DO // Just start

By Encarnacion Photography

By Encarnacion Photography

I frequently get messages from people asking me "how to get started" or "what did you do to start?" I wish the answer was just as simple as "Just Start" and in some truths it is.

My fitness journey was a beginning to an end of years of self hate and depression. At 15 I was diagnosed with depression. In my teens I battled days of highs and lows and thoughts of suicide. As an adult I slowly swept a lot of these emotions under the rug as I started to piece my grown up life together. The moment I became a mother nearly 11 years ago, my body image changed. Naturally I gained weight due to my pregnancy, but months of working out and dieting got me no where near to what I was pre-baby. I gained 15lbs of which I couldn't lose. That feeling of failure began the snowball affect that lead me to the start. After my 2nd daughter was born make changes occurred, but health and fitness became the least of my concerns as a married mother of 2. I had a full time career, a business I owned with my husband, and a social/business life I was trying to maintain. The creative lifestyle of a wedding photographer is one that involves tons of food, wedding cake, wine, and lots of cocktail networking events. Needless to say I lost balance and control of my eating and spiraled into an out of shape, overweight version of myself.

Over the years I covered up this depression fairly well, but there were moments I would be hiding in my closet or in bed crying because I hated myself, I was so disappointed in myself. At the time I didn't know why until I was getting ready with my oldest daughter. She complimented me on how pretty I looked and I immediately snapped back at her telling her I was ugly and fat! The look on her face is one I will never forget. I just crushed her world and truth she knew about the one woman who stood for everything she believed in. The pain in her eyes was exactly what I needed to see in order to realize what was driving me to this unhappiness.

It was then when I reached out to someone I knew who hired a fitness coach. Now I've had trainers in the past, but none that gave me nutritional and fitness guidance. Those two things paired together equal the results you want to achieve. There's no magic pill, no quick fix, no 30 day solution. This entire thing was hard work. I have definitely wanted to give up, quit, and run back to some of my old lifestyle. But I knew that in doing that I would again lose a part of me that I was trying to gain, my self-confidence.

The reasons why people start their fitness journey are always different for the person themselves, but often times the why is what sets the motion for how. For me, I took one step, one leap of faith into the unknown. I started not having a weight loss goal, I set no expectation for myself, except that I wanted to be better than I was yesterday and stronger for tomorrow. So with that mindset I just went for it, I continued to go for it, and now I refuse to quit.

You may ask me how to start, my answer may be as simple as "just start."


Relentlessly Beautiful for TWLOHA by BIFFIT GEAR

Handwritten by Athena Pelton

I’m so incredibly honored to collaborate with my dear friends at BIFF IT Gear to continue the efforts to spread the message of self love and inner beauty in hopes that women will define their own meaning of beauty and self worth.

Today we happily announce the presale to the Relentlessly Beautiful tank beautifully designed by Athena Pelton. ALL  proceeds will be donated to To Write Love On Her Arms, a non profit organization dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression. This organization hits home to me because of my own struggles with depression from when I was a teenager till about 2 years ago when I faced my adult issues head on.

What is Relentlessly Beautiful?

#RelentlesslyBeautiful is a movement, a call to action to encourage and empower women to redefine the meaning of beauty. We as women often put ourselves down, we have a hard time carving out our own place in the world due to society's definition of beauty. In the world of fitness, the message of a "perfect body" is slathered all over magazine covers. Beauty has always been defined by physical appearance. Relentlessly Beautiful is a movement to change this definition. 


To Write Love On Her Arms is an incredible non profit organization that focuses their efforts in presenting hope and finding help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self infliction, and suicide. This organization thrives on the simple fact that LOVE is the answer to some of life's biggest and hardest struggles. I encourage you all the read the story of the founder Jamie Tworkowski here

A special "thank you" goes out to my beautiful and talented friend, Athena Pelton, who without her  this entire movement would've never taken flight. It all started with a simply post that she tagged me in and challenged me to share a photo of when I felt most beautiful. The artwork for these shirts were handwritten by Athena.