Meet Anna: Mother of two. Wife. Nurse. Student.

She shares her story of personal health and body empowerment. I hope you enjoy this pure honesty she shares on loving oneself, forgiveness, and fighting the battle everyday for a healthier life.

Loving yourself is not inherent. It is not a quality that is suddenly bestowed upon you at a certain age. It is not handed down to you from multiple generations of self-lovers, but rather something that must be learned through trial and error. I cannot tell you that you will ever love yourself or that I even love myself 100% of the time, but I’m working on it. If I have learned nothing else through years of starving, restricting, binging-purging and compulsive exercising I have learned one thing; our bodies are resilient.

No matter how little I have forced my body to survive on, how much poison I have put into it, or how often I have teased it with glimpses of nutrition, my body has continued to carry me effortlessly through life.

My moment of clarity came after birthing my second child naturally. Through the pains of labor I learned just how freaking tough my body actually is. I learned that together, the mind and body when working in unison can accomplish ANYTHING. After my body gained a substantial amount of weight for the second time, carried me through labor (which was traumatic for my sweet husband), and responded to the nourishment and activity I provided postpartum,

I learned that this body isn’t maybe as bad as I once thought.

Yeah, my tummy has a permanent roll, I have scars that remind me of my struggles, and an everlasting crater of cottage cheese on my right thigh, but in the grand scheme of life, these physical attributes are what contributes to MY beauty.

Self love is an ongoing process that which if you do not continue to positively contribute to will wither and die.

One MUST halt the negativity of the mind and reshape the evil mentality that dwells within.

I used to see super fit girls in the gym and immediately feel envious of them and look for something about them to criticize to make myself feel better for not looking like them. Although at times my mind still wanders this route, I am quick to shut out the comparisons and replace jealousy with thoughts of where my journey began and how far I’ve traveled. I have learned that we are all at different phases in our journeys and we all fight different and oftentimes similar battles. I have also learned as far as comparisons go, “there will always be someone in better shape than you and you will always be in better shape than someone else” (my sweet husband once told me this). I have learned that no matter how low my body fat gets or how loose my jeans are, I will always have days where I feel my flaws and just CANNOT seem to shake the self-deprecating thoughts. I have learned that you must attempt to love your body in every jean size, with a massive bowl of cheetos, and even through illness before any outward change will matter. I have learned that I must nourish and love myself as I would my sweet babies, because if I don’t, then no one else will.

This is where true change comes in to play. One cannot simply just feel love for their body. As a person must express love to their partner through action, we too, must SHOW our bodies love through action.

I have learned to put my health at the top of my priority list. In order for my body to perform, it needs clean, whole foods. It needs fuel often to truck through life’s trials and tribulations. It needs to be challenged through physical activity so that it is ready at any time to react to unexpected catastrophes. It is no longer enough to eat and exercise for aesthetics. It is vital to my being because that is what my body NEEDS. I also realize that although my body does not NEED chocolate, my soul does. Sometimes I won’t be able to stop once I get started, but that’s ok, because my body is, once again, resilient.

Although I love my body a fair amount of the time, there are days I do not. Sometimes, in a moment of weakness, I want to just resort back to starving myself or purging because that is comfortable and easy for me. But self love is not about comfort, in fact, it is quite opposite. It is easy to hate your fat thighs and avoid glances at your naked body in the mirror. It is easy to respond to compliments by putting yourself down. What’s not easy is stripping down and feeling your soft belly under your hands and seeing the roadmap on your thighs and turning it into beauty. There is something about accepting your flaws that is so empowering. It is OK to be imperfect…aren’t we all??

With all that said, I challenge you all to step outside of your comfort zone and really SEE yourself. Turn self-loathing into uplifting tunes of how far you’ve come, or even the journey that awaits. Self-love is something we are all capable of, although, uncomfortable, unnerving and hard work, it does get easier with persistence.

There will be days of elation and feelings of, “I’ve really got this self-love crap down!”

There will also be days of, “Eff this nasty body and eff that skinny b* that’s working out in her tiny (panties)shorts!”

This is all part of the process. It is what you choose to do on those tough days with those negative thoughts that reshapes how you feel about you.”

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