Love Your Body

The inspiring way this woman conquered her dressing room 'demons'

Raise your hand if you can relate: You’re in the dressing room and everything feels wrong. The clothes that looked so great on the rack don’t flatter your body and the harsh, fluorescent lights accentuate every roll, wrinkle and bump. Before you know it, you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of negative thoughts about your appearance.

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Jess Pack, 26, had a similar dressing room experience recently, and she decided to turn the frustrating moment into something positive.

Pack, a Florida-based author and life coach, posted an inspiring message about body positivity on Instagram, accompanied by photos of herself looking happy, confident and strong.

So today was an unsuccessful shopping day. Nothing fit. Terrible dressing room lighting made me feel lumpy and squishier than normal and the itty bitty shitty committee (as my therapist says) started creeping in. I might not be where I want to be, but I refuse to let a bad shopping experience lower my self esteem and worth because I know I've worked hard and continually fight everyday to be better than those demons. So how do you combat these negative thoughts? You put on an outfit you know you can rock the hell out of and you just embrace yourself as you are in this moment and love yourself any way. And tell that committee not today demons, not today ✋🏼 Because your worth and value and meaning to society is not determined by the texture and look of your thighs or tummy. Jumping in on the #cellulitesaturday trend because I refuse to let something as common and as silly as cellulite make me feel less of myself. I refuse to let a size or terrible fit of pants make me think I haven't been trying hard enough or that I'm still where I started. You are so much more than what you look like or what pant size you are. Love yourself today, as you are, and compliment the heck out of your efforts and determination that you're on a journey to becoming you best self. Pat yourself on the back babes, you're doing a great job. Never let something like cellulite or muffin top or a bad shopping experience make you feel less of yourself. Those things do not define you unless you let them. Be better than those demons. Embrace the journey. Compliment your efforts and determination. Admire the positive things. And above all, love WHO you are today, who you become tomorrow, and always. Always know you're enough as you are today and you're worthy of being so much more than defined by your outward being. You are not a number or a size or a look 🙅🏼 You are intelligent and loving and strong and so much more. You're beautifully YOU 🌿💕

A post shared by Jess (@plankingforpizza) on

“So today was an unsuccessful shopping day,” she began. “Nothing fit. Terrible dressing room lighting made me feel lumpy and squishier than normal.”

But Pack was determined to conquer these insecure feelings.

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“I refuse to let a bad shopping experience lower my self esteem and worth because I know I've worked hard and continually fight everyday to be better than those demons,” she wrote. “How do you combat these negative thoughts? You put on an outfit you know you can rock the hell out of and you just embrace yourself as you are in this moment.”

“Never let something like cellulite or muffin top or a bad shopping experience make you feel less of yourself,” she added. “Those things do not define you unless you let them.”

Pack regularly shares body-positive messages like this with the nearly 150,000 followers of her Instagram page, @plankingforpizza.

Happy Wednesday babes! Been such a busy and stressful day for me and looks like this trend is only going to continue through the new year 😩 But I suppose busy is better than bored? Trying to be positive here 😅 Anyway, last week I didn't train arms, so it's a much needed arm day today 💪🏼 Today is my fun "play day" arm day and on these days I like to challenge myself with 100 push-ups! My warmup is kind of a HIIT where I set my timer for 5 mins and alternate between 50 jump ropes (or jumping jacks) and 10 burpees. Repeat for the whole 5 mins. Then I do 10 wide, 10 regular, and 10 narrow push-ups to warm up my arms. I try to pick 5 different push-up varieties that really challenge me and I alternate between 20 push-ups and 100 jump rope for 5 sets! Can you tell I like push-ups?? Then time depended I play around with moves I find here on IG or work on explosive strength. I also add in some free weights or machine weights just depending on what I'm feeling like ☺️ By then I call it a day because I'm exhausted! I don't share all the specifics of my workouts because I make them up and simply do what I enjoy! I'm not a trainer but I get lots of questions asking about my workouts and this is just a small example of what I do to keep it fun for me! If you don't like push-ups, you won't enjoy it 😂 BBG, or Bikini Body Guide, really helped me improve my push-up power and capabilities. All those arm day struggles have come in handy! Lately I've been really enjoying adding in more calisthenics into my routine and this workout is my way to continue to challenge myself and push myself to be the strongest and best I can be 👊🏼 Don't stop pushing yourself to become the best YOU can be 💕

A post shared by Jess (@plankingforpizza) on

Pack has always been very open and vulnerable with her fans about the ups and downs of her own fitness and health journey.

Pack’s dressing room post, in particular, struck a chord with her supporters.

A girl commented that "I was doing it wrong and getting fat again" because I posted an unflattering picture. My body composition visually changes from when I am standing to when I am sitting (I've shared this many times). I post the good and bad so that the young and vulnerable eyes out there do not get some distorted perception of “perfect”. Truth is, no BODY is perfect. No person is perfect. First, I am in NO way offended by this comment. I know my truth in the point and if someone chooses not to hear the message, then that is their problem. She chose to see the image and judge it without understanding the message. I am saddened by this comment though. NOT for me, but for women in general! It is never ok to tell someone “You're getting fat again”. It is hard enough as it is to be a woman. There is absolutely nothing empowering about, especially one woman remarking to another woman, something about her weight, looks, or body. Change does not and will not happen by bringing others down. Self empowerment is crucial but so is the empowerment of others through kindness, respect, compassion, understanding, positivity and love. We are all our own worst critics and last thing we need while working on self acceptance is to have others define and ridicule our looks or actions. We need to set the example, the foundation, the building blocks for future generations. Thankfully this online space is 99% positive for me, but offline things can and are different. Young girls see and hear how we talk about others AND ourselves! Online and offline judgement has no place towards helping women feel self empowered and self acceptance. We need to make this a team effort to stand together, in an effort that cultivates positive change. I am not “doing it wrong”, I am eating and working out in a way that works for me! I do hope to be an example that you can still eat what you love, in moderation, AND reach your goals. You can't really have an opinion on what my body looks like though because it doesn't matter. How I act, think, feel, behave towards others AND myself matters. Focus on WHO you are and how you feel. Hopefully, how you see yourself and others changes for the better✌🏼️💕🍕

A post shared by Jess (@plankingforpizza) on

“The caption made me feel so happy. Thank you,” one user commented.

“I might just read it as a reminder every day,” another wrote.

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Pack said she opened up publicly about her dressing room experience to help other women understand that they’re not the only ones who deal with body image struggles while trying on clothes.

“In sharing it, I think it helped a lot of other women start to embrace themselves and really knowing that they’re not alone,” Pack told TODAY. “We all have these low moments.”

When you think of those you love most dearly, family, friends, significant others, what is it about them you love? Yes there is an element of attraction when we think of significant others, but it's not the looks you fall for (but if that's where your emphasis is your foundation is bound to be unstable). For me, it's really nothing at all about looks at all about those that I love most dearly in my life. I love them for the who they are. Imperfections, flaws, and all! Their bodily flaws matter far less than character flaws. The way they treat, respect, care for, listen to, challenge and question my thoughts, make me laugh, cry with, connect and communicate, humor me, help me grow mentally and emotionally, etc that I love. It's the humanness they carry within their hearts and minds that makes for those meaningful connections. It makes for a rocky beginning in a friendship or relationship with yourself and others if purely looks and accomplishments is what makes them or yourself meaningful. Perfection is uncomfortable because it's inauthentic and disconnecting. When we can accept the flaws of others and own our own flaws, it sets up a mindset for confidence and slowly dissolves shame. It allows for you to say "I see you in your entirety" as well as "I see me in my entirety too". You don't have to wait until you have the perfect body to be loved or seen by others or yourself because you are you and that's all you need! When we treat ourselves well and better by respecting our bodies. When we practice kindness within. When we relinquish perfection. When we strive to not focus on being a better body, but being a better person for ourself and others: Love can begin. Next time you think of how you don't like yourself, think of how you like and love others in your life and redirect those thoughts inward to remind yourself why you're valued and loved by them too. Love yourself better to love others better. And honestly it's time rolls and cellulite are not considered a bodily "flaw" but natural characteristic of being human. Flaws to work on should be character based. In a cruel world that needs more love, self love with flaws and imperfections and all is vital 🌿✨💕

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She added that when she feels insecure in the dressing room, she reminds herself that her value isn’t measured by which clothes fit or don’t fit.

“I always just try to remind myself that, like, right, these pants aren’t fitting, but that doesn’t define me,” she told TODAY. “What defines me is how I treat myself, how I treat others."

She shared some words of advice for women battling body image demons in the changing room.

“Remind yourself of the positive things you have happening in your life, and remind yourself of something good you’ve done or something you like about yourself,” she said. “Redirect that negative into something more positive."

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