1. Tell us a little about yourself and what #loveyourself means to you.
My name is Jacqueline and I have always struggled with my weight. In 2012, my weight completely got out of hand and I found myself weighing over 500 pounds! It took getting stuck in a turnstile at my favorite place in the world, Disneyland to realize I needed to change and I was ready to change. I used to think losing weight would solve all of my problems. That once I lost weight, I would be happy, love myself and everything would be perfect. I was so wrong. As of today, I have lost over 300 pounds naturally by changing my diet and exercising. But something always felt “off”. Like something was missing. I had lost all of this weight and I was still struggling to love myself. When I looked in the mirror and saw the reflection staring back at me, I was still not happy. It was when I took a family vacation to Mexico and wore a bathing suit for the first time in a long time without a cover-up on and was actually pointed at and made fun of, that something clicked. What was missing was I did not love myself. I did not acknowledge all of the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that went into my transformation. I did not take time to tell myself how proud I was of myself for believing in me and never giving up. It was in that moment when I was being made fun of for my body, that I finally realized that self-love was what was missing. It was in that moment, where I felt so insecure, embarrassed and sad, that I found my own self-love. Those people did not know me, did not know what I had been through, and they did not know how hard I was working to love myself and change my life. They had no right to judge me and make fun of me and put me down…and neither did I. Self love means loving who you are. It means embracing who you are. It means always loving yourself and making the choices and decisions that are best for you. To me, it means never giving up on yourself and knowing that anything is possible if you work hard, never give up and always do your very best. It doesn’t matter what others say, it matters what we tell ourselves and what we think about ourselves. When we feed ourselves with love and kindness…anything is possible. Losing weight did not make me finally happy. Learning to love myself, that is where my true journey began.
2. Have you ever struggled with self love? Was there a time period or a single experience that made you question your personal worth, and what did you do to overcome that?
I have definitely struggled with self-love! When I was over 500 pounds I felt like the worst human on this earth. I felt hopeless, ugly and that no one would ever love me. How could they when I could not even love myself? I was constantly made fun of, out down and felt like I could never overcome this. I think that moment in Mexico was such a huge turning point for me. After losing over 300 pounds I am left with a lot of loose skin. Like a lot. I have gone through 5 major skin removal surgeries so far and still need at least 3-4 more. Not only was I put down for my weight, but even after I lost weight and was left with all of this loose skin, I was still made fun of and put down for my body. I think when I finally realized that this was my journey, my life, and people do not have the right to judge us, make fun of us and put us down, especially when they do not know our story and our journey and have not walked in our shoes, they have no right to judge us. I think reminding myself of this has definitely helped me overcome the negative thoughts and my own self-doubts. Sure we all have insecurities and things we wish we could change about our bodies and I think that's ok. The best way I overcome days and moments when I struggle with my own self-love is taking a deep breath and looking at the big picture. Reminding myself that life is a journey and why spend it hating ourselves. All we can ever do is our very best and at the end of the day, realizing that your best is always good enough helps me to overcome these days and moments. Remember this is your life, your journey, and even if we fall down, we still need to remember that self-love is what's going to help us stand up, dust ourselves off and keep going.
3. What is your favorite quote about self love?
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
4. We all love social media! But it can be hard to not get trapped in the ‘comparison game’ while scrolling through Instagram. How do you stay away from comparison, keep it real and love your life & yourself while being part of the Instagram world?
Such a good question. The comparison game! What helps me when I find that start comparing my life to others, especially on Instagram is reminding myself that for the most part, people are showing you their highlights. They are not showing you how they may be struggling, hurting, lonely, scared, and they definitely don’t show you how they also feel like they are not as good as someone else. We are all human. We all cry, bleed, get jealous, upset, sad….No ones life is perfect. Reminding myself of that helps and makes me take a step back from social media and remind myself that no one is perfect. I also find that if there is an account that always makes me feel bad about myself and makes me feel less worthy, or like my life is so bad…I unfollow them! Also, I think the number one thing is knowing that just because someone else has something, or is doing something, doesn’t to mean that you cannot have it or do it too! Be so busy watering your own grass, that you don’t have time to realize if someone else grass is greener! Comparison is the thief of joy, and what is life if we cannot find our own true joy! Remember we are all human!
5. What do you do for YOU? Whether it’s a daily thing or less often, what do you do to love yourself and make yourself a priority?
Something I do for me is I go to the gym. I know that sounds crazy but its true. I feel like I spend so much of my day helping others, that It can be hard to take some time for you and to help yourself. Life can get busy and stressful and it can demand a lot from us. So every day I set aside time right after work, that for 1 hour this is my time. I am focusing on me. Taking care of me and doing something I enjoy. I do not have to worry about anyone else, I just focus on me. I started taking a boxing class and let me just say, I am obsessed! I am not good at all, but taking 1 hour out of my day to try something new, and to do it just because I want to, is a good enough reason for me. I think setting time aside for you, where you can just recharge, refuel and spend some time with you is so important and it keeps me going!
FRIDAY FUN QUESTION! What is your favorite way to spend a Friday night?
My favorite way to spend a Friday night is to pick up some dinner, get into my pajamas and watch a movie up in bed with my fiancé Kevin! Maybe a little glass of wine too! We turn our phones off and just spend time together, eating food we did not have to cook and watching something funny! Seriously my favorite kind of Friday night!