I Tried To Lose Weight For My Wedding & It Made Me Crazy

October 14, 2014

It began well before the day I said “yes.”

I had a pretty good idea the moment was coming and was already planning how to answer the question: How thin and perfect can I get my body before our wedding day?

I fantasized about walking down the aisle with long, lean arms, a waistline that would make his eyeballs bounce out of his head when he saw me in a form-fitting dress, firm hips that marked a dedicated runner and a strong stomach. After all, I loved him so much and he deserved the best … the optimal me.

Well, what started off as the “optimal me” was quickly replaced by the obsessive me. I fanatically posted diet plans, pictures of thin women and workouts that promised I’d look like a real-life Photoshop image. I decided I was not going to be a fat bride.

I bought a 14-day juice cleanse program and at the end of not eating for two weeks, I dizzily went to try on wedding dresses. I even skipped the celebratory champagne offered during my fitting — too many calories.

And then … all of the dress samples were a size 6. Despite days of only drinking juice, I was still twice that size. Running through my head like an old broken record was the thought that I should just walk out now and spare myself the embarrassment. That because I was bigger than the dresses on the rack, I didn’t deserve to be a bride at all.

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What’s Blocking Our Opportunity To Succeed? (Ladies!)

October 7, 2014

Am I afraid of my own superpowers? Sometimes it seems like it.

When I have a world-changing idea, I give it away to someone with a big hug and a genuine smile; and then, continue to wish upon a lucky star that one day, luck—or a large amount of success—will happen to me. I do this because deep-down, I’m slightly afraid of what my world looks like if my idea succeeds. Afraid of not knowing what to do when the accumulation of my life’s work peaks and peaks.

When you’re sitting on top of the peak and see a valley ahead, that can be some really scary shit. Failure. Tumbling ungracefully to the bottom of the mountain that you clawed and scratched your way to the top of. But in reality, the valley is where you started your climb. There’s safety in the valley, and if you play it right, loads of opportunity.

I played softball at an olympic level. Here’s the story of how I got there:

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Defining My Own Success In A Hyper Successful Family

September 30, 2014

“You have to want success more than you want to breathe.” That’s what she told me when I called her last week in tears. My Mom, so full of inspiration.

I found myself sharing similar tears a day later, after my weekly call with a devout volunteer and ambassador for Topless. For the first time, I started consistently experiencing a side to success that I’d never expected to be true.

My grandfather is a very successful businessman. I had the opportunity to work with him for several years before I started traveling around the world modeling. What Papa taught me–and still teaches me–is tough love (am I giving away the family secret?). He taught me how to confidently lean into big time businessmen and women at a ripe young age. He taught me how to catch someone off-guard by calling them before they were fully prepared for the meeting. He taught me that information is power, and how to lure in the interest of Senators, Governors, Congressman and Presidents for our projects.

It all worked so perfectly. And that’s the recipe I knew. His recipe for success was like eating my french grandmother’s “pizza fish” dinner during my childhood. I always ran the other way when I saw Nanette stuffing the entire fish with broiled tomatoes — the taste of the meal was not much better. Though, at the end of the day, the dish was nourishing and I was successfully fed. Like the pizza fish, Papa’s way to success worked really well, but it always left a neutral taste in my mouth. Like, “Okay, I’m fed, but I’m not fully satiated.”

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Honesty Is My Publicist

September 23, 2014

I was pretty sure that no one in my family was truly aware of what I was working on at My Kind of Life and with Topless. If they did, I was also pretty sure that I had to explain that the latter venture was “a sports bra event.” Even then, I was okay with my family not knowing what projects I was working on, because the shame associated with honesty is so much easier to swallow when you’re speaking with people you’ve only just met.

Much to my surprise, I recently shared some time at my cousin’s wedding with family that I did not have the chance to spend much time with when I was growing up because of distance and divorce. We’re the kind of family that gets together for weddings, babies, and funerals. My Dad’s mother, Maw-Maw, falls under that category, even though we’d both agree that we’d always like to see each other more often. Actually, most of my family that I see on these three occasions I’d like to see more often.

Or at least have an everlasting bond with.

After my cousin’s rehearsal dinner, I learned a lot about what truth has done for me. It brings us closer, bonds us together, even when we’re not around in the flesh. My stories on My Kind of Life and Topless had reached people at the wedding who I had never met, and some that were family members that I assumed would have no idea what I was up to. Mainly because they’re not the first people I’d peg as “proficient” enough online to dig up what I was into.

I was so wrong. And truth travels fast.

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I Was A “Fat” Person That Prayed For Transformation

September 16, 2014

If you want to change, you have to be radically honest about your situation. “My Earth Suit grew into this larger-than-expected image and that is okay. I am a beautiful human with a great big purpose in life. I have a heart that’s fully committed to kindness and love.” Transformation must be approached with honesty and compassion for yourself.

Forget what diet companies tell you about guilt and shame. Wayne Dyer says, “Worrying is like saying little prayers for the things you do not want.” Stop worrying about your weight and start worrying about living out your dreams. Start thinking about how you’re going to take a step towards completing a lifelong goal that you’ve had. Maybe a goal you’ve always wanted, but you could never do because you felt like you were too big, or maybe, too old. Let the goal be something fun–with a focus outside of body image. And just go for it with an unbridled passion.

Let’s face it, a plus-size model talking about how to inspire “fat” people to change is a bit of a loose-footed situation. I’ve tried crossing that rocky, transformational bridge for over 10 years, and every time I tried, the rocks would slip from under my feet and I’d go tumbling down. And then I’d be stuck rebuilding, just so I could get back to where I started my journey. What if I told you that you don’t need to cross any bridge? That you don’t need to risk a fall to find happiness?

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Topless ™ by Emily Nolan
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"Emily is an absolute joy to collaborate with. She brings the real conversation to the forefront about body image in such an authentic way. Our community left her Topless event feeling empowered & full of possibility!"

- Alison Utne, Lululemon Athletica

"Working with Emily is always so much fun (so much so that we've done it twice!). We love how she connects with her audience and exhibits true love for the companies she showcases, offering her own in-depth and authentic thoughts."

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"Working with Emily is a no-brainer. Her writing is brave but vulnerable, sassy but self-aware, and kind but tough. It's a joy to share her pieces with our community because so many readers tell us that they feel inspired and empowered by her choices."

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“Emily provided great insights and tips as she reflected on the value of seizing the moment in a wide variety of her experiences. In short, she "rocked!"

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“Emily was a pleasure to work with on our Rescue Chocolate giveaway. She has built up an active community in a short period. I would do a giveaway or any project with her again in a heartbeat.“

- Sarah Gross, rescue chocolate

“Emily is as sweet as she is smart. She is a true beauty with a body that is powerful, loved, and strong. Doing a givewaway on My Kind of Life was so much fun, her community is filled with wonderful women just like her!”

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