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Guest Blog Series "My Curvy Life" - Can Fat Women Have Career Success?

Rachel Estapa

{Now through the end of October, I will present a series titled "My Curvy Life" featuring body-positive guest bloggers sharing personal stories on body image, daily life and various  plus-size perspectives. To submit your work to the series, read my blog requirements here}



Finding Your Career Happy Place – What’s Your Body Got To Do With It? By Amanda Sartori

I love grand ideas! Even more, I love carving out a plan on how I’m going to make that grand idea happen. It’s passion, drive, and really, I can’t get enough! When it comes to my career, these ideas appear in so many ways. Some are fulfilled on the daily, but others take time. Currently, I’m at an interesting point in my life. I’m seeking out new experiences and learning more about what makes me tick. My grand ideas today are different from what they were three years ago, and that is okay with me.

As I began to think about this, I decided to picture my career happy place – that is, the height of my career. What I pictured was, in part quite comfortable and a reflection of me currently, it was also shocking. Having just returned from a bike ride, I was sitting on my porch overlooking a river that runs through my backyard and reading the news of the day on my laptop while sipping on my favorite tea.

The shocking part of this picture was - I wasn't fat. On some level, I felt removed from my picture.

After ruling out mind control and alien invasion (no disrespect, ET), I began to reflect on my vision of my career happy place. Can fat women have career success?  My answer to this question was, of course! There is nothing stopping me. Except there was, there is, and that is myself. I’ve sometimes caught myself thinking “If I weren't fat, I would have gotten that job!” or “If I were thin, that interview would have gone ten times better”. I know that these thoughts aren’t a positive influence on my career path, but it’s also so important to think through them.

Determined as I am to latch onto my next grand idea, part of that is knowing and believing that no matter my size, my career can flourish. I began to see my missing link…ownership. To me, that’s knowing and believing that my body is so valuable in every aspect of my life, including my career. I want to see myself, a fat woman, in that picture. That is part of believing that I can fulfill my next grand idea. Seeing myself there is owning my path.

So how do I get there?

Get Involved! Of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had in my career thus far, has been involvement in employee-led networks. Heck, I even co-founded one! As I engage with others and form relationships, I’m more open and confident in pursuing opportunities within my organization. I see the relationships that I make as a support, of people rooting me on. Fat girl can’t get the job? Yeah right! More like, she’s got her own personal cheering section!

Seek Out Mentorship Whether formally or informally, speaking to someone with whom you feel comfortable to share grand ideas and how to get there can be so beneficial. Talk about a great way to build your career confidence! Often, your mentor will point out things that you did not realize. It may even blow you away! Remember, mentorship doesn’t have to be one-on-one. Try tailoring your media intake to favor like-minded people who you find inspirational. Pro-tip: the fat positive blog-o-sphere is full of amazing and passionate ladies!

Understand Your Self-Confidence There’s a link between my self-confidence and my body – I can’t deny this. When I feel good about my body, I get a self-confidence boost. Feeling good about myself throughout the day allows me to delve into my career. What are some ways that I positively influence my self-confidence? I read brilliant articles from across the body positive community for connection and to learn. I peruse plus size fashion blogs for wardrobe inspiration. And most importantly, I listen to and I honor my body!

My next grand idea is going to be something completely new to me – and this fat woman is ready to own it!

What are your grand ideas? How do you build body confidence in the workplace? Connect with me on Twitter (@amandasartori_), I’d love to hear from you!



Amanda Sartori is a fat positive advocate and budding body image blogger. After her days at the office you can find her on the Rideau Canal bike path, drinking tea, or dreaming up her next adventure. Give her a shout on Twitter (@amandasartori_). 

3 Simple Ways To Feel Instantly Gorgeous

Rachel Estapa

Image Credit: Curvy Models Rock Being overweight in our society isn't easy and rarely do we seen in the media someone with a plus-size body who is the center of attention. While I believe this trend is changing in our body-favor, we've a long way to go.

But that doesn't mean you cannot take steps today towards feeling drop-dead gorgeous at any size!

Here are three really fun and simple steps you can do starting now to help you appreciate and sparkle in your curvy, lovely body.


Smile more :)

The quickest and most reliable way to make someone else notice you is to beam that pretty smile of yours. When we see people smile, we automatically feel attracted to that person, thinking “They seem happy, I want to be where they are!” One of the most common complements I receive is how I always smile at people and that I seem so cheery.

Physiologically, smiling raises your levels of dopamine which is the happy chemical, and happy chemicals in your body lead to actually FEELING happier! No matter your size, a smile fits everyone.

Get fitted for the perfect bra

I recently got fitted for a bra for my upcoming wedding at INTIMACY Boston, and let me tell you – nothing has made me feel MORE in love with my curves than enjoying how a great bra flatters my figure.

Something so intimate and personal really makes a difference when you take the time to find the right fit. Search out shops that cater to your size, make an appointment and see what happens. Not only will your figure look more flattering, you’ll feel sexy and confident too.

Follow body-positive content online

I got Tumblr just so I could follow all the adorable plus-size fashion pages on there. It’s very empowering to see other women who share my body-type flaunting their fashions, figures and beauty. It’s great counter-medicine to how mainstream society presents women.

A few of my favorite fashion pages are Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust, Curvy Is The New Black and  Fuck Yeah Chubby Fashion! You can even submit your own photo to them – how’s about THAT for feeling sexy!

It’s also really important to read stories and insights from people that support your body, lifestyle and create a safe space for positive interaction and education regarding weight and health. I hope my own page is a resource for that, but one amazing page to follow is This Is Not a Diet – It’s Your Life, so check it out.

Write your OWN Rules

These are just a few of the bazillion ways to ditch the “I’m not good enough in my body” mentality that is so prevalent in our society. I’d love to hear YOUR own tips on what you do to help feel gorgeous, so share them in the comments below!

Build Your Confidence in 3 Easy Steps

Rachel Estapa

SassyConfidence isn't something you either have or you don't. Everyone has confidence in something, including your weight and appearance. It's only non-visible when other stuff is blocking your natural confidence from coming out. I think a lot about what it takes to feel more confident and I've landed on this: confidence isn't a place, it's a mode of transportation. {CLICK HERE TO TWEET THIS GEM OUT!}

What I mean by that is confidence is always paired with something else. Confidence in your smarts, confidence in your cooking ability, or confidence in how you view your body. See? We've been short-changing and thinking about confidence all wrong.

To be MORE confident you have to look beyond the word and get to the root of what you want to feel proud of.

I'll make it simple for you -- these are proven fast-track methods I used to bolster my confidence around my appearance.

1. Visualize what feeling confident would actually look like. Remember that awesome thing you did perfectly as a kid that kept you entertained for hours and hours? Well your adult self is CRAVING for your imagination to make a comeback and forecasting confidence is a perfect opportunity. It's really as simple as closing your eyes, taking a breath and conjuring up in your mind the most confident feeling around your body you can muster. Seeing it unfold in your brain changes the wiring of your head and actually makes you believe is happening now.

Whenever I feel lumpy-dumpy I do this: I envision waltzing into a crowded room in my fabulous outfit and everyone stopping, turning and being like "Rachel is here and she's killin' it!!" It works. Try it.

2. Quit thinking people give a damn. Sooo much "lack of confidence" stems from what we think other people are thinking about us. And unless you're running for public office (and even THEY know 50% is going to hate them) stop caring so damn much about what you think others could be thinking. Your brain, time and energy is limited and precious, so use it on something that actually contributes to the quality of your life.

How do you stop caring about the hypothetical? You lump people into two camps -- those who get you (who love you regardless) and those who just don't get you (and you probably don't even like them anyway) and let that camp go.

Feels good to not care, right?

3. Have a  back-up plan. Someday  you're going to feel like shit and that is OK. It's the  reason we all have savings accounts and an extra toilet paper roll --- things just sometimes run out. With your confidence, it's the same way.

A few years ago I put together a sheet titled "When you feel like crap..." and it was a list of all the awesome pump-me-ups I've come up with over the years. So when I feel down and can't shake it, I pull it out and read what my higher, more inspired self knows.

Having a plan of action for the inevitable actually reduces the changes you're going to need it! I haven't pulled out that piece of paper in over 3 years,  but when the day comes that I just feel like curling up into a ball I'll know where to find it.

So yeah, confidence doesn't really matter -- it's what the confidence allows you to do, which is BE YOUR SELF.

Tips? Tricks? Thoughts? Pop 'em in the comments below!

[Image source "borrowed" from here]

Boston is my home

Rachel Estapa

Boston in my homeMarathon Monday in Boston is the one the most vibrant, alive & cheerful days here in the city I grew up in. Well, you've seen the news by now and we're all in shock at what occurred at our beloved Finish Line. I asked my fiance last night "Is this our new normal now?" and he replied "No, because we wont let it be." Boston isn't just my home, it's the home of our country's beginnings,  home of the most prestigious universities & hospitals, home of sports champions, home of American leaders, home of the working man, home of the innovator, and the newly adopted home of countless people originating all over the world.

Monday wasn't just hurtful to Boston - around the world people are sad that something so joyous could end in tragedy. Between the blizzards and hurricanes we now have one more disaster to weather through all together -- but if it's one thing us Bostonian's are known for, it's our toughness.

Community & family is one and the same here in Boston and our Marathon community has always been the whole world.

Prayers, hugs and love make something so sad at least feel a little less-so. But it's OK to be sad because the city and people I love are sad today too.



Are strangers making fun of you behind your back?

Rachel Estapa

behind your backCheck out this photo series of a woman capturing as she explains "strangers making fun of her behind her back due to her size."  Woman Photographs Herself Receiving Strange Looks in Public My thoughts on this ---> From personal experience, if you want to believe the worst of what people are thinking of you, guess what -- you'll find endless proof of it around you. (Tweet this quote out!)

It's a no brainer that people stare or make judgments about overweight people in public, but guess what? People stare and make judgments about EVERYONE else too. It's a fact of human nature but all judgments are issues within own selves we're not fully dealing with.

I used to feel PARANOID in public because if someone laughed behind me I'd automatically assume they were laughing at me. The world then becomes a hostile & insecure place if you see it this way.

But then I realized that it was my own insecurity about my looks that I was projecting on everyone around me. Was I that self-involved to think that people on the street would give a damn about what I looked like? And let's be honest -- had I never done the same if I saw someone in what I thought was a crazy outfit?

Just today while walking to work, I spent half the time looking at all the outfits of people around me, thinking some looked great, others not -- and then I slipped, tripped and fell flat on the ground. I wasn't even embarrassed because I knew exactly why I fell -- to teach me a lesson that while I was too busy judging everyone else, I should have been minding my own steps.

I like the photo series because it reminds me that I have a lot of power when it comes to what type of world I want to live in. If people wanna stare and judge, that's their karma -- my karma taught me too, and I have the scuffed palms to prove it.

---> What do YOU think about this? How do you handle feeling like all eyes are on you? Would love to hear how you feel about this one.