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Curvy Dating Rule #1: Size only matters if you make it matter.
There is nothing more unattractive than leading with your unhappiness. The mind is a marvelous tool when it comes to reality — if you think your weight is a real factor to your lack of dates, guess what — you’re right! Not because a man told you so, not because COSMO said so — it comes down to one raw, crippling belief that is holding you back: you’re just too fat for love.

There are many people in the world that think large women are unattractive and there are many men that think skinny women are unattractive. Don’t assume your body image hang ups are how others see you. If body acceptance is a real struggle for you, it’s important to work through it before you begin dating seriously. You’ll just end up bringing your insecurities into the relationship and that’s no good for anyone involved. Everyone has insecurities but knowing how to mange and work through your own is a major factor in dating success.

Curvy Dating Rule #2: Never lie about who you are & what you look like.
The internet is amazing – I fell in love the moment I typed in “www” for the first time back in the late ’90s. But with the internet’s awesome-ness, the internet’s cloak of deception has also emerged. Any client I work with who wants to dip into online dating must follow my golden rule: never lie about your appearance! If you’re dating honestly, you need to be open & clear about who you are because that is the solid foundation of any relationship. If you’re lying about how you look, what’s going to happen if/when you finally get to meet face-to-face? You’ll feel unnecessary anxiety and maybe even rejection — but not because of how you look necessarily, but because you damaged their trust. Yes, it’s scary to be that open, but putting the real you out there can mean only ONE thing: people will also positively respond to the real you and that’ll give you a huge boost of confidence!

Curvy Dating Rule #3: You teach others how you want to be treated.
Similar to rule 1, this one needs to go a little deeper into what your boundaries and expectations are in dating. Sometimes overweight women are also push-overs: they think that if they are overly nice and accommodating  people will love them more. What ends up happening is you start to feel taken advantage of and that you’re just settling, and people won’t respect you.

Setting boundaries and being seen as controlling are NOT the same thing. Setting boundaries is grounded in acting with confidence and grace, the other, out of fear of being taken advantage of. But at the end of the day, if you’re dating someone who isn’t respecting, considerate, or honoring you, it’s sending the message that it’s okay to settle for less than the best. You deserve way more than that, so let people show you how well they can treat you!

Curvy Dating Rule #4: Always dress in your most-fabulous!
I used to wear over-sized sweatshirts to parties in junior high because I thought they would hide my tummy better. And when I look back at those photos all I can see is an uncomfortable, poorly-dressed girl. Dressing for your body speaks volumes for how much you care about yourself and what you want the world to know about it. With the rise in tons of plus-size fashion bloggers (such as GarnerStlye), brands and clothing lines, there really isn’t anything off-limits to women size 12+.

Whether it’s grabbing coffee, running to the gym, out with the girls, off to work, or your first date with a new squeeze, outfits and style are an import piece of feeling great about your body. Fashion is also an opportunity for people to see just how much you care about your self worth. And trust me, people LOVE seeing a well-put- together plus-sized girl (just ask my co-workers who comment on my adorable outfits daily!)

Curvy Dating Rule #5: Learn how to attract & keep men that honor all of you
Dating is 90% mental; 10% physical. There is a craft to the art of attraction and it starts with your sexiest organ: the mind. Attracting the right kind of partner is about understanding and valuing yourself, and trusting that whomever you date will also hold their own self worth in high regard. You can tell when you’re not being respected, and the good men out there know the difference between a woman of self worth and a woman of self pity.

If you’re curious about how to attract and keep good men, you’ll want to check out my business mentor Marni Batista and her life-changing programs at Dating with Dignity. Get on her email list and open yourself up to a whole new world of dating goodies. Don’t allow yourself to hold back from being the light in someone else’s life. Love isn’t just for thin people. Love isn’t something that is denied to those who don’t fit the mold. Love first and foremost, comes from a deep sense of unconditional self love. These five rules are just some of the life-changing ways love can enter into your curvy life, so go out there, practice them and even better, write some love rules for yourself.

–  Rachel O’h-Uiginn Estapa (yourtango.com)

 

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16 Things That Happen When You’re The Fat Girl In The Friend Group

I want to preface this article by saying I am fat, and if you are my friend please don’t text me in the next five minutes apologizing for anything. You have nothing to apologize for. This article is for the fat girls in the world. We deserve recognition for the things that happen to us. I asked a bunch of fellow fat girls what were some of the worst things that happened to them all the time. So here are 16 of the most common grievances of your token fat girl in the friend group:

1. Clothes swaps aren’t optional.

I lived in my sorority house last year, and nothing was worse than when we had themed parties. If I didn’t have the clothes, then I wasn’t going. I didn’t want to be the odd one out, and I couldn’t borrow from anyone because we aren’t the same size. When formal comes, I always have to buy my own new dress, instead of being able to go through my sisters’ closets like the rest of my house is doing. This isn’t anyone’s fault but mine, but it’s always another reminder that I’m different.

2. You despise shopping with your friends.

This may come as a shock to straight-sized people, but most clothing stores don’t offer plus size clothing. I personally only shop at Target, Torrid, Forever 21, Lane Bryant, and Old Navy. I’m sure other fat girls shop at other places, but we certainly aren’t shopping at any high end stores. At the Short Hills Mall, the mall closest to me, the only store that sells plus size clothing that my friends will even go near is Forever 21. This means that for the rest of our shopping trips, I’m just walking around, trying not to get into anyone’s way. I got really good at UnBlock Me on one such shopping trip. Once again, it’s not any of my friends faults that I can’t shop in the stores they go into. However, it would be nice if, when we do go shopping, you all came with me to my stores too, even though it’s a little bit embarrassing.

3. Nothing bothers you more than when your friends say they’re fat.

One, you’re not fat. If you’re below a size 12, you’re not fat, and I want you to shut up now. But the real reason why this bothers me, and every single fat girl will agree with this, if you say you’re fat, what am I? I must look like a walrus to you. I must be giant. I thought I was looking good today, but if you say you look fat, you at 100 pounds soaking wet, I, at least twice your weight depending on the minute, must look like a blob fish. Please stop saying this; nothing hurts more than our friends insulting themselves and, by extension, insulting us.

4. Unless your friends are on diets/ exercise kicks, and then you’re even more miserable.

I already feel self-conscious with every step I take and bit of food I put in my mouth. When you start dieting, and then talk about it constantly, I start getting even more concerned with my size. This is a me thing, not a you thing, and it’s not your fault I feel this way. But if you say that you need to diet because you’re too fat, how do you think that makes me feel? You have the privilege of already being able to go to restaurants without people looking at you no matter what you order. So if you’re getting a salad, and all I want is chicken fingers, I’m probably going to get a salad so I don’t feel even worse about myself. And you’re right, salad is healthier. I just don’t want the judgement.

5. Going to the club is a miserable experience when everyone is being hit on and you aren’t.

I’ve gotten hit on once at a club and it was because my hair reminded this guy of Texas. I’ve never been hit on at Muhlenberg. I don’t think a boy has ever looked at me at Muhlenberg. You wanna know why? It’s because I’m fat. People aren’t as attracted to fat people, and if they are, they’re really creepy guys at the club. That’s not saying fat people don’t have relationships, but I know one woman who gets exclusively hit on by old men, and the amount of websites where women are payed just to eat is sickening. Many times, our fatness is fetishized or seen as disgusting, which makes going out to the club and watching our skinny friends hook-up with men for hours pretty upsetting.

6. You move to the back of photos for fear you’ll look like a giant next to your skinny friends.

The cover photo of this article is me and my best friend the week before I left for college. Amy is the most athletic person I know, and this has led to me constantly looking like a giant in all of our photos. It’s now become my practice that I’ll move to the back of group photos so I stop looking like the giant I am. There’s a photo circulating around of me and my twin from my sorority and I look like I’m about to absorb her. I did a family stack once and my big looks like one of those birds on the back of hippos. I should not be in the front of photos.

7. Going for walks during the day hasn’t been an option for you since middle school.

This is because I sweat. And not a cute type of sweat. I sweat like a sinner in church. I sweat like it’s constantly 100 degrees in July. So taking walks when the sun is beating down means I will start sweating. It’s going to look gross and I’m not proud of how I look when I sweat. It is a mess. So please do not ask me to walk some place unless you’re okay with me wearing my sneakers, slathering on 20 layers of deodorant, and leggings. Also, don’t walk fast. There’s more of me than there is of you which means I have more to move with each step, meaning that I will take longer to move than you. I don’t walk slow on purpose, I walk slow so I don’t have an asthma attack and collapse.

8. And on that note, you avoid summer in general because of your constant state of chub rub.

Everyone experiences chafing, this isn’t a “fat girls only” thing, but chub rub is. Chub rub is the horrible thing that happens when our fat on our legs rubs up against itself and gives us giant rashes. When your legs don’t separate unless you’re attempting to do a split, this happens more than we’d like, especially during summer when we have to wear shorts or die from heat stroke. I had chub rub so bad in Italy I started bleeding. And not just like a little cut, there were multiple giant cuts all up and down my legs. And then I went to the zoo a week later and the cuts re-opened, resulting in it looking like I had murdered a guy by squeezing him between my legs. I know everyone chafes, but fat girls have it bad, so please don’t make me walk to far in the summer. I don’t want to start bleeding again.

9. You’re the funny one.

I don’t really know why this is. Personally, I don’t think I’m that funny. My friends certainly tell me I’m not funny all the time. However, when our group is laughing, I’m usually the one that started it. I think it’s because I don’t want people to laugh at me because I’m fat, so I make them laugh at whatever I’m saying instead. I control the laughter, and then they can’t hurt me. If there’s a group of people, the fat one is the funny one. Why do you think Jonah Hill makes so much money? Why do you think Melissa McCarthy is one of the highest paid working actresses right now? Why do you think Aidy Bryant and Leslie Jones are the best women on SNL? They’ve had years of practice.

10. Nothing is more terrifying than a group t-shirt order form.

I get in a cold sweat any time someone asks me my t-shirt size in a group chat. This mostly happens with my sorority, and it’s humiliating to be the only person above size medium. I know no one even thinks of it, and it wouldn’t bother me if everyone was my size, or if even one person was my size. But I’m officially the largest person in my sorority, and it’s just embarrassing to be singled out all the time.

11. You don’t just do anything.

You don’t just go out. You don’t just go to the beach. You don’t just do anything. First you need to psych yourself up to do things. You’ll get a lot of looks when you go out, especially if you’re going out to eat. You need to make sure your outfit doesn’t show too much skin, but also that it doesn’t cover up too much or you’ll be sweltering. If you’re going to the beach, you need at least two weeks to prepare.

12. The worst conversations are when everyone is discussing the amount of guys they hooked up with the night before.

Well this is for me, but I’m very excited for you, I just want to talk about something else that I can actually have input in. I can’t talk about boys because I either didn’t go out last night or didn’t find anyone who I experienced a mutual attraction with. I know a lot of fat girls who are really happy in their relationships, but I know more who are in the same boat as me. It’s just uncomfortable and I don’t know what to add to the conversation.

13. But even worse are the conversations you have right before a meal.

First off, it’s what is everyone going to order? Is everyone going to get salad? Is everyone getting fries? What are we drinking? Is it a water kind of day? Or can I get Coke without feeling judged? I know that what other people order has nothing to do with me, but like I said earlier, if everyone else is getting salad, I’m going to get it too so I don’t feel even worse. Being fat means being constantly on your toes and making sure that you aren’t noticed even more because of your fatness. This shouldn’t be a thing, but because of my self-consciousness, it is.

14. People always try to give you advice about your weight.

“Join me at my Barre class, you’ll love it!” “Have you tried cutting out gluten?” “Well maybe if you exercised more, you’d look better.” “Are you sure you want to eat that?” “You know I love you but have you tried just not eating as much?” “There’s nothing wrong with you, you just could improve if you do this.” “Can I recommend something?” “How about you do this diet with me?” “Let’s go to the gym together!” I know you mean well, I do. But please stop. I know what I am and I know who I am and I will change when I change.

15. You’ve learned that “fat” means you’re ugly.

When your friends say, “I look so fat today,” they mean, “I look ugly today.” When you’re fat already, your friends are telling you that you are ugly. And then if you say, “Well I’m fat,” they’ll immediately respond with, “No you’re so pretty!” I didn’t say I wasn’t pretty. I said I was fat. I didn’t say I was ugly, but you associate “fat” and “ugly” as the same word. The amount of times I’ve heard, “Wow, you’re actually really pretty!” or “You’re really pretty for your, you know,” is infuriating. I’m the hottest one in this group, we all know it. You just have to stop associating these words together. And by the way…

16. You have the best butt in your friend group and they all know it.

Also you have the best boobs, sorry ’bout it. You may be fat, but you’re also amazing, beautiful, funny, kind, smart, and everything in between. Your fatness adds to that. So even though you’re the fat girl in your friend group, you’re also the best girl in your friend group, and never forget it.

–  Samantha R Narciso (theodysseyonline.com)

Accepting Your Body

Loving your body takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. Once you became friends with it and realize the benefits of your body, you can start accepting it. Look to yourself in the mirror without judgment. This doesn’t mean your inner-critic won’t speak up. However, you have the decision to silence that voice by not listening to it and decide to be kind to your body.

Appreciating your body

Once you accept your body the way it is, you can start learning to appreciate it. You don’t need to celebrate it yet, just be grateful for every aspect of it. When negative feelings arise you can say to yourself, “I am valuable no matter what size” and “My beauty doesn’t depend on the way my body looks.” Think about your passions and the dreams you want to fulfill and the role your body plays in fulfilling those dreams.

Develop a body-love practice

Nourish your body with a body love treatment. Think about taking a scented bath, a gently massage or dancing around naked. Anything you like which benefits your body and will make you feel connected with it.

After years of battling with my own body image I can now look in the mirror and be happy with my reflection. I found peace. Not in changing my body, but in changing and growing the way I perceive myself. And the funny thing is, when I was able to love myself, I was also able to live the life I wanted and do the things I found important. Being beautiful and having a positive body image is a feeling that comes from within and deserves to be unlocked.Loving your body is hard, but the process is gratifying and worth it. What does it give you? Your life!

Miriam Roelink (recoverywarriors.com)

7 TIPS FOR TAKING YOUR FIRST EVER BOUDOIR PHOTOS

Fact: boudoir isn’t just for brides-to-be’s in hotel suites anymore. It’s for everyone, including you and me, girl.

Another fact: I’m no stranger to baring skin in the name of body love.

From being pressed between a wall and a male model while topless for Abercrombie, to stripping for 100 women in Expose, to being fully nude in a window posing for Substantia Jones in NYC… I’ve done some really kick ass nude-y photo shoots, y’all.

But even after all that, boudoir photography has always been a titch scary to me (which always means, of course that I absolutely must do it. ) and I was never totally sure why. It could have been because of the overt sexiness required, or maybe it’s the fact that it isn’t often a fat acceptance practice and almost every article is about how to look “better” (read: skinnier) in the photos. But none of that matters much anymore… I’ve tried it! And I’m glad I did.

Not only was it a personal victory, but quite frankly a ferocious act in the name of body love. Obvious truth: the world needs more sexy and unapologetic fat girl photos and I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!

Now, I’m not going to give you tips on how to look “sexiest” or poses that make you look thinner. If you really want those, the internet has them aplenty. Instead, I want to give you the 8 things I learned along the way… and hopefully they make taking revealing (and therefore vulnerable) photos a super duper fucking amazing experience! Because GODDAMN IT, you’re sexy and you deserve to feel it.

1.) Choose a safe location that speaks to you. Your bedroom. A hotel room. The back room of a Mexican restaurant…. Yes, these photos we’re totally taken in the back room of a Mexican restaurant. I shit you not.

I put out a request to my friends for location suggestions and a pal internet yelled SIR VEZAS and I laughed. But I did some research and found out that their “Low Rider Room” was rentable and full of sparkly gold booths and painted car hoods. I was SOLD.

So be creative! Choose a place that feels safe (obviously my safe may be different than another persons) whether it be remote, private, somewhat public (we had a cloth curtain for a door)… you choose. Some of the sexiest boudoir photos I’ve ever seen were taken in a backyard pool. Some models in white t-shirts, and some in lingerie and heels. Yes, heels in a pool. FUCK, IT WAS HOT. That’s all I have to say about that.

2.) Have your hair and makeup done professionally. I highly recommend this! Whether it’s a professional in a salon, someone who does it from home, or a friend that’s awesome with an eye shadow palate… have THEM do it. While I am absolutely capable of contouring and applying lashes, it feels like such a luxurious experience to have someone else doing the application. Almost like the ultimate form of photo self-care. Trust me on this one.

3.) Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. If you’re wanting to try something new (maybe this is the perfect opportunity to wear that fetish outfit you’ve been dreaming about) go for it! If you find yourself worrying about what to wear, I’d recommend whatever feels comfortable and sexy to you, even if it’s not “traditional boudoir lingerie.” I really wanted to rock a casual tank top that showed a little bit of nipple and then a more feminine look with lace and ribbons. Both of these I’ve worn to bed in real life, and eradicating the nervousness of trying to figure out how to work with my clothing while shooting was wonderful. You do YOU, whatever that means

4.) Choose a photographer you trust. This can be a little tricky, because you also want someone who has skills so that the quality of the photography isn’t a distraction. Look locally for someone that you know, friends recommend, or you like their work. If you’ve never met them and you’d like to make sure you can jive with them on this sort of shoot, ask if you can meet them beforehand. It never hurts to ask, and perhaps they’ll be game! Connection with a photographer MATTERS.

5.) Be prepared that it might be a little hard. I was NOT expecting it to be difficult. I’m no stranger to compromising shoots, and I figured- I’m not even going to be nude, and there’s going to lingerie… How hard can it be? The answer? Kinda hard.

I was having a rough day before hand which couldn’t have helped, but during the shoot I found myself worried about the poses. More specifically, I was worried about my stomach. I wanted to minimize it (silly me) but I also wanted to push my boundaries and do poses that were outside my comfort zone… which meant tummy. What I ended up doing was stopping and saying “Ohmygod I’m having such a hard time with my stomach. Lemme breathe for a sec.” That was all I needed. I sucked it up (not in) and shot the rest of the poses with confidence… real and perceived.

6.) HAVE FUN! Have so much fun. This is about you, and celebrating you. Call all the shots, be the boss and celebrate! (Also, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: at almost all of the nude shoots I’ve done, wine has been available. Don’t get schwasty, but a glass certainly doesn’t hurt.)

7.) Look for yourself  in the photos. This is perhaps the most important part. We do this terrible thing, where we look in the mirror or at pictures and we expect to see a thin model. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN UNLESS YOU ARE A THIN MODEL. So stop that shit. The second you start looking for you is the second you will start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. There is not one definition of beauty. You are absolutely perfect just as you are. Try to find that.

8.) Show the images to someone else. (BONUS TIP! This is too critical to not share.) We sometimes have the urge to hide hard things from others. We only put our “best” pictures on FB and un-tag any image a friend adds that we hate. I’m going to ask you to do the opposite of that.

When you get your images back, sit with them (hopefully you’ll love them!) and then show them to someone. Whether it be your lover, partner, a friend, your social media network… just show them.

I had a terrifying experience with the last Expose shoot, where in a moment of encouragement for others to do the same, I stripped down to nothing and struck a powerful pose. After I saw the image… well, I lost it. I hated it more than I’ve ever hated an image of myself before. It felt masculine and my short hair only seemed to exacerbate this. I saw the “flaws.” I saw that belly.

I sat on the image for weeks, loathing my body until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to know if it was as awful as my critical mind said it was. So with tears in my eyes, I sat down with my boyfriend and showed it to him. Guess what he saw? A goddamn sexy woman he was in that he was love with.

We certainly don’t need to define our worth by what others think of us, but we also don’t need to pretend that support cant be helpful. Our perception of ourselves is often skewed because of our lifetime of shame, and sometimes an outside perspective can be wonderful.

So share them! When I got my proofs from this shoot, I was at a karaoke bar in NYC and showed them to everyone. Friends and strangers alike. I then shared them on Facebook and no one was blinded, traumatized or offended. In fact, the pictures blew a few minds and probably caused a few boners.

Try it. I guarantee you won’t die if you do.

–  (themilitantbaker.com)