2013 was the year plus size respect and body-positivity made huge strides. It makes me so happy and even teary-eyed when I see more women open up about their own body-struggles and how they overcame it, helping to inspire others to be bold and beautiful in their skin.
And while I consider myself a voice in this rising tide, trust me when I say this -- I am constantly inspired, energized and encouraged by many other women sharing their stories and voices.
So here is my top five list of women I want to personally thank & introduce to you so you too can adore the HECK outta em!
Kate P. from This Is Not A Diet - It's Your Life
I first met Kate when she submitted a photo to my I'm Proud Of My Size Challenge. Her Facebook page This Is Not A Diet - It's Your Life and blog now has over 30K followers and it's no surprise why -- Kate's message is one of compassion, inspiration and real-ness about what being happy with your body actually looks like. It's confusing, it's messy, it's practice, practice, practice, it's learning, it's beautiful, and is about endless self-compassion. I adore Kate's wisdom, thought-provoking conversation starters, and enjoy her empowering images and texts she creates to help other women get honest about their bodies and lives in a healthy, smart, and insightful way.
Kristina Blake from The Contrary Athlete
Like Kate, I also first met Kristina from my I'm Proud of My Size photo-challenge. Kristina's Facebook page The Contrary Athlete details her amazing fitness feats while being plus size. She has done triathlons, 5K and more...all while being far larger than most see as the average fit person. To say she is a fierce inspiration is an understatement -- in nearly very single photo, you can see Kristina's amazing smile and bad-assery on display as she blasts apart stereotypes that fat people cannot be fit.
Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga
When I first started yoga nearly 5 years ago, I felt very insecure because I didn't see anyone who looked like me in class. I started searching online for plus size yoga and found Curvy Yoga - I felt such happiness knowing there were women out there helping introduce the healing practice to others. Anna's work is founded in the yoga principals of compassion and ease, which enables her to lovingly educate and inspire plus size women to adapt yoga to best suite their bodies. In January this past year, I was honored when Anna featured me in her monthly yoga interview and since then, have shared her work with many larger women interested in starting yoga.
You don't know about Whitney, but you really really ought to. My friend Sarah introduced us this fall and it was love at first Skype. You see, Whitney is a body-positive inspiration and rising icon by accident. The radio-station she worked at shared one of her images on their Facebook page, anticipating a storm of negative feedback over seeing a large woman in lingerie. The opposite happened and it was a-mazing. Her body-positive images have inspired thousands of women to appreciate their bodies, not because she set out to do it, but because she simply shares her gorgeous images and amazing outlook on body-image and happiness. You can read her posts too on her site No Body Shame Campaign. I am honored to have a new found friendship with Whitney and to have her be part of the More To Love Class as a guest-speaker on the kick-off call.
I know, I know...but seriously -- if it wasn't for my readers, supporters and friends who believe in my work, I wouldn't be able to keep writing, sharing or help other women feel beautiful from the inside out. I have always believed community to be the bedrock of movements and each of you has proven this. You have openly shared your own lives, struggles, hopes and inspirations with me...and I am so thankful for it. 2014 will be devoted to helping you expand and reach further with your own unique body-love story and from the bottom of my curvy heart, thank YOU for making More To Love possible.