Bloated & beautiful 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗺𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗹𝘂𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲. Same goes for whatever insecurity might make you feel less than. I used to think if I lost weight and got to a healthy number on the scale I wouldn’t feel self-conscious again. The truth is, our insecurities come from our minds not our physical appearance.
My body changes every day. Each time I wake up, every time I eat a meal, exercise or lie still. Some days I’m more bloated than others, some days I find more cellulite. But I am actively teaching myself how to feel beautiful no matter how I may appear in the mirror. To view my inner beauty through my skin.
Beauty is an illusion and it’s my choice to hold on to it each and every day. This is why I never filter my reality for social media. That would mean giving up on my beauty. The moment I pretend to be something else is the moment I tell myself I’m not enough. The moment I start believing I’m not beautiful the way I am. Of course it is natural to “feel ugly” at times, but being ugly isn’t something we can change with an airbrush.
Ugly to me is a person who hurts others. A person who doesn’t give back. Ugly to me is a person who is self-obsessed at the expense of those around them. Ugly people can look like anyone. Beautiful to me is a person who is confident in what they have. A person who sets out to help others. Beauty is a feature that needs to be appreciated, physical appearance is merely the wrapping paper. We all have beauty, it’s about who has nurtured that beauty within themselves so it can shine through.
I’ve talked about my stretch marks, my extra skin, my stubborn fat areas and other insecurities I battle with. I understand it’s only human to instinctually want these parts of me gone or different. But I also recognize how much happier I am when I switch the narrative. Why do we even consider these things unattractive? They’re what make us human! I am a real woman. I want to look like a real woman. I want to show others how to embrace natural beauty. My stretch marks are art. One of a kind value. My extra skin is my hero cape. Proof that I prevail. My stubborn fat areas are me enjoying my favorite meals. I don’t let unnecessary worrying stop me from loving life. All of me is lovable but if I don’t love myself does it even matter?
Feeling beautiful is powerful. Confidence motivates productivity. Energy is contagious and when it’s positive, can help people more ways than we even realize. Happy people rub off on others and what’s a happier feeling than loving and accepting who we are? So I vow to embrace my reflection in the mirror as the beautiful woman I am every day. Focus on change within my control. Change that makes a difference. The mirror doesn’t show who I am. The mirror shows what I see when I look at myself. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and our perspective on our own beauty is up to us. Make effort to call yourself beautiful and learn to mean it.
Dress from Amethyst Colony - owned by my incredible friend, Natalie Taline!
I recently had a conversation with one of my viewers who asked, “How do you feel about the body positive movement in terms of fat people not trying to lose weight?” I have struggled to write about this subject for a long time. Hesitant because I fear my bias will unintentionally offend somebody. There are so many reasons someone might be struggling with their weight and I can only speak to my own truth and my own experiences.
I truly believe our moods depend on our health. I’m all about “loving yourself the way you are,” but I think it’s an important quality for any person to recognize where they can improve. I don’t think “losing weight” is necessarily that improvement, but the mentality that goes into treating our bodies kindly can reflect on our attitude as a whole. Completely transforming our views on overcoming obstacles, building strength wherever needed, and the power and control we have when we set our minds to positive change! Healthier is happier and I think as long as life feels fulfilling and we find a way to feel strong and confident, weight is just a number.
People do all sorts of unhealthy things that might not be as visible or criticized as often, such as drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. It’s about establishing the gains and losses. What these indulgences or habits give us and what they take from us. What genuinely lifts our mood and provides a well-being we can be proud of.
I have never dieted in my life. I eat healthy overall but definitely indulge in the foods I want. My weight loss journey was less about sacrificing the things I enjoy and more about adding opportunity to feel healthier. Pursuing motivation to stay active like following home workout accounts on social media, and finding ways to enjoy eating healthy like experimenting with new recipes.
My transformation seemed almost backwards. I found my light mentally first, and the physical transformation came naturally. As if being truly satisfied with myself inspired the full package to fall in line. So I would say to anyone who is wondering if it’s okay to love yourself as a “fat person”: Of course! But I’d challenge you to be vulnerable with your own truth.
“Loving yourself” to me means taking action in nurturing mind, body and soul. I determine a person’s maturity by whether or not they want to work on themselves daily for the rest of their life. I encourage everyone to reflect on where they may be settling. Where they may be justifying something because it feels easier than putting in work to change. Is it a body positive movement to accept a fate as if we’re stuck with it? Or is it more body positive to stay in touch and in tune with how to be kinder and more loving to ourselves? Everything comes back to our energy. I believe a healthy life is a fulfilling one.
Let me tell you a story. I had a date planned for a whole week. The guy seemed incredibly sweet. Kind hearted, mature and well-mannered. Good morning texts and reminders throughout the week how excited he was for Saturday. Saturday morning came around. Good morning text on point per usual. He even went so far as to ask if he could bring anything. Asking what kind of cheeses and wine I like. Explaining to me that he’s bringing me something even though I said no thank you. Seemed too good to be true, and it was. He told me he was on his way, then never showed up. “Ghosted.”
I think if this happened a couple months ago, I would have gotten upset. Frustrated at all men. Feeling hopeless about dating and people’s intentions in general. I would have probably changed into sweats, curled up into bed, and been sad. Instead, I feel empowered. How unfazed I am by this situation. I don’t expect anything from anyone but myself, and let me tell you, I do not disappoint.
Before my very first heartbreak, I thought I had it all together. I had gone through my body transformation, and I felt my entire being was fierce and unstoppable. To be fair, I was strong. Mentally and physically. But, something must have been missing I wasn’t yet ready to understand. To be so broken by a boy.
This feeling now. Boosted with confidence. No need to be upset. Secure in my own self. My happiness doesn’t rely on anyone or anything. I am no less happy than before this boy disappeared. Actually, I’m happier. I passed the test. I can trust where I’m at. I’ll go buy my own cheese. Treat myself with a bouquet of flowers.
This comfort in being alone feels secure. Trust in my company to uplift me and brighten my own day. Everything I need to feel good, I have. This realization, this pure understanding about life, sets me free. Once I stopped needing anything from anyone, and demanding more from myself, I let go. I can exist in many ways. I choose to love my existence. That love reciprocates.
Dating is beyond complicated in this day and age. Technology manipulates communication. Lack of effort, maturity, decency. People feel excused from needing to explain themselves. As if it’s our right of passage to do what we want at the expense of others. The best advice I have for myself is to keep an open mind, but don’t set expectations for anyone. Let those who follow through be nice surprises and those who don’t be easily brushed off. Keep taking myself on dates. Treating others AND myself the way I wish to be treated.
I do feel beautiful sometimes. I see my reflection and my soul shines through. I know who I am and I trust the beauty within myself. But there are plenty of times when my insecurities overpower. Living in LA, it’s hard not to compare myself. To wonder where I rank in the beauty others see. I catch myself feeling at the bottom of the totem pole. I don’t feel so beautiful anymore.
Those times where I recognize my beauty, I feel it from my heart. My scale is based on my intentions, my character. Those qualities that matter most, or at least they should. Anyone who judges me on anything besides the way I treat others, the way I treat myself, has work to do on their own beauty.
I don’t know someone’s story, someone’s heart, by the way they look on the outside. I remember when I first lost weight and was picking up new attention, people would assume I wasn’t friendly. Acting intimidated until I lent a compliment with a genuine smile. Like because they thought I looked good, I couldn’t be nice. I received more compassion when I carried my pain physically, when my struggle was visible to others. We all look different, we all act different. There’s a way to look at other people and find beauty within these differences. People to learn from, people to grow with. Fascinated by what we all have to offer. Curious who lives inside the exterior we see.
Dating these days is rough, especially in LA. As if you have to have a certain amount of Instagram followers to be considered for a date. It’s hard to feel secure when your quality is being compared through social media. In another city, where fame and appearance isn’t priority, I feel like I’d be judged less harshly. I’d have more opportunities for people to actually get to know me. Do I really even want to go out with the guy whose standards are based on my level of "Insta-fame"? I feel sad for these men. Missing out on quality partners while they wait for their fantasy. They'll be waiting forever. I know what I have to offer. To miss out on that because of a number on top of a screen is unfortunate to say the least.
So how do I do it? How do I remain undefeated by this critical world? Carry confidence and practice self-love? The answer may not be easy, but it’s simple. I continue to work on the pieces of myself I’m unsure about and I continue to recognize the pieces that are unapologetically beautiful.
I’m not a saint. I catch myself being judgmental towards others at times. I know these judgements come from a place of insecurity in myself. I still care what people think of me so this is how it bounces back. How can I work on this? I give the benefit of the doubt. Keep an open mind for others the way I would want someone to do for me. The less I worry about what other people are doing, the more time I can enjoy life. I feel pride when I’m able to see through actions and understand plausible reasoning. When I see the deeper beauty within someone else. Like we can all love each other if we just take a moment to see the bigger picture. I feel more beautiful when I’m able to act in this manner. Understanding there's more than meets the eye.
The most beautiful people are the ones who can truly see beauty. Who see anything less as an opportunity to create a metaphorical makeover. Beauty is growth. Beauty is hope. Beauty is opportunity. I don’t want to see myself in any other way. If I choose to see my beauty, I am choosing to be beautiful. Those who gravitate towards this kind of authenticity are ready to be a part of my life. I believe everyone can find loveliness within themselves and then share it with the world. I don’t believe everyone is at a place in their life where that is an individual priority to them.
What I can do for myself to build confidence and not let insecurity take over, is believe in the things I have control over. Believe I have power over the things that truly matter. Always take steps to make sure my beauty shines brighter than my doubts, because my doubts in myself are in-progress. My beauty isn’t what other people see, it’s what I see. The people in my life who see my beauty, see me. Physical appearance is the last thing that makes a person beautiful. If I can see that in others, I can be less critical of myself. I can believe in the truth about beauty. I can feel beautiful no matter what.
When I know I have a hard day ahead, what is my game plan? Do I let the day’s burdens define my mood? Do I elect the day a bad one, or do I take on the challenge to make it the best possible?
A day as gloomy as a funeral or memorial. As challenging as a child or pet’s scheduled surgery. Tasks as small as a blood test or a job I feel anxious about can get the best of me if I’m not focused on overcoming the day. So what do I do when I wake up on a day I know will be more challenging than most?
I start with affirmations. Remind myself of all I know and all I am. That when I believe in myself, I always shine through. That today is filled with a myriad of moments. While some of today might be challenging, there is always room for a smile. I can carry with me happy memories, hopeful thoughts, and a collection of tools I’ve been equipped with from my last hard days. The days I’ve survived, I learned from and I grew because of.
I can encourage the lion inside of me. Hear my roar and listen to the power and courage I so bravely hold onto. Survival depends on my ability to believe in myself. Show off my strong sides today and address my wounds tomorrow. Ignite the flame that burns within me to carry light through these darker hours. I offer compassion to my soft spots. Tend to the parts of me that need love and understanding. I am a warrior. There isn’t anything too big or too scary I can’t fight through. With my attitude on my side, which it always is, I’m unbreakable. With my feet on the ground and my eyes looking forward, I’m solid.
While my mentality is usually to cry when crying feels necessary, I take a closer observation to what that means. Crying feels healthy when it’s to maintain balance. When emotions are bottled up and need release. On heavier days filled deep with emotion and tense with pressure, it’s more complicated to stay in tune with how much crying remains in balance. It’s easier to let the scale dip in the sea of blue that these harder days hover close to. When I cry, I wipe my tears with passion. Impacted by the metaphor of cleaning up my own pain. My hurt no longer needs to stream down my face, but can be transformed into strength. Transformed into desire for freedom. Power literally in my own hands.
I am whatever mood I set the tone for. Yes, my day could look to set a tone that’s different from what I want, but my day is not in charge of my mind. I can see each and every moment through sparkly eyes. Dark moments might stay dark, but I can be the light that guides me through. My path has the opportunity to stay lit. It is how I handle each moment and how I carry myself to the moments that come next. I can put on my favorite song and mope while it plays in the background, or sing along and dance with it. It’s my choice, it’s always my choice. I choose to sing and dance, I choose to feel alive. Alive through the good times and alive through the bad.
Ever walk by a fence and notice those flowers popping through? I take a moment to value this beauty. Find connection to these moments. From encouraging my dog to take a sniff with me, to appreciating each petal and all its colors. Maybe I even choose to capture some photos. Beauty inspires me and my sparkly eyes attract positive opportunity. This flower’s growth reaches me, offering me joy while simultaneously setting itself free. I get lost in the symbolism. If my mind gets carried away with analogies or stretches of reality, that’s just more for me to appreciate and find joy from.
While we might have walls up or obstacles in our path, our growth continues to push us forward. Growth is the key ingredient to breaking free from all hindrances. We must find and take in the light that surrounds us. These flowers poking out draw attention to all the rest of the life within these fences. Beauty yet to be discovered. Endless potential for more growth, more breakthroughs. Just as rainy days provide growth, growth provides escape. It is the storms we live through that we learn from and the learning that we find freedom through. These fences only block what we leave unnoticed. Notice your potential.
Each one of us came to this world in the same way. However, we all have different hurdles personal to our own story. Some of us might have barbed wire to break through, some of us unhindered by a fence or a barrier. The challenge of too much freedom is also valid. Lack of restraint creates problems too. Self taught borders necessary to maintain balanced well being. Like a society with no law and order, rules help navigate what works and what doesn’t work, keeping our life in order.
We’re all given the same chance to find authentic happiness. Read more about the benefits of authenticity in my blog post, Authenticity Unlocks Freedom. Our spirit depends on how we cultivate the situations we find ourselves in. How we navigate through unwanted positions and grow to a place where our mind and actions can be free the way we wish. If you want to be happy, that is the only ingredient necessary to succeed. Work with that. Mold this mindset into what you do. Mix this attitude with each and every action you take. You are the controller of your life. Your growth is your power. Find the light, water your soil. Set yourself free.
After losing 90 pounds, you might think confidence and self love come naturally. The truth is I catch myself being more critical than ever before. I let the high of all the hard work and success fade away for moments long enough to pick at the size of my hips or the flab on my arms still covering my freshly strengthened muscle. I hold myself to new standards. “I can do anything I set my mind to” holds new pressure. I see how far I’ve come, why don’t I look the way I want?
It’s a whole new game learning to love your reflection when you’ve always hated the person staring back. You see the difference, you feel change, but your pattern is stuck. How can this person make me feel any different? I used to be the fat girl, I’ll always be the fat girl. The fat girl gone healthy. The self criticizing girl pushing to move past her old habits. The powerful, transforming woman who fought through heavy, intense experiences as well as heavy weight for so long.
Self love, admiration for your whole being, comes from within. I have work to do. Progress still to come. I have earned the right to see and love myself for exactly who I am and who I’m becoming. To respect myself for this transformation and all the hard work that went into it.
I’m not wearing that same overweight, lifeless, floating through life zombie look that I used to. I’m also not guaranteed a judgment free mind. Everything comes back to the way you view yourself. The idea that “looking pretty” carries happiness is a risky way to coordinate your thoughts. Carrying happiness, however, can be accompanied by a glow if you choose to allow it to shine through. A glow that is so attractive it doesn’t stop to wonder how or why. Never stop fighting your internal negative thoughts and judgements. Love yourself more than any pain you’ve ever felt. You only get one host to live this life through. Take care of yourself, love yourself, and most importantly be easy on yourself.
I lived the life where I told myself I couldn’t. I told myself there was nothing I could do, I would always be that low. There is nothing better than being your own personal cheerleader and knowing that with the right attitude and motivation, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Set your mind to that. Tell yourself you can. Encourage yourself to be the person you strive to be. In moments of weakness, remind yourself of the previous times you got through and how magical it feels to be through to the other side. Once you defeat your demons, you fight your fight, you gain the achievements you are worthy of achieving, you are unstoppable to fighting all future battles. Battles will only be obstacles that present the opportunity to collect more strength. Everyone has their low points, everyone has their struggles. Happiness is knowing you can get through and be better from it. Learning and growing from each and everything life throws at you will give you the constant guard of protecting your success. Root for yourself. Prove your doubts wrong and you will see that success doesn’t come without hurdles, but cultivating on those difficult times is how you build strength and admiration for yourself. Nothing can block you, only supply rewards to collect along the journey of your magical, happy life. Be your own cheerleader, be your own admirer, be your own lion in conquering this thing called life.