Mom, Athlete, Friend, and Coach Learns to Embrace Strong

I'm excited to start the #EmbraceStrong Series with my friend Liz. She wrote this for me to use for my 'What Does Ideal Look Like?' post and it immediately made me want to start this series. Thank you Liz for sharing your story and I hope this inspires many of you, especially you mom's out there! I am still taking submissions for features, so please email me for consideration.

#EmbraceStrong Liz Feature
#EmbraceStrong Liz Feature

Walk past me in a coffee shop, the mall or local grocery store and I'm just another woman. Scan my sporty outfit, laced up running shoes and pull over sweater...."she "fit", she must workout". What goes through your head next? "Bets she's always been like that, bet she doesn't have to work hard for it, bet she's confident, never judged her body, never cried wondering why she isn't happy with what looks back at her in the mirror." You'd be wrong.

Take a step further, what if my shirt clearly stated "I'm an Triathlete". "I Crossfit". "I'm a Marathon Runner". My body wouldn't match what society has programmed us to see when we think of "those" type of athletes. I don't have a six pack, glutes that get 10k likes on Instagram or 7% body fat. I'm me.

I remember the first time I was told I should hate my body. 7th grade walking down the halls of school. "It's a bird, it's a plane, it's thunder thighs". This was the start of 15 years of training and programming myself to loath my body instead of love it. Between bullying, media and campaigns targeted to women about how you should view your body, and what a "perfect" body looks like, I found myself programmed to self destruct. If your body's not perfect you won't find love, happiness or success. How could I possibly meet those requirements?! I'm me.

#EmbraceStrong Liz Feature

12 years later I stood 242lbs, what have I become? I hated myself, my body and how I viewed it. This is NOT me. I decided in that very moment to bravely take the reins on my life and undo the programming. Learn how to love yourself Liz. Learn to know you deserve better then how you've treated yourself. I walked out of the bathroom to see my daughter, 2 at the time, standing in my shoes...literally. And I'll I could think was to scream, get out of my shoes! Don't be the women I've become, love yourself, never doubt your value, never wonder how you stack up. Be strong. Love YOU! How could she learn those things if I wasn't strong enough to teach her.

The sporty girl in the grocery store is a mom, a athlete, a friend, a coach, a mentor, she inspires because she had the courage to hit the reset. Her stomach wears the scars of battle. She's reversed 100lbs of weight gain from her athletic frame. Her body will never be "perfect", because perfect is bullshit. My body is a instrument, it's a machine. It is me.

My body has carried me through child baring, 100 mile bike rides, brutal crossfit workouts and 26.2 tortuous miles of running. It is capable of amazing things. I no longer push my body because I hate it, but challenge it because I believe in it. I may never fit the mold of what an endurance athlete "looks like". I'm me.

So how do you display the ultimate sign of self love and acceptance. You peel off your shirt, bare your battle scars, share your story. This isn't easy but.....This is me.

I'm not saying loving your body is easy. Im saying it's possible.

Instagram: @Glutenfreegangsta