11/01/2012 03:32 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

From Fat to Hot Without Losing a Pound

When I first heard comments about Lady Gaga gaining weight, I hoped she wouldn't let it get to her the way comments about my weight used to pummel my self-esteem. As founder of The Self-Love Movement™, I was delighted to watch her fight back. She let everyone who tried to start a pity party know she was fine and loved herself as is. I cheered, knowing how hard it was to fall in love with me when I believed I was too fat to be loved.

I thought fat ran in my family. Mom was always at war with her weight. I watched her suffer as she denied herself food and did a guilt dance when she didn't. At family gatherings, everyone noticed what I ate. I was badgered if I took too many potatoes or a second cookie. Being tall for my age and big boned made me feel huge, which translated into feeling fat. Grown-ups insisted I was pretty, but I assumed they said it to be nice.

As I got older, all I saw in the mirror was cellulite. I never noticed my pretty green eyes or other lovely qualities. Weight-related comments during different stages reinforced it. Before my wedding, my future mother-in-law said if I didn't lose weight they'd have to roll me down the aisle. I weighed 130 pounds at 5'6"! That wasn't fat, but my fragile self wondered if I was too fat to get married. Some people judge having some extra pounds harshly, which now I recognize as terribly unfair.

As my weight increased a little, I stayed unhappily married, thinking I was too fat to be single. My wardrobe reflected my fat armor -- brightly colored clothes, often baggy, and cleavage-revealing tops. I thought that would camouflage and distract attention away from my extra pounds. I became a Door mat, thinking I had to please to compensate for being overweight. I had fat blindness. My extra pounds were all I saw in the mirror and I let it define me.

Being chosen as the model at a neighbor's makeup party helped me see beyond my weight. The rep whispered that my features were beautiful. My eyes opened a little. She was surprised that I didn't know I was attractive. Other women at the party complimented my beauty. I left with a glimmer of hope that maybe I had some worth. I began paying attention to what I call my details -- everything about me that's good. Slowly, as I learned to love and appreciate myself, my fat perception changed. My attention switched to my positive qualities, better grooming, wearing more flattering, low-key clothes and being healthy.

Now I appreciate my womanly shape and the softness of my curves, which many skinny chicks don't have much of. I'm sure many NYC men consider me fat compared to all the women who push to stay slim. At first, that bothered me, but a funny thing happened: As I lovingly accepted my body, the confidence I exuded made me more appealing to men than ever. When I have a boyfriend, I prance around naked with pride, jiggly belly, thighs and all. It's me and I accept it! When one suggested I lose weight, I explained I'd rather lose his 180 pounds and showed him the door.

Today I weigh more than when I got married but think my body is better than ever. I love and accept me as I am and see my body as good in its own right. I know I'm not fat. I'm just not perfectly slim, which is OK. My body is in perfect proportion and that's sexy. The more I accept my body, the more men find me hot. Being comfortable in your own skin gives you a much healthier self-image. Lady Gaga finally learned that after suffering from eating disorders. I salute her attitude for owning her weight gain with love.

Self-love can heal fat blindness. Instead of trying to lose weight, my priorities shifted to making an effort to be healthier. Looking back on all the years I hated myself for being fat, I recognize how much it hurt my happiness. The funny, or sad thing, depending on how you look at it, is that I don't look fat in childhood photos. I just wasn't small.

So I'm not fat anymore! Yes, my body would be considered better if I trimmed it down. But I'm healthy, fit and carry my weight well and proudly. It's me! And I love me! I look great, extra pounds and all. People occasionally comment that I might look better if I lost a few pounds. But now it's their issue, not mine. I'm a sexy chick! It's who I am. My weight doesn't change that. Self-Love gave me a hot body!