My Body Image Journey

Note: today’s post is a bit different than usual. I’ll be back with your “regularly scheduled programming” next week.  

Yesterday I went to an in-person networking event (sitting 6 ft. apart and wearing masks while mingling,) where we were asked

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an unusual question to answer about ourselves. We were asked to introduce ourselves/our businesses to the entire group and then tell what we love about ourselves.

“What do I love about myself? And you want me to say it out loud to a group of women I’ve never met?”

I panicked! Sure, I know we’re supposed to love ourselves, but I was feeling pretty vulnerable about talking about it. Grateful I wasn’t speaking until close to the end, I thought about my answer for a while.

After pondering, what came up for me was that I love my commitment to my health and fitness. (I know…you thought it was going to be that I’m stylish, lol!)

Feeling a little vulnerable about all of this, I feel compelled to say that this isn’t a typical kind of post for me and it’s not a turning point for the blog. 

Back to topic…thinking about my commitment to my fitness and health got me thinking about both my journey and body image in general.

The truth is…taking care of myself has only been a priority for the last 6 years or so.

And it’s only been within the last 4-6 years that I’ve learned to accept my body.

Before that, my only concern was to try to be thin. No matter what size I was, I was convinced all of my problems would be solved if I wore 1-2 sizes smaller.

Growing up, I was always a little bit chubby and was envious of my older sister who was athletic and had the flattest stomach ever!

I vividly remember in high school I thought I was so fat. I wore a size 9. All of my friends wore size 5’s or 7’s. I believed if I were that size, I’d be more popular and I’d have a boyfriend…in my teenage mind my life would be perfect.

Clearly, I had a big problem with body image, and quite honestly it continued through my ‘20’s, 30’s and beyond. It didn’t matter how much I weighed, I never believed I was as thin or had a flat stomach.

I worked out but never realized the full benefits of all of my work since I wasn’t eating what my body really needed.

I ate decently, but I wouldn’t call it “healthy eating” by any stretch,) but my habits were on a real roller coaster in terms of my consistency. I was single for a long time and didn’t cook much, so picture lots of delivered pizza, sandwiches and sometimes cereal for dinner. On occasion, there were vegetables…not terribly often.

When I “dieted” it was only to be thinner, but I never really stuck with it for long.

After I got married, I put on 20 pounds…really quickly. In our marital bliss, we split a bottle of wine every night. And my sweet husband always made sure we had equal portions of food on our plates. And I actually became a good cook with someone to cook for, but we also went out for dinner A LOT.

We didn’t have a scale, so it actually took a while for me to figure out I’d gained the weight, but when I did, I was pretty freaked out. I was getting a little older and wasn’t sure when my metabolism might change, so I wanted to lose the weight immediately!

So I joined Weight Watchers. And I lost the weight pretty easily (simply by following the plan and working out.) Losing weight was rewarding to me, and I actually lost so much weight that I was at the very bottom of what was considered healthy for my height and weight.

At that point I was wearing size 4, but in my mind I was only wearing size 4’s that ran big. And I was convinced that all of the other women who wore size 4 were much thinner than me. 

It was almost impossible to eat anything and I was sick of counting points, so I did gain some weight from there, and of course gained some more and lost it a couple of more times. Through all of this, I still didn’t have my health in mind.

If you’re still reading by now, I’m certain you’re wondering why I’m talking about this on a blog that’s dedicated to image, fashion and style.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this topic today is simply I woke up this morning and was compelled to “speak my truth.”

I also know my clients are pretty vulnerable with me…letting someone into your closet is a pretty intimate thing. I decided it was time to share something not many people know about me.

After speaking about it candidly with those women yesterday, thoughts of self-acceptance were weighing heavily on my mind.

Perhaps you’ve picked up on this already, but it wasn’t until I lost weight because I wanted to be healthy that it became easier for me to maintain.

And because my health is important to me now, I maintain healthy eating and a consistent fitness regimen. I’m far from perfect, but I’m mindful about it more than I ever was in the past. It’s satisfying to plan meals that are nutritious and delicious–I’ve learned it’s one or the other.

Being healthy has led to self-acceptance of my body image…being a new state of being in the grand scheme of my whole life; I’m still not 100% on that either, but I feel pretty good about myself most days.

I still look at my stomach from the side every morning and finally I’m satisfied with how flat it looks, and I’m also proud of finally being able to do all of the ab exercises it takes to make them flat.

I hope that if you relate to my story you now know, you’re not alone. In no way am I trying to preach how to eat or see your body, but if you ever want someone to talk to, I’m here, and I understand.

That said, I’m not an expert on weight loss, health management, body image or self-esteem. If you are interested in getting help in one of those areas, I can absolutely refer you to several women you can check out. (Trust me, it was when I got help and had a community of support, that I was able to make a change.)

After being in business for over 16 years, I’ve met lots of amazing professionals who can help you along your journey.

Not that this is the topic of today’s blog, but if you aren’t buying clothes that make you feel amazing because you don’t feel as though anything you put on can make you look the way you want to look…I can help.

You can look fantastic at any size, weight or shape!

You are beautiful, and whether you see it or not, I do. And I’d be honored to help you begin to see your beauty no matter what size you wear.

Please feel free to send me a message with any comments, concerns or if you just want to talk.

Before You Go…

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11 comments on “My Body Image Journey

  1. Dana, this piece has great value to us. After all, we engage with you–the expert–to help us feel better about ourselves. Our own self-image is at the root of why we secure the services of professionals like you. Writing and sharing this certainly makes you vulnerable, but I’ll be the first to say “thank you” for causing me to do a little thinking on my own self image. I, too, have issues with and plenty of negative talk about my body despite being fit and able to do many things. It’s nice to know “even you” have had issues with self acceptance. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. Dana, this was so well said. I appreciate your candor and appreciation for your body and yourself! We all need a bit of courage to accept ourselves for who we are.

  3. I’ve known Dana for about 10 years…from a customer’s perspective, let me tell you what I love about you … you are so very kind and supportive of your customers, regardless of where they are in their healthy/physical journey, you help them make the best Start Here. And you are a great role model even to someone many years older.

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