Tag Archives: Body Image

Shhh! You’re Interrupting my Body Confidence Party…

Have you ever been at a party where everyone was in the zone, dancing the night away and then a neighbor knocks on the door with a noise complaint and kills the whole vibe?

Sharing the intimate details of how I’m learning to love myself at any size isn’t an easy thing to do. But when your comments roll in and I realize I’m not alone, the body confidence party begins! Of course, on each post there’s always one vibe killing comment that goes something like this:

“Great piece. But being overweight is really unhealthy…”

The comment is usually followed by a cautionary list of ailments that I will get if I don’t start taking care of myself (diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

*record screeches to a halt*

Its as if people think I don’t know the health stats they’re quoting. Or as if they don’t care that I’m on a healthy curves journey. I feel like they’re saying I’m not skinny right now, then I have no business writing anything positive about my body or how I look.

This is the Plus Size Princess struggle.

CeCe Olisa Body Confidence Party.jpg

How do I love myself, value myself, care for myself at any size and keep the Body Confidence Party going, when there are people jumping at the chance to remind me that none of this matters if I’m still fat?

Mental health is a major part of plus size fitness, for me. I choose not to respond to negative comments, but I do want to mention it here with you girls because I know we’re all trying to figure this out together.

Finding ways to feel good about myself no matter what the scale says is the thing that makes me want to do better by my body; eat well, work out, pray/meditate. I’m running my own race and for me, I’ve got to tackle this #PSPfit healthy living thing mind, body and spirit.

There will always be people who can’t fathom that a person at our size (whatever that may be) feels good about herself. Those people seem to feel that they have a responsibility to interrupt our body confidence party with a PSA on how being fat is awful and unhealthy.

But hating yourself is awful and unhealthy too… so please stop killing my vibe!

Dear Closet Chubby Chasers… Go Away!

This weekend I logged onto my facebook page and I was like…

Beyonce-Knowles-Offended-Reaction-Gif

Some dude had liked my page, left a whole bunch of comments and then started sending me private flirtatious messages asking me to call him. He even left his phone number! One of the awkward parts about being a plus size blogger, is that the pages I create to keep in touch with my PSP’s sometimes get infiltrated by creepy men. As I went to click the “block” button, I realized something. This guy was carefully perusing my photos and posts, but his facebook profile was locked down like Fort Knox. He had no photos and his name was listed as “Jamal Jamal”.

Isn’t it fascinating how men love to divulge their attraction to big women when hidden behind the veil anonymity?

The same thing used to happen to me when I was doing online dating. I’d have messages from men telling me how hot I was, but they had no photos, no profile info, nothing! Of course these men expected me to fall all over myself because they were giving me attention, but when I’d ask them to reveal their identities and send me a photo… Chubby Chaser HidingChubby Chaser HidingChubby Chaser Hiding

I am so sick and tired of men who are passionate about their “love for big women” but ashamed for anyone to know about it. The closet chubby chasers… the bbw fetish guys… the “come hook up with me in my dorm room but don’t talk to me in public” dudes… What is your problem?! Its hard enough maintaining confidence as a big girl without having to deal with your insecurities about your attraction to me. Telling a girl she’s pretty while refusing to be seen with her in public is a form of body shaming. Get out of here with that nonsense, please!

But here’s the deal… as much as I want all closet chubby chasers to go away, I can’t ignore the role that Plus Size Princesses play in making the “Jamal Jamal’s” of the world think its okay to keep us as a dirty little secret.

It’s up to us as big women not to settle for the guy who only wants to sleep with us but wont introduce us to his friends.

It’s our job not to let ourselves get sucked in by flattery from blank/anonymous profiles.

It’s our responsibility to think highly of ourselves and hold ourselves to a higher standard.

These closet chubby chasers do hurtful/shameful things to big girls because we let them. If we all banded together and said, no… we refuse to be your midnight girlfriend/pillow buddy/anonymous pen pal, then maybe… just maybe guys would cut it out. I know sometimes its hard and it feels good to have male attention, but if a guy can’t even show me his face as he tells me how beautiful I am, his words mean nothing to me. I’m going to block all closet chubby chasers and I encourage all of you to do the same…

clueless_hairflip

My Weight Makes me Uncomfortable on Dates | Curvy Conversations | Plus Size Dating

Hey Cece!  

I am one of your biggest fans, I’m from Nairobi Kenya not sure if that rings a bell but anyhoo, I LOOOOVEEE you, your work i.e. your writing, and your #PSPfit….basically everything about you!
My question was kinda personal which is why I decided to email you directly. I’ve always felt self conscious about how much ‘wider’ I was compared to the dudes I liked and even went out with! Much like you, I also want to feel like a little bird with a guy or at the very least have him tower over me…I remember once I was on a movie date and I felt sooo awful because my ‘sides’ spilled over into his seat as well..and I remember being so sad and tense that I could hardly enjoy the movie!
 
Have you ever had this issue i.e. feeling self conscious in particular scenarios e.g. car rides, movie dates etc, where suddenly you were confronted with your size in comparison? Sigh I dont want this to ruin the next and final relationship…how does one ‘feel’ small or just get over this kind of reality? Hope I’m making sense….
 
Thanks loads for your time CeCe..you’re one of my imaginary mentors in my head! Lol
Hey Miss,
You are too sweet… I decided to answer your letter in a YouTube video. We all know that plus size dating can be frustrating, so even though you’re wrestling with some things I think its great that you’re putting yourself out there.

My main suggestion to you is to try and look at yourself as a total package. Guys are asking you out because they see something in you that’s special. We all have flaws, some more visible than others, but its up to us not to get so hung up on our flaws that we block the good things/people coming our way.

With Robert I feel more and more like a “little bird” with him because I let my guard down and open up. But it doesn’t come easy, but I have a feeling from your vivacious email that you can do it!

xoxo,

CeCe

p.s. Does anyone else have advice for our friend from Nairobi?

p.p.s Registration for the #PSPfit Pre-Summer Clean Eating/Fitness Bootcamp opens on April 10th. Registration closes April 20th, pre register at www.PSPfit.com for registration info, discount codes and membership giveaways! Questions? Email fitness@thebiggirlblog.com

Putting Insecurities in the Back Seat…

Remember when I started this blog and I was anonymous?

So many of you knew every detail of my life and didn’t know what I looked like. I even had a twitter troll accuse me of not really being plus size because I didn’t show photos. A few bloggers had to vouch for me by tweeting that they had met me and I was indeed a plus size woman.

Many people found it odd that I didn’t post my photos, but being anonymous was a huge security blanket knitted out of fear. I felt like I could never openly discuss my weight AND have my picture attached to my inner most thoughts and insecurities.

CeCe Olisa Plus Size Fashion Blog

But over time something interesting happened. Talking about my insecurities openly with you girls gave my insecurities less power. I faced them head on and realized that I was giving my body image issues a front seat as I navigated through life. As I slowly pushed my insecurities to the back seat (and some to the trunk) they didn’t rule my life anymore and my life became more full of lovely people and experiences.

Those of you who read this blog have been instrumental in making me more comfortable in my own skin. I still have a lot of growing to do, but when I came across this YouTube video from January I had to laugh 1.) because my friends are funny and 2.) because two years ago I would have NEVER even made a video like this. Its a silly, fun video, not too deep but its a huge confidence accomplishment for me that I even made it.

Making YouTube videos… sharing outfit photos… not covering my arms… asking Robert if he liked me… these are all things I didn’t think I could/would ever do, but as I grow up I’m realizing that life is much more fun when I stop holding myself back with my fears and insecurities.

Do you ever have little things in your life that might seem mundane to someone else, but you know they are huge accomplishments for you?

A Big Girl and Her Cardigans…

A few years ago I was sitting in church, when one of the deacons daughters climbed into the pew in front of me. I love talking to kids, so having a 10 minute conversation with a seven year old isn’t a big deal to me. We began chatting about school, her teacher and her friends; then she looked at me,

“I like your dress,” she said putting her hands underneath her chin.

“Oh, thank you” I smiled.

“You wear THOSE a lot,” she observed pointing at my cardigan sweater.

I paused (man, little people really pay attention to everything!)

“You’re right, I do! I actually have one in every color… kinda crazy, right?” I laughed. She laughed and then we went back to discussing her playground dramas.

I got home and peeked into my closet, there on the hangers was all the proof I needed. Clearly, I had a very intense cardigan sweater addiction passion.

Back when I refused to show my arms, cardigans were the answer to all of my sleeveless/strapless dress problems. I also felt like the draping of my cardigans hid my tummy and love handles well when I was wearing jeans. I found myself making regular shopping trips for $20 cardigans and my collection of colorful cardigans grew and grew overtime. Cardigans became a staple in my wardrobe. Cardigans became a comfort blanket in my closet, a piece of clothing that made me feel like the jiggly parts of my body were hidden.

cardigan

You can scoop up my polka dot dress here

I knew I had a cardigan addiction when I tried to throw a button down cardi over a freakum dress. (Girl, bye!)

I knew I had a cardigan addiction when I refused to take my cardi off while waiting for the train in the hot, humid subway station one summer. (*faints*)

I knew I had a cardigan addiction when I brought a cardi to wear over a strapless bridesmaids “in case it got cold” in the middle of July. (Um, no.)

Breaking my cardigan addiction meant I had to address the real reason I was wearing them constantly. I was wearing cardigans to hide my body and it was getting out of hand. Cardigans had gone from making me a little more comfortable, to dictating what I would/wouldn’t wear. They went from give me a confidence boost to holding me back. I had to take control of my own body image. Let’s be honest, all of the cardigans in the world would not change my size or weight. (read more on that in “You Can’t Hide the Fat“)

Slowly overtime I’ve put cardigans in their proper place in my wardrobe. I wear them a lot for work because its cold in my office and it helps me transition some of my more casual dresses into work wear. You’ll notice a lot of cardigans in my twerking Vlog below because I was hanging out in my work clothes, but on weekends and when I’m out at night, I have a “no cardis allowed” rule that keeps me from getting too dependent on my old comfort blanket.

I had to throw cardigans and shrugs out the window along with “black is slimming” and other nonsense that I convinced myself of. Maybe next month, I’ll try to do 30 days with no cardigans at all, just to be sure I’ve really kicked the habit.

Do you wear a lot of cardians or have a different kind of “fashion comfort blanket” that makes you feel like your trouble spots are hidden?

Oh, and check out this weeks PSP in NYC Vlog 🙂

Does Our Weight Affect Our Friendships? | Being Mary Jane Big Girl Recap

I couldn’t give Being Mary Jane two hours of my time yesterday, so I just finished watching the second half of the finale tonight. If you don’t watch the show, I’ll give you a quick recap.

Wait– are you judging me for watching it? *blush*

All you need to know is that Mary Jane’s ex boyfriend found out that she stole his semen and froze it in the hopes of getting pregnant via turkey baster. (omg, you really are judging me for watching this show, aren’t you?)

Being Mary Jane Big Girl

Anyway, Mary Jane accuses her plus size friend, Nichelle (played by Brely Evans) of being the one who told him. As they argue back and forth, Nichelle says something interesting

“What I am to you is a non-threatening, big jolly girl you call when you want to have a good time and make you feel better about yourself!”

We focus so much about how being a Plus Size Princess affects our dating relationships, but what about our platonic female friendships? I’ve written this post about friends who gave me backwards compliments. I’ve written this post about my friends letting their boyfriends sleep at my house alone (cause who would cheat with a big girl??)

During #PSPfit bootcamp we talk about what its like to lose weight and how some skinny friends aren’t as eager to go out with you when you’re not the big girl anymore.

All of these things are easy to discuss after the fact, I think about some girls I was cool with in college; they would come to my dorm with boyfriend problems, call me to see if I wanted to do a late night ice-cream run, but on a Friday night when it was time to turn up at the club and meet guys, I was rarely invited. For those people I was always the maternal figure, the good listening ear… the one they called when they wanted to talk through problems, but not the one they called for a fun girls night out.

Do some people keep us around to make themselves feel better?

When I left college, I still had relationships where I wondered if I wasn’t fully embraced as a friend because of my weight. Those girls were the ones who carefully explained that Robert probably wasn’t attracted to me when I was in the grey area with him.

The good thing is, just like a character on a show can be recast, we can recast the friends in our lives who aren’t good for us. Friendships are so much more nuanced than romantic relationships, but they can be just as frustrating and painful. I think its important for us to talk about how plus size women can demand the best in any relationship we have.

Thoughts??

The ONE Time I Decided to Settle… a Cautionary Tale | Plus Size Dating | Relationships

A few weeks ago I posted an email on my instagram from a guy I used to date.

I was trying to see if you are free. Nowadays you look HOT. Do you want to hang out tomorrow?

Plus Size Dating Low Self Esteem

Wait– did this guy really say “nowadays”??

I swear to you, if I could erase one guy from my dating history it would be Elliott.

I dated Elliott when I was in a very bad place regarding my body image and self esteem. For a few months I convinced myself that maybe as a fat girl I should just “take what I could get” dating-wise. Elliott is what happened to me when I subscribed to that thinking. He was rude, had an awkward kissing style personality and said hurtful things to me constantly.

Like the time he whispered “You know, if you lost weight you’d be REALLY hot” right before he tried to stab me in the mouth with his pointy tongue…

*blank stare*

I went on four painful dates with Elliott until the day I decided that if he was the best I could get, I’d rather be alone.

Unfortunately, my biggest dating mistake is like a cockroach that won’t die. Although I dated him years ago, Elliott reaches out to me every 4-6 months to see “what’s up”. I’ve done everything I could to block him from my life, including lying and telling him that I was engaged and moving out of the country, which seemed to have worked until… he discovered my blog (thanks, internet!).

Hearing from Elliott last month reminded me of what the universe handed me when I decided I would take anything.

#NoThankYou

Its Valentines week and whether we have a boyfriend, a girlfriend or we’re flying solo, this is a good time for us to start thinking about the love we have for ourselves and how that affects our relationships.

Do me a favor: take a moment and think about your worst dating situation… how did you feel about yourself when that relationship came to be?

When I’m in a good place, I attract good people… when I’m in a bad place? I get the “nowadays” dude who couldn’t even kiss me properly. Looking back, I can trace my dating steps and see that as I went back to loving myself and embracing my value as a person (at any size) the quality of guys that I dated began to improve again. It wasn’t immediate… there was a lot of “single CeCe” time in there too, but as I’ve said before the single time made me into the independent girl that Robert loves.

Have you ever dated someone who was just whack? Do you think it was connected to how you felt about yourself at the time?

p.s. my favorite valentines post is called “I Haven’t Changed” if you/you’re girlfriends are feeling frustrated this Vday, you might want to check that post out too

p.p.s. Don’t forget I’m hosting an event this Saturday, hope to see you there… you can register here

Valentines Gifts Under $20… for your Friends, your Boo (or You!)

You guys are going to think I’m crazy, but when I figured out that Valentines Day falls on 1.) a Friday 2.) a long weekend and 3.) Pay Day… I got so excited *throws heart shaped glitter in the air*

I think its important to celebrate the people you love (romantic or not). Friday I’ll be with Robert, Saturday I’ll be at the Curvy Yoga Party and Sunday I’m hanging out with my close friends. I think that covers romantic love, loving me and the love I have for my friends/family. I’ve also come up with some cute gift ideas for the weekend.

Here are some ways that I’m celebrating Valentines Day on a budget… I’ve got “I love you” gift ideas for my boo, gift ideas for myself and a fun idea for my friends:

To say “I love you” to myself, I scooped up this sterling silver “LOVE” ring from Amazon for $12. I ordered the ring in a size 10 and it fits. I’ve been wearing the ring in some of my YouTube videos, so you can take a look at it there.

Love Ring Plus Size 10 Fingers

I’m not sure if my $12 soy massage candles qualify as another gift for me, a gift for my boo… or both. Soy massage candles smell delish and burn at a comfortable heat that allows the wax to be used as a skin softening massage oil. You can burn them while you take a bath and then use them when you get out to moisturize. Or you can use them as a massage oil for your valentine, its up to you! *wiggles eyebrows*

Massage Candle

At $24.95, a PantyGram is a *slightly* over $20 but with code “save5now” you can get $5 off, bringing it back into budget! I like this idea because its kind of fun and daring. Ordering a PantyGram means your Valentine will get a black envelope with a pair of red heart-shaped chonies inside. The panties are for setting the tone for your evening, so they’re “one size fits all” and you can customize a flirty little note to go with them when you send them.

pantygram

On Sunday, I’m going to have Alex, Cody and some of my other close friends over to my apartment for brunch and cocktails because I love them! I’ve got some fun vodka recipes on deck, but I’ll also have red wine on hand because you can’t have a Vday party without it! Its too cold to carry a bunch of bottles home in the snow, so I’ll be taking advantage of Amazons 1Cent shipping. One bottle is $18!

Wine

Happy Valentines Day!!

Getting Out of Our Comfort Zones | Thank You

Can we talk a little bit about comfort zones today?

On the way home last night, I began thinking about what it takes to get out of your comfort zone. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve seen me push myself out of my comfort zone a few times.

1.) Starting this blog and putting all of my insecurities on the table. Being plus size in NYC can be frustrating and painful. But this site gave me a safe space to talk about plus size night clubs, my thighs rubbing together and online dating horror stories with people who “get it”.

2.) When I finally took the plunge and asked Robert if he liked me. I know some of you were like “FINALLY!” when that happened *blush*

3.) When I stopped being anonymous and started sharing my plus size fashion photos/videos on the blog. I know that seems like an easy task, but being anonymous was a very safe space for me and I had to learn how to continue to be vulnerable with you guys once my photo was attached.

4.) When I lost 55 pounds and started our #PSPfit virtual clean eating/fitness boot camps

None of the moments were easy for me, in fact I spent lots of time with that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. But, I swear I’ve never regretted pushing past my comfort zone. Even if things didn’t go my way, pushing past my comfort zone gives me clarity and/or closure on things in my life so that I can keep holding on or let them go as needed.

As I grow up, I can look back and see that many of the things I hold dear today are because somewhere along the line I took a chance. Even in something as simple as yesterdays post, many of the comments were about the “side plank” photo I used at the end– if I had stayed comfortably anonymous, that part of the post would have never happened.

I know for a fact that life and growth sits just beyond my comfort zone and doing the things that scare me are what propels me forward. The tricky part is getting over the discomfort and taking those leaps. I know its a little late for new years resolutions, but I wonder if I need to put “Get Out of Your Comfort Zone” at the top of my to-do list. I’m sure there are many moments big and small that I let pass me by because I’m uncomfortable… thoughts?

Have you had a chance to push past your comfort zone? or are you considering pushing past it?

P.S. I am so grateful to everyone who tweeted and shared my plus size yoga story… because of you the post was picked up by the Huffington Post, BlogHer and Refinery29… THANK YOU!! xoxo

wherethemagichappens

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I’M A BIG BLACK GIRL AROUND SMALL WHITE PEOPLE & I’M SUDDENLY FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT (a response to Jen Caron & xoJane.com)

Below is my response to Jen Carons “IT HAPPENED TO ME: THERE ARE NO BLACK PEOPLE IN MY YOGA CLASSES AND I’M SUDDENLY FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT” post on xoJane.com yesterday. Here is an excerpt of what she wrote:

A few weeks ago, as I settled into an exceptionally crowded midday class, a young, fairly heavy black woman put her mat down directly behind mine. It appeared she had never set foot in a yoga studio—she was glancing around anxiously, adjusting her clothes, looking wide-eyed and nervous. Within the first few minutes of gentle warm-up stretches, I saw the fear in her eyes snowball, turning into panic and then despair. Before we made it into our first downward dog, she had crouched down on her elbows and knees, head lowered close to the ground, trapped and vulnerable. She stayed there, staring, for the rest of the class.

Because I was directly in front of her, I had no choice but to look straight at her every time my head was upside down (roughly once a minute). I’ve seen people freeze or give up in yoga classes many times, and it’s a sad thing, but as a student there’s nothing you can do about it. At that moment, though, I found it impossible to stop thinking about this woman. Even when I wasn’t positioned to stare directly at her, I knew she was still staring directly at me. Over the course of the next hour, I watched as her despair turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward me and my body.

Now, I’d like to share my story… IT HAPPENED TO ME: I’M A BIG BLACK GIRL AROUND SMALL WHITE PEOPLE & I’M SUDDENLY FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT (a response to Jen Carons)

A few weeks ago I was taking a 7am class at an small/pricey fitness center in NYC. The classes at this fitness center only have 12 people in them which means we all get lots of personal attention. While the majority of the students in my class were women, I was the only black woman in the class. Actually, I was the only black person in the class… and for what its worth, I was the only plus size person in the class too.

Before class began we all introduced ourselves. There was a Kristy, a Liz, a Lisa, some other names I can’t remember and me, CeCe.

For the duration of the class, our bubbly blonde instructor encouraged everyone by name, “Nice Kristy!”, “Good job Liz!”, etc. she would also encourage me “Go, Girl!” she’d say… “Alright, Girl!”… “Nice, GIRL!” she’d yell standing over me with a beaming smile.

Everyone else in the class was called by name, but I, the only fat black woman in the class was called “Girl” (or was it “Guurl”?)

Jen Carons account of being made hyper aware of her white-ness and her skinny-ness while in the presence of a big black woman resonated with me because I am in that situation regularly, of course I play the role of the confused black woman who doesn’t understand why people constantly talk about their color and size when they’re around me.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have people make announcements about the color of their skin or the size of their body every time they saw you? Welcome to my world!

Like when white men grab me to dance at a bar and then interrupt our fun to announce “I’m such a white boy, right?”

Or when small white women wistfully tell me how much they really wish they could gain weight and be more “curvy”.

You see, from where I sit Jen’s sudden awareness of her whiteness was only a reflection of how hyper aware she was of the big black woman in such close, intimate proximity to her.

I mean, it would be racist weird to say “OMG! You’re so big and black!” so instead she says “OMG! I’m so white and small”

As a plus size woman of color, people are constantly “telling on themselves” in regards to how they see me. It could be as simple as calling me “girl” instead of my name or being shocked when I sing along to Incubus songs, it could be something as nuanced as mentioning their own appearance in contrast to mine, or as awkward as quoting Tyler Perry to me and assuming I’ll get the reference (I won’t).

If Jen Caron would like to think about how a big black girl feels, she can think about one of my realities: I’ve come to accept that for many of my associates, I am a big black woman for a very long time and then once they get over their own stereotypical interpretations of what that is, I become a person named CeCe.

I do give Jen credit for trying to put herself in my shoes though, she said…

I thought about how that must feel: to be a heavyset black woman entering for the first time a (yoga) system that by all accounts seems unable to accommodate her body. What could I do to help her?

The answer to that is easy, I don’t need your help… I’m good!

Side Plank