Project Diary: Sarai’s floral swimsuit, Pt 2

My new fave swimsuit, and learning to love a changing body.
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Ok… it’s time to put pictures of myself in a swimsuit on the internet again (Read part 1 here.)

The last time I wrote about making a swimsuit, I shared a bit of my history and battle with body acceptance. Like (I’m assuming) most of us, I’ve struggled long and hard with my attitude toward my body, from accepting the irregularities of scoliosis (mine is severe) to overcoming disordered eating patterns to facing the body dysmorphia I constantly feel raising its ugly head.

There’s one thing other than sewing that has taught me about body love, and that’s sports and athletics. When I started running years ago, it gave me something else to focus on besides how my body looked. I began thinking about it in terms of performance. I learned to have fun with what my body could do, and prioritize that sense of fun over shallow aesthetic.

In the past year, I’ve almost completely switched from running to weightlifting, and that sense of play and fun has only grown – along with my thighs. In fact, my proportions have altered pretty dramatically.

And I’m fine with that. Big thighs mean big lifts. I’d rather feel like wonder woman than look like a model any day. And I’m constantly inspired by all the lady lifters who do amazing things at every size.

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Let love rule.

I took these photos on our recent trip to Palm Springs, which seems to be a theme.

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And here’s a butt shot, for good measure.

I will also admit that body positivity is still a daily struggle, but I also feel it getting better every day. The more I focus on what I can do and how I feel, the better things get.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on body image, and especially whether athletics, sports, or other physical activities have changed the way you treat yourself. What’s your experience?

PS: if you missed it, the first part of this post covers the details of the swimsuit and how I made it.

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Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

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Comments 62

Katherine

For years I’ve felt like such an oddball in my neighborhood, where all the ladies are super interested in sports and fitness, and no one is interested in sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc. But alas, at 42 and with a desk job, getting interested in fitness is no longer optional. I love the Seamwork patterns for athletic wear, and all the good info provided on this site, because being able to make some of my own work out clothes makes the working out more fun.

Sarai colettehq.com

I was not at all athletic when I was younger, and that’s pretty much how I felt. I never really got sports. But when I got into fitness, I realized it really is about finding the things that you enjoy doing… and making some cute workout clothes does definitely help!

Robin

Ditto here! Last-picked-for-sports, left-handed brainy introvert in a dysfunctional family. Then I took up horseback riding in high school, and I did ok (a few ribbons) but fell off and panicked a lot. But horses are very understanding. Started fencing in college (another weird sport but it came with very little competition and lots of other fellow weirdos). Went back home and rode again – I had incredible confidence from fencing and was a much better rider! Gave up fencing for nine years, took it up again in my thirties, and after a few years, held C ratings in two weapons and I’m pretty proud of that.

Ironically, for most of my life, patterns fit right out of the envelope, but you know that really didn’t help. I had a great, classic body, but not what mattered most. Now I have grown past all that.

Sarai, you look fierce! Thank you for being SO BRAVE. Love the suit too.

JenHelen

Oh wow, I love so many things about this post. I have recently got into weights too; I’m also a former mainly-a-runner (though a much more intermittent and slower one!) and have been enjoying finding a great new body-positive focus through thinking about strength and technique, whereas I realise I thought of my running as mostly about weight management. I’ve loved discovering the buzz you can get from lifting (somehow I previously thought that was only a ‘cardio thing’!) and how my goals are, very slowly, shifting from size and shape to strength (though enjoying the feeling of gradually-growing muscles is also its own reward!). It helps that I seem ‘naturally’ to be fairly strong, so suddenly my bulk, previously what I thought I was fighting, turns out to have amazing benefits! I have also rediscovered the mental health rewards of exercise in general, which has been incredibly welcome and helpful. Thanks as ever Sarai for bringing all these kinds of issues together, as they are in life, and doing it so beautifully and honestly! Yet another reason for my continuing fangirldom…

Sarai colettehq.com

Yeah, I thought the endorphin rush was mostly a cardio thing too! It’s really interesting the ways physical activity translates into your mental state. As a runner, I really felt like it helped with my mental endurance and my ability to soothe myself through difficult times.

Now with lifting, I feel positive effects in my ability to focus, my ability to psyche myself up to do something really hard, and my conception of myself as strong and capable. It’s pretty incredible. I’m sure that every activity has its own psychological rewards!

Maria

I´m sorry to hear you struggle with bodypositivity since I think you have a beautiful body. For me, what really helped me was finding a man who loves me like I am. And since I´ve had children, my body has become really out of shape, but i couldn´t care less. I´ve grown a human and feed it with my body, and they love cuddling to me no matter how flabby I am.

Sarai colettehq.com

Thanks. :) That is so wonderful. Every body deserves to be loved and respected. I do love mine as well…. but sometimes still catch myself sliding into negative thought patterns I’ve had since childhood.

Like a lot of things with mental health, the trick is really about recognizing when you’re experiencing a harmful way of thinking, and gently bringing yourself back to your true values. That’s what’s helped me, anyway.

Laura

I’ve learned this trick in the last couple of years and it has been helping me: anytime I start to get down on a specific body part, I immediately try to think of the function(s) that body part serves and be grateful that it (and my body in general) are in great working order!

For example, I’ve had cellulite on my thighs since puberty that gets me down sometimes – especially when comparing myself to others. When that happens, I think about how my legs help me walk, run, dance, swim, etc. It just flips the script from being frustrated to being happy and thankful.

Another thing that helps me is this: I tell myself that I can have cellulite (acne, belly fat, etc.) and be miserable about it, or I can have those same things and have fun and be happy. Either way, I’m going to have those “flaws,” so I might as well enjoy myself while I do!

Sarai colettehq.com

That is very empowering, thank you!

One thing I do is think about my future self. When I am 10, 20, 50 years older, do I want to look back at this time of my life and regret that I didn’t appreciate my body and my health?

katie whatkatiesews.net

You look amazing Sarai, and I love this suit so much. I’d buy the pattern in a second! Everything about it is perfect.

Thing on a string

When i was a teenager I had a rare belief in myself, of course mixed with regular teenage angst also, but at the core I was strong. I was naturally fit after years of swimming and very strong. With age and lack of exercise, a thyroid condition and having a child, my body, and more importantly, the way I wiewed myself changed. I thought of myself as ugly and not worthy of good things. Then I read “the unapologetic fat girls guide to exercise” by Hanne Blank and that made me rethink so many things. Exercise is a gift I give to myself and now, after 6 months or so, I am really starting to enjoy it. And again I feel strong and worthy of love. And even though my body haven’t changed that much, I feel I am beautiful and amazing. And I wish for everyone to feel that way.

Robin

Thanks so much for the recommendation – sounds like a good read.

Jessica

What an awesome swimsuit! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about the cutouts, but everything about this swimsuit it awesome :-).

Oh, body image. I struggled with this a lot when I was younger, in part because I went to a school where every other girl, it seemed, was 1-3 sizes smaller than I was (I still have friends who are 1-3 sizes than me, but the beauty of college was that the upper end of the size spectrum suddenly appeared in my life! That, if anything, was immensely helpful). I’ve been pretty athletic my whole life and I think that’s always helped me – knowing that, even though sports gave me a body that wasn’t conventionally proportionally beautiful (I had really, really broad shoulders and incredibly thick thighs in high school, and calves that made my male gymnast friend go DAMN, Jessica), I had a body that was strong, coordinated, and graceful (if at odd things like whipping a badminton bird around a court).

I always love when people discover a love for physical activity, at whatever age, and that those loves can morph and change over time. Such a lovely gift.

Megan

Such a pretty print. Your thighs look great, are you looking at the same photos? Hope you get lots of wear out of the swimmers.

Sarai colettehq.com

Ha, I didn’t mean to put them down! I’m actually glad they’re bigger, it makes me feel strong. :)

PsychicKathleen tarotbykathleen.com

I couldn’t agree more that physical activity really does change our focus on what our bodies LOOK like to what they are capable of DOING. I do pilates (which I love so much I could wax poetic given half a chance) and walk fast (like late for work fast) every morning along the beach :) I’m 61 and pretty fit I think. I’ve always been into some fitness or other (yoga for almost 45 years!) but I’ve found sewing also enormously helpful for body acceptance. Measuring your body – making things to fit it and looking at my dress form all the time has given me a completely different perspective on my body. I can joke about it’s fit challenges with other sewers far less defensively – somehow the way we speak about our bodies is just different.

Sarai colettehq.com

That’s definitely true. I think it also gives you an awareness that everyone’s body is a little different and has its idiosyncracies!

Maddie madalynne.com

Great post Sarai. I’ve been thinking about body confidence a lot lately as I’ve felt like my body has changed over the past year. Not in a good or a bad way, just part of getting older. I’m still a big time runner, but have incorporated weight lifting. Like you, it’s changed my proportions. Sometimes I like it, other times I think I have Madonna arms. What gets me through my down days is that most people are so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t notice your things, double chin, chicken cutlet, or whatever body part you hate.

Thanks for the encouragement and honesty.

Sarai colettehq.com

That’s really true. We get so focused on the individual parts that we don’t feel meet whatever weird standards we set for ourselves. But when others look at us, they see the whole picture. The only people who sit around judging other women’s cellulite or whatever aren’t exactly the kind of people I want to know. :P

Liz

Ahhhh! I’m going to skip over the wise and wonderful things you have to say about bodies, and go right to being excited about the criss-cross tie back of that suit! That’s the number one feature I want in a suit–if it has that, I’m 100% more likely to buy it. What a cool pattern! I have other things I require in a suit that have been going further out of style since I was but a teen, things like full cheek coverage, and enough rise in front that I don’t feel like the bottom half of my suit is going to fall off if I dive. Isn’t it funny how we all have our dealbreakers? Good thing there’s so many suits and patterns out there!

Sarai colettehq.com

The tie back is so great! So easy to adjust to the right fit.

kalimak swarmofchickadees.wordpress.com

Thank you so much for this post, Sarai. I struggled with body image problems for a long time — and I should probably say “I have struggled, since it’s not a chapter one can simply close. But I try to stay committed to being my friend: finally intervening in the negative and harmful thinking, cutting it short when I notice it. I have scoliosis as well. It was a relief when I learned it’s not as simple as being the result of “not sitting up/ standing straight” — finally not blaming myself for it helped. Thank you again — we need stories of coming to accept ourselves, our bodies, as they are, repeated, difficulties included.

That’s a great swimsuit. And really great photos of you! Thanks so much for sharing.

Sarai colettehq.com

Yup! Part of me feels glad that having a condition like that forced me to recognize that perfection is an impossible standard.

D

that butt shot its everything!

I mix up my gym routine between sunday morning spin, pilates here and there, and some serious lifting with a trainer. My favorite days are the trainer days – not only do I feel like a total badass swinging kettlebells all over the place, but my trainer accepts my dirty looks and shin kicks with patience and grace (he just laughs most of the time!)

Sarai colettehq.com

Ha, thanks! This is the first time in my life I’ve really loved my butt, thanks to squats! It’s not a body part I really thought about much before, honestly.

Roni Arbel wardrobehistology.blogspot.com

I used to be a triathlete and a long-distance runner. I always thought that if I only lost a couple more kg my performance will improve and my times will get faster. A couple of years ago I stopped training. Part of it was great – no longer fighting on the track every day and working against my body when it wanted to stop. I also lost a lot of weight once I stopped cycling which changed my body completely. But now I can’t do all the things I once could – run for hours and compete, and also I’m less healthy and have less energy, and I don’t trust my body the way I used to. I’m trying again to find a way so I can enjoy running and other sports while not going back to “fighting” every day.

Thank you for writing about your struggles. It’s a topic that is not enough emphasized in the sewing world even though I think sewists have a more intimate relationship with body size and measurements so changes never go un-noticed. (Not to mention how difficult it is to sew a new garments just because the previous one no longer fits – it takes forever and is demoralizing).

Robin

You might give meditation a try. I borrowed a great book from the library called Secular Meditation by Rick Heller that has exercises for 32 different practices, lots of Q&A, and no woo-woo factor. One of the practices is a walking meditation, which could easily be adapted to running. I had the same problem in the way I approached competitive fencing (a sport impossible to do without hitting other people with a long, pointy stick). Good luck to you in finding that balance.

Sarai colettehq.com

Yes. I have a lot of clothes right now that don’t fit me because I’ve shrunk in some areas and grown in others. We’re planning to do a clothing swap soon at Colette HQ, so I look forward to seeing some things go to new homes.

Chris

I had read this post yesterday and declined to comment. But then last night I was dreaming about meeting you in your beautiful suit! I was, in my dream, quite star struck. As I would be if we ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I just wanted to say, you and your suit are quite inspirational! It is beautiful and you are beautiful in it!

As a mature (ahem 60?) woman who has battled weight issues most of my adult life, I want to again express my gratitude regarding your Seamwork patterns that are so inclusive of many size ranges and of course the models to embody more than one image.

Sarai colettehq.com

Oh gosh, that’s so funny! I hope I was just walking around in my swimsuit somewhere totally inappropriate.

marcy harriell oonaballoona.com

you look MAGNIFICENT.

serena & venus williams did a lot for me body image wise, with their awesome powerful thighs. i’m with you in the wonder woman thigh camp!

Sarai colettehq.com

omg, yes! Just seeing Serena’s powerful body makes my heart swell. It’s so great that there are some icons these days with strong bodies, including athletes like them or performers like Beyonce. And not just strong bodies, but other kinds of beautiful bodies too (curvy women, petite women). I hope we see more and more.

Julia Yunker Miller

That swimsuit looks great and you look great in it!
I’ve had the great good fortune of excellent weight training instructors and now I do yoga too. I feel like our culture has trouble with the fact that people are not all exactly the same and can’t look the same. Women and men) can be healthy, fit and good-looking in many body shapes and sizes.

Sarai colettehq.com

Definitely. There’s a real tendency toward conformity when it comes to beauty ideals, but perhaps that is changing a little. I guess it depends on what sort of media you consume, though.

Leelee

Love this post! I agree that focusing on appreciating what our body can do( walking, swimming,dancing…) is more important than the size we wear.
Besides, when we hug our significant other -the only thing that matters is the size of our heart.

mona murphy

I think you look amazing and I love how you have evolved you thinking about your body. I have had the same issues and yoga and running helped me but I think lifting would be even better. One of my five daughters is currently fighting to gain weight while battling anorexia. All of the experts we deal with are encouraging her to focus on what her body can do instead of how it looks. She is still too fragile to sew anything for herself yet since it means taking her body measurements but I will show her your post for inspiration. Thank you!

Sarai colettehq.com

Good luck to her, and also congratulations for getting the help she needs. Sounds like she has a supportive mom!

Melissa

I am older (58) and when I was younger I was very athletic with a toned, slim body. Many problems in the last 4 years and I gained 40 lbs. post-menopause… yuk! I am now going through a divorce and have lost the weight due to stress, but I know the feeling of not loving your body. I went through it for several years. Now that I am free I am learning to love the way I look but more importantly the way I feel. And how my strong body has gotten me through so much! I am healthy and on the way to happy again, and NO ONE will ever make me feel bad about my body again, including myself.

Tracy duckbucket.blogspot.com

That suit is fantastic and such an inspiration.

Struggling a little with body acceptance too, so thank you for this post.

Anya anna-zoe.net

This is a great post! So positive and inspirational!
I think you are right in your assumption that body positivity is a struggle for most of us. I too struggle with it. In the past few years I have been very athletic and was in good shape. I wasn’t skinny or super fit, but I was happy with what my body could do and I was pretty okay with how I looked. Just over a year ago I sustained a head injury which put me out of all my aspects of life, including sports and sewing for a while. I could start sewing 6 months after the injury, but it took more over a year to really get back into being active and being able to do basic things like run again. I have definitely lost my ability to be as active as I was, I don’t have the same endurance and I can’t train as hard as I could. I can’t lift as heavy as I could (I also looove weightlifting!). But as my head has healing and my ability to be athletic increases, I find I view myself very differently. It is not so much about being a certain way, to me now it is about being able to do things, train as hard as I can, and feel empowered. Those things help me view my body positively.

Sarai colettehq.com

Wow Anya, that is amazing. It’s great to hear you’re maintaining an attitude like that through recovery. I definitely know what it’s like to go through a long recovery with an impact like that on mobility, it really changes everything. But like you say, it does force you to focus more on progress instead of an end point, I think.

Jen

You look great in your awesome looking swimsuit—it is so flattering!!! I love, love, love the back!

Karen Kershaw

Sarai, I think you look absolutely great.
I’m nearing 55 and a petite figure and in spite of peri menopausal stuff do try to keep fit but certainly don’t have the stamina I did just 5 years ago. I expect there will be weight gain too soon, but hey ho!
I’m constantly inspired by the various blogs I follow. I’ve gone back to sewing after a 25 year gap and really didn’t have much of a base so I’m learning new things all the time.
One day soon I’ll manage to fit something ‘perfectly’…
Is it our age? a girlfriend and I are now both keen to have a tattoo – one of our husbands is horrified and the other said why not – we haven’t quite built up the courage yet.Yours look fab Sarai, but feel I may start with something an bit smaller, if I can make that leap. You are all an amazing bunch of woman, and we should all be proud of ourselves and bodies, just as they are as they reflect who we are. Take care all.

Katja

Dear Sarai, wonderful post (and awesome woman in a pretty swimsuit)… I was totally into sports for all of my life and every time I couldn’t work out as I was used to, I felt like some part of me was missing… but this didn’t stop me from feeling totally wrong and developing a eating dissorder nevertheless… For some time I was member of a women fitness club and it got even worse because they pushed me to loose more and more weight no matter how skinny I already was (and had been for most of my life). It changed the moment I started Pole Dancing, just to try if I could do this, if I was able to master this challange… and it grew that much on me to finally have something that makes me feel like wonder woman that I stuck with it, added aerial hoop to the mix and some dance and stretching classes. I never ever felt so good and even better I’ve seen girls of all shapes and sizes doing these classes and some of theme are just wonderful because of the attitude and soul they put into their dance, regardless of the length of their legs or circumference of their waist… And that’s how women should feel… powerful, strong and through that pretty

Janet diywardrobe.co.uk

Anything that switches the focus away from what you want to change about your body towards what it’s capable of boosts body confidence. Pregnancy can do this for some, but also switching activities and creating goals that aren’t just about how you look.

Weights work for me too. At school, I wasn’t at all fit, and I was always near the back and miserable on long runs. And in adulthood, with some lopsidedness and dodgy feet, running and I were never going to be an ideal fit. But when I tried Body Pump classes I loved them! It’s such a great feeling not to be *literally* left behind when you choose to work at your own level. I enjoy the effect that lifting weights has on my body, and my sense of achievement is much greater than I used to get from cardio work.

When I combined that with sewing to escape the tyranny of the sizing system, I finally made peace with my thighs!

Juliana

Sarai,
You are so beautiful and inspiring! Thanks, so many thanks for sharing your bravery and joy. And what a goooorgeous swimsuit ?
I have been a classical ballet dancer through all my life, and non-dancers have always said how beautiful they think I am, while I have always felt too big and wrong in my head and as I have heard this from a few cruel ballet teachers who were always aiming for a body nobody can live in, keeping healthy. I was even called a bacon, imagine.
Now I am 33, and it is a recent change of conscience that helped me begin accepting and loving myself. It is a daily struggling routine to look at myself and be sure heathy is the best I can provide myself.
Weird english, I hope I make any sense.

Much love from brazilian winter,

Juliana

Juliana

So many myselfs in such a short message.
Shame on me.

Karen

You look amazing, and this swimsuit is gorgeous. I love the print & the back detail.

Jill

Sarai,
Would it be possible to share some of your weight lifting at home routines? Reading your post is inspiring me – suddenly I want to lift weights especially if I can do it at home. Are there resources you could share? Thank you . I am older but think young- I think I could and would benefit from weight lifting!
Jill

Sarai colettehq.com

I keep it really simple and focus on the “big lifts”: squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. When I first started trying to get stronger, I used the routines in this book. It’s a good starting point, but feels more focused on looks that overall strength to me. An AMAZING book for learning the big compound movements is Starting Strength. It’s highly technical and goes over the mechanics of form in great detail. It’s a good one if you’re starting from pretty good overall fitness, I think.

Bec

Oh this swimsuit is all kinds of awesome! I have two different pairs on-the-go at the moment ready for our Australian summer coming. (Fun fact, we call them “togs” in Queensland!) Thankyou for sharing your body image thoughts, I think it’s something we all go through at some stage in our lives. For me, after working in the health industry (as someone operating a CAT scan machine) I really got to be quite intimate with the intricacies of the human body- but the internal part- blood vessels, organs, muscles & bones. It really made me appreciate how amazing our bodies are, regardless of what the “package” looks like on the outside. I think being active & aware of what your body can do is a big step in a similar direction! Much love xx

Dawn

I could write so much about body image and my personal walk with it, however, the biggest influences on my own body image and how I feel about my body are my daughters. I want them to grow up with as much body positivity as possible in this crazy American culture we live in. This is no small feat, but it all starts with how Mom feels about herself. And, now that I sew most of my own clothes and they actually, I’m fine with it.

And, your swimsuit looks amazing. My daughters are swimmers and the tie in the back is very in style at the moment (at least with their team).

Dawn

Fit. My clothes fit. I forgot that word.

Jenny Sandoval

Sarai, and all the women out there who can take a bathing suit photo w/ body dysmorphia, I applaud you!!
Body dysmorphia is beyond an eating disorder or low self esteem; body dysmorphia make you look in the mirror as if it’s a funhouse mirror. At 5’5″, when I first went up to 90lbs, I didn’t see the malnourished waif in the mirror — I saw FLAWS: my thunder thighs, my lower ab looks like I’m pregnant (when really, it’s just a pinch of SKIN!), my hip bones don’t protrude enough, my boobs look like a blob of mess after breastfeeding (when, in fact, I have implants and my boobs never change size or shape!), etc.
I’ve paid over 30k in plastic surgery: 3 lipo jobs to contour my body and take out a total of 1/4lb of fat & fluids, 2 breast augmentations, lip injections, Botox, you name it!
I never saw what others saw and even winning “best dressed”, “prettiest” and “most likely to succeed” in college and high school superlatives, I thought it was all a joke; I thought everyone was blind and since they’ve never seen me naked, they don’t know how truly deformed I am.
Make no mistake, I’ve NEVER EVER judged another woman’s appearance; I’ve only judged my own. And these silly sizing on patterns, like being a size 2 rather than my usual 0 in clothes, makes me feel even worse.
Sorry this is so long, but to Sarai and others like her: Congrats! I’m in awe of your strength and self-worth!! Be proud of how you look because YOU, ALL you women, are BEAUTIFUL and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!!!! ❤️

Jessie

Your suit is beautiful and I love Colette’s emphasis on body acceptance!

I have a very different set of body image issues. My body doesn’t stray all that far from conventional beauty norms, but I have a chronic illness that makes loving it for what it can do a real challenge for me, despite the fact that it can still do so much. But I do think sewing for ourselves can be a tool for loving and honoring our bodies, whatever our reasons for being hard on them.

Maimu

I’ve always disliked any kind of sports and physical activity. Since I was in my teens. I think it’s beacuse I was tall and my gym teacher pretty
In my mid twenties I started belly dancing. Just to connect with my inner WOMAN. Boy do I get a lot of comments for it! And only because I am what the public refers to as “skinny” . Itvrealky hurt. And it still does because I LOVE belly dance.
I went trough a phase where I bought clothes to big for me. I guess I wanted the reality of me be different? Then at one point I started obsessively keeping track of my weight, and when it went down even just a bit I panicked.
I talked to a therapist about it. I was to stand in front of a mirror in my underthings and list all the things I liked about myself. And disliked. The list I liked was longer. :) I taught my self to love me, just the way I am.
Now when people comment about me being to skinny for belly dance my answer is “So? You don’t have to watch me dance!”

Btw, you look great! Great boobs!

Patty Sliney masteryourmachine.wordpress.com

Hah! Best blog article I’ve read in a long time! Now, I hope you went through your blog post after you posted it, and said to yourself, “Hey, I look pretty damned good!” Which you do, btw. I’m an RN, and 61 (got a few years on you), and struggle just like every single other woman in the world with body image. And, even with my trained eye, I would not pick up your scoliosis, so I hope you know it is much more visible to you, than to the rest of the world, even someone who’s used to picking something like that up :-)

I, too, lift. I’ve lifted off and on pretty much my whole athletic life. I lift 3 days a week with a trainer. I invest in a trainer because it keeps me in the gym, and frankly, because I’m worth it! Weightlifting is one of the best forms of exercise women can do to help stay in shape, keep their heart and their bones healthy. Weightlifting builds muscle mass, which will help us to keep our metabolisms revved up. Not to mention give us a nice shape!

I have the exact opposite figure challenge – my weight likes to settle around my waist, and I carry most of my weight in my body. In fact, I spend extra time on my leg day to do a little “built a butt” program, since I don’t have much of one. Many ladies would say I’m lucky, but I’d trade a derriere any day to have a waistline! As much as I adore the cool retro Mood Book you’ve posted, I can’t wear most of those looks anymore, because I just don’t have the waistline for it. I look much better in either a dropped waist dress or top, or, an Empire waist garment. So, I hope you’ll think about those of us whose waistlines aren’t our best body part, and add a few more tops and dresses that flatter us “rectangles”.

I love what you’re doing with your company, I commend you for having the courage to start and run your own company. And to have such great success!! I am excited about your new patterns to come, and hope I can find a few that will look great on me.

And, you rock that bathing suit. Totally darling, and good for you to be so brave. You look awesome.

Sarai colettehq.com

Oh actually I’m the same! I’m definitely what they refer to as an “apple” shape, or at least I have been my whole life. The scoliosis contributes to that because I’m very short waisted.

I’ve always had skinny legs, and while running did a bit to build up my calves, it’s nothing compared to the changes I’ve seen since I started lifting in the last year. It’s the first time I’ve ever had much of a butt. :)

Patty Sliney masteryourmachine.wordpress.com

Okay, then CLEARLY your time in the gym is making a big difference! I would never have guessed that. You look fantastic! You’ve given me some courage to post myself in my blog. Once I get a few things off the UFO pile, and completed, I’ll post. I have a beautiful ‘Aster’ blouse cut out from the palest of aqua handkerchief linen. Once I get it done, up it goes, with me in it (and not just on a hanger), lol!!

Gretchen Potts sizemode.wordpress.com

Great cheeks! Way to show them off!

Sarah

I was a super jock throughout childhood and those difficult teen years; I’ve really only come to wrestling with body acceptance in my thirties as midlife approaches and a birth defect in my spine (undetected in childhood) has led to spinal degeneration from all the wear and tear of my active young life. I manage the chronic pain of this degenerative condition with yoga, but as I’ve moved past 35, I see my body changing in a new way: as I approach midlife, I’m plumper, like my father’s family, despite the fact that I do 4 hours of yoga every week, a 5k on my elliptical machine every Monday (I can’t run anymore because one knee is shot), and then two more elliptical sessions (or long walks) every week. I used to really berate myself over this, and sometimes I still struggle with doubts I’ve never known before. But I look at my mother, who says terrible things about her body, and I think, I don’t want to hate myself like that. I don’t want to enter a room and size up the other women in it as if we are in some kind of competition with each other. I don’t want to confuse the size and shape of my body with my worth. Because life is -hopefully!- a long journey. I want to make the best I can of all of it, including this form I have, which I know will continue to change in the decades to come.

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