“There is no age limit on feeling great about yourself”
Courtesy James Eickman/GW Burns Photography “For 28 years, I was a fitness instructor, but somewhere along the way of being a wife, mother, caretaker to my aging mom, and keeper of the books for our family business, I lost my mojo. I was exhausted, overweight, and feeling like less than a role model for the members who took my classes. The past two years have been an incredible journey. I have connected with women who inspire me and who have encouraged me to set goals and step outside of my comfort zone. This year I committed to the Team Fit Destination Photo Shoot in Sarasota, Florida. I followed our Team Fit workout and nutrition plan for 8 weeks and joined 40 other women down in Florida to celebrate our hard work in front of the camera. Our photographer, GW Burns, was amazing. He immediately put me at ease and I felt like a supermodel for the day! It was so empowering to transform from regular 49-year-old mom and grandma to almost a ‘pin up girl!’ This experience has changed me for the better. First it was about losing some weight, but then the journey evolved into being the best me I can be. I am healthier, fitter, and stronger than ever and best of all, comfortable in my own skin.” —Sarah Foster
“Healthy is beautiful”
Courtesy Shelly Ramoni “When I see this picture, it reminds me that today, at 47 years of age, I finally celebrate my body rather than punish, harm, and shame it. After years of struggling with bulimia and compulsive overexercise, in which I ran my body to the ground, I am now a healthy and strong woman who is no longer hiding, manipulating, and starving my body. On this day at the beach at a restorative retreat in Bali, there was a large group of women taking pictures of each other all celebrating our different ages, races, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes. Each of us had a moment to shine and be proud in front of the camera, truly celebrating our freedom in self acceptance.” —Shelly Ramoni. Here are the health benefits of being kind—to yourself, to others, to everyone.
“I love my curves”
courtesy @mybalancedplate Like many women, I’ve struggled with my body image most of my life. As a curvy Puerto Rican girl, I always saw myself as overweight and never thought of myself as attractive. Then I gained more than 100 pounds, thanks to PCOS and depression. I spent years not going to the pool or the beach because I refused to wear a bathing suit until I had ‘the right body.’ Now at the age of 38, I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I decided that I was no longer going to let what others thought of me hold me back from doing and wearing what I want. As an educator, mom of two young girls, and life coach, I realized that I can’t push others to be proud of the skin they’re in if I’m not willing to do the same. This picture is empowering because it is the first time in my entire life that I’ve tried on a bikini! And I fell in love! It’s empowering to be comfortable in my skin and know that I have no reason to hide or feel shame. What better way to empower others then by leading with my example of self love and acceptance? And by the way…I did buy the bikini and I can’t wait to wear it to the pool this summer!” —Esther Gonzalez Freeman. Check out the body-confidence tricks plus-size models use to feel gorgeous.