Positive body image is something every woman has struggled with – myself included. From slandering our body’s every angle to self loathing, we have all done it. For me, the constant comparison to myself from my 2010 body was my downfall, even though this was well after my third child. Although, I never had weight problems and was a gym rat for years, that all came to a halt in 2012. My marriage was failing and in return I was failing myself. I stopped working out, ate like shit, and my body was slowly losing muscle while gaining fat. In 2015, I lost myself. It was the biggest I had ever been aside from pregnancy. I felt like a stranger in my own skin, and soon started to fall into a depressive state. I attempted to love what I had done to myself, but again, to no avail.

So… now, here we are in the third quarter of 2017 and I love my body! What happened in those two years? I didn’t magically get motivated and start going to the gym. I didn’t starve myself. I started to re-learn how to love myself. It’s taken 2 years but I’m still doing it.

It started with self realization. I was saying negative things to myself. Constantly. And, I work on it everyday. This is probably the hardest part of the process. I am grateful to work for a company that reminds us “to be kind to our mind”. Being exposed to this on a daily basis helped me do just that. Positive reinforcement. Every day I remind myself of something I love about being me. It doesn’t always have to be a physical attribute. Sometimes, it’s as simple as reminding myself that I’m extremely goofy and can make people laugh.

I then changed the way I was eating.

I stopped eating fast food. No more McDonald’s. (I’ll admit, I’m obsessed with Chicken Nugget Kids’ Meals.) I started cooking at home more often. I had almost forgot what a great cook I am.

No more Starbucks coffee. The withdrawals were insane but I succeeded at quitting caffeine! Now, I’ll have a decaf tea at home in the morning.

I increased my water intake. While I’m still shy of a gallon per day, I try to make it up through the foods I eat (fruits and veggies).

I realized all these changes also helped in my mood swings. It helped with mental clarity even. All those processed sugars and whatnot were clouding my brain. I saw my belly decrease in size. I didn’t feel bloated all the time. My joints didn’t ache. I was starting to feel healthier. Which made me feel happier.

I sit here tonight in this Las Vegas hotel. Naked. Exposed. Feeling beautiful. Feeling positive about my body. I earned every stretch mark and have three amazing children to prove it. I’ve earned every freckle on my cheeks. I spent years worshipping the sun for it not to kiss me back? I earned the laugh lines from decades of smiles and laughter with loved ones. I even earned the cellulite. It’s a reminder to be aware of what I’m putting in my body. I am accepting and forgiving of my beautiful “imperfections”.

I wholeheartedly have a positive body image.

** Special thanks to my daughter for being my reason to be a more positive role model and to ensure I am always putting forth a positive body image. You are wonderful and I am grateful for you.