My curves have returned.

I’ve gone from a size 4/6, to a 6/8. My body fat percentage is no longer 18%, but more like a healthy 22 or 23%. My muscle definition has softened.

These changes have mostly been brought on because I’ve eschewed formal exercise (for the time being) & embraced the activity that is a natural part of my day to day. Things like walking the kids to school, housework, & chasing after 2 year old who doesn’t stop moving unless I’m reading her a book or she’s asleep.

More than that, though, since I believe your weight is more a reflection of your diet rather than your exercise (as you can easily eat your way out of any calorie deficits incurred from physical activity), is that I’ve relaxed my approach to food.

Lest you worry, I’m still sticking with my plant-based, vegan inclinations (of course!).

The change however, is that I’ve tried really hard (& it has been difficult), to resist the diet-mentality that I’ve been living for the past 7 years or so (minus the time when I was pregnant). Since last summer I’ve tried to eat foods that sound good, to eat what I want, when I feel like my body needs food. To allow myself to gain weight, & be okay with that.

In short, I’m trying to honor my hunger & respect when I’m full. To eat rich foods & not feel guilty. To enjoy waffles & muffins, cookies & my favorite peanut coconut sauce on rice & vegetables. To eat peanut butter bananas & not feel bad that I’m eating “fat.”

I have to say, I’m disgusted at our culture’s cockeyed notions of what a woman “should” look like.  Do you  have any idea how models are able to get that rail-thin look–no hips, gaunt face, all sharp angles & bones? They don’t eat, they overexercise. It’s not normal, it’s not healthy. Recently The NY Times featured an article about it: “Getting Models Into Fighting Shape.”

If you wonder how those Victoria Secret models look the way they do, even after having babies, realize, that many of them, like Adriana Lima, make dieting & exercise their life. According to the article, her trainer had her working out 6 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 weeks in order to prepare herself for the Victoria Secret fashion show.

Other models are open about the fact that they have to go to extreme measures to melt away any sign of hips or a butt (ie. any sign of being a woman). One model is quoted as saying: “It’s not exactly a woman’s shape, but it is high fashion.”

Crazy that any woman would compare herself to these women who stop at nothing to achieve the type of body that is so counter to our body’s natural shape. Crazy, yet, we do it. We hate our curves, we wish we were thinner. Why, why?

I don’t know. Except I do. Because I’m a woman & I’ve been guilty as anyone of this. In the past 6 months or so, I’ve been quietly working on changing my mindset. Striving to realize that my value as a woman, as a person, does not have anything to do with the shape of my body, or the size of my jeans. It’s hard to fight against this though, in our culture, where we’re sold this idea that a woman’s power or strength at least in part, is derived from the shape & size of her body.

One thing that has surprised me in all of this, is how positively Joseph has responded to me filling in my curves. At times I have been self-conscious. Parts of my body that were once firm & defined are softer, more curvy.  But Joseph has reassured me that this is a *good* thing. Men like curves. So why are we so intent on shaming our hips & thighs?

For the most part, I feel better in my skin that I ever have before.

It is liberating to eat intuitively, to shed the shackles of the dieting/restrictive eating mentality.

But, if I’m being honest, I must admit that I have to work on this every day. Every day is a battle–do I listen to the mixed messages of media & culture who have such distorted views on body image? Or do I listen to my body & eat good, nourishing food & enjoy the miracle & beauty of having a healthy, beautiful body?


 Have you, like me, struggled with not only being okay with, but loving your body? I’m not talking narcissistic self-love, but rather, an appreciation for your God-given curves & shape. I’d love to hear anything you have to say.  


  1. Ponre
    on June 29, 2016 at 11:53 am said:

    Great post. I’ve been on a plant based diet for over 10 years, and I think in many ways the vegan community has changed for the worse in this area. I remember years back somebody on Dr Mcdougall’s web forum posted about a woman who went from anorexia to becoming a healthy plus size model by switching to a plant based diet, and everyone was praising her for it and commenting on how healthy and attractive she looked. Nowadays vegans (especially young vegans) think it’s a sin to be bigger than a size 2 or have any sign of womanly curves. In my opinion placing strict expectations on what a healthy body is supposed to look like is emotionally unhealthy and doesn’t have any place in a community advocating a healthy lifestyle, people should be praised for eating healthy and exercising, not because their body matches an ideal we’ve labelled as healthy.

  2. Sara
    on June 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm said:

    What an AWESOME post, man. I have recently gone through something similar. After YEARS of dieting and restricting, I settled into what I thought was a healthy weight, but now I realize I was *still* restricting, calculating, planning in my head. “I had toast at breakfast,” I would think. “No rice at dinner!” “Well, I’m really hungry and could use a snack, but I want a glass of wine later so I should just go hungry until then.” These are not healthy thoughts. That is not balance. I, too, have hopped aboard the Intuitive Eating train and have never felt more liberated. Of course, some weight gain has occurred with this. At 5’5″, I thought 125 was my “ideal” weight and would freak out if the scale inched toward 130. Now I don’t even weigh myself and I’m sitting at a comfortable 8/10. My hips, thighs and butt are full. My breasts fill my bra. I feel good. My cycle has returned to normal. All these things point to HEALTHY, yet in this world we are fat and should have that muffin slapped right out of our hands.

    But I digress…

    Thank you for posting this. You read my mind and it’s nice to find other women saying NO to society’s ridiculous standards and instead doing what is right for them. 🙂 I quite like my ass, thank you very much!

  3. Keri @ WithLovefromColorado
    on December 5, 2013 at 9:54 am said:

    I love this post. My whole life I’ve battled my body to make it look a certain way. I mean, I taught yoga and fitness classes, I figured it was part of my job. I’m 35 weeks pregnant today, and through this pregnancy have begun to see my body differently.

    I’ve begun to see how silly my obsession with looking a certain way is in comparison to creating a life. The love I have for him already has helped me to understand and trust the love my husband has for me. In the back of my mind, I always thought he’d love me less if I didn’t fit into my skinny jeans (my thoughts, not his). The love I have for this little being within has helped me to better understand and trust in the love that the Lord has for me, and while He most likely wants me to care for the body he’s given me, being model thin isn’t a requirement. I hope once this little guy gets here (our first), that I will be able to maintain a healthier more balanced approach to diet and exercise.

    I’m encouraged by you. Inspired by this post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Janae Wise
      on December 6, 2013 at 10:42 am said:

      Thanks for sharing Keri.

      And congrats on your son!! He will change your world in such a wonderful way. I’m excited for you.

      Oh boy, do I KNOW the pressure to look a certain way when you’re a fitness professional (even in the yoga arena).

      “I hope once this little guy gets here (our first), that I will be able to maintain a healthier more balanced approach to diet and exercise.”
      I think some women really experience a shift once that first child comes. Not all women, because you have to be willing to let go & really surrender yourself to motherhood. Which is not to say you give up your individuality, but rather, you have greater perspective, a keener sense of the truly important things of life.

      I love the transformation that you’re undergoing–I think it’s a huge milestone in a woman’s life–the ability to let go of the unimportant & superficial & embrace giving, loving, & focusing on what matters most.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to share–such lovely thoughts.

  4. Ellie
    on October 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm said:

    While I feel like no woman should be pressured to have a body type that she simply *doesn’t*, this post left a sour taste in my mouth.
    By saying something like,
    “they have to go to extreme measures to melt away any sign of hips or a butt (ie. any sign of being a woman). One model is quoted as saying: “It’s not exactly a woman’s shape, but it is high fashion.””
    You imply that having hips and butt “prove” that you are a woman… I’m naturally a size 0 or 00 (at 5’6) and although I do run a lot, I also eat a lot. I get teased and bothered a lot about my “bony” or “too small” frame and am told I’d be more attractive if I had boobs, hips, etc. No amount of peanut butter in the world will do it.
    When you say that society’s glorification of one type of body is “wrong” and having curves is “right” for a woman, you put down all women who are naturally thin or bony, and say they aren’t womanly enough or shouldn’t be acceptable or healthy body types.
    I did admire that you talked about how wrong it is, however, to go to any extremes to meet any type of standard… Just like no one should starve themselves to fit a size 0, I by no means should eat 3,000 calories a day to gain 10-15 pounds.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 7, 2013 at 3:52 am said:

      Ellie, thanks for your perspective. I wouldn’t take any teasing personal, as I can guarantee most people are envious of the fact that you don’t have to worry about your weight. Hips & boobs, butts, & thighs–these do not “make” a woman. That’s not the intention or point of my post. But rather, these things exist, and for most women, we *do* have curves. This a natural part of our body shape and to try and erase this, or get rid of it by whatever means possible (including over-exercising, eating disorders) in order to succumb to the societal ideal (which is, currently, YOUR body shape, I might point out), is not healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

      I firmly believe there is no “wrong” or “right” body type. The ideal to strive for is an appreciation for what you have and a healthy approach to feeding and caring for the marvelous body that is yours, whatever shape or size it may be.

      I apologize if in any way you were offended, but as I said before, my intention is not to set up a curvy woman as the ideal (just as I’m opposed to saying a thin, bony woman is the ideal), but rather to point out, that the great majority of women are pear shaped, apple shaped, whatever shaped, and this is not a bad thing.

      And I agree with you, you shouldn’t overeat to try to gain weight. That would be silly 😉

  5. Steph
    on June 24, 2013 at 9:04 am said:

    I have only just stumbled across this blog and it has been bookmarked already! I’m almost 21 and have always been sporty and active and lucky enough to always have had a slim-ish frame yet never appreciated it at the time of course, always having body hang ups especially about my tum! However this past year I unfortunately took ill with glandular fever which wiped me out. I was no longer able to exercise let alone get out of bed for a long time and so I started to worry about my figure and my fitness. My once toned body became flab and wobbly and it really got me down. On my road to recovery I looked into my diet and chose to become vegan, which has made me feel unbelievably better in so many different ways. I also found that the diet was so healthy I felt better in my body, and my body hang ups have gone. I accepted that I could no longer go to the gym until i’m fully recovered but in the meantime I am putting good healthy foods into my body and therefore I don’t worry so much about how I look anymore but how I feel and how my body feels! (which is so sluggish when I eat processed rubbishy foods in comparison to how glowing I feel when I eat vegan and plant-based!) That said, I have after putting on weight initially, returned to my slim-ish figure through no dieting and no exercise but through simple healthy eating I can maintain a healthy, natural size, as nature intended, not as the media promotes! 🙂

  6. Corine
    on May 5, 2013 at 2:52 am said:

    Yes I have gone through that. Many years ago I COULD NOT STAND the way my body looked, and strove to get rid of every curve. It was futile. And miserable. Now though, I have a very curvy body – and love it! 😀 I love that I am realistic now. That I take good care of myself and don’t go to any extremes. I have no weight goals or size goals. Only the goals to listen to my body – eat when hungry, stop when full – to take good care of myself and be kind to myself. It feels good to love myself. 🙂 If you’re still working on this, keep it up; you’re doing great! And I will also say that my husband also responds the way yours does. They LIKE the curves. God made us the way he did for good reasons. We will never find happiness in trying to be something that we aren’t, but will always find happiness in loving ourselves just the way we are.
    Corine 😀

  7. Louise
    on March 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm said:

    First off…ohh how I’ve missed u lady!! I dunno what happened..but life happened & I haven’t talked 2 u in a while! My apologies. And this whole body image…plagues me everyday! I’m not 22 anymore & I’ve got child bearing curves & hips, and a lot of times I’m ashamed that I’m not a twig shape like the rest of my friends who just had children & don’t look like it! I’ve struggled w body image forever! It’s def hard to tell yerself that yer beautiful when the whole world praises skinny. I know a lot of it stems from my childhood…my grandmother always said I was either too fat or too skinny…nothing in between =( Not a pity party, seriously…but I think that’s where it comes from. My mother worked a lot too, so she wasn’t home enough to teach my sisters the true def of beauty. I don’t want that for my girls….period! I try to re-iterate the word, “healthy,” & tell them that “fat” is a bad word they shouldn’t say. It’s def a hard subject to teach, let alone face yourself…but I am very proud that you are embracing your curves! And you are enjoying that peanut coconut sauce! I want to embrace my curves too…hoping I can embrace mine too sometime in the future! xoxo

  8. L.
    on February 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm said:

    Completely agree, but it must be said not everyone is fortunate (or in some respects, unfortunate) enough to be able to eat this way…If I did my arthritis would be full blown. I thank god for the raw diet and all it enables me to do.

  9. Gena
    on February 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm said:

    What a *wonderful* post, my friend. As you know, I have had my fair share of struggle, and I love to hear that you’re reaching such an honest, loving, and sane place with your body. I’m going to link to this on Facebook for NEDA week!

  10. Carolin
    on February 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm said:

    I loved this; am inspired by it and shared it. Beautifully stared…❤ C

  11. Cara
    on February 18, 2013 at 9:15 am said:

    This is so beautifully written. Thanks for creating a place where all women can, and should, come to feel among friends. I think it’s easy to read blogs and think “she has it easy / is so pretty / is naturally fit / whatever” and it’s important to see that we all bear the same struggles. Heck, people I meet in real life often misunderstand my commitment to healthy eating and exercise thinking it comes easy to me because I’m “naturally thin” and they’re shocked to learn the latter – that I’ve been obese for more of my life than not. It’s been a long process, but I’ve learned to love my body not only for what it looks like, but what it can do in the gym and every day just getting around, and now growing another human being.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 18, 2013 at 9:23 am said:

      “Thanks for creating a place where all women can, and should, come to feel among friends.”

      I’m honored that people visit this space, let alone have the courage & openness to share their struggles. Such a blessing, & I’m honored to be able to be a part of these kinds of discussions.

      It *is* a long process, isn’t it? For so much of my life I felt overweight, despite evidence to the contrary. It’s a complex process, this learning how to love your body in a way that is not vain, narcissistic or delusional. But I have hope for myself, & all others who struggle. It’s a process, it’s a process. That’s a great mantra. Thanks for sharing, Cara, so great to hear from you. (& hope the bun in the oven is doing well, too!)

  12. Leslie
    on February 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm said:

    Thank you for this post! I think all women need to hear/read this every once in a while. I had a baby almost 6months ago, and I have kept 10 pounds of baby weight that just won’t seem to come off, no matter how I try. I have had to change my mentality, too, a little bit, realizing that my post-baby body will never be what my pre-baby body was. And that’s okay. Being a mother is way more important, and definitely worth that sacrifice!

    I love your blog! It inspires me to be better! Love, Leslie

  13. Melanie
    on February 17, 2013 at 10:54 am said:

    I’m in the stage of life of fluctuating between each pregnancy. I never got back to pre-kid weight after each of my first 2 and that was hard for me. After having my 2nd, I looked almost 4-5 months pregnant most of the time until I got pregnant with my 3rd… Here I am 6 months pregnant and some people are just now surprised to hear that I’m even pregnant! (sigh.)

    Coincidentally, the healthy eating has helped me from gaining too much weight this pregnancy… I can see my face has thinned out (appropriately) and some tummy fat has been replaced with baby. So I can understand in that way why people are just now noticing I’m pregnant. :-p (And since the change is happening by just eating healthily and cutting out more junk, I’m not worried for the pregnancy or anything.)

    I’m trying to focus just on *healthy* eating and trusting that if I’m eating well, I’m nourishing the *inside* of my body, and the outside of my body will reflect my overall health (not just with being thinner or rounder, but pale/glowing, tired/energetic, etc). And if my inside is healthy, that is what really matters!

    We’re planning to have #3 and #4 closer together in age than our other kids, so I’m sure I’ll struggle again with not necessarily “getting my body back” between kids. I’m trying to accept that my body won’t necessarily go “back to normal” (or a new normal anyway) until after I’m done bearing children. In the meantime and after that, all I need to worry about is eating healthily and keeping my body active. Then however my body looks, I can just be happy with it.

    I also wanted to share with you a project some women have put together called Beauty Redefined. They have put together some billboards and have great info on their website, trying to encourage women to love their bodies and not be so focused on the scrawny, unhealthy stereotypes we’re told we are supposed to achieve.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 18, 2013 at 8:41 am said:

      Thank you, thank you for referring me to the beauty redefined website, Melanie! I checked it out & read a few articles–an amazing resource for women. I’ll be talking about this site & it’s mission in a future post, so thank you for leading me to it.

      Making healthy choices like nutritious food choices & getting proper physical activity are the most important things during the child bearing years. I was always anxious to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight after each baby, but that was in large part due to the fact that I always gained quite a bit of weight & never felt awesome during pregnancy. That said, in hindsight, & with a few more years on me, I can say that enjoying your children, enjoying life, being active & making healthy choices are so much more important than reaching an arbitrary weight or size. I think your attitude & approach is right on, & you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing.

  14. Dana
    on February 16, 2013 at 7:15 am said:

    Hi Janae- I can’t add anything unique at this point, but did want to say how glad I am that you are in a good place with yourself and your body. It IS a struggle to feel that way and I too beat myself up for that 2nd carrot muffin I didn’t really need. At only 5’2, it seems every lb immediately shows, and I’ve felt chubby even at 102 (10 lbs ago!), but I am trying to continue to focus on making healthy choices and not succumbing to calorie counting, measuring portions, etc like I have in the past. I’m trying to be okay with the few lbs I pick up in the winter, knowing they will disappear when the days allow for more outdoor exercise and lighter foods. It is a battle though and some days I get down because x pair of jeans doesn’t fit- that’s when I have to be careful not to overheat out of depression about how “big” I am. Crazy cycle, huh? Thanks for your posts; they also lift my spirits and give me something to ponder. I’m so glad that all is going well in TX. I look forward to hearing more about you and your beautiful family and how are they are doing in their new digs.

  15. Daisy
    on February 16, 2013 at 7:13 am said:

    Janae, this is such an important post of yours. I’m glad you are willing to be so open! I have not struggled as much with body image as others I’ve known, but I thankfully also haven’t quite held to high esteem many of the bodies that are presented to us as being what to work for. I do, however, have women in my life who struggle so much with this idea that they have to be a certain weight, a certain shape, have a certain look just to be “okay.” I’d love to be able to shake them, have them wake up to the truth that part of you knows:

    Your worth and lovability have absolutely nothing to do with your appearance!

    (Remember: Be in this world, not of it!)

    • Janae Wise
      on February 18, 2013 at 8:43 am said:

      Thank you Daisy for the important reminder–our worth as women have nothing to do with our appearance. That is definitely one thing I want to try & pass onto my girls.

  16. Ileana
    on February 16, 2013 at 6:46 am said:

    A very refreshing and well written article. Thank you.

  17. Sara
    on February 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm said:

    I love this! I’ve always had huge thighs. I was always the biggest when we were on the court together. But, through the years, I’ve come to love my body, in every stage it has gone through. Pregnancy, after baby, the ups and downs in between babies. I try not to let myself get obsessed with how much I weigh or what I look like. I’ve finally come to except that after almost 6 babies, my body will not go back to what it was Sophomore year. I’m a mom, and that means curves and saggy boobs. As long as my husband still thinks I have it, then I’m ok with that!
    Women are so hard on ourselves about everything. Not just looks. We are always comparing ourselves to our friends, family, bloggers, famous chicks. It’s not healthy. We all have our areas where we struggle with. If we could just put on the blinders and focus on loving ourselves and not worry about looks, weight, or whatever our weakness is; I think we would all be much happier.

  18. Beth
    on February 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm said:

    Thanks for this lovely post. It’s nice to see such a healthy view on body image.
    I did a Bible study last year called “Woman in the Mirror” that targets women with body image issues or eating disorders. It really made me take a look at some of my thought patterns. They also offer a “Truth Library” of Scripture verses about how we are made in God’s image.

  19. dani
    on February 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm said:

    Have you been reading gokaleo, and Matt Stone from 180degreehealth? I’m loving this trend away from dieting!
    It is so hard to strike a balance though, especially when you DO have some weight to lose.

  20. JL
    on February 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm said:

    Shall I open a can of worms? I made a decision a few years ago, a year after going vegan, to let go of years of dieting and maniac training for marathons and half-marathons and simply embrace a fuller, rounder body. Several sizes and 20+ pounds later I actually feel great about myself, fat back rolls and all. Society isn’t my problem anymore. It’s people in the vegan community who sell veganism as the path to skinny. Who make us non-skinny vegans question if we’re doing it wrong. Who pit “healthy” vegans against (perceived) “non-healthy” vegans. That’s where my issues lie at this time, today.

    As for you, dear? You rock. I’m so proud of where you are on your body journey. It’s beautiful. You’re beautiful.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 18, 2013 at 8:55 am said:

      JL: I applaud you for not allowing society to influence your mindset. However, most people (myself included) are entrenched in media (often against our will–think billboards, stores, advertisements, etc.), which skews & distorts (& outright photoshops reality out of existence) female identity. Real women are rarely ever represented in the media, & to say this has no affect on the average American woman, would be a denial of what’s really going on.

      That said, I agree with your annoyance with the vegans who market veganism as a path to skinny. I was introduced to veganism through the raw foods movement & Dr. McDougall. I can say I appreciate the fact that these two movements introduced me to plant-based eating, but through my experience & research, I realize now that many of the teachings in both these movements are a bit warped. if not downright dogmatic, which now, I find extremely off putting.

      I would love to discuss this issue in greater length in a future post, thank you for bringing up this point. And thank you for your kind compliment! ox

      • JL
        on February 18, 2013 at 9:44 am said:

        Oh, Janae, do not misunderstand me. I said “Society isn’t my problem ANYMORE.” I’m 47 and have struggled, as have many women, almost all of my life. My point was that after years of buying into the BS, I’m no longer a slave to societal expectations. It was a long, arduous process.

        • Janae Wise
          on February 18, 2013 at 9:49 am said:

          I see, that makes sense, thank you for clarifying. I know many women, once they have more perspective (usually in their 40’s & 50’s) *finally* come to terms with the beauty of their bodies. It’s a shame it takes us so long to get there! I’d like to somehow shorten the process if I could….:)

  21. SaraMM
    on February 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm said:

    I love your blog! I just found it two days ago and your life is so similar to mine. My husband just graduated law school in the spring. He started law school when we had our daughter. I worked full time while we got him through school. It was exhausting. Now we had to move from NC for work (not even in the legal world!) and I’m seriously missing our old state. And as you have said-all the loans to deal with!
    Anyway-this was a perfect post for today because I took my daughter out for vegan nachos earlier. To be healthy I had a green juice. I fought with myself about having a few of her nachos because I knew she wouldn’t finish them all. In the end I had them and thought to myself that 4 nachos were not the end of me but I always feel bad for putting myself through so much mental anguish over one unhealthy meal! It’s like one big head game.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm said:

      Hi Sara! Welcome. I’m so glad you decided to share some thoughts.

      Wow, can I relate to all that you’ve gone through. At least your husband has a job. Congrats finishing school, & bravo for supporting him.

      “It’s like one big head game.”
      Oh boy, it can be. But I know it doesn’t have to be. The thing is, these thoughts come, & it’s what we do with them that matters. Do we let them take us for a ride down that path of: “Oh you ate that, you’re going to get fat,” or “I shouldn’t be eating this, I’m so bad.” Once you listen to that thought, it’s too easy to get sucked into listening to that voice that tells you you’re not good enough. I really appreciate your thoughts Sara, & I’d love to talk more about some of the issues you & others have brought up in a future post.

      Again, welcome!


  22. April
    on February 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm said:

    It’s interesting you post this b/c I remember when I have read some of your weight loss posts in the past and just wondered why you were so fixated on losing so much weight when I thought not only did you look fine-you didn’t look like you *could* lose anything more! I know we are harder on ourselves and I know that we see things others can’t. I’m glad that you are happy in your skin right now. It’s a good place to be and a hard place to find. I am not there yet.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm said:

      “I know we are harder on ourselves and I know that we see things others can’t.”

      Here’s the truth about disordered eating behavior, when you’re in that mindset, no weight is ever “good enough.” When I had lost all of my baby weight & then some, I thought I needed to still lose more. You could see that I didn’t need to, & I’m sure others could as well, but when you’re dealing with warped perceptions, you’re right, you can’t see what others can.

      “I’m glad that you are happy in your skin right now. It’s a good place to be and a hard place to find. I am not there yet.”
      I don’t know if you ever “arrive.” But, I can say, it can get better. And it’s something that many women just have to consciously work at every day.

  23. Hannah Wetzel
    on February 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm said:

    Before my hubby and I married, I was a very small 7. A 7, in my family with our genetivs, is TINY. I was dancing 6 days a week and I barely ate because I was so busy. I really didn’t know much about nutrition at the time and, sadly, associated eating with being fat.

    My husband and I have been married almost 5 years now and we have three children.My weight has gone up and down a bit with each pregnancy and I am most definately not the toned jazz dancer I was 5 years ago. My body has succumed to its natural genetics and I have curves. It’s a struggle for me to be happy with it especially when women are bombarded constantly on what is the norm.

    A lot of things have been helping me recently overcome these feelings. First, my dear husband who truly does love ME and my curves and all he wants is for me to be happy and smile!

    Second is my little girl. I don’t want her picking herself apart over her figure. I want her to be happy. I dont’ want any of my children to feel like they aren’t good enough because they aren’t a super model so, for them, I have to change how I talk about myself and see myself.

    Third is nutrition. As a mother I no longer look at food as calories and weight loss/gain, I look at it for it’s nutrition and how we can all be strengthened by it. I love making simple, wholesome food for my family.

    And honestly, for me, it all comes down to the Lord. He gave me this wonderful body and with it I have had my beautiful children. It’s amazing! As a precious gift from Him, I need to care for it and love it. I can be ‘heavier’ but still be healthy and be curvier without being ‘fat’. Do you know what I mean?

    Curves are beautiful and so are you!

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm said:

      Thank you Hannah! I love your 3 points, I would love to share them in my follow up post to this, if you don’t mind.

  24. Joy
    on February 15, 2013 at 11:27 am said:

    Yes! One of the loveliest things about being in Puerto Rico has been looking at how the women here really embrace their curves. As a curvy girl, it makes me feel good to see women showing off their roundness rather than trying to look stick thin. At home, we’ve been trying to eat according to what makes us feel good, which turns out to be fewer starches and more vegetables. Less acidic food and more protein. I think that this intuitive approach to eating leads to a healthier life rather than a skinnier one. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm said:

      I too, feel better eating more vegetables. (And protein, too.)

      Isn’t it funny how other cultures, especially latin ones, are much more embracing towards curves? I’m not talking embracing obesity, but rather, the natural, curvy shape of a woman. In the U.S. our media has such a distorted perception of women’s bodies.

  25. lfwfv
    on February 15, 2013 at 11:02 am said:

    Ugh. so so so difficult. I agree, i don’t know why. My husband loves more weight, and more curves, and I love nothing more than seeing the numbers on the scale go lower and lower, and my muscles and even bones and tendons showing through. It’s so warped. I think it is about control…wanting to be in control of my appetite, my shape, my food. I really admire your healthy mindset Janae. Please keep sharing with us as i find it very encouraging.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm said:

      Yes! It totally is about control. & it’s a complex issue.

      Disordered eating is a spectrum, & women can be anywhere from “I’m not happy with my body,” to “I’m going to restrict my eating to be as thin as I can be.” This is an issue that I think I’ve struggled with all my life, & truthfully, as I’ve mentioned in other comments, something I think I’ve realized I may have to deal with for the rest of my life. I would like to open up more about it on the blog, & I am so glad to hear what you have to say, & what your experience is.

      I think the answer is in admitting the problem, creating a dialouge with people whom you love & trust (talking about it with Joseph has really helped), & working daily at it.

      THANK you for sharing–we’ll continue this discussion.

      • Lfwfv
        on February 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm said:

        Yes, my DH is my sanity pill. I worry constantly about ‘overeating’. Especially since breatfeeding and eating ridiculous amounts each day. I cry to him on days shen i feel bottomless and worry that my eating is gluttonous, and he laughs and tells me that overeating will lead to being overweight, and that since my body is on the low end of normal there is absolutely *no way* I am overeating. He speaks truth into my heart and mind. It is my job to be honest with him about my crazy food/body thoughts…to open them up to the light so he can help me see the craziness of them. I definitely agree that disordered eating is a spectrum and we will likely always struggle somewhat with irrational thoughts and tendencies to want to over-control our bodies and food. I just want to get enough of a handle on it to not pass this nuttiness on to my kiddos…:/

  26. bitt
    on February 15, 2013 at 10:25 am said:

    I like your attitude. I have always been a curvier girl and at times jealous of those who were not, because it seems a societal message that it’s not right. However now I have been losing weight due to illness and I really miss my curves (my boobs are too small!) and being able to eat rich things without repercussions. So much so that I think everyone should have your attitude. I would happily gain 10 pounds back to have more curves and be able to eat food without it hurting me.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm said:

      “I have always been a curvier girl and at times jealous of those who were not, because it seems a societal message that it’s not right.”

      Me too! I’ve been guilty at times of despising my pear-shaped body, but as I’ve gained a bit more weight (after essentially losing my curves), I’ve realized (my husband has helped me) how attractive it is to have hips.

      “be able to eat food without it hurting me.”

      Do you have Celiac?

  27. Deja
    on February 15, 2013 at 10:19 am said:

    Thank you for this, Janae. Beautifully written and so so true. I’m in the same place. Though I never got to size 4/6, I restricted and controlled like crazy to get where I was before I had this baby. Now that I’ve her, I just can’t go back there. I now consider it a sort of violence towards myself and my body. And I’m simply not willing to do it again. Instead, I’m working on doing what you’re talking about–responding to what I actually want to eat. And, oddly, I find that most of the time that guides me to health. I’m making choices that nourish me because I want to make them, which feels good and leads to a lot less backlash. Cheers to this post and love to you.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm said:

      Can I quote you in a follow up post? I love what you say: “I now consider it a sort of violence towards myself and my body. And I’m simply not willing to do it again.” Yes! I’ve never thought of it in quite that way, but yes, this type of behavior can definitely fit under the umbrella of violence towards oneself.

      It’s funny, I don’t know why us artistic types often are fraught with the inability to easily live balanced lives. We feel too much…our greatest assets & our greatest weakness, perhaps? For me these issues, are mostly a control thing, not just a “the media thinks I should be this way, so I’m going to starve myself” (although their bad influence doesn’t help).

      & I agree, eating more intuitively does make for less yo-yoing.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Deja.


      • Deja
        on February 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm said:

        You’re getting a great response here! And yes, maybe we are too passionate. Or too something anyway. You’re welcome to quote whatever you’d like.

  28. Ricki
    on February 15, 2013 at 10:13 am said:

    Good for you, Janae. I’ve struggled with weight my entire life, and still haven’t quite mastered “intuitive” eating (my intuition tend to tell me to eat way too much. . . !). 😉 I think the shift from looking the way society tells us, to feeling the way we feel best (and are healthy) is an important one, and one that we should all try to encourage. Glad to hear things are moving in a positive direction for you. And obviously, everything is relative–I’d feel incredibly tiny at a size 6/8, even though I’m not very tall!

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm said:

      Yes, it’s all relative isn’t it? When I easily fit into size 4 jeans, I *still* thought I should be skinnier! How messed up is that?

  29. Alissa N
    on February 15, 2013 at 10:03 am said:

    I totally struggle with this. I think I have a healthy approach to food, where I eat intuitively and try not to obsess. I have had times in my life when I obsessed too much, about what I could or couldn’t eat, and it’s not healthy for your brain or body to do that. I still have times though when I wish I had a “perfect” body, and sometimes slip into wanting to do the things that make me feel like I have control over things better (counting calories and obsessive exercise). I always recognize that this is unhealthy but wish I didn’t even have to feel like that. I agree that we need to change our view of beauty. And I need to work on self compassion and love for the body I have.

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 10:25 am said:

      Alissa, I could have *written* your comment.

      I agree completely with everything you’ve said, & have pretty much had similar thoughts & experiences. I do eat healthy foods, but due to my obsessive, guilt-prone nature, it’s easy for me to slip into wanting to control food & exercise to an unhealthy degree. This is part of the reason why I no longer weigh myself. The scale became a tool of control, & it wasn’t healthy. Same with exercise. I’ve realized I need to stop using the scale & exercise as a way to have uber control of my life. My goals is to learn how to have a healthy, non-attached view of food & eating, & a love of my beautiful body, without overexercising & obsessing about the numbers on a scale.

      “I always recognize that this is unhealthy but wish I didn’t even have to feel like that.”

      Me too! I *know* in my head that it’s unhealthy, & I hate that it even crosses my mind. One thing that helps me is realizing that it’s just something, for whatever reason, that I struggle with. It’s my weakness. No need to beat myself up about it. The biggest thing that helps me in getting over disordered thinking/eating behavior is love & communication. Talking with Joseph about my struggles, feeling & knowing of his unconditional love for me, these things help a lot.

      I’ve also realized it may be something I struggle with for the rest of my life (likely, since I think I’ve struggled with this since my pre-teenage years). Realizing that, helps me to have some perspective & realize I just need to take it day by day. It’s a much more complex issue than: “Just love yourself!” Many factors go into play when dealing with unhealthy body image/behaviors, & realizing that, is also helpful.

      Thanks for opening up, I appreciate you’re honesty.


  30. Lauren
    on February 15, 2013 at 9:45 am said:

    Yes, yes, yes! I am extremely supportive of this. I love that you’re listening to your body and embracing it for how it is, rejecting our culture’s oppressive standards. I’m starting a new blog (hopefully will debut NEDAwareness week) that will focus on this often! 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on February 15, 2013 at 9:57 am said:

      I love how say our culuture’s “oppressive” standards. Such a great way to define the unrealistic expectations that are set for women. And it doesn’t just apply to body image, either! Thanks, & good luck with your new blog. Send me the link when you’re ready, I’d love to see what you have to say.

      • Lauren
        on February 15, 2013 at 10:09 am said:

        Yes, I agree, it’s not just body image. Thanks for the wishes! I will definitely let you know when I’m up and writing! 🙂

      • Lauren
        on March 9, 2013 at 1:02 pm said:

        My blog is up now!