This piece is by Jory Mullard , co-founder of the the Vancouver chapter. She is the leader of all things related to self love. She has conquired bulimia and orthorexia and wants to spread the message that we all are enough just as we are. She is a frequent contributor to the PHEAL National Blog. This was originally posted on Let it Be Health .
My Resolution: Love my Body like Kate Upton Loves Hers
Supermodel Kate Upton’s self-confidence and love for her body actually helped change my perspective on my own body.
I grew up with a great body. It was never chiseled or “model-thin” but I was tall, of average weight, and blessed with above average breast size and soft curves.
Somehow, I didn’t think it was enough. I desperately wanted to be thinner, fitter, more “cut.” Everything that made me a woman I wanted gone; the way my bra cut into the flesh of my back, the soft little bump at the bottom of my otherwise flat stomach, the slight jiggle of my thighs.
Maybe I picked up the idea I needed to be thinner from the endless images of super-skinny models I had been exposed to over my life. Maybe it was learned from my parents and my peers. Either way, I had decided that there needed to be less of me (physically) so that I could be more accepted and loved. One thing is for sure: I became less of myself. I stopped being the innocent, radiant, happy youth that I once was and became obsessed with changing my body. I didn’t shine anymore. I wasn’t me anymore.
After hitting rock bottom through years of insecurity-fueled, self destructive behaviour, I decided it was time to change the way I thought about myself and my body. On my path to self love, I looked up to Kate Upton. Many revolutionary models had come before her, but most were categorized as “plus size.” They were separated from traditional models, who generally are 5’10” and up, and wear dress size 0-2. These measurements have been held to an ideal, but they are actually considered very underweight in the body mass index that doctors use. Amazingly, despite being a size 8-10, not a size 0-2, Upton did not get put into a separate category. She got to retain her status as a “regular” model.
Upton has said that she loves her body₁ and she is not going to starve just to be thin. “I want to enjoy life and I can’t if I’m not eating and miserable.”₂ She went on to say, “I’m proud of my size. That’s an important message to young girls: Love who you are. It’s so easy to feel negative about yourself and it is totally self-destructive. If you can only love and accept who you are, you will be a lot happier.”₃
Yes, Kate is conventionally beautiful, and yes still thin… there is a large emphasis on her breasts in all of her modelling. However, I believe she represents a stepping stone in media images that we, the general public, are exposed to. She points in a direction of a future containing more diverse models that aren’t only very thin. What this will mean is that every time a young girl flips through a beauty magazine, she isn’t comparing herself to a single body type that only belongs to less than 5% of the population. ₄
I think the main reason why Kate inspires me is the contrast between my life and hers. Previously, I had let my insecurities hold me back, while she let her confidence carry her forward. I just had a handful of people judging me on my physical appearance, but she has thousands every day. Everyone has an opinion on her. Some are glowing and some are scathing. In reaction to judgment from others, I cried in my room and hated myself while she was walking down a runway like it was the best day of her life. (It probably was!)
In comparing myself with Kate, I’m not saying I ever wanted to be a supermodel like her. What I wanted was a happy life where I felt confident and empowered to go after my dreams. I suspect that the difference between Upton and I, mentally, is that she loves herself and I didn’t. When you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what other people think of you; whether there is thousands of people critiquing you or just one. The only thing that matters is what YOU think of you.
This year, armed with the knowledge that the only opinion on my appearance that matters is my own, I resolve to unconditionally love my body.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. So – look in the mirror. Behold : that’s you. Now… stop focusing on flaws for just a moment (I know it seems impossible sometimes, but you can do it!) and you will see your beauty. It’s there. No matter what. Despite acne or love handles or body hair or cellulite, you are beautiful. Everyone is. Whether I’m having a day where I feel like a supermodel or a day where I feel like the kid picked last in gym class, I will see my true beauty. That’s my resolution. It may not be an easy bar I’ve set for myself, but it’s one worth jumping for.
Kate Upton is my inspiration, but there are many other body-confident models out there that don’t fit the typical mold:
Elle Mayday, a plus size model who continues to work despite cancer treatment that caused her to lose her hair.
Crystal Renn, a size zero model who recovered from anorexia and went on to become a very famous plus size model.
Casey Legler, a woman who exclusively models menswear.
Chantelle Young (Winnie) who appeared on America’s Next Top Model. She has a rare skin disease called vitiligo.
Moffy, the stunning cross-eyed model.
Citations: ₁ Upton, “I love my body” : ABC News, 2013/05 ₂ Upton, “I’m not going to starve just to be thin. I want to enjoy life and I can’t if I’m not eating and miserable.” : Fox News, 2012/07/16 ₃ Upton, “I’m proud of my size. That’s an important message to young girls: Love who you are. It’s so easy to feel negative about yourself and it is totally self-destructive. If you can only love and accept who you are, you will be a lot happier.” : US Magazine, 2014/14/04 ₄ Media portrayed body types belong to 5% of population: Do Something.org