Tag Archives: Body Image

How People See You When You’re Big and Black…

I’ve had some thoughts whirling around in my head over the past week and I’m going to attempt to share them here… hopefully what I’m trying to say makes sense. I just really think its important to remember that biases and prejudices don’t always show up in the form of a disgusting act that makes the news. Sometimes those things are found in the everyday ways that we treat people. And maybe if we were a little more mindful, we would treat people better.

As I watched the footage of Eric Garner’s murder I started thinking about my experiences at the intersection of size prejudice and racial prejudice. Some of you may identify with some or all of my experiences, some of you may have no idea what I’m talking about and that’s totally fine.

I’m big, I’m black and I’ve become well aware of how those things shape the way people see me, what they assume about me and how they treat me.

on being big and black 2

On Being Big…

My first vivid memories of body shame came in fourth grade. At nine years old, I was both tall and chubby and that year for whatever reason, at recess kids in my class were constantly jumping on my back for piggy back rides without my permission, I guess they assumed I could handle their weight. They thought it was fun, I hated it.

One day we all filed into our cafetorium for a music assembly. As I sat giggling with my friends, a smaller girl from my class complained to the teacher that she could not see anything because she was sitting behind me. My teacher promptly instructed me to sit in the very back, behind all of the other students so that they could see the show. I sat in the back row alone, put my head down and cried.

Between the piggy back rides at recess and being sent to the back row, the body shame began to set in. I felt like I was being punished for my size. Now that I’m older, I wonder why the teacher didn’t move the smaller girl to the front row, instead of banishing me all the way to the back.

On being black…

I went to a predominantly white school and I’m pretty sure I spent all of third grade being racially profiled by my teacher. As an eight year old, it was hard to understand why Mrs. [Redacted] was always Continue reading

One Song Workout “Bang Bang” Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj | Plus Size Workout Video

Someone said “Bang Bang” “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj is the new “Lady Marmelade” circa 2004. Lady Marmelade was pretty epic, but “Bang Bang” has definitely been on my workout playlist for a while now. This week, I linked up with trainer, Ashley Fettig to create another One Song Workout for us to “Bang Bang”!

We thought we’d found a secluded corner of the park to make this little video, but then a wedding party showed up and started watching us… I kept going but I was so nervous to have them watching. I assumed they were judging like “why is that big girl working out in front of a camera??” but to my surprise they were totally into it… you can even hear them cheering at the end!

You can workout with me using the video below. Rewind it and do the routine a few times for a longer workout or click here to get some plus size fitness technique tips from Ashley so that we do this plus size workout video with good form!

Last weekend during our #PSPfit Team NYC workout, we learned the “Come Get it Bae” workout before we started training, it was fun to do the dance all together and to know that my #PSPfit girls who don’t live in NYC are doing it too (if you make a video of yourself, tag me and #PSPfit so we can all cheer you on!

Don’t wait on your weight to live a Healthy & Happy Life!

One Song Workout Bang Bang

Is “Weight Loss” a Bad Thing?

Question: Is the idea of “weight loss” a bad thing to you?

Here’s why I’m asking: last weekend I posted this photo on Instagram

Dating Fruit for Dessert #PSPfit

Someone left a comment saying You can HAVE what ever desert you want. It’s the desert you prefer or should eat.

A few days later, someone on Facebook asked me why my “Plus Size Fitness: How to do a Push-Up” post had the words “weight loss” in the link description. I answered saying that we’re all on different journeys and I want never want to exclude anyone, but I felt like my answer wasn’t enough.

I think we all know the ugly side of diet culture. I know what its like to be the youngest girl at weight watchers meetings. I know what its like to be given unsolicited diet advice from strangers. I know what its like to deprive myself, obsess over the scale and still feel like I’m failing. I can confidently say that dieting and engaging with my body in a negative way has never done me any good. That’s what’s so amazing to me about being body positive. Shifting my goals from “get skinny” to “get healthy” was the most liberating decision I could have made. I finally understand that the most valuable results I can strive for are health related, not scale related.

#PSPfit is a space that is inclusive to any healthy curves journey. Most of us have been judged for not being thin, so maybe we should be careful not to become judge of women for their health goals, whatever that may be.

Maybe words like “Have” and “Weight Loss” are triggers for those of us who have been bruised by diet culture but as I celebrate Healthy Curves at Every Size, those words don’t have power over me anymore.  I know that I will always be a big girl, but I also know that my PCOS becomes more manageable when I shed a few pounds *shrugs*

At this point I can understand that “Lose Weight” doesn’t mean “Get Skinny”. I can say I “can’t have” chocolate cake and know that what I’m really saying is “chocolate cake is not supportive to my body right now” and I think its okay to say things like that.

Is Weight Loss a Bad Thing

I am body positive, I love myself and I love my body at any size but sometimes I need structure. Sometimes I need to challenge myself to fill up on yummy healthy hearty foods so that I don’t even consider eating something that’s made in a factory and comes out of a crinkly bag. That’s why we’re starting another #PSPfit online bootcamp next week, because remembering how much my body loves clean eating will help me to make better choices during the holiday season.

I think part of being being body positive is loving your body through working out and eating healthy. Sometimes that means saying no to indulgent foods and sometimes your body sheds a little weight too… but that’s just me!

…Thoughts?

Dear CeCe: I’m Still a Virgin… HELP! #CurvyConvo

Soooo suddenly, my email inbox is full of letters from Plus Size Princesses who are also riding the “V Train”.  As you may have noticed, dating & relationships is usually what I stick to, but the amount of “Help, I’m still a virgin!” emails I’m getting tells me that we need to talk about this… so I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and answer two letters that I feel all of the virgins can relate to.

Everyone’s view of intimacy is different, and there’s no perfect answer that will fit everyone, so please feel free leave comments and offer guidance to these girls if you have it. I’ve gone into much more detail in the YouTube Video Below:

Letter 1:

Hey, CeCe!

I have a dilemma, a big one. Me and my boyfriend have been dating for four months now. Through advice from you and your blog posts, I was able to actually get over all of my body hangups, and I am able to be vulnerable with him when it comes to my body. My issue is that I am a 23 year oldvirgin,. I (one) never met anyone I felt comfortable getting intimate with before my boyfriend that felt like getting intimate with me back and (two) I have been battling with myself, and my religious beliefs on if I want to stay avirgin until marriage or not.

I have gone back and forth with this, and now that I found a guy I actually love, I’m thinking more and more that I would actually want to do the deed with him. A part of me is hesitant though. I mean, when I’m not a virgin any longer, what am I? I have been virgin Stephanie to all of my friends and family and it’s a part of my identity. I even used to wear it as a badge of honor. But a part of me wants to eventually (giving myself a year together before crossing that line) just share this with my boyfriend, who loves me like…I never thought I could or would be loved. But the other part feels like everyone will judge me, think less of me, and say that I was the girl that gave it up.

I know you may not be able to tell me what to do exactly, but I guess I am looking for advice on what you would do, or anything that could help. (Of course, no pressure from my boyfriend, he’s prepared to wait until marriage). I just know when it’s gone, it’s gone. And that part is terrifying. I don’t want to make a mistake or the wrong choice. 

Thank you for taking the time out to read this, if you ever get the chance. I love your blog and have been an avid reader for years.

Letter #2

Dear CeCe,

I’m a big fan of your blog and the positive and powerful messages you share with your readers. I’ve been one of those readers for over a year now. I’ve gotten so much strength out of your writing, and that’s why today I decided to write you an email out of the state of mind I’m in right now. 

I have had no luck in dating. I’ve had guys taken advantage of my good heart. That’s why when I met this new guy online I was so happy that we talked trough text messages for over a month. He is Muslim and couldn’t meet up, because he was fasting for Ramadan for the past month. He was clear he wanted to meet me after this month and we stayed in contact. Our conversations got longer and longer and even tough I tried to slow things down we both expressed our feelings for each other. There was only one thing I kept a secret from him. The thing is, i’m a 26 year old virgin. I didn’t want to tell him over the phone about this very personal and intimate part of myself. But at some point our conversations gotten too long and I felt I couldn’t keep it a secret. So I told him and he was shocked. Two days after this conversation he told me trough text he changed his mind. He said it was not his task to take my virginity and because i was already 26 i should continue to wait for marriage. The warm man he was earlier became ice cold. What’s the worth of staying a virgin if it feels like a burden?

I was hoping to get some advice or an opinion from you or your readers. Maybe they recognize the situation I’m in? 

Hi Ladies,

First of all, thanks so much for trusting me with such an intimate topic. I’ve made a video addressing both of your letters, but here are some things to think about as you watch:

1.) Why do we value/devalue ourselves based on our “body count”? I often feel like people make you feel awkward about sleeping with zero people and awkward if you’ve slept with lots of people. Is there something else we should be using to define ourselves as women?

2.) I can totally understand having your virginity as part of your identity. If you were raised in the church like me, purity culture is probably ingrained in you from the time you could say “he’s cute!”. Waiting for marriage is such a beautiful choice (a choice you’ll have to make again and again with each relationship, as you’re clearly learning ;-)) but I dont think you should feel like you’re falling off of your pedestal just because you decided to “do the do”

3.) I’m always careful not to put my self esteem in the hands of others. Parents, Pastors, Boyfriends, Girlfriends… none of them have the right to make us feel valued/de-valued based on what we do with our bodies.

4.) If you’re looking to lose your virginity, do your best to make it a shame and guilt free experience. Don’t rush things if you’re not ready. Dont feel bad if you’re more than ready… deep down you know what’s right for you

5.) As PSPs a lot of us struggle with physical intimacy because of our body image issues. That’s okay and perfectly normal. I still think its up to us to learn how to love ourselves in every way before we start introducing other folks into the equation. Perhaps we need to have some… um… solo intimacy times, put John Mayer “Your Body is a Wonderland” on repeat and go exploring!

Got a question for me? Contact me here!

Okay, now for this video where I dive deeper into virginity (and why I think the muslim guy bounced lol)

Dating: Who Should Affirm Our Beauty?

One of my recent guilty pleasures is this dating show where the participants meet, naked, on an island, and try to find love (does any of you watch Dating Naked on VH1?). Anyway, in one episode, a female contestant seemed to be hitching her self esteem to the compliments of the naked meathead with whom she was riding horses. “He told me I was beautiful, so that made me beautiful…” she said.

I wanted to throw a pillow at my television screen and yell, “NO! You’re beautiful, period!” The premise of the show is pretty ridiculous in and of itself, but what I found even more outrageous was this woman’s inability to feel beautiful without her guy’s assessment.

And yet, a lot of us are guilty of fishing for compliments or looking to partners for praise. I’m certainly not exempt from this. The fact is, it’s not easy to only look within ourselves to affirm our beauty. I often talk about how confidence is complicated. I know from experience that being confident is a journey, not a destination, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a tough road. While I try to be self-assured and poised, others’ opinions (men’s especially), have had an impact on how I feel about myself and my appearance.

My dad raised me to believe that I’m beautiful, inside and out — and I’m grateful for that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in that protective bubble forever. Growing up, if someone I was crushing on didn’t feel similarly about me, I questioned my attractiveness. But, if a boy asked me to a dance, I could feel my self-esteem sky-rocket. In college, when I was single, I wondered if it had something to do with how I looked. But, when I started dating a guy who told me I was beautiful, well, then it was easy to believe I was.

Eventually, I began to realize: I was doing myself a disservice by allowing the men I did (or didn’t date) determine how I felt about myself. I mean, they call it self esteem for a reason, you know? Wanting to get off this exhausting roller coaster (feeling good about myself one month, lousy the next) I decided to return to what my father had taught me so many years ago: I’m beautiful — period. 

Dating Who Should Affirm Our Beauty

The thing is, I can appreciate the boost I feel when a man compliments my appearance, but it’s far more important that I feel good about myself regardless. I don’t want my positive self-image to be defined by the way a man sees me. I was able to put this idea to the test about a month ago when I decided to take out my hair extensions and rock my short, natural hair (you can watch that process if you’re interested). As I went from hair that fell down my back to a short cut that hits just below my ears, I knew I loved it.

But, although I felt gorgeous and had a spring in my step when I walked out of the salon, I worried that if my boyfriend didn’t like it, my bright mood would dampen. More than that: I knew that I wanted him to be attracted to me with my new ‘do. Still, I also told myself that what mattered most was how I felt about it. And, I meant it. The minute my man saw me, though, I could tell by the look on his face that he loved it. That took me from cloud nine to cloud 10.

And, it hit me: When our partners make us feel beautiful, it’s not a bad thing — as long as we also feel beautiful on our own. It’s kind of like that pair of jeans that makes your @$$ look amazing. Those jeans aren’t magic, but they might just have the power to make you feel hotter than you already know you are.

…Thoughts??? Do you think its our partners job to make us feel beautiful?

Plus Size Dating Standards | Body Image | Shopping with Friends #CurvyConvo, Live (Episode 2)

Do you ever think about how upgrades are relative to what we had before? One girl may go from a flip phone to an iPhone 3 and be so hyped she wouldn’t even realize she was missing out on an iPhone 5. Another girl may order an iPhone 5, but get intimidated by all the new things it can do… return it and go back to her flip phone.

Those same things can happen in dating… Sometimes we think we’ve “upgraded” because someone is treating us better than what we’re used to. But if we’re used to being treated poorly, that doesn’t mean much.

On the other hand we may say we want to upgrade, but when it finally happens we get in our own way and can’t adapt. That was me when I first met Mr. Man: I had been whining that I seemed to only attract “flip phone dudes”, but when a “smartphone” type of guy was put in my path, I panicked and couldn’t activate our relationship.

I had a harsh conversation with myself in a post called “I said I deserved the best, but do I believe it?”  and then I pulled it together slowly. I had been praying for a certain type of guy, I had been complaining that I too deserved to be with someone who had the qualities I was looking for… so why was I shocked when he finally came along?

ask for what you deserve

In this weeks #CurvyConvo, Live! we had a good chat about plus size dating standards, body image issues and how to shop with your skinny friends without feeling uncomfy. You can watch the video below… I’m really enjoying talking to you girls live each week, so I’m going to keep it going 🙂

The next #CurvyConvo, Live will happen on Monday, August 25th at 9pm Eastern RSVP here!

Also, if you have a question you’d like me to answer, you can submit it at PlusSizePrincess.com/Contact

Special thanks to my girl Amanda for hanging with me… follow her on YouTube: youtube.com/imfashionablylate

Dear CeCe: Should I Lose Weight for my Boyfriend? #CurvyConvo

Today’s Curvy Conversation comes from Twitter:

Hi CeCe!

I met amazing guy last night who told me I was equally amazing, but would love for me to lose weight while we get together. 

He said it so sweetly, as in “please don’t think you are not beautiful and I do want to be with you just lose a little weight…” part of me was a little sad, but a part of me wanted a reason to get back to the gym because I wasn’t getting ANY love from ANYONE.

He wants to be with me, but wants me to lose weight…I know I shouldn’t care what he thinks, but I kind of do. I kind of feel bad that a guy is the reason I want to get back to the gym, but he is so damn fine Im going HAM on that treadmill! 

I need your advice, should I care that he wants me to lose weight (“not too much I like your curves”) in order to stay w/me?

Hi there,

Thanks for tweeting/writing me 🙂 I’d like to address your question in a special way this week, if you don’t mind.

First, I’m going to give you a few questions to think about, below.

Second, hopefully some of our fellow Plus Size Princesses will chime in and offer your their advice, in the comments section because we all have different experiences when it comes to dating and weight loss. I think different points of view may be helpful here.

Thirdly, I’m going to dive into your question with some of my favorite plus size bloggers during my first #CurvyConvo Live Twitter chat/Video Stream on Sunday August 10th

In the meantime, here are some things for you to consider:

1.) You said you met him last night. Do you think its appropriate for a man you’ve known less than 24 hours to ask you to lose weight?

2.) Do you think motivation to live a healthy/fit life should come from others? or some from within ourselves?

3.) How would you feel if you gained the weight back and he had an issue with it?

4.) How do you feel about the “not too much” comment?

5.) If someone you’ve known for years asked you to lose weight for them– what would you tell them?

Ladies, if you’re reading this and have thoughts/advice for our girl– please help us out in the comments section.

Also, join us as we dive deeper into weight, dating, fashion and more during my #CurvyConvo: Live session.

August 10th

6:00-7:00pm EDT Twitter Chat (use #CurvyConvo, to join)

7:00-7:30pm Live Video Chat (RSVP here)

should i lose weight for my boyfriend plussizeprincess.com

I Am Unapologetically Human… A Note to Linda Kelsey (The “Fattist” DailyMail Writer)

The average newborn is 7.5 pounds… I came into the world at 10 pounds, so you might say I’ve been a Plus Size Princess since the beginning. I was eight when I began feeling bigger than the other girls. I was 12 when my pediatrician wrinkled her nose and bluntly told my mother that I was fat.

I’ve been dieting, losing weight… and gaining more back ever since.

I never saw my weight as part of my identity because being a big girl was always supposed to be a temporary thing. The plan was to do all of the things that skinny girls do: Moderation! Self Control! Eat Less, Move More! and then a skinny body would be mine too.

But here’s the thing, exercise and eating well has enabled me to have a clean bill of health, but it has yet to make ME skinny. Maybe my 10 pound birth weight was the spoiler alert I was destined to be plus size. Maybe its my Poly Cycstic Ovarian Syndrome that keeps me from being small… who knows!

What I do know is that I have a choice. I can live my life miserable because of what the scale says or I can live an awesome life no matter what the scale says.

Today when I saw Linda Kelsey asking why young women are so unashamed about being fat in this article. I felt like she was writing directly to me. She told a story of seeing Plus Size Princesses in the airport heading out for vacation.

They sounded – and looked – happy and carefree. But what mesmerised me most about this jolly trio was not their conversation, but their appearance: they were size 18 apiece, at least.

Wait a minute… I’m at least a size 18 and when I’m headed out for vacation I too am carefree and happy! Ms. Kelsey, were you at JFK when I flew to Mexico??

Far from body hatred, what I witnessed was a let-it-all-hang-out faith in themselves and a don’t-give-a-damn attitude to their evident obesity.

 

Okay, you’re in the UK and I’m in NYC so maybe it wasn’t me you saw. But let me explain to you what you witnessed with those three plus size girls in the airport…

We live in a world where men feel comfortable walking up to women and screaming “lose some weight, fat ass!”. We live in a society where girls on a weight loss journey stop jogging in public because people heckle them from their cars. We are brought up with messaging that our value as a person is based on our body type and the bigger you are the less value you have.

Then to top it all off we have “unappologetically fattist” people like you who think being overweight “should be as unacceptable as smoking”. Smoking is not allowed in the work place, restaurants, and a good chunk of public spaces… I’m trying to figure out if that’s what you’re suggesting should be done about us “fatties”.

So, Linda what you interpreted as a “don’t-give-a-damn” attitude in those girls dressing as they wanted with no concern for your opinion was actually them being vulnerable, being themselves and being comfortable with their bodies– a tough thing for any woman to do at any size… but seeing big girls do it? In my opinion, you witnessed a miracle.

Those girls have heard you and your fat-phoboc friends loud and clear their whole lives… they know you can’t stand anyone who isn’t thin. They know that the presence of their large bodies made you uncomfortable and yet they were still able to get out of bed, dress as they wanted and live… an amazing feat, I’d say!

Big girls know that we’re big and most of us are working on our health. I started the #PSPfit online fitness community because big girls DO work out and eat healthy. If being skinny is in the future for any of us fatties it wont happen overnight (heck, I’ve lost 55 pounds and I’m still fat) but in the meantime as WE figure out whats best for OUR bodies I think we should be allowed to just have a good day. I think we should be allowed to love our bodies currently as we work towards being our best selves. We should be allowed to smile, laugh, dance, go on dates and break free from the body policing many of us have been dealing with since childhood.

Related: Should I tell My Plus Size Daughter to Lose Weight?

Linda, listen to me (listen to me Linda!)– You’re unapologetically fattist and I am unapologetically human. All humans have things they’re working through. I’m working through my weight, which means my struggles are on display for the world to see and critique in articles online. You have the luxury of keeping your struggles hidden, but I imagine that you don’t spend every moment of every day crying and hiding because of them, so please don’t expect me to do that. I don’t know what your struggles are, but if I did I would be compassionate.

Some say we judge others harshly in the areas where we are insecure. Sometimes I wonder if its not my fat body that people hate, but the happiness, joy and full life I have in spite of it.

No apology needed, Linda… No apology needed.

I Am Unapologetically Human... A Note to Linda Kelsey PlusSizePrincess.com

A Birthday Bikini? Plus Size Fashion Lookbook (Video)

In this weeks video, I’m spilling the deets on my bday plans and the a treasure trove of clothes I got from HeyGorgeous.com for my birthday!!

HeyGorgeous Leopard Print Maxi Skirt.jpg Bday Bikini PlusSizePrincess.com.jpg

Definitely never thought I’d throw on a bikini on the internet, but… the draping of this top is great for someone like me who is sensitive about her back fat. lol

I guess birthdays are for new beginnings, evolving and conquering fears 🙂

HeyGorgeous.com used to be madisonplus.com,  so you can find some pieces on both sites:

Bikini http:/bit.ly/1o6VOdu

Maxi Skirt in pink here http:/bit.ly/1jntWgS

Plus Size Leather Dress http:/bit.ly/1liAkWF

Plus Size Dating: Words from Maya Angelou…

I want to be as beautiful as I can be—to MYSELF first. THEN to whomever has the SENSE to see me. -Maya Angelou

When the news of Auntie Maya’s passing hit yesterday, so many quotes swirled around the internet… but this is the one that spoke directly to my heart.

Loving myself is hard and never ending work. I never get it 100% right, but I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better at bouncing back from failure. I’m getting better at seeing a number on the scale and moving on with my day no matter what it says. I’m getting better at not defining myself by my relationship status… I’m getting better, but I’m still a work in progress, we all are.

The exciting thing is that as I love myself better, the people around me love me better too.

What if seeing ourselves as beautiful is the key to being beautiful? What if how we see ourselves is reflected in the eyes of those we love? What if we stopped faulting ourselves for not attracting certain people, but instead understood that they had no sense!

I think I’m going to write this quote on the mirror in my apartment… lets read it again… Rest in Peace Auntie Maya. xo

Maya Angelou Plus Size Dating