Body Positivity and Weight Loss: Can you have and want both?

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending BlogHer for the very first time. It’s always fun to connect in person with other members of the blogosphere and learn from their successes (and flops). I was hanging at a protein powder booth at the expo hall, and introduced myself to the brand rep. “Hi, I’m Alyssa,” I said, beginning my usual elevator pitch, “I blog about losing weight without losing my sense of humor, though lately this weight loss blog is more of a weight gain blog because I recently had a baby.” The rep and I chitchatted for a few minutes, and then I turned to leave, when I saw a girl approach me. I knew she was on the younger side as she had that youthful skin that no lotion or potion can give you back. “Hi, I heard you say you’re a weight loss blogger and I have a question for you.” She went on to explain how she struggles finding the balance between being body positive but also wanting to and trying to lose weight. She wanted to know, how did I find balance between the two and what was my perspective on it all? First of all, I asked this girl her age and she’s 17! Seventeen! Wow! Color me impressed for such an awesome, thoughtful query at such a young age.


The answer to this question is both simple and complicated at the same time. The question, if we reduce it to one direct statement is “Can you still be body positive if you are trying to lose weight?” To that, my answer is yes, yes, and more yes. I’ve actually had a few bloggers snark on me for not “being body positive” because I want to lose weight, but if you go through my blog, I think you’ll find my body positivity is pretty on-point. The key to this equation for me is that I can love myself just as I am, and I should, because once that weight comes off, there’s a lot of me that will still be the same. But more importantly, it’s about loving my body ENOUGH to know that it deserves the very best. For me, the very best is a lighter body — not just for how it will look in size 12 jeans, but to walk miles without my heel spur aching, to get my blood pressure taken without anxiously spiking it, to not fret about fitting in airplane seats or going ziplining.


Now, these two things can exist and both be true, and that said, I’m a big advocate of body positivity and am grateful it’s become a “thing” now that I am a mother. Images like this make me so very happy, to be living in a world where different shapes and sizes are becoming more accepted, just like skin color, sexual orientation, and gender.

However, I have to scrutinize a little bit about the body positivity community if those who are wanting to lose weight are being challenged. If we’re advocating for acceptance of all bodies, wouldn’t it be hypocritical to be against those who are wanting to make a change to their body? I think that you can love yourself just as you are but still want to make improvements; for example, how my husband adores the heck out of me but really wishes I didn’t need 10,000 reminders to empty the dishwasher. I think perhaps the emphasis of body positivity can shift slightly to be just more positivity in general; with your pants size, your religious beliefs, your diet, your hobbies, whatever makes you YOU. However, I suppose a key difference here is if you’re coming at your body and size with negativity, no confidence, and self-hatred while wanting to lose weight, THAT doesn’t really work as body positivity, ya know?

I guess the point of this is, and what I told that girl, is that you can lose 100 pounds, 5 pounds, or 1 pound — and you might look “perfect”, or whatever the meaning of that word of what we’re desiring really is, and if you haven’t done the hard work on the INSIDE of learning to love the person you are, then you’re not much better off than when you started. We all know happiness comes from within, and it sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you hate yourself at 300 pounds there’s a chance you’ll hate yourself at 100, too. So, I say, rock on with your body positive self, but if you’re wanting to lose weight to feel better or heck, even look better, rock on with your self-loving self. Because there’s nothing more positive than believing in the person you are and were meant to be — regardless of what the number says on the scale.

Guest Post: Why Aubrey walks the 3-Day

Friends: I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Aubrey, the co-captain of the Double Chin Divas! I have the pleasure of working with Aubrey on the 3-Day, and she’ll be walking 60 miles with me and April and Monique in San Diego in November. I wanted you to know why this walk matters so much to so many of us. To read more about Aubrey and donate to her fundraising, visit her here. Can’t donate but want to join us? Consider joining the Double Chin Divas team! Take it away, Aubrey!

Aubrey's the one holding the sign!

Aubrey’s the one holding the sign!

I registered for the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day in January of 2010 with the idea of doing something bigger than myself. I had heard about the 3-Day once or twice before in passing. This time I was sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser and saw the 3-Day commercial. My mind was made in an instant. I knew that I was going to register to walk 60 miles over the course of three days and raise $2,300. I had never done something like this. And to tell you the truth, I hadn’t done anything in my adult life that was noteworthy.

My grandmother had beaten breast cancer twice by the time I was born, I lost two of my aunts to cancer (breast and ovarian), my great grandmother had passed away from stomach cancer when my grandmother was a small child, and if that wasn’t reason enough, I believed that it was the right thing to do. I’ve always been the type of person to be all in or not at all so I jumped into the biggest, boldest event facing breast cancer out there with both feet.

I remember walking my very first 3-Day anxious to find out what was ahead, and I didn’t mean on the route. I meant with my mom. Just one month before my first 3-Day she had been diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. All throughout my journey I remember wondering what was to come. Would I lose her? She was my only parent, and she fought long and hard to give my brother and me a good life. My mom’s cancer forced me to look at this event in an entirely new way. I realized there is a difference between the feelings that are conjured up when you hear about a diagnosis. If you’ve never known someone close to you with cancer, you feel badly for the person with cancer. If you’ve ever watched a loved one fight cancer, the word “cancer” chews up your nerves, pulls on your heartstrings and launches you into advocacy.

Aubrey and her team

Aubrey and the San Diego Camp Services Team

So why this event? Why walk 60 miles and raise $2,300? I do it because it is essential. It is the single thing that I can do about breast cancer. When my mom was diagnosed I was called to action. I knew that signing up for this event meant a level of commitment that I had never encountered. And to be completely honest, I had no idea what kind of time would be involved, but I did it knowing I would not give up because cancer patients don’t get to give up. The walking part of this event is important but also symbolic to what a patient goes through. There’s a huge difference between symbolic and the same. We, as able bodied people, have to push ourselves to take every step. We have to force ourselves to get up and train when we don’t feel like it. We have to try out different techniques until we find the right training gear or walking speed. Compare that to what cancer patients go through and you’ll quickly realize you have nothing to complain about. One foot in front of the other.

The money. Why is there a goal? It’s simple.  If the goal is to fund a world without breast cancer then a certain number must be set in place in order to fulfill the purpose of what we are doing. So why $2,300? Because people don’t work for free and cancer research is labor and time intensive. Why $2,300? Because mammograms for uninsured women aren’t free so we need to raise enough to share the hope that a free mammogram can give. Why $2,300? Because there are women losing their hair and can’t afford a wig or a scarf, but if you go to your local cancer resource center you can usually get one for free. Why $2,300? Because families should not have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for treatment.

What about the folks who can’t physically or financially commit to this, but still want to help? Consider joining the 3-Day crew. They are a wonderful and dedicated group of individuals that donate four days of their time working behind the scenes during the event to ensure that the walkers have a seamless event. You can also share posts on social media, or come out to cheer walkers on.

If you have ever had a question about whether you can do this or not, I am here to tell you that YOU CAN! You cannot fail when you put your mind to this. I never once had it in my mind that I couldn’t do this even though I am a plus sized girl who had never done anything physically challenging in my life. The 3-Day is not just about pink ribbons, walking, and fundraising. The 3-Day is about living, dreaming, achieving, and loving in every aspect of your life. The confidence and relationships that you develop within yourself and others because of the 3-Day is only the beginning of what you are capable of.

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Taffy Activewear for Plus Sized Gym Goers

Happy Monday, everyone! Can you believe there’s just three more days until Thanksgiving?! Yikes — I need to get my butt to the grocery store to load up on Turkey and all the fixins. Matt and I are hosting this year; but that’s another blog for another day. Today, I’m excited to tell you about Taffy Active Wear, stylish activewear for women with curves. My love affair with Taffy began a couple years ago when I won a pair of workout pants from Taffy on Authentically Emmie. These pants quickly turned into my every-day-after-work pants and my all-the-time-on-weekends pants. They were soft, but had enough structure to suck in the less than desirable pouchy parts of my belly. Plus, they had the perfect amount of flare in the leg. As a tall gal, I like a basic flare, but I don’t need bellbottoms nor am I looking for a straight-legged taper. These are the best pants ever, basically. (I’m so obsessed with these pants I wore a hole into them. Don’t worry – a fresh new pair is on its way. My weekend wardrobe requires these pants. For serious! Pssst. They’re on sale for $22.99 right now too!)

In conjunction with the Latina Lifestyle Blogger Collective (I am an honorary Latina!), I was sent a full Taffy outfit to review. Here’s my review in one word: excellent. You know how sometimes you buy exercise clothes and they’re cut like normal clothes? That doesn’t work for activewear. Especially when you’re plus sized. You need clothes that move with you, that bend and crease, that don’t give you horrible wedgies or VPL. You also want them to be cute! Case in point: the Taffy Wide Waistband Fitted Capri, the Essential Tank Top and the Taffy Essential Jacket.

Rockin' my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

Rockin’ my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

1) The Capri pants are perfect for basically any kind of exercise, because while they help you suck it in, they also don’t ride up (or worse – fall down). These were so comfy I ended up wearing them the whole night after I finished at the gym. I also like the mesh detailing along the sides, which adds a sporty contrast.

2) The Essential Tank Top is adorable with the dove imagery on the front. I actually would wear this as a normal shirt! It’s super soft. One note is that it has a little bit of sheerness, which was actually sort of sassy and sexy with the neon sports bras I favor. I also like the “Work of Art” messaging, because all of us are truly a work of art!

3) The Essential Jacket is my favorite of all three items. I normally don’t wear white, and this jacket may have converted me (You can get it in black, too). The 2X fit me perfectly – enough to feel like I was downplaying the areas I’m self conscious about (tummy), but enough to be nipped in at the waist and show off my hourglass figure. I really liked this fabric, too – it was warm without being stuffy, and I was able to wear it on the treadmill without feeling too hot. I loved how it tied together the whole outfit, and I’ve actually worn this out shopping several times as just a cute, sporty jacket. You can also tell that ALL of these items are really high quality. The zipper pulls, seams and linings are all deluxe feeling. As much as I love Old Navy activewear, I can tell sometimes that its low price translates into low quality. Not the case with Taffy. One more small thing — each piece has a cute little candy logo on it. My galpal Susannah actually noticed it and pointed it out, saying, “Is that candy?!”. It is, indeed, and it is adorable.

If you want to give Taffy a try (you won’t regret it!), you can save 25% with the code LLBLOG for 25% off entire site until Dec 31, 2013. That also includes free shipping — AWESOME deal. (I may need to do a little more shopping. Don’t tell my husband. I mean, how can I resist this adorable tunic tank? It’s only $14.99. Old Navy prices — Taffy quality!) Taffy would be perfect for a gift for YOURSELF (don’t forget to gift yourself this season — we all need a lil’ pampering) or for a wonderful, health conscious gift for plus-sized ladies in your life. I happen to know somebody who’s getting a special Taffy gift from Santa this year! One other thing I also really love about Taffy that you’ll read more about in my upcoming Double Chin Diary giftguide is that from now until December 31, Taffy is giving back 10% to Philippine relief via UNICEF. Giving your money to a socially-conscious company is a great way to give back this holiday season.

Do you have any questions about Taffy? What activewear do you usually find yourself wearing?

FTC Disclosure: I was chosen for this opportunity by the Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective in conjunction with their annual Holiday Gift Guide. All opinions expressed are my own.



I can be a mean girl.

Greetings, friends! I can be a mean girl. Who, me? Yes, me! Read to find out why.

Y’all know I can be a little bit blunt. Sometimes, I lack a filter. It’s one of those traits of mine that’s either endearing or obnoxious, but as Lady Gaga says, I was born this way! Yesterday, my delightful friend Kelly came over for dinner. We were discussing Victoria’s Secret, and I complained that their bras don’t fit “fat-asses like me.”. “That is SO mean!”, she said. “What? That they don’t make my size?”, I asked, chewing my meatloaf nonchalantly. “No, that you would call yourself a fat ass! Even if you think it’s funny, how would you feel if I called you a fat ass?” I told her I’d kick her butt, and then I realized she’s right. It gave me some food for thought for a minute, until today when I blurted out that among the land of petite people (Asia), I would probably be a “large commodity”. My husband again pointed out that I was being mean to myself, and I thought, “Shucks! I AM being mean to myself.” Mean is not a trait I’d say I embody. I’m always the person who makes an effort to talk to the shy, to hold the door open, to compliment a new outfit. Sometimes I’m so nice it makes me angry with myself. But… Kelly pointed out that I’m a mean girl. To myself.

I am confident and pretty and usually feel attractive. So why am I calling myself mean names?

I usually consider myself extraordinarily positive with my self esteem. I know I’m attractive, beautiful even, and usually when I look in the mirror I feel good about myself – about my natural blonde curls, or my milky skin, or even the fine fringe of eyelashes that line my baby blues. Sadly, the negative thoughts I do have are always about my body. I’m always too big, or too fat, or thinking I’ll stand out because of my size. I’m a little bit early for New Year’s resolutions, but here’s one of the first for 2013 – Curb the negative self talk. It doesn’t help anybody and it certainly doesn’t make anyone laugh like I had hoped it would (ok, maybe my brother and sister laugh, but that’s only because we’ve made a national pastime about joking about our weight). Kelly and Matt are totally right – even if I make fun of myself in “humor”, somewhere, that message resonates with my brain and makes me feel even worse about it.

Rubens painted all of his ladies as full-figured and curvaceous. I was born in the wrong era!

So, the next time I complain about my rubenesque stature, I need to use words that are kinder. Not fat, not fat ass, not fatty, not huge, not gargantuan. More like, voluptuous, curvy, plus-sized, rubenesque, full-figured. Because even though my body may not fit into the ideal of what looks “pretty”, my body is pretty. I know this in my heart, and I need to make my thoughts match my mouth in the most positive way possible.

So let’s discuss – I’m sure I’m not the only female out there who has shamefully caught herself in negative self-talk. Do you ever find yourself dissing your body? Men, how about you?