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I am All Woman

image courtesy of all woman project

Today is Gal-intine’s Day- a new holiday designed to celebrate friendships among women. In honor of today, I want to take a moment to talk about something that is near and dear to me: Women and Body Image. And, how owning a fitness studio (gasp!) plays into that.

I have never been perfect. In fact, far from it. My whole life I have had to battle genetics, fatigue, anxiety, and the constant taunting of cravings. I’ve always been yo-yo with my weight and even gained 60 pounds during both of my pregnancies, making it extremely difficult to get "back on the wagon.” That was, until I found barre. Barre changed my life. I was able to find strength, beauty and, most importantly, a desire to return to the next class because I felt how good it was for me. Barre was so much more than a way for me to “get skinny.”

Oddly enough, this is where the fallacy lies. I own a fitness studio, I’m supposed to look a certain way. Society has expectations placed on women to look a certain way and that is compounded when you choose to work in an industry that success is generally only found when you tell people that aren’t good/fit/skinny enough. Has it been difficult? Have I been told I’m not “skinny” enough to own this studio? Yes to both. People are cruel. We get enough body shaming in the outside world and I refuse to participate.

This isn’t why I opened this place. I opened Bella Barre because I wanted to serve women, women with all their beautiful imperfections. I wanted a safe place where women can come as they are, be who they are, celebrate who they are. Being a women is a struggle and we shouldn’t make life more difficult by placing these unrealistic expectations on each other (let alone ourselves). Let’s celebrate who we are- with our “flaws” and all.

I will never be a size two; that’s not how I am built and I don’t care. I don’t care that I don't have a thigh gap. I care if I have the strength to take my children hiking, the endurance to spend a day riding bikes, the posture to help me stand just a bit taller and a relief to my chronic knee pain caused by my scoliosis.

As a look at my two young daughters, I can only hope that they are confident with themselves, regardless of what they look like. Let’s be these role models to the next generation.

Ending with a shout out to The All Women Project. They display a true, beautiful, positive, un-retouched images of REAL women. Women that are happy and healthy. Isn’t that what we should be celebrating today?

"Our physical attributes do not define us as women; our strength and character does. All of this make us all woman.” - All Woman Project

To find out more about the All Woman Project, visit: http://www.allwomanproject.com