Nicole in her denim shorts
Beautiful words from my friend, Nicole – on the purchase of her new jean shorts …
“I’ve always been hippy, with big, strong legs. My family is Lebanese, and I have always fought against my natural body type and shape, falling into life-threatening battles with anorexia and bulimia through my teens and my 20s. A couple of years ago, after the pressure of fitting into a wedding dress fell away, I noticed that I was letting myself be happy and enjoying time with my husband. That meant not torturing myself at the gym and eating and drinking what I wanted, when I wanted. Pair that with some serious medical difficulties last year, and guess what folks: I gained weight.
I am now what the fashion industry would consider a plus size woman. My BMI would say that I am obese. This makes finding peace extremely hard and finding clothes that fit me even harder.
But last week, I found a pair of JEAN SHORTS – that fit me! No gap in the back, not too short. They truly make me feel sassy and beautiful. It has been the most emotional road accepting who I am and what I look like but having this pair of shorts is a symbol of my recovery and my constant journey to peace and happiness. It is my hope that all fashion designers will understand how much that means to their consumers. I plan to have a great summer in my new shorts.” ~ Nicole Rohr Stephani
It was a year ago that I met writer Nicole Stephani; she was then Nicole Rohr, about to be married. It’s a big day for anyone, but for Nicole, it came as a special milestone, as she had successfully battled years of eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. Nicole has worked hard to accept herself just as she is, and in her commitment to share her story with honesty and openness, Nicole created Body Boop. Created in March 2014, Body Boop has grown in its following, providing hope and inspiration to people everywhere. I promised to follow Nicole on her journey, and I am happy to report that at the time of Nicole’s 30th birthday, she is moving forward with continued courage and positivity. Here is my latest conversation with Nicole …
MKG: Tell me about Body Boop’s mission. What has changed since its inception?
Nicole: Body Boop started as a personal outlet. I had always wanted to write a blog about my story. But prior to 2012 I wasn’t ready; I wanted to start when I was well into my recovery. I created Body Boop in March, 2014. As it developed, I began to feel more confident. The more I shared, the more I noticed that I started receiving messages from friends, from strangers, from so many people who felt supported and heard. I saw that this was now more than a personal story; it was a chance to create a place where others could be heard and supported – where they knew they were not alone. Continue reading
Nicole gets married! Photo credit: Jacob Leatherman
Here is news to celebrate: Nicole, founder and creator of the website, Body Boop, got married last month! I met Nicole last June, when I featured her on TFIO, sharing her message to love and accept ourselves just as we are. Nicole, who struggled for years with anorexia and bulimia, has been building back her life with courage and conviction. I later followed Nicole as she shopped for a wedding dress and dealt with the body issues that came with that process. And now, I am thrilled to share that Nicole is happily married! I am so impressed by Nicole’s ability to not only tell her story, but also to help so many others who may be struggling at this very moment in time. What a difference Nicole is making, and I can’t wait to see how far she goes!!
Here, in her own words, Nicole talks about being a bride:
“So, no, I was not the skinniest bride. There are those out there who might think, oh, she could have lost a few lbs. for something like this. And they can say that. I have to keep reminding myself, even as I’m looking through the photos that are coming in, that I am so incredibly happy in my life right now and that I felt the most beautiful I have ever felt on that day. I can criticize my stomach or my arms or my double chin in those photos all day long, but that day was magic and I felt gorgeous. It will be a mission of mine to keep that feeling with me at all times.” ~ Nicole
Nicole at her first bridal shower, with her Aunt Margaret – feeling beautiful and empowered
Let’s face it: we all have enough negative body speak in our arsenal to drag our mood down by deep degrees. We may find ourselves noticing the things that are changing about our bodies, comparing ourselves to others, and wishing things could be different; the list goes on. For Nicole, creator of Body Boop, whom I first featured on TFIO in early June, body image is an especially delicate issue, because Nicole had struggled with anorexia and bulimia for years. Fortunately, she has been in a healthy cycle of recovery for two years, but the journey is still challenging, especially for Nicole now, as she prepares to be married in September. And especially, when it comes to the fashion …
Here is an example: not long after Nicole and I spoke, she attended two bridal showers. Two showers, two different cities, two different dresses – and only 2 weeks between. For the first shower, Nicole felt beautiful; as she says, “It was the perfect energy, though out the day.” For the second, however, everything had flip-flopped. Nicole says she felt “ugly” and “uncomfortable.” She was the same person. The dresses were similar. Nothing had changed except her mindset. Thinking about it afterward, Nicole says it was a reminder that the bad feeling you may have one moment, one day, will not last, and you will feel better again.
Last week, Nicole had her first wedding gown fitting, and it proved to be really stressful. Continue reading
Nicole, and yes, she IS!
Nicole with her fiancé, James
Photo credit: Tim Jarosz/Orange 2 Photography
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. Continue reading