This post is part of an ongoing series called the Inspiring Women Project. It is a collective of women who have dedicated time and energy into building women up through resources such as products, services, or information. While some of the women featured in this series also work with men, some do not, and the core focus of their work with women is what is shared here.
I could not be more excited to share with you this week’s inspiring woman. She is such a lighthouse for women journeying on the path of self-love and acceptance. Not only is she beautiful inside and out, but she is genuine. Did I mention that she also radiates sunshine? Talk about a rare gem! Yeah, so you can see why I had to introduce you to the one and only Sondra Holtz!
Tell us about yourself. Where are you located, what brought you to the work you’re doing today, and how long have you been in your field? My name is Sondra, and I’m in San Diego, CA! My passion for body positivity and inclusivity led me to start my blog, Curves and a Carry On, where I share my travels and create a community for ALL bodies to feel loved and appreciated.
What is your area of expertise, the main focus of your work? What led you here? When I originally started blogging in 2011, I had a blog chronicling my weight loss journey. Fast forward to 2014 when I’d lost the weight and started re-gaining some of it due to a huge career change becoming a 911 Dispatcher. It became evident to me that losing the weight didn’t really “fix” anything for me. What I really needed to fix was the way I saw myself, and the ideals I was subscribing to. That mentality was keeping me from living my dreams (like seeing the world), and it was time for a change.
Now, it’s really important to me to lead by example, by living really genuinely and authentically and loving myself inside and out. It’s not easy work, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But there are people like me here to help motivate and encourage you to see that you are valuable and beautiful at every stage of this life in your body.
What is your “why”? I got so tired of people asking me “how are you so confident?” How are you NOT!
YOU are my why! Every person who wondered how someone else can be confident in these bodies. Everyone who wants to love themselves but isn’t sure where to start, or why it matters. If you saw yourself through the eyes of the people lucky enough to experience your magic, you’d be so much nicer to yourself. I’m here to facilitate! Doing this work on myself, as well as taking the leap to see the world really exposed me to a brand new way of life, and I can’t ever see going back.
Tell us why your work is important. I think a lot of us can remember the moment that we became aware of our “flaws.” Mine was when a boy (whose name I can’t even remember) used to sing the Jenny Craig theme song when I got on the school bus. It really rocked my world, because it highlighted something that was so normal to me, that I felt so comfortable in…and it made me want to shrink and change! All because of the opinion of literally NOBODY to me. I think what I do is important, because
I help women get to the best moment: the one where you take your power back and live according to your own standards instead of the world’s.Sondra Holtz
How does your work inspire women? It’s weird to think of myself as an inspiration, because I genuinely think we should all have the honor and privilege of authentically loving ourselves unconditionally. But I’d like to think that by sharing all of the love and beauty I have found in life by finding that love for myself, I can inspire other women to get there, too! When people ask me how, I don’t hold back or keep secrets. I try to share my story (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and no matter who I’m talking to, I find we always relate to each other in these areas and inspire each other.
I am currently in the process of curating Self Love centered travel retreats (think beautiful villas, self love photo shoots with a pro photographer, poolside yoga and lots of brunch!) that will launch in 2021, as well as a really cool Body Positive weekend retreat in San Diego Summer 2021! You can subscribe to my email list on my website or send me a DM on IG if you want to be updated when those drop! In the meantime, let’s be friends, yeah?
Next, Sondra shares from her heart valuable insight on how to further deepen the love you have for yourself.
What has been your biggest breakthrough in your body-positivity and inclusivity journey? And what have you found is the most challenging? I think the biggest breakthrough was looking at my body for what it is, and all that it can do! These negative thoughts were stopping me from the life I dreamed of, full of travel and rich experiences. Once I stopped hyper-focusing on what I wished it was, I started really appreciating it…every little curve, all the things it allows me to do to live an amazing life…it’s so good to me at every stage, and I had to learn to nice to it. I catch myself passing reflective surfaces and praising my body instead of shaming it!
I think the most challenging part in this journey is recognizing that it’s constant work. It never stops. It’s a daily task that I’ve taken on to improve my quality of life, give myself the love I deserve, and most importantly create a community for people who have the same struggles at any stage in their journeys.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? Spend less time trying to be who you think you should be! Everyone is finding themselves, and you’ll have more success loving yourself and doing what makes you happy than trying to fit into the mold(s) of people who are equally as young and naïve! You have so much to gain from being your authentic self. Channel that 5 year old version of you that was completely unaware of other peoples’ perceptions & fought for their independence and individuality!
What are some practices/actions that women can take today toward loving themselves more? Celebrate yourself EVERY step of the way! Small victories add up, and every time you catch yourself admiring yourself or being kinder to yourself is a win! A big thing for me was also making an effort to compliment others! The feeling of boosting other people naturally boosted the way I felt about myself, and I like to think of it as a trickle effect that makes a big impact overall! And lastly, don’t apologize for taking up space. You deserve to be here. You are important, you are amazing, and you are beautiful because of all of the little imperfections that make you unique!
Louder for the people in the back!
Sondra’s words hold so much truth for many of us: feeling great about ourselves until that life-changing moment and then working to get to a point of self-appreciation. It’s true for Sondra, it’s true for me, and I know it’s true for so many other women. I hope you’ll take her practices to heart and start incorporating them into your life!
Your magic resides within you.
I hope you enjoyed hearing from this week’s inspiring woman. Stay tuned next week for another very special guest. Make sure you’re subscribed to my blog and following along on Instagram @magicmama_