We live in an exciting time. Now more than ever, women have had a chance to make themselves heard on all kinds of issues, with our bodies and womanhood being central to the conversation.
Self-care is a radical act, one that defies the thoughts and opinions of others and instead empowers the self. This year, women are openly loving their bodies for what they do for us and how they look without the fear of being judged by another. A slew of books released on this exact topic is indicative of a broader shift away from perfection and into an era of self-love, healing, and empowerment. Kelly Leveque, beloved nutritionist and health coach, released her book Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself From Food Drama Forever in June, model and body activist Ashley Graham's book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty & Power Really Look Like debuted in May, and The Honest Body Project: Real Stories and Untouched Portraits of Women & Motherhood comes out next week.
"When people take care of themselves, whether their body physically changes or not, their outlook on life is renewed. They are looking through a different lens because they decided to love themselves," said Leveque.
To top it off, the wellness Instagram world was abuzz with #bodylove after Adidas ambassador and SoulCycle instructor Jera Foster-Fell started a game of body positive "tag," in which she nominated fellow influencers and Instagram friends to share something they loved about themselves with the world and asked them to tag their friends to do the same.
To celebrate this progress and to keep the wave going strong, we asked real women from a variety of backgrounds with diverse bodies and life experience what they love about their physical beings, and why. Some are models, some are plus-size, some are average Josephinas, but they all have one thing in common: It wasn't easy to accept themselves as they were at first. Here's to the journey—may these women inspire gratitude and love for the bodies that carry us through life.