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More To Love teaches plus size women how to learn body-acceptance and end dieting for good. 

Filtering by Category: "My Curvy Life" series

Today, I feel crappy

Rachel Estapa

Loving yourself is hard. Some days, it feels like all the work you’ve done means nadda when a trip-up occurs. And I hate to admit when something does.

But today, I feel pretty gross inside and out. And as my husband puts it...I can feel it off you – you feel really low.”

I can pinpoint it to some disappointing things around More To Love and my own personal experience recently.

Last week, I learned about being named one of the fresh new faces with big ideas in the Boston Globe for my work with body acceptance AND LITERALLY in that same moment I heard the wonderful, vindicating news, my OB/GYN came into the room (I was at a Dr.'s appointment) and said “Ok, I want you to lose 30 pounds.”

My heart was high, then burst - not THIS again, seriously? NOW?!

We talked about my endocrine disorder, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and about how truly difficult it will be for me to have children if we chose to. We talked about the paradox of me living so actively, eating fresh and natural foods the vast majority of the time, yet still have a body that I guess..well, doesn't look like I do.

We even talked about how at age six I was classified as medically overweight and from there on, it seemed to shape every interaction with a doctor.

“What’s the normal weight for a six year old?”
“About forty five pounds.”
“What did I weight?”

But the truth is…I have gained weight. About 10 pounds since June. I’m 5’2 and stocky – my winter coats in the arms don’t fit well and with all the added yoga I’ve been doing, my shoulder muscles have grown too. It bums be out and leaves me feeling torn.

But wait – I’m supposed to be the poster child for body-love! And if other people in the body acceptance circle heard me talking like this, they decry me as a fake, a liar and fraud.

Am I? Does it matter? Does it make all my work here at MTL pointless? No – because despite the bumps, I genuinely do love my body even though I’m still a person with a complex relationship with my health, weight and confidence. 

So maybe now you see why I personally need body acceptance because all my life, I’ve had a "weight problem" and found peace in learning to love what seemed broken. 

Right now - I’m being super hard on myself – this is my Achilles’s heels – and that’s why I feel so rotten today. It all soaked in...the highs, the lows, the bright future, the painful past. 

But I know something deeper now that I’ve spent the past decade deliberately trying to live from a place of love for myself: 10 pounds or 100 pounds in either direction…I’m Rachel and I still love animals, sushi, watching classic Simpsons, practicing yoga, and writing candidly about my life. 

My Curvy Life: From Rant to Romance: Craigslist Helped Me Find True Love

Rachel Estapa

{This is the fourth article in a new series running through October 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}



"I was tired of feeling like I had to apologize for my size, like I had to accept whatever little crumbs were thrown my way."

For most of my life, I struggled to understand how other, “normal” people were able to make things happen so effortlessly - especially when it came to romantic relationships, which were Greek to me.  As the girl who was always “a good friend” and never “a girlfriend” to the guys I crushed on, there was clearly some missing piece to the puzzle.

So I poured all that energy into food, which was the only thing that seemed to love me back.

By the time I turned 25, I weighed over 280lbs and had been on exactly three dates my entire life – one of which was my senior prom…to which I took a freshman.

Finally, one night, a friend of a friend asked an innocent question which changed my life:

“When do you think you’ll start dating?”

I was shocked. At first I thought she was making fun of me – that old knee-jerk reaction resulting from too many years of too many bullies. I realized she was sincere, though, and all I could manage was a shrug and a grin.

Inside, I was in turmoil. If that girl didn’t think I was some sort of monster – the way I saw myself – maybe I wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe it was all in my head.

That little idea took root and grew, though, even as I tried to shut it out.

After getting my courage up, I put an ad out on a dating site. I got replies, but mostly from some pretty sketchy guys. I went on a few dates, but they were all awkward and never went any further.

Finally one day I lost it. I was sick of getting messages from cute, interesting guys who liked my headshot, then taking the time to craft a clever email and attach a full-length shot…to which I’d get no further reply. I got their message loud and clear.

I was tired of feeling like I had to apologize for my size, like I had to accept whatever little crumbs were thrown my way.

So I went where people go when something inside them has snapped at they’re at the end of their rope.

I went to Craigslist.

I swear I only went to post a rant, because I was really that ticked off! I went on a tirade that included the fact that I can quote The Godfather, love watching football, know most hit oldies by heart, am an amazing cook and voracious reader…and that I also happen to wear a size 14/16, and anyone who has a problem with that should move on and not waste my time.

To my surprise, I got a ton of replies to that rant, one of which in particular gave me a reason to pause and re-read. He could spell! Used correct grammar! And didn’t include a photo of his genitals…He was really hitting all the high points, kids.

But more than that…there was something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I knew that if nothing else, we’d be really good friends.

September 19th was our fifth wedding anniversary.

Looking back at the pain I went through, I know now that I needed to figure out that I was worth more than I ever gave myself credit for.

I needed to step outside my comfort zone – because at first I kept coming up with reasons why it wouldn’t work between us. I know now that even though I hated my lonely life…it was all I had ever known. It was comfortable.

I needed to learn to accept love. It’s no easy task when you’ve spent so much time thinking you’re unlovable. Even if it’s what you long for more than anything else, you might push it away if you don’t believe you deserve it.

I needed to love myself. I spent so long assuming that someone else would give me the love I wasn’t giving myself – but it doesn’t work that way. I used to think it was corny, the idea of self-love. Now I know that it’s crucial.

I wouldn’t recommend that everyone go to Craigslist to find love…but I do recommend taking a chance.

Especially on yourself.




Jennifer Bardall believes that anyone’s life can take off – but first you have to fall in love with yourself. You can find her at her website, Honor Yourself Now, as well as on her Facebook page and on Twitter.

{My Curvy Life} Being a Plus Size Triathlete

Rachel Estapa

{This is the third article in a new series running through October 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}



"I've changed a lot since then, not because I was trying to lose weight, but because I loved myself enough to try and be healthier - both inside and out."

My name is Kristina Blake, and many of you know me as The Contrary Athlete. I have had a love / hate relationship with my size for most of my life. A couple of years back; I was at my heaviest, and as a result, had no self-esteem. I was over 350lbs, and don’t know the whys or hows, but somewhere along the way I had let myself go.

I knew I had to start doing something, and it needed to be a full lifestyle change. I also knew that if I was going to take my life back, it needed to be for the right reasons and not just about weight loss this time around. I needed to learn how to love and believe in myself again.

My first big decision was to STOP being a slave to the scale.

We have never gotten along in the past, so why not change things up and ignore that for a while? Instead of a diet, I wanted to find something challenging that would get me off the couch, keep me busy, and allow me to have some fun.

I mentioned this to some friends who suggested I join a local triathlon training program. It took quite a bit of coaxing, but I decided to give it a try.

For those of you not familiar with a triathlon, it requires you to swim, bike, and run. Talk about going outside of my comfort zone! Above and beyond the time commitment, I knew this was not going to be an easy task. The right types of clothes were not always readily available in my size, and my bra had to be special ordered. I needed to find a bike that could safely hold my almost 350lb frame, and get fit for proper shoes. I would also have to get comfortable appearing in public in a swimsuit! It was not always the most pleasant adventure, but I kept pushing through and remained positive.

Finishing that first race was the most exhilarating feeling I could ever possibly describe.

It outweighed any negative experiences I had throughout the training process. I knew I had done something for myself. It wasn’t because someone told me I ‘had’ to do it, but because I ‘wanted’ to do it, and finally found the courage to say ‘I can!’ It took awhile, but I finally realized that I was the only one holding myself back.

Since then I’ve gone on to do several other races, and I’m constantly reaching for bigger and better things. I’ve stopped subscribing to the notion that you have to be a certain size to be able to enjoy life.

I just want to be FIT, and be HAPPY. Weight loss just happens to be a wonderful side effect of an active lifestyle. You don’t have to let a scale rule your life. Put yourself out there; try something new, and learn to love yourself one little step at a time.




Kristina Blake of The Contrary Athlete  is a 30 something female learning the ins and outs of an active lifestyle. She enjoys motivating others through her own experiences. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Charlotte. When not training, she enjoys reading, singing, and playing cards with friends. 

Connect with Kristina:


{My Curvy Life} Want A Loving Relationship? Start Here!

Rachel Estapa

 Fall in love first

Fall in love first

{This is the second article in a new series running through October 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}The key to a loving relationship? Loving Yourself By Dionna Humphrey

I started to write this after a particularly challenging week (let’s be honest, challenging SUMMER) for my dating life. To say I was disheartened would be an understatement; I felt down and out for the count. Not because I felt as though I’m not worth finding a fulfilling, loving relationship, but that for some men, THEY think plus size women don’t deserve to find a fulfilling, loving relationship and treat women accordingly.

And you know the saddest part about that? Many plus size women have come to accept and believe that.

I’ve got news for you—that couldn’t be further from the truth. And here’s why: you ARE beautiful. You ARE smart. YOU ARE fun, engaging, vivacious—all the things these little dings to our self-esteem attempt to contradict.

If I would’ve read or written this article 10 years ago I might not have believed it. Because so many plus size women are conditioned not to. Everywhere we look, we are being told we are less than. We can’t shop in the stores because retailers would rather have us hiding at home behind our computers, we can’t indulge I the occasional treat without wondering if someone is judging us the way they might not our skinny friends, and we can’t find a decent partner who will see all the beautiful qualities inside and out that we possess, whether we’re a size 8 or a size 18. It’s no wonder we’re confused!

A funny thing happened when I began my journey to love myself, love my body, love my hair—love all of me: I no longer defined myself by others, including my relationships and dating experiences. I no longer said to myself, this guy is no good, but there may not be anyone else so I’ll stick it out. I no longer thought, this guy is going out with me because he thinks big girls are easy so I should give up the goods before I’m ready.

When you are ready to accept and believe that there’s nothing wrong with you and who you are, you are truly ready for love.

But being ready is only part of it; maintaining this body/mind positive attitude is a long time commitment. We all have those days, particularly when we have these moments that have the potential to knock us off our game.

But another amazing thing happens when you come into your own and learn to define your own destiny: it becomes easier to bounce back from these moments. And eventually, they are a thing of the past. Instead of looking at a bad date or relationship and accepting the blame, you know that this person cannot truly appreciation what a magnificent person you really are because you know and live in the truth that you are.

Dating can be fun, and when you find someone with whom you have a connection with, it can be amazing. The one thing you have to remember is, it’s possible. It’s possible to find love at any size. Nobody is perfect, and your potential partner won’t be either. But when we let go of all the baggage of body shaming, of questioning who we are and what we have to give and what we deserve, we CAN and WILL find love. And if you’re not ready, that’s also ok! While you’re assessing/re-assessing whether or not you’re in a place to date and find love, take this time to begin your journey of loving yourself. It can be a long one, it can be a painful one, and it can be one that will change your life for the better.

I’m still on my journey, and every lesson, setback, etc. is an opportunity to continue to learn and grow and love who I am. I just turned 39 and I am better than ever. And to say that—and believe that—is worth everything to me. Trust me, it will be to you too.




Dionna Humphrey is the owner of Body Conscious Beauty, a style consulting business serving clients in the Washington, DC area and beyond. She’s also a contributing editor to the online publication, All Things Fashion DC as their plus size contributor. You can engage with Dionna/Body Conscious Beauty on any of the following social media platforms:

Website: Facebook: Twitter: @StylebyDionna

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_).