#MySkyeBody Conversations - Jamie Kraig
It’s one thing to be proud of who you are, but it quite something else to stand up for who you are. Jamie Kraig dealt with the unfortunate situation of being body shamed by a well-known clothing company. However, not only has this motivated her to be body positive, but also be a role model for those going through similar struggles!
SKYE: Tell us a little about your experience with Lululemon.
Jamie: Wow! It’s been a little while since I’ve told this story! I've struggled with weight my entire life. There was a solid six-year span that I weighed 240-250 pounds. I was never intensely dieting or rigorously working out, but I was living a similar lifestyle to many of my peers—none of which were overweight. Something just didn’t add up. I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary, but there I was, with a weight that was certainly out of the ordinary. After being diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), I decided that it was time to make a change. Through medication, new eating habits, and lots of time in the gym, I lost about 65 pounds and ended up at Lululemon’s door. For the first time in my life, I was serious about working out and wanted high quality athletic wear. At this time, I was about 180 pounds; determined to keep making progress. I thought that I was going to feel welcome and supported in my decision to stay fit when I came into Lululemon. But unfortunately, rather than feeling supported and proud, I felt embarrassed and discouraged. The employees grabbed me leggings in sizes bigger than I had asked for, and pushed styles on me that they claimed are made to help with chafing and tummy control—issues that did not concern me and that I did not express. They simply assumed that I wanted tummy control and that I experienced chafing based on my appearance. The part that I cannot convey simply in words were the whispers, tones, and faces of everyone working there. The mood in that room was really indescribable, something you have to experience to understand and feel the negativity that I felt. I wanted to cry, so I left before I did.
SKYE: That must have been a tough situation to deal with. How did you cope with all of this?
Jamie: Coping was difficult. Especially because I felt embarrassed but, why was I? I had made great strides and wanted to keep making progress. That’s not embarrassing. It's embarrassing to make someone feel anything but proud of his or her desire to live a healthy lifestyle. At first, I coped by crying…a lot. I then coped by telling the story to friends and family. Finally, I coped by deciding to use my experience to spread body positivity and awareness through my Facebook post that went viral. I also decided to cope by using my anger/sadness as motivation to keep going on my fitness journey.
Left - Top: Mercedes - BLACK | Right - Top: Mercedes, Bottom: Mid Waist Foldover - URBANE
SKYE: What have you done to fight back against body shaming on social media?
Jamie: I’ve attempted to fight back in a few ways. First of all, I post photos of myself in anything I really please. This includes something revealing, such as a bikini that shows my rolls and stretch marks. If I feel confident in my own skin then nobody can tear me down. The most effective way that I fought back was with the Facebook post. I wrote about my background, entire experience at Lululemon, internal thoughts on everything, and then made it public. The post went viral, leading to an interview and multiple articles being published. This publicity got my message about body positivity out to many of those who needed it. I was, and am, THRILLED that so many people got to read about why body shaming needs to be stopped. It benefits no one to body shame. Beyond that, I attempt to reply to every single person that messages me looking for some encouragement. I've received an INSANE amount of messages from girls looking to just chat about how difficult and intimidating it is to work on their bodies. I'm also normally asked about my eating habits and workout routines and I am always open to share! I’ve adored being that positive influence and helping hand. It’s something I’d make a career if possible. The best way to fight back against body shaming is to spread positivity and lift people up. I additionally frequently post about my workouts and healthy food to my Instagram story to provide some information, motivation, and inspiration!
SKYE: What would you say to a girl who is going through a similar incident?
Jamie: I would say: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU CAN DO THIS. Having a negative mindset will get you absolutely nowhere. Love yourself and do this for you and only you. If you block out the rest of the world then there is no one to compare yourself to, no one to body shame you, and no one to make you give up. Focus on yourself and your own journey.
Left - Top: Stella, Bottom: Mid Waist Foldover - URBANE | Right - Top: Mercedes, Bottom: Alessia - BLACK
SKYE: You mentioned that you are working with a trainer and are progressing in your fitness goals, that’s great! What any other notable accomplishments?
Jamie: Yes! As of right now I weigh 160 pounds! So, I’ve lost 90 pounds from the heaviest I’ve ever been. It feels pretty amazing. Not just to be the lightest I have ever been in my weight loss journey, but to feel so energetic and capable. This is the strongest and most athletic I have ever been in my life. I can run faster and lift heavier weight than ever before. I am genuinely happiest when I’m in the gym--which still sounds funny to hear myself say, since working out used to be the thing I hated the most.
SKYE: What do you think is the key to self-acceptance?
Jamie: I think that the key to self-acceptance is to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. I talked a little bit about this in my original Facebook post, but to encapsulate my point in the simplest terms: how can you ask for more if you are giving it all you’ve got? For example, if you’re a morally upstanding person that treats everyone with respect and people STILL dislike you, then who cares. There is NOTHING else you can do. You’re being the best person that you can be. More specific to health: if you are eating a healthy balanced diet and working incredibly hard in the gym and STILL struggle with your weight, be PROUD, not unhappy. Again, you are doing the best you can. So, wherever your best efforts leave you is enough and should not only leave you with self-acceptance, but also self-love.
Left - One-Piece: Megan - EXUMA | Right - Top: Mercedes - URBANE
SKYE: Now that you’ve started to make some headway in your fitness and modeling goals, do you have any exciting projects coming up?
Jamie: I do! It’s still a little too early to give any specific details, but there are a few things in the works. Something I can talk about at this point though is my newest struggle: extra skin. I have loose skin all over from losing so much weight. It’s definitely been mentally challenging to ALWAYS be happy with how I look when the skin is there. SO, I actually have a consult with a plastic surgeon in September to look into getting it removed. It’s incredibly expensive and until it’s something I decide I REALLY want and can afford doing, I have learned to look at the loose skin as a battle scar. It shows my strength and represents my journey, and I can live with that.
Follow Jamie’s journey day-to-day life of positive vibes on Instagram (@jamiekraig).