6 Women And Brands That Are Making Fitness More Size-Inclusive

Jessica Rihal is a yoga and meditation teacher, Joyn instructor, and Superfit Hero model. After a long-strained relationship with exercise, she found joyful movement as an adult.

When Jessica was just 7 years old, her ballet instructor took her aside after class to discuss losing weight. “That was the first time I learned that not only was I bigger than everyone, but that it was a problem,” Rihal tells WH. “That was the beginning point of me being like ‘Oh, I should be losing weight; I should be smaller.’ And from that point on, anything physical, I saw differently. I saw it as part of diet culture. Instead of fun, it was something that I had to do.”

For Rihal, it wasn’t until she saw glimpses of people who looked like her in the fitness space that she felt hope. For most of her life, she had never seen anyone with a body like hers advocating for movement and for enjoying it. “Had I had these images, had I seen diversity in wellness, movement, and fitness since I was that little girl in ballet, it would have reframed my whole persona, how I saw myself, how I carried myself,” she says. “I want to be that for other people.”

Her Instagram captions go deep on healing your relationship to movement and its impacts on your life. “When you’re trying to shrink yourself, trying to change yourself physically, you feel really bad about yourself,” she explains. “And then it spills into other parts of your life. You think you’re too fat to wear shorts on vacation or to even take a vacation, and that keeps you away from any other opportunities.” By showing up for yourself and doing what you want now, in the body you’re in, you can take back your experience.

Rihal’s tips for joyful movement: Be okay with not being the best at whatever you’re doing. Give yourself space to be a beginner! She also recommends defining what fitness and movement mean to you. After all, it’s a deeply personal journey.

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