It started with a bunch of “If/Thens”...
First in 2010--
If I can lose the 75 pounds I’ve gained after Scott died, then I’ll be beautiful.
Then in 2011--
If I can keep this weight off, then I’ll be desirable.
If I become a runner, then I'll finally lose the 20 pounds I need to lose in order to be happy.
If I can run a marathon, then I'll finally have a runner's body.
If I can break 2 hours in a half marathon, then I'll feel proud of my body.
OK. IF I can break 4 hours in the marathon, THEN I will finally be able to look in the mirror and love what I see.
OK. OK. IF I can qualify for the Boston Marathon, THEN I will finally feel confident enough to run in my sports bra.
Two months into that goal, it hit me. I developed a nasty habit of assessing my weight while I got dressed to run. I’d stand in front of my mirror wearing shorts and a sports bra, look at my reflection, and feel defeated because I wasn’t developing what I thought a strong runner’s body should look like. I was working harder than I’d ever worked in my life, but I didn’t think I looked the part.
Summer was in full swing. I didn't own a decent pair of shorts that wouldn't rub my thighs raw and the capris + shirt combo was killing me slowly. I wanted to ditch my shirt but I was too insecure about my body to run only in my sports bra.
But one hellishly hot and humid summer Saturday, I finally gave in. A mile into my long run, I finally found the courage to ditch my shirt. If I was strong enough to run 15 miles, I was strong enough to run in my sports bra.
I proceeded to run the next 14 miles on high alert, convinced that someone would tell me that I was too fat to be running in a sports bra.
No one said anything.
After I finished, I realized that if I was this insecure about running in my sports bra, I probably wasn’t alone. So I shared the video from my vlog on Instagram using the hasthag #SportsBraSquad and encouraged other women to join me; to ditch their insecurities along with their shirts and show the world what strength actually looks like.
The day I joined the #SportsBraSquad changed my life. Despite the fact that I had successfully lost over 75 pounds, adopted a healthy lifestyle, became a runner and 3 hour 41 minute marathoner, I didn’t realize how often I would body shame myself until I started running in my sports bra.
But can you blame me?
We've been conditioned to believe that our bodies aren't good enough, strong enough, or thin enough. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, the body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. 5%! And in a badass campaign called The 67% Project, Refinery29 found that, “Most American women are plus-size, but they make up less than 2% of the images we see."
One of the most effective ways to change the way we see and feel about our bodies is to experience what they're capable of. The #SportsBraSquad is about facing our own worst inner critics, being seen, and supporting one another in our athletic pursuits.
The truth is, the larger a woman is, the more likely she's going to be labeled as lazy, unhealthy, and whether or not you want to admit it, ugly.
And it’s bullshit.
It isn’t easy to learn to love the rolls, cellulite, love handles, and stretch marks that you’ve spent years ashamed of.
But that’s the best part about being a runner!
You know how hard you work and I can almost guarantee that most of us aren’t running towards a goal weight. We’re running for our lives. For peace of mind. And because we love the feeling we get when we push our limits and make our own impossible goals, possible.
Running is empowering. It's a way for people who don't like being active to set a goal that will show them that anything is possible if you're willing to work for it. That health and strength is infinitely more rewarding and motivating than trying to hit a certain number on a scale.
But despite the fact that we're all working as hard as we can to be the strongest versions of ourselves possible, so many of us still fail to look in the mirror and see our bodies for what they are, STRONG.
Mark your calendars because Oiselle has made Saturday June 24th GLOBAL #SPORTSBRASQUAD DAY.
That’s right, to combat the barrage of toxic “bikini body” articles that pop up every summer like zits before a first date, women around the world are coming together to show the world that strength comes in all different shapes and sizes. And because we know running in your sports bra can be intimidating and terrifying, we're here to help you find a #SportsBraSquad meetup near you!
Can you join global #SportsBraSquad day solo? OF COURSE! Snap a photo and share why you're running with the #SportsBraSquad hashtag!
Want to run with a #BadAssLadyGang?!?! DO THAT! Assemble your squad!
For more information on how to join a meetup in your area, stay tuned! We’re hard at work curating the list of meetups and event pages as we speak. They will be listed both here and on the Oiselle blog as they are organized. I'll be hosting the run here in NYC so if you're in the area, come join me!
TitleNine Colorado Springs (9am 210 N Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
New York City! (with me!!!!)