Is Big really Sexy?

First….HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can I just say how much I have missed you all!  Seriously, it makes me sad that my schedule has been so nuts that I have neglected you so much.  It will be nice to begin a blog without an apology.  Your faithfulness and patience to Hannah and I means the world.  My favorite thing ever is reading your comments and tweets. :0)

Ok, so those who follow my twitter you know that I recently started watching TLC’s new reality show Big Sexy.  I have to admit, I watched all 3 episodes and I could not for the life of me figure out how I felt about them.  My initial reaction was “You GO girls…flaunt those curves”….I was so moved by how brave these women are to really encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin.  I know that even after losing over 120 lbs I still have days where I’m not comfortable in my own skin.  It’s funny how before The Biggest Loser I always used to say to myself…”If I could only lose the weight I will feel on top of the world and my confidence would be through the roof!”.  Now being on the other side of that statement I now know that confidence has NOTHING to do with a number on the scale, but a state of mind.  Really to be honest confidence really boils down to a choice.  Are you going to love yourself for where you are in the journey or not?  Yes, yes I am over simplifying but you know what I mean.  Losing the weight and getting healthy has indeed helped me feel better about myself and in turn boosted my confidence, but at the end of the day I have learned to CHOOSE to love myself…good days and bad.

What has been so fascinating to me is the comments about this show…not just on twitter, but people I meet in day to day life.  Everyone seems to be watch and EVERYONE has different opinions.  Some absolutely love it and others hate it.  I find myself somewhere in the middle.  Switzerland if you will.  Now, I know most of you are just getting to know me, but anyone who knows me well knows I am NEVER Switzerland.  Ever.  I am very, VERY type A and usually things fall in black and white categories for me.  Not much gray in my world.  This on the other hand….big old gray.  I think maybe it’s because I see both sides of the issue of Size vs. Health.  I know what it feels like to be overweight and unhappy because people treat you different and let’s face it there is very little to enjoy fashion wise.  I now know what it is like to be healthy, active, and walk into any store and know that I can choose what I like.  (which is still NUTS by the way)

Another part of this is how do I justify supporting people who want to continue to stay in an unhealthy state?  It’s one thing to be overweight and working on it…it’s quite another to say that it is healthy to stay overweight and being proud of that.  I’m not sure that is the right message to be sending out there….at least not for me.  I think there is so much to learn from these issues and I would LOVE to interview any of the women who appear on that show.  I tell you I applaud their bravery and confidence to talk about such a hard issue.  I know I couldn’t do it with out falling into a puddle of tears (as you all witnessed on TBL), and these woman are doing it as they strut down a runway in a bathing suit.

I am dying to know your comments and thoughts!!  What do you think of the show??  Good/Bad….or are you Switzerland like me?  Let’s talk this out…..

 

Big Sexy Hugs,

Olivia xo

86 thoughts on “Is Big really Sexy?”

  1. Hey Olivia!

    First off, congrats on your successes and thank you for inspiring all of us! Also, you and Hannah look fab on the Fitness magazine cover!

    I think I am visiting you in Switzerland at this point. I am proud of these women who are confident in themselves but I am worried about the health part as well. I am in need to get healthy and lose weight, so I understand trying hard to love yourself in where you are in the journey, but the health risks are what I question / concern me.

    Love the blog and your tweets!

    ~Katherine x

  2. I haven’t seen the show, but I would guess I’d feel the same way about it as you. I’ve been losing weight recently (70.3 pounds…50-70 to go) and I feel pretty confident most of the time even though I’m still WAY overweight. But that doesn’t mean I should stay overweight. I guess I would have a hard time with them WANTING to stay big. That is a signal to me that there might be some emotional issue. Like something happened to them when they weren’t big and ate their way to their size now.

  3. I haven’t seen the show because I don’t have a television (I have a friend who tapes BL for me – watching BL is a proper commitment) but I guess the first thing that comes to mind is that skinny isn’t always healthy by any means and people can eat great, healthy good but still be “overweight”. I’m just not convinced you can see a person’s health just from the fat on their frame. It’s an indication, yes. But it’s not conclusive evidence of being unhealthy. Obesity is a big, social and cultural problem though.

    I get what you said about confidence, Olivia … I fight that thought pattern right now as an overweight female (and I’m not particularly healthy, just to be honest): losing weight will solve some problems but it won’t solve all my problems. I think there’s something to be said for loving yourself where you’re at. I wish I knew how to do that, though!

  4. I was actually watching it yesterday for the first time, at the gym, on a stair master. I have issues with the show. Its all well and good to feel sexy and confident in any size, Ive recently lost about 50 pounds I while I’ve never had massive self esteem issues, I sure as hell feel a lot sexier being a healthy size 10 then I did at a size 16. What isn’t sexy is diabetes, heart disease and not being able to walk and run without wheezing. Im all for curves I have never desired to be stick skinny, but there is such an empowerment that comes with being strong and healthy. Being overweight seriously limits a lot of sexy activities too 😉 I totally think the women are beautiful and even at 240 pounds I felt beautiful and was told I was but I think the real issue is that life is more than being beautiful and sexy
    who cares if you were sexy in your 20 and 30’s when you are so unhealthy in your 40’s and 50’s that you miss your children’s lives because you drop dead at an early age because you were being BIG and SEXY and not giving a crap about your health. Needless to say, Your weight isn’t always about you it totally effects other people.
    I feel sometimes women use the whole “Im big and Im sexy” as a means of excuse to stay unhealthy so it seems more acceptable to society as to say “Im okay with myself so you all better be too!” When in actuality it comes from a place of insecurity, why they so big? Every woman I know who is that large has emotional issues that help them get to that place I know I did/ do.
    To sum it up. I think shows like this sort of do a disservice to our society by once again focusing on the aspect of beauty/ sex instead of what really matters. I don’t feel like its okay to choose sex/ sexiness or even what we view as beautiful over health. Beauty fades, just be healthy so you can be sexy longer!

  5. Overall, I love the show. I’ve always been a bit overweight and have always been self-conscious of how I look or how others might see me. For the longest time I wore XL t-shirts even though I was swimming in them because I thought that’s what I looked good in. Just until recently, watching you two on BL, something clicked and I started eating healthier and working out, and my confidence has skyrocketed even though I’ve only lost 6 lbs so far.

    For these girls, though, they don’t hate themselves because of how they look, and I think that really showed in the last episode when the girl in the bikini photoshoot finally saw that she is beautiful, overweight or not. I would LOVE to have that kind of confidence and feeling of self-worth, not feeling like I have to change in order for someone to like me and want to keep me around.

    While they may not be in the most healthy of states, which could really affect them in later on, I feel they are an inspiration to those who are a bit bigger to show that we can love ourselves for who we are and shouldn’t have to change in order to “fit in”. If we want to lose weight it should be for other reasons, such as for health, personal goals, etc.

  6. First of all, I absolutely LOVE you and Hannah and am SO GLAD you started this blog! Y’all were by far my favorites last season and I was so freaking excited when you won! You look AMAZING!
    I have to agree with you that it is a fine line between loving your body as it is and using that as an excuse to remain unhealthy. I have recently lost 20lbs (BL was a huge inspiration to me!) and while I wasn’t significantly overweight, I wasn’t treating my body well and I certainly was not very healthy. Now I feel great, have so much more energy and feel good about the way I look. And I want others to feel this way too! I’m not sure that a show that supports being overweight is sending a good message to our nation. At the same time though, I admire those women for their confidence. I guess I’m in Switzerland too!

  7. Hi…I have not seen the show, but first I want to say I’m a huge fan of Olivia and Hannah. I watched your journey on Biggest Loser and was so impressed by you both. You are both entertaining and adorable! I want to say also that, as a nurse, I cannot endorse being overweight no matter what. Excess weight is the catalyst for many diseases, and these diseases will shorten life in most cases. So if your goal is to live life to the fullest, then slim and healthy should be the goal every day! Love you guys.

  8. YAY! I tweeted you and Hannah today asking for a blog post and here it is! 😀 😀 😀

    I love the confidence the big sexy ladies have! I love it because even after I have lost 30 pounds myself and i’m at a healthy weight, i struggle with confidence and have “fat days” all the time. I find myself envying these girls because they are so happy to be at that size. With that said, it is not healthy for one to be at such a size. I get that they are happy and love it, but I think they need to consider the health risks they are taking. I also think that being on a show like this might “fuel their fire” meaning that they might fell obligated to stay at that size or get even bigger to show their passion for being a curvy woman.

    I can certainly see why some people love it and others hate it. I think i’m gonna be switzerland here too 🙂

    LOVE xo

  9. Welcome back Olivia ! I have missed you blogging ! I follow your twitters though ! I haven’t watched this show at all … but I tend to agree with you Switzerland it is ….

  10. Hello 🙂

    I thought I was going to love it…that it was going to be about being comfortable in your own skin and loving life…without a girdle…but they are just as insecure as I am…I thought they were going to be all confident…but they weren’t…I was sad for them…
    I am happy I watched the show because it confirmed to me that sexy is a state of mind, not a number.
    I am going to be 41 on Oct 2nd. I am 5 feet 2 and was 240 in Janurary. Today I was 219. I feel more confident and I can’t wait to get to where I can paint my own toe nails and sit on a chair and hug my legs with my feet on the chair. To feel safe being small.
    Much love to you ladies!!

  11. Hi, Olivia,
    I do think I will be joining you in Switzerland all the way from over here. I think it’s good for people to embrace and love who they are but I also see the other side of the coin.

    Having said that, weighing a lot and being overweight isn’t always the same thing 🙂 I have been doing a program for 6 months now and it envolves a lot of weightlifting etc. And I am strong. Real strong 🙂 So on the scale I have not lost that much, about 12 lbs. BUT I have lost about 37 lbs of fat and gained over 27 lbs of muscle. Plus I have gone down two sizes. And most importantly, my outlook on life has changed. A lot. And I have my health back, which is the most important part – I was very sick last winter and laid up in bed for a long time. When I started in March, I could hardly skip rope for a few seconds. And now? I jump on boxes. I drag weights. I can squat very nicely. Heck, I deadlift over 220 lbs easy. And I am proud of myself.

    So – it’s not all in the number on the scale. But it is ALL about being healthy and strong 🙂

  12. I have only seen the ads for the show. Been afraid to actually sit down and watch it. I am in the process of losing weight and understand that confidence issue. Sometimes I can be so proud of the changes I am making and take pride in that and then other times still feel unhappy with myself.

    Confidence is something we learn. But having said that I don’t want to become so confident in myself that weighing over 240 pounds does not even bother me health wise because I am so confident. To me I would rather be confident in breaking the history of diabetes in my family (thankfully I don’t have it, but could). I would rather be confident that as I lose the weight I am becoming stronger, healthier. The title of a blog I recently read said “Strong, the new skinny.” I want to be strong physically, mentally and healthy. And proud of those accomplishments. What good does being confident and huge when a point will come where you will never be able to enjoy life because your heart rate is too high, your blood pressure is soaring and breathing can be dangerous for you? Strife to be confident in the inner you but work on the outer you so that you are around along time to enjoy your confidence. I am sure I rambled here, but I hope I got my thoughts across.

  13. Ok- so I have a big problem with the show and the ladies in it!!! They are not whole completely confident in being big. The first episode the one girl getting dressed to meet the others put on 2 bodysuit girdles – yes not 1 but 2. Yikes. And you think your body looks good as is. really. put that same dress on without the girdles. And with the swimsuits, the one girl had to have a coverup.
    So girls will be girls – we all have insecurities with body image and weight. TLC just wants to make money.

    1. I think like you
      I dont think they feel sexy, moreover, they “know” they have trouble finding love because they either get “fetish” weirdo type guys (into overweight women) or the type “i’ll do u if i am drunk enough” … like showed on one of the episodes
      i dont really think these girls “feel sexy”, i do think that they do a hell of a job “trying to feel” sexy and saying it to the world, tlc records it, we see it, and they make money
      extremes are bad, skinny girls and very chubby girls is not the way to go, the balanced healthy life is the successful path we all should aim for, one day at a time, since it is hard, for everyone, even for the lucky ones that dont fet fat after eating everything!
      cheers,
      mariola

  14. Well, I have never seen the show, and I am just now really starting my journey back to good, healthy living. As for the “is big sexy?” question, I think sexy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I am not the size I was when I got married almost 19 years ago, but my wonderful hubby still thinks I am sexy (which blows my mind).

    I like to think I am a confident woman, but I must admit that confidence disappears when it comes to my size, and my “sexiness”. I think that will change with every right choice I make on this journey to get healthy.

    But for now, God loves me, and my hubby loves me and still whistles at me and those are what is most important. The rest will come with hard work.

    Thanks for being a “fitspiration”

  15. I haven’t seen the show, but being a morbidly obese woman, I think the women on this show are kidding themselves. I think it’s just a matter of time before the ceiling comes crashing down on them and they start getting high blood pressure, diabetes or some other weight-related disease. Then, how confident can they say they are in their own skin? I kidded myself for a long time thinking the same way they did and I wound up with high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. You can’t put being overweight on the back burner or pretend it doesn’t exist or affect your life – it will eventually catch up to you. I agree with you that there is a difference in being healthy and being confident and you don’t necessarily have both and you don’t necessarily NOT have both. One does not depend on the other. It’s the thought process that these women have that fuels our obesity epidemic in this country. When I saw the previews for this show, my stomach sank. I do also feel sorry for them, for it seems they are totally oblivious to their weight problem and I would hate to see them end up like me someday.

  16. Hi Olivia! Definately thought provoking! First of all, I think its wonderful TLC is doing a reality show featuring people that are less than perfect. It’s kind of nice to see these women take center stage in the show and not be marginalized to play the “funny fat friend.” Coming from Southern California, I have long said that being fat is the last acceptable form of social prejedice. Overweight people are in no protective class and they still get bullied in the classroom and parents are often slow to stop it. Perhaps its deep rooted fear in all of us, that one day, “OMG it may happen to me… I may wake up fat!” 2 lbs gained turns to 5 turns to 10 turns to 13 and so on… So in turn, we make fun of people that are heavy, say they are gross and disgusting… because surely we are not gross and disgusting … that is why we aren’t fat, and never will be! Do you get my jist?

    I would think that a lot of people that follow you, like myself have at some points in their lives struggled with being overweight. I grew up heavy and lost about 45 lbs in college… But its funny that even people who were once “fat” are somehow calling these women out for being “unhealthy” connotating a dissaproval for their “lifestyle.” We all know losing weight is not simple and there are many layers to our “fat.”

    When I was in college my weight would teeter between these three lbs. If the scale showed the bottom end of the 3, I went out that night and had a FABULOUS time with attention from all the boys :). If the scale was on the upper end of the three, I would often times punish myself by staying in while my roommates raged or if I did drag myself out, no one would pay attention to me – you hit on it earlier, its inner confidence. I guarentee no one noticed “Oh she gained three lbs.”

    I think I am just facinated by these women that they don’t care… but that is not entirely true- the one aspiring model, knows she will get dropped by her agency if she doesn’t trim down. They all know that they aren’t perfect, despite what they say for the cameras. But isn’t it just a little refreshing that they embrace who they are, right now???? Must we shove this notion of “HEALTH” in these womans faces? I see a show with heavy chicks taking center stage, struggling with body issues in some cases, struggling with boyfriends and love, enjoying trips and drinks… normal everyday girly things… that everyone, regardless of size should be able to enjoy.

  17. At first, I was in completely agreement that I fell somewhere in the middle with how I feel about this show. But the more I thought about it, and read some of the other comments, I have to say that I’ve changed my mind and even though I can’t watch the show because I don’t have cable, I think I’m completely in support of it.

    I’ve always struggled with losing weight, and am definitely very obese and unhealthy. But one thing I’ve always known is that the only way I’m ever successful is when I am doing it to actually feel better, and be healthier.

    As soon as my thoughts turn to wanting to “look good” so that I’ll be judged less or have more confidence, I end up failing.

    Being overweight isn’t good, but I think removing the stigma of overweight = ugly/unattractive would do wonders for people. If our only motivation for losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle was for our own health and wellbeing, and we felt completely accepted for how we looked physically, no matter what, I think we would all be much more successful.

    If this show can help to remove some of that, I think it would be a great thing!

    1. I agree with you that I am in FULL support of breaking the stigma of overweight = ugly/unattractive…..it is just simply NOT true & I think these woman are breaking that stereotype completely! That being said overweight = healthy….I can’t get on that bandwagon. Even if these woman currently don’t have any “health issues” it is only a matter of time before the weight will cause things like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc. I know I felt the same way when I first got to the ranch…I was SHOCKED to hear that my internal age was 58!!!! Crazy and unhealthy. 🙂

      1. One lady on the episode I watched said that she recently discoved she had a medical condition that caused her body to not provide her with enough insulin … I thought uhh isnt that diabetes? I thought it was interesting how they worded it. Out right saying, I have type 2 diabetes certainly is not sexy.

        1. There are other disorders that can cause your body to not produce insulin. I had pancreatitis one time and my blood sugar went sky high because my pancreas was not putting out insulin. Once it was cure everything started working again. I wasn’t diabetic though. If you have to take steroids for any reason it can cause your blood sugar to sky rocket and your body can’t produce insulin to combat it. Insuliniomas are small tumors on the pancreas that cause it not to produce insulin. Lots of reasons a person could not produce insulin.

      2. I am 49, and have been a yo-yo dieter since I was 18. Up until I was 40, I had fooled myself in to thinking that I was “healthy-overweight” – I was/am strong, confidant, and quite honestly didn’t care one way or another if someone liked how I looked or not. But it is not just about how you look, the more serious health issues will catch up to you. I am now on medication for Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders – so now I’m an “un-healthy overweight”. That being said, I do believe that it is never too late to make healthy changes – I recently became a vegetarian (it’s my way of forcing myself to make more conscious healthy food choices!), started exercising, and trying to live a more healthy lifestyle in general.

        These ladies are all young, and while I applaud the premise of the show, I can’t agree with it. Yes, there are unhealthy skinny people, but there is a LOT of studies that have been done that prove that being overweight is not healthy in the long run, period.

        Olivia & Hannah: I give the BL11 ladies complete credit for my mind set change! You are all amazing individuals who did amazing things for your lives and future, and I hope that you continue to share your lives with the rest of us!

  18. I think, there is nothing wrong with the show. They just want to be accepted. I think the biggest loser sends a bad message. How many times you see in the BL people feeling bad about themselves because they are overweight. Even you Olivia, when you when to New Zealand you said basically, if you were overweight, you would never be able to do what you do. Well, that’s a bad message, so overweight people can’t do stuff because they are fat? The entire show is about that, telling people basically they are crap because they are overweight. I think in that case, you can’t judge the show of the big girls. I know, BL promotes exercise and fitness, and that’s fine, but they do that making people feel bad about themselves.

    Being plus size is just the shape some people are, as well some people are skinny that’s it, I don’t know what’s the big deal about it.

    Olivia, don’t judge them or don’t make it sound weird like ”who want to continue to stay in an unhealthy state” as you said, because you would be like them if you didn’t participate on the BL.

    Don’t get me wrong, i like you as well as your sister.

    Take care

    1. I still stand by what I said in New Zealand….I wouldn’t have been able to any of the things I did there without losing weight. There was a weight limit on EVERYTHING we did….and pre-BL I would have been to heavy to participate in ANY of those activities because of safety limitations. On another note being “Plus Size” usually puts you in a category leading to serious, serious medical issues…I know I was on that path myself. I don’t believe that people are just plus size because “that is just the shape they are”. Our bodies are not meant to be overweight and unhealthy. I was overweight because I continued to make poor choices. I did that to myself.

      As far as BL goes….I couldn’t disagree with you more. They do not make you feel like crap about yourself. What they do is hold a huge mirror in front of you and ask you to be accountable for your weight and unhealthy. I have to say NO ONE in my life ever did that for me. I needed a rude awakening because I was on a path to an early death because of a problem I couldn’t get a hold of. Now, would I have been able to lose the weight on my own…I can’t answer that question because that was not my path. I am thankful for The Biggest Loser program. Everyone from Bob and Jillian all the way down to the camera people LOVED me through the most challenging time in my life and for that I will be eternally thankful.

      I really appreciate your comments….I love it when people disagree because I think that is when we all grow as people. I take your thoughts and concerns very seriously….AND don’t ever feel like you have to qualify your feelings with saying your like Hannah and I….we are ALL friends here!

      Olivia 🙂

    2. Daniel,

      I want you to know that my reply is not coming from an argumentative place. I understand that people have different opinions and that is more than just fine, it’s necessary for growth. In fact, I am seeking such growth because my opinion of TBL is 100% different from yours. I’m a bit confused and ask that you shed some more light for me. Perhaps my opinion needs some updating.

      I also want to be honest and give some background on myself because it may or not be pertinent to my perspective. I have never struggled with weight. I’m 27 year old. I’ve always had a fairly athletic body and most certainly have never felt unable to do something because of weight or my body.

      I am of the opinion that there are things that some people physically can not do because they are morbidly obese. Most people, I assume, who have a 30 or 40 extra pounds don’t struggle with this as much. But I have always thought that a strong, in shape body was more capable of doing things. We have all heard stories of obese people not fitting into spaces, like stadium seats, or on a plane. We all know that it is a fact that tons of excess fat on your body causes it to not function properly. It is also fact that the obese don’t live as long as those that have not put on that much extra weight.

      I think it is okay for us to admit that physiologically there are things that are impossible for the obese to do. Let’s be extreme. For example, a 400 lb man most likely isn’t going to run a marathon tomorrow. Let’s be less extreme. If a 400 lb man climbs 4 or 5 flights of stairs, what’s his breathing go to be like when he reaches the top? Where is his heart rate going to be? Let’s compare that to my slightly pudgier and still out of shape 220 lb father who is 6’2”. My dad’s probably not going to sprint up the stairs. But my bet is that my father’s body will not be protesting those flights of stairs as much as the 400 lb man is. Now if we compare the two of those to a very fit athletic man, we would most likely find that the body best suited for climbing those stairs is that of the fit athletic man. This I accept as just truth, without judgement of the individuals. A simple experiment that could be done with results we all can fairly competently guess at.

      So my first question is: Is the above paragraph a bad message? My answer is no, it is just truth. Truth is what it is, and can’t be argued with. If, however, I am wrong and what I judge to be truth indeed isn’t. Then I need to be told.

      My next question is an honest question and again not from an argumentative stand point. How does the Biggest Loser tell the obese contestants that they are crap? This is a question I’m particularly interested in because I would enjoy your perspective. My perspective is that the trainers find out what the contestants really want, then they help them get that.

      I guess the trainers could tell them that they are wonderful people and should stay the same. I really don’t like that tho. I feel that no matter what place a person is at in life, they should ALWAYS try to be a better person. I don’t care if you are a criminal, a nun, a nice school teacher, or a drug dealer, in my opinion you better be working toward becoming a better person. (I will let all those individuals choose for themselves what type of better person they want to be, but I say that all individuals should be searching for truth. Not a truth they make themselves believe, but a real truth.) Same goes for physical well being. I believe that every day we need to pursue being better and progressing. So in my mind, the trainers are just helping them be the kinds of people the contestants actually want to be. In most cases that’s emotionally as well as physically.

      Sorry, Daniel, I have never been a lady of few words! I just want to make sure that my points are understood, as I wish to understand your points. I have just never heard anyone say the Biggest Loser sends a bad message. If I am indeed receiving bad messages from the show, I would like to be aware of them.

      Thanks for reading my short little novel!! I hope you have a great day. We are, however, unified in our liking of Hannah and Olivia! So we should celebrate good taste!

      1. I like that you mention sharing communal space like on planes. This whole thread seems to be about obesity and the extent to which the women feel good about themselves. I’m speaking from a place of having struggled with my weight my whole life so I do relate. However, beyond how “people feel about themselves” there is an ecological and economical and interpersonal cost to maintaining an extreme amount of weight. Recently, there was an incident on an airline where a passenger had no seat because an overweight passenger took up 2 and wasn’t forced to purchase 2 tickets (this is considered discrimination now). Having supported a mother who had a handicap which was genuinely out of her control, it’s frustrating that being overweight would be considered a handicap and allow special privileges. I am an extremely empathetic person but expecting everyone to move out of your way because of the amount of space you take up is irresponsible to the collective space we all share as humans. (Granted, this is just as frustrating when it isn’t due to being overweight but just being inconsiderate)

        The whole point of what I’m saying is that only calculating the personal costs doesn’t account for the public health costs, food waste in landfills, and other detritus from overconsumption that is indicative of our self-obsessed culture. I wish this was a larger part of the consciousness growing toward obesity in America because it would suggest that people are paying attention to how what they put in and do with their bodies affects those around them. I think this does occasionally come up as a sidebar on BL but at the end of the day all I hear about this issue is whether people have the “right” to stay overweight and feel good about it. Sure, you have any “right” you endow upon yourself in the world. That doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for the planet, your neighbor or yourself.

  19. I have a different perspective than most (I think) of the posters here. I am skinny. Very skinny. I have never been overweight. That doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t have my own body issues (my boobs are to small, etc) and issues with self confidence. I really enjoy watching shows like BL etc because I feel they serve a message about more than weight.

    However, with this show I feel most of these ladies are trying so hard to convince the viewers how proud they are with themselves at the weight they are, that it comes across as desperate. I think they are trying to convince themselves actually.There is no way someone can feel good about constantly being mocked and teased, no matter how confident they are. I would appreciate the show more if they were honest with the viewers (and themselves) about how it really feels to be at their weight.

    Just my two cents. Thank you Olivia and Hannah for being such amazing role models. My 11 year old daughter watched the entire season with me and I loved the example the two of you set for her.

    1. Thank you so much for speaking up….it is awesome to have a different perspective. I’m so glad your daughter liked the show. Please tell her hello for Hannah and I! xo

  20. I don’t necessarily think I’m Switzerland. I remember Courtenay on BL saying that she never really had confidence issues even while she was so heavy. People who are overweight can be confident people and still have a problem that needs to be addressed.

    Anthony Bourdain just spoke a little bit about obesity being an issue of patriotism, as well as being a liability to the people around you in the event of an emergency. Something to think about. I might not be terribly overweight (though I could lose 10 pounds), but my fitness level is pretty horrid, and I could definitely hold someone back if I needed to have some endurance in a situation. Being in bad shape is just generally a bad idea, no matter if you’re big or small.

    Oh yeah, I read some of the comments on Bob’s appearance on Leno where they showed you and Hannah’s Fitness magazine cover that said “Heavy to Hot” and someone got all offended that you can’t be both heavy and hot. I guess that person probably likes the show. =)

  21. Hello!

    First off, I’d like to congratulate you with your weightloss success! Currently, I’m in the middle of mine losing 15lbs.

    I think I’m looking at this show in a different angle. Yes, these women are saying BIG is beautiful, but I think the real message is love yourself. I don’t think they need to promote being out of shape and not healthy, it would be the same if girls had a show that said BONES are sexy.

    This is why I LOVE the biggest loser! This show is about loving yourself and your life so much that you become a healthy person, so you can enjoy life enjoy those extra 10 years instead those extra 10 donuts.

    You and Hannah are truly an inspiration!

  22. Aaaahhhgg, been SO struggling with this idea lately.

    Let me preface by saying, I have never seen the show, just some previews and clips.

    Also, at my maximum weight, I was only about 40lbs over weight, and not 80 or 140lbs over weight, so I don’t truly know what it is like to be 100lbs overweight and trying to shop for clothes, and receive any harsh stares or quips, and feel confident in it all.

    But, even at 40lbs over, I did feel self conscious about clothing and had a lack of confidence. So I’ve struggled with all of those feelings, even if it was not on a grander scale. (I have lost 35 of those lbs btw.)

    That being said, while I want to encourage people to realize that being beautiful in one sense is not weight dependent, in another sense it is!! Being overweight = being unhealthy. (Just like being underweight = unhealthy.) There is a reason it’s called being ‘over weight’ – over what a healthy weight for your body should be. In my reading I’ve done, as startling as it is, it seems that being even 10-20lbs over weight can still increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and a whole host of diseases, not to even mention being 100lbs overweight . Having extra poundage on your body puts undue strain and stress on your internal organs, increasing your risk of disease. One of the ladies on the show really is quite pretty in my opinion, but how can I say that big is beautiful when I’m staring at a person that has greatly elevated risk of disease and premature death due to an unhealthy body? How can I say her unhealthiness is beautiful?

    So the question for me becomes, how can I instill in young girls (or anyone) that you ARE beautiful and worth something, but you can’t stay the way you are because this is very unhealthy and dangerous? I could stick with the mantra that true beauty comes from within, and it’s not about how you look, but who you are. But as women, even if we believe that concept or want to believe that concept, we still desire to be outwardly thought of as beautiful.

    So Olivia, I fall in Switzerland, ONLY in that it’s a crying shame that there are so many people out there who don’t love themselves or feel confident because they are overweight. Otherwise, I truly hate the idea of a show that imparts the message that being big (overweight and obese) is okay and you should even flaunt it and feel sexy about it. There is nothing sexy about being unhealthy.

    So, you as a person should always be able to feel confident, sexy and loved for who you are. You should not however feel confident in your unhealthy body and habits. (Does that even make any sense that last part?)

    I like what the last commenter was saying… How confident can you be in your skin when the weight related diseases come knocking at your door at age 40? How can you feel sexy about your overweightness when it’s that very thing that caused the diseases you are now facing?

  23. Hi Olivia! I also have not watched the show yet, but would like to. I am an overweight girl (although not the size of these beautiful girls) and I cannot wrap my brain around being totally cool with being overweight, even more overweight than I am. I like many think their mindset, if reality, is wonderful and kudos to them for being comfortable with who they are and willing to strut their stuff. I, again as many have said, struggle with being positive about a lifestyle that it potentially damaging when it comes to ones health. Like any good reality show, I am sure we will see some of these questions we all have about their true personas and thoughts, play out. So, Switzerland for me too at the moment b/c I am really interested to learn more about them, b/c this big girl could not come near portraying the self esteem them seem to.
    I also wanted to ask you Olivia, have you (and/or Hannah) read “Made to Crave” by Lysa Tykurst? It is a wonderful book especially for those of us who are women of faith. When I began my journey (which is stalled BUT I am starting a local BL competition Monday!) in February, it was a great catalyst and with many good thought provoking and encouraging words and helped me find my true focus.
    Have a blessed day!!
    Megan Joy

    1. Megan-I don’t mean to intrude but I just bought that book this week. It came highly recommended from a blog I follow and I can’t wait to read it. What do you think about it?

      1. Suzanne- Not intruding at all! Love the book! Going to read it again as it is a good catalyst, reminder, inspiration etc to my getting healthy and weight loss journey. The book talks abou our focus, what we CRAVE, specifically food and being ruled or driven by food or turning to food. Instead it reminds us to focus on God and return our cravings and focus to Him and allow Him to walk with us even in a journey against food, weight or whatever ones craving might be. Hope you love it!!
        Blessings

  24. Olivia,
    First let me say I love and adore you and Hannah so much. I have never been so inspired by two people as I am by you. I think because I can actually see someone who I could relate to (and who ‘looked’ so much like I have) go all the way. So, thank you for the inspiration.

    As far as the big girl show goes, I have to agree with you for the most part. The health issue is definitely the most important thing anyone should be concerned about when it comes to being overweight. I have been overweight since the third grade. I am finally at a place (thanks to you and the BL) to say I know where I need to be and I’m heading there. I have hated and despised FAT my whole life. Everytime I looked in the mirror it made me ill, but yet I never did anything about it (or atleast finished what I tried to start). So, I think that it’s hard for me to understand how they can feel confident and be so proud. I’ve hated fat for over 24 years now I guess. That’s just not something I can completely understand. However, I do applaud them for loving their bodies. If they can, then that’s great. If it doesn’t affect them to be mistreated or judged by employers, co-workers, and the world, then that is so wonderful. I never could get past that in my life. People do mistreat and stare at overweight people and really that part is just not right. Why should some total stranger care what I look like? It’s not because they are concerned about my health. Also, I do understand what you mean about confidence. You are going to have bad days no matter what size you look like, but it does make so many things about life easier and more fun when you lose the weight.

  25. dear Olivia, hannah you know i didnt like it at first but when i got to watching it and understand way there were doing that my hats are off to them beautiful women. and another thing is if your over weight, skinny your sexy on the inside as well as on the outside thats what i say. P.S it doesnt matter if you or hannah cant post blog or not WE STILL LOVE YOU BOTH NO MATTER WHAT BECAUSE THE BOTH OF YOU ARE SOMETHING SPECIAL AND INSPIRING ALWAYS REMEBER THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Hi,

    I want to say that it is not my intention to offend anyone and I am a regular watcher of BL; however, I think that we are misled if we believe that any “reality” show is actually real. While BL contestants obviously have to work very hard to lose weight, the show is far from a non-biased documentary of your lives. Products are placed and promoted, scenes are editted and ommitted, contestants on the show are manipulated through the game as well as the people in that game…all for profits. One show advocates being thin and fit, the other advocates being big and sexy – both use real people who may or may not benefit from their involvement in the show – but…in the long run…the bottom line is entertainment for the masses. While there are many BL contestants that have benefitted from the show and give credit to the experience for changing their life, there are other BL contestants who have not felt that way about their experience. I imagine the same will be said for this show…some will be helped to find a sense of confidence in who they are aside from their outward appearance and some will not. I guess I’m not in Switzerland…if BL or BS (sorry, couldn’t resist) are entertaining to you – then watch, if they motivate you – then great. When either show ceases to provide that for the masses then the show will be cancelled and producers will look for the next “Big Something” to keep us tuning in.

    1. I get ya. Although, I don’t completely agree with you. I will tell you that BL ALWAYS gave a us a choice to participate in product placements etc…it was our choice if we supported it or not. Have been through the BL experience and watching the episodes from my season it was pretty darn accurate as to what went down. Is it a game….yes. Did they show every moment we were on the ranch during the show…no. Is it also for entertainment…yes. That being said I think BL is not just about being “thin and fit”….its about getting healthy and changing your life. I can say that because that is what it did for me. I will say that I agree with you…not everyone who has gone through the BL experience liked it or was successful. That being said most of those people were the ones that resisted the process and went into it for the wrong reasons….not all, but most.

      Thanks for your opinion…love the discussion!

      Olivia 🙂

      1. I actually bought 100 cal Wholly Guacamole today because I remembered you guys talking about it all the time on BL and I think you even had it in your refrigerator at home when you guys did that video. Anxious to try it-not normally a big fan but I’m willing to give it a shot.

        Any recommendations on what to eat it with?

        1. Would you mind if I butted in and mentioned my favorite option with those: pita chips!
          I buy whole wheat pitas, cut them in wedges and bake them at 425 for about 7-10 minutes (until crunchy). A tiny spray of Pam and sprinkle of sea salt before baking, and it’s soooo much tastier than store-bought chips.

      2. Olivia good point im so proud of you and hannah for changing your live’s for the better and now the both of you can live a happier and healther life as well. i know for sure my life has change by watching you on BL. so thank you both for changing peoples life’s and ive 55lbs for far its been along road its paying off for sure. ox’s

  27. Olivia & Hannah:

    I, for one am not impressed with the show at all. My husband is impressed by how comfortable they appear to be in their own skin and I don’t see that at all. I see 5 women who have huge issues with their weight and size. I see their insecurities over bellies, thighs, bathing suits and losing weight to remain a plus size model. I would appreciate and enjoy the show more if the gals were honest about their size and not just keep throwing cute one liners out there”Once you go big, you never go twig”…really?? If there was a magic wand that could be waved and they could all magically be slimmer…I am 100% sure they would all leap at it. I am a plus size woman and while I know how to dress for my size and have a husband who adores me…I want to lose weight to get healthier. No matter how comfortable “anyone” claims to be in their skin…if they aren’t active and within a healthy weight range your body will eventually turn on you and you will pay for it in some manner. I am paying because I am a Type 2 Diabetic.

    I feel as if I should apologize for my opinion of Big Sexy to all who ask if I like it. I would enjoy it more if the gals would just be honest about the most fundamental of all things in their lives…their weight.

    Hugz from Winnipeg MB Canada

    Christina

  28. First off, hi!! This is my first time @ your blog. It’s so cute!

    I had similar thoughts on some stuff on the show Big Sexy. I think while it’s empowering overweight women to stay overweight, it’s also shedding light on them as individuals who also have hopes and dreams like all the skinny girls out there. I was a little torn on the “justifying” being overweight thing too but only because of the health aspect of it but on the other hand, I think people have to do what’s right for THEM. If they feel fit healthy and happy, so be it. I’m surely not the one to judge them. I struggle with trying to lose weight every day so I think it’s great to see others out there being courageous when I feel like I hide behind my weight.

    I would never encourage anyone to stay overweight, smoke, eat unhealthily but they’re not my choices to make.

    Maybe they do try to lose weight and we just don’t get to see that aspect. I would like to see some effort as far as exercise or something like that on the show. I guess it wouldn’t be “Big Sexy” if they all get in shape though…

  29. I have never watched the show , it took me 5 seasons to watch The Biggest Loser Show. At 420 pounds I am always putting on a front as if my weight doesn’t bother me. Always trying to prove I can do what they think a “normal” person should be able to do. When you are by yourself you drop that “mask” and you know it’s all a lie and it can get depressing. I think this is what this show is about, over compasating. I have learned in the last few months this is what I was doing, living a life I thought other people wanted me to NOT what I wanted to. I do not belive this beautiful woman want to be over weight the rest of there life but I know it’s hard to quit playing this game. It’s something I needed to learn myself and they will too.

  30. I didn’t read through all the comments above, so I’m probably stating something that someone else has said. I haven’t seen the show, just read your tweets about it and now the blog, and I have to say I am not for it at all. If these girls could prove to me that they are 100% healthy at the weight they are, then go for it…meaning no high blood pressure, no diabetic issues, no joint problems, no heart-related problems, and they could do a basic fitness test like running a mile without collapsing, then maybe I could be more for it. These girls may be sexy, but there is no way they can be healthy…if anything they are hurting their knee joints by having excess weight on them.
    Why doesn’t someone have a show about people being healthy…not stick figures…but healthy, eating right, exercising regularly? Maybe some of the former biggest loser contestants could have a reality show that follows how they deal with life issues and stay on track after the show. 🙂 Just an idea

  31. I think this show is a reflection of how far from healthy our society has come. I would bet it’s insecurity speaking not confidence in this women. I’d love to see a “reunion” show for this cast of people in 10 years – are they healthy? are they happy? You know the answers to those questions are going to be no and no. Then it’s not a good idea to encourage size or health because there are young girls watching this getting that message. From what we see on TV, I think biggest loser does a great job of telling every contestant (yes you are here to get healthier) but you are amazing TODAY, you are amazing just you.

  32. First, I love what y’all are doing. You have motivated me to accomplish my weightless goals. 22 lbs in a month…I plan to take my time, develop good habits and not fad dieting. Having being injured and having all my abdominal muscles cut during surgery is a major hurdle even all these years later…exercise is a hard process. Thank God I can swim.

    I have not watched all three of the episodes but have seen some, so I can chime in… I think it is great that they embrace their size and can be confident. I just wonder if it is a front to protect their real feelings. Is this for attention? Do they not want to be able to shop freely, ride a roller coaster? I agree that not all people are meant to be thin, some have a larger bone structure. I can’t imagine they are truly happy at the size they are…though I sincerely hope they are…because they are beautiful.

    Like it or not, agree or disagree…overweight people are treated differently.

  33. While I’m sure the show’s intentions are to highlight that big can be sexy and that every overweight individual is not looking to be the next BL contestant or lose any weight at all. However, I think what’s missing (as several others have mentioned) is the health status of these girls. Are they healthy at this weight? I think not but I’m sure others might disagree.

    I’m by no means stick thin but at 5’8″ I’ve always fallen within the recommended weight for my age and height. However, 162 lbs is not a comfortable weight for me. At that weight I wasn’t healthy, couldn’t run more than a mile without feeling like my lungs would burst, my energy level was in the dumps, and I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror. Today, at 17 lbs lighter I’m running a lot more often, lifting weights, finding that I have more energy (especially on the days I work out), and I’m much happier with the person looking back at me every day. Just because I wasn’t overweight at 162 by no means meant I was living a healthy life.

  34. Overall, I like the idea of the show. I loved watching BL, but I disliked the obsession that skinny is healthy, period. I used to be around 120lbs, and about 5’7. I was NOT healthy. I used to be a size 5, but I was NOT healthy. I am now a size 14, and while I have some weight to lose, my doctor thinks I am surprisingly HEALTHY. Society’s obsession with skinny really does need to stop, and in that sense, the show is a good thing. But there is a difference between embracing who you are, and being comfortable with who you are and being intent on self destruction. There is no real happy medium in reality television, because it won’t sell.
    I’ve accepted that I will never be a size 5 again, and I am thankful for that. Being able to count my ribs and vertebra was scary. My healthy is closer to the 180 range, and even then I’m still around a size 10/12. But I have a large frame. If not for my back disorder, I would be closer to 5’9. There are so many different pieces to the puzzle of the human body, and everyone is different. I think it is very important to be able to embrace those differences, but not to say that one body style is the only one, and to hell with the others. I apologize for my babbling 🙂

  35. I have only seen the previews and I would have to say I agree with other comments that you can be skinny and unhealthy . But I am pretty sure there is no such thing as healthy and obese. I just find it so hard to beleive that these woman are trully happy in there skin. As you know its not comfortable to be overweight it hurts emotionally and physically. The hard part about TV especially for kids is to decide which way is right you have one show (BL which is the best ever) showing people working so hard on their mind body and soul. Then you have a shows like B Sexy and Top Model where there glamorize obesity or anorexia. It is a really confusing time we live in for sure.

    I say eating right and excercising is the best way to go, I just wish it was easier to balance.
    Thank you,
    Deana Ingram 25lbs down 25 lbs to go…..

  36. Hey Olivia , I’m in the UK and can’t view this programme but have watched some YouTube clips and read through the comments here.
    I useful be seriously overweight , 273.5 lbs ! In January this year I made a decision that I had to change and that decision has saved my life no two ways about it !
    I always had a front in public, big and bubbly and full of confidence but like the girls on this show I wasn’t really happy not truly , not when I saw pictures of myself , not when I struggled to walk up the stairs at the end of the day and not when my weight held me back from doing what I wanted to do.
    These girls are very pretty and I think it’s good that larger models are out there but when it comes to your health you can’t get away from The cold hard facts that being overweight will drag you down , it will take a toll on your health and it does affect your life in a negative way.
    After 35 weeks I am down 90.5 lbs and feel fantastic , biggest loser and especially yourself and Hannah have truly inspired me and I never want to go back to where I was , being overweight is not fun or sexy I’m afraid , feeling fantastic in yourself knowing you made that change for the better now that’s sexy !

  37. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, plain and simple. Whether someone is deemed sexy or not is all dependent on whose eyes are making the decsion.

    Poor health is poor health. When a person is carrying around excess weight, joints, organs, and so much more are being impacted, negatively. You can have fun and feel sexy all you want, but in the years I have worked as a personal trainer, I have yet to find someone who is 50 pounds plus overweight whose doctor has deemed in perfect health.

    We need to find a better balance. Media wants us all to be size 0 or size 2, others say “whatever, just be happy.” I think we need to get real and stop making excuses for one another’s poor health habits. Our nation, as a whole, in unhealthy (physically, mentally and spiritually).

    The number on a scale certainly does not determine a person’s value, but it is an indicator of a person’s physical health. As I have worked with women to imrpve their health, I have found, more often than not, that phsycial unhealthiness is a manifestation of mental/emotional unhealthiness.

    And yes, I am fairly certain someone will misread what I have typed, will skew it slightly, and they will respond in kind.

  38. I have never struggled with my weight. But I have never not struggled with my self-perception. Being thin has not been any golden ticket to freedom from appearance-related self-loathing.

    To the question about whether the show is a good thing, I am not Switzerland on this. Not because I think that these women should feel bad about themselves, but because the show’s premise rests on the presumption that heavy women dislike themselves (but they don’t, so WOW, let’s put them on TV).

  39. Olivia,

    First, congrats on all of your success! I have followed your journey and it has been so much fun to watch– you and Hannah are both incredible!!! I was on my weight loss journey while watching the show and it was inspiring to see you two every week!

    I have to say that I am not really a fan of Big Sexy for a few reasons. One being the obvious– it is simply not healthy for your body to be overweight, and while you should always love and be happy with yourself no matter your size, you should also strive to be the healthiest you that you can possibly be. Everyone has a different body and not all girls will be a size 0 or 2– that isn’t healthy for everyone. I am not either of those sizes, and that’s perfectly fine with me, because I am at a healthy weight for my body type and I look and feel healthy. And that is what I think a person should strive for- overall health and well being. I am all about flaunting what you’ve got and being proud of it no matter wgar, but I don’t think that poor health is something to be proud of.

    Another issue I have with the show is it’s fundamental selling point- they are BIG women and PROUD of it. But after watching each new episode, it is quite clear that not all of these women are proud of who they are. I realize that everyone will struggle with this on occasion (I have lost weight and am currently very healthy, but I still struggle occasionally) but it seems that (not all of them) most of the women on the show feel insecure about themselves on a daily basis. For the most part, these women seem emotionally damaged in some way or form, which has led to their weight and health problems. If the premise of a show is to show these “Big Sexy” proud women, they should all be proud of themselves most of the time (we all have our down moments), but they are not, so it’s kind of false advertising.

    My last concern with the show is that at times, I feel like they are scorning “skinny women”. I understand that life is harder when you are a big person– I have had plenty of struggles with my weight, and it is definitely easier now that I am thin– but that does not justify tearing others down for their size. Picking on and making fun of a woman for her size– fat or skinny– is doing EXACTLY what they say they have dealt with all their lives, and since they know what it feels like, it seems a bit odd that they continue this cycle of… well, mean-ness, for lack of a better word.

    All in all, I definitely respect these women for going on TV and flaunting what they have, but ultimately, their goal should be to be healthy, whatever size that might be for them. It shouldn’t be about being overweight, unhealthy and proud. I realize that everyone has a different opinion, and I certainly respect anyone’s opinion on the show; this is just my opinion!

    Katie

  40. I think it’s a step backward. Yes we as a society are NOT skinny minnies and most of us do have a few pounds (or more to lose) and no I do not think it’s okay to belittle someone based on their size, BUT we need to focus on getting ourselves, as one of the fattest nations in the world, into shape for health reasons, not celebrating that so many of us are heart attacks waiting to happen. I do respect those women but I think celebrating their size is just as dangerous as celebrating the super skinny size 0’s on the runway who very often really ARE starving themselves or taking drugs to look the way they do (which, in my view, is not very attractive). The focus in this country seems to be on the extremes, which is sad & kind of ridiculous.

  41. I haven’t seen it and have no plans to see it. I have no television. I watch only 1 show (Biggest Loser) and I watch it online. So un-American of me I know…but who has time…plus my tv died about 3 years ago and I can’t justify buying a new one for 1 tv show.

  42. Hi Olivia!

    First of all, congrats on your weight loss! Hannah too! I don’t know why I waited this long to congratulate you but I guess I just like procrastinating XP I rooted for the purple team since Day 1 and I’m so glad you guys made it all the way to the end. Together!

    I’ve always struggled with my weight since I was little and I totally know what it feels like to be overweight and uncomfortable in my own skin. When I was in school, I played a lot of sports and I was not overweight for a while but after my injury, the doctor said I can’t play sports anymore and I was so sad…that also started my weight gain. And I was just like you, I always thought that if I lost all that weight I’d be the most confident human being alive.

    I’ve lost weight and I’ve reached my healthy weight range thanks to Hannah! I was watching the episode where Jillian made her do the back-bend (week4, I think) and I was so inspired. My injury wasn’t as traumatic as hers but I was still afraid of getting hurt again. After that episode, I told myself I can do it and I’m not weak. I started working out since (I can run again!) and I’ve lost weight. started playing all the sports that I love and I can’t wait to do more. I’d love to lose a couple more pounds but those few pounds won’t leave me!

    I digress. I talk too much…

    Anyways, I think it’s awesome to be confident and strong and happy in your own skin no matter what size you are. But my Food and Nutrition background is yelling at me to say that it’s better to also be healthy. I have friends who are annoyingly skinny…they eat whatever they want all the time, they never watch their weight and are still thin. They look great on the outside but I always wonder how great do they look on the inside… So, I think no matter how you look like or what the number on the scale is, as long as you are healthy and you’re happy with who you are, the rest doesn’t matter.

    So, yes…I’m a Switzerland like you. When I don’t feel good about myself on some days, I always refer to this bible verse. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” If God can love us for who we are, even after He knows all our flaws and the crap we did, why can’t we love ourselves?

    Okay…that was kinda long. Sorry, if I took up too much of your time…or don’t make sense sometimes.

    Have a great day!

  43. I have to say…I’ve been Switzerland on this issue for a few years now. About 7 years ago I took a plus-size modeling course, where some of the others in the group were shocked to learn the plus models still have to exercise and eat on the healthy side. For one thing, whatever size a particular model is, she needs to stay that size without fluctuating up or down or it can really mess up a photo shoot. And the other reason – agencies want their models to have energy and be well to do their jobs, without their faces breaking out from eating junk.

    I have days when I’m confident in my own skin, even though I’m still a size 18. I have other days (especially when I’m standing with a group of friends and I’m the only one who’s not slim) when I think I look hideous and don’t want to leave the house. Through it all, I’m working on my fitness because I want to be healthy most of all. (I do admit I want to be able to wear all of those awesome clothes too!) I’m down over 30 pounds, which I feel great about, but I know I have such a long way to go.

    The Big Sexy show is a great boost for those of us who still fall in that category, and we should not waste time God has given us on this earth hating how we look. (I know, easier said than done sometimes) There’s a lot to be done that has nothing to do with anyone’s size. But I also that whatever size you are at any given moment, it does not give you the excuse to eat junk, because that’s not good for your body. The key is balance (one I’m STILL learning) between loving yourself wherever you are right now, and working to improve your health.

    Thank you for this post Olivia…and while we’re in Switzerland we might as well ski! ;o)

    Marie

  44. Olivia Ward…. Kudos for posting this on your blog; it was gutsy and controversial and I loved every bit of it. Normally I’m not a controversial person, actually I am (or should say used to be) very much a people pleaser; which is probably how I became overweight. I never cared about myself and let those around me run my life. I wasn’t always overweight; actually I was extremely underweight for most of my childhood. I guess that’s what happens when people tell you that you’re fat at an early age. I wanted to make people happy so much that I stopped eating and pushed myself to be skinny. In the 6th grade I was diagnosed with anorexia. It took one person to help pull me out of my disease and help me change my life. It’s odd that a person once diagnosed with anorexia would one day look at the scale and see she’s overweight. I took my disgust of food and had to make myself like it, then I realized that when I ate people stopped asking me about my past and how I felt about it. I thought I could feel all the pains of the past slowly disappear, but I didn’t realize I was slowly placing myself within a whole new set of problems. Until 4 months ago I put on a façade that I didn’t care what people thought of me. To them I was big and beautiful, but to me I was disgusting. I think the disgusting feeling I had of myself came from the anorexic little girl that still partially dwells within me. I think for the rest of my life I will have the stereotypical angel/devil sitting on my shoulders problem, but they will both look devilish. One will be the little anorexic girl saying, “Annie you’re fat. Stop eating.” The other will be big overweight girl saying, “Annie you know you want to eat that. It’ll make you feel better.” So my life will be a constant compromise between the inner voices that used to drive me. Now I am 35 pounds lighter than I was nearly 4 months ago, and I didn’t get there by starving myself and exercising like some kind of fitness guru. I do exercise six days a week and I eat healthy, which is super hard when my entire family is severely overweight and they don’t show any sign of changing that, so they eat whatever they want and I want to eat it too.

    So now that I’ve written a novel on your blog, I can talk about my thought about the true topic at hand; “Big Sexy.” It took me all day to finally sort through all my thought about this show. It only took all day because I am super Type A, and I just kept telling myself, “Annie, it’s not that hard just pick a side.” But it is that hard. I think it’s admirable that these women are comfortable with who they are even though they are overweight. I think there will always be that underlying insecurity that every woman in the world has, but I think these women give hope to women everywhere that someday they too can be comfortable with who they are and love themselves for the woman they are. On the other side of the coin we definitely have to address the issue of health. These women are not healthy, and if they are it certainly won’t last forever. No one is explaining to them the complications with being overweight. People, including myself because I just did it, are complimenting them on being so secure, confident, bold and sexy with whom they are. But who’s to say these women can’t be secure, confident, bold and sexy when they’re healthy. Maybe that’s just who they are; secure, confident, bold and sexy, but it would be nice to see them be all those things and take steps to becoming healthy.

    All that to say; Olivia, make room in Switzerland because I’m moving in. I’m still not sure how I feel about Switzerland. It never happens to me, I always chose a side in everything; even when I’m suppose to be Switzerland. I think people have figured out by now that they can’t expect me to be Switzerland, because 99.99% of the time it’s just not going to happen.

  45. Olivia, thanks for bringing this up, and thanks, too, to both you and Hannah for all the “fitspiration.” You’ve been a help to me in a journey that has seen me drop about 40 pounds in about 6 months, and you helped me get brave enough to try spinning, which I love now!

    I think back to being an (already!) overweight teenager. And although I certainly had a lot of insecurities, I was also surrounded by some messages like “beauty is only skin deep” and “anyone who doesn’t love you for who you are (not how you look) isn’t worth it.” Those are true. And they helped me focus on developing and achieving in other ways. And they were said to me by some phenomenal people who helped me to know that I would always be loved and valued no matter what I looked like. But, looking back, I really wish someone had helped me understand that it wasn’t just a beauty/looks issue, but also a health issue.

    The real question, I think, is whether there is a way to have it both ways. I think that in real interpersonal relationships, this is totally possible: let people know that we love them as they are and also that we hope for better for them (better health, happiness, fitness, whatever). I think it may be expecting far too much of a TV show.

  46. Hi! Yay for a new post!!

    So after seeing one of Olivia’s tweets I tuned in to watch BS and I am not quite sure how I feel. I am currently on my very own weight loss journey and I have come to discover the same thing mentioned in the post…confidence does not come with skinnyness (not a real world but real enough for me!) I admire these women for being confident in who they are, but I worry (as a a teacher who has seen 1st graders weighing in at a staggering 230lbs!) that the show is setting the wrong example for our society. Obesity and especially childhood obesity are skyrocketing in the US and we need HEALTHY role models. Skinny doesn’t matter, size doesn’t matter…but at the end of the day my ticker is the thing that has to keep ALL of me going…if it’s stressed under too much weight I am dunzo!! I teach my first graders to think healthy, act healthy, and be healthy so that their 6 year old tickers can one day be 106 year old tickers! I want them to be confident in who they are ALWAYS but we are responsible to show them that being active and making smart choices will only increase that confidence…let’s face it no one ever said “man I feel so guilty for eating those carrots and taking a walk with my dog”! Healthy living leads to good habits and feeling good about yourself! My confidence increased as my lifestyle changed to become more active! After a SoulCycle class or a good hour at the gym I have major pep in my step and more confidence! Shows like BL send the right message of why it is so important to live healthy and what the benefits of that are, so I am not sold on BS….BUT as BL Courtney tweeted the other day it is important to remember “HEALTHY trumps SKINNY any freaking day!!! PERIOD!”

  47. I think that people sometimes don’t realize that loving your body at any size and wanting to be healthier and lose weight are not mutually exclusive. You can have both! You don’t have to be miserable to want to lose weight just like you don’t have to stay at an unhealthy weight if you love your body. It would be nice to see women on TV reflect this idea- that it’s OK to love your body AND want it to be healthier and stronger.

    To me, loving my body means taking care of it. Hating my body didn’t get me to lose 100 lb. Loving my body enough to know it was worth taking care of did. It’s hard for me to identify with someone who says they love their body so much yet is willing for it to be so unhealthy.

  48. Olivia,

    Thank you for your post. You sure have generated a lot of discussion.

    I was intrigued by your take so I was able to catch one episode of the show – the one where they go to South Beach for the Heather Feather bikini shoot.

    I am slightly torn as to my overall impression of the girls’ confessions. Some seemed like they tried too hard – soooooooo boy crazy. Other times I felt they were trying to hide pain (maybe even shame) in order to drive home the message that they are happy in their own skin. Health issues aside, if they are happy with themselves then I can’t help but admire that. Most women have body issues of some sort; whether they are stereotypically “big,” thin, short, tall or otherwise.

    One of the girls, Audrey, I think has less of an issue hiding her pain. In the episode I saw I was absolutely mortified by the skinny b!tch (sorry, but that is what is appropriate here) who helped herself to a sip of the girls’ cocktail and plopped herself on Audrey’s lap for a picture. Audrey stated in a confessional that “maybe she hadn’t seen a girl as big as me before.” Other comments were made to the effect that this was someone poking fun. And quite frankly it was clear by the reaction of her friend’s, albeit blurred out, that this was a cruel attempt at jest.

    Again, the scene in the club with the male dancers… picking up Audrey and getting raunchy with her when she didn’t want it. The shots of the onlookers, particularly the younger attractive girls, it tore into me. The way she picked up the dancer at the end, I honestly feel was an attempt to try and make people believe she wasn’t as bothered as she clearly was. But it just shocked people more, or outraged them. It’s odd what people do in the face of that kind of embarrassment to overcome it, particularly in such a public venue. That’s what I believe Audrey was doing. How do I know? I’ve been there.

    I identify with Audrey. At 6′ tall I am constantly gawked at, approached by strangers with less than flattering things to say, and made the brunt of jokes among groups as small as 2 and as large as 100. The bullying I endured in high school for being “different” extends into adulthood not just verbally but physically (if only I can count the times I left movie theatres with gum in my hair, or the times I’ve been pushed and shoved at concerts because I was in the way of the person(s) behind me.

    To make matters worse I’ve been fluctuating between a healthy weight and obesity for the past 5 years. I’m on the obesity side of the equation now and I can’t help but feel like Audrey each time I go out. You can see it in her body language. You can see it in her face. And if you can’t see it – it’s probably because you just haven’t been there. I just don’t go out anymore. That solves that.

    At the very least I hope this show draws attention to the treatment these girls endure at the hands of others who are either just plain mean or just too insecure to be pleased with their own image so to not have to denigrate others. While focusing on these scenes would likely make for a depressing, less entertaining show, I think it is helpful and may just open SOME of those minds out there who think it is OK to yell “heavy” or “big girl” to a woman walking down the street.

    This episode honestly hit so close to home I had to stop watching about 40 minutes in. I will give it another go, but as this show is on TLC I hope they bring the “learning” aspect to the forefront and make a productive impression about the lifestyle these girls live.

    Again, these comments are completely independent from health ramifications associated with being obese. I personally am working diligently to again shed the pounds, and shame, that show up weekly on the scale.

    Jen

    PS Hannah or Olivia, congrats on your successes! You are true inspirations. If either of you would be interested in a paid consultation session with me via phone or Skype I’d be interested to learn more about the calories in/out equations you learned while on the ranch. I spend a lot of time educating myself about fitness and healthy lifestyle changes and am just lacking that extra insight into the dramatic results you see on BL. You may contact me at digbigdog4ebay@gmail.com.

  49. Big is not sexy. This is simply a form of coping. If you really think about it, a person’s physical state is a reflection of their mental state. You’ve been on both sides of the equation. Can you really say you were fulfilled when you were heavier? (Not implying that skinny people are fulfilled or even more healthy mentally)

  50. I watched that show twice and couldn’t see it anymore. I think that women of all sizes should be comfortable and confident. They shouldn’t let their size determine how they feel. What horrified me about this show is whenever the camera would scan the people watching the cast in the show it appeared that people were laughing AT the girls, not with them. I was offended and didn’t like it at all. It didn’t come across to me the way the show intended it to be but more of a joke. really not cool, in my opinion.

    on another note, olivia, I am dying to know why BL makes the contestants take off their shirts during the first half of the season during the weigh ins but then lets the contestants put their shirts back on at the end of the season. What is that about?

    1. I always wondered that myself. I wouldn’t want to be shirtless at any point. After you start losing…you have that skin and your body doesn’t look right for a long time. Case in point…a lot of the men who lose…their boobs are in their armpits. I’m only 30 lbs over what my dr says is my goal weight and I would never take my shirt off in front of anyone. Y’all sure are brave.

  51. I have not yet watched the show, but I think it’s very important to send the message of self-love and self-acceptance out there. No, unhealthy is not good – we can agree on that – but I think it’s equally important (if not more important!) to work on the self-confidence in order to preserve your overall health. If you don’t deal with the inner stuff, your weight will come back. Maybe it won’t come back as pounds on your body, but there will be some other way that those issues will arise again. Now how healthy is that? I think it’s EXTREMELY important to send the message of feeling beautiful and sexy at any size. I wish we were collectively in a place where we could just have a show about women – period – who are beautiful and feel sexy… where size just isn’t an issue.

  52. First let me say, I have not seen this show, but in my undergrad work i did a bit of study and i have friends involved in fat positive culture. I used to struggle with the ”is it right to support others in there unhealthy lifestyle’ and then I realized what a bias assumption that is. I have had many thin friends that live off cheese puffs, cigarettes, diet coke and thin genes, and never has there right to feel sexy been questioned because of their lifestyle. I also have known many women who eat whole foods and exercise regularly but are still overweight, who feel that they don’t deserve to think they are sexy. I think it is sad that we have to discuss if it is alright for a tv show to feature fat women who feel sexy. Of course it is good. It is not my job to dictate how other should feel about themselves. I know that i am a beautiful women, i am over weight, i am sexy and I am working on losing weight but that is just me. I am not going to tell other women what how they should be living there lives. Everybody has a right to love themselves, and i do not have the right to define how ‘loving yourself’ is defined for other people

  53. Hi Olivia!
    I have not seen the show. I think I am going to find the episodes, see what I think, and get back to this discussion…….so I’ll rest in Switzerland til then 🙂

  54. Totally off subject, but cannot find a spot to ask you questions! WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR BLACK WEDGE shoes you wore on BL this last week?! I am dying to know. I WANT them BADLY! 🙂 Thanks, looking FAB like always!

  55. I haven’t seen the show but I totally feel like what others have said. We need to learn to love ourselves. I remember in high school, I was always at least 30lbs overweight and had crooked teeth. I hated myself and I never dated. I Got braces which made me lose weight 🙂 and I started dating guys. I got married at 19.5 and wondered why I didn’t all of a sudden love myself. I figured once I got a man, I would love myself! It took me many years to figure out that I am who I am and that that person is pretty awesome. I still struggle with my weight and I want to be healthy. I’ve started running and lifting weights. I’ve only lost about 5lbs, but I’ve lost more in inches and I can run without getting out of breath! I have accomplished so much.
    I do believe the real issue is we need to learn to love ourselves, no matter the size and that also means that these women would need to love themselves small too if that’s what they end up doing.
    I also agree that healthy is what matters, and being to small or too big are not always healthy.

  56. This might attract an audience of people who gave up and seek complacency. This show says:
    Don’t even help yourself. Blow yourself and everyone else off whenever a concern about your weight comes up.

    There is a big difference between malicious insults and generous help. Failing to respect attempts to help, including YOUR OWN INNER VOICE, is precarious. It’s called giving up.

  57. think Rob has it right. I have been on BOTH sides of this issue–weighing 110-116 until I was 30 years old, then having a 2nd child–and going up to 240. My mom was overweight and I watched her struggle for years–so I know how thin folks “think”—and I know the “reality” of weight that won’t come off–or if it does, won’t STAY off.

    When I hear an overweight person say, “I don’t care . . .” I KNOW they are lying. Either lying to you, lying to themselves or both. Yes, damn it, we CARE. But sometimes, it’s so frustrating we have to pretend we don’t care so it can stop consuming every waking minute—either feeling guilty because we’re not eating/exercising/dressing “right”, feeling frustrated and angry cause we’re doing everything “right” and nothing is happening.

    My dad once asked, when he saw my “subliminal weight loss tapes” why I would fool with that when I KNEW from watching my mother, that there was no magic formula except diet and exercise. I thought about it over night and told him the next day: Because I did not DO or EAT or change my level of activity–in short I did not DO one thing differently to GAIN the weight,(except have a baby), I did not do anything different with the second child than I did with the first–if anything, I was more careful—so how do you know what to “change” to LOSE it, when nothing “changed” to GAIN it? And you lose it and it comes back on with a vengenance in less than 1/2 the time, with MORE. Until you become fearful to TRY anything, because if you let up for a second, you pay double! Who wants to think about every thing you eat, every move you make or don’t make or should make—when for 30 years, it’s never been an issue.

    So I can imagine these girls on this show have had this weight issue their whole lives–and there comes a time when it has just worn you down and you figure if you’re ever going to have ANY life at all, you’ve just got to say “I CAN’T care anymore! “

  58. think Rob has it right. I have been on BOTH sides of this issue–weighing 110-116 until I was 30 years old, then having a 2nd child–and going up to 240. My mom was overweight and I watched her struggle for years–so I know how thin folks “think”—and I know the “reality” of weight that won’t come off–or if it does, won’t STAY off.

    When I hear an overweight person say, “I don’t care . . .” I KNOW they are lying. Either lying to you, lying to themselves or both. Yes, damn it, we CARE. But sometimes, it’s so frustrating we have to pretend we don’t care so it can stop consuming every waking minute—either feeling guilty because we’re not eating/exercising/dressing “right”, feeling frustrated and angry cause we’re doing everything “right” and nothing is happening.

    My dad once asked, when he saw my “subliminal weight loss tapes” why I would fool with that when I KNEW from watching my mother, that there was no magic formula except diet and exercise. I thought about it over night and told him the next day: Because I did not DO or EAT or change my level of activity–in short I did not DO one thing differently to GAIN the weight,(except have a baby), I did not do anything different with the second child than I did with the first–if anything, I was more careful—so how do you know what to “change” to LOSE it, when nothing “changed” to GAIN it? And you lose it and it comes back on with a vengenance in less than 1/2 the time, with MORE. Until you become fearful to TRY anything, because if you let up for a second, you pay double! Who wants to think about every thing you eat, every move you make or don’t make or should make—when for 30 years, it’s never been an issue.

    So I can imagine these girls on this show have had this weight issue their whole lives–and there comes a time when it has just worn you down and you figure if you’re ever going to have ANY life at all, you’ve just got to say “I CAN’T care anymore! “

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