My name is Shannon and I’m a size 10.

I recently had headshots taken (by the wonderful Kristen Dunlop Photography)to use for my business and they turned out beautifully! I shared them on Facebook and of course, my family and lovely friends flooded my wall with compliments and for the first time in my life I tried really hard to accept them. I tried not to minimize the beauty of my blue eyes or argue the effect my sincere smile had in lighting up my face. I tried to accept each compliment gracefully and to do my best to ignore the bits I usually dislike about myself in pictures.

In the world of fitness, being anything but a size 2 is oftentimes ignored. Fitness magazines encourage us to have Barbie doll proportions and to be sun-kissed all year round. Well, this body boasts a 34F bust, a 30 inch waist, and a complexion that requires 24/7×365 SPF 30. You will never see me in a fitness competition because the industry just isn’t ready for me to strut in a bikini, heels, and a spray tan. I have friends who do compete at this level and they are beautiful and wonderful, but they’re definitely not a size 10.

In one of my headshots, I’m wearing my power colour royal blue dress but as I look at it, I struggle to see beyond my own boobs. I’ve got curly hair and my hairdresser (thanks, Nadine) does a fabulous job with my highlights. I’ve got those beautiful blue eyes and strong arms. But I zoom right in on my ample bosom. A lot of people zoom in on my boobs, though. Last summer, my photo appeared in our local newspaper and a “gentleman” messaged me to comment on how “impressed” he was. I immediately assumed he was referring to my breasts. Was I supposed to feel flattered? Instead, I felt like hiding and camouflaging my chest from the world. (At this size, though, that’s pretty difficult to do.) It’s hard for me to find clothes that fit properly in most stores and it’s something I’m constantly aware of. But I’m fit and healthy. They’re cumbersome but it doesn’t stop me from doing burpees. They jiggle but I’m still out training for an upcoming 10k race.

This body has been pregnant 3 times and birthed 2 beautiful children. These boobs fed those children, too. Yes, I require an industrial-grade sports bra to contain my lady lumps when I go for a run, but this body is fit. It’s fit enough to run several 5k races each year. It’s fit enough to attend boxing bootcamp classes several times a week. It’s fit enough to inspire my children to run and workout and do yoga with me. It’s a size 10 and I am healthy.

Should I have waited until I toned up a bit more and lost a little weight to get professional photos done? Hell no! I work hard at my business and I work hard at my fitness. My education and experience say I have a valid role to play in the fitness industry, regardless of my size. I want people to see me and know that fitness comes in all shapes and sizes, and strength comes with a healthy state of mind, not a small bikini size. The strongest women I know are not size 2! They are mothers and career women and entrepreneurs who live real lives with real demands. If I had 8 hours a day to workout, I might fit that industry mould, too. I’m a mother and a wife, and a member of a community. I have people who count on me and my size is irrelevant.

I will continue to run and workout and make an effort to focus more attention on clean eating. My goal is health and fitness not a certain dress size or  weight on the scale (I don’t even own a scale!) I am proud of how far this body has carried me in life and I will graciously accept any compliments thrown my way;-)

 

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