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Operation Beautiful!

17 Comments 16 August 2010

Operation Beautiful!

When I was twelve I stood by my middle school locker singing the song to a popular diet shake commercial. And was actually looking forward to going home and drinking it in hopes that my waist would shrink like the model on tv.

When I was in high school I would only eat one fat free granola bar at lunch time for fear of getting fat. And dream of returning to school after Christmas break ten, fifteen pounds lighter and attracting the attention of everyone I knew.

I didn’t have an eating disorder or a weight problem. In fact during this entire time I was quite thin at 5’10” and less than 130 lbs. But my interpretation of myself was skewed and completely out of touch with reality. Which unfortunately is really quite normal for women these days.

How could it not be? With television shows and magazine covers populated largely by perfect thin and fabulous bodies. Not to mention the seemingly effortless hair and makeup that probably took a whole team to put together.

And now after three kids, and one twin pregnancy that left my stretch-marks with stretch-marks of their own. Well I’d take back that seventeen year old figure that I hated so much any day.

I now worry about how these expectations will impact my own daughter.

So, when I got the opportunity to review the book Operation Beautiful by Caitlin Boyle i jumped at the chance.

See, in her own words Caitlin was her, “own worst enemy.” Putting herself down and suffocating herself in negativity the way so many woman (and men) do. And found herself in a public restroom staring at her own reflection when inspiration struck. She scribbled the words, “you are beautiful” on the paper and stuck it to the mirror.

The result? A worldwide campaign to change the way we look at ourselves and each other. She posted a photo of the note on her blog and started a tidal wave of do-gooder copy-cats sticking post it notes all over. The book is full of inspirational and personal stories of followers proclaiming the world and its inhabitants Beautiful.


Public restrooms, hospital walls, office elevators, self help books in bookstores. You name it, someone has posted it. One participant turned a stop sign into a mosaic makeshift billboard imploring drivers to, “stop (their) negative thoughts and feel beautiful.”

Another group of high school girls snuck in to the restroom after school and plastered the mirror with every inspirational idea they could think of in every color of post-it note under the sun. A veritable art installation proclaiming not only their beauty but the beauty of all the girls at the school.

And the phenomenon still continues live on operationneautiful.com A self proclaimed war against unrealistic expectations and negative thinking! With just a little bit of rebellion mixed in for good measure. What could be more fun?

I personally can not wait until my daughter is old enough to understand what this book is about. I think I’ll buy a case of post-it notes and take her on an operation of our own. We’ll plaster every skinny model magazine cover we can find with notes declaring the beauty of real people!

Then again, maybe I’ll start early with her big brother tomorrow! Don’t worry (mom) I’ll keep a copy of the book in my diaper bag to prove that I’m on a mission of justice and beauty, not a tagger.

But wait, there’s more! I’m going to give away one copy of the book to the reader that comes up with the best story of their own Operation Beautiful. No, I haven’t got confirmation from the publisher yet. But, I love this idea so much I’ll buy it myself if I have to! Just don’t tell my husband!

So, where are you going to leave your note(s)? On your own bathroom mirror to inspire yourself everyday? On your daughter’s mirror to remind her of how amazing she is? The possibilities are endless!

Come back here and tell me about your experience. I’ll choose one fabulously creative and inspiring story on September 10th by random.org to be the winner of the book. Happy posting!

Or if you can’t get to a post-it note soon enough let me now what you plan on, or would dream of doing. And then try to make it a reality later.

Need a little more inspiration? Check out this video here.

The book is also available in bookstores now, published by Penguin.

Good Luck!

Your Comments

17 Comments so far

  1. I love Operation Beautiful. For about a year I’ve been carrying a pack of post-it’s with notes that I’ve pre-written and posted them everywhere I could. I posted them mostly in public restroom stalls because I was pregnant when I started and always using the bathroom!!

  2. I’m turning myself into a walking post it note. Quite opposite of the intention you have in telling everyone that they are beautiful just the way you are… but by taking my diseased, flabby, grossly fat self (seriously… that’s like a medical chart somewhere at one of my doctor’s offices) and “creating health where health has not existed previously”.

    My motivation … my 4 little girls. I’m not out to touch anyone else’s lives other than make sure I model “health” for them before their self esteem and self worth awakens, and turns fragile tweens into messed up adults, like me.

    Oh, how I could have used “Operation Beautiful” 25 years ago.

  3. Denice says:

    I have heard about operation Beautiful but never understood it, Thanks =)

  4. Wow- that sounds like a beautiful book with a message just as beautiful. I think I saw the author on the Today Show the other week! I read a post by Mommy Words the other day about her daughter (www.mommywords.com) and princesses and it SO saddened me.

    I think I will grab some post-it notes and do this at the local coffee shop I work at!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. Gillian says:

    I work in a department of 150 people, of which over 90 percent are women. Our small kitchenette has diets posted on the fridge. The ladies (and gents) I work with are constantly talking about weight. Losing it, gaining it, or how their outfit makes them look fat. I’m loving the post it note idea. I am going to start posting. In the cafeteria with the back issues of fasion magazines, in the kitchen with the diets posted, in the washroom on the mirror. To be selfish, I’m posting one at my desk… because sometimes I need a reminder too, that I am and always will be beautiful even though I’m not a size 2, or 4, or 6.

  6. marcy says:

    This is the first time I’ve been hearing about Operation Beautiful. I often breathe a sigh of relief that I had boys and not girls…society really is tough on girls! I hope I win the book so I can know what you know!

  7. What a wonderful thing. I hadn’t heard of this before. I plan to put a post it note in my kids’ lunches at least once a week telling them what beautiful human beings they are. What a blessing. Thank you!
    Kat

  8. bb says:

    wow! what powerful message and one that we could all learn from. Being a mother of twin girls it is going to be quite a ride and not loving yourself is sooo tragic!

  9. Ashley says:

    I’m very interested in reading this book. I know what it was like in hs and trying to constantly fit in, I use my post its on my computer stand, b/c thats a place I always go to :)

  10. Jamie says:

    What a great idea. Sounds like an amazing book to read. I have never had issues with weight even after having 4 kids one including a twin pregnancy. My oldest daughter is larger built than me, I often worry about her with her weight and me being so much smaller. Hopefully this book will give me ideas. I plan on sending little notes to her in her lunch daily.

  11. Mia says:

    Although I have never heard of this book before, the fact that most women (and even some men) have such low self-esteem is not a surprise to me at all. I plan on posting my notes at the library – in the self help section. Most people seeking self help books have low thoughts of themselves. Also, I already pack notes in the lunchboxes of my children about how wonderful they are and how much I love them…but to tell them they are beautiful and assets to society.

    I have a 22 year old daughter, 20 year old daughter and 6 year old b/g twins. My 22 year old is extremely overweight, but is going to the gym and is starting to take off the pounds and becoming healthy again. She’s a beautiful young woman with a lot to offer this world. I will leave her notes in her car and in her bathroom.

    I cannot wait to read this book!

  12. Emily says:

    What an inspiration! Would love to have this book … already want to make sure that my young girls feel good about themselves, and are healthy, as they grow up.

  13. Kelly Hosang says:

    I’ve never heard of this book but, the message is amazing. I am my own worst enemy for sure. Worse than the kids that teased me in middle and high school. Worse than the ex-boyfriends that made me feel inferior to boost their own ego. I will definitely think of this message often and try it not only with myself and my family but, carry extra post-its in my purse and tell the world they’re beautiful. Thank you.

  14. Susie Mamola says:

    I saw this book on the Today Show sometime back, it is something I’d love to read/have – it hasn’t made it to our library or it’s never there! Too popular!

  15. Shannon Jackson says:

    I had not heard of Operation Beautiful either, but I absolutely love the idea. I can so relate to your feelings/thoughts during those earlier years. My meal in high school was a candy bar (empty calories expended quickly) and a diet coke for fear of getting too fat. I was only happy if I could fit into my little sisters clothes, she was 4 years younger. Although so unhealthy, what I wouldn’t give to have that body again it beats the “muffin top belly” after my c-section for my twins and the additional time zone that follows me around.

    Recently, I decided I needed to change my outlook. Look at all my blessings and not dwell on the things I don’t have. Don’t take anything for granted and appreciate every day while you have it. It has so changed my attitude in general, toward my children and especially toward my husband. It is amazing how a new perspective can change your life.

    As an adult I have learned that my low self-esteem was learned from my mother. So the next time I travel back home to visit I want to plaster her mirrors with post-its. My mom is beautiful and I would not be the person I am today if it was not for her. She is so strong and supportive, but doesn’t realize it! Thank you for the wonderful idea and sorry this is so long :)

  16. Paula says:

    This is like Operation Smile! I love the idea!

  17. Heather Burgess says:

    Great post! I love the idea. I think the funniest part is me having to scroll down to the original date the entry was posted as I thought…”doesn’t Andie have 4 kids?” not in 2010 of course…moms rock and we miss seeing you!


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