Tell us a little about yourself: I'm a speech language pathologist at a hospital here in San Diego as well as a style and beauty blogger at LooksForLovelies.com. I love to read and shop! I'm a few short weeks away from becoming a momma to our little boy and I love to try new styles, new beauty trends, and new food!
When is a time in your life where you struggled with body positivity and self love? I began to really struggle with body positivity in high school - my junior year, my curves came in and I started to have friends and boys mention that I could be thinner. I struggled with an eating disorder during high school and then again during college. I wasn't sure how to dress for my body type and was still trying to figure out who I was. I would say 16 - 21 were pretty bad self esteem years. My self esteem plummeted and I clung to the only thing I felt really good at - school. Thank goodness for that!! The event I remember most clearly is my track coach announcing my weight and several girls saying that it seemed "high," then later that year a boy I had been on some dates with told one of my friends that he would like me more if I was thinner.
Do you remember how old you were the first time you had a negative thought about your body? Ironically, as a kid I was very thin and had the boys in my neighborhood teased me about it. I was 12 or 13 when that happened.
When is a time in your life that you genuinely loved yourself-- inside and out?Throughout this entire pregnancy I've felt so much love for my body's amazing ability to grow a baby. Gaining weight, getting stretch marks and being sick haven't stopped me from feeling so much gratitude and love for all the amazing things my body is doing.
What is one or two things that you really like about yourself? I like that I can talk to anyone. I'm such a talker and growing up around the country and world I've learned to start up a conversation with anyone! I like my freckles too! I hated them for so many years but now I try to go makeup free occasionally and celebrate them especially when they're all out in the summer time.
What does real beauty mean to you? Feeling confident in your own skin - I try to dress for my body type and look my best so that I can feel confident and work hard. Then I don't worry about it for the rest of my day.
For the times in your life when you have felt insecure in your own skin, what have you done to try and get out of that mindset? I try to think about all the incredible things I'm able to do because of my healthy body and move forward. I get to help patients every day, share my curvy style with women through my blog and help patients to learn to communicate and eat again at the hospital.
Do you think social media plays a part in women and girls lacking self love? Yes, definitely! I started my blog because all of the style bloggers I followed were a size 0 and had a very specific body type. I wanted to share how someone more mid-sized and curvy could style clothing and use beauty products. There needs to be more definitions of beauty, I think social media is providing more but we still have a long way to go!
Why do you think there is such a problem with women loving themselves and their bodies? Everywhere we look there are constant examples of "perfect" women, not only perfect in body type and shape but also in women's roles - the "perfect" mom who does it all and never gets flustered, the "perfect" working woman who never needs to sleep and so on. These perfect women seem to be unachievable examples and they remind us that we are lacking or failing.
How can we change this mindset? We can change it by representing all body types and ethnicities in the social media campaigns that are created by companies. We can change it by encouraging women to live their healthiest lives which includes loving themselves. I think good self esteem is one of the highest predictors of a woman's ability to make good choices for herself including her career, relationships, and family life.
How do you plan on teaching your daughter to love and appreciate herself and her bodies? I plan to teach my daughter to be grateful for all of the incredible things her body can do and not to focus on the things that she wishes were different. I also plan to teach her that a healthy body and mind help us to reach our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual goals.
If you could tell your younger, insecure-self one thing, what would it be? You are beautiful and you'll figure it out! Stay strong and be your best self because we make plans while life is happening! Be yourself!!!
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