I recently turned 36 years old. In some ways I have struggled with this……there are still things I want to accomplish, new goals to set, new adventures to tackle, new ways to improve myself and to be honest I am never satisfied. I always want to be a better version of myself with each passing day. But when I look back, I am reminded of just how far I have come. I dug up some pictures that serve as a reminder of my journey and how misguided I use to be with my self image.

First, there is 20 year old me. In college, eating all the wrong foods (lots of take out), lifting weights, working out 6 days a week and erasing any strength gained by all the hours of cardio I was sure would keep me from being fat. Elipical trainers, stair masters and treadmills were my friends. Or so I thought. Now that does not mean that those machines don’t serve a purpose. Except this version of me used them as a means to “stay skinny”. I abused them. The number on the scale was my master. Wearing a size 2 pair of jeans was more important than how strong I could become. In this picture I weighed 110 lbs. Pull ups, deadlifts, pistols and handstand push-ups were not in my vocabulary. Or my workout program.


Fast forward 14 years and here is 34 year old me. The “wife and mother of two young kids” version of me. In this picture, I weighed 120 lbs. My diet was 90 % whole foods (lean protein, green veggies, and timed carbs – oatmeal and/or rice) with one cheat meal each week. My workouts included pull ups, deadlifts, pistols, handstand push ups, rope climbing, sprint intervals…..obstacle course race training, etc. I don’t have six pack abs and I have a few dimples I would prefer not to have on my backside, but I have two amazing kids that make it all worth it!


Fast forward again to the following May…..I’m 35 years old. In this picture, I weighed 128 lbs. My focus turned to more strength training, sprint intervals once or twice per week, pull ups, heavy kettlebell workouts, deadlifts, squatting and so on……all of the same things I had been doing but more focus on strength vs how fast I could get through my workout. This is what I call “thick me” or “happy me”. This version of me works out hard. This version of me eats pizza once per week with my kids and shares the occasional ice cream with them. This version of me splits a bottle of wine with a friend when the occasion calls for it. This version of me isn’t “cut” or anywhere near what body builders would call “stage ready”, but this is me feeling strong and happy.


Regardless of HOW you train, whether you are a marathon runner or a weightlifter, a Zumba star or a Yoga guru, make sure you are doing it for YOU. Make sure you are doing what makes YOU happy…..not what you think will make others happy. Whatever you do, don’t do it to punish yourself for not being what you THINK others expect you to be. What other people expect, or what we think other people expect, is irrelevent. Do it for you. Do whatever makes you a stronger version of you.

The scale is no longer my master. The last decade and a half has showed me how much of a liar the scale really is. The scale will show a heavier number and will try to make me feel worthless because I don’t meet a “standard”…….but it won’t show you all the weight I can lift, all the things I have learned or how strong and mobile I have become. Screw the scale. It no longer defines me.

So now as I celebrate turning 36 I am looking forward to setting new goals and seeing what else I can accomplish in 2015. Making New Year’s Resolutions to “drop 10 lbs” are no longer on my radar. I still have more to learn, discover, achieve and focusing on the scale, or expectations of others, would only hold me back from accomplishing great things. The journey is the fun part. And I have no plans of stopping.