Every now and then I meet someone who reminds me why I love to share stories. This is a special story of a lovely 28-year old woman, named Nicole. Nicole is a journalist and the author of Body Boop, a website designed to encourage people to be authentic and comfortable with who they are, with a message that says, ‘you don’t have to be like anyone else or compare yourself to others, anymore.’ It is a message that Nicole had to learn herself, in her young life, as she struggled with the diseases of anorexia and bulimia. Diagnosed when she was 14, and hospitalized for treatment three times in her already young life, Nicole has fought hard to love herself and her body just as she is. As I write this, I am thrilled to tell you that Nicole has been doing very well the past four years, is in a healthy place, and is about to be married in September.
My heart sings when I think of Nicole’s courage and her willingness to share her story so that others can find health and peace and self acceptance. I will continue to follow Nicole in her journey as she prepares for her wedding in a few months. Today, Nicole and I spoke about her relationship with fashion and the role that clothing plays in her life …
MKG: When did you start your blog and how did you choose the name, Body Boop?
Nicole: My blog has been live for one month but it has been a dream of mine for a long time. My background is in journalism and I knew I could write it, but I wanted to make sure that I was completely healthy so that my message would be 100% healthy for everyone else.The word ‘Boop’ is something my fiancé and I use with each other; it means nudge or encouragement and that’s what I want to do for others – encourage.
MKG: What is your message to others?
Nicole: That you don’t have to look a certain way or compare yourself to anyone else. I want people to be authentic to who they are and embrace that authenticity.
MKG: How has clothing affected your self esteem and is clothing helping or hindering your recovery?
Nicole: At present, I am a size 12 pant and a size 10 dress. And I am okay with that. I exercise 4 days a week, am a vegetarian and am making healthy food choices, so I feel good. In fact, when I was a size 0 I was really unhappy. When you are taking care of yourself, your body will naturally find its happy place and it’s okay to embrace whatever that is.
In the past years, clothing and shopping for clothes has been a struggle. After spending 10 years of fitting in the tiniest, teeniest clothing, I and most other people recovering from anorexia gain a lot of weight as the healing begins. As a result, my wardrobe has been all over the place. What I have learned is that I never want to keep unhealthy expectations in my closet again. I will only keep clothes that fit me now, and that work for me now. Gone are the pieces that are too small or no longer applicable to the woman I am.
MKG: What are some additional healthy tips you would share about clothing?
Nicole: I cannot stress the importance of having a good tailor in your arsenal! I have a small waist and larger hips, and I think that $5 I spend for a tailor to take in the waist of my slacks and skirts is invaluable! I recommend finding a good tailor. Also, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have special clothes. I just bought five dresses at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, for, among other things, my bridal shower and rehearsal dinner. They are perfect, they fit really well and the entire purchase cost less than $200.
MKG: Do you have a dream for Body Boop?
Nicole: If someone gets something positive from the messages, that’s what I want. If I can help one person with these conversations that is my ideal wish. I don’t really have a dream; I just want to keep the conversation going. Adolescents don’t completely understand the consequences of what they are doing to their bodies at the time. At 28, I have osteopenia and a heart murmur because of the stress I put on my body. If we as a society can replace the negative media with positive messages about self-love and self-acceptance, perhaps we can help young people to stop and look at the decisions they make at such a young age.