Happy International Women’s Day!

In commemoration of this holiday, I want to talk about self-love. This is a topic that I think that every woman in this world should hear.

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A couple of my friends at school make fun of me that it’s easy to identify which posts are mine because they see the #everythinginmoderation #bodylove #bodyimage whether it’s on this blog or on my Instagram. While they make fun of me and I smile outside, inside, I’m frustrated because they don’t know the struggle I went through and still going through with my body.

I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’m not too confident on my body. There are many times when I stop in front of the mirror and ask why I’m not thin and why I’m not skinny when I eat so healthy and when I exercise often. Perhaps my friends never struggled with their body image. But I have. Loving my body the way it is and loving it from the inside out is something that has been very hard.

So in this post, I’m not going to talk about how to find self-love because I haven’t achieved it or even close to achieving it myself. However, I want to share and how that maybe this could be a platform where other women can share about their struggle and journey to self-love.

I find that it’s hard to open up on my story. As I mentioned above, whenever I post something on Instagram that’s remotely linked to this topic, my friends back at school make fun of me. Only a handful of friends know my story, and only one back at home asks me every time I come home for break and checks up with me. And I’m forever grateful to have such a friend like that.

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I do have to add that when I had my myriad of injuries this fall – including a stress fracture – I was able to gain a new perspective. I realized how blessed and how lucky I am to have a fully functioning and healthy and strong body that allowed me to do whatever I wanted to. Being in that boot for 6 weeks allowed me to gain a new perspective in that being thin, having that thigh gap, having a flat stomach, having slim arms, that’s all OUTSIDE the point. My body for 16 years and counting has been giving me energy to run, walk, sleep, laugh, hang out with my friends, travel, study, dance, and more. And I should be loving my body. Note the word “should.” As soon as I got off that boot, however, I tried to get back into running as soon as I could so I could get back into shape. I know, not much of a progress, but I just wanted to share a little anecdote.

I really hope that our community, our friends, our world can be a more accepting place and a place where all women can share their struggle and journey to self-love. Since I personally think that it’s so black and white. It’s either lose weight! Be like this celebrity! Change your body because it’s not good enough! To the other end of the spectrum which advocates to completely loving every inch of your body. There is no in-between and frankly, a lot of women are in that gray area.

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I know..:) Kind of a funny picture! But just wanted to show my face for once that I’m serious about this post. Dead serious. (Although I had to do the sunglasses b/c my parents are still a bit hesitant of having my face on the blog haha. Hopefully it’ll change)

So while we may never come to achieving complete self-love, I hope that through discussions and transparent blog posts, we can slowly and slowly inch towards that goal.

What has your journey to self-love been like?

xoxo,

Stephanie

23 thoughts on “The Journey to Self-Love

  1. Happy International Women’s Day, Stephanie! After giving birth to my kids, I gained weight and there were times when I felt ugly and upset because some of my clothes did not fit anymore. But slowly, I was able to gain my confidence back amd started wearing clothes that will make me feel comfortable and beautiful.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that great story! I’m so glad to hear that you were able to gain confidence – that’s the single most hardest step toward self love! It’s all about being comfortable in your own skin and being beautiful in your OWN standards NOT society’s. I know that one of my aunts still struggles with this after giving birth – and I hope that she will soon reach that level of confidence and self love like you! Thanks for sharing! Xo, Stephanie

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing your story Stephanie . You are young and beautiful and have so many years ahead. It is hard to love yourself so I can relate in a way as all of us have to been at low points in our lives. I’ve been to a point where I thought my life would end and it took 3 months of therapy to get out of it. I know look back and laugh at myself as there is no one more important than YOU. If you don’t learn to love yourself just the way you are no one else will. I might sound harsh but I truly believe in this myself. I told my sister and husband the other day just the same thing. I also added that we are so silly to worry about the small things and like you mentioned we should be happy that we are healthy. And that my dear is the most important thing. Being healthy and alive. Being able to walk, talk, laugh, smile, cry and all of the emotions combined is what makes us healthy humans. I hope to have helped somehow. I hate how social media is expecting thin bodies and flawless faces! And that’s all filters . I’m guilty of filters but I try my best not to disfigure myself and still be me. Sorry I went on and on but just hope I made my point across. Wishing you a wonderful day ❤️❤️

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    1. Rudina, thank you so much for this heartfelt comment! Yes, I think you are very very correct when you said that if I don’t learn to love myself the way I am, no one else will. The way you carry yourself and show yourself determines how others perceive you. And carrying yourself doesn’t mean how thin/fat you are, it means how you express your feelings, how you make someone laugh, smile and how you talk – the things that come from the inside NOT the outside. Thanks once again for the sweet comment Rudina, it really puts us into reality and the true perspective, NOT the one that society puts out. Have a great weekend! Xoxoxo, Steph

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing your story Stephanie. It is hard to open up and share. I had a year where I also had a myriad of injuries including two misplaced nerves in my back leading to excruciating pain. It was impossible to move for months while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I am in general, hard on myself so self-love took awhile but I am pretty much there now (but I have many years on you!). It is a work in progress. I had the opposite problem, but when I was in high school, being as thin as I am, I was made fun of. I still don’t wear shorts or short skirts often, but I am finally starting too. You are definitely on the right track.You have a great perspective on life, a strong handle on who you are and take a healthy approach to hitting your goals. And you have people rooting for you (including strangers like me!). This was a wonderful post Stephanie. Thanks for sharing. Have a fabulous day!

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    1. Aww Samantha thank you so much for this sweet comment! I really hope that when I grow up as an adult I can be as fabulous as you! I’m glad that despite my failures and mistakes, the end goal of reaching self love is so rewarding and so worth it. Thanks for always rooting for me! Xo, Steph

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  4. Sweet girl, it breaks my heart that people (especially other females) would ever make light of this. I think most struggle in some way at some point in their lives with their body image and confidence. It’s nothing to mess around with- a lot of times those comments are the roots of EDs, obsessive habits, and distorted views. I think you are taking tremendous strides in overcoming some of these lies (YES, lies!) that you are hearing about your body by simply discussing them! I know when I have a thought that just stays within my head it grows and grows and no one can tame it because I keep it to myself. But allow me to feed your mind some truth- you are beautiful, you have intrinsic worth, your weight does not define you nor do your eating habits, your story is a journey that resonates and inspires others, and you are making a difference. I know you may “know” these things that perhaps sound even a touch cliche, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have someone remind you of them 😉 I admire you tons and am thankful for the conversation you have opened here on your blog. More people can relate to this than I think you even know! THANK YOU for sharing and being vulnerable, girlfriend.

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    1. Aw Mack, this just brought tears to my eyes! I’m so glad that I was able to start blogging last fall because how else would I have found such amazing and beautiful people like you? Yes, just like you said, I know that my weight doesn’t define me and that I am worth so much more. And I pretend like I truly believed in that in my previous posts about body image and self-confidence. However, I wanted to open up and truly speak my mind because while I know it’s the right thing to do to accept my body the way it is, what I believe and think are complete opposite of that. I don’t think I had a eating disorder but what I went through was not healthy or normal, that’s for sure. I lost 20lbs in the course of two months by eating 1,200 calories and running track after school. Nobody ever told me I was fat, nobody told me anything or gave me any innuendos about it, I myself, thought that I was fat. I became hard on myself. And that inner voice grew and grew until it completely controlled me and later I realized how damaging I was being to my body. How much I was risking – the cold hands and feet, the hair loss so apparent on my pillow and the shower floor, my constant fatigue, my short temper. A silly number dictated me – the number on the scale, the number on my FitnessPal app (thank goodness I deleted it), the number on the size label of my clothes, argh. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m definitely moving forward and growing thanks to people like you who support and love me as I go along this rough journey. Once again, thank you so much Mack for always being here for me. For this post and for many others. Love you lots! xoxo, Steph

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      1. Aww, I’m so thankful to have met you too girlie! You are super easy to relate to and I feel like you and I are similar on many levels. I resonate SO much with your story – I also think it’s only human too, at times be 100% self-assured and think, “Pshh I got this, I am confident, I have it all together”, but then naturally life gets hard, we are girls and we get bloated, we have a hard day and those thoughts can creep back in before we know it. BUT it’s so good that you acknowledge the progress you have made and know the difference between the fact and fiction! Also- I admire you TONS for talking about how you realized it all went just a little too far. Deleting you’re MyFitnessPal app takes guts. Now a little disclosure on my part- I have yet to delete mine and I know I should. Maybe this conversation is just what I needed to get a kick in the rear. Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling now- but I just truly appreciate you here, your writing, your blog, and you sharing your journey. We all are work in progresses aren’t we? Sending so much love and big hugs! XO

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      2. Oh Mack! Thanks so much! Yes – I feel incredibly blessed to have met you through blogging. Who knew I would be able to be so vulnerable and open when I first started my blog last year? Oh my goodness – you have to delete MyFitnessPal. It’s really hard, but once you hit that delete button it truly does free you. It’s a good start that you know you should delete it – some don’t even think that a root of some of their problems regarding eating and body image comes from calorie counting! It is hard to delete it and I have to confess – I’ve deleted it and downloaded it a few times. I deleted it and then re-downloaded it because I thought that I was getting too out of control and that I was gaining weight because I wasn’t tracking calories, because I believed that the only solution for me to stay fit and slim is to track calories. I was like “Yeah, I remember how mentally troubled I was when I counted calories and how insecure I became with my food and my body image, but if I don’t calorie count I’m just going to lose control. I have to do this. I have to sacrifice my mental health so I can be physically healthy.” Ugh, just typing those familiar past thoughts out is embarrassing but true. But funny enough, after deleting the app and not having to use it for a couple of weeks, it became really hard for me to track my calories! It was so weird – I RELIGIOUSLY tracked my calories on the MFP app for three months, but then after a few weeks not counting calories, I became way too lazy. I just didn’t want to spend time counting calories anymore. I realized how much time it was wasting. So how about you give that try? Maybe delete the MFP app for a few weeks and then if you feel like you’re getting out of control, if you feel like you need that caloric limit to keep you sane, re-download it maybe at the beginning of next month! Give that go and tell me how it works! I am here to help and support so if you need any help with completely cutting ties with MyFitnessPal, it’s really not a pal, it’s more of an enemy, let me know either by email or through a comment! Sorry for the long reply! xoxoxoxoxo, Steph

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      3. Thank you for being SOOOO honest with me. It’s really showing me the importance of the physical/mental balance. It is officially deleted off my phone 🙂 Thanks for sharing that all with me- we are so similar in our thinking/the way you described your thoughts- so if it worked for you then hopefully it will be good for me too! And no worries about the long post- I SOOO appreciate you taking the time and caring deeply!!! ❤

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      4. Yay!!!! I’m so happy that you deleted it. Out of mind, out of sight. You’ll be surprised by how often your finger will naturally hover over that spot MFP was in. It actually took me a few days to adjust to the fact that after my meals I did NOT have to go on my phone to log my meals. I really hope that it goes well for you. And remember, it’s always ok to go back. If you feel like you’re getting way overboard and now you’re stressing NOT because of if you’re eating too much but stressing now because you deleted the app, then go download the app again. One such app shouldn’t give you so much stress. And if you re-download it, I’m sure eventually, you’ll get to the point that I got into – where you realize how much unnecessary time and work it takes. I wish you all the best, Mack! I know you can do it! “Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full!” xo, Steph

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      5. Yep- I am a BIG advocate of intuitively eating! For me I think the app is more about macros (less about calories)- for a long time I don’t think my diet was balanced in that sense, but now that I have learned the proper tools I don’t need it anymore for those reasons- I know what has substantial protein, carbs, good fats, etc. It just became an unnecessary habit like you said! I also never want to become so macro obsessed that I don’t listen to my body- so that’s why it’s a great thing for me to delete this now! Thanks, girl!

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      6. Oh, I see. I’ve always focused more on the calories because I have the belief that as long we’re eating wholesome foods, we don’t have to worry about getting enough of a single nutrient, but getting the whole “package” if that makes sense. Since no food is a single ingredient, but it has COUNTLESS of ingredients, and as long we’re eating a lot of whole, plant-based foods, we’ll be eating all the essential nutrients. But yeah, just like you’ve said, you’ve been tracking your macros for a long time, I’m confident that by now you can make decisions about your food WITHOUT the app. You are so much smarter and more brilliant than this one app. And you know your body best. That while the app tells you that you need ___g of carbohydrates and ____g of protein and ____g of fat, maybe for your body, you need a bit more protein, or need a bit more carbohydrates than “normal” (I’m putting quotes around normal because I don’t believe there’s such thing as normal in terms of health since who sets the standard???). Just like you said, INTUITIVE eating is amazing because you are eating tailored to your body and your body’s needs. Ahhh I’m so glad I could have such a thoughtful and deep conversation with you, Mack! I always wanted someone to talk about this topic regarding calorie/macros counting – never knew it would be through blogging! Thank you for being the person on the other end of this important conversation! Love you! xo, Steph

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      7. I so SOOOO appreciate these conversations too girl! I think they are important!! Isn’t it so crazy how we can all believe these different things about health like they are fact (like the rules and regulations), when in fact our bodies do know best?! I love how you said that there is this “normal”, but who sets the standard! If we let our own bodies determine our standard, we can’t go wrong (as long as we are treating it well and nourishing it!). And there was definitely a time when I was vegan where I didn’t understand the importance of protein and fats, so I was all carbs and crashing constantly! So that’s where that all began with the counting macros, which is good in its essence, but not to extremes which the MFP app allowed me to take that to. Okay – sorry to ramble, but truly this was freeing for me to discuss this with you! It was something consuming me more than I realized before this conversation! Thankful for you, Steph!!!!!! XOXO

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      8. Same!!! Thankful for you too! Having this sort of conversation is amazing! I did not know that you started tracking macros because you were vegan but did not know how to eat the right nutrients. I guess what started as a safe and helpful approach turned to some unhealthy and mentally unsafe. I’m so glad though that you were able to realize this and delete that darn app. Love ya lots!!! Xo, Steph

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