About 5 ½ years ago, I was looking at myself in the mirror, wondering what happened. What I saw was a far cry from the strong athletic person I once knew myself to be. I wasn’t in horrible shape, but I felt so disconnected from myself. I was about 20 pounds overweight, and I felt it. My jeans were tight. Again. Actually, they really didn’t fit.

Back then I worked a lot and was out of balance. I was constantly scrambling to meet everyone else’s needs before mine because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. I didn’t sleep well because I was stressed. I was in an unhealthy relationship, knowing full well I should have left long ago. I was tired all of the time.

I ate to avoid facing how unhappy I was and to avoid doing tasks I found uncomfortable, like picking up the phone to call clients. The more I ate, the more weight I’d gain and the more I judged myself harshly.

If this was what getting older looked like, it sucked.

I knew that I needed to do something to take care of myself, so I looked at joining a Crossfit gym. I had never invested that much in myself before for a fitness plan, and even though I started to make up reasons not to go through with it, I tried it anyway. I did this for 3 or 4 months and then I stopped after another crisis pulled my attention away.

But the pattern played out for another year. I ended the unhealthy relationship soon after as a way to start reclaiming my life. I changed my diet a number of times, I tried workouts I found online.

Things would work temporarily. I’d try something that worked for everyone else, but I couldn’t seem to make it work for me. I’d get frustrated I gave up very easily.

I reached a breaking point and finally admitted to myself that I couldn’t do it on my own.

Asking for help was the hardest thing for me to do. I had to acknowledge that I didn’t have all of the answers and let someone else show me what to do.

I looked at my options and found a kettlebell class that seemed interesting, so I signed up for it. I enjoyed it but felt defeated at the same time because I could barely lift 15 lbs. I had always seen myself as someone who was strong and athletic. I felt like it would be impossible to get to that again.

I kept going to class though because I was motivated enough to make a change, and I had someone I felt comfortable with to ask questions or bring up new awareness.

There was a moment when I made a breakthrough. All the times before when I trained for marathons, triathlons or even soccer or weightlifting, I would reach a point when my mind would tell me to stop, it was too painful, or I was going to hurt myself. So, I’d stop there and take a break.

After months of kettlebell training, I made it past that plateau. Something shifted in me because I had the confidence to move past my own self-doubt. I proved to myself that I can, in fact, do anything, and I can move past the mental blocks that I’ve been attached to for years.

I looked at my before and after pictures after 90 days of training. The results were amazing. At the age of 40, I bought a bikini for the first time in my life. I joined a new soccer team where the average age was 26. They looked to me for inspiration because I was “ripped,” and one of the fastest players on the team.

I felt confident, and years lighter.

For the first time in a long time, I got really clear on what I wanted, and this started to translate into other areas of my life. I ended the business that no longer worked for me and created a platform to truly help people transform their relationship with their body.

Now, at the age of 45, I have a healthy relationship with my body. I don’t subscribe to mad diets or quick fixes.

I enjoy what I eat without guilt or shame. I have a regular workout routine that I can’t live without. I enjoy life. I help others do the same.

And I still look damn good in that bikini, if I do say so myself.

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