Never in a million years did I ever think you can be fat and successful.
Before I worked for myself, I had a very clear vision of what I thought success looked like. Thanks to all the TV and magazine portrayals, I thought that successful women were the well-groomed, well-dressed ones with matching accessories. They wore heels all the time (even at home), had a never-ending supply of red lipstick, and exuded an aura of confidence that took them to the very top of their profession. They were also one more thing.
They were thin.
And since I was very much not, I was convinced for a very long time that I was never going to be successful. Thankfully, I now know that this is absolute boll*cks, and I wanted to tell you why.
Where It Began
Back in the early ’90s, I was quite a chubby kid. I was called FAT, and I embrace the label now. But I was bullied quite a lot, and the main target was my weight. Being a kid my self-esteem and confidence was knocked (a lot), and left me feeling very insecure and introverted. I remember thinking to myself, how can I appear smaller, as I didn’t want people to see me.
As I got a bit older I started to see pictures of airbrushed and photoshopped models all over mainstream media, since the Kate Moss ‘heroin chic’ look was in style at the time, and seeing all of those impossibly skinny women did nothing to help my already dented self-esteem. Neither did a lot of the family, friends and strangers who took it upon themselves to say things like ‘You’d be much prettier if you just lost a bit of weight’ and ‘Have you tried exercising?’.
Incidentally, never say those things to anyone. Ever.
All of that mixed together to create a chubby young adult who was desperately aware of how big she was and how much the world judged her for it. And for how little success she could expect in life.
The Impact on my Business
After a few years in traditional office jobs, I set up my own business, Infinity Creative. Right off the bat, I knew I couldn’t be the face of my business, because I was fat. I knew that people would judge me and that it would make me less successful than I wanted to be. I thought nobody would want me to mentor them because I had failed at my weight – so how could I be successful at something else? I felt like I couldn’t speak in public because people would just judge me for being overweight, not what I had to say.
Overall, I just felt that I wasn’t worthy of being successful and admired because I was fat.
And so I hid behind my logo and my website. My branding was boilerplate and impersonal because I didn’t want clients to see my body and then not choose to work with me. I also avoided in-person networking as the feelings of anxiety used to overwhelm me. I was afraid I would lose business, or not get any to begin with I spent a while like that, and I had limited success as a result. But little did I know it wasn’t my weight holding me back – it was my mindset.
What Changed It All
One day, I came across Tess Holliday. If you don’t know who she is, she’s a plus-size model and influencer, and she rocks a size 24 at 5”5. She’s well known for causing waves about her weight, and she is the absolute vision of both confidence and success. I was absolutely inspired by her and everything she did.
So I thought, f*ck it! Who says success is just for the skinny anyway? It’s my life, and I can create my own version of success. And so I chose to embrace my size, my lumps and bumps, and finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I redesigned my website and packages and hired a wonderful brand photographer who helped me see what everyone else saw, rather than what I saw in the negative and nasty mirror. I made the choice to step into myself and out of my own way, and let me tell you, it’s been GLORIOUS!
Even more so this year, because I’ve been on a mission to be SEEN in my business, and not to let anyone dull my sparkle. I chose to put my face everywhere; on my website, my email signatures, insta reels and even hosting webinars. And you know what? My business started to become more successful than ever. Because I was showing up as my true, authentic self.
You Can Be Fat And Successful
I understand the word “fat” can be very triggering for some – it was for me! But I want to claim back that word and turn it into a positive.
I don’t want to hear about overweight women who “find” their confidence. Of course, I’m happy for them, but why did they have to find it? Why could we not have been born with it? It’s because society tells us you can’t be fat and be successful. Instead, encourage everyone to embrace their confidence from the beginning. We are so much more than a number on a scale and a size on a rack. We are intelligent, thoughtful, passionate people. You can be all that and overweight.
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So if you’re ever feeling like your weight is holding you back from success, take a step back and ask yourself why you think that is. For me, I know I let my inner ‘Mean Girl’ sabotage my success and happiness for so many years, all because of the conception I formed in my head when I was about 7 years old. And I hate to break it to you, but 7-year-olds are wrong about a lot of things, including this! Once I embraced that, I realised that I just don’t care anymore if I get judged. I love and accept myself, and that’s all that matters! The haters can kiss my FAT ass! 😜
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