I’ve never known a time when I was not on a diet. By the time I was in high school I was severely overweight and withdrew from social activities. I tried almost every fad diet; I felt guilty about eating and resented myself for not having enough willpower to starve. I became bulimic in college. I’d binge and purge until I physically couldn’t make myself throw up anymore. I envied the models I saw on glossy magazine pages and I berated myself for not being able to look like them.

I thought being “the fat girl” meant fashion wasn’t for me. I thought that nice clothes were meant for skinny girls that didn’t have to cover “problem areas” on their bodies. I thought I would have to be a certain size, a certain weight, a certain number in order to be a real Fashionista. And then, strangely enough, it wasn’t until I started working in the fashion retail industry that I realized how wrong that premise is.

My favorite part of my job as a Fashionista Stylist is to help my clients look their best by building a wardrobe that reflects their inner beauty. The women who shop in my store come from all walks of life – new moms returning to the workforce trying to dress their post-baby bodies, college graduates going on their first job interviews, and single ladies looking for the perfect date night outfit.

If someone laments about fit I tell them the truth – it’s not YOU, it’s the clothes. Clothing is mass produced from pre-cut patterns arranged in numerical order. That number DOES NOT reflect your worth as a human being or your importance to society. It is a number tacked onto a piece of fabric that cannot harm you unless you let it. You are not a quantity; you are a being of value and substance.

I find it very rewarding when my clients leave my store feeling good about themselves, not resentful of their bodies. I can’t change what’s portrayed in the magazines but I can influence the experience you have in my store. And then I thought what if I could extend my reach beyond fashion? Since body image and self esteem issues are so prevalent maybe I can help others?

I’ve been in the grips of despair, of eating disorders, of depression so debilitating that I seriously considered taking my own life. I’ve been through dark periods that lasted for years but with the help of a supportive family and a lot of therapy I made it through. I found that there’s a lot of effort required in developing an enduring lifestyle change. But it is possible.

That’s what motivated me to become a Fashionista and Life Coach specializing in teens and young adults with body image/self-esteem issues and eating disorders. I’m also a writer, stylist, fitness enthusiast, Recovery Warriors, and Project HEAL volunteer. I am proud to say that I found my true calling and strive to live my best authentic life every day.

REglam: Need more Styling, Body Image or Eating Disorder Advice?! Don t hesitate to reach out to really lovely, smart and understanding Rachel Prager NOW 🙂 E-mail: rjprager@gmail.com  You only have one life, you deserve to be happy with yourself, #LoveYourself!

Writer: Rachel Prager    Twitter: @RachelJPrager

Thanks for the support and love 🙂      Your REglam Team xx

If you digged this article, then you will dig these — Stylist Courtney Childers talks Butt + how to love it, Role Models – A New Breed of Supermodels, Every Body is a Bikini Body

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