My thoughts on body positivity

 

LuLaRoe button down dress

I guess because it’s summer time, we’re all wearing less and putting on bathing suits; I’m seeing a ton of posts about body positivity and embracing the squish. I am all for that and I think we need to see more posts like that but I don’t want us to get body positivity wrong. It’s trendy now to be like oh I’m body positive but then still hate your body for everything it isn’t. I can say this because I’ve spent the majority of my adult life hating my body and trying to make it smaller. I went on every fad diet there was hoping the next one would be the thing that would save me, that would make me feel worthy, that would help me fit in. On the surface it looks good, it looks as though I’m taking care of my body, something that is highly regarded in our culture. But internally I was abusing myself constantly. The measure of our health should not just a number on a scale but it should also include your mental status. Something we don’t talk about often enough is how we are feeling and what our mental health looks like. There is a huge stigma in our society around mental health. As long as you are fitting into the thin ideal that our society has, no one cares about how messed up you are on the inside.

LuLaRoe button down dress

For years I hated my body and I mean hated. I’m sad when I think back on just how much I loathed my thick legs and rolly belly. Even at my smallest, I still had thighs that touched and a roll in my stomach.  I spent years of my life so distracted by how I looked and so focused on how to make myself smaller. What diet could I go on next, how could I work out more and all the while I was distracted by these things, I wasn’t fully able to do the work I was called to do. I wasn’t fully present in my own life. As Brene Brown says, I was hustling for my worthiness.  Something I’ve learned over the last few years is that there is no weight limit on your worth. You can literally show up just as you are, no make up, hair a mess and your worth does not change. You can gain 30 lbs or lose 5 lbs and it does not change your worth because your worth is inherent.

LuLaRoe button down dress

Bopo has become pretty mainstream these days which means that we can get away from the root of the movement. The movement was started to help women in bigger bodies find a place to feel accepted. I think we get so focused on loving ourselves but I don’t think the opposite of body hate is body love. My sweet friend Amanda reminded me this week that it’s okay to not love every part of your body, you can just be neutral about it. The opposite of body hate isn’t body love, it’s actually body neutrality. And that’s where I am this summer. I’m going to wear shorts and tank tops and bathing suits. I don’t love my thighs or my back fat and that’s okay. This summer I’m trying to not feel any way about them. They are just there, kind of like my fingernails or eyelashes. I don’t spend hours of my day thinking about how my toes look and I shouldn’t spend hours of my day thinking about how my thighs looks either. I have been called to do important work and these thoughts don’t allow me to be fully present.

LuLaRoe button down dress

So I want to encourage this summer, put on your bathing suit or shorts or whatever and spend less time thinking about your body and more time thinking being present. Enjoying your kids at the pool, holding hands with your SO, walking confidently out in the world. I know I’m going to put on my super cute new bathing suit and think about my plans for world domination or how I’m going to grow my business and how I can bless the lives of others. Let me say it again in case you missed it the first time, your worth does not have a weight limit. You are allowed to exist in the world exactly how you are.

 

You are worthy and deeply loved,

xoxo

Tracy

 

Why I’m wearing white jeans and why you should too

You know those things that you can’t stop thinking about?

I’ll share in a minute why I’m wearing white jeans and why you should too but first…

The ones that plague your mind day and night. You can’t get them out of your mind so you just know you have to share?

 

Well this story is just that. I’ve had this post in mind now for….oh gosh, probably at least a year. Knowing I wanted to share this part of my story. Knowing that it needed to go out into the world but not sure how to put it all into words, not sure when the right time would be. I was talking about it in therapy the other day and my therapist said, you don’t have to have the perfect words, you just need to get your story out there. So on a whim I shared in my Facebook group my thoughts on why I’m wearing white denim and jean shorts and why you should too. You can watch the replay here

LuLaRoe Irma with white denim

Last weekend I bought a pair of jean shorts, it’s funny how a piece of clothing can have so much meaning. It’s just a garment but our society has put so much pressure on us as women to look a certain way so something as simple as buying a pair of shorts can feel like an act of rebellion. It may be an offhand comment like she shouldn’t be wearing that or I didn’t know that store carried sizes that big. Or a maybe it’s a celebrity gossip website or magazine talking about how much supposed weight a star has gained. Or and this one might be hard to swallow, maybe it’s blaming a sexual assault incident on the fact that the woman shouldn’t have dressed so provocatively.

We, or at least I, internalized those comments and thoughts and pretty soon I felt like I was unable to be truly free to wear what I wanted. Who remembers the Jessica Simpson mom jeans incident of 2009? If she isn’t free to wear what she wants then I certainly can’t wear it either. Welcome to my internal narrative. What a woman wears and how her body looks in a piece of clothing is no one’s business.

If a woman who is a size 24 wants to wear a pencil skirt, who are you to tell her she can’t? If a woman wants to wear a tight, low cut dress, we need to respect her choice. It’s no wonder with all of these images bombarding us that we have an internal fashion police.

When I put on shorts, I have thick thighs that rub together and you can see the cellulite on the back of my legs but y’all I live in the south and in the summer here it feels like we live on the surface of the sun. I refuse to go through another summer worried about how my legs look in shorts because it is too damn hot here for that. And I also bought tank tops because the only way to survive summer is to wear as little clothing as possible. And while we’re talking about it, let’s throw white jeans in the mix.

I’ve worn them for years because they literally go with everything. I’ve had so many women say to me but I can’t wear white jeans. Um why can’t you? It’s simple, you buy a pair and put them on. Well what if my cellulite shows through, well what if it does? Do you have cellulite? Yes, do most women?

Yes, so why are we trying to cover up something we all have? I have eyeballs too but you don’t see me covering them up or trying to deny their existence. It’s because society has put a negative connotation around certain body parts so that leads us to feel shame about it. Cellulite is only considered bad because society has given it that label. Look, I’m not saying it’s easy but I’ve fought hard over the last year to reframe my thoughts around my body. I’ve mentioned it in other posts but body image has been a struggle for me for as long as I remember. You can read about the first time someone called me fat here.

photos by @kellieblogs

So here’s the thing, do you want to wear a bikini this summer? Then do it. Do you want to wear a tank top? Then do it. Get on the white denim train me with y’all. I’ve been learning a lot lately about limiting beliefs. I think it’s essential that we stop limiting our clothing choices. If we allow ourselves freedom in the area of fashion, we will open ourselves up in other areas of our lives. We have got to stop living so small, allow yourself to take up space, allow your dreams to grow. Allow yourself to wear what you WANT to wear.

The only thing we should be asking ourselves when it comes to clothing is if we like it. If we like it then we should freaking wear it! It is more essential now that ever that we start standing up and challenging the status quo. We have important work to do, you matter and we need to start living like it.

So I’m going to start my own mini-rebellion by wearing white denim, jean shorts and tank tops. My cellulite will show and so will my back fat and you know what? I can’t freaking wait. Will you join me?

xoxo,

Tracy

Maria, Maria

Maria, Maria, she reminds me of a West Side Story…

Maria, why you gotta do me like that? That ain’t my baby, that ain’t my girl…

My Maria ohhhh Maria…girl I love you….

How do you solve a problem like Maria…..

Maria, you’ve got to see her…

Repeat 100 times and you’ll be caught up with me. 

I mean, how cute is she? I have to be honest, I was a little nervous after just seeing the stock photos that it would be too long or too tight around my stomach or catch on my butt.

But I’ve been dying to mix it up this winter so I figured it was worth a try. I’m learning to love every part of my body but there is still part of it that I don’t want to put on display. So I nervously put it on and immediately fell in love.

I personally love the length but if you’re nervous about it {I’m 5’5 for reference} you can belt it and blouse it over a little or try knotting it on the bottom. I’m always down for a good knot.

For size reference, I went with my Classic T size.

I added my favorite utility vest for an extra layer.

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez, LuLaRoe Maria

Mimi + Maria = perfection. The right amount of warmth and statement.

I love all of the different ways the Mimi can be styled.

I love this Joy with the leopard shoes. Don’t be afraid to throw several patterns together.

If you need more warmth pair it with a Sarah. Sarah’s always been, my homegirl. 

I think my favorite way to style the Maria though is with one of our denim jackets. Both the Harvey and the Jaxon pair so well with them. If you’re looking to shop our jackets, click here

photos by @kellieblogs

I can’t wait to see how you style Maria.

Interested in being styled by me? Click here: http://tracyvazquez.com/LuLaBox

As always I want you to know that you are worthy and deeply loved.

xoxo,

Tracy

 

My NYE look and why I’m not dieting in 2018

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez

Maybe I look glamorous on the internet but Y’all I promise in real life I’m not that fancy. Why I’m not dieting in 2018? We’ll get to that in a minute. The hubs and I really just like hanging out at the house, we’ve never been big on New Years.

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez

The most exciting New Years we had was the one when we got engaged (doesn’t that sound like a Friends episode title?). We will probably be asleep by 11 which is totally fine with me. That’s why I love having this blog and my social media platforms so that I can get all…

…fancy and play dress up.

This year’s Elegant collection was one for the books. You guys, I wanted every single piece. I love how this Elegant Sarah and Elegant Carly work together as pattern mixing.

Pattern mixing is a question I get a lot,I always recommend starting with something safe like stripes and florals and then branch out. You can also pattern mix with textures which is another great pattern mixing baby step.

The sequence in this Sarah adds texture and pairs well with the design of the Carly. Since there is a lot going on in my outfit, I just added a little pop of jewelry with my earrings.

If you want your outfit to make a statement, in a good way, pick one thing that you want to be the statement, either the outfit or the accessories. If you try to do both, you’ll end up like a Lisa Frank design gone wrong and that’s saying something.

Make the outfit the statement

In this case, I wanted to make the outfit the statement so I pulled back some on my jewelry. If I wanted to make the jewelry stand out, I would wear a more neutral outfit. You get the point. If you’re looking to shop for NYE or any special occasion you have coming up click here to view my shop

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez, LuLaRoe Elegant

So okay, if you’re a human on the planet you’ve probably seen a ton of posts this week.

About overdoing it during the holidays and vowing to change in the New Year. And for the last 10 years, that was me. Every single year I would go on a new plan or diet.

Convinced I had finally found the one that would save me but here’s the thing, diets never work. You can call it a lifestyle, you can claim it’s a newly discovered food allergy. (Um hello my gluten-free year) but at the end of the day, diets are liars.

For 10 years I looked to diets to save me, they were a false religion to me.

I believed that if I followed all of the diet rules I would finally find health, happiness, worth, contentment, the life I wanted. But like any idol we have in our lives. They leave us feeling empty and unsatisfied.

A few years ago, I threw up my hands after my last failed attempt and thought, “I can’t do this anymore”. I am tired of living by a set of rules I read in some, book!

My intuition

At the time I was under a lot of stress and was experiencing some minor health problems. Such as fatigue, chronic sinus infections, joint pain, brain fog, bathroom issues, and the list goes on. What I didn’t know then but I do now is that my intuition was trying to tell me to listen to my body.

“their only suggestion was to lose weight”

When finally, sitting down to write out all the symptoms I was having, filling it from front to back. I went to the doctor but all of my blood-work came back fine and their only suggestion was to lose weight…well okay then, fuck you. (I’ll be coming back to this whole weight shaming epidemic in an upcoming post)

I wanted to dig deeper though because that intuition kept nagging at me. My body was trying to tell me something. I had been putting off seeing a nutritionist about my health because I figured she would just tell me I was a horrible person for not being able to stick to a diet plan, lose weight and maintain it.

Reluctantly I made an appointment and to my surprise, she was kind, compassionate and life-giving.

She told me to allow myself foods that I had formerly forbidden. You guys, she told me to EAT CARBS and put real half and half in my coffee, if I wanted it. We added a whole list of vitamins to my daily routine and she told me to find time during the day to relax and be present.

She also recommended a book to me, I’m going to share it with you at the bottom of this post but please please please know it is not another diet. It’s about changing your relationship with food, your body and the way society views both of those.

More than anything the process for me has been about my mental health. I have had to fight so hard and am still fighting to get rid of my diet culture mindset.

In 2018

So in 2018, I am not going on a diet, I am not restricting sugar, I am not forcing myself to do crazy workouts. I am going to allow myself to enjoy my food, I am not going to judge what I am eating. I’m going to walk the dog and go to yoga and I am going to let myself be.

If nothing else after reading this post, I hope you know that limiting your carbs, counting your calories, avoiding sugar, only eating organic, and drinking green juice does not determine your worth.

You are allowed to listen to what your body is telling you.

You are allowed to enjoy a salad, not because you have to eat it but because you want to eat it.

You are also allowed to put half and half in your coffee.

You are allowed to be.

There are a million other things I want to say but I better save those for upcoming posts, my SEO counter is telling me I’m reaching my word limit. Be sure to scroll down for some resources that have helped me in my recovery.

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez, LuLaRoe Elegant
photos by @kellieblogs

Intuitive Eating II Katherine Andrew II The Body Love Society II Nutrition Matters Podcast II Food Psych Podcast

*I am not a doctor or a dietician or a mental health professional. This is only my personal experience. If you think you might be in a similar situation please seek professional help. The resources I linked are a great start but I highly recommend you reach out to someone who can help.

 

Thanks for reading.

Remember that you are worthy and deeply loved!

xoxo,

Tracy

Do you remember the first time someone called you fat?

Do you remember the first time someone called you fat or made you feel shame about your body?

I do. It was 5th grade, we were at a sleep over and I was the new kid. You should probably also know I was a new kid in a new country which makes being the new kid just that much harder. Not only do you have normal new kid anxiety but you are also dealing with a new culture, new expectations and new standards. I attended an English speaking school so thankfully there was no language barrier. We had just moved to Japan and I was finally invited to hang out with the popular girls.

There we were with our sleeping bags rolled out in a wagon wheel pattern. We laid on our stomachs, chins resting in our hands, giggling about boys we liked and teachers we hated. Then one of the girls said I’m going to ask a question and everyone has to answer truthfully. We all agreed. How much do you weigh? The girls started going around the circle and rattling off numbers. It got to me and I didn’t know mine because at that age, why would I know? Or care?

So they decided the only acceptable thing to do was to weigh me. They marched me upstairs to the bathroom and I got on the scale. There were a few other foreigners there but mostly Asian girls, they looked down at the number and started giggling and whispering to each other. Clueless, I looked down too only to realize that the number was significantly higher than all the numbers they had just minutes ago recited. In my mind I thought, Asians are built differently, smaller frame, more petite.

Americans are bigger boned by nature, women in my family especially were curvy. We’re just different, my mind said. The same way a chihuahua is made differently than a golden retriever. But it was too late, the damage had been done as I looked up and my eyes met their gaze. I felt a warmth come over me, it was the first time I felt shame over what my body looked like or what the number on the scale said. I wish I could say it was the last time but you know where this story is going because I am pretty sure you have a similar one.

LuLaRoe Shirley, LuLaRoe Lola, LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez

I think that deep down I’ve always wanted to love myself, always inherently knew I had worth and value but other people, society, lack of extended sizes at stores, made me internalize that who I was wasn’t acceptable. That if I didn’t shrink my size, I wouldn’t matter because they didn’t make clothes for those people. Remember when designer jeans first became a big thing? I tried on the biggest size they had in 7 for all Mankind jeans and they barely zipped up.

I though to myself, I better not gain any weight or better yet, I should lose weight. If I don’t fit in these jeans, I won’t fit in. For years I put myself on crazy restrictive diets and over exercised to make my body into what I thought society wanted. I internalized the idea that clothing at the stores only went up to a size 12 therefore I must maintain that size 12 or force myself to get down to a size 10.

When in reality, I was doing damage to my body by not allowing it carbs, only drinking green juice, only allowing xxx amount of calories, despite being exhausted forcing myself to get up and run 3 miles before school all under the guise of “being healthy”. It took a huge life change, ahem quitting a steady paycheck, infertility issues and just general life dissatisfaction for me to finally turn inward and ask my body what it wanted.

It’s a process, it’s a journey, I’m still learning how to hear my body and allow what I denied myself for so many years. Slowly I’m learning that who I am and who I am becoming is who I was suppose to be all along.

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez, LuLaRoe Shirley, LuLaRoe Lolashout out to @kellieblogs for always making me feel like a champion

In my post Beauty and the {Instagram} Beast I talked about cleaning up your social media feeds, unfollowing anyone who makes you feel less than, not enough, unacceptable. For me that meant unfollowing some of my favorite celebrities, Busy Phillips, I love you girlfriend but I cannot hear about your Whole 30 or your Lekfit workouts for one more day. And then a huge second step to that is start following people who make you feel good about yourself.

Maybe they don’t look like you and that’s okay. Here is the thing, when you stop focusing on yourself and how you should look, you can start looking at and appreciating other people. Just like animals, people come in all shapes and sizes. You wouldn’t ask a dog to become a monkey just like you wouldn’t ask a tall person to be shorter. I have found through this process a whole new community of women who love who they are and rock their confidence.

Brené Brown in her book, Braving the Wilderness says this:

“But I’ve discovered something wonderful, the steps between the city gates and the wilderness are the loneliest. Where safety is in the rear-view mirror, new territory remains to be seen, and the path out to the unknown seems empty. But put one foot in front of the other enough times, stay the course enough to actually tunnel into the wilderness and you’ll be shocked how many people already live there. Thriving, dancing, creating, celebrating, becoming. It is not a barren wasteland. It is not void of flourishing, The wilderness is where all the creatives, prophets and system buckers and risk takers have always been, thriving. The walk out there is hard but the authenticity out there is life.”

I share these deeply personal and deeply vulnerable things with you not to solicit praise or fish for compliments but to let you know that I struggle too. Not to take anything away from the original intent of #metoo but I think there are so many of us that are struggling with our bodies in silence. If we bring light to those dark places, it loses it’s power. So if you’d like to reach out, I’m here. I’m happy to talk, cry, laugh, whatever you need.

More than anything I want you to know that you are worthy and deeply loved.

xoxo,

Tracy

 

Beauty and the Instagram Beast

LuLaRoe Lola by Tracy Vazquez

LuLaRoe Lola by Tracy Vazquez

Beauty and the Instagram Beast

I alluded to this post last week on my Instagram stories but I wanted to flesh out the conversation I started there. We’ll get into Beauty and the “Instagram” Beast but…The premise is this: when bloggers recommend other bloggers to follow I’ve noticed something. They all look the same. I don’t want to shame a certain body type because there is nothing wrong with being a size 2 or a size 20. Let’s just say the women they recommend to follow all look the same.

Don’t get me wrong, their outfits are cute and their style is great but my problem is with the lack of diversity, the lack of representation, the lack of different body types. We’ve all bemoaned the changes in Instagram and I don’t want to beat a dead horse but I will say this before leaving it be.

When I started my Instagram account it was literally me in front of a mirror with a head tilt with horrible lighting photographing what I was going to wear that day. As the years have gone on my photography has gotten better, I’d like to think my style has improved {thank you LuLaRoe} and I understand the importance of good lighting.

However, I want you to know that I have tried to say true to what drew me to this community in the first place. And that is this, women lifting up other women. Everyone says the internet is a mean and scary place but honestly I’ve found it to be a wonderful and empowering place.

LuLaRoe Lola by Tracy Vazquez

So, you might be wondering if I was drawn to the empowerment what’s my beef with the follow Fridays? Doesn’t one woman lifting up another one also empower? Yes, yes it does but my problem is with what we consider to be follow worthy. Why are the other women you recommend essentially a carbon copy of you?

What about those who aren’t thin, with long perfectly curled hair? What about those of us who don’t have a wardrobe entirely from Nordstrom? I’m not envious, okay maybe I do dream about going into Nordy and pointing at stuff and saying wrap it up but I digress.

My intention is not to shame anyone for looking a certain way but to challenge you to take a look at who you follow and how that affects the way you feel about yourself.

LuLaRoe Lola by Tracy Vazquez

I guess my point is this, if you are constantly surrounding yourself with a certain ideal of beauty, you internalize it as what is acceptable. You think, if I want to be popular, beautiful, accepted {insert your insecurity here} I have to look like this. {um hello flashback to middle school} I can tell you from personal experience that I spent the better part of my 20s trying to make my body look thinner than it was meant to be.

Trying to make my body look like what was portrayed in media, on TV, on social media. Going on all kinds of crazy crash diets and cleanses, working out constantly, obsessing over calorie until finally I had enough. No more I decided, it was too exhausting trying to fit into someone else’s standard of beauty, acceptance, worthiness {insert your insecurity here}.

I was going to love myself and accept who I was, rolls, bumps and all. I threw out all of my diet books, threw away clothes that didn’t make me feel good and cleaned out my social media. If someone’s account was triggering me to compare myself to them, I unfollowed. {insert sanity} I even went a step further though and I started following people who didn’t look like me. Some were women in bodies larger than mine, others were a different race, and others just had a totally different style than mine.

When it comes to social media, you have control over what you consume. If it’s not building you up, don’t allow it but then don’t stop there. Go one step further, follow someone who is different than you. Someone who makes you think wow, she is beautiful but so am I. As for me and my Target boots, we’re loving the beauty diversity we’re seeing in our IG feed.

LuLaRoe Lola by Tracy Vazquez
photos by @kellieblogs

I’ll end with this quote by the fabulous Sophia Bush but I’d love to hear who you choose to follow in the comments.

Support each other. Whether that’s girls who tend to dress in menswear or girls who love to show off their bodies or girls who are fully covered and wearing a hijab. Love on women. Love on them and tell them they are beautiful. Tell them that their style is sick, even if it’s different from your own. I can’t wait to be eighty and be like Iris Apfel meets Georgia O’Keeffe. I’m gonna be such a silver-haired old lady wearing crazy shit out in the desert collecting bones and painting them.” -Sophia Bush

Remember, you are worthy and you are loved just the way you are.

xoxo,

Tracy

P.S. Let’s have fun styling you, go to: http://tracyvazquez.com/personalstyling/ and check out what we offer.