4 x per year - never miss an issue!

subscribe today

official home of trailblazher magazine



inspiring gutsy lifestyles rooted in rural


Summer of Self Love


I can still remember my very first concert. I was seven years old sitting in the bleachers next to my mom at our local county fair when Christina Aguilera came on stage. Screams of excitement began, and I joined in singing “Genie in a Bottle” at the top of my lungs.

It was right then and there a dream in my heart was planted. When I grew up, I knew I wanted to be a star.

Every day, I’d enthusiastically sing into my hairbrush and put on the best hallway performance the west coast had ever seen. I sang while doing ranch chores, wrote song lyrics in my journal, and watched the Disney channel as if I was studying to audition for the lead role.

But there was just one problem… none of the characters I saw on my favorite TV shows looked like me. Neither did Christina Aguilera or any of the other stars plastered across magazines I’d flip through longingly, for that matter.

It didn’t take long for my big dream of being a star to become overshadowed by a new dream – lose weight by whatever means necessary. I was convinced that everything I wanted in life was on the other side of what the magazines referred to as the “perfect body.”

Woman in a white tee, mustard ankle length skirt and red scarf standing on a rock in the forest.

Like so many others, I grew up in a society heavily influenced by the media teaching us to view our bodies as problems to be solved. Headlines would say things like, “Lose inches!” or, “Melt away the cellulite!” or, “Get beach body ready!” while countless companies and fad diets were waiting in the wings eager to prey off women’s insecurities to sell a solution.

The heartbreaking truth? While sure, the media perpetuated the negative body image thoughts sprouting like weeds in my mind, the place I learned to feel shame about my body most was in my own home.

My family never talked poorly about my body. All it took was witnessing the way they spoke about their own bodies for me to start thinking bad about my own.

My story of lifelong body image struggles isn’t unique, unfortunately.

Research shows that approximately 53% of 13-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies, that number growing to an astounding 78% by the time they reach 17.

By adulthood, nearly 8 out of 10 women report withdrawing from activities due to their body image.

To make matters worse, research also shows that about 95% of diets fail and many dieters end up having eating disorders.

So where do we go from here?

Woman in mustard coloured blouse and jeans with a white coffee mug in her hand standing in front of a staircase

When I think about my nieces, the oldest of whom is the same age I was when I first started struggling with body image, I’m not willing to settle for passing on the same broken beliefs to the next generation.

I’ve made it my mission to empower women to kick fad-dieting to the curb, learn how to love themselves deeper, care for themselves better, and find joy in this messy, beautiful journey of life.

Summertime may be filled with exciting things like county fairs and pool parties, but from my own experience I know it can also be a triggering season for those who continue to struggle with body image.

A woman in a teal bathing suit sitting on the edge of a pool with her hands in the air, smiling.

But what if it didn’t have to be this way? Here are four tips to help you cultivate more body-confidence this summer.


Humans have around 60,000 thoughts each day, about 90% of which are repetitive. If a negative body image thought was planted in our head when we were young, it’s possible that the same thought remains all these years later.

Those of us in agriculture and rural communities know that things grow where energy flows. So, it’s time to stop watering the weeds (or negative thoughts).

Awareness of our thoughts is the first step to changing them. Before we can pull the weeds, we have to first notice they are there. A great tool for unpacking our known and subconscious body beliefs is through mindful journaling. By brain-dumping our thoughts on paper, we can separate ourselves from them for a more objective view on whether a thought is true, or simply feels true because we’ve believed it for so long.


In order to cultivate more self-love and body-confidence in our lives, we must also plant new stories and beliefs.

Sometimes that means shifting our focus from how our body looks all together. As twin sisters and body image PhDs Lindsay & Lexie Kite say, “Positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good; it’s knowing your body is good, regardless of how it looks.” Women need to see their “bodies as instruments rather than ornaments.”

Practicing gratitude can also be a helpful way to shift your perspective. Explore all the ways your body allows you to experience the world. What about your body, as it is right now, are you grateful for?


Rather than using diet and exercise as a means to punish or change our bodies, healing our relationships with our bodies is about tuning in, trusting ourselves, and honoring what they need.

Honoring your body can look like a variety of things. It may look like nourishing it with food that makes you feel good and you enjoy the taste of. It may look like making time for joyful movement, whether that’s a walk on a back road, a kitchen dance party, or a workout at the gym. Or, it may look like buying new clothes in a size that fits you better. Reminder: clothes are meant to fit you, not the other way around.

Only you know your body best. Instead of outsourcing your wisdom, try tuning in and asking yourself what you need instead.


When we get to the end of our lives, we won’t look back and think, “Thank goodness I skipped out on making memories in the pool with my family because I was too afraid of my cellulite being seen.”

(90% of women have cellulite, by the way! It’s very normal and worthy of being embraced.)

When we hide ourselves away, we let the negative self-talk win. By denying ourselves the permission to live a whole and vibrant life because of what our body looks like, we are perpetuating the very same false narrative that many of us were taught as children – only certain bodies deserve a life of joy and happiness.

woman in green jumpsuit raising her arms and smiling

Put on the bathing suit. Wear the tank top and shorts. Get in the pool.

It’s time to get off the sidelines and become the main character of your own life, regardless of what your body looks like.

Photography by: Hannah Dorn

Article from Summer 2023, Issue #11

More Related Articles

A woman in a teal bathing suit sitting on the edge of the pool smiling.

May 15, 2024

Keep Reading

next post

previous post

The Insider's Weekly newsletter drops every Thursday. All the exclusive content, special offers and lifestyle content you crave, none of the fluff. 

the club you didn't know you needed


© 2024 Trailblazher Co. All Rights Reserved.