Lights, Camera, Action

By Shani Petroff

As much as I often wish this were the case, all of my excess weight won’t vanish overnight. The Weight Watchers program is teaching me new habits and how to be healthy for the long haul. It won’t happen in a day, or even a month, there have been a few speed bumps (and I’m sure there’ll be more), but I’m sticking with it. One thing I’ve been trying to do on this journey is love myself no matter my size. I think it’s so important, and yet sometimes I need a reminder.

My book Romeo & What’s Her Name came out recently, and there’s been a few publicity opportunities — speaking at schools, libraries, and more. The first one I did, I was seated on the stage with several other authors. Later someone posted a photo online of the event, and I was horrified. I couldn’t stand the way I looked. My thigh looked the same size as the whole body of the woman sitting next to me. I made sure the photo wasn’t accessible on my social media platforms, but it was ingrained in my head, and it made me think twice about doing any other events.

As some of you know, I also freelance at a TV news station. A co-worker asked me if I talked to anyone about appearing on the show to talk about my book. I said I wasn’t going to. He looked at me like I was crazy. He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t at least ask — it was great exposure. But my reasons were that picture from the previous event — and my size. I didn’t want to be seen like that again.

As the days passed, I realized I was putting my life on hold and missing out on great things because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin — and that’s a horrible feeling.

So I decided to do something about it. I got up my courage and asked to be on the show (they said yes), and I accepted appearances at other events as well. I also reminded myself that:

  • Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
  • It doesn’t matter what other people think of the way I look.
  • I am my own worse critic, and I need to treat myself the way I’d treat my best friend — with love, compliments, and kindness.
  • I need to fake it ’til I make it (and with the help of the people at the station, had my hair and makeup done for an extra confidence boost).
  • Losing weight to be healthy is great, but beauty comes from the inside.
  • Confidence is super-attractive.
  • I am strong, and I will not let insecurities keep me down.
  • I was still nervous, but with those reminders flashing through my head, I did the segment, and I’m so glad that I did.
  • I got to tell people about my book and at the events I got to meet so many incredible attendees, and I had a blast. My weight didn’t make a difference.
  • Life doesn’t stop because we may not be our dream size. It’s up to us to make the most of it, and to make sure amazing opportunities don’t pass us by.

Here’s the clip from the show.

You can find me on Connect @shani!

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