Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:58 pm

In pageant trenches: D-Queen pageant offers opportunity to confront body image


Shapewear is a girl’s best friend, not diamonds.

I am sort of kidding. Before joining the D-Queen pageant, I didn’t even own shapewear, which is tight-fitting undergarment intended to control and shape the figure. This omission came not out of any sense of overwhelming body positivity mind you, but the lack came more from laziness and no occasion for it. Frankly, one of the high points of my wedding dress is that it comes with an excellent built-in corset, so I didn’t even need to think about shapewear for that special occasion.

However, as I went dress hunting over the weekend, and really had my stress-eating sins driven home as I tried on dresses and modeled for my oldest sister.

Usually I know how to dress my body to look decent. However, even my go-to styles were letting me down. Thankfully, my sister stuck through hours of shopping nonsense and found me a lovely dress. I was still disappointed in my body.

I’ve lost significant weight before. A few summers ago, I dropped 35 pounds and a few months later ran my first marathon. However, when you eat your feelings  and stress-eat, the weight tends to find its way back. So once I knew I wanted to participate in the pageant, I went right back to dieting mode.

It has been hard balancing needing to eating less to lose weight, but not getting addicted to restricting my food intake. I’ve struggled with my eating disorder for almost a decade now, and in high stress-moments, I will fight against not only overeating but severe restriction.

I always found the name EDNOS — eating disorder not otherwise specified — a silly description but accurate; it just isn’t as specific as anorexia nervosa.

However, I don’t want my pageant experience to be another sad story of a young woman vying for the spotlight and practicing dangerous eating habits. So in a way, participating in the D-Queen pageant has been an excellent way for me to learn how to better react to some of my eating triggers, such as catching myself sooner once I start thinking negative thoughts about my body.

It’s a fight, sometimes on an hourly basis, but I plan to stand on the stage with the other contestants while being happy, proud and in control.