Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm going down!

Earlier this week, a coworker of mine told me, "No need to try to pull them up because they are too big!"  My dad had bought me several pairs of jeans for Christmas because I had lost weight and needed some new ones.  Well, at the beginning of this month, I went to Old Navy to shop.  I could zip the smaller size, but using the little bench in the fitting room, I noticed I was not able to sit down and be comfortable.  Needless to say, I put those back on the rack.  So, today, I went to them again and guess what, I could zip those pants and sit down in them. Now, I still cannot get into the super skinny version (which I doubt I would ever wear anyway), but at least I got into the size.  I cannot lie, my goal was always to get back into Old Navy clothing where I could go in the store to buy if off the rack and not order it online.  I am one size away from the goal I set for myself (yes, it will still be considered plus), but I am so proud of how far I have come in less than a year.  

First of all, I have to commend Old Navy for their selection of plus clothing.  Now, sizes over 20 are not found in the store (unless you go to a larger store that offers plus clothing), but they do have an online selection.  However, I still have a way to go before I can get into their shorts.  Buying shorts is a new ballgame for me because I haven't worn shorts since high school (yes 10 years ago).  That probably shocks you because I wear mini skirts, but I feel better in a skirt than I do shorts.  I should probably save that for another blog.  

So, I have lost all of this weight in under a year and you are probably wondering how.  Well, a friend of mine turned me on to this app where I can scan the bar code for my foods and also look up foods at restaurants before I order  I like to eat out with the best of them, so I can still go out and have my nice breakfast, lunch, or dinner, yet, I stay within my calorie range for the day and I also know how many calories I need to burn during my workout.  I typically burn over 1000 anyway, so I am always good to go since I stay under the calories allotted by the program. So, what's the program?  


This has to be the best app I have ever used.  It's really easy to understand and it's perfect for my fast pace lifestyle.  You simply create a profile, set a goal, and LoseIt helps you stay on track.  Now, I am not just doing it with this app alone.  I am eating a lot better (a total lifestyle change for me) and working out at least 5 days a week for an hour.  



I love to eat my veggies and I do various exercises.  I am not a runner, so go ahead and get that out of your head.  LOL.  In between walking, doing the elliptical, yoga, Insanity, the stationary bike, and monthly challenges to target certain parts of my body, I feel pretty good about myself and what I am doing.  

I am not at my goal weight, but I'm near my goal size.  Now I just need to figure out what I am going to do when I reach my goal.  I set a goal to lose 55 pounds and I am just under halfway there.  I hope that you see what I'm doing and it helps motivate you.  I also let you know about my journey on twitter (@TheShaylaEm) so feel free to chime in on there and ask me questions.  

For me, it wasn't about losing weight and getting into clothes.  It was more about me wanting to be healthy.  I want kids one day and I want to be around for them and their kids.  There are a lot of health issues in my family (both sides of my family tree) and I want to try to maintain my body and health before genetics start to take its course.  I know I cannot fight everything, but I won't go down without trying!  

Now, get up.  Get active.  Eat veggies.  Eat smaller portions.  However, remember to treat yourself.  And if you are wondering about my soda intake, I haven't had a soda since 02/25/2012.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Magic Touch

Let me go ahead and get this disclaimer out of the way - not everything I write in here is going to be on what I would consider a serious subject.  There are going to be some days where I have these really random moments that I want to share with you.  I'll share because I feel like you will understand where I am coming from and will offer advice if you feel like it.  So, since I've cleared the air, let me get on with my post.  

A few years ago during my previous relationship, my then boyfriend suggested that we go get a couples massage.  At first I was all game, but before he could make the appointment, I told him not to do so.  When he asked me why, I told him that I just wasn't excited about it anymore and that I would rather him spend that money doing something else with me.  What I really should have told him was, "I did not like the thought of someone else touching my rolls because I was barely comfortable with you touching them".  Yep, that's how I felt and I still do.  

I get on my various social network sites and I see my smaller friends talking about what a good time they had at the spa getting massages and how comfortable the robes were and all that other stuff.  I would love to participate, but I'm just not there yet.  I cannot remember exactly where I saw this, but I read where this plus size lady would stand in the mirror each day and say, out loud, "you are beautiful".  Even I tell people if you say something enough times, even you will start to believe it.  However, I haven't reached that point where I have said it enough times.  Now, I believe that I am beautiful in my own way, but the thought of someone else having to touch my rolls actually makes me feel sorry for that person.  

I can just imagine them touching me and thinking, "ew....gross".  Seriously, if I'm thinking like that, they have to be!  Or maybe I can find a really good professional that is used to working with us curvy beauties and I won't feel like it's the end of my world when their hands are on my sides and my back.  I don't know, stuff like that just makes me feel strange.  




Another thing that I would try once would be a bikini wax.  Now, I keep myself groomed down there, as most people do, but I have never gone there!  I am terrified of the experience.  Not only because of my size, but because of the horror stories I have heard from people that have gone through the experience.  I know that people have their certain places they like to go, but that would have to be something where I would have to do my homework before I ever stepped foot in that place.  

Let me just be real about it.  (This is why there is a warning before coming to this blog page about the content).  I haven't let anyone near the goddess (don't judge me) in about 3 years other than a doctor.  It's a personal decision I made in my life and I am not ashamed of it.  However, this post isn't about sex so I will save that for another day and time.  Yes, we will even talk about my sex life, or my lack thereof.  

So, back to my main topic - the spa day.  I'm just not there yet and I know I would have a good time.  I mean, what girl doesn't want to be pampered for a day?  I love getting a mani and pedi and to go to a place that offers that, plus massages, waxing, facials, the whole nine, I would be in heaven...yet, on the inside, I would be in hell!  For you curvy divas that already do this, I commend you and I hope to be where you are one day!  For those of you getting ready to take the leap and try it for the first time, please let me know about your experience.  Maybe it will calm my nerves.  But for write now, I will stick to the warm water running down my back in the shower (the massage) and my own personal grooming of the goddess (the waxing).

Monday, May 27, 2013

The call out - Abercrombie & Fitch style




In 2006, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries made the following statement to Salon Magazine:  

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cools kids.  Candidly, we go after the cool kids.  We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.  A lot of people don’t belong (in our clothes), and they can’t belong.  Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.  Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny.”


I’m not exactly sure what events let to this 7 year old statement to come up, but I know it sent a uproar in the plus community as well as in the souls of people in general that have a heart.  I’m glad that this came back to light though because it brought back the conversation of size and beauty back to the headlines.  Not everything that has been said has been positive about us plus beauties and I think if people would take 5 minutes to even attempt to look at the world for our perspective, they would have a change of heart.  I’ve been thinking about how I want to deal with this and how I want to tone of this post to be, but I’m just going to be honest about it.  I’m not a writer that afraid to get dirty with my work.  Sometimes the subject isn’t always easy, but if I can start a positive conversation, that is what I plan to do.  However, let me have my negative moment first.  


The above photo is of Mike Jeffries.  Now, if you were back in high school and if you were having a shallow moment and basing the newest addition to your clique by their looks, would you really add this person?  Even as adults, when we (yes, we - I'm not ashamed to included myself) are having those shallow moments and only looking at looks, would we really want to be seen around this person?  Now, I'm sure his pockets are fully lined and I am a fan of the color green, but I can assure you that I would not like to wake up next to that every morning.  Yes, I went there.  

Please note, I tried to find a good photo, but this is the best one (in my opinion) that I could find with a smile.  According to all sources that I looked though, Jeffries is 68 and these teeth look totally false.  Now, I understand elderly people will probably eventually need false teeth and I may myself, but both of my grandfathers died at age 75 or older and neither of them had false teeth.  I make a big deal about teeth because I take care of mine and I do whitening treatments twice a year.  So, if you are having a shallow moment and you base entry into your clique based on teeth, would Mr. Jeffries make it?  Just wondering...

Next piece is that hair.  Now, I don't know if he was sitting prior to this photo and he was up against a chair, but doesn't it look like there are a few pieces of hair out of place at the back of his head?  And don't even try to tell me that is the style to wear it spiked in the back because we all know that is not cute and if you are going to wear it spiked, the entire head needs to be spiked or at least the top of it.  Now, if you are having a shallow moment and basing clique entry on the style of hair or just on nice hair in general, would Mr. Jeffries be allowed to join you and your friends?  Just wondering...

Let's move on to the smile.  Personally, that is not a cute smile and maybe he was mid laugh when this photo was taken.  However, the smile is not flattering and the bottom lip looks a little strange.  Some would might even say he looked scary in this photo and should maybe consider doing a closed-mouth smile.  You know that smile where you don't show your teeth? Yeah, maybe he should consider practicing that.  Now, since I love to smile and I love it when other people around me smile and if I was having a shallow moment and letting people come into my clique based on their smile alone, Jeffries would not make it in.  I'm just saying...

My point it the very people that he put out of his stores might be the ones that are most welcoming to his flaws.  I know that I went a long way to say it, but I can tolerate the false teeth, the messy hair, and I can even tolerate the strange looking smile because he at least took the time to try to smile.  So, Mr. Jeffries, if people are willing to accept you with your apparent flaws, why won't you give us curvy ladies a chance to showcase your clothing?  I will even dare to say that if you design it right, it might even look better on us curvy ladies.  In fact, if someone gets in contact with him or if Mr. Jeffries, you see this blog yourself, I will challenge you to design a top to fit me and I will gladly put my natural DD chest in the shirt and flaunt your logo proudly.  

However, I think the thing that hurt me most about his comments is that it does not appear that he thought about members of his own family.  I find it hard to believe that everyone in his bloodline can shop in his store.  I know he probably didn't care about the millions of feelings he hurt because he will never meet up, but did it ever occur to him that he genuinely hurt the feelings of someone in his family? 

Say what you want about me, sir, because we will probably never meet, but please think about your choice of words and what it did to those nearest and dearest to you.  Also, I have you to know that while I was in high school and still considered plus size, I was a varsity cheerleader (looked good doing it too) and had plenty of friends.  Now, has my friend selection gotten smaller since then?  Of course, but it is because as an adult, I am more careful about who I put in my circle and no, it is not based on what they look like.  

I cannot lie, I wanted to bash Mr. Jeffries in this post.  I had these great jokes at his expense and even at the expense of his store.  However, when I really thought about it, would that make me any better than him?  Nah and I wasn't trying to stoop that low.  I know it's hard to believe, but even I have boundaries.  

So, if by chance someone that knows Mr. Jeffries reads this and pass it along to him, I hope that he sees one thing out of this - big girls have hearts too and even though it may not be in your clothes, we still have cute moments in those designers that are giving us a chance.  Also, our money is green too.  I don't know if you can undo the damage you have already done, but I just thought that I would let you know that some of us would have given your clothes a chance.  My last point - we are all cool, just in our own way.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Even the mannequin was dissed!

Since this blog site was just started yesterday, I still have a few things I need to catch up on.  Don't worry, slowly but surely I will catch up on all the news.  I've been wanting to add my take to a subject that was stirred in Sweden about their H&M using a size 12 mannequin.

Now, I'm not a size 12, but personally, I think it would be pretty cool to see a mannequin in a store that resembles an average size woman and not one that people starve themselves to look like.  I'm just saying.  It's my own opinion and since you have your own, you probably don't agree.  Also, just in case you haven't seen the photo, I have placed it here for you to view.  

  
Now, other than the fact that the lingerie looks purple to me (I don't like purple - LOL), I think this mannequin looks pretty good.  It shows a "healthy" mannequin that seems to look cute just the way it is.  I hope that "healthy" women look at the mannequin and see that as well.  I hope they see they are cute just how they are.  Again, I'm not a size 12, but I'm finally at a place where I can embrace my curves and know that I am fine just the way I am.  Even though I am in the process of losing weight, I am never going to be a size skinny and I will always be considered plus size.  However, as long as I'm comfortable with who and what I am, which is a curvaceous diva, that is all that really matters.  

Now, of course there were critics, but the one that got on my nerves the most was the one where people said this mannequin encouraged obesity and unhealthy lifestyles.  What the hell?  Seriously, that the best you have to throw at us?  We've been looking at size 0 through 6 mannequins for years and how many times have you heard an outcry from us plus divas saying that your mannequins encourage anorexia / bulimia and unhealthy lifestyles?  For years we have looked at your size 0 through 6 mannequins and felt bad because even though our bigger sizes were sold in the store, there was not a true representation of what the item would look like on our body shapes.  Did you ever really hear us complain about that?  I know I didn't.  I just go with how I always do, I try the article on and if it looks good, it comes home and if it doesn't back to the rack it goes.  No big deal.  However, the one time that someone tries to make us (as in us larger beauties) feel better about going into a store with a mannequin our size, you (as in the size 0 to 6 people) want to start an outcry about it being unhealthy.  

Let me tell you what is unhealthy.  Unhealthy is refusing to eat because you want to look like the tiny mannequin.  Unhealthy is throwing up a perfectly decent meal and taking off the enamel on your teeth to look like the tiny mannequin.  I've said it once and I will say it again, just because we are a bit more plump, it doesn't mean that we are not unhealthy.  I know skinny people that have health problems that people think I should have because of my size. Jokes on you! 

To H&M in Sweden, thank you for having a backbone and deciding to think outside the box.  You are truly appreciated for your efforts and it has not gone unnoticed.  I wonder how long it will take for other stores to follow in your footsteps or will you be out there on your own?  Even if the latter is the case, that is perfectly fine.  It's more fun being an individual anyway instead of following the crowd.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Introduction

I cannot believe I am taking this leap of faith and confidence.  Faith, I think we can all understand.  Confidence, well, I'm just learning to step into mine and it gets stronger each day.  As I sit in the floor writing this first post for this page, there is so much that I can and want to say, but I don't want to bore you.  Instead, I want you to be so intrigued that you cannot wait to see what I post.  I told my really amazing friend, who is more like my sister (but she has managed to turn into my publicist) that I felt like this blog was my official coming out party.  No, I'm not a lesbian, but I'm coming as a proud, plus size woman.  Now, don't get me wrong, I know there are still going to be some low confidence days, but at this moment, as I write this, I am so happy to be who I am because it is giving me the chance to share my experiences with you.  What experiences?  I have plenty to share.  It's just what I do!  

Let me take this time for properly introduce myself.  I am Shayla Em (of course that is not my government name).  I am known for my writing.  I got my start with Vyzion Entertainment and I am still there, but I am also evolving into a more specific writing where I think I can make and be a positive change in someones live.  I am also a pop-culture and fashion contributor for Manik Mag (www.manikmag.com).  I haven't been in this role as lone, but I am finding my place and loving the creative freedom that has been given to me and what I do.  

Writers like me cannot be kept in a bubble because we will not survive.  Too many rules will suffocate us and not allow us to reach our full potential.  That is why I also love to blog, which is why you see me here.  This is my third (yes third) blog.  I love my other two for various reasons, but this one is special to me because it's me showing how proud I am to be a full-figured woman.  Since being in the plus world is the main focus of this blog, that is what you are going to see me talk about most.  

I'm no longer ashamed to talk about my struggle with my weight.  I am no longer afraid to talk about my love life, or my lack there of.  Now, I still struggle with talking about sex and other things people deem as private, but I plan on breaking out of that shell too!  Why shouldn't I talk about things like that?  I may be of a bigger variety, but I am just as much of a woman as the smaller chick standing beside of me.  Also, I will not be bashing my smaller counterparts because I have plenty of skinny friends that love me the way I am.  They love me and I love them.  

Will I mention some celebrities on here?  Of course, that is what I do.  However, I will always tell the truth (as I know it) and be as positive as I can be.  Positive?  Yes, it is important for me to remain positive because people look at us and automatically think the worst because we are not as small as them.  Let me give you an fyi about me, I am the size I am and I do not have any major health problems, except asthma.  According to my parents, I have had asthma since I was a baby and I was born at a normal size, so we cannot blame asthma on me weight.  Plus, according to some of the older generations of my family, it is genetic so me growing out of it was not even an option.  

Then there is this other thing I am working on.  I'm not ready to share it yet, but eventually I will.  How did that get started?  Well, I was approached about it sometime last year and I started working to try to make it happen since someone saw potential in me.  I've been on a mission every since and something really exciting is happening in September.  Don't worry, when the time comes, I will do my best to post photos.  

Have I skipped anything?  I'm sure I have, but feel free to ask questions.  In all comments, be respectful and know that you are not the only person with an opinion.