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Beat Bad Body Image in Business

CurvyLife_BizGal

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

Melissa McCarthy Seven7 Spring Line

Melissa mccarthy

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.

MM Spring line

March 2, 2016   No Comments

Curvy Girls Are #NeverTooBusyToVote

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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

“Good” Fat People?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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

Curvy Adventurer: Kara Richardson Whitely

Gorge book

 

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

Denim Debunked Finalist

2013-09-06 19.14.54

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

Thinking Halloween? Fun and sexy costumes from Hips & Curves

Shop Hips & Curves For Gorgeous Halloween Costumes!

September 16, 2013   No Comments

Plus Model Magazine Address Body Shaming

Plus Model Mag on GMA

 

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

The Heat: Fun Summer Movie that Won’t Make You Feel Bad for Being a Big Girl

 

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

Full Figured Fashion Week: Sonsi’s Recap

Sonsi Full Figured Fashion Week

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

Running While Big – Part 4

Training group for running

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 While Big- Part 3

Runners in training

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

Running While Big – Part 2

Girl in running gear 1981

 

My earliest experiences with running were associated with PE class. In elementary school, we had to do the 50 yard dash as part of the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge. Of all the events–situps, push ups, pull ups–the 50 yard dash was my strongest category.

In middle school, we began running laps, or at our school “running the park,” the perimeter of a small, two-square-mile green space adjacent to our school. We suited up in our maroon and gold gym uniforms and were told, “Take a lap.” That was the extent of our running training–take a lap. No guidance on pace, form, posture, stretching–nada, niente, zip. [Read more →]

June 18, 2013   No Comments

Running While Big – Part 1

Running group

My big ass and thick thighs have gotten me in trouble again.

“Squats, lunges, leg lifts–all the things everyone hates doing–this is what you need to be doing,” counsels my running coach Jarin, an -enthusiastic fitness enthusiast who is working with our 10K race training program.

We are in a post-run session with a sports medicine expert on injury prevention, a subject of great interest to me at the moment, given the various and sundry devices and braces on both my feet. Being a big girl running can have its challenges. [Read more →]

June 17, 2013   No Comments

Curve Appeal Convention: Atlanta, May 3-5, 2013

Attention Atlanta Curvy Girls:

It’s time for the 2013 For Who I Am Curve Appeal Convention, in Atlanta, GA, Friday, May 5-Sunday May 7, 2013.

Enjoy 3 days of workshops, fashion and fun. For details and registration go to http://projectcurveappeal.com/convention/.

 

May 2, 2013   No Comments