I think as women we can have what society says is the “perfect body” and still see things wrong with it. We hear the negative comments from other and tell ourselves that it’s only words but it still hurts. Welcome Ambassador Annie to the blog today as she discusses our struggles with body image.

There’s been a lot of talk recently among the Ambassadors about body size. Most of this stems from a comment about HLAW not having any 250lb Ambassadors and not representing women of all body shapes and sizes.

This comment got me fired up, not just because I’m protective of my tribe but because I was a 250lb Ambassador when this journey started. Even now I tip the scales at over 200lbs and I’m not the only Ambassador doing so.

The conversation that ensued behind the scenes with the Ambassadors really got me thinking.

We are featured on the site just as much as the next person, more so at times, and if we aren’t it’s not because of our bodies. It’s probably because we’re an all volunteer tribe and we haven’t had time to contribute.

Our journey as Ambassadors doesn’t belong to just us, it belongs to every Ambassador, Contributor and fan of Hike Like A Woman. As much as we pride ourselves on being selected into this sisterhood of wild women we welcome others with open arms, we encourage, we support, we strive, and all of it for Hike Like A Woman.

We don’t donate our time, ideas, stories, and personal failures for ourselves or for the benefit of our own agendas, we do it simply to grow, improve, and create an amazing place for women of the outdoors.

Not a single woman in our tribe has ever made me feel like less of a person, hiker, camper, etc., but the comment about us not having any 250lb Ambassadors did.

It made me wonder what was wrong with me or what was I doing wrong that caused me to be invisible to our audience?

Better yet, what’s wrong with people that they don’t see or hear the plus sized Ambassadors or Contributors?

I’ve spent many years on the trail in this body and this body has never been anyone’s idealistic form, surely never my own.

Many times I’ve been passed on the trail by another hiker going in another direction who just seemed eager to get away from the fat, sweaty girl on the trail.

Truthfully, I never really cared what they thought of me so why do I care so much about what one person’s critique?

Maybe I care because I value not only our tribe of wild women but Hike Like A Woman as well, everything that we put into it and everything it stands for.

Maybe I’m tired of feeling invisible or looked down upon because I don’t fit what most people think of when they think of an “outdoors woman”.

I honestly can not tell you why, I can only tell what it’s like to feel overlooked by so many while being made to feel awesome by a select few.

Perception could play a big part in it, how I perceive others to view me?

Lorna hit the nail on the head in her Summit Fit article, we are our own worst enemies.

We tend to judge others in more favorable light than we do ourselves.

She was also right that it’s time we quit judging ourselves so harshly, allow ourselves to just be what we are and being okay with that.

There’s nothing wrong with it and I think once we adopt this line of thinking the world can truly open up.

We can taste the freedom from judgment and push not only others but ourselves to goals of dizzying heights.

No, we don’t select our Ambassadors by photo or weigh-ins because we are looking beyond.

We are looking below the surface, beneath the fat, beneath the skin and instead looking at what is in women hearts and souls when they apply with us.

We are looking for experience or inexperience, for something genuine, for passion, selflessness, love and acceptance, none of which you will find in the folds of someone’s fat.

I can tell you 100% if you are looking at someone’s body size for the quality of person they are then you are not truly looking.

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15 comments on “Plus Sized Perception

  1. Annie, Well stated. These discussions are awesome and help each of us to be more aware. Learning from one another is what HLAW is about.

    • Thanks Davida! I love this community and what we are about, seen some weight hatin’ on FB earlier today, on another page, no need for it just someone being hateful. Makes me cringe!

  2. Thank you so much Annie for your thoughts and placing them in print. I am also a plus sized woman that is rounding the corner to being on this earth for 7 decades. Children are all grown up and husband is gone. This group has given me encouragement to keep up my hiking no matter what others are thinking and you article nailed it.

  3. I am very active and have been struggling with my weight since menopause. It’s true we are harder on ourselves than. others. Thia is a great article and. I keep telling myself how blessed I am to be able to do all these activities at 54 and hope to continue for another 30+ years. I appreciated the insight written in this article. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you! Menopause just makes everything harder it seems, but we are women, tough as nails so we keep trudging along.

  4. I love what you said. I didn’t see the original comment and the optimistic part of me wants to ask if maybe that person just saw strong women rather than a certain weight. …. But since (she) called it out I would guess she looked…. That being said, I am guilty of not realizing there were ambassadors and participants that are in my age and (adult aged) children bracket.
    I am so happy to know that getting out there resonates for so many. That getting out there is as important to ya’ll as it is to me. It is a bit of a relief (not the best wording) to know I am part of a multi faceted tribe.

    • I actually never saw it myself but I encourage people to take a look and explore everyone on the team, we have such an amazing Mish mash of women from all walks of life & skill sets. It’s even more amazing how all of us are so accepting of each other and pass zero judgement upon each other for our differences and it works perfect for the community we have. Everyone is capable of something, we all enjoy the outdoors and that’s what is important. So glad to have you with us in this crazy tribe of wild women!

  5. You are my new, most valued friend! Love, Love hiking with you!
    As for the struggles with body image, I sure know how that feels. This best thing that we, as strong women, can do is to love ourselves unconditionally.
    Love you laady! Looking forward to our next great adventure!

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