About the interview: Throughout my life, my older sister Callie has always been a role model to me in a lot of ways. And when it comes to her body, Callie has always had a certain confidence that I really admire. I can’t think of a time where Callie has not rocked her body and size, no matter what weight she was at. Callie and I are currently roommates in an apartment in Chicago, and over the past year we’ve both made some serious changes to our lifestyles and fitness routines to better our health, which she talks about in our interview. In addition to that, she’s got some great insight on finding confidence and self love. Check it all out in our full interview below!
CC: What’s YOUR body image story?
Callie: I’ve honestly been pretty comfortable and confident in my body since I was young. I’ve always been kind of in the middle ground (never the skinniest, or most muscular) but always felt comfortable with my shape and actually have liked it most of the time! I was never the girl who carefully chose what I ate or worked out everyday. I pretty much eat whatever I want and workout when I’m feeling inspired (which is sporadic at best), but it’s something that people in my life have always loved about me; I’m just me, take it or leave it. I’ve definitely gone through some weight fluctuations throughout my life, I got much curvier in college and then dropped some weight after college but have stayed pretty steady (probably thanks to having a little bit of height) and most of my friends and family don’t take a ton of notice because these changes have never been super drastic. It’s been pretty recently (over the last year or so) that I’ve really started to think more about my health/lifestyle and body because I just was not feeling as confident or good about my body as I used to. This really peaked these last few months. I put on some weight, and while most of my friends and family haven’t really noticed (even when I’ve probed) I started to notice some little things…. My clothes were a little tighter than I prefer, I was a little more sluggish and tired than usual and I just felt bigger than I’ve ever been, and this was not the normal fluctuation that I was used to. I started thinking it was just one of my normal little gains but I think part of it is (sadly) that I’m getting older, so it’s more important than ever that I’m conscientious of my health habits because they have way more of an impact on my body now than when I was 20. This is COMPLETELY overwhelming to me because I’ve always been someone that if I wanted to lose 5 pounds, I could do it pretty easily and I never really had to have a “plan” or think about my habits too hard but I knew that I had to commit to making a major change if I wanted to see results this time. Living with Kenzie, I saw the healthy choices she was making and her transformation, and finally had the thought “if she can do it, so can I!” The gym that I was inconsistently going to near my work was doing a “6 week challenge” starting in February with meal plans & workout incentives and, after some consideration, I signed up! This was the kickstart to my lifestyle change… I followed the meal plan pretty closely and was working out 4-5 times per week and believe it or not… I was seeing results! I ended up losing 11 pounds in 6 weeks and felt AMAZING. I fit into clothes that hadn’t fit me for the last year and could see a huge difference in my body and my energy levels. I’ve continued making healthy choices, working out regularly and holding myself accountable and I feel better than ever! It’s been so motivating and just makes me want to keep going!
CC: Why is body image/self love/self acceptance important to you?
Callie: Self acceptance and self love are so important to me because I have always been one of those girls who never let my body image get me down. Of course, I’ve had my insecurities, like anyone else, but overall I think I’ve maintained a pretty positive attitude about my body and I’m really proud of that! I think it’s helped me to accept that I will never be the “tiny” girl of the group, I’m just me and there are a lot of things to love about my body!
CC: What has been your biggest body image struggle (or one you’ve witnessed)?
Callie: One struggle I’ve had (that I’m just starting to realize) is that whenever I’ve gone on a workout kick in the past, it’s been just to lose weight, look better, fit into my tight jeans—but never for my own health and wellness. I think it’s important to focus on how working out makes you feel physically and mentally and finding the workout that makes you feel at your best. From witnessing friends and family go through body transformations, that is the ONLY way I’ve seen it work. They find something that inspires them like yoga, Shred415, Orange Theory, Pure Barre or whatever and just make it a part of their routine. That’s something that has always overwhelmed me because I’ve just never been a workout junkie and I never thought I would be. I am, by no means, the person in class lifting the heaviest weights or running the fastest, but I’ve found myself craving workouts. I think it’s important to find a workout that is the best fit for YOU. I’ve found that Shred415 has really been a saving grace for me because it’s a mix of running, lifting and aerobics and the atmosphere is extremely welcoming. In the past, I would have to force myself to get to the gym and only went because I felt like I should… I truly think it’s about finding the workout and atmosphere that makes you feel good and keeps you coming back!
CC: What’s one thing you’d say to your younger, middle school aged self if you could go back? Or to younger girls today?
Callie: I would say that there is not ONE beautiful. I think in middle school/high school, girls are just so hyper focused on following the latest trends, being the prettiest, and having the best body… but what the hell does that even mean?? All the women in my life have completely different bodies; some are curvy, while others are athletic and muscular, while others are tall and thin– and I think they’re all beautiful in their own way! As you get older, you learn that everyone is SO different and that’s what makes the world go round.
CC: What do you do to love your body?
Callie: I surround myself with people who not only accept me but lift me up. My friends and family have always supported and encouraged me whether it’s through a compliment about my outfit or pushing me to run a marathon, their support gives me so much confidence and their love helps me to love my body. I’ve also continued to play volleyball into adulthood which I really think has helped me to see that even though I’m not in the athletic shape I was in high school… I still got it! That makes me proud of my body and the skills I possess. Another thing that I do to love my body (that I think can be good and bad) is listen to my body. I’m not a natural born runner but I’ve pushed myself in some long distance races. In training and the races, I did what my body was capable of. I never pressured myself to get a certain time or do something my body couldn’t handle. I listen to my body– some days I feel like I could run a half marathon and other days I can barely run a mile, but that’s okay, my body deserves a break sometimes!