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“If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” – RuPaul
As a former plus size model and a global artist at Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC, I meet models and celebrities and just regular “thin” people daily. I worked with photographers who would complain that the light reflected off my cellulite or agencies who claimed I wasn’t “plus size enough.” I work on models who don’t eat for three days before a shoot and their skin looks like it’s about to fall off, yet they are labeled the most beautiful women alive.
At 402 pounds I could look into the mirror and feel beautiful. I didn’t hate myself or my body. At 300 pounds I was in print magazines, on the walls of my favourite store and even one tiny billboard in LA.
Beauty isn’t about the number on the scale or the size on the tag of your pants. Beauty is so much more how you feel about yourself and thus what you radiate out into the world.
I’m struggling now that I’ve lost most of my regain (60 pounds so far) I don’t know where to end my loss. I look in the mirror today and I feel beautiful. I’m still obese class 2 — but my body looks good to me. Yes, I have loads of loose skin, and saggy bits. Yes, I’m not a size zero or wearing an extra small. But I feel good because I like being a bit on the curvy side. People at work exclaim how “tiny” I am — which is only in comparison to how I looked before I lost weight — not in relative terms to cover models or actually skinny people.
Who gets to determine your beauty?
It’s not about a magazine telling us perfect proportions, or a music video showing the “thick” girls or even your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/partner/family/friend/etc. It’s you. It’s not about what plus size means or doesn’t mean, or the normalization of skinny or fat.
I think it’s time we celebrate the beauty in all forms – we here at BE are supporting your change for a healthier lifestyle, a better quality of life, and a path to help you see the beauty in yourself – but you need to look in the mirror and see it too.
I’m incredibly proud to have lost 256 pounds, and 58 a second time. I’m proud that Italian Vogue had the courage to show women who aren’t size zero, and that Ashley Graham showed the world that the cover of Sports Illustrated isn’t just for the ultra thin. But in reality, I hope each of those women feel beautiful in their own right and are not looking for justification from a society that just doesn’t quite understand yet.
Kelsey is now Lead Admin on No More Bariatric Regain, our Facebook Support Group specifically for Regain. If you have experienced Bariatric Regain, there is hope! We can help you get back in those skinny jeans!
JOIN ‘NO MORE REGAIN’ SUPPORT GROUP ON FACEBOOK Click Here