Saturday, June 28, 2008

Raw Divatude: Reclaiming My Inner Vegan Vixen

Most black women own a pair of jeans that they love, that flatter their curves, that display the derrière in high definition. Sadly, I’m curves-free, and I suffer from booty envy. But once upon a time, during my sojourn in the City of Angels, I did have denim that I adored. They made me feel sexy. Not Kim-Kardashian-showing-off-the-backshot-every-time-there-is-a-paparazzo-in-breathing-distance sexy, but confident. More than just a functional relationship, the jeans symbolized my victory in the battle of the bulge, a formerly overweight chick at ease in her own skin.

My denim was far from designer, but a cast-off Mudd brand that I had inherited from a good friend. They were a tight size 7, not camel-toe inducing, but comfortably cradling my tush, my hips and my legs. I never washed my jeans; I had them dry cleaned to preserve their true blue swagger, and I wore them like a uniform to the club, the industry parties and once, even up in the sanctuary.

But that fateful day arrived when I was no longer able to zip my jeans. No amount of struggling, lying on the bed, or sucking in my gut would force those defiant metal teeth to close. Even though junk food had been my constant companion, and I had gained about twenty pounds at the time, I felt sure that my true blue wouldn’t betray me.

I had struggled with my weight before, but a strict vegan diet helped me to lose fifty pounds, and I plummeted from 175 to 125 in 2000. I was able to hold obesity at bay until about 2005. A steady diet of emotional eating, lack of exercise and sporadic depression helped to pack the pounds back on. Even as my midsection expanded, I desperately clung to the belief that I was still a fly girl goddess flaunting my loveliness in size sevens. But I had to face the fabric. When I tried to squeeze into my jeans, they would rise no higher than my thighs. I was crushed. The love affair had ended. With much sadness, I bid those denims adieu, packing them away in the furthest recesses of my closet, a purgatory for pants that had not yet passed over to the other side.

I laid my jeans and my confidence to rest two years ago. In no time at all, I went from hottie to haus frau, hiding my girth in flowy skirts, oversized shirts and muu-muus. Belts were out, as was lycra. I wore nothing that called attention to my gut or my ponderous thighs. From time to time, I would venture to the nether regions of my closet, pushing past hanger after hanger of elastic-waisted pants, and hideous size 14 skirts, just to touch the fabric that once lovingly enshrouded my sexiness.

I was morose for a while, refusing to linger in full-length mirrors or department store fitting rooms. Not only did I miss my jeans, but I missed my self-esteem. A black woman without self-worth in Los Angeles — where fashion billboards glare down at her, daring her to aspire to Melrose’s size 2 standards of beauty, and every other ad is touting tummy tucks and liposuction — is lost indeed.

I found my mojo in living foods. On April 16, I embarked on a journey into the world of unprocessed, raw foods, and I haven’t looked back. No more lonely nights on the couch with a bag of Uncle Eddie’s vegan cookies and a book, or a bag of Barbara’s All Natural Potato Chips and a Slurpee. If it doesn’t grow, I don’t eat it. It’s that simple. I find my strength in sprouts and smoothies.

A little over a month after eating raw foods only, I lost 16 pounds. Although the mirrors of Nordstrom and Arden B. still intimidated me, I was slowly regaining my confidence. Not only did my new lifestyle provide me with tons of energy and mental clarity, I was also able to reclaim my inner vixen.

A few weeks ago, while getting dressed for work, I decided to try on some outfits that I hadn’t worn in awhile. While riffling through my wardrobe, my hand fell on the hanger that houses my beloved jeans. Even though I hadn’t been weighing myself regularly, I was certain they would fit. It was time for my old friend to cross over from pants purgatory to the heaven that is my heinie.

Cautiously, I wiggled into them. With some struggle, they rose over my thighs, but what if the defiant metal teeth still refused to close? As I zipped and buttoned my jeans, I felt like doing cartwheels in my bedroom. My sexiness had been resurrected. To be sure, my muffin top was still in effect, albeit not as bloated as before. My inner thighs still kissed. Not a long, passionate smooch, mind you, but a friendly peck. Self-love indeed.

Earlier this week, while at the nude Olympic Spa in Koreatown, I decided to weigh myself. What better time to hop on the scale than when you’re in the buff? To my surprise, I was 148 pounds. I’ve lost 27 pounds since April 16. Although I’m ecstatic to be within 10.5 pounds of my goal weight of 137.5, what brings me greater joy is feeling blissful in my own skin.

No matter how much weight I lose, I’ll never be bootylicious, nor do I aspire to be. But there’s nothing wrong with flaunting a little raw divatude in my denim.

4 comments:

Muze said...

divatude...i like that.

congrats on your recent weight loss. the pics are gorgeous.

work it, lady.

jnetsworld said...

miss diva,

your victories make me smile

Anonymous said...

Nikki,

You look great. I was on facebook looking for old class mates and looking for you. I hope all is well

Helen Lawrence

Organic Healing, LLC said...

Love this: If it doesn’t grow, I don’t eat it. It’s that simple. I find my strength in sprouts and smoothies.

I do the same & am really happy to have come across your very open & expressive blog. Mine is: http://www.OrganicHealing.blogspot.com