Elena Hernandez-Sixtos: ‘It’s still me’

Elena Hernandez-Sixtos battled perceptions about her weight and body for years. In 2017, she opened her body positivity journey to the public to help others find comfort with themselves.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Elena Hernandez-Sixtos (Photo by Ken Bruggeman/Our York Media)

Every morning for several years, Elena Hernandez-Sixtos woke up, looked in the mirror, and picked apart her flaws.

The 26-year-old hated her 4-foot-9 inch figure, loathed the birthmark on her stomach, and despised how quickly she gained weight.

Even when she lost 70 pounds one year, the York woman couldn’t find happiness.

“I wasn’t happy like I thought I would be,” Elena says. “After a few months, I gained the weight back.”

***

After ending a toxic relationship in 2015, Elena found the motivation to change – not her body but herself.

“I just decided I had enough of putting other people’s judgments on me,” Elena says. “That’s when I decided I’m going to move forward and love myself.”

I just decided I had enough of putting other people’s judgments on me.

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Elena Hernandez-Sixtos

Elena started with her morning routine. She took a dry-erase marker and wrote positive affirmations in the mirror. Her birthmark became a point of pride. Her height made her “the cool friend that everyone can lean on.”

“I needed to value myself first,” Elena says. “I know how I look when I gain or lose weight, but at the end of the day, it’s still me.”

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Body positivity isn’t a single moment, Elena says, it’s a journey. She’s heard the comments about her body since kindergarten.

“You can’t allow the hurt to win,” Elena says. “If you do, then what’s the point to continue?”

Elena turned what she saw as negatives into a mission to help others. Her Instagram account – @elenitasjourney – showcases her own journey with body positivity and has amassed over 14,000 followers.

Last year, she walked down the runway in a one-piece body suit at DreamWalk, a body-inclusive fashion show in Philadelphia. This year, she’ll host her first body positivity panel in York.

“My goal more than anything is to help people struggling with their own journeys,” Elena says. “I want to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves, push forward, and love themselves.”

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