Let's Talk About Body Image

I know this can be a hard topic to discuss, but it needs to be covered.

Let me just ask you something first. What do you notice between these two images? Other than I'm wearing the same shoes and one photo was taken with a professional camera while the other was taken with my mom's iPhone. (Grad school makes you poor, people.)

The photo on the left was taken when I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in May 2017; the right, my Master's in December 2018. I gained about 15-20 pounds in 19 months (give or take how hydrated I am).

Let me rephrase that.

The photo on the left was taken after I had a severe stomach ulcer that led me to a 5-day stay in the hospital and a transfusion of 3 units of blood; after several months of being unable to hold down any food except for Saltine crackers and applesauce. I had a difficult time standing up without getting dizzy or walking without stopping to catch my breath, let alone having enough energy to exercise. I missed classes, work, vacations, parties - and I was in a constant state of pain.

Fast-forward 19 months: I'm healthier than I've ever been. I teach at least 7 fitness classes per week, which means sometimes multiple classes a day. I help people more than I ever thought I could to achieve their healthiest and happiest state of being, in more ways than I knew were possible.

At first when I put these photos next to each other (for a cute Instagram collage, of course), I was shocked. I hadn't even noticed over the course of the last year and a half how much my body had changed. My legs and my hips were bigger, which is something I was always self-conscious about. (And I lost my tan from all those hours spent in the library but what's a girl to do?)

You might be thinking "What's the big deal?" or "It's not even that much of a difference." But we are our own worst critics, wouldn't you agree?

See, my legs and hips got bigger because they got STRONGER. I gained weight because I was starting to eat HEALTHY again, and I was putting on muscle that I didn't have before. I cut out parts of my diet and daily routine that were no longer serving me, to the point where I was able to get off my stomach medication without any issues. I may not look as "skinny" as I did circa 2017, but I am the fittest, strongest, and happiest version of myself that I have ever known - and I've never felt better.

My point is this: you don't have to look a certain way to feel good about yourself. You don't have to have the "perfect" body to be happy about the one you're in. And you most certainly don't have to conform to society's ideals that being skinny is the same thing as being healthy. Just scroll back up to see proof!

Your body is the only place that you will live in forever. So take care of it, whatever that means to you.

Leave a comment or shoot me a message via the "Contact" tab above with any of your own body image questions or concerns. (And yes, that photo is still on my Instagram along with another hidden gem - let's just say I've been striking this pose for a long time.)