Negative body image can hold us back in big ways in our careers. I’ve spent the past 7 years working with women entrepreneurs, and it’s amazing how body image issues can arise related to launching and growing a business.
It is not uncommon for women to avoid being photographed or video recorded, avoid making presentations, meeting new people, attending networking or other business development events, because of a negative self-perception. Even more disturbing, there are those who will delay even starting a business until they “lose some weight.”
Here are 7 ways I’ve used with myself and my clients to beat body image issues in business.
1. Identify times when body image issues arise related to your business.
Negative self-talk about the body can be so subtle and so common as to be overlooked. Notice it there are times that you are avoiding a business development task because of a body image issue (eg., avoiding being photographed, skipping an event because you have “nothing to wear,” fear around making a presentation, etc.)
2. Have a plan.
Once you’ve noticed where body image issues arise, work on countering (and hopefully replacing) negative beliefs with positive ones. Address the mental and emotional issues as well as the tangible, physical ones.
3. Treat self-care as part of your business plan.
In the hustle of starting and running a business, it’s easy to neglect taking care of yourself. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and stress reduction must be part of your regular routine. When you are your business, your health and well-being is the health and well-being of your business.
4. Get help.
If you need support, don’t be afraid to get it. Talk to a trusted friend and ask for some positive reinforcement when needed. You may want to work with a coach or counselor to build positive body image and confidence. If you hate your wardrobe, engage the services of a stylist. Need a diet and exercise makeover? Consult a trainer or nutritionist. Most experts have low cost/no cost materials that can get you started without breaking the bank.
5. Invest in a quality headshot and visual materials.
Most women I’ve met have a hate/hate relationship with being photographed. We live in a visual age, and most entrepreneurs need at least a headshot for use in business. There’s a reason why famous people look good in magazines (other than extreme-Photoshopping)–they work with great photographers. Invest in a quality headshot with a photographer who understands lighting, angles, and all the things that go into creating a good photograph. When you are excited by how you look in your picture, you’ll be much more likely to share the photo.
6. Invest in a quality wardrobe (that you can wear NOW, not 20 lbs from now)
This is the same philosophy as investing in a headshot–when you feel like you look good (it’s all about the feeling), then you are going to carry yourself in a way that will energize every exchange. Again, this doesn’t have to break the bank, it just has to make you feel like your best, most powerful self.
7. Relax. No one is judging you, and if they are, who cares?
A great smile, enthusiasm, and confidence beat out a “perfect” look every time. All of those flaws we are obsessed with are usually overlooked by others. And if someone is judging you–what’s that to you? Why live your life controlled by the thoughts and perceptions of others?
So, when the group is lining up for a photo, jump in the front row. Don’t freak out when you get tagged in a Facebook picture. I personally think it’s great to have some bad pictures of myself floating around on the Internet. First, they make my good pictures look great, and second, it gives people a chance to tell me how great I look in person.
Of course, there’s always the “10 Years From Now” Game. It works like this: however you look today, whatever bad hair, lumps and rolls, wrinkles, etc. that are bothering you, will seem like nothing 10 years from now. 10 years from now, you’ll look at your worst picture from today and say: Look at how young I looked! So, why wait 10 years to enjoy what you’ve got today?
March 8, 2016 No Comments
I say, Mission accomplished, Melissa. I’m loving the Melissa McCarthy’s Seven7 spring line.
I’ll share my thoughts on my choices once I’ve had a chance to test drive my (way too many) purchases.
March 2, 2016 No Comments
We Curvy-Fabulous women are #NeverTooBusyToVote.
Go to Vote411.org and enter your state to FIND OUT NOW:
- how/where to register
- where you go to vote
- key deadlines for your state
Go, Get Your Vote On!
March 1, 2016 No Comments
The New York Times has a thought-provoking article on the difference between the way female politicians are photographed v. their male counterparts: Sarah Palin’s Mustache.
The article discusses the reaction to the 2008 Newsweek cover of Sarah Palin that was considered less than flattering:
“In effect, we had typically ‘man lighting’ and ‘female lighting’ — and they weren’t the same. Also, because our editorial policy was not to alter news photos, we generally did not use close-up images of women on the cover because of the potential for an unflattering image.”
Great examination of the expectations we have regarding the media images of prominent women v. prominent men.
February 27, 2016 No Comments
Lesley Kinzel just posted an insightful article on the current state of fat activism and body positivism, Falling Out of Fatshion: How I Lost My Appetite for Writing About Fat Politics
She got me with this point:
“always under pressure to also demonstrate that they are ‘good’ fat people, who eat the correct foods, who exercise regularly, and who achieve perfect bloodwork numbers at their annual physical. Fat people who eat at Burger King and have health problems are not afforded the same tolerance, because we prefer our positive representations to stand in opposition to the negative cultural assumptions about fat people — to prove the exception to the rule — rather than spend effort dismantling those negative cultural assumptions altogether.”
I’ve used the very phrase, “I eat right, exercise regularly, and have great bloodwork numbers,” to justify my right to exist in the world. To Lesley’s point, what does this imply about those who don’t eat right, exercise regularly, and have great bloodwork–should they be stigmatized? Point taken.
February 16, 2016 No Comments
Some body love for Valentine’s Day: just ordered Kara Richardson Whitely’s book, “Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds,” featured in USA Today on February 14, 2016. Of the many things I admire about Kara’s story, here are my top 3:
1. “What I wanted to do was to love where I was, which was just about 300 pounds, and go from there. That was a very different take on my weight journey than ever before.” Even though she wanted to change her weight, she chose to come at it from a body love approach rather than body loathing.
2. The video at the end of the article: Kara is very “real” about the experience of being fat in public. There’s a scene in the video on Kilimanjaro where she overhears her guides joking about whether or not she’ll summit. She jokes with them about what they are saying, but later, in her tent, she cries while discussing the pain of that kind of reaction. And to her point–this sense of being shamed for exercising in public keeps a lot of fat people out of gyms.
3. Kara “completed the book while working with Wild author Cheryl Strayed in Butler University’s Chamonix Summer Writing Program in the French Alps.” Uh, sign me up, please!
February 14, 2016 No Comments
Wow! I’m a finalist in the AllYou Magazine and Catherines Denim Debunked blogger challenge.
See the winning looks at All YouMagazine online: http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2013/09/19/catherines-fashion-challenge/
Read my original post about the experience here.
September 19, 2013 No Comments
September 16, 2013 No Comments
Watch PLUS Model Magazine onABC’s Good Morning America October 11 at 8:14AM EST with PMM Editor-in-Cheif Madeline Jones, October cover model Ivory Kalber, and the editorial model Laura Johnson!
Read Maddy’s post on the blog, “Should Plus Size Women Be Ashamed of Their Bodies? PLUS Model Magazine Sets the Record Straight with Nude Editorial.”
September 10, 2013 No Comments
What could be better than an invite to test drive jeans? I was very excited when Catherines and ALL YOU Magazine invited me to participate in their Denim Debunked blogger challenge. Full disclosure: I was provided a $100 gift card to Catherines along with an issue of ALL YOU in exchange for a shopping experience, product reviews and as a part of a contest for the chance to win a $500 gift card to Catherines.
I live about a 20-minute drive from two different Catherines locations in Atlanta, but I hadn’t been to either one in years. I’m spoiled by living within about 5 minutes of a major shopping area, so I rarely go far for clothes. Also, I’ve never been a big Catherines fan. They have a distinctive style, with lots of long tunic tops. However, I have friends who love this style and lament that they don’t have a Catherines nearby.
When I saw the New Direction of Denim campaign, I knew that I was overdue to give Catherines a try.
I went to the Catherines in Austell, GA, at the corner of East-West Connector and Austell Rd. (Click here for map to location. For those not in driving distance of a Catherines, all items pictured here are available at Catherines.com. Links in the post will take you as close I could get to the actual items online.)
The New Direction of Denim campaign is in full swing until September 15th, 2013, and the store had a large array of denim styles to choose from in sizes 16W-34W. A very helpful store associate, Audrey, greeted me at the door and helped me load up a dressing room with different jean styles and tops to match (gotta try on the whole outfit or why even bother?).
September 6, 2013 No Comments
I saw “The Heat” and loved it! It’s a bawdy, raucous, classic buddy-cop movie with a fresh twist. Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock have great chemistry, and this is just a fun movie to watch. You’ve got to have a stomach for profanity–Melissa McCarthy (to borrow a phrase from the movie “Christmas Story”) weaves a tapestry of profanity that is almost a character in itself. I’m a big fan of Melissa McCarthy, and I truly appreciate that this film (mostly) avoids fat jokes, and paints McCarthy’s character as a strong, confident, sexually desirable woman, living on her own terms. No shame in her game. [Read more →]
June 29, 2013 No Comments
Here’s a link to a fun recap of the 2013 Full Figured Fashion Week by Sarah Sapora at Sonsi. Not only did I love the recap, but the story is full of great pictures of beautiful curvy girls strutting their fashion stuff.
Just makes me happy! (And makes me want to spend money.)
June 28, 2013 No Comments
I ran 6.2 miles today.
Well, technically, I ran 4 miles and walked 2.2 miles, but using the rules of mathematics, since I ran over half the distance, I’m rounding myself up from walking to running.
I’m not exactly the person who’s supposed to run 6.2 miles, or 4 miles, or even 1 mile. I’m a slow, heavy, 40-something woman.
Sometimes, when I doing my slow, steady stride, running so slow that I feel like I’m running backward, I find that my mind still doesn’t quite get what’s happening, and I’ll catch myself thinking, with genuine surprise, “Hey, how are you doing this? You’re running!”
How did I do it? [Read more →]
June 21, 2013 No Comments
You hear horror stories about being a big girl running in public. One of the biggest advocates for plus-size running quit blogging about her experience because of the hatefulness of the “trolls” constantly berating her on the blog. Add to that, she was assaulted (more than once) by passers-by in cars hurling insults, and the occasional beer can, at her as she jogged down the side of the road.
I’ve walked in public pathways for years without any such experiences, so while the thought of being heckled publicly was a little disconcerting, that wasn’t my biggest fear. My real fear was participating in a group. [Read more →]
June 20, 2013 No Comments
Running is my ugly baby. I’m an ugly runner. I say this with no judgment or self-loathing–it’s simply a statement of truth. I dream of running like those runners you see up at dawn, leaping like gazelle’s, with bones as light as a birds, barely touching the ground as they effortlessly glide past. I run like Bambi, just getting his legs, with ankles, knees and hips akimbo, feet barely moving in what might appear to a passer by as super-slow motion, a slow, bouncing shuffle in a general forward direction. [Read more →]
June 19, 2013 No Comments