the “abs” situation

February 21st, 2012   |   Life

Okay. Remember this photo?

It’s caused a few waves and I want to do a little follow up. I’ve recently realized through reading and some offhand comments by friends that a few people have been impressed/surprised/envious of my abs.

And after a recent (very kind) post about them, I wanted to share my comment in response.

I hope it is helpful for others as well.

First of all, I will say that though I’m flattered that you like my abs, there are several things you should know about me and that photo before you berate yourself or set yourself up to look like “me” or any other ideal of yourself that you have in your head.

1. While I do have a strong core, I think it comes because I carry most of my weight in my butt. There is a reason you don’t see that in the photo! Lol.

2. It’s not that I’m some super human eating well; I eat burgers, craft beer, and all the rest as frequently as I like, I just don’t overeat (which I used to do). In fact, please go read these two posts:

My Struggle with Weight Part One

My Struggle with Weight Part Two

3. That is simply a good picture, taken in some mystical shade that highlighted my abs. I didn’t edit the photo to make myself look any different, but that shade definitely ended up making my abs look very defined. There are many other pictures we took in different lighting or times of day and they didn’t look that noticeable.

4. Though I used to run marathons and I still run and workout, I don’t do anything crazy. Right now I try to work out 3-4 days a week and I do some light lifting and 30 minutes of elliptical due to the weather outside being cold. But I don’t put any huge focus on my abs, that is just a perk of my body (perhaps to balance out the cellulite on my butt?).

Phew! I hope this helps and takes your mind off of too much criticism of your own body. I’ve fought with my body for nine years of my life and I want nothing more than to help others to find a place of peace with their own bodies.

Because not only is it more peaceful, real, and positive, it also gave me the body you see. I spent years struggling to “lose weight.” Then, after a lot of prayer, work, and dedication to not obsessing, I actually lost most of the weight I tried to lose for so long.

I love you.

Phew. And because I love you all as well, I’m going to share a not-so-ideal photo of me from the exact same trip, that for obvious (vain) reasons didn’t make the blog.

I laugh just looking at it. No makeup. No smile. No mystical shade highlighting my abs. No flattering angle.

Though both images are me, one just looks better. And the problem is if we all think that everyone looks like their best picture we see online, it’s easy to think we don’t measure up.

The truth is everyone is just trying to accept themselves – flaws and all.


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  • God bless you for posting this! AMEN sister! I am always sucking in my stomach in my photos (it does look better) and applaud your bravery on showing the real you. I’ve been wanting to do a similar post- only because people are always telling me how thin I am- when I have rolls just like everyone else. No one is perfect and we all need to accept that!

    People need to stop comparing themselves to other people and just celebrate their healthy body.
    Thank you so much for keeping it real!

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  • Big hug for this post Jess!

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  • what a fantastic refreshing post. I absolutely enjoyed reading this!!

    It’s actually my first time here, I just popped over from Flavia’s Flavors and the “ab” button on the sidebar caught my eye 🙂 I love your words here, I’m finally getting to the place where I’m not obsessing, not overeating, just focusing on health and peace with my body. It’s a wonderful feeling and I’m starting to embrace it.

    Going to look around some more now… 🙂 Nice to meet you!

  • What an honest post! I know I’m a little late to the party but I just stumbled across your blog and LOVE it! You’re beautiful inside and out…thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  • Thank you Jess, beside being inspiring in many levels you are real and that is what makes you so fresh!

  • Very true. We all struggle with bits and pieces of oursleves. Best thing is to accept oneself and make sure you make the most of what one’s got. Just keep it real!

  • esotericlove

    Wow! I just stumbled on these posts by you and I want to say they are exactly the motivation I was seeking. I love the way you express yourself so openly and honestly.

  • Amanda

    what a brave, honest, kind and generous post. thank you.

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  • laura gaffke

    Jess, Thank you so much for being yourself and sharing all that you do. You are truly an inspiration!

  • My pleasure! I’m happy to talk about those things that might help others.