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The Muscles in the Mirror

I have always struggled with my reflection. As a young teen I would suck in my full cheeks while staring at my reflection and pray for a thinner face.  I hated my skin, my belly and my thighs.

Like most young girls I struggled with my changing body and the pressure to be thin and sexy.

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Luckily I was grounded by two brothers, and for the most part happily ate double servings of ice cream and found happiness elsewhere.

When I moved away at sixteen my relationship with food changed.  I felt a lack of control in my life and found that in food.  What followed was an eating disorder that has followed me through most of my life.

As I write about my newfound passion for fitness and changing my body, I feel the need to acknowledge my past and relate it to my present.

I told my friend and trainer this morning something that has helped me enormously: "I don't look at my body emotionally anymore.  I look at it as something physical, something scientific, a body like everyone elses that I can work with."

My body is no longer a place to take out my emotions.  It has been through enough.  Over the past year, the intense highs and lows have forced me to find a sacred place of self-care with my body and mind.

Even when I gained weight as a result of my life changes, I accepted it gracefully.  I chose to see the beauty in my newfound curves, bought clothes a size up, and chose love.  I loved my body at the start of this fitness journey and I'm loving it every bit of the way.

Right now, it's exciting to focus on health, strength, and getting into shape.  I feel strong and confident.  I love it.

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My goals also encourage me to take care of myself.  As I focus on getting stronger and leaner I have no time to go back to old patterns.  If I skip a meal, I cannot sustain a workout or fuel my muscles properly.  If I decide to drink wine and forget eating, my next day is ruined.

I see how important it is to fuel my body, even if I'm not working out.  I'm a busy lady, and even brain needs constant nourishment.

No matter where you're at, or what your goals are, you are not your body.

Your body is the incredible vessel that carries you.  You need to love and nourish it.  Your beauty, your intelligence, heart and self worth are entirely separate.  You need to take good care of those too.

When I look in the mirror now I like what I see.  I see strength, inside and out.