To all of my friends that heard that I decided to get Gastric Bypass Surgery and were wondering how I arrived at that decision– I wanted to shine a light on my thinking.

First I want to thank all of you for the love and well wishes. This as not been an easy decision, an easy surgery nor an easy recovery. Your love has helped me get through.

My personal philosophy about my weight and my health has always been the same. It’s my body and my health and I have the freedom to make the choices I decide I want to make. You also have the freedom to make the choices you decide you want to make.

Why other people have an opinion about what we do, how we look, how fat/thin we are is mind boggling to me. Can we just focus on ourselves? What do we want in our own lives? What steps are you taking for your health? Why are people so focused on other people instead of themselves?

I am proud that winning Project Runway and being a Fashion Designer has given me a platform to talk about the issue of self-acceptance. My own self-acceptance has been a journey and continues to evolve. To accept oneself just the way we are is the first step. Not an easy step. Suffering through a lifetime of being made fun of, being looked and laughed at for how I appear was not easy. Realizing that those that did have the problem not me was not an easy place to get. When I realized that my personal power lies in loving myself the way I am not the way others want me to be was life-changing. By loving myself the way I am allowed me to love myself enough to then change how I wanted to be. I want to be healthy. Not because you want me to look and be a certain way but because I want to! Getting this surgery is a personal decision. A choice I wanted to make for MY health, For My Body and For My Life. Don’t you think it’s time we all respected people’s personal choices?

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Clothing Designer Ashley Nell Tipton

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