In this day and age, the pressure to have a perfect body has never been higher for women. Instagram models, with their perfect bottoms and dimple-less thighs, have drastically changed the way women look at themselves and there are millions of young women (and girls) who feel insecure because of social media. But, for every airbrushed and FaceTuned model, there's an influencer like Sarah Nicole Landry. Landry is a mother of three and blog writer with over one million followers, who shows that any body is a bikini body and women should start loving themselves today.
Take us through your upbringing and how you became both a wife, as well as a mother of three kids, before turning 25.
I grew up in a really normal home with two parents and one sibling. It was a dream childhood and I was a good, average student. At 18-years-old, I got engaged and at 19 I was married. Then I had my babies, lived my 20's as a stay at home mom. At 30, I left that marriage, moved back in with Mom and Dad— this time with those 3 kids in tow for a complete restart on life.
What led you to start losing weight and how did you end up losing 100lbs?
I had a few "light bulb" moments in which I made the decision to start pursuing weight loss. I didn't have any money or education on how to do this, so I did what I could, with the information I had. I downloaded a calorie counting app and started working out daily. My weight loss wasn't all inherently bad, but it was a journey that detoured into a dangerous direction.
How was your confidence impacted by your weight loss and how did you go about accepting your body as it was?
It's interesting, because we're often sold this idea that weight loss = happiness. Isn't that the story we hear with almost every before and after photo on the internet? For me, I really believed it. I believed weight loss would equate to happiness in my body. Instead, it put my body on a performance track, and in front of thousands on social media, it was how I was fueling validation.
It turned obsessive, and disordered, which is sadly common. The secret many didn't know, and that I was having to face, is while I had thin privilege where people treated me better, and I could shop anywhere, I was crippled with anxiety, editing my photos and constantly unhappy with how imperfect my body was. I had to face my disordered eating, my obsessiveness around exercise and the need for my body to be thin and constantly validated.
I had to start loving myself for my whole being. I had to stop waiting for self love as a feeling and instead practice self love as an action. Which meant eating more food, exercising less, taking care of my mental health and gaining a bit of weight. Best part? This time when I say I'm happier than ever, I mean it.
What inspired you to create your blog and share your story on social media?
I started my blog in the pits of motherhood and I had a need to find something for myself outside of being a stay-at-home mom. I didn't recognize that what I was craving was human connection, but over the years I grew those connections and that community. It became a natural part of my life to share and became a huge part of my personal healing.
How have people online responded to your story and photos? Any instance in particular stick out to you?
I think through the act of growing self-awareness and the ability to write down my feelings, I began to connect those writings and moments into captions, accompanied with vulnerable photos. I began to realize that with all the things I felt alone in, there were literally hundreds of thousands of women saying "Hey, me too." I realized that the more I could share these shame secrets I held, whether it was around divorce, motherhood, my body or the human experience, the more I set myself free of them all the while connecting with a community who was ready to do the same.
What do you hope your children learn from you about self love and body acceptance?
To live beyond their bodies, no matter what they look like. No matter what size they are, they deserve respect and have worth. No matter what they look like, to go and exist in life, not just sit and wait for a destination. And of course, that self-love is an action word, rather than just a fleeting emotion.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Life ebbs and flows, so will your body. Keep showing up.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
I just hope they come and connect, maybe stay to chat and know that we're all here sharing in the experience of life. No matter what your struggles or your triumphs are, someone out there relates to you, and you are never alone. If there's one thing that social media has taught me, it's that community is there and ready for us, if we're ready to be a part of it.