Hiiii it’s Ashley!! I hope you are having such an amazing day. Sarah and I have been chatting about body positivity, self-love and our fitness journeys and it made me reflect on the past few years. So, I wanted to take some time and share a bit of my story with you all. So often, especially as women, our lives get in the way of our personal goals. We put others first, have other priorities, get busy and then suddenly, a year or two have gone by and you have stopped making yourself a priority. That is exactly where my journey began. In 2016 my boyfriend and I had gotten a puppy and just about finalizing the purchase of our first home. I was focused on everything that was going on around me except for myself. And with that came terrible nutrition and serious weight gain. At a time when I should be celebrating and enjoying these new milestones in my life I was unhappy, mentally and physically exhausted, self-conscious, felt empty, and was not at all present in my daily life. These emotions consumed me daily, unbeknownst to everyone else around me and I was lost in shame and negativity.  I woke up one morning and I had finally had enough with it all. The excuses: “my body just isn’t the same anymore”, “I’m getting older”, “my metabolism has changed”, “it won’t make a difference.”  The tomorrow’s: “I’ll start tomorrow”, “my diet changes tomorrow”, “Ill workout tomorrow”, “I’m tired I’ll do it tomorrow.” I was done. Done with the negativity, feeling sad, and done with being unhappy. That’s when I decided to join Tone It Up, follow the Nutrition Plan and commit to doing something for ME. For as long as I can remember I have always put others wants and needs before my own and for the first time I was going to put myself first. Now I’m going to be honest, I was terrified. Terrified that: I couldn’t do it, it would be too hard, I would fail, and most of all, afraid of letting myself down. But regardless of how unsure I was, I knew I had to try. I had to do it for me. I had to make a change.

It was definitely not easy at first, but I have learned so much in the process:

  • Set small goals and celebrate those victories

  • Eating healthy can be simple and delicious

  • Exercise is not a chore

  • Love my body & its imperfections

  • It’s okay to eat that cookie

  • Enjoy the journey

  • I am not alone

  • I have more strength & determination than I ever imagined

The girl in the first image has changed in ways she couldn’t even imagine at the start of it all. Yes, I have lost weight, gained muscle and toned up but for me that is just a small part of my transformation. What started out as a singular goal: to lose weight, has evolved into so much more. It has become a lifestyle and overall commitment to personal growth. I am committed to me and choose me every single day. I have gained so much in the past year. Knowledge on nutrition and the proper way to fuel my body. Knowing what my body needs and why it needs it has been a huge factor for me and it has completely changed my relationship with food. I now have a deep love of self and cultivated belief that I am enough. I can look at myself every day in the mirror and see past the superficial (my skin, body, hair and make-up) and acknowledge the genuine, authentic and beautiful girl in front of me.

Remember: It is never too late to start YOUR journey. You are so much more capable than you know, trust me, I’ve been where you are. If I can do it, so can you. I believe in you and I love you.

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