And so the Adventure Begins

When I was a little girl, I aspired to be just about everything under the sun. Which, in a way, is what happened. In 2012, I graduated with a duel degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice with the intentions to go to law school, but God had another plan. For the past 4 years, I’ve been a preschool teacher, waitress, lacrosse official, and nanny while raising a beautiful little girl. As crazy as it sounds, all at the same time.

In October of 2015, I decided I needed to do something about my health. I hired a personal trainer, and I haven’t looked back. I changed my horrible eating habits and made working out a priority. Even with four jobs, I didn’t lose sight of my fitness goals. Read more about why I got started here.

While in pursuit of my personal goals, I found my new love: fitness. My transformation gave me the inspiration to help others. Which is when I began playing with the idea of becoming a personal trainer. In June, I decided to chase my dreams. I began working with clients to test the waters, and then in August, I began studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer. As of Monday, it’s official: I’m certified!

Over the past 6 months, I have worked with 14 clients to gain experience in this field and begin inspiring others while studying. Now that I’m certified, I can’t wait to help many more. I hope to use my blog as a means of inspiration and motivation along the way.

I’ve had a lot of jobs, all of which have been rewarding in their own way. However, pursuing my dreams of a career in personal training will be my biggest adventure and greatest reward. My passion for fitness has lit a fire under me, and I can’t wait to see where God leads me.

Which brings me to SimplyFit: my take on personal training. I have big dreams for this company, and I look forward to sharing more information with you soon.

I want to thank my family for being my biggest support system. My poor husband had to talk me off the ledge a few times when studying had me overwhelmed. I also want to thank all of my clients for believing in me and trusting me enough to hire me as their personal trainer. A big thanks to my own personal trainer who has been a huge role model and an amazing friend. Each of you have played a huge role in my success, and for that I will always be thankful.

Check out the SimplyFit website here.

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Spaghetti with Meat Sauce over Zoodles by Rebekka Hyman

In my previous blog posts, I’ve focused a lot on the exercise side of fitness, but as I’ve mentioned before, diet accounts for 80% of your progress. Today, I’ve partnered with Rebekka over at Clean Food Mom to share with you one of her favorite recipes that is not only delicious but healthy as well!

Meet the Author:

Hi! I’m Rebekka and am the author of Clean Food Mom. My passion is cooking and creating healthy meals for my family. I do work full time so it’s important that I prepare and plan our meals to make sure our busy week is easy at least when it comes to cooking and eating. I want to share my passion and journey with you. My blog is about meal planning, prepping, sharing my “slimmed down” recipes, a little bit of fitness, and adventures with my family. So please be sure to check me out at www.cleanfoodmom.com and join my tribe to get updates on all that’s happening. Hope you enjoy one of my favorite recipes (I’m an Italian food lover for sure).

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Spaghetti with Meat Sauce over Zoodles

This was probably one of my first “big” meals that I learned to cook after Alex and I got married. My mom always made spaghetti sauce from scratch (none of that jar stuff) however today’s jar spaghetti sauce has come a long ways and if you look hard enough at the grocery story, you will be able to find a jar of sauce that’s actually on the healthier side.

I call my sauce “semi-homemade” because I not only use the jar of sauce but I also add ingredients to make a more chunky and rich sauce. I am not a fan of watered down thin and soupy spaghetti sauce; just not very appealing. I love being able to see the meat, tomatoes, veggies that I put into the sauce.

You can serve this dish with regular noodles but this go round I decided to try it with zoodles (zucchini spiraled into noodles). It makes for a great low carb meal dinner if you are trying to watch your carb intake plus zucchini is high in fiber and nutrients that you just can get out of a box of noodles. So why waste those calories? And this comes from the girl that absolutely loves her pasta!

zucchinispaghetti1-e1467309523681So how do you make these spiraled zucchini noodles? You need to purchase a spiralizer (go to my resources page to grab a spiralizer) and believe me you will fall in love with it. They usually range from $20-$40. You can spiralize many veggies.

Zucchini is made mostly of water so you need to make sure you get all the water out. I usually sprinkle the zoodles with salt, place them in a colander in the sink and let the water drain from them while I make the sauce.

Then all you do is add to a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and stir fry for a couple of minute and they are ready to go!zucchinispaghetti2-e1467309541260

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The Power of Protein

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Protein is one of the most important things we can feed our bodies. It’s known for it’s ability to burn fat and build muscle. Behind the scenes, protein is the building block of every cell in the body, ranging from your bones to your skin, and it keeps your body in top shape. Not only is it essential to our body’s functionality, it also has several awesome side effects that will have you looking and feeling healthier.

Let’s discuss some of the great things protein can do for us:

1. Lean Muscle Gain – Exercising purposefully damages our muscle tissue, only to be repaired and grow back stronger. Our muscles are a powerhouse for calorie burning; therefore, the more protein we fuel our bodies with, the more calories we can burn. When we begin replacing fat with muscle, our bodies burn calories to maintain healthy, lean muscle.

2. Speeds up your Metabolism – That’s right! Did you know that eating enough protein each day can actually aid in speeding up your metabolism, which will help us burn fat quicker? It takes a greater amount of energy to process protein than it does carbohydrates, so our metabolism increases when consuming higher amounts of protein.

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3. Weight loss and Weight Maintenance – Consuming higher amounts of protein will boost fat loss in your body while helping you maintain lean muscle. On the flip side, for those who just want to maintain their current weight, protein helps regulate our appetite. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, protein makes us feel more full for longer periods of time, resulting in reduced cravings.

4. Quick Recovery – Because of the breakdown our muscles experience when we exercise, we need to fuel our bodies with protein to help grow and repair our cells. Protein provides necessary energy to help speed up this process. Most people believe that protein will enhance athletic performance, but that isn’t the case. However, it can aid in increasing muscle recovery, which makes our muscles stronger, quicker.

5. Overall Health – Protein has been proven to help balance hormones and acts as a natural remedy for anxiety. Studies also show that it helps improve our response to stress. As I mentioned before, protein is a building block to our cells, including our skin, hair, and nails. Our hair and nails are actually made up of mostly protein.

A few things to consider when consuming large amounts of protein in your daily diet:

  • Be sure to eat protein throughout the day, not just at one meal. This helps your muscles rebuild throughout the day.
  • Having several sources of protein will make your goals much easier. Consuming protein shakes numerous times a day will get old, quick. So explore other options! There are many types of food that provide our bodies with important vitamins and nutrients.
  • Protein supplements are a great way to help us reach our protein goals. The key word being supplement. Drink protein powder as an addition to your diet as opposed to solely relying on it. Do not exceed more than 2-3 shakes a day. Drinking too many a day can lead to digestive issues and can cause bloating.
  • Women tend to skimp on food with large amounts of protein because of their caloric density, but eating a balanced diet with a significant amount of protein yields many great benefits, including weight loss.
  • The USDA recommends a daily intake of 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women at a minimum. This is just a starting point and is based on an average activity level and an average weight individual. For people that are doing more intense exercises or attempting to lose weight, a higher level of protein is recommended.

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Because protein is a macro-nutrient, our body needs a large amount of it. Our bodies don’t store protein like they do carbohydrates and fats; therefore, we need to consume large amounts of it daily. Now knowing the benefits of protein, it shouldn’t be hard for us to want to eat more of it. It’s just a matter of working it into our diets. There are tons of foods that you probably already eat that are packed full of protein. Start taking a closer look into labels and be sure you are getting enough protein to help aid in the achievement of your fitness goals!

If you liked today’s post, please take a second to share it on social media so others can learn about the great things protein has to offer our bodies!

 

xx

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10 Tips To Help You Find The Time

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In previous posts, I’ve mentioned the importance of making time for fitness. It’s tough! We’re extremely busy – taking kids to school, working full time jobs, making time for our families, cooking dinner, etc. And not only does exercising require time, it requires energy. In this post, I’m sharing 10 tips for finding time to exercise.

How do I find time to exercise? I’m a mom, wife, teacher, trainer, nanny, and waitress, so working out is impossible, right? Wrong. Life will always be busy. If we tell ourselves we will pick it up when things slow down, you’ll never begin.

Here are 10 tips that I’ve personally used to help me make the time for my health and fitness. If you have any additional tips that you find helpful, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

  1. Scheduling workouts – Write your workouts in your schedule. If it’s on my calendar, I’ll actually follow through. I forget about meetings that aren’t on my calendar. The same is true for my workouts.DSC_0271
  2. Ditch the gym membership that has you driving to workout. You can exercise just as well in your house. (Get inspired here) When you eliminate the 30 minute round trip to and from the gym, you’ve added time to workout.
  3. Accountability has been my biggest game changer. I was hesitant to get a personal trainer, but the accountability alone was worth the money. Aside from providing expertise, my trainer keeps me on top of my diet and constantly checks in to make sure I’m on track.
  4. Invest in your fitness – This tip will fluctuate with your budget, but I’ve noticed I have more motivation to workout when I have new equipment or new athletic attire. Making small investments along the way will keep you excited for your workouts. You can use the money you’re saving on ditching your gym membership! Making these investments also keeps me dedicated since I feel like I’ve wasted money if I don’t actually use my purchases.
  5. Join a group – Meet friends to do your workouts or create a group text with like minded individuals with the same goals in mind. This can serve as another form of accountability outside of a personal trainer. The more pressure you have to workout, the better.
  6. Multitask  Can’t miss the latest episode of The Bachelorette or Suits? No problem. Workout while you watch the show! This will, of course, be easier if you are working out from home.
  7. Limit your screen time – Watching TV and social media can be huge time wasters. We are constantly on our phones or computers. Put away the devices and pick up the dumbbells. Also, I’ve found that checking emails or looking at Facebook while exercising takes away from my workout. I now tell myself to put the phone up until I’m finished. This motivates me to get through my workout quickly so I can get back to a text or email.
  8. Work out in the morning – Not only does it give me energy, but it also gives me back my lunch break or evening. As the day goes on, my to do list seems to pile up, and it makes it easier to skip out on a workout that night.
  9. Bring the family If I can’t workout early in the morning or at night after my daughter goes to bed, I come up with a fun, full body workout that my daughter can do with me. She loves it and knowing she is watching makes me push myself even harder. Take advantage of opportunities to get the family involved in your workouts. Going hiking or throwing a ball around in the backyard totally counts!DSC_0291
  10. Challenge a friend – There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. When bragging rights are on the line, we tend to find motivation. After getting a Fitbit, I quickly became obsessed with the number of steps my friends were getting. It really kept me on my feet.

These are just a few tips you can try to help you find the time to exercise. Show me your calendar, and I’ll show you what’s important in your life. Shouldn’t your physical health be one of your top priorities? Stop making excuses and start making time for yourself and your body!

 

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Forget It

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People that start hitting the gym or jump on a diet are often consumed with a number – their weight. Yes, losing weight might be a goal, but it doesn’t define us. Society tells us that based on our sex and height, we need to weigh a certain number. Well, I think that’s crazy!

You’ve probably heard it a million times, muscle weighs more than fat. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. A pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. A pound is a pound. The good news is that muscle is more dense, meaning it takes up less space than fat. For that reason, it’s possible for someone to weigh the same, or more than, someone with the same height and frame yet appear slimmer because of the difference in your body composition.

Why are you getting technical, Faith? Well, if I was solely focused on my weight, I’d be pretty disappointed in what I’ve achieved. I have recently begun reverse dieting in hopes of gaining muscle. I’m almost back up to my original starting weight. Even though my weight is similar to when I started, I don’t look or feel the same. My body has undergone serious reconstruction, and I’m happy with my results thus far. Now instead of jumping on a scale, I look in the mirror and at how my clothes fit me.

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The photo on the left was my starting photo; I weighed in at 124.

The one on the right was yesterday – a 4 pound difference at 120!

Every girl wants to feel pretty, so don’t let a number determine how you feel about yourself. When we remember that everyone carries their weight differently, we can accept ourselves and be happy with the progress we’re making. So let’s burn fat and sculpt muscle. Put on that old dress and own it! You’ve worked too hard to let the scale hold you back.

 

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5 Reasons Women Struggle With Fitness

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Before October of last year, I knew I needed to take control of my health and fitness, but something came up on a daily basis that prevented me from starting the process. Then, one day it hit me; those things weren’t holding me back from becoming fit, I was holding myself back.

Women tend to struggle with making lifestyle changes for many different reasons, but I feel these five points have crossed all of our minds. I am here to break down these excuses and encourage you to take the next step in rejuvenating your health.

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1. We don’t have time

This was my primary excuse. I have four part time jobs (crazy, I know) and a family on top of that. The weekends are as packed as my weekdays, and I can barely find the time to breathe, let alone workout. Women have a lot of responsibility. As mothers, our job doesn’t end when we come home. It’s easy to feel burnt-out between working and taking care of a family. After reading countless blogs that told me to take time for myself, I decided to listen. Working out has become my “me time”. I get to lock myself in my room for 45 minutes or go for a run around the block. That’s the beauty of creating an at-home gym (Get inspired here). Other perks of an at-home gym include no travel time to and from an actual gym and no hours to abide by. This allows me to save my workouts for the end of the day after my daughter has gone to bed or early in the morning before she gets up. That way, I don’t lose out on any family time, and I don’t have to worry about child care.

2. We don’t see quick results

Everyone would obviously love to see fast results, but the truth is, it doesn’t happen overnight. Real change takes time. Making these changes requires a lifestyle change, not a 21 day program and you’re done. You’re unfortunately not going to lose 20 pounds in a week. Keeping this in mind from the beginning helps ground our expectations and prevents us from becoming disappointed when the weight doesn’t just fall off.

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3. We get bored easily

It’s easy to get bored with the same old gym routine you’ve done a thousand times. Your muscles no longer hurt and you start to lose the drive to workout. Well, this is an easy fix! Mix it up, ladies. YouTube is a great place to get mini workouts or find new moves to add to your current workout. Our bodies like change, so be sure to add new things as you go. You can also increase your weights and reps to get that nice burn in your muscles back. Your workouts should always remain challenging if you want to continue to see results.

4. We compare ourselves

Both men and women are guilty of this. We compare ourselves to others. I think it’s great to have a role model or an image of how you want your body to look, but keep in mind that we are not all built the same. Set realistic goals, and once you reach them, make new ones. Your biggest competition should be yourself, not a three time, gold award winning weightlifter.

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5. We don’t want to get bulky

I am guilty of this. We use the excuse of not wanting to become bulky to skip certain workouts or the workout altogether. For example, when I first began training, I could rationalize skipping arm workouts because I didn’t want manly-looking arms. This isn’t an excuse because in the event you’re gaining too much muscle, you can always make adjustments to your workout. Remember, we workout to tone (assuming this is your goal), not gain large amounts of muscle. Plus, while many of us begin training to lose weight, after the weight is gone, don’t you want something to show for it?

 

As women, we can find a million reasons to not workout, but I challenge you to find at least one reason why you should. Take that and turn it into a reality. Use your reason to fuel your fire and get started today!

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What You Might Be Missing

DSC_0223With today being close to 9 months since I became fed up with being out of shape, I thought it would be a good time to discuss an often overlooked piece to your fitness goals: determination. Let’s face it, passively pursuing a fitness goal, or any goal for that matter, does nothing but put a hole in your wallet with nothing to show for it.

It’s not enough to merely want to lose weight or tone your muscles. You have to be willing to do everything it takes to reach your goals, not just part of them. You have to enter into a fitness lifestyle with goals set in mind and a “can do attitude” to back them up. You have to be willing to push yourself further than you originally expected and never allow yourself to give up.

Determination must be something that sticks with you throughout the process. The second you lose it, you start to lose confidence in yourself. Even when you miss a workout or eat a box of Oreo’s, your determination should get you back on track. You won’t allow a setback to prevent you from reaching your goals.

Your results will drive your determination and your determination will drive your results. They go hand in hand. If you truly want to see a physical and mental change in your health and fitness, the sky is the limit. Believe you can make those changes and don’t quit till you have reached every last goal you set for yourself.

“A dream doesn’t become reality

through magic; it takes sweat,

determination, and hard work”

TIP: I’m a visual person. Therefore, I have learned that having an end-goal in mind makes the steps to get there less painful. I know it sounds cheesy, but find a picture of someone that exemplifies a visual image of your goals. Either print this picture out or burn it into your memory. Going forward, anytime you lose focus, look back at this picture and remind yourself of your goals and why you can’t quit today’s workout after 5 pushups.

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A Look Into “My Gym”

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As I’ve said before, with my busy lifestyle, the gym isn’t an option, but that wont stop me from reaching my fitness goals. With the help of my trainer, I’ve pieced together my perfect at-home gym. I’ve had several requests for more information on “my gym”, so I am writing today to tell what it consists of. No, I don’t have a fancy weight machine, but that hasn’t stopped me from gaining muscle.

In the beginning, I was doing a basic full body workout that I found on Pinterest. The only thing that called for a weight was one exercise, the Oblique Twist, but I just used something heavy around the house. My first purchase for my gym was a set of three kettle bells (5, 10, and 15lbs) and a few dumbbells (5 and 10lbs). As I’ve grown stronger and added new workouts, I’ve bought heavier weights. Target was having a sale at the time of the second weight purchase, so I’m working with mismatched weights. Oh well! Look at this way – my weights add color to my bedroom with the assortment of colors.

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I also got a yoga mat, but to be honest, I don’t use it very often. It doesn’t really seem to make a difference when you’re working out on carpet. My trainer asked me to get bands to add intensity to some of my workouts, which you find just about anywhere. Make sure you get bands that are long enough for your body! Another word of caution: I had to get a second set with grips so I could do kickbacks without popping myself in the head. I would post a video, but I would like to maintain the appearance of a professional.

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Over time, I’ve added new items as my workouts have changed, my strength has increased or out of sheer convenience. For example,  I added a stability ball because the only bench we have is downstairs in our kitchen, and I wanted to be able to do the entire workout upstairs. Little did I know, this added another level of intensity to my workouts. Again, be sure to get the right size. I originally bought a stability ball that was too small.

My gym is very basic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. All of my results have come from using what I have at home and the items mentioned above. Even when I am out of town and get to use a hotel gym, I still use the dumbbells and kettle bells. As you become stronger, you’ll need to add heavier weights, but start little and work your way up. I still use my 5lb weights for a lot of different workouts, so your previous purchases won’t go to waste.

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Just because I can’t go to the gym doesn’t mean I can’t workout. If lack of time has prevented you from a healthier lifestyle, I am here to encourage you to stop sidelining your physical health. Go get these basic items, set goals, and get to it! While you’re at it, subscribe to my blog to get more inspiration and tips delivered right to your inbox.

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Your Abs are not on Vacation

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My friends call me crazy, but I can’t neglect my fitness and diet while on vacation. Dropping both of those for a week would have a huge impact on my progress, and I must stay focused on my long term goals. Lucky for me, our hotel has a gym. Not so lucky for me, they also serve breakfast. I have to be careful to not over indulge so I can enjoy treats on our beach adventures.

Vacations have a funny way of making you want to eat enough food for a family of 5. While I’m at the beach, I can’t help but want to grab a snack every few minutes. To make sure I stick to my diet, I packed several healthy options so when I feel the need to snack, I won’t ruin my diet.

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Don’t worry; even when a gym isn’t available, you can still squeeze a workout in. No, I don’t recommend bringing weights on your trip – that would be a little extreme. Besides, you have a hard enough time getting your husband to hold your purse while you shop; do you think he’s going to tote around weights for you? Running is usually an option when the weather permits, but if you are anything like my trainer, you’re not a big fan of cardio. Before heading off to your next vacation, develop a bodyweight exercise that can be done from your hotel room. Take time to get your body familiar with the new workouts before you leave for your trip. There are a ton of ab workouts that require no weight, and if you’re anything like me, you love a good ab workout.

To make sure you maximize your time on vacation, plan to wake up 30 minutes earlier than the rest of your friends/family. That way, you don’t take time away from the other people you are on vacation with. Instead of coming back from vacation dreading stepping on a scale, continuing your routine while on vacation will ensure that your progress stays on track and you’re closer to the beach bod you’ve been working so hard to obtain.

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This Isn’t Me

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After a phone call with my mom, I decided to share a struggle that many teens, as well as adults, face on a daily basis. When I was in high school, I never thought I was pretty, tall, skinny, or smart enough. I was never enough for anyone. My mom asked me today if I was eating enough because of a photo I posted. She said I looked too thin. At first, I was upset that she would even ask, but then I remembered who I used to be.

I believed all of my failed relationships were because of the way I looked. All of my friends were thin and gorgeous, and I felt like I could never compare. High school was a rough time for me, and in this time of figuring out who I was, I developed an eating disorder.

It started with my goal to lose weight. This quickly spiraled out of control. While I was losing weight, I was also losing who I was. I changed completely. I started to fish for the next complement, and after a while, losing a few pounds wasn’t enough. I began making a trip to the bathroom after every meal to purge the food I had eaten. Depriving my body of food gave me the sensation of control over my appearance.

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My sister quickly caught on and knew I wasn’t being myself. She tried talking to me about it, but I made excuses and wanted nothing to do with her advice. Then, our mother got involved. When a lady from Long Island tells you to do something, she means business. She provided me with a reality check that was long overdue.

She reminded me that God made me a beautiful, young woman and that searching for temporary praise from others wasn’t a fix for my underlying issues. She helped me address my past so that I could overcome my desire to become someone I wasn’t and accept who I already was. She reminded me that I was only 17 and had my whole life ahead of me.

In my attempts to lose weight, I was exercising too much and not eating nearly enough. I was constantly sick and at an all-time low. I can say without a doubt I will never go back to my old ways. It was never worth it, and it was only a temporary fix. After having Ella, the appearance of my stomach started to bother me. However, this time it was different. I wanted to make a change, but a positive one. I wanted to go about losing weight the right way, the healthy way.

I have since started a flex diet, and I have started working out again. I’ve lost inches in my waist and weight. (See results here.) I’ve honestly never felt this good, even when I was at my skinniest in high school. I have energy and have started to gain muscle.

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Reflecting on my past, I understand my mom’s concern because she was with me in my darkest days. While she knows I am not that same person, it’s her nature to worry about me. I can’t blame her. She was slowly watching me take my life until she put her foot down and wouldn’t allow it to progress any further. She saved me, and she doesn’t want to see me go down that road again.

Over the years, I’ve learned to love myself and the skin I’m in. I can have control over my appearance but in a positive way. My disorder was simply a cover for much deeper issues from my past. I was seeking help in all of the wrong ways. I have since dealt with those issues and its helped shape who I am today. I have confronted my past and allowed my future to be brighter than ever.

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In the United States alone, 20 million woman will develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, there is help. If talking isn’t working, get other loved ones involved. Talk to them about getting the help of a professional and encourage healthy alternative methods of weight loss. Most importantly, remind them that they are beautiful even when they can’t see it.

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