#SWW: A Conversation with Johanna Nieves

Bring out the confetti, it’s #SelfWorthWednesday and this week your internet cousin Oso is leading the charge! I hope you’re enjoying wearing your pink (Mean Girls reference) and that this Wednesday finds you well. Every Wednesday, Dream On Youth encourages our community to indulge in the importance of self-care and self-worth and you can do so by sharing your stories of struggles and victories with the hashtag #SelfWorthWednesday. This week I sat down with a very important person in my life, my twin sister, Johanna, to discuss her personal journey of self-worth and weight loss.

In your perspective, how do you define self-worth?

Self-worth is the value we place on ourselves. It’s what you feel is of value IN you. My self-worth isn’t placed or shouldn’t be placed on what I look like; I learned that through my weight loss process and documenting my journey through my page Skinny Kow. For so long I based it on what I looked like, and when I finally started liking what I looked like, I noticed my self-worth was still depreciating and it needed to be worked on. I identified what made me, ME. I acknowledged my kindness, my love of anything artsy & my passion for inspiring. I started operating in what I am naturally and my self-worth’s price ticket I can now truly say is golden. One wouldn’t place a gold necklace in the dirt, would you? You place it on your neck, primarily to adorn you. Know that you, my darling, were meant to adorn this world with all that you are and that you’re pure gold. 


You mentioned that documenting your weight loss process was key in identifying that your self-worth shouldn’t be placed on what you looked like. What is Skinny Kow? How did the idea of documenting your weight loss originate?

Documenting my weight loss came about speaking to a friend. I was still in the beginning stages of my process and it was so hard for me to want to stick to it. He suggested I open a Facebook page to start documenting my process. Skinny Kow became a way for me to have some type of accountability, but it also became a tool for the things I love the most: to encourage and inspire. 

I like to think of Skinny Kow as a holistic health movement on Facebook and Instagram. Basically, it’s the documentation of my weight loss process. I try and cover not only ways to physically take care of ourselves and keep our bodies sound, but ways to keep a sound mind as well. In a way, I’m making fun of myself with the name. I remember complaining to my brother over text about looking like a cow in a picture someone took of me. He encouraged me and at the end of it was like, “And one day you’ll be a skinny cow.” It stuck! 


How would you say that documenting your weight loss through Skinny Kow helped you in defining your own self-worth?

Confidence and self-worth go hand in hand. It helped me build both. See, confidence in myself was built because I did this extremely hard thing: dominating and disciplining my body. I was excelling at it and I was accomplishing what I set out to do. That built my self-confidence. I began to be sure and secure in who I was. Subsequently, it bettered the way I saw myself. I understood that while taking care of this one body and mind I was given, I was treasuring myself. I was seeing myself as worthy of care because I am, and we all are. 


In your opinion, what are unhealthy reasons to lose weight?

Any reason that does not have to do with yourself. Losing weight to get back at anyone (ex, family member, friend) is an unhealthy reason to lose weight. Weight loss should be about you, getting you healthy. When you lose weight or when you start a self -care journey, automatically you start to feel amazing, you start looking good. What sense does it make to do it for anyone other than yourself? None. All my original attempts were to please someone else and they failed miserably. When I started doing it for me, the game changed. I won. 


What advice would you give to anyone who is starting on their journey towards weight loss and/or defining their perspective on body image?

Check your heart first. Define your real reason for wanting to lose weight because that’s what’s going to get you through your worst days; the days you’ll want to overeat and skip the gym. If your commitment is with you, you’ll always go but don’t ever expect to always be motivated. Motivation is so overrated, what you need is to be disciplined. 


We all have our bad days. How do you act on self-care on the days that you don’t feel your best?

Days I don’t feel my best, I still workout. The endorphins released after a workout are real. I feel so much better after a good sweat. Other than working out, I do something artsy, like color or doodle for a while. My favorite thing is sitting in the tub with a glass of wine and watching Netflix. Other days, my ultimate self-care is going to a place where my soul can expand, like at the beach and I’ll sit there and just breathe. 


What's the last self-worth thought or a reminder that you would like to leave the DOY audience with?

I would like for you all to remember that you have no rival. Comparison forces us to think that we do but, literally, there is no one like you; live in that truth. 

To keep up with Johanna on her journey and to receive tips on all things weight loss and self-care, you can follow her Skinny Kow page on Facebook and Instagram.


Photo Credit: Oso Nieves

InterviewOso Nieves