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Kate Upton opens up about body image and self care as a mother

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Kate Upton is widely recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful women – but the model has shared that she has struggled to get to a ‘good place’ regarding her body image, particularly after facing pubic criticism over her appearance.

The 26-year-old opened up about self-confidence at a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit event in Miami to promote her at-home workout plan Strong4Me. Speaking to DailyMail.com about her changing views on wellness, she revealed how she fought to reach a place where she felt truly comfortable in her own skin.

‘I struggled to be in a healthy mindspace after my first year of Sports Illustrated with all the criticism about my body. I worked really hard to get to that good place and to find what worked best,’ she said, referring to her 2011 debut in the Swimsuit Issue.

‘Healthy mindsapce’: Kate Upton has spoken out about her fight to achieve body confidence while celebrating her at-home workout plan Strong4Me

Healthy and happy: The 26-year-old, gave birth to her first child in November. She says she ‘struggled’ with body image after criticism about her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit debut in 2011

Having faced her own battle to achieve a healthy outlook on wellness and body image, Kate chose to launch her own at-home fitness plan, Strong4Me, which she created in collaboration with her personal trainer Ben Bruno.

However, far from encouraging women to slim down and fit a certain body type, Kate says the wellness program – which also offers a meal plan – is about helping others to feel the best about themselves that they possibly can, something that she spent many years working to achieve.

‘I asked myself] why was I eating healthy? Why was I working out? Was it just for these jobs? Was is just to fit in this dress?’ she explained.

‘And I realized no, it’s for myself, it’s because that’s how I feel the best, that’s how I have the most energy to live the best life that I can. And I wanted to give that access and that positive mindset to women everywhere.

‘That’s why I have these at-home workouts. Because it’s hard to get to the gym, or maybe you’re too insecure to get to the gym. Whatever it is, we’re giving you the access that you can have anywhere. And I think the Strong4Me messaging is important because you’re not doing this for anyone or anything but yourself.’

Positive example: Kate says that becoming a mother to her daughter, Genevieve, made her more motivated to maintain a healthy body image

Family: Kate, who is pictured with her daughter and her baseball player Justin Verlander, is celebrating her first Mother’s Day as a mom alongside her sister and her two nieces

The model, who gave birth to her first child with her baseball player husband Justin Verlander in November, added that she was incredibly conscious about providing a positive support system for anyone doing the workouts, noting that she and her long-time trainer Ben didn’t want anyone to feel as though they were being ‘attacked’.

‘We’re on your team, we’re not attacking you, we’re not here for that,’ she said. ‘You’re here because you’re taking the first step and the best step, and we are here to get you there.’

Kate, who has appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit several times – including three cover shoots in 2012, 2013, and 2017 – also opened up about how becoming a mom to her six-month-old daughter Genevieve has also made her all the more focused on maintaining a positive body image, and a healthy mindset.

‘I think [becoming a mother] motivated me even more,’ she said. ‘I want this positive messaging to reach everyone, so my daughter lives in that positive world, a woman-powered world where we all feel confident and we all know that power.’

Her first Mother’s Day as a mom will certainly be spent focusing on female empowerment; Kate will be in Miami with her daughter, as well as her sister and her two daughters, and she says she couldn’t be more thrilled to be spending the milestone occasion that way.

Superstar: The mother-of-one has appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit multiple times, including three covers, with her first launching in 2012

‘I’m so excited and actually my sister gave birth to a little girl three weeks after me so we’re spending Mother’s Day together,’ she said. ‘She has two girls and I have one girl so it’s a big girls trip to Miami.’

Having faced some cruel comments about her body after her 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit debut, Kate says she is overjoyed at how perceptions about body image and diversity have started to evolve over the past few years – and she praised the magazine’s editor MJ Day for being at the forefront of that movement.

Although she is not in the magazine this year – with MJ joking that the model is on ‘maternity leave’ – Kate says she was incredibly excited to partner with the publication on the launch of Strong4Me because she hopes to help spread that message among all of the other models.

‘I think MJ and Sports Illustrated have always [shattered perceptions],’ she said of the theme of this year’s Swimsuit Issue, which features its most diverse cast ever.

‘That’s why they put me on the cover, because it was controversial at the time – and now look at it. You know whenever I think back… people laugh at me, they’re like, “You really got criticism about your body?”‘

Role model: Kate, who is pictured in Miami at a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit event, shared advice for the magazine’s newest models about how to stay happy and positive

Inspiration: ‘Keep that positive message, and know that little girls are looking up to you,’. Said Kate, who is pictured with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor MJ,

The 2019 issue of the magazine has received wide praise for its line-up of models this year. Models which feature curvy stars like Hunter McGrady and Tara Lynn, the first ever Polynesian star Veronica Pome’e, and Halima Aden, who made history as the first woman to model a burkini in the publication.

‘The world has changed so much from my first cover until now, and I’m so happy to still be with the Sports Illustrated family and see all this change,’ Kate said. ‘It gives me chills, honestly.’

A seasoned veteran of the magazine, which has helped to skyrocket so many of its stars to global fame. Kate also shared some words of wisdom with the models making their debut this year – particularly those who feel pressure to diet and look a certain way in order to achieve success.

‘Always have a healthy lifestyle, that’s the most sustainable,’ she urged. ‘A fad diet isn’t going to keep you there long term. Living healthy and finding what works best for you is the way to go.

‘And also, keep that positive message, and know that little girls are looking up to you, and they’re looking up to you to pave the way.

‘You don’t always have to have all the answers, and I didn’t right away either, but you can share your journey.’

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