight. I began counting calories obsessively, restricting more and more until I’d lost all the pudge that had bothered me, and then some. I was sickly, weak and unhealthy.

A few months before I headed off to college, I realized that I didn’t want to live my life around food anymore. My fear of fat had paralyzed me for too long. I was sick of skipping social events, eating alone and weighing myself every morning. I wanted to be a fun college student, not the emaciated and antisocial girl! Change didn’t come easily, but I sought help from a therapist and tried to surround myself with healthy, positive people. Over several years, I overhauled my entire way of thinking, valuing whole foods over low-calorie ones, enjoying exercise as a stress reliever instead of a fat-blasting session, and realizing that chasing a “perfect” body only takes time away from the things I love. There will always be something to tighten or tone, but I want to live my life- not spend it in search of an illusive ideal.

Changing the way you’ve felt about yourself for eighteen years isn’t easy. Learning to love my body has been a slow process, and I still work on it every day. But three years ago, I never could have imagined looking in the mirror and being happy with what I saw. And today, I really, really am.


This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And don’t forget my own Bikini Birthday post!

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
02 Aug

Bikini Confidence – Jasmine

Jasmine Loves Herself for Who She Is

Words can be hurtful and can impact you in very dynamic ways. It takes a very powerful individual to be confident with who they are, regardless of the cruel comments that they may hear. Please read Jasmine’s story about how she was able to overcome negative judgement and to see herself as a true success story. Jasmine truly does have Bikini Confidence. You can read more about her healthy lifestyle at Eat Move Write.


Hey all!
I’m Jasmine, from Eat Move Write. Samantha asked me to write a post about bikini confidence related to the purchase of my new (and first) bikini. However, something happened to me recently that relates even better, I think, to self-image than me getting my butt in a bikini.
Recently, AOL featured me and my weight loss on their Success & Motivation section called That’s Fit (See the article here.). I was very pleased and excited to see all sorts of new visitors to my blog and also a whole bunch of perfect (non-bloggie friends) strangers commenting on the article itself. Of course, with all things, putting yourself out there like that opens you up not just to positive comments, but to negative ones, as well. And, with my particular story, I find that I tend to incite things like anger, disgust, and utter amazement. See, I lost 200 pounds. Obviously, this piques the curiosity of the masses, but at the same time knowing that I had gastric bypass pares that down. Often, it seems, it is, in fact, very overweight people who are most offended by my choice. It doesn’t seem to matter that I was told I was dying, that I couldn’t have children, that I had been dieting since I was eight years old, and that in order to lose 200 pounds, I worked out every single day for two or three hours at a time and still struggle to this day against a body that would (and sometimes does) happily gain weight at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t have to, I suppose.

So, I knew, by putting my story “out there” in any vein, would incite a curious mix of anger and inspiration, but I’m a writer by trade. I almost have no choice but to tell the stories I have in my arsenal. So, I do and I have, and I could only hope that there would be many more points of inspiration than anger. That’s been overwhelmingly true. People love my story, and that thrills me to no end, but then there are the other people, few and far between, but there. This, for example, is one of the comments from the AOL story. I copied it the day it happened, thankfully, because they have since removed it from the thread.
It reads:

She’s still a pig. Keep starving yourself, honey, and maybe one day you’ll look like an actual human being.

For anyone to have 200 pounds to lose is pretty disgusting in itself. And, those former fatties are usually emotional basket cases…
Oink, Oink.

Wow, right?
At first, I only managed to repeat, “Whaaa? You can’t be serious!?!” over and over again until my husband got annoyed and said, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
My next response harkened to the super morbidly obese girl I once was: shame. Shame at putting myself out there, shame at being seen at all. I instantly remembered all my flaws. I saw the 15 pounds I’ve gained since my wedding, the ones I’m working so hard to lose, and wanted to die that I let myself be photographed with that extra weight. I saw a body that never quite made it to “skinny” the way I swore I would, perhaps because I didn’t try hard enough, or perhaps because that just isn’t my body type. This one message called me out. It, among dozens of others that used words like “inspiration,” “motivation,” and “beautiful,” shined to me like a beacon. It was all I could see. I started to ask myself, “Do people really see me as a pig? Don’t I look like a normal human being? Am I truly an emotional basket case?”
At this point, my husband interjected with one small word that makes a lot of sense.
“Haters,” he said, with a flare of his hand that meant to dismiss all of those hateful words, every last one down to the “oink, oink.”
And, it made me realize something…

I LOST 200 POUNDS.

I went from this…
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To this…
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If I don’t celebrate that amazing, stupendous accomplishment, then who will?!? Like my dear husband so nonchalantly said, there will ALWAYS be haters. There will always be someone sitting around, eating potato chips, and surfing on the internet ready to pounce on my dedication to a healthy lifestyle, my weight loss, my continued struggles with my weight. There will always be people who look at me and think that I took some magic pill, that all those hours in the gym, all the foods I’ve given up were all easy because a doctor gave me a tool that saved my life, that made it possible for me to walk, so that I could finally take the reins and run.
There will always be a hater…
To tell me my arms are too big to bare in a wedding dress.
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To tell me that I’m far too big at my current (marital bliss) weight to wear this cute bikini, that I’d look SO MUCH better if I just lost this extra weight.
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To tell me I’m not good enough, that people don’t like me, that they don’t want to hear my story.
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And, it really doesn’t matter. There will probably always be people like that, people looking at how high I’ve climbed and wanting to tear me down just so they can be on top. There will always be haters hating on me, but all that really matters is that I’m not one of them.
Love yourself,
Jasmine

P.S. Happy Birthday Samantha!!!


This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And don’t forget my own Bikini Birthday post!

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
28 Jul

Bikini Confidence: Kenzie

Kenzie Fakes It ‘Til She Makes It

Kenzie blogs at A Healthy Purpose where she focuses on her high raw/high vegan kitchen creations and lets readers in on the habits that let her live her best life possible. I love reading Kenzie’s blog because she has a perfect perspective on wellbeing– the path to a health is not “one size fits all”; it’s up to you to determine what works best with your lifestyle. Kenzie is resplendent (I mean, just look at her, isn’t she glowing?) so I had to ask her to share the secret to her confidence.

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When Samantha asked me to guest post on her whimsically honest and admirable blog, I felt really honored she thought of me. While not always an easy topic to talk about I’m just going to give “confidence” all I got:

I’m confident. And I accept my body. But I don’t love it. And I don’t think anyone NEEDS to love it, you just need to appreciate it and see that there is beauty even with your flaws.

To me confidence is about radiating from the inside out. And the secret to that vibrancy is doing things that make you really happy and being the person you want to be. By following your gut and making decisions others would be shocked about. Make a path others will want to follow.

Go confidently towards the life you want to lead and feed off that confidence in other areas of your life.

But I’m sure we all know from the number of blogs and fashion magazines that write about the topic: feeling confident all the time is a difficult task to maintain.

That’s why my one big strategy for feeling good about myself is to not let other people think for a moment that I’m not confident! If you constantly bring up your insecurities or present yourself in a way that shows you lack confidence, people will see that. But if you put your best foot forward and believe it really is what’s inside that counts, then that’s how the world will recognize you.

Lastly, I believe that doing what you love and allowing other people to witness your confidence in the life you’ve created, will ensure that that confidence really does exist. If you cease to talk about your flabby arms or your tire swing (yes, swing) stomach then maybe you’ll stop thinking about those negatives, and stop letting them bring you down.

Do you want to throw away your scale yet? I do! Happy eating today, my friends! Make it food you feel good about.

Kenzie from A Healthy Purpose


This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out the other guest posters:

And don’t forget my own Bikini Birthday post!


If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
27 Jul

bikini confidence: this is me

This is not me in a bikini.

(source)

I’ll never look like that in real life and it would take a lot of retouching to make me look like that in a photo (well, a lot more retouching than was done on this model, anyway). With my curly hair and fair complexion I’ll never fit the conventions of attractiveness defined by the current zeitgeist. I’ll never look in the mirror and see a swimsuit model. …and yet slowly I’ve been seeing beauty.

It started small. After brushing my teeth I smiled at the mirror and thought My teeth are kinda decent, aren’t they? I mean, they are. They’re all lined up nicely. They’re a natural shade of off-white. And they have a small little gap in the front that gives me character.

…then slowly it started building up to bigger things. Some days I would do a double-take in the mirror and think something like Man, my butt is perfectly perky today or Are those my triceps muscles? Yeah, I think I see my triceps! or My shoulders look pretty nice in this top or even I look pretty.

I have to admit that I feel guilty about these positive affirmations, as if I am being cocky and thinking taboo thoughts. As if I am somehow betraying my own self-destructiveness. Who do you think you are, believing you look so good? Breaking out of the self-disparaging attitude that has been my security blanket for much of my life has proven to be the most challenging part of the last 6 months. But the truly amazing thing, is that I AM breaking out of it. While I used to always succumb to my critical self, I’ve now created a bizarre internal conflict between my critical self and the confident self that I long to be. And Confident Me won’t go down without a fight.

Confident Me can’t deny what she sees in the mirror. Where Critical Me sees bulk, Confident Me sees strength. Critical Me sees fat; Confident Me sees femininity. Critical Me sees plainness; Confident Me see beauty.

It would be delusional to think that I can completely rid myself of my criticism, but then again, I don’t even want to. I think a healthy level of self-judgment keeps us modest and down-to-earth. It allows us to accept and embrace our capabilities and our weaknesses. When we allow our self-criticism and self-confidence to coexist then we can achieve fundamental happiness. I may not be at that point yet, but I’m getting there and I’m learning a lot about myself along the way.

So here I am not perfect, not tanned, not Amanda Brandao. I am 25 years old. I am beautiful. I am happy. I am me.


Happy Birthday to Me.


25 Jul

Bikini Confidence: Meghan Telpner

Meghan is Chubby and Likes it That Way


Meghan Telpner’s blog Making Love in the Kitchen was the launching point for my own personal food revolution. Before I started reading it I was eating yoghurt with aspartame and textured vegetable protein and thinking that I was a healthy eater. Through reading her blogs and participating in her Green Smoothie cleanses I have learned to appreciate real, whole foods and how what we eat impacts every aspect of our health. I’m so glad that she let me publish one of my favourite of her posts as part of the Bikini Confidence series: I’d Rather Be Chubby.

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Weight is such a tricky issue when it comes to health. Skinny does not equal healthy- but weight seems to be what drives most of our health related decisions- whether to exercise, whether to order a salad, whether to celebrate with a piece of chocolate cake. The thing is, when we feel well and when we are truly happy from way deep inside, our weight becomes less of an issue.

Why would I rather be chubby? I was skinny once upon a sick sick time.

I was skinny when I was sick but never saw the beauty of it. I just saw sickness and tiredness. I got lots of compliments too which totally screwed up my self-image. I kept being asked  how I had lost all that weight. Twenty pounds in one month. At five feet tall- and starting at 130 pounds, that is a huge amount of weight to lose in a very short time. What was my secret? As if anyone really wanted the details of what I was going through with Crohn’s Disease. I may have looked great with my skinny jeans falling off me,  but I couldn’t leave my bathroom and my thick curly hair had lost it’s curl and was falling out in handfuls.

Bobblehead-like with thinning hair. This was the weekend up at the cottage following my colonoscopy. I hadn't been able to eat solid food in about three weeks and despite the smile, I think it's clear in my dozey eyes how icky I was feeling.

The craziest thing about this time in my life was that I had never been sicker and had never had more people tell me how great I looked. As I began gaining weight back, when my disease went into remission, I became very self-conscious about this weight. I was often told how healthy I looked and would wonder if it might just be a nice way of saying ‘fat’. I had been trying to squeeze into my ‘Crohn’s wardrobe’ for two years  and only recently packed it up to give away. I am just not meant to wear those tiny jeans and though it has taken some time to accept, I am now fully a-okay with that.

When I work with clients who need to gain weight, I can tell you there is nothing harder. Any of us who have ever had a challenge with our weight and struggled to lose it have no idea what people go through who are sick and can’t gain a pound.

What I know for sure is this: I would rather buy new jeans than be sick again. I would rather not look as conventionally perfect in a bikini than be sick again. I would rather have thick curly hair and nails that grow than be sick again.  I would rather be able to travel and eat at restaurants, sleep through the night, have a boyfriend,  toast a best friend’s wedding with champagne, wake up in the morning full of energy and excited about the day to come than be sick again. I would rather spend my day in the kitchen, cooking up amazing whole food based creations, be five pounds overweight and healthy, than living off pureed soup, rice cakes and liquid meal replacements.

I’d rather be a little chubby, with a fuller bottom, rounder face, clearer skin, thicker hair and feel wonderfully vibrant, clear-headed, excited about life,  healthy and happy, than ever have to be sick again.

What would you rather be? What’s most important to you? The way you look or the way you feel? Are you able to make these co-exist? Are you at a place of optimum health? What does health look and feel like to you?

See Original Post.

Bio

Meghan Telpner is a certified nutritionist and holistic lifestyle consultant with a private practice in downtown Toronto and a client base that extends around the world, from Mozambique to Australia. Meghan provides an array of nutritional and lifestyle services that range from weekly group cooking classes to corporate programs and personal consultations. Meghan is the official nutrition blogger for The National Post and her own blog Making Love In The Kitchen. She has become well recognized in Toronto for her colourful presence, with her bicycle covered in flowers and a flag on the back boasting the phrase, “Feel Good? Feel Great!”   With humour and passion, Meghan inspires people to take a look at their lives and to start living their dreams now. Meghan’s enthusiasm, charisma, positive energy and dynamism are truly motivating and inspiring.

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This post is part of the Bikini Confidence Series. If you missed them, check out Heather’s Bikini Confidence post here and Nicole’s post here.

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.
21 Jul

Bikini Confidence: Prevention RD

Nicole Knows How To Be Her Happiest Self

There are some food bloggers, like me, who talk about healthy eating and then there are bloggers who actually know about it. Nicole knows her stuff. She’s a Registered Dietitian who specializes in diabetes. She writes informative pieces, answers readers’ FAQs, and shares her delicious and healthy recipes in her blog at Prevention RD. Enjoy her contribution to the Bikini Confidence series.


Hello Bikini Birthday readers! I absolutely love Samatha’s candid writing — her posts always make me smile. I am honored she asked me to write a guest post on body image. Thanks, girl!

So with Bikini Birthday’s birthday here, it’s time to celebrate you…just as you are, perfectly imperfect. Because that’s what you are.

It’s not always easy to have positive body image, but it’s important to come back to loving yourself at the end of each day. As the saying goes, you have to love yourself in order for others to love you, too. I learned this first-hand.

Tipping the scales from the age of 3, body image was always a struggle for me. And in high school when I shed 70+ pounds, it was easier to feel better about myself. I was finally able to do things that meant more than looks alone — I ran, smiled, and glowed with true happiness because my physical opinion of myself was no longer holding me back. My stomach was never flat, toned, or tan…but I donned a bikini back then! My bikini body was physically-speaking leaps and bounds ahead of what once was, and I for once, I was satisfied with what the mirror reflected back at me. Faded stretch marks, loose skin and all…a better me. A genuinely happy me.

Today I do not carry a weight I am happiest at, but I remain happy and with healthy body image. To gain 20 pounds (due to health problems) and to have good body image is a reflection of my opinion of me — head-to-toe, INSIDE and out — what really matters. And if you ask yourself what makes you proud of YOU, what would you say? Chances are it isn’t something on your exterior. And so maybe that’s the problem…we put too much emphasis and self-worth on things that do not produce a better, prouder, healthier, happier you.

So ask yourself, what makes you proud of you? And celebrate that…because you are more than a size, shape, or weight.


If you missed it, check out HEAB’s Bikini Confidence post here. If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies@gmail.com.