this post is very near and dear to me. i first shared the complete story of my self-love journey in a blog post in November 2015, when Robbie and i decided it was time to get real and actually use my platform {which was very small at the time} to help make the world a better place. this post was by far the most vulnerable i had ever been and it is what started it all for my platform of body positivity. i feel so grateful for the audience i have today and the amazing women around the world who share their own self-love journey with me every day. it all started with this post, this decision to share my journey of being a curvy girl in a size 2 world. since first publishing this post three years ago, my audience has grown exponentially, so i figured i should update it and give it a second life for all of you. i hope this post makes you feel heard, accepted, and seen.

love,

sarah

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this is going to be a very real blog post. i’m going to start from the beginning and go in-depth because i know there are a lot of girls who need to hear it & have talked to me about it. i guess you could say this post has been a long time in the making. today, i am talking curves. and not just curves, but let’s talk body image.

growing up, i was totally average sized for a young girl. by 5th grade i was the tallest girl {5’5} and i was even the fastest {i won the one lap race around our track and it was my proudest moment ever as a runner}. soon, everyone caught up to my height {i haven’t grown an inch since} but i continued to be active. i went to a private school in my hometown of Las Vegas throughout elementary & middle school and played on the basketball, volleyball, and softball teams. i always remember playing kickball and even basketball with the boys during lunch. my older brother was always super into sports and i wanted to be just like him.

fast forward to high school, when i began attending public school. i decided to focus on volleyball since most of my friends played that sport. i loved it! i was so into it that i even played on a traveling league team. it really helped me to fit in at my new school and it was just an overall fun experience. however, i started having chronic problems with my shins and ankles, due to a trampoline accident in middle school where i had fractured my ankle. my freshmen year of high school i got shin splits so bad i had to stick both legs into buckets of ice after every practice/game. finally a doctor told me i needed to stop playing for a few weeks so the shin splits wouldn’t turn into stress fractures. then, during a game my sophomore year at an out-of-state tournament, an opponent came down on my side of the net, i stepped on her foot, and bam. i heard a pop and crumbled to the floor. i had broken my ankle. my coach carried me off the court and that marked the end of my volleyball career.

photos from my junior and senior year of high school. i was always a little more curvy than my other girl friends. fun fact: i’m a natural dirty blonde! (2008-2009)

after i stopped playing sports, being active was no longer a big priority. i soon started driving and got a boyfriend and my high school social life took over. getting involved in student government took up most of my free time. this was the period in my life where i started gaining weight for the first time. i didn’t really realize i was gaining weight until my senior year. i was definitely the heaviest i had ever been at that point, but it wasn’t really a huge concern or anything. looking back, i never felt too self-conscious about my weight at that time, which i realize now is pretty rare for a teenage girl. i was always pretty confident and content: i had a boyfriend, a great group of friends, and was very involved in my school.

my first semester as a freshman in college, i actually lost weight. this made me feel really good because all everyone talked about was gaining the dreaded “freshmen fifteen.” i even remember wearing my super tight skinny jeans on New Year’s Eve and being pleased that they were loose around the waist.

unfortunately, that was probably the last time i would feel comfortable and confident in my body for years. it was at this point in my life where my weight really began to fluctuate. the rest of that first year of college, my weight yo-yo’d and it yo-yo’d hard. i broke up with my boyfriend at the time and i started to hang out with all my single girlfriends. suddenly my nights consisted of staying up in our dorm until 2am while eating cookie dough and ice cream {typical, right?}.

my freshman year of college. (2011)

my sophomore year i went on a study abroad to Jerusalem and had one of the most life changing experiences that i cherish to this day. however, let’s just say that studying abroad wasn’t the most conducive to a healthy lifestyle and i had no routine when it came to eating right and exercising. we had a very busy daily schedule and we weren’t allowed to just leave the facility whenever we wanted and go running around Israel. this led to a lot of sitting, studying, and not exercising. the cafeteria served a lot of carbs in the form of endless pita bread with nutella every meal, and living inside our facility didn’t provide much variety when it came to activities. all this was the perfect storm to make the pounds just start piling on.

all said and done, i came back from my semester abroad forty pounds heavier. yes 4-0. even i have a hard time believing it. i had gained that much weight in three and a half months. the jeans i brought with me literally wouldn’t button by the time i left. nothing like this had ever happened to me before. i remember coming home and just feeling so self-conscious that i wore loose workout clothes most the time because that’s pretty much the only thing that fit.

studying in Jerusalem. i gained about 40 pounds during that semester abroad. (2012)

fortunately, after getting back to my regular routine, i lost some of that weight throughout the next year or so. but i was still heavier than i had ever been. i was 21 years old and had stretch marks from so many weight gains and losses. and let’s just say my dating life wasn’t popping by any means. the university i attended was already hard to handle because of the intense academic pressure, but the dating scene was a whole other competition within itself. my junior year was when i realized that all my thin, blonde, size 2 friends were getting asked on dates every week, and i was the chubby girl who rarely got asked out. it definitely made me feel a little self-conscious, so i tried to ignore it and bury myself in my work in my school’s creative advertising lab. it was clear to me that guys didn’t want to date a curvy girl, so i just resigned myself to that fact. when i did get set up on a date, it was always with a bigger guy, which wasn’t my type at all but the other person figured we’d go together.

{related: the in-betweeners – why every woman is not just either “regular size” or “plus size”}

then, the summer before my senior year of college arrived. i met Robbie through a mutual friend/Instagram {he was going to school in California at the time} and we started talking. we FaceTimed every day for a month, he wrote me poems, flew out to Vegas to finally meet me in person, and at the end of that week he asked me to be his girlfriend. i had never met a guy like Robbie, someone who is so naturally confident and told me exactly what was on his mind. there were never any games, he’s the same now as he was then. he made me feel wanted, valued, and adored. even with this exciting new guy in my life, i had already had plans for months to move to New York City to intern at an ad agency in Manhattan. so just two weeks after we started dating, i moved to NYC and we decided to FaceTime and text over a long-distance relationship and then see how it worked when i got back. keep in mind, at this point, our relationship was very new and the topic of weight had not been brought up at all. i hadn’t shared any of my body insecurities with robbie yet and we had just never talked about my weight or anything.

moving to New York proved to be yet another serious struggle when it came to maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. if you’ve ever been to NYC, then you know there’s a million good places to eat and when you’re there for a limited time, you end up hitting all the well-known spots with your friends after work. i came back from that summer having put on all the weight i had lost over the past year. as in, i was over 200 pounds. i remember stepping on the scale in my apartment in New York and feeling so ashamed. sadly enough, i even thought to myself it would be a miracle if Robbie was still attracted to me when i got home.

my first date with Robbie after returning home from NYC and dating long-distance for three months. i was never heavier and he was never skinnier haha. (2013)

spoiler alert: he still loved me. after seeing Robbie for the first time in three months, he was just as attracted to me as before. maybe even more so. it was like he didn’t even notice. in fact, when i asked him years down the road about that time, he says he truly didn’t notice. he was just happy to have me back. that kind of love and support was the reason i finally snapped out of the yo-yo weight gains and losses. i trusted him so i opened up to him about how i was feeling about my weight. his love helped me feel 100% comfortable with him. at that point, he really encouraged me to get active and eat healthy. he always loved me for exactly who i was and whatever size i wore, but he also knew i wasn’t happy so he helped me realize i needed to make a change. Robbie and his whole family are very active. he played junior college basketball in California and also ran cross country all throughout high school and into college. his dad has completed eight Ironman triathlons and his mom has run every morning for the past 30+ years. with robbie’s encouragement, i started to make serious lifestyle changes.

he asked me to go running with him once or twice a week. let me make one thing clear: i absolutely hated it. i could barely run one mile and i complained the entire time. we still laugh to this day because every single one of those early runs ended in either tears or fights. just ask him, i was not having any of it and would get so mad when he would try to motivate me. he would run slowly alongside me and tell me that i could go as slow as i wanted but that i couldn’t stop for one mile. i would get frustrated at how out of shape i was and then start getting sassy. i’m sure all you ladies can relate, haha!

slowly but surely it got easier and i could hold a normal conversation while we ran without cursing at him. a few months into our marriage, i set a goal to be able to run three miles, a full 5k, at our local park without stopping once. one saturday morning we set out…and i did it! it felt so good to see that progress. that same summer, Robbie and i agreed that if i ran every day for a month then i could buy a new handbag on our newlywed budget. BEST MOTIVATION EVER. i picked out a Kate Spade crocodile print hot pink cross-body from Nordstrom Rack! i love thinking about those simpler times we had in our little 700 sq ft newlywed basement.

celebrating after completing my first three mile run without stopping & the pink Kate Spade bag i got at Nordstrom Rack as my reward! old blog photos still make us laugh and cringe! (2014)

funny stories aside, robbie really helped me to love my curves. before him, i didn’t even know that there were guys who loved curves or that anyone thought they were attractive. i thought all guys wanted skinny girls that were a size 2. not true at all. there are so many guys out there who love thicker girls but i don’t think many single girls realize it, especially when they’re caught up in the superficial dating scene that exists in high school and into college. robbie loved my curves, which in turn helped me to love them myself. to this day, he worships my thick thighs, big booty, and soft tummy. he kisses my stretch marks and tells me at least five times a day how attracted he is to me. that definitely makes it easier to feel confident.

{related: tropical curves – guest post with robbie and his sweet words about me)

forever grateful for a man who has always loved me so beautifully

today, my exercise and eating habits still aren’t perfect, but i’ve accepted myself and that’s made all the difference. i swear i was born with the biggest sweet tooth and i don’t know if that will ever change, but i have developed at least some self-control now. i understand how important it is to be active and have gained a serious passion for SoulCycle. i’ve grown, evolved, and learned what works for me and what makes me feel best. it’s taken years and years to get to this point.

at the end of the day, being healthy is very important, but loving your body is just as important. it makes me so sad to see girls that hate on their bodies, no matter their size. all sizes are beautiful. being comfortable and confident in your own skin no matter your pant size is beautiful. i know i will never have a thin body type. i know that, like many girls, my body has changed since i was a freshmen in high school. that’s natural! i would much rather be curvy, healthy, and happy. judge yourself by how you feel, not by outside factors. for example, i buy clothes that fit; if i get to go down a size, great! if the item runs small and i have to size up, that doesn’t bother me either. i dress for my body, not to live by a number slapped onto a piece of clothing. what’s important to me is how i look in the mirror and how my clothes fit.

{related: five ways to feel confident with your curves}

today i’m proud to say that i’m in the best place i’ve ever been with my body. i’ve gone through quite the transformation over the past five years, and here’s a photo to show it:

 

i used to hide my body. looking back through old photos recently, i realized that any time i was in a photo at the beach/lake/pool, i was always wearing a cover-up. in every. single. photo. i might as well have not worn a swimsuit because there was no chance i was taking that cover-up off, especially for photos. i wish i could go back and tell myself all the things i know now. i would tell myself to love and celebrate that curvy figure, even if it was more round and soft than it is now. i would tell myself that life is too short to worry about what others think about your body. i would tell myself to go splash around in the water and show everyone just how strong those thick thighs are, how fearless those stretch marks are, how beautiful that soft tummy is. i would tell myself that no one is going to judge you for embracing who you are, and if they do, to hell with them. i used to hide my body. but now i don’t. i would live in a swimsuit if i could. i wear bikinis and short shorts and tank tops like the curvy queen i know i am. and it feels so good. look, you can even see this difference in my face: before trying not to appear as uncomfortable as i was, and today feeling a silent strength and confidence no matter what i wear. the photo on the left is what self-doubt looks like. the photo on the right is what body positivity looks like. remember, self-love is a journey & it didn’t happen overnight. i just worked on loving myself a little more each day and it all added up to where i am now: happy, content, and absolutely in love with all these curves. i want you to love yours too. all you have to do is start. look in the mirror each morning and tell yourself that accept those soft parts you’ve been battling all these years. and soon enough, that inner belief will shine through as an outer confidence. i promise. ? #curvyblogger #transformation #bodypositive #curvygirl #sanfranciscoblogger

A post shared by sarah tripp (@sassyredlipstick) on

i love my body. i love my curves. even better, i love someone who loves my curves too! i can honestly say there isn’t a single part of my body i hate or fixate on. sure, some parts may need work, but there will always be room for improvement with anyone or anything. i’ve learned that acceptance and self-love is so much easier than critiquing yourself day in and day out. i’m a woman, my body changes, my weight fluctuates, and that’s normal. my typical weight is usually between 170-180 pounds and i feel totally and completely healthy in that range.

if you’ve made if this far, thanks so much for reading my self-love story. sorry for the novel, but i’m sharing this because i want you to know if you’re reading this that i think you’re beautiful, no matter the size. and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. if you don’t have a Robbie in your life to love and celebrate every inch of you, i want to be that person for you! feel free to message me at any time to chat about body image because i am more than happy to have this chat with anyone who needs it. i am in no way an expert, but let me be your cheerleader! i want you to love your body because every woman deserves to have that kind of love for herself. you are beautiful, valuable, and irreplaceable, just the way you are.

xx