As women, there are tons of pressures on us to be thin, in tip-top shape, and look something along the lines of a Victoria's Secret model. The stakes are high, and the majority of us fall short. You feel as though you're in an endless vortex of advertisements and magazine photos of celebrities who seemingly always look the picture of perfection, and you cringe because you think that could never be you. Your insecurities are high, creeping in to steal your joy.
You may tell yourself that you like who you are and don't care what other people think, but in the same breath you are untagging yourself in Facebook photos and taking dozens of selfies until you get just the right angle that makes you look angular and thin. You spend more time than necessary trying on outfits before you head out the door, picking the one that makes you look the thinnest. I know that I'm guilty of that on an almost daily basis. I hate to be in front of the camera at events, opting to be the photographer so that I don't have to "ruin" the photos that I might want to share later. It sounds extreme...but that's because it is. We have bought the lies that have been sold to us about ourselves, hook, line and sinker. Think about it. How often do you genuinely find yourself wishing you looked like her, had her wardrobe, or her tan? I'm guessing it's often. It is for me. And that's a problem.
I am a 31-year-old mother of a now 9-month-old son. I was thin and in great shape once upon a time, but after marriage and years of yo-yo dieting and binge workouts, I found myself pregnant and the weight creeping up to a record high. (Yes it was baby weight, but that didn't matter) After giving birth I was focused and ready to shed the pounds, but found those last 15-20 sticking around. I was devastated. I felt uncomfortable in anything but maternity and loose clothing. I was embarrassed to even see the photos of my son and I. A crappy place to find myself.
If I was totally honest with you, I will probably never be satisfied with the way that I look. My body will never be the same, and I will never be considered the perfect specimen of a mother (like the way the media thinks of the likes of Kim Kardashian), and I have to be okay with that. I am still allowed to have goals for myself in health and wellness, but I need to let go of the desire to look like so-and-so, or be like so-and-so. The sea of deception is a deep one, and it's so easy to find ourselves with our heads barely above the water. So today, I will no longer believe the deception that I have bought about myself. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and though there are places in my life that could be made healthier for my family and I, I need to be happy with who I am and what I look like today. I embrace this new body of mine and I won't be afraid of the words "extra large" or "plus size". Just because the world has a stereotype and stigma attached to those words, I will not allow them to steal my joy.
I am with those of you who hate to shop because nothing that you love seems to fit just right or look the way you wished. But I encourage you to take a good look in the mirror and smile at the reflection staring back. You could use it. Remember that you are you, and though everyone should take the steps to live a healthier life, you need to love yourself. Don't buy the lies that you have to be a certain weight or wear a certain size in order to be happy and accepted. People love you just the way you are!
And just because I'm sure your curious...here is a pic of me with the heartbeat of my life, Jude, and as your Heylee B "extended size" model (not my day job!!)
Kate and Jude just hanging out at home!