#MySkyeBody Conversations - Whittney Soares
It's not easy being a mom, let alone one that runs her own business and finds time to stay fit! It hasn't always been easy for Whittney, but she does everything she can to be a good mom and practice positive thinking, especially when it comes to her body image.
SKYE: Tell us about yourself.
Whittney: I'm so stoked to be a mama. I have three children Miko, Jude and Luna. My life is so jam packed every day that it gets crazy. I feel so lucky to be born and raised in Hawaii and now raising my kids here. The big island is so diverse. There's no place like it. People still have the aloha spirit here. We surf, hike, raise our kids as close to nature as possible. Owning my own business while being a full-time mom gets tricky but we manage to have a lot of fun in the process.
SKYE: What prompted your path to being body positive and what does it mean to you?
Whittney: After my first child, I had a hard time losing the baby weight I gained during my pregnancy. I suffered from depression over it. I was stacking myself up against other women and placing my confidence in the hands of a scale. Surfing helped me release a lot of that tension. I felt strong in the water. I didn't care what I looked like when I rode waves. It was freedom from the chaos of trying to fit a mold that I was never meant to. I started loving my strong physique and appreciating its abilities.
SKYE: To some women, the changes in our bodies post child-birth can be dramatic and at times, hard to accept. What's your secret to accepting and embracing the "mommy body"?
Whittney: That’s a huge one. Post partum emotions are very real and varies from woman to woman. I definitely felt overwhelmed in my own skin after each of my pregnancies. The beauty of that is the opportunity hidden underneath. We're supposed to stop, reflect, and appreciate what our bodies just went through. Instead we head back to our jobs way too soon, we aren't present and we haven’t allowed our bodies to heal. For me, I've had the chance to experience this three times. I’m not perfect, but by my second pregnancy I realized I shouldn't be so hard on myself. My body delivered a healthy baby naturally. That’s bad ass!
One-Piece: Oliva - HILO
SKYE: I see you work out a lot and also offer fitness classes and personal training sessions. How have your personal and professional efforts in the fitness arena impacted your community?
Whittney: I try to be as authentic as possible in my line of work. For a few years I was a part of this amazing movement called Hawaii Urban Training where we brought gym type workouts to our local parks every day. I was a participant at first then became an instructor. We serviced our community daily and charged no fee. Our participants were all ages. Now my brother from another mother who started this movement built up to owning his own gym. It’s so crazy to see the movement of functional fitness for ALL grow from an outdoor no permanent location to now and amazing unique gym. I teach mommy and me classes there for mothers and their children to come and get a workout it without having to find a sitter for their kids. There really aren't many options here on the island for moms to bring their kids with them to get a quality workout in the gym setting. The kids run around like crazy and we can let loose and be in a judge free zone together as women. I feel so blessed to be a part of a gym that services its community in such a dynamic way. There's truly nothing quite like it.
SKYE: What do you think is the key to self acceptance and do you think total self acceptance is truly attainable?
Whittney: I've been blessed to be raised by strong women. They taught me to love myself and not stay stagnant. Everyone can feel that comfortable with themselves too if they stopped wasting time on trying to fit into an unrealistic mold that isn't theirs. I stopped worrying about what other girls were doing and realized what I'm doing is cool.
SKYE: What is your favourite physical attribute of yourself?
Whittney: My thighs. Years of soccer and surfing have made these legs solid.
SKYE: How has social media affected your journey both positively and negatively?
Whittney: It’s a tool. My business has grown tremendously through social media and I appreciate the platform. It’s also really easy to get pulled into looking at women on these sites and comparing. Just don't do it. I stopped. Your beauty cannot be compared.
SKYE: Do you still have thoughts of insecurity and if so, what do you do and how do you overcome them?
Whittney: Yes, I think it’s only human to have those feelings. There are days, before I teach a class that I feel like I need to impress my participants. Then I remember that authenticity is my platform. If I'm being me, I'm already winning.
One-Piece: Oliva - HILO
SKYE: What's the best body positive advice you've ever received?
Whittney: "Don’t get in your own way.” My mom would tell me that all the time. I translated that as I know I'm my biggest critic. No one can be harder on me than me. Stop the self-bashing and in turn accept the things that make you, you.
SKYE: What's the best body positive advice you can give to someone else?
Whittney: Honestly, I'm kind of a tough love girl. You've got one shot at this life. Don't waste it attacking yourself for having some curves or being too skinny. Who cares. Own it.
SKYE: If you could be remembered by the world for one thing, what would it be?
Whittney: The world is awesome but, my kid’s opinions of me matter most. I’d want nothing more than for my children to think their mom was awesome, a hard working and put them first. All the time.
SKYE: If you could rename the body positive movement in your own unique way what would it be?
Whittney: I honestly wish it was just natural and women didn't have to hash tag “body positive” as a type of disclaimer for the way their bodies look. You're thick, you're thin, who cares. The question is, are you healthy? Can you carry your baby in on one hand, two bags of groceries in the other, while heading up stairs all while it’s raining? I want see more woman be done with making excuses and just let loose and be free. No more shaming or feeling less sexy because of weight or body shape. Honour your body. It will take care of you.
You can follow Whittney and her day-to-day life in Instagram (@vahinemama).