the “abs” situation

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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.

This Post Has 87 Comments

  1. Marguerite/@chicspace

    I love you for this post.

  2. Eva Mijes

    U are awesome and beautiful inside and out!

  3. Great post! I feel like with all the social media forums nowadays and people posting only the absolute best photos of themselves, it’s so nice to see a person keep it real!

  4. Ha! I noticed the abs and was impressed by them, I’ll admit. I always admire your sharing some of the difficult parts of your relationship with your body. No one is perfect, but it’s much easier to imagine that everyone else is perfect!

  5. jillian

    good for you girl! thanks for being so honest, its pretty rare to find that these days 🙂 xo

  6. Kristen

    This post is awesome, and you look amazing in both pictures!

  7. Melissa

    Thank you for being so honest and brave. I think we are all too hard on ourselves, picking out imperfections that others would never notice… and we forget about all the pictures that DON’T make it on blogs, facebook, etc. Your post is a reminder to love who we are… and remember all the beauty and good stuff in life (like the fact that you went on an amazing vacation with your bf!).

  8. You are SO awesome Jess! I admire your ability to put yourself out there and show us the real you, flaws and all. As women, we are all so hard on ourselves to try and achieve the ‘perfect’ body but it really comes down to loving yourself no matter what your shape and making the most of what you’ve got. Kudos to you xx

  9. Thanks for posting this Jess. Talk about keeping it real. Your honesty and open heart is appreciated.

  10. 🙂 You are amazing, Jess. I love this post, and I love how kind and honest you are, and how you’re always thinking about how to make us all better women. Thank you. And even though the 2nd picture might not be your ‘best’ picture, you still look incredible. Cheers to you!

  11. 🙂 this made me smile and is such an inspiration. You’re beautiful in both pictures. thanks for sharing.

  12. Melissa

    Way to be real! I’m the same way…one picture will be great and the next will be ick! It’s like that Seinfeld episode…sorry, my husband makes me watch like every episode. 🙂

  13. Tanja

    What an amazing post. It is so easy to look at peoples blogs, social networking and images that we all pic to put up of ourselves and it creates this image that we are all perfectly happy and have bodies like Heidi Klum. When in fact we are normal human beings with normal lives and we are all beautiful for it. I admire you for this post. So inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Nicole

    You are incredible! Thank you for being so real and not being afraid to put yourself out there, flaws and all! If only everybody were able to except their own flaws, this world would be a much happier place. 🙂

    I do have to admit though, you still look great in both photos!

    I am just now starting to accept my body for the way it is and have noticed that the less stress I put on myself to stay in shape, the easier it tends to be. I wish I would have known that from the start!

  15. Anja

    I really admire you for this post. I was a bit shocked when I saw the abs picture the first time, as I had not realized how you look that much before. MML is not showing a lot of photos of you and I don’t think it needs it as well. Your blog is not a fashion blog, but gives advice to people. Nonethertheless, wow for this post and thx. I guess some people really got freaked out by that first picture and for showing us how it all depends on so many other points was great. Still, be proud of that picture, I love it!!

  16. Anja

    I really admire you for this post. I was a bit shocked when I saw the abs picture the first time, as I had not realized how you look that much before. MML is not showing a lot of photos of you and I don’t think it needs it as well. Your blog is not a fashion blog, but gives advice to people. Nonethertheless, wow for this post and thx. I guess some people really got freaked out by that first picture and for showing us how it all depends on so many other points was great. Still, be proud of that picture, I love it!!

  17. Annie

    So grateful for bloggers and writers like you who are genuine and honest and up-front with their readers. That kind of authenticity is desperately needed in the online world, and while I come to your blog for all sorts of reasons (great practical tips on living intentionally, for one), it’s the authenticity, I think, that keeps me coming back. Thanks for being real!

  18. Annie

    So grateful for bloggers and writers like you who are genuine and honest and up-front with their readers. That kind of authenticity is desperately needed in the online world, and while I come to your blog for all sorts of reasons (great practical tips on living intentionally, for one), it’s the authenticity, I think, that keeps me coming back. Thanks for being real!

  19. lucy

    That is hilarious and brave and awesome. You gave me my first laugh of the day 😉

  20. Hurray! You ARE Human. Thanks for sharing and showing how beautiful you truly are.

  21. Susan

    Jess this is why I love reading your blog everyday! Your honesty as well as your humor and glass half full personality really shine through. This post definitely hits home for me and I really appreciate it! Thanks for being so honest, this is why I read!

  22. Susan

    Jess this is why I love reading your blog everyday! Your honesty as well as your humor and glass half full personality really shine through. This post definitely hits home for me and I really appreciate it! Thanks for being so honest, this is why I read!

  23. Thank you for your honesty, Jess. I think that you look fabulous in both pictures.

  24. Thanks for keeping it so real! I personally hadn’t really consciously paid attention to your abs (although they do look great!) but when reading this I realized that I HAD sub-consciously responded with much the same response that you describe. And it made me think about how I sometimes look at other blogs/bloggers and have a slight undercurrent of envy and feeling less-than (especially when feeling tired/vulnerable). Thanks again for putting things in perspective and the less flattering photo of you is still adorable as heck!

  25. Thanks for keeping it so real! I personally hadn’t really consciously paid attention to your abs (although they do look great!) but when reading this I realized that I HAD sub-consciously responded with much the same response that you describe. And it made me think about how I sometimes look at other blogs/bloggers and have a slight undercurrent of envy and feeling less-than (especially when feeling tired/vulnerable). Thanks again for putting things in perspective and the less flattering photo of you is still adorable as heck!

  26. This is so great. I saw the photo the other day, but then when I was going to click through and comment, it had disappeared!!!

    You are so brave and real and genuine and I LOVE it! Don’t ever change.

  27. This is so great. I saw the photo the other day, but then when I was going to click through and comment, it had disappeared!!!

    You are so brave and real and genuine and I LOVE it! Don’t ever change.

  28. blair

    bold of you to show your unflattering picture & quite refreshing 🙂 i enjoyed meeting you at business in the city!

  29. Jess, you are amazing. Of course you should love the “ab pictures” in your life, you worked for it! Being comfortable with your body is not easy, and even harder with the internets putting you under a magnifying lens. Thank you for keep it real, and being such an inspiration!
    xx

  30. Jess, you are amazing. Of course you should love the “ab pictures” in your life, you worked for it! Being comfortable with your body is not easy, and even harder with the internets putting you under a magnifying lens. Thank you for keep it real, and being such an inspiration!
    xx

  31. Ashley in NC

    I just found your website (via those gorgeous DIY Chevron canvases on Pinterest) and this blog post has made me a fan of yours for life! Go you!

  32. Edyta

    I love this post, I love that you are such a Real and genuine person 🙂

  33. Edyta

    I love this post, I love that you are such a Real and genuine person 🙂

  34. Beth

    You are amazing! I love how genuine you are. Thanks for sharing your real self with us… which is crazy beautiful, by the way. 🙂

  35. Sara

    I love this post, thank you for sharing it!
    You look cute in both photos.

  36. Sara

    I love this post, thank you for sharing it!
    You look cute in both photos.

  37. Jess

    Jess, how wonderful of you to share this post. It was an encouraging read, and shows you for the beautiful person you are 🙂

  38. Jess

    Jess, how wonderful of you to share this post. It was an encouraging read, and shows you for the beautiful person you are 🙂

  39. Love this Jess, and I also would add that everyone is just trying to put their best foot forward, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We just all need to temper our perception (especially online) with reality.

  40. Kelly

    I read this post right after I read your post on smurgging (which, if you read my comment on that post, I found highly relatable and inspiring). This post just took the high I was on from reading about smurgging and skyrocketed it. I woke up this morning obsessing over a minor failure from months ago that a weird dream made me remember. I knew I shouldn’t be worrying about it, but I couldn’t stop. It started making me think about everything in my life I considered a failure – including my health and lack of fitness. This post made me feel a lot better and inspired to keep moving forward in my journey to become healthier, both mentally and physically. Thank you for always inspiring me to make my every day life better in amazing ways : )

  41. Kelly

    I read this post right after I read your post on smurgging (which, if you read my comment on that post, I found highly relatable and inspiring). This post just took the high I was on from reading about smurgging and skyrocketed it. I woke up this morning obsessing over a minor failure from months ago that a weird dream made me remember. I knew I shouldn’t be worrying about it, but I couldn’t stop. It started making me think about everything in my life I considered a failure – including my health and lack of fitness. This post made me feel a lot better and inspired to keep moving forward in my journey to become healthier, both mentally and physically. Thank you for always inspiring me to make my every day life better in amazing ways : )

  42. Meaghan

    Hahaha, you are so awesome. I’m a new follower, and I’ve been so impressed. This post is a great example of authenticity on the internet, which you’re right, is certainly hard to come by. Also LOVING the Flea line, especially the tortoise shell bracelet. You’re unstoppable!

  43. Great post! You look beautiful in both pictures. Thanks for being so open, love your blog!

  44. Linda

    terrific post. and great idea for this series! i can not tell you how much it helps to see people actually being real…flaws and all. we all have them and for some reason we see our own flaws WAY more than any one else’s.
    you know how some people feel bad about themselves, so they put others down. this is the opposite! i love your approach of passing out self confidence to each reader who wants it.
    thank you!

  45. Linda

    terrific post. and great idea for this series! i can not tell you how much it helps to see people actually being real…flaws and all. we all have them and for some reason we see our own flaws WAY more than any one else’s.
    you know how some people feel bad about themselves, so they put others down. this is the opposite! i love your approach of passing out self confidence to each reader who wants it.
    thank you!

  46. Jess, I’ve been reading your blog from quite some time and loved it since the beginning. This post just shows how authentic, brave and honest you are. Great post!

  47. Lyda

    I love when people keep it real and you did just that with this post. I’ve never been to your blog before this morning, but I think I’ll keep coming back because of how genuine you are!

  48. Lyda

    I love when people keep it real and you did just that with this post. I’ve never been to your blog before this morning, but I think I’ll keep coming back because of how genuine you are!

  49. 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!

  50. Aggie

    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!

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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!

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. Amanda

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

  57. laura gaffke

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

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