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9 Nov

honor your curves: my journey to loving my body.

HaleyNordPhotography-4035this is going to be a very real blog post. i’m going to start from the beginning and go in-depth because i know there are a lot of girls who need to hear it & have talked to me about it. i guess you could say this post has been a long time in the making. today, i am talking curves. and not just curves, but let’s talk body image.

growing up, i was always pretty slim. by 5th grade i was the tallest girl {5’5} and i was even the fastest {i won the one lap race around our track and it was my proudest moment ever as a runner}. soon, everyone caught up to my height {i haven’t grown an inch since} but i continued to be pretty active. i went to a private school in my hometown of las vegas throughout elementary & middle school and played on the basketball, volleyball, and softball teams. i always remember playing kickball and even basketball with the boys during lunch. my older brother was always super into sports, and i wanted to be just like him. {so there’s some quick background for my formative years. stay with me, i promise i’m going somewhere with this.}

fast forward to high school, when i began attending public school. i decided to pursue volleyball since most of my friends played that sport. i loved it. i was so into it that i even played on a traveling league team. it really helped me to fit in at my new school and it was just an overall fun experience. i started having problems with my shins and ankles, {in middle school i had fractured my ankle on a trampoline so i always had problems with it after that}. my freshmen year of high school i got shin splits so bad i was sticking both legs into buckets of ice after every practice/game and finally a doctor told me i needed to stop playing for a few weeks so the shin splits wouldn’t turn into stress fractures. then, my sophomore year i broke that same ankle while at an out-of-state tournament during a game. an opponent came down on my side of the net, i stepped on her foot, and bam. i heard a pop and crumbled to the floor. my coach carried me off the court and that marked the end of my volleyball career.

after i stopped playing sports, being active was no longer a big priority. i soon started driving and got a boyfriend and my high school social life took over. getting involved in student government took up most of my free time. this was the period in my life where i started gaining weight for the first time. i didn’t really realize i was gaining weight until my senior year. i was definitely the heaviest i had ever been at that point, but i wasn’t really concerned. i had girlfriends on both ends of the spectrum, some with my body type and others who were teeny tiny. looking back, i never felt too self-conscious about my weight at that time, which is a pretty great feat for a teenage girl. i was happy and content; i had a boyfriend, good guy friends, and a few really close girlfriends.

i moved to college and i actually lost weight my first semester of my freshmen year. this made me feel really good because all everyone talked about was the dreaded “freshmen fifteen.” i even remember wearing my super tight skinny jeans on New Year’s Eve and was pleased that they were loose around the waist.

it was at this point in my life where i really began to fluctuate. from this point on, my weight yo-yo’d, and it yo-yo’d hard. my boyfriend at the time left on an LDS mission for two years and i started to hang out with all single girls and suddenly we were eating cookie dough and ice cream at 2am in the dorms {typical, right?}. my sophomore year i went on a study abroad to Jerusalem and had one of the most life changing experiences that i cherish to this day. however, let’s just say that study abroad wasn’t the most conducive to a healthy lifestyle and i had no routine when it came to eating right and exercising. the cafeteria served a lot of carbs in the form of endless pita bread with nutella every meal, and i was so busy with our daily schedule that i felt i didn’t have time to exercise. living inside our facility didn’t provide much variety when it came to activities. all this was the perfect storm to make the pounds just start piling on. all said and done, i came back from that semester abroad forty pounds heavier. yes 4-0. in three and a half months. the jeans i brought with me literally didn’t fit by the time i left. nothing like this had ever happened to me before. i remember coming home and just feeling so self-conscious that i wore workout clothes most the time because that’s what fit best.

fortunately, after getting back to my routine, i lost a lot of that weight throughout the next year or so. {my body used to do this weird thing where i wasn’t very hungry much of the time in the cold months so i always knew i could count on winter to shed the pounds.} then, the summer before my senior year of college arrived. i went to live in New York City while interning at an ad agency in Manhattan. again, living in a different place created another serious struggle with developing a healthy eating and exercise routine. if you’ve ever been to NYC, then you know there’s a million good things to eat and when you’re there for a limited time, you feel you have to hit all the well-known spots. i came back from that summer having put on all the weight i had lost over the past year. robbie and i had started dating right before i left for NYC and i thought it was a miracle he was still attracted to me when i got home {sorta joking, sorta not}.

all these years i struggled with my weight, sometimes i was active, but most of the time i wasn’t. i would run the occasional 5K. i would be good about going to the gym once or twice a week, off and on. still, i was 21 years old and had stretch marks from so many weight gains and losses. i knew i had the body type that put on weight very quickly and very easily. i knew it had to end. i was never in love with my body at this point, i was always just okay with it. in college, it seemed like all the guys i knew went after the typical skinny blondes. the university i attended was already pretty hard to handle because of the academic pressure, but the dating scene was a whole other competition within itself. add a chubby girl into the mix and i felt like i hardly ever got asked out. it’s sad to think about now but i was just in a rut and i didn’t know how to break out of it.

{related: the in-betweeners – why every woman is not just either “regular size” or “plus size”}

to be 100% honest, robbie was the reason i finally snapped out of the yo-yo weight gains and losses. he always, always loved me for exactly who i was and whatever size i wore. to this day, whenever we talk about it, he says he didn’t really notice at the time when my weight fluctuated. {plus, ask anybody who’s known him for a while, he’s always had a thing for the curvy girls haha}. his love helped me feel 100% comfortable with him. now, that being said, he also really encouraged me to get active and eat healthy. robbie and his whole family are very active. he played junior college basketball in California and also ran cross country all throughout high school, his dad has completed six Ironman triathlons, his mom also competes triathlons and marathons, and his older sister is really into Crossfit. with robbie’s encouragement, i started to make a serious lifestyle change. we started out slow and began going running together. i absolutely hated it. i could barely run 1 mile and i complained the entire time. so many of those early runs ended in either tears or fights. just ask him, i was not having any of it and would get so mad when he would try to motivate me.

slowly but surely it got easier and i could hold a normal conversation while we ran without cursing at him. a few months into our marriage, i set a goal to be able to run three miles at our local park without stopping once. one saturday morning we set out and i did it! it felt so good to see that progress. {side note: that same summer, robbie actually bribed me to run every day for a month and told me if i did he would buy me a new handbag. BEST MOTIVATION EVER. i picked out a Kate Spade crocodile print hot pink cross-body.}

funny stories aside, robbie really helped me to love my curves. before him, i didn’t even know that there were guys who loved curves or that anyone thought they were attractive. i thought all guys wanted skinny girls that were a size 2. not true at all. there are so many guys out there who love thicker girls but i don’t think many single girls realize it, especially when they’re caught up in the superficial dating scene that exists in high school and into college. robbie loved my curves, which in turn helped me to love them myself.

{related: tropical curves – guest post with robbie)

today my habits still aren’t perfect, but i’ve accepted myself and that’s made all the difference. i swear i was born with the biggest sweet tooth and i don’t know if that will ever change, but i have developed self-control now. robbie and i eat pretty healthy throughout the week when we cook at home. eating out is always the tricky part and we seem to have struck a good balance. i understand how important it is to be active, even if i’m not always the best at it. i’ve gone through phases of lots of running, going to gym classes, or doing Kayla Itsinses workouts.

at the end of the day, being healthy is very important, but loving your body is even more important. it makes me so sad to see girls that hate on their bodies, no matter the size. all sizes are beautiful. being comfortable and confident in your own skin no matter your pant size is beautiful. i know i will never have a skinny body type. i know that like many girls my body has changed since i was a freshmen in high school. that’s natural. and i am 100% okay with that. i would much rather be curvy, healthy, and happy. judge yourself by how you feel, not by outside factors. for example, i buy clothes that fit; if i get to go down a size, great! if the item runs small and i have to size up, that doesn’t bother me either. i dress for my body, not to live by a number slapped onto a piece of clothing. what’s important to me is how i look in the mirror and how my clothes fit.

{related: five ways to feel confident with your curves}

today i’m proud to say that i’m in the best place i’ve ever been with my body. i’ve gone through quite the transformation over the past five years, and here’s a photo to show it. my stretch marks have faded to where they are hardly noticeable, i love my body, and i love my curves. even better, i love someone who loves my curves too! i can honestly say there isn’t a single part of my body i don’t like. some parts may need work, but there will always be room for improvement with anyone or anything.

if you’ve made if this far, thanks so much for reading my story. sorry for the novel, but i’m sharing this because i want you to know if you’re reading this that i think you’re beautiful, no matter the size. and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. if you don’t have a robbie in your life to love and celebrate every inch of your body, i want to be that person for you! there are also several other body positivity accounts you should follow that are very encouraging. the sexy Ashley Graham is such a girl boss and i love seeing her flaunt her curves all the time. Iskra Lawrence is another gorgeous curvy model who works with SELF magazine on the topic of body positivity and is always posting her full figure. Last, BodyPosiPanda is the cutest girl from the UK who used to struggle with an eating disorder but is now all about posting her soft tummy and thick thighs. she always posts these awesome dance videos called #donthatetheshake. the point is, there are plenty of girls out there like me who can be your cheerleader. feel free to message me at any time to chat about body image because i am more than happy to have this chat with anyone who needs it. i am in no way an expert, but let me be your support! i want you to love your body because every woman deserves to have that kind of love for herself.

#honoryourcurves

HaleyNordPhotography-4034 HaleyNordPhotography-3999 HaleyNordPhotography-4027 HaleyNordPhotography-4023 HaleyNordPhotography-4029 HaleyNordPhotography-4005 HaleyNordPhotography-4015 HaleyNordPhotography-4033 HaleyNordPhotography-4028HaleyNordPhotography-4018b HaleyNordPhotography-4020 HaleyNordPhotography-4007 HaleyNordPhotography-4012dress c/o: Sequin Sky
sunglasses c/o: Sequin Sky
clutch: GiGi New York
booties: Vince {on sale!}
necklace: Jilly Bean Jewelry
watch: Kate Spade
lips: Show Orchid

photos by Haley Nord