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Jessie James Decker Says Body Image Isn’t ‘Just About Being Skinny’: ‘I Don’t Restrict Myself’ (Exclusive)

Jessie James Decker has been known to confront body-shamers over the years, but her confidence didn’t come easily.

The 35-year-old exclusively opened up about her relationship with her body in the new issue of Us Weekly, confessing that having children caused some major changes. (She shares Vivianne, 9, Eric Jr., 7, and Forrest, 5, with husband Eric Decker.)

“Your body changes so much and so quickly. I think I struggled with it,” she told Us. “I was a petite little thing my whole life. And I gained 55 pounds my first pregnancy — my body hurt, my back hurt, I had tendonitis, carpal tunnel. It was so painful.”

Decker recalled that “it took so long to lose the weight” she put on before giving birth to Vivianne. Her candid approach to discussing her own postpartum experience stems from recognizing that “women struggle with it so much.”

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After her pregnancies, Decker “was not one of those women who breast-feeds and the weight melted off” — and she wants other moms to know that “it’s OK” to embrace the change. “You just grew a baby in your body and it’s OK if it’s not melting off,” she told Us. “It took nine months and it may take that time or longer to get it off. So just focus on your baby and what a miracle it is.”

Jessie James Decker Says Body Image Isn t Just About Being Skinny I Don t Restrict Myself 308
Michele Eve Sandberg/Shutterstock

Decker had her “moments” while adjusting to the way her body “completely changed” after giving birth, but she told Us that she’s learned to shift her focus. “I love to eat and don’t hold myself back when I want to enjoy. I don’t restrict myself,” she said. “I put on more than I should for my height and weight and it’s just what happens. It’s life and that’s the way it goes.”

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Instead of making weight loss her workout goal, Decker has “put in the work” to be more “fit and strong.”

“I wanted to get my strength back because when I’m strong I feel like I can conquer anything,” she explained. “It’s not just about being skinny. I love building muscle. When I’m toned and have muscle I just feel stronger.”

Jessie James Decker Says Body Image Isn t Just About Being Skinny I Don t Restrict Myself 307
Jessie James Decker. Michele Eve Sandberg/Shutterstock

Decker knows it’s natural for a person’s weight to “fluctuate” — and she’s not interested in following a strict diet. “I am a foodie and I’m Italian and I want to eat all the pastas and bread. I can’t be the girl who just has lettuce,” she teased.

Facing the heat from haters online doesn’t make the self-love journey any easier. In July 2021, Decker shared a tearful video after discovering the “awful” things being said about her weight on a Reddit page.

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“It does make you stop, and you look in the mirror and go, ‘Is there something wrong with me?'” she said via her Instagram Story at the time. “It is hurtful. I’m such a strong and confident person and I always have been, but it does hurt my heart a little that people are ripping every little thing about me apart. … I think we all need to do better.”

Decker later thanked her supportive fans for helping boost her confidence, and the moment has stuck with her ever since.

“I wanted people to understand that I’m just like them in these scenarios,” she told Us. “I wanted to be vulnerable. That’s why I like to share. And when I see DMs, I know there’s an amazing community of women and I wanted them to know it sucks and I get you and I am in this with you. I always think that’s important.”

Watch the video above — and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly — for more from Decker.

With reporting by Andrea Simpson

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