30 By 30: Smiles At Every Size (How I Deal With Body Image)

Kendyl Wright - 30 By 30

Over the past five years, I’ve ranged in size from a six to an 18. My face has gone from round and puffy to thinner with less cheek to squish, and I have been classified as obese, overweight and average. Throughout it all, my self confidence in my body has always faltered. Even at my smallest, at the height of my weight loss success, I would describe myself as overweight or chubby. I would go into stores and reach for the size XL, even though I was wearing a medium. It drove my friends crazy, and to be honest, it drove me crazy, too.

Recently, Dove released their latest Real Beauty campaign, in which women go into a room and describe themselves to a sketch artist without him ever seeing their faces. Shortly after, a stranger goes in and describes the exact same woman to the artist. He draws both faces. The one that the woman described of herself is almost always homelier, darker & disproportionate compared to the stranger’s descriptions.

It’s a message to women everywhere, and one that hit me hard: We are our own worst critics.

This past week I got an email from a lovely reader telling me that I seemed discouraged and offering some helpful advice. To be honest, I have been discouraged. As I mentioned last week, it’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster over here lately. But this week, I’ve been drying my tears, learning some difficult lessons and realizing that it’s true: I am my own worst critic.

When something bad happens, I immediately react in a way that equates to something being wrong with me. That date didn’t go well because I’m not pretty enough. I never got that fitness job because I’m not in good enough shape. I didn’t get invited because I’m not fun enough.

But the thing is … I am enough. Regardless of my size or my skin color or the length of my hair, I am enough just the way I am. I want to work to make my body skinnier, stronger, more beautiful, but if that was to never happen, would I be okay? The answer is yes.

This week, I’m working on what goes on inside my head and heart and mentally shaping myself to be the woman I want to be. My smile is my favorite thing about myself and it shines through at any size. If it takes a million Dove campaigns to get that through my thick, beautiful skull, then so be it.

WIN: My win this week was getting some unexpected whirlwind news that changed my outlook and left me celebrating all weekend.

FAIL: I was sick most of the week and super busy coming out of vacation and only made it to the gym one time.

+/-: -1.5 lb = total -4 lbs. Slowly and steadily climbing down.

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    • Caroline

      Awesome new perspective! Or reminder of a positive message. I really like the Dove campaign, also. I noticed that you classify your weight loss efforts into win/fail categories. Sometimes the things that seem like “failures” are due to factors outside of our control – like being sick, for instance. I do this for myself, too, but I felt as though when I called my missteps “failures” I felt set back further than I really was – I criticized myself more harshly. I instead defer to using “pluses” and “deltas” – the positives, and the items that need change for the better.

    • Luci

      Love, love, love this. Your smile always makes me smile. :)

    • taylor

      this is inspiring, thank you for sharing, Kendyl :)