Please Stop Hating Yourself!

Hello Lovelies,

Tonight I chatted with some friends in my Facebook Messenger, and the topic of our bodies came up. Some of the conversation went like this:

“I think I look gross. I did a boudoir for last year. And Had to wear something that covered my stomach and still hated how I looked in all of them. The photographer was amazing but ya…”

“I don’t have the balls to do a shoot-

I barely have sex with the lights on.”
“I’m just not comfortable with my body.”
These are mostly 20 and 30 something women who are absolutely gorgeous. Being good friends, we were telling one another how crazy we were to talk this way about ourselves (which was true! These ladies are HOT!).
But I remember that loathing. The feeling of not being good enough; judging myself in dressing room mirrors, cringing at the slightest extra few pounds on my stomach. Endless dieting. As a performer, I felt that extra pressure to achieve that coveted size 2-4 (and I did – but developed an eating disorder in the process).
I’m no longer living off the coffee and protein bars to stay small (thank God), and I’ve stopped the size obsession. It’s exhausting. Could I stand to lose some weight? Of course. I’m working on dropping some pounds, but I really just want to be healthy.
How did I stop the loathing? This quote from RuPaul did it:
“If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else?”
(can I get an “Amen” in here?)
rupaul
It’s true. Mama Ru knows a little something about acceptance! I finally had to learn to accept who I was, right then – not the “someday” version of Melanie I fantasized about. I deserve to be happy.
As women, we are fantastically hard on ourselves. We’re not tall enough, thin enough, curvy enough, busty enough, young enough, bootylicious enough. If it’s not our bodies we’re hating, it’s feeling like we don’t measure up as mothers, wives, or deserving of success.
PLEASE STOP.
Generally, men don’t do this to themselves. They work on their “trouble” areas, but the self loathing is not nearly as much as what women do to their self-esteem.
So, what do we do about it? Focus on things which we love about ourselves. Start by playing up those legs if you love those. Enhance your beautiful skin. Show off your shoulders. Let your hair hang down.  Give back to others. Surround yourself with those with good energy. Realize that all those models are airbrushed and photoshopped!
zendaya
If there’s one advantage to being a forty something, it’s that knowing that I am comfortable and fine the way I am. It took me a long time to get here, and I want to face the second half of my life feeling good.
Let’s give ourselves a break and enjoy life!!
Until next time –
Love, laughter, and shoes –
xo Melanie
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No “Biggest Loser” For Me

Hello lovelies,

Are you a fan of the show “The Biggest Loser?” I was. The Hubby and I watched a few seasons together and would be motivated and inspired by the contestants’ progress. I would always marvel at the Finale episode when contestants would burst through an old picture of their heavier selves. Many of them would lose well over 100 pounds, sometimes more. The winner would stand in a shower of confetti, and be rewarded with $250,000 and lined up to do speaking engagements, book deals, and endorsements.

Danny Cahill is one of those winners. He started the show at 430 lbs, won at 191 lbs., and is now 295 lbs., six years after the win. According to a study conducted on the Season 8 contestants (Cahill was one of them), all but one have gained back significant weight.

Danny Cahill, Season 8 Winner

Danny Cahill, Season 8 Winner

May 2016.

May 2016.

According to the study, the main reason for these contestants regaining weight is because their metabolisms now burn several hundred calories less than when they started the Biggest Loser. Basically, their metabolisms were shot after losing so much weight in the span of six months.

Even before this study came out, I stopped watching the show after Rachel Frederickson won the show, losing over 60 percent of her original body weight. Even trainers Bob and Jillian looked shocked and horrified at her appearance. Thin at all costs? No thank you.

Only 105 lbs. in this pic. Rachel has gained 20 lbs. since the finale and feels "perfect."

Only 105 lbs. in this pic. Rachel has gained 20 lbs. since the finale and feels “perfect.”

Bob and Jillian know something is wrong here.

Bob and Jillian know something is wrong here.

I’m on a journey, not a sprint. It’s perfectly fine for me to lose weight slowly. When I take off the weight, it’s going to be for good, not for a quick fix.

On March 3, 2016 I started my work at 223 lbs., the heaviest I’ve been. Today (May 11, 2016), I am 12.5 lbs. lighter at 210.5 and feeling much better. No, I wouldn’t win a weight loss contest, but I don’t care. I’d rather be healthy for the rest of my life.

I couldn't wear this dress two months ago! Fits great now.

I couldn’t wear this dress two months ago! Fits great now.

BluWhdress2

Slow and steady works for me!

How do you feel about the results of the Biggest Loser study? Let me know!

Until next time – love, laughter, and shoes-

xo Melanie.

 

 

Coming Out Day: Owning Who You Are

Hello lovelies,

For many of my friends, Coming Out Day is a time to celebrate their authentic selves. To not hide who they truly are.  Being proud to say they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.  I am proud to be a supporter of their celebration!

For me, Coming Out Day is so much more than this. Many of us are “closeted” in some way.  Afraid of not fitting in, fearful of ridicule and criticism. For a plus size woman as myself, the one thing I’ve kept closeted is my weight.

Not today. I am owning that as of this week, I am 217 pounds.

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I am overweight. I accept this fact. I am aware that it’s not good for me to carry this excess weight on my frame. However, I am not going to be ashamed of myself.

My hubby loves me for me. I am very blessed.

My hubby loves me for me. I am very blessed.

I’m not defined by my weight. It has taken me years to get to this mindset, as I used to think I was fat, unattractive, and unworthy at 135 pounds. I thought, when I am 115, then I will be happy.

WEIGHT DOES NOT CREATE HAPPINESS! When I was in my size 2/4 days, on the outside I seemed happy. In reality, those were some of the most anxious, self doubting days of my life. I believed that if I gained weight, people would stop taking me seriously.

I lived off of protein bars and coffee to stay this thin. Always afraid of the scale.

I lived off of protein bars and coffee to stay this thin. Always afraid of the scale.

The thing is, now, I know I need to shed some weight to avoid becoming diabetic, taking pressure off my lower back, and decrease my risk of a heart attack. I am proud to say I am taking steps in the right direction to address these factors.

Hubby is really getting good at pics!

Hubby is really getting good at pics!

Weight goes up and down. My attitude and love for who I am should not be attached to what the scale says.

Own who you are. There’s only one YOU, so celebrate! 

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.

 

 

Why I’ll Never Be “Skinny” Again

This week, plus size diva Tess Holliday (Munster) made modeling history as being the largest model to be signed to a major modeling agency. Her beauty and talent as a model is what caught the attention of Milk Model Management, and how refreshing is it to see the fashion industry including a more diverse talent pool. Beauty is beauty, after all!

Go Tess!

Go Tess!

When I learned of Tess’ historic signing, I couldn’t help but think if only she and other models like her had been around when I was a struggling young professional actor/dancer, I would have not gone through the madness I did.

When I was a size 8/10 (pictured below), I kept getting small character parts and not being taken seriously as a dancer (I thought).

Size 8 10

As a result, I convinced myself I needed to be skinner to get better roles.  So over the course of a year, I upped my workouts, cut sugar and a lot of fat out of my diet, and got down to a size 4.

Size 3 4 2

Everyone noticed. Suddenly I started to be seen as a leading lady/sexpot type for casting. However, I constantly lived every day in fear that the weight would come back. If the weight came back, would all the attention and roles go away? Convinced that gaining weight would ruin everything, food became the enemy. So I decided if a size 4 was good, a 2 must be better. That’s what the leading ladies in Hollywood wear….

At the height of my madness.

At the height of my madness.

During this time, I was living on coffee, water, protein bars and plain veggies. I’d get up at 6 am and run for 45 minutes before starting the day, then come home and work out again (this time including hundreds of crunches). I’d then go out at night, dancing until the wee hours and drink a lot of booze. If I didn’t follow my food/exercise regimen EXACTLY, I was a failure and add “punishment exercises” the next day.  Little did I realize how miserable I was.

The tipping point came when I went on an audition for a musical. The part called for a lot of dancing, and I was ready. After rocking the dance combinations, those of us who “made the cut” stood in a line before the choreographer and director.

They looked at each of us, quietly whispering (not that quiet, mind you) comments as they took note.

“Good execution, pretty. Need to hear her sing again.”

“Not sure yet. Maybe.”

These kind of comments escaped their little bubble, making all of us anxious. Then, they glanced at me.

“Really good…a bit thick, though.”

I was stunned. After we were dismissed, I couldn’t get the words out of my ears.  I was a size 2, and losing my mind trying to stay that way.

Devastated, I threw out my scale.

Flash forward several years, my weight has fluctuated a bit. After my back injury, I became the heaviest I’ve ever been, but you know what? I don’t care.

I’ve been gradually become more active, focusing on getting my strength & flexibility back. I’ve cut out soda and drink more water. I try to watch the amount of sugar I eat. All I want is to feel healthy. I don’t give a shit what size that will be. No one will ever determine my self-worth again.

So here’s to you, Tess. Thank you for showing us all that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Fashion to Figure jacket,  H&M sweaterdress (as a top), Forever 21 Plus skirt.

Fashion to Figure jacket,
H&M sweaterdress (as a top),
Forever 21 Plus skirt.

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.