Loving the Skin You're in Through All the Stages of Your Fitness Journey

I once heard that our reality is largely made up of our perceptions and beliefs, not facts. And that our ideas and theories are based on experiences and opinions, so much so that we start to create stories from these views and judgements. Over time we start to believe these judgements as our truths.  Since we experience life differently from one another, how can we separate what's fact and what's merely a story created by opinions, judgements, and false validations from others and experiences?

Throughout our lives, we create stories about ourselves and our abilities based on the culmination of these assessments. This mix-up between stories and fact shapes who we become. We may begin to place limitations on our own capabilities or block our own thoughts from believing we are worthy enough to love the skin we're in. 

We have all created a story of who we are, what we can do, and how much we can love based on opinions of others.

For years the story I told myself was that I wasn't beautiful and that my stretch marks flawed me. My fitness journey created a whole new story for me and facts that I was able to hold on to as my truth, but like every journey you're never guaranteed an upward trajectory. Working on goals bring about a lot of resistance. Something or someone will require different parts of your energetic currency and can result in attaching a judgement to every step you make, whether its forward or backward.

In 2013 when I started my fitness journey I was really clear on my intention and knew exactly what I wanted which was to learn how to love the skin I was in and to get control of my mental and physical health. I already knew that my body would undergo a lot of physical change, but more importantly I looked forward to the inner strength and finally removing the limitations of my own beliefs. 

Through out the years I've seen my body go through incredible fitness transformations, from losing weight to gaining lean muscle mass, and then to regressing in my physical transformation because of surgery and injuries I've had to recover from.  These moments of regression can be the hardest to overcome because those opinions and judgements begin to cloud our intentions. Our minds can be flooded by distractions, perfectionist ideals, doubts, and the feelings of inadequacies


Here I am today. (actually two days ago). I hadn't taken any progress pictures since August 2016. At that point in my journey I had no need to and then I got laid off in October 2016 and my world had changed and trying to get my groove back had been a struggle. A few weeks ago I was starting to feel like my old self (pre lay off) and working out consistently again. I knew that I needed to take these "Day 1" photos as a reminder of how far I've come mentally and that the lesson of learning how to love the skin you're in. Learning how to love yourself at every stage of your journey isn't complicated, but it does require work. 

Here's a few things to do when you're starting that self love resistance:

  1. Become aware of the behavior of creation. When you're working on transforming your life you reach down deep inside and bring something to life within you. This type of creation brings upon equal resistance. 
  2. Spend your energy strategically. Keep your intentions in your direct line of sight. This helps to make decisions clearer. Not always easier, but clearer. 
  3. Reset the pattern. Attaching judgement to everything is not productive or constructive. Removing judgement will free up so much energy for you, but its a vulnerable process. From time to time you'll try to attach a judgement to failure or inadequacies. 
  4. Remind yourself that society has romanticized a concept of what beauty, fitness, and loving yourself looks like. The power to define what beauty means to you is within you. 
  5. You are the source of your reality. In the process of creating something from nothing you’ll feel that you need validation from an inner circle or to feel legitimate, this is seeking outside validation for fulfillment. You don't need their opinions or stories. All you need is your own. 
  6. Learn to remove the phrase: "Once I’m leaner, thinner, or a little more fit; I’d feel happier..." This is just an excuse for you to put off the feeling of being happy with yourself in the present moment. Identify what is fact such as where your current situation is and then distinguish what is fact and story in your inner dialogue.

The chatter in your head will try to find meaning in it because this obstacle is clearly telling you that your dream isn’t supposed to happen. Tackle your story and learn how to write new ones to learn how to become who you want to be.

This article is written in collaboration with some of my favorite women.

Read more from #therefinedcollective:

The Refined Woman 

Lauren Scruggs Kennedy 

Chelsey Korus 

Tutti del Monte Photography


Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.