walk like an italian, sweat like an american

I lived in Italy a few years ago, and the one thing I was truly blown away by was the beautiful women. But their beauty was emanating from a different place than their appearance; their beauty was carried in the way they walked, laughed and enjoyed themselves. It's not that Italians are skinnier and healthier than the American women I am used to seeing daily; they simply love and celebrate their bodies regardless of their shape and radiate confidence because of it.

parma italy with lululemon's whitneyMy mom and dad with me in Parma, Italia. The happiest I have ever felt about my body was living in this town...

On the beach of Monterosso, skinny to large Italian women walked in a way that truly took my breath away. Everyone looked amazing and I was truly envious of them. They knew how to love their bodies and I didn't, and it was showing. My self consciousness may as well have been an extra 50 pounds of chub, because it was definitely weighing me down and I decided to drop it on that beach. Coming home from Italy, I started to walk like an Italian for a while. Shoulders back, head up and proud of my body.

italians love themselves more than north americansFrom left to right: Jenny the Canadian, Andrea the Italian, me the American. Andrea taught us foreigners to love life through good food, good wine and loving your body for what it is.

why don't we love our bodies as much as they do in europe?

As I write this post today I am reminded that my Italian walk has slipped away a bit, and I want to know why and how to bring it back. I have been asking people around lululemon a few questions about loving their bodies. I wasn't shocked by their answers, but I want to find a way to put an Italian sway in their days. Here is what I found:

being comfortable in your own bodyHollis dancing to her own beat.

Hollis, a runner and dream maker, and in the eyes of most women has a perfect body.

Do you love your body?

Most days.

How do you find the love in your body on the days it seems to be lacking?

Exercise or run or cycling when I can't find the love and I am reminded of how strong my thighs are because that's the body part that I hate the most. My thighs give me strength in a conflicting way.

one handed push up with Dane from lululemonDane, one handed push up, no problem!

Dane walks tall, works out a lot, and in the eyes of most women, is pretty smokin'.

Do you love your body?

No. I haven't in the past and I'm starting to.

How do you find the love in your body on the days it seems to be lacking?

I beat myself up mentally and then feel better by exercising. Sculpt yoga classes make me feel the best about my body, and when I need the love, I go to class.

be confident and love your body

Natalia punches it out and always exudes confidence.

Finally, there's Natalia. Natalia is beautiful inside and out, and seems to have it all figured out. When I met her a few weeks ago, I was blown away by her internal beauty and was instantly reminded of the Italian women I so admire. She is an IntenSati instructor and is trying to teach the world how to love themselves through exercise.

Have you always loved your body?

Absolutely not! It wasn't until my teen years when I found exercise that I began to appreciate my body and enjoyed being physical. I can honestly say that I now love my body. IntenSati has a lot to do with that, it reminds me that the point of exercising is not to fit into a pair of jeans, but to feel strong, healthy and confident.

What tips and mantras can you share with those of us who are still working on loving our bodies?

Find a type of exercise that you enjoy. If you feel that exercise is torture or punishment, chances are you will not stick with your routine and that you will feel resentful and angry, neither of which are emotions that cultivate self-love. Of course it should be challenging, but if you hate running or swimming, I would not start by committing to run or swim every day! Try lots of classes and find one you love.

One affirmation I think is really powerful is; I love myself exactly as I am. This helps remind me that even as I am striving to be stronger and more fit, I must begin from a foundation of love for myself just as I am in the present moment. After all, love is always a more powerful fuel than self doubt.

walk like an italian, sweat like a north american, and love your body

In the end what I found was that we North Americans may not show that we love our bodies in the way that we walk and talk, but we definitely love our bodies in the ways we sweat. Now if we can just put a bit more of an Italian bounce in our step, we might be able to convince ourselves and the world of the love we have for our bodies. When you are not feeling the love, find a way to sweat and fake it until you make it. Life's too short and you only get one body, so love it up. Namaste.

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Whitney, I always love reading your posts! I feel like I can relate to almost all of them. Another great one today. Thanks!

Comment by elliebelle — August 27, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

Aw thanks elliebelle! That just made my whole day!

Comment by Whitney — August 27, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

I agree, I think you are the best blogger on the lulu site! Keep up the good work. You make me miss italy….my favorite place in the world

Comment by Lindz — August 27, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

I love the post!!

What is IntenSati?

Comment by kelly — August 27, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

Fantastic post Whitney. Well done.

Comment by CarrieFarie — August 27, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

It’s to bad you can only feel better about your body if your exercising and doing sculpt classes. Anyone from Italy would say your insane.. and you should eat a gelato instead!

Our body image is directly related to media and trillion dollar industry that is telling us we need to lose weight .. that being said we are all suckers, Including lululemon who the majority of the time features smaller then average clothing models.

Love yourself as you are. That’s it. Life is way to short to waste it dwelling on negative thoughts about yourself.

Comment by vanessa — August 27, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

intensati is an amazing workout combining high cardio and spoken affirmations! whitney, thanks for the awesome post!!

Comment by natalia petrzela — August 27, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

check out http://www.satilife.com for details and come join m in NYC for an intensati workout!

Comment by natalia — August 27, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

you are so right about europeans! they not only celebrate their bodies, they know how to celebrate life! thanks for the lovely reminder whit! great post!

Comment by lesia d. — August 27, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

I LOVE THIS whitney! Thank you for sharing :)

Comment by caroline — August 27, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

Love this post! It is so true. After spending the day today with a women who was complaining about her body, I needed to read this!

Comment by Jill L. — August 27, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

startingg to learn to love. thanks for opening our eyes whitney =)

Comment by Dane — August 27, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

What a fantastic post. Do you think the people who post and say they can’t believe we need to exercise to feel good about ourselves actually exercise? I don’t.If they did, they would appreciate this post that highlights one of the thousand benefits to keeping for

Comment by Stacey — August 28, 2010 @ 4:19 am

Ops. My daughter bonked my blackberry. If you work hard to stay fit mentally and physically you would love this post to.As a 37 mom of three and committed exerciser person, I marvel at comments that suggest exercise is done for anyone outside of self. I do it for me and me only. It is the gift I give myself…again, understanding this allows me to love the message of this post. Great job. I am a new fan.

Comment by Stacey — August 28, 2010 @ 4:25 am

What a great post! I know Natalia personally and she really is THAT amazing and inspiring. Her tips here are spot on!

Comment by Glamamom — August 28, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

I never loved my body even when it was in line with the (distorted) ideal. Not until just recently, this slightly overweight mother of two who goes to yoga class and is fearless and strong on the mat, have I learned to truly love my body. Feeling strong and powerful has made me so much happier than feeling “beautiful”… because strength is beautiful.

Comment by theresa — August 28, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

I’m convinced after studying for a month in Italy that it’s not the wine that’s the key to a long life…. it’s the gelato. At any given time of any day you could see no less than 10 people eating gelato there!

Comment by Shauna — August 30, 2010 @ 5:02 am

Well reading this just made me smile as I live in Italy I married an Italian and am raising 4 italian/canadian kids, (I was born and raised in Vancouver and moved out to Rome in my 20′s). You are right, italians just don’t beat themselves up about what they were born with (or without ;-)) I think it also helps that the italian men also love all shapes and sizes, they look at the skinny minnies but they also gawk at the curvy ‘normal’ women too. Alot of sunshine, fresh food and good wine also helps!! On another note……when can I expect a Lululemon shop out here in the land of pizza?? We are desperately needing one, my (italian) friends in the gym do nothing but complement me on my (Lulu)clothes and are so jealous when I come back from visiting Van. all loaded up with the latest goodies. thanks for the blog. Ciao for now xo

Comment by Kirsty (Kris in Italy!!) — May 9, 2011 @ 9:39 am

Hey Kristy,

Thanks so much for your feedback! Your experience in Italy sounds amazing. I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing a store in Italy in the future, but we would love to(it would make a great excuse to visit!). In the meantime, we do ship internationally from our website for a flat fee of $30.

~ Jordan

Comment by GEC Online Community — May 10, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

I have to say that I agree with Vanessa. Lululemon clothing is smaller than the majority of Americans. It would be nice if Lululemon had models who are more average the size of most Americans. The sizing of this store is a real downer to the reality of life today. It is really cutting out a large number of potential customers who want to get there with their bodies. It is our social media that has put this out there and it is most unfortunate. It has nothing to do with the culture. America is a melting pot. It is about perceptions….

Comment by Katherine — July 25, 2012 @ 9:23 am

I have to ask, and I hope you can help…Where did you ever fing the “I wil ______ by______! shirt?

Would really appreciate your help!


Comment by Kelsey — October 11, 2013 @ 11:01 am

Hi Kelsey,
The fill in the blank line was printed on the tee. Hope this clears it up for you!
~ Siya

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — October 12, 2013 @ 9:38 am

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