Burlesque Body Redemption

I love how curvy, voluptuous women look.  In fact, within a certain weight range, I am one of them.

Yet, for some reason, I am not as pleased when said curvy-girl is me…or at least that’s how I’ve felt, historically.

Yeah, I like the boobs.  I LOVE the boobs, as a matter of fact.  I like wearing a bra that can’t contain them.  I like having a teeny-tiny waist in comparison to my hips – which I’ve had since age ten, mind you.

I was kind of tall and lanky as a small child.  I went through a brief “chubby” phase in the 5th grade, but it didn’t last long.  By 6th grade, I was all legs, tiny waist, A-cup boobies and over five feet in height.  Oh, yeah, baby!  I was most certainly headed toward the runways of New York, Milan and Paris!

In the 7th grade, I was exactly the same height…eclipsed by some freak growth spurt that happened to many of my friends, yet somehow passed me by.  I started measuring myself.  Every day.  And I started weighing myself every day too.

As I grew a few more minuscule inches, I’d freak-the-freak out if I gained a pound.  99 pounds was my comfort zone.  If I hit triple digits, it was over!  I had a nineteen inch waist and still weighed in with double digits, but was pretty much done growing vertically…and everyone else was surpassing me at an alarming rate.  (Bye bye, Milan runways!)

By my senior year, I finally crept into those triple digits, but just barely.  If at any given time I weighed more than 105 pounds, I’d flip out.  But I was okay with up to that because my boobs, butt and hips needed something to help them, well, exist.

A year later, when I first became pregnant with my son, I was 104 pounds pre-pregnancy.  I gained 32 pounds, which was a hard pill to swallow each time I’d step on the scale.

Two days after his birth, however, I was back down to 115.  That was short-lived, though.  This would be my first foray into the whole up and down weight trap that would become my adult life.  I got back up to 120, and felt awful in my own skin.  Within about a year though, I had managed, due mostly to diet pills (ephedra was still legal) and good old fashioned starvation, to get down to about 110.  I was cool with this.  (Boobs.)

I have literally gone up and down like that ever since, but usually land back at around 110.

Until 2001, that is.

88 pounds

88 pounds

I got down as low as 88 pounds.  This was full-on anorexia and bulimia.  The lower my weight would drop, the more I would feel energized and enabled to go even lower.  As a result, I was put on Zoloft and as a result I gained over FORTY pounds.  (FORTY!)  On my frame, non-pregnant, that is NOT cool – at least for me.  And losing it this time was not as easy as it had been before, as all of those years of dieting basically ruined my metabolism.  I consumed less than 700 calories a day and couldn’t lose a damn pound.  I started working out in the mornings.  I gained even MORE weight.  It took nearly five years (of exercising TWICE a day, every day) to get down to a reasonable 124 pounds, but following my second divorce, I literally woke up one day weighing 112.  Now, that I could live with!

In 2007, remarried, I became pregnant with my second child.  My pre-pregnancy weight was 112.  Again, I gained 32 pounds, and it was just as hard as it was the first time to look, each time I stepped on the scale.  After my daughter was born, within FOUR days I was back down to 112 pounds.  I was nursing, and nursing a lot, and my weight continued to plummet.  I got down as low as 101 pounds during that time, and stayed that way until I started drinking crazy amounts of alcohol.  Soon, I was back up to 120, but was still okay with that.  (Boobs.)  I was dancing burlesque and liked the curves…although when pole dancing, it was harder for me to do inverts.  When my husband became ill with a life threatening illness, I let everything go, including dance, and I was back up in my 130s in no time…and miserable.

A little more…curvy...

A little more…curvy…

After he pulled through, and we took back our health, we both went on serious workout regiments.  I started out at 132 pounds, and 28% body fat.

Within four months, I was 111 and 18% body fat.  In a year’s time I was 11% body fat, to the point of stopping menstruation.

11% body fat

11% body fat

Annnnd…it didn’t end there.  Within the next year or two, I was back up.  (Surprise!)  This time to 138!  (The body fat was slightly lower, though, at 26%.)  Oh, and my boobs were D cups.  D!  That part I liked!



I landed a few months ago, after getting back to the gym like it was church, at 123, and 20% body fat.  And I wasn’t too upset with that.  Sure, I was wearing size 9s – when I wanted to be wearing size 3s, but I was still a C cup.  And very fit.  And healthy!  Because my body has a tendency to shed or gain weight SUPER fast once I’m on a roll, I kept going down.  I got to 118 pounds and 18% body fat…and my boobs were definitely no D cup.  Not even a C.
I had recently connected with a new burlesque troupe and knew, finally, what I had never admitted to myself all along….that I look BETTER when I weigh a little more, even though I’m highly addicted to weighing less.  

I put the breaks on.  I ate more food for a few days.  I cut down on the cardio.  And soon I was back to 120, 19% body fat.  I liked it.  My boobs?  Almost a full, overflowing  C – close enough to wear a C cup bra and not look ridiculous.

And it’s been a trip…I can feel myself knowing that 110 pounds is just a few days’ work away…I know 11% body fat can be mine again if I just push it a little more.  But I don’t want to.

I’m tattooed…older now, with a more squared off jaw line and a little more age to my face.  Frankly, the skinnier I get, the LESS attractive and older I look.  (I got carded last summer.  I was 38 years old.)

I have had to make peace with, and fall in love with the fact that I’m bigger…I take up more space.  I’m extremely fit, but actually HAVE to work to keep this “sweet spot,” where I’m plenty womanly, fit, but not jiggly…well, not TOO jiggly anyway.  (Jiggle is a PLUS in the burlesque world!)



I truly believe that this is the end of my up and down, yo-yo weight story.

The love of my cleavage outweighed the love of my 20 inch waist.

It’s a 25 inch waist now.  And I have a bit of a tummy.  But I fucking rock a corset and a push-up bra.

Corsets & Cleavage

Corsets & Cleavage

But better yet, my body and my mind finally agree on what looks…and feels best.  And it only took 39 years…and another go at the burlesque world, to get there.  ❤

A final note, and hopefully, without bringing controversy or religion into this, I absolutely adore what Anton LaVey said about “burlesque bodies” :  “Hopefully by bringing back burlesque, you’ll bring back the kind of body that’s round on top and round on bottom. I love cellulite and stretch marks!

August – 2014. UPDATE.
In June of 2014, I underwent breast augmentation surgery.  I felt that to look proportionate to my “fitness” body (I’m a gym junkie) I needed it, and frankly, I wanted it.  I hear both “arguments” as to why I should or should not have proceeded.  It was one of the best experiences of my life…I am so happy with the results, and I have finally, learned that at age 39, I am happy…happy, HAPPY that I did this.  ❤  Thank you, Dr. Ashley Gordon of Restora, Austin for making my body the way that I always saw myself.  The irony, is I have been out of the gym for the last two months, so, I have the jiggly tummy and the ginormous boobs now, and you know what?  I’m happy just the same.  🙂  

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  1. Thank you for this honest and brave share, Layla Beth!! Enjoyed this write.

  2. Brilliant, transparent, vulnerable, and brutally honest – as usual! I truly enjoy your reads. I hope others find them as inspiring as I do.

  3. Thank you, my love. 🙂

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