Last night my husband mentioned to me that we received the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. A few years ago, this would have bothered me. I would have been upset that he announced it to me, as well as that he felt the need to even look at it. Most of you probably realize, as a subscriber to Sports Illustrated, the Swimsuit Edition is automatically included. We don’t pay extra for it. We don’t go out of our way to make sure we receive it. And if I just happened to throw it away, he wouldn’t miss it.
However, I have grown quite a bit over the past few years, as a woman, as a wife, and as a person. I am much more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was when I was skinny. I am more confident of who I am and I also am much better at understanding my feelings. Why I’m feeling a certain way about something may not be on the surface, I may have to dig a little deeper to figure it out, but I am confident that I am able to do so.
So when he mentioned the magazine last night, I was able to just have a conversation about it. I didn’t have to worry WHY he was looking at it, or that he was too preoccupied with it. He then mentioned that there was a really attractive curvy girl featured in this edition. He thought she was the most attractive in the magazine and he was happy to see they featured someone who was not super skinny.
Naturally, that peaked my interest so today I took a look to see who he was referring to. I recognized the model, Ashley Graham, from print ads and articles I’ve read. She is a prominent “plus sized” model for Lane Bryant, as well as other companies. In my opinion she is very beautiful. She is also a size 16. In fact, she has almost the same body stats as me. She weighs a few pounds less, has a smaller waist, but we have the same top and bottom measurements, height, and dress size.
I applaud Sports Illustrated for realizing that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Also, that men are attracted to women of different shapes and sizes. We don’t all have to be a size 6, with huge breasts and tiny waists, for someone to realize our beauty. And we also don’t have to be tiny to realize our own beauty.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am more confident now than I ever was when I was skinny. That’s not to say that being skinny or curvy, heavy or thin, whatever you want to refer to yourself as, is better or worse than the other. You should love yourself no matter what. I think there is a common misconception that if you are overweight, or even obese, and decide to be happy with yourself, that you are fine with being that size and never improving upon yourself. But that’s not always the case. You can be completely comfortable with your weight, your body, your cellulite, your lumps and bumps, and still be trying to fix or change things.
I, personally, am comfortable being 208 lbs, 5′ 9.5″, size 16, 44-36-46. But I still pick up my weights to tone my arms and build muscle. I still do squats to give my butt a lift and build muscle in my thighs. I still try to eat fruits and veggies a few times a day. I try to drink more water and less soda. But I do it for me, because I want to, not because of some idea of what beauty is.
I think we all need to stop being so judgmental of other people, especially of their physical appearance. They may have a health problem we don’t know about, or they may have some other struggle they’re having to deal with. They may have physical limitations that keep them from working out the way you do. They may have time constraints and obligations that limit what they can do. The fact of the matter is, you don’t know, and you have no right to judge.
Let’s all try to be a little more tolerant, starting today.