The reason I am sharing this, like so many other things, is because I want to help others. I think sometimes we all have this stigma or reputation that we have it all together, whatever that even means, and I want everyone to know that we ALL deal with a lot and have our struggles. My pictures of flowers on Instagram might be pretty, but that has NOTHING to do with what's going on in my head. And with that being said, I DO have a great life and am so blessed. This just happens to be something I am overcoming and I am so lucky to be able to work on overcoming it. Here it goes....


Body image, perfection, needing to be the best - this is something I've dealt with for a long time. 

And I'm not going to dive into it too much, because some things must stay with me, on a personal level, which I think we can all respect.

Because I think what is more important than the problem, is overcoming it. And I think I am finally getting there. 

I say getting there, because I know myself, and I know this is something I will continue to struggle with (like many others I imagine) daily. Because even as I came to this realization, I went back and forth in my head. Even as I came to this epiphany, I continued to wonder if I am enough...because we're all human, right? 

I grew up in ballet, and while I regret none of it, while it gave me the tools needed to be so successful in my life (see discipline, passion, etc.), I think that some of my need for perfectionism stems from my career in that world, or maybe it doesn't... I don't totally know the root. 

As I have grown older, this need has bled into different aspects of my life. I go to extremes, either not trying at all in fear of failing, or going over the top in order to be the best - to be perfect. 

Most of this I have overcome in the past couple years, which I am so thankful for. And I knew that my health and image were the last on the list...

In the aspect of body image - crash diets, unhealthy practices, and extremes actually resulted in UNHEALTHINESS and weight gain - which I'm sure you can tell went over really well with my relationship with myself.

I recently decided to embark on a journey in a fitness competition, mostly because I wanted something to keep me accountable in getting fit and losing weight (oh and hey, being perfect). I knew it was a healthy way to go (and extreme, I know), and I knew I would have a coach to keep me accountable along the way. 

So I did it.

When I first started, it wasn't about the competition, it wasn't about winning, it wasn't about the bikini - and it still isn't. It was about me, my progress, and my discipline. It was about attaining that perfect bod.

This holds true, and something has changed. 

In complete candidness, I began this journey with the goal of getting 100% fit and being skinny. I wanted to have no fat. I wanted to be skin and bone and a little muscle. I wanted to be small, to lose as many pant sizes as possible, and to have sunken in cheeks (effed up, I know). 

I'm now a week out from the competition. I still have fat on my legs. I still have rosy red fluffy cheeks when I smile or eat too much salt. I still have a "bubble butt" and yes, boobs. 

It's easy for me to see what I "still have" and judge it. It's hard for me to remember that... I lost 20 lbs. I gained 15 lbs. of muscle (estimates, I haven't weighed in in a bit). I went down two pant sizes. I have nearly a six pack. My arms are now toned and I can do push-ups and run more than I ever have in my life (that's new). I disciplined myself and didn't go out with friends for 10 weeks with alcohol involved. I meal prepped, managed my money and time, spent some time with myself. 

Yet still, I think, "your thighs are huge, you have cellulite."

Well, I'm here to tell myself to STFU. 

I realized today that next week when I step on stage I WON'T be the smallest one. I WON'T be the leanest and I WON'T be the most in shape. 

And that's okay. 

Looking back, I remember now that I have ALWAYS had a butt. I have ALWAYS had boobs. I have ALWAYS wanted to cover up my thighs. Even when I was a stick in ballet, those things ALWAYS were there. 

And today, for the first time, I realized that I'm okay with that. 

I made a vow today to never say, "I have big legs" ever again. Because, yes, I do. But the reality is actually this: "I have athletic legs." 

I am not "tiny and perfect" as so many comments on different people's Instagrams say when people are "complimenting" girls. No. I am athletic. I am in shape. I am healthy. I have curves. 

I am happy. 

I am happy. 

I am happy. 

I am happy with myself, I am happy with how I feel, and I am going to continue to work on being happy with how I look. What's so crazy, is that most people never saw me as large to begin with - I probably never was. 

It's time for me to start loving myself, and I really hope that you do too. We are all a work in progress at all times, and I'm finally learning to like it better that way. 

I will never comment on someone's photo saying "you're perfect" or "skinny minny" again. Why don't we try "you're beautiful," or "I love seeing you happy."

No one's perfect and I don't think we should be. I wouldn't be my lame self if I didn't spill coffee on my white dress, lock my keys in my car, or trip over my rug and break my toe. 

None of us are perfect and I'm confused at why we try to be? 

Anastasia Warren