Wednesday, March 13, 2019

In the Kitchen Redux + Body Positivity (Bernie Dexter)

This post will be a bit different. Sure, I am sharing a Bernie Dexter dress that I recently scored at discount on the Bernie Dexter Collective on Facebook, but I wanted to share it to discuss something I feel very strongly about - body positivity.

What does this precious dress have to do with body positivity (BOPO)? Well, some may recognize it and may be wondering "don't you have this dress already, Sara? Haven't we seen this before many times?"

Well, yes. I did have this. I bought this dress years ago - in 2016, to be exact - and I shared it on the blog back then. It was my first Bernie in this style (the Kelly) and wouldn't be the last and I loved this dress to BITS. I wore it often. It was one of my favorites.

It stopped fitting me a couple years later. Back then I used to fit into medium EVERYTHING - my size varies based on the brand but I now order large when ordering a Bernie Dexter. And while that may make some people roll their eyes and think "oh boo hoo, Sara," that is kind of exactly why I am writing this post.

So now you have the connection. I didn't have a sudden weight gain. It was gradual. Since 2014 or so, I definitely have gained some weight overtime and it continued up until around 2017. Part of it has to do with the fact that when I had a tonsillectomy in 2012, my weight dropped BIG time due to not eating for almost a week (recovering from a tonsillectomy as an adult is NO JOKE, PEOPLE!) and though I gained a bit back after without a problem, it really did take a year or two to start seeing the meat come back onto my bones.

I went from being a 36" bust, 28" waist, and a 37" hip to a 38" bust, 30" waist, and 40" hip. And while to some that increase in numbers is NOT drastic and I am still considered petite and appear tiny (but if you look up my stats online, I fall into the overweight category on the BMI - LOL!), it is STILL a weight gain and NO ONE feels good when going through an unplanned body change.

I watched the scale and saw the number gradually go up and up and up and I panicked. What was I doing wrong? I talk up eating donuts all day everyday but I don't REALLY do that. I've always eaten fairly healthy with a few treats here and there and I try to exercise regularly. So what the heck? In 2016, I started to pressure myself to work out MORE and wear a Fit Bit and track my calories (ugh I cringe thinking of all this now). It shouldn't surprise you that I didn't see any results.

It was around 2017 that I started to notice that tracking my calories in an app and wearing my Fit Bit were starting to make me a bit obsessed and neurotic and it was beginning to be unhealthy (I even have the damn Fit Bit on in the blog post with this dress!). I wasn't starving myself but I caught myself thinking some scary thoughts and getting legitimately anxious/stressed/angry when I'd enter my food into this stupid app and it would tell me I went over my allocated calories for the day. If I am being really honest, I'd even play with the data JUST so I could see the total NOT surpass what my recommended daily intake should be because seeing the number be green and not red made me happy.

I put my foot down. I deleted the app. I stopped wearing my Fit Bit. I stopped making myself go to the gym (I had a gym at my old job but I HATE the gym and using work out gear). Instead, I found exercise I actually enjoy. I increased going to Jazzercise because it's a lot of fun and I genuinely like it and I stopped giving myself guilt trips if I decided not to go one night or couldn't due to a work commitment or plans with friends.

Then I read a post online about body positivity and I started to follow BOPO warriors on Instagram (BodyPosiPanda, Glitter and Lazers, and iWeigh for starters) and suddenly it CLICKED in my brain. I felt like I had woken up from a long slumber or someone had splashed water on my face. Guess what? I don't need to be a certain weight or look a certain way to be happy and be allowed space on this planet - AND YOU DON'T EITHER. THE SCALE MEANS NOTHING!

Since then, I have not stepped on a scale (other than at a doctor's apt) so I can't even tell you if the number stopped increasing or if it's still on the rise. I know I am healthy - I eat plant-based/vegan as much as I possibly can (because I ENJOY it and not because I feel I should, mind you), I cook our meals fresh with balanced ingredients (I love my veggies), I treat myself in moderation, and I go to Jazzercise 2 times a week with a bunch of supportive and lovely women.

I do NOT need to step on a scale to convince myself of this and definitely do NOT need to see a number decrease on said scale to feel GOOD and HAPPY. And guess what? NO ONE does. You don't either. FUCK that disaster that is the BMI. You're beautiful and awesome and deserve to be HAPPY and life is WAY too damn short to be worrying over your weight or what the scale says - WAY TOO SHORT!

And all these diets? The ones that become popular crazes that everyone does (keto, Whole 30, paleo, 21 Day Fix, cutting carbs completely, etc)? And those cleanses - those God awful cleanses that promise that you'll lose weight if you drink nasty teas or juices for 7 days, 21 days, whatever days? THEY'RE BULL SHIT. The teas and drinks are just laxatives and chemicals - NOTHING can give you a flat tummy in a matter of days. IT'S ALL A SCHEME FOR YOUR MONEY AND YOUR SELF WORTH. Diet Culture feeds off insecurity - WE CAN'T LET THEM WIN!

So yeah, I once wore a medium version of this dress and had to sell it. But now I got it back in a large and I can rock one of my favorite dresses again. No one can see the tag inside the dress. And even if they could, so what? Yeah, it's a size large. But I don't care. I love my shape, my body and all the crazy things it can do and will do in the future, and how I look. I love that even though I've gained weight in the recent years, I now have a pretty textbook hourglass shape and that's pretty cool. I kick ass daily, love my collection of dresses, and feel damn good walking down the street in them.

And I do NOT need a scale to give me permission to.

Now, I challenge all of you, reading this post. Leave a comment declaring why YOU are AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL. Even if you don't typically comment on blogs. PLEASE. Take a moment today. I want - no, I need - to hear what makes YOU happy and what makes you feel beautiful.