As I grew older, my body changed drastically. With the onslaught of adolescence came the development of my breasts and hips. The stretch marks that appeared on my body were celebrated. I knew this was a sign of becoming a woman and I was proud.
When I gained a lot of weight in my early twenties, more stretch marks appeared on my arms and stomach. How did I allow this to happen? For a long time, I have been ashamed of these marks. I know how and why they got there. I have changed those patterns and will never go back there again. When did we stop celebrating ourselves and the changes in our body? Why did I spend so much time being ashamed of what I looked like?
Now I am committed to loving every inch of my body; stretch marks, bruises, loose skin and all. The marks on my body are reflective of my journey. They represent me and help tell my story. I am a strong woman who has been through hardships. I desired more out of my life and committed myself to change. In order to love myself completely, it is imperative that I love every part of me.
The marks on my body are no indication of what I can do now. I have cellulite on my legs, yet they are powerful. They carry my body everywhere I go. My wonder thighs squat and deadlift more than my body weight; run fast and do box jumps. My arms are not rock solid, yet they get stronger every week. They pull-up and dip my body weight with less assistance every time. I can do decline push-ups - in a 10 lb. vest. My shoulders and collar bone are defined and look beautiful. I have loose skin and stretch marks covering my stomach, yet it is flat and my core is strong. I can hold a plank forever and touch my knees to my elbows in cross-body mountain climbers.
I put in the work every day and strive to reach my physical goals but I have learned that like in anything else, there are ups and downs. I take care of my body and aim to give it proper rest and recovery. I nourish myself with plant-based whole foods. I am consistent with my nutrition and training. I am learning to love the process. That is all I can do. I am not going to wait until I have a specific "look" to celebrate my strength and beauty.
I realize that I may never attain the physique I once thought I was after; massive strong legs, abs and buff arms. It is not because I don't want it badly enough or am not putting in the work to get there and maintain it. I am not going to look like Katie Hogan or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. Why would I want to? I may never look like a Cross Fit athlete or a fitness model, but I am going to look like Tricia Kelly. THAT is pretty awesome. My body is a wonderland. It is my trophy. It tells my story. My body is the essence of dedication, strength, power and courage. My body is beautiful, every inch of it and I am proud of it.