I was laying under my blankets in the end of one February, looking for motivation to roll myself out of bed. It was cold, my insides felt cold, and I was probably - at that point - at my lowest. Up until that point, my life did not turn out how I anticipated it would. I had been rejected by countless agents and publishers, I was working in a call center, I never went back to Oxford for my Master’s degree, my mother was dead, and I was a very unhealthy 240 pounds at 5’ 3”. I harbored a debilitating sense of loss whilst finishing college the year prior, however during that time, I knew at least I had an end goal. Where I was in the winter of 2013, no goal existed.
I opened my laptop to Tumblr and came across a page of plus sized models. They smiled so wide, they looked so happy and confident, and I envied them. For even at my heaviest weight, I had no happiness that I could find. I was brutally honest with myself, and admitted that I was, in fact, miserable. And it wasn’t just my weight - it was the unhealthy feeling. It was the hold food had on me, and it was the depression, the actual hatred I felt for myself.
After an hour or so of scrolling, I came across one woman in particular, Tess Munster (now Holliday). She was plus sized, beautiful, fierce and unafraid. I searched her further, read her stories about her upbringing, and thought in my cynical state, “Wow, her younger years were fucked up too, and look at her now.” She talked about loving her body, loving herself and living a life that was healthy and happy. This concept, in a world with outrageous standards of beauty, baffled me. I did not think I was capable of loving myself at the size I was, at the health I was, or at the state of depression I was sitting in. I didn’t realize - at least at that time - that my happiness was reliant on me, or that I was in absolute control of it.
That night, I wrote a breakup letter to food (which I believe I still have somewhere). This letter was not in any way a rejection of food in the sense that I would no longer eat - rather, it was a letter to food, telling it that it no longer had the control I allowed over the past several years, moreso recently after my mother’s death. Suddenly I felt hope. I told myself that I was in control, and I purchased a scale. I was horrified by the number, but I told myself it was alright, and that I could change my habits, and be happier. I bought some new clothes, and told myself I looked nice in them. I bought a pair of gym sneakers, and laced them up.
Since February 28, 2013, I have lost roughly 60 pounds of fat, gained muscle, and learned to love myself. I credit plus sized models for that. I credit them for their confidence, and their beauty, and their message to women anywhere that loving yourself as you are is one of the healthiest things you can do. Through loving myself as I was, I changed and grew into who I am. I became healthier mentally and physically, and I now embrace change, because I can control how I react to it. It helped me model my own body, and it has encouraged me to help others.
By Kaitlin Oster