Pictures Don’t Lie

BoM selfie

Hello Lovelies,

Oh, I am a bad blogger! I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I posted anything, but I HAVE been busy! First off, I went home to Michigan for a couple weeks to surprise my dad for his birthday – and was he surprised! Between myself, stepmom, best friend, and aunt, we pulled off an awesome surprise party! I’m so happy I was able to do that for him and spend time with people I love. It’s hard to be so far away.

One of the things that’s hardest to do when going on vacation or seeing your friends and family is sticking to a healthy routine. When I left for Michigan on June 14, I weighed 207 (17 lbs down from my heaviest in March). I watched portion sizes, how much sugar and fat I ate, and avoided simple carbs. I did some “power walks” in the mornings to get my cardio going. Coming back, I was 205. Now I am 202! That’s 21 lbs. gone.

Though I’ve seen progress on the scale, sometimes it’s difficult to truly see it in the mirror. However, going through some pictures gave me true perspective of what I’ve done. Here I am at the start of my journey in March (at 223 lbs):

When I began to take control of my health!

When I began to take control of my health!

March 2016 223

Here are my latest pics from the first week of July:

Dress, Just Fab. Belt, thrift store find.

Dress, Just Fab.
Belt, thrift store find.

Bag and sandals, Just Fab.

Bag and sandals, Just Fab.

Though I look and feel healthier, I am not going to put down the Melanie in the “before” pictures. That’s something I don’t like seeing people do who’ve lost weight (“Look at how fat I was!, What a slob!, How ugly! etc.). I don’t think it’s healthy for my soul to “name call” myself. Who I was then has brought me to now, so I am thankful for that.

I’ve also put in 500 lifetime miles on my FitBit! I had to celebrate my getting these cute black sandals from JustFab.com (unfortunately are now sold out!).

Blk JF sandals

Though I’m entering (what is horribly named) “middle age,” I find that the key to staying and feeling youthful is to surround myself with people who love to have fun and bring out the best in you. I am blessed to have several people in my life who do this, especially my best friend of 40 years, Debby. She may not be my blood sister, but she has been one to me in every sense of the word!

All dressed up to see the hilarious musical, THE BOOK OF MORMON.

All dressed up to see the hilarious musical, THE BOOK OF MORMON.

BFFs Forever!

BFFs Forever!

Question for you all: Is age “just a number?” Are there things you should stop doing at a “certain age?” Please comment:)

Until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo Melanie.

 

 

 

SHOP LINKS: Black T shirt dress (up to 3X)

Bag (available in cognac only)

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.

 

 

Sports Illustrated’s First “Plus Size” Model

Sports Illustrated made history by announcing the inclusion of the first Plus Size model in its annual “Swimsuit Issue.”

I have mixed feelings about this.

First, I am glad to see a curvier model being showcased; however, this is the “plus size” model they are including in their editorial: size 12 beauty Robyn Lawley.

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I am not taking anything away from Ms. Lawley. She is gorgeous, healthy, and is an advocate of the curvier movement in fashion. I’m thrilled that she landed this opportunity!

What bothers me is Sports Illustrated labeling Lawley as “plus size.” announcing to the world, “hey, we’re open minded! We include plus size models!”

Let’s get real for a moment. YES, at a size 12, Robyn is considered “plus size” in the modeling world. However- she is 6’2″! A size 12 is NOT plus size for her proportions.

Can we try this instead, SI? Let’s truly show diversity in beauty.

Use size 16 Ashley Graham IN the editorial, not just an advertisement.

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Maybe next year.

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Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx 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.

Am I Promoting Obesity?

I stumbled across this article called “Do Plus Sized Clothes Promote Obesity?” and as a plus size fashionista, it got me thinking. At first I thought, of course not!

But then I read a quote from MeMe Roth, president of the organization National Action Against Obesity, who stated

“When you look at the human cost, what we’re doing is we’re on the Titanic and rather than forcing our children into the lifeboat, we’re telling them to join the band. Worrying about fashion rather than worrying about the food is a horrible message that we’re sending these kids.”

True… One’s health is definitely more important than clothes. Americans do have an obesity epidemic; we are the kings/queens of fast food consumption, prepacked food, and our activity levels are much less than our European counterparts (which I have witnessed).

However…

If we’re discussing if plus lines such as Forever 21 Plus, Deb Shops, ASOS Plus, Lane Bryant, etc. are promoting obesity, I totally disagree. Ask anyone who is outside the size 0-12 spectrum if they LIKE being plus size, and I ‘ll bet the majority will say no.

For most of my adult life, I was around a size 8 (size 4 at my smallest), and once I began gaining weight, it really shook my self esteem to give away clothes I loved. It is not fun to spend more time finding styles that fit and flatter, and I am incredibly grateful to those brands that help me feel better about myself.

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.

Just because I have a bigger ass or a thicker waist does not mean I don’t care about myself, or how I look.

FF Jacket 2

So, the question I’d ask MeMe is, if straight sized women can get sick and get disease just like we plus size gals can, don’t we both deserve to look good?

Plus size women are typically passed over for promotions, hiring, and have a tougher time dating. We need ALL the tools possible to feel and look our best!

Zara necklace.

Zara necklace.

I’d also like to let MeMe know that MANY of us do exercise and eat healthy food (most of the time!). Sometimes, the metabolism does not cooperate. So, don’t blame plus size retailers for our size.  We just want great and affordable clothes to shine!

*drops mike*

The one thing about me that's still a size 8- shoes! Boots, Just Fab.

The one thing about me that’s still a size 8- shoes!
Boots, Just Fab.

And HEY! Did you enter my Gemstone Ring by A Wild Violet yet?

Click on the “Rafflecopter Giveaway” banner on the left!

Love, laughter, and shoes…

xx Melanie.

 

 

 

What “Being Fat” Has Taught Me

forever maxi 1

Hello All!

I just celebrated a birthday (I’m keeping the number a secret – for now!) and I’ve been reflecting on the changes I’ve gone through in the last few years.

After a car accident two years ago, I injured my back and my ability to exercise got compromised. My weight went up, my size grew from a size 12 to a 14/16, and I realized that I had become fat.

At first, my size depressed me. I felt unsexy and undesirable. Not being able to go into just any store and find my size added to my funk.

I’m a strong believer that “everything happens for a reason,” and I’ve learned lessons and developed a stronger sense of compassion throughout this chapter in my life.

1. Size Doesn’t Equate Sexiness.

After I discovered blogging and found sites such as The Curvy Fashionista, Daily Venus Diva, and Tess Munster, there are a LOT of sexy, confident, and inspirational curvy women out there. They own their size and make it work. I’ve learned that it’s not my shell that’s sexy; it’s the way I own it! I wasted time during my smaller days obsessing over “needing to lose 10 lbs” versus living in the moment. I won’t obsess any more.

2. Fashion is Still Fun!

True, there are some retailers I can’t shop from now. However, I’ve discovered Forever 21 Plus, Deb, Asos Plus, Elloquii, H&M, and Zara. Thankfully, more retailers are getting on board and adding additional sizes with fashion-forward styles. I’m so glad I can still enjoy clothes!

Werk!

Werk!

3. Don’t Hide.

Fat people (especially women) have been conditioned to be ashamed of their bodies. We don’t want to draw attention, we hide in bulky clothes, and walk around as if apologetic for our size. I’ve learned that life does not stop because I’ve gained weight. I still have a voice and talent to contribute. If someone seems uncomfortable because I’m fat, that’s their issue. I can’t control that. However, I can control how I deal with my weight day to day.

4. Everyone Has Body Issues!

Recently, the Hubby and I went to a cookout that his work was hosting. The event took place by a beach, so naturally a number of people were swimming and sunning. What struck me was the number of body self loathing comments from these fit military people! These weren’t the “competitive” type of body comparison comments (I’m so fat – no, you’re not, I’m fat!), but a sincere wistfulness to look better. I realized we all have our body issues. Isn’t it a shame we can’t “just be”?

So, the takeaway for me is –

Sure, I would like to lose weight. My energy would be better, it’s easier on my back (which is doing much better!), and it’s good for my overall health. I believe that I will end up losing weight as I continue to get stronger. But, I’m not going to stop fully living my life or being happy because I’m fat.

And if I do go down in size, I’m not going to cringe at my pictures or “fat shame” myself. I am still ME!

I hope we all can embrace who we are for what we are!

forever maxi 3

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WHAT I’M WEARING:

Maxi Dress – FOREVER 21 PLUS

Necklace – H & M

Sandals – FOREVER 21

Bra – VICTORIA’S SECRET

Earrings – thrift shop find!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is “Plus Size,” Anyway?

“She’s too small to be plus sized.”

I’ve read that response quite often whenever a designer or a magazine features a plus size model. Granted, some of these models are 5’10 and wear a size 12, which in the “real world,” would be considered “straight size.”

However, I just stumbled across a tweet from The Curvy Fashionista (@MarieDenee), where she posts a link from retailer Addition Elle, which asks,

“What is Plus Size?”

Addition Elle’s philosophy on the issue hits the nail on the head for me:

“Plus size” includes a range of shapes and sizes. Some women are short, some are tall, some have wide hips, some have straight hips, some have larger busts, some have smaller busts…but regardless of their features, they have one thing in common.

What is it? Well, that clothing in “traditional” sizes does not fit them, for whatever reason.”

Case in point: I have the WORST time buying shorts. They are usually too tight in the hip, or too loose in the waist. For some reason, I’m in a “no woman’s land” as a size 14.  I don’t want booty shorts or Daisy Dukes. I guess designers must think I want elasticized, pull on polyester shorts (BLEAH!). Apparently, a mid thigh, stylish denim pair in my size is just not possible.

Then I wonder:

But what about a woman who is a size medium on top (say, an 8 or 10), and is pear shaped (a size 12 or 14) on the bottom? Or someone who is a 12 on the bottom, and wears a 38 DD on top? According to the size charts, she’d be “plus size.”

It’s all a bit nuts. 

Men’s fashion is not complex. Pants are the waist size, shirts are the chest/neck measurement. If a guy is larger, he goes to the Big and Tall department.

Why can’t women’s fashion convert to such a system?

By the way, after a lot of searching, I DID finally find a pair of denim shorts! I found these from DEB.

Stylish, comfy, and fit great!

DEB Shops, you get the gold star.

FINALLY, shorts that FIT. Thanks, Deb Shops!

FINALLY, shorts that FIT. Thanks, Deb Shops!

I may be "plus size," but I have a great ass.

I may be “plus size,” but I have a great ass.

Got this tank from Deb, too. I'm showing my arms off, would you believe?

Got this tank from Deb, too. I’m showing my arms off, would you believe?

Deb face

Handmade glass ring from Venice!

Handmade glass ring from Venice!

Love me some gladiator sandals!

Love me some gladiator sandals!

I’d love to read your thoughts on what “plus size” is, or anything on your mind!

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx