HOW I GOT BIKINI READY THIS YEAR.

(me at my heaviest with my 105-year-old grandfather!)

(me at my heaviest with my 105-year-old grandfather!)

Each year, it gets easier to hit to the pool and not sweat what my body looks like or whether or not I'm up 5 pounds. It's a practice I've learned over time; it wasn't always this way and for a long time it was incredibly painful to face the season.

In my twenties, I would start working out for my summer body in September.  I would work out 1.5 hours at the gym at least 4-5x per week; 45 minutes on the stepper or stair master, and another 45 minutes lifting weights. I starved myself a lot of the time, barely ate any fat, drank Diet Coke and craved sugar every day. My energy was in the toilet-- I would have to take a nap before I even hit the gym! I weighed myself religiously and kept a tight leash on my size. Even though I was rocking a bikini, I never had peace of mind because I was always focused on looking great and could not relax about it.

I was so, so hard on myself. Until my body completely shut down.

I went through a very serious case of mercury toxicity that killed my thyroid and packed on 20 pounds. I had never weighed that much in my life! It forced me to come to terms with loving my body at any size, any weight, all the time. It was the most painful journey I had experienced. And also a total rebirth and reawakening of who I was as a person.

I had to learn that...
My weight did not define me.
My value came from what I thought of myself.
I could still help people even if I was struggling behind the scenes.
My clients had no problem with how I looked; I was the one who needed to learn I had value at any size.
I had to get over myself. I bought clothes that looked good on my new curves and cut the labels out so I didn't have to think about the numbers.
My source of happiness came from an internal place vs the validation I received from others.

Truth is, we have value at any size. And our bodies will go through changes our entire lives.  

Learning these lessons early on was super helpful throughout my pregnancy and my years of insomnia, when I had much less control over my metabolism and shape. By then I'd made peace with all of it and weight gain was old hat. I was so much kindler and gentler to myself the second and third time around because I knew I could live with myself quite peacefully if I had to.

I learned the art of self-acceptance because I didn't have a choice what my body looked like that day. We can't always control what we look like, but we can control how we love on ourselves.

So I'll be damned if I'm going to feel shame or beat myself up at the pool if my weight isn't at the number I think it should be; I don't even know what I weigh, anyway. Our kids, spouses, and friends aren't sitting there thinking about our cellulite, stomach rolls or veins--they're thinking about the memories we've shared, the bonds between us, and the laughter and love across the years.

You can't shame yourself into weight loss, so why not practice love in the process?  

Live Gorgeously,
Esther