Home Gastric Bypass 2+ Years Post Op 10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body

I am extremely passionate about sharing my story and the lessons I’ve learned in hopes of inspiring others to live their own I’mperfect Life!

Even though I have lost 164lbs and  I am at my doctor’s goal weight

Even though I have been doing crossfit 4-5 days a week for almost 2 years and eat a very clean diet (90% of the time)…

Even though I am a certified personal trainer and a Spartan, a Rugged Maniac, a Warrior and a Triathlete

This is what my body looks like (almost) naked

Andrea Matthes Ugly Body Because of this I try very hard to stay focused on fitness goals as my measure of success rather than my appearance, or the number on the scale, or the size of my jeans…sometimes…just sometimes, I forget.

A few weeks ago I did just that…I forgot. I was faced with a “Look Good Naked Challenge” at my gym that I knew I had no chance in hell of winning. I remembered that summer was just around the corner and realized that I would go a 25th year wearing shorts over my bathing to hide the legs I’ve hated since I was 11.  I tried on a jean skirt that I wanted so bad only to see my misshapen knees that have kept me from wearing anything above them throughout all of my adult years, and out of nowhere it hit me like a ton of bricks…I felt frustrated, discouraged and sad. Like really, really sad.  I even cried a little.I felt like all the hard work that I’d been doing wasn’t paying off and it made me want to give up.

I spent a good  week or so feeling sorry for myself, getting caught up in the vanity of it all.  I didn’t work as hard at the gym, I didn’t eat as well as I usually do and every time I looked in the mirror I felt worse than I had the time before.

I can’t recall if there was something specific that got me to pull my head out of my ass, but fortunately something did. (could have just been the end of my period…fricken hormones!) Regardless of what it was, I decided that it was time to REALLY celebrate what my ugly body CAN DO rather than focus on what it looks like…or doesn’t look like. So I asked my friend Emily, the amazing photographer at Southern Star Photography, to take some pictures of me DOING the THINGS I have NEVER, EVER…EVER in my entire life…not even as a kid (with the exception of the cartwheel) have been able to do until now.

So here you go!  Today I am celebrating what my body is capable of doing because of the lifestyle changes that I’ve made and the hard work I’ve done in and out of the gym.

I am PROUD of my ugly body because…

THIS BACK AND THOSE ARMS Imperfect Life - 13

ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO DO THIS (no strings attached!)

Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Pull Up

THIS BACKSIDE

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CAN DO A CARTWHEEL A GRACEFUL AS ANY (NOVICE) GYMNAST

Imperfect Life Andrea Matthes Cartwheel

THESE SADDLEBAGS, STRETCH MARKS AND CELLULITE

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CAN’T STOP ME FROM BEING SUPER FLEXIBLE

Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Splits

THAT LOOSE UNDERARM SKIN

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DOESN’T MEAN I CAN’T CLIMB THIS THING

Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Rope

THE REMAINING FAT ALL OVER MY BODY

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DOESN’T MEAN I’M NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO FLIP A FLIPPIN TIRE

Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Tire Flip

MY FLABBY TUMMY

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HAS THE CORE STRENGTH THAT ALLOWS ME TO ACT LIKE KID

Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Rings

THESE PUDGY LEGS

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PROVIDE ME WITH ENOUGH STRENGTH AND STABILITY TO DO A ONE LEGGED SQUAT (with great amounts of concentration!)

Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Pistol Squat

AND THIS…ALL OF THIS

Andrea Matthes Imperfect Life

WOULDN’T KEEP ME FROM LOOKING STRONG AND SEXY…

IF I LIVED ON THE MOON

 Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes

 Besides, I still look cute in a pair of jeans…

10337402_743456825133_1031044186_o

AND I’M…

Better Stronger Faster Andrea Matthes

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY

NO MATTER HOW UNCOMFORTABLE I AM DISPLAYING MY BODY DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS…

I NEVER, EVER WANT TO BE AS UNCOMFORTABLE AS I WAS IN THIS BODY 365 DAYS A YEAR

Fat Lies

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How about you?  Do you feel good about your body?  I hope so!

Let’s celebrate together!

Do this…

Grab a picture of yourself doing something that makes you feel PROUD then…

Post it to the I’mperfect Life Facebook Page

Tweet it to me @imperfectlife2

Tag me on Instagram @imperfectlife2

Use the hashtags #ilovemybody #imperfectlife so I can celebrate WITH YOU!

I can’t wait to see what makes YOU proud!

Oh! And if you join my Fitness Challenge you could get one of these sweet medals!

Medal Final

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW WHO COULD USE A LITTLE CELEBRATION TOO!

PS:

If you have ever, even for only one second, measured yourself against pictures I’ve posted, assuming that I looked like an athlete under my compression wear and wondered why you didn’t look the same, I hope that this post assures you that just like the scale, pictures don’t provide the whole truth either.  Although I try to be as honest as possible in my photos and posts, it’s hard to find balance between the truth and what sounds like self-deprecation–which is something I avoid.  Regardless of how ugly my body is under my clothes, it is STRONG and it’s getting stronger every day.  I am proud of my accomplishments and look forward to continued improvement.  While I toy with the idea of plastic surgery, the thought of taking time off from doing the things I love like Crossfit and races and LIFE in order to recover appeals to me far less than my reflection in the mirror.  So for now, I am just going to keep on doing what I’m doing– eating right, working out and embracing my I’mperfect Life.

PPS:

Mad props to Athletics 8 Compression Wear for keeping my waterballoon of a body TIGHT during my workouts so I can kick ass at being awesome.

And THANK YOU to Emily at Southern Star Photography for reminding me that I am beautiful and strong!

You might also be interested in these Crossfit Progress Related Posts

My heart is full of joy.

Author
Andrea is the creator of I'mperfectLife.net, a site that started as a personal blog documenting her extreme weight loss journey, post gastric bypass surgery. Since her WLS (weight loss surgery) Andrea has learned many invaluable lessons about how to let go of perfection in order to live a truly healthy lifestyle. Although she is grateful for the surgery and realizes it was the right decision for her at the time, Andrea also recognizes that she never fully understood what a truly healthy lifestyle looked like and continued to fail at successfully losing weight because she was stuck on the "all or nothing" approach. Letting go of perfection has been her key to success; finding balance in REAL FOOD, REAL FITNESS and REAL LIFE. Andrea considers herself a badass whole foods cook, a kickass personal trainer and total hardass when it comes to letting go of perfection in order to live a her best life.
416 replies to this post
    • A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. ~Roald Dahl

  1. You are amazing and an inspiration!
    I’m about to hit the 2 year mark with crossfit and I’m seriously amazed at all the things I can do now that I never thought I would be able to.

  2. Thank you for reminding me again why I should learn to accept my body as it is and celebrate my weight loss (160 lbs) and what I can do with that accomplishment. :)

  3. I’ve lost about 50 pounds in the last five months but was really starting to struggle because of my body image. You are an inspiration and have really opened my eyes. Thank you for posting this.

  4. I cannot tell you how important this post was for me today. As I sit here recovering from yet another surgery to correct the ravages of breast cancer, I have been so much more focused on what the new and old parts look like and what I don’t like about them that I have forgotten to be thrilled that I am ALIVE! Damn girl, you are amazing!

  5. You rock (as usual)! Just imagine what your “naked pics” will look like in another year. You’re strong and beautiful and I am so impressed with your willingness to share with everyone so you can continue to inspire. :)

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I have approx. 150 lbs to lose and the thought of loose flabby skin scares me. After reading this and seeing the pictures, it makes me so much more comfortable!

  7. Gosh I wish I had your confidence. I am sure going to try. I can’t remember anytime in my life that I loved my body and I can’t even remember a time I didn’t hate my body. Other people tell me I look amazing after losing almost 100 pounds (still 100 pounds to go). I don’t believe them. Thankfully I am working with my counselor and am seeing progress. I just hope I can find some love for myself before July 26th which is my wedding day. I know my fiance would love that. I will try your challenge and I am so thankful for you sharing this post and your story. It was exactly what I needed to hear. You are such an inspiration and I am glad I found your blog.

    • Danielle, wow! Congrats on your progress! I’ve found the best way to love my own imperfect body, is to make time daily to list what I am grateful for about my body. Gratitude is a powerful gift. Give it to your body and mind daily… Your love for yourself will grow with each grateful thought!

    • Danielle, I have been “small” all of my life. I have never been comfortable or confident with my body. As women, we all have issues with our body image. I am 30 years old. I earned my “stripes” having my 3 children. I am more uncomfortable with my body now than I was at 17 when I thought I was “bigger”. Making time to exercise is difficult. I am 20 lbs . overweight and struggle to like let alone love my body. It’s a daily struggle. No, my weight may not be as much as yours, but my internal struggle is similar. God bless you. You seem to have an amazing determination. You gave me a boost. Thank you!! Good luck and lots of love. I’m rooting for you!!! :)

  8. Thank you for sharing your journey! I’m down 60lbs and have another 45 or so to go. You inspire me and so any others. Congratulations

  9. Thank you for sharing. You are beautiful, strong, and such an inspiration. We all have rough days where we’re hard on ourselves but It’s all the countless hours of meal prep, days you wake up tired but head to the gym anyway, and ask the positive self-affirmations that really do count and make the biggest difference. Keep it up, girl!

  10. This is such a fantastic post. I am thin and do not have to lose the kind of weight you do, but still, I find myself envious–yes envious! You are fit and strong in ways that I am not, I wish I could do so many of the things you can, but I all too often sadly neglect strength training and fitness. Your body is beautiful and getting more so all the time. You’ll get there, and when you do, you’ll be super-healthy in addition to loving how you look! xxoo

  11. i’m sure the you of a year ago did not happen overnight, rather over many, many years (since you were 11 at least, right?). the you u see before you is in metamorphosis. change takes time, but you can clearly see that it’s doing its magic. keep inspiring people, gf, u a rockstar.

  12. I love this. We should all be as proud of our bodies as you are! I remember the day I stopped struggling to feel happy was the day that I started to judge myself on how healthy and strong I felt, not the number on the scale or the size of jeans I wear. You bring that confidence to a whole new level! I hope you always continue celebrating your body because you should, you are healthy, strong and beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. I’m working on my own weight loss journey and keep finding myself fixated with the number on the scale. The number is barely moving, but my strength and body are slowly, but surely. I am nervous for the day I loose the weight and my stomach ends up hanging.. After reading this, it brought tears to my eyes and made me realize the important changes are what matters. The changes you mentioned are the ones that do and that do. Stories like this keep me going. Thank you.

  14. You are so amazingly beautiful, I cannot stand it! You are f****ing fabulous!! Thank you for being brave by sharing your story and your amazing photos!!

  15. Love everything about this!! I’m a member of the excess skin club too and as uncomfortable as it is it’s still wayyyy better than being 150lbs heavier than I am now. I made the choice to have some of the skin removed – there is still some left on my legs and backside. Love your photos and the way you’re approaching loving what your body can do!

  16. I weigh less than the amount of weight you lost, except maybe the last couple weeks of pregnancies #4 & #5. I lack the ability even do any of that stuff if I tried. I know what I need to do to make any of it happen, but I choose not to do any of it. I own that. But it doesn’t stop people from assuming I’ve lost all the baby weight, and that I work out all the time. Neither is true. I am thoroughly impressed with your ability and the mental fight you possess. I’ll get off my blessed assurance at some point and do something about it. And when I do, I’ll own that just as much as I own my current laziness.

  17. Hey Girl, I just wanted to say, I never respond to posts or articles, and no offense, but especially weight loss ones, mainly because so many weight loss stories end with…even though I don’t look like most of your” or blah blah blah “I’ll never be a super model” But after reading your article I just had to say something. I think you are beautiful. You are beautiful because you showed what you CAN DO. A lot of people trying to lose weight talk about how they want to look and you are showing everyone what you CAN DO!!! I believe that is why people work to be in shape, so they can do shit!! Play with their kids, hang up side down, flip a tire if they needed to. I love this. I am 120 pounds and in pretty good shape, but I can not do a one legged squat. Good for you and thank you so much for posting. Please keep pushing yourself, keep showing people what you can do because I think that once people start putting on weight they tell themselves, their mothers tell them, their boyfriends, whoever, say they most likely can’t do something and the sad thing is people believe it. Please keep proving them wrong!! Go on wit chya bad self guurll!!! Keep living, inspiring and kicking @$$!!!

  18. You go girl !! You should be super proud of yourself and you are young so just keep it up and it will all come together . You are an inspiration to all of us. God bless .

  19. Well done! I’m the size a lot of women *want* but I can tell you you’re stronger by far than I am! I’m truly jealous of the strength and dedication you have to go out and kick ass!

  20. I lost weight without having skin problems because I had my sister as an example of weight loss skin disaster and I researched a lot about toning skin.
    So I had 3 anti-cellulite massages a week, mud wraps, cold-hot alternating showers everyday ( perhaps the most efficient thing for contracting the skin), ice massage sometimes, sauna and cold icy showers in between saunas, always took vitamins for hair and skin, always watched my b, e, a and d vitamin intake. Another thing that really really works is micro-needle skin rollers – they tone and also slowly erase stretchmarks as long as you keep doing it every few weeks – i have stretchmarks that have dissipated completely (probably took about 20-30 sessions)
    And I slowed down my weight-loss by the progress I made on the skin. If I lost too much weight and the skin looked a little loose I would focus on maintaining my weight until I got the skin to match the frame and only then lost a bit more and so on.
    I am outraged all the time seeing nobody ever talks about how important skin toning is when you lose weight.
    All public examples invite you to lose the weight incredibly fast and go for surgery. You don’t have to do that to yourself, we are missing important information. You will look incredible if you start this even now, just give yourself the right tools and patience.
    Also, low fat diets (and very low fat diets) will totally keep you from making progress on your skin, and I’m not talking olive oil here. You need to get animal fats into your diet, and lots of them, just don’t combine them with simple carbs or high gi carbs.
    My skin is tight and my shapes even better than before i got fat ( because massage also modulates – wherever you will insist you will definitely lose more fat and get the skin tighter – I know they all say there is no localized fat loss but that is just a mith, a big one.
    Try it on yourself – the simplest way is breast massage – if you do 15 mins in the morning and 15 mins in the evening following an upward or circular motion you will see huge results. Then do it to all your body. And do not expect to lose cellulite overnight. I lost 110 pounds in 3 years ( not because I didnt know how to do it fast, I used to do it super fast and that’s what got me obese in the long run. Treat your body with patience, take the time to understand the changes happening.

  21. Just wanted u to know u look great an yes u rock those jeans. Nothin wrong with u. U worked hard an should b awarded a great life. Any guy would b so lucky to have a Hott an determined woman as u.

  22. yes yes yes! You are amazing, strong, beautiful, and inspiring! You have trained your body to do amazing things that even people who look fit and buff can’t do. Keep up the great work :)

  23. I have never even HEARD of a 1 legged squat, let alone attempted one. You are awesome!!!! You look great and should be thrilled with the physical shape you are in. We all have imperfections and I know very few people who love what they look like naked, but you are kicking fitness ass and are gorgeous. You should be proud and I love that you put it out there. If more people did that, we would have so much less stress around our bodies and what they should look like according to airbrushed magazines. That you SO much for sharing!!

  24. I just wanted to say, as a ‘skinny’ person… I still look in the mirror on days and think…,those stretch marks., those scars., that loose skin.. You are as beautiful as you make you think, or as ugly. Keep the smile, keep the love of what you CAN do and change.

  25. Thank you! You are lovely and you look so full of joy! Thanks for the encouragement to persevere and be healthy, and not pay attention to how the world tells us we need to look.

  26. This is so awesome!! I was suffering from depression and had gained weight, nothing too heavy, but still enough to be uncomfortable in my skin. I then started exercising and eating whole foods to feel better, I lost about 4kg and started feeling awesome, then the trainer at my gym said I really should weight another 4-5kg less, which would be 49-50kg… suddenly all the fun started to go out of my nutritional eating, my balanced diet was suddenly “too fatty” I worried over everything I ate and I got down to 50kg… huzzah! Never mind that I was working out 3 times a day, feeling exhausted and dizzy and not eating with friends or enjoying my food anymore. Did I feel happier? Nope, and in fact my depression started creeping back in. so what did I do? I beat myself up about it for ages and went swinging back and forth between eating well and quitting and feeling sorry for myself and I started to put weight back on. But you know what? I’ve come to realise that I’d rather have some fat on my body and be strong at 54kg than exhausted, weak and tired at 50kg. So thank you. It’s ladies like you that make me see it’s how you FEEL about yourself, not what you weight on the scale, but what you can do with your body! And as the other trainer (the female one!!) said as I walked in the other day “this is Rachel! She is a fitness monster!” and yep I’m still not “skinny” but I am healthy and determined. :)

  27. I’m 2 and one half months out from the sleeve and I’m disappointed in myself because of a slow loss and a continued hunger. I’m also dealing with bad knees and spinal stenosis. It makes an excuse for not exercising but you just busted that excuse to bits. I’m excited to see more from you and I think your blog came to me for a reason. Thanks.

  28. You are my hero! I am identified with you. I am super strong and a work in progress but my body will never be beautiful. Keep doing your amazing job!

  29. Thank you thank you thank you.
    I came across your blog through lisbeth darsh on Facebook. I am speechless. Seeing your pics I just want to cry. Tears of joy because I am you. And I wish one day I have my breakthrough to share my body and LOVE it as much as you love yours.

  30. I love your story and I love you! Congratulations on your success and continued success! I think you look BEAUTIFUL

  31. This makes me SOOO SOO happy! I’ve just hit my three month mark of doing crossfit, and it has TRULY changed my life! I’ve stayed away from the scale and while I’ve been slimming down and not losing a ton of weight yet, I’ve been working on focusing on what my body can do. I’m a big girl, but I’m strong, confident, flexible, and turning into quite the athlete!! I amaze myself everytime I walk into that gym, and I’m so thankful for CrossFit. Thank you for posting this. Also, I have to say, your body is NOT ugly. Your body is BEAUTIFUL! Just because it doesn’t look like the cover of Shape Magazine doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. You’re so inspiring.

  32. Andrea, thank you so much for your courage and desire to expose yourself as you did. It was an amazing piece and brought tears to my eyes. I started cross fit at 471 pounds on 12/12/13 and know that I will be in the same boat someday and so appreciate the perspective you brought.

  33. This is amazing and comes at such a perfect time. I have been working hard and exercising consistently and I still don’t look the way that I want to. This was an amazing reminder that I need to focus on what my body can do instead of just how it looks in the mirror. Thank you for this, more ladies need to see this, I will be reposting!

  34. Can you edit this and make a video? It WOULD go viral. Make u some money, honey! You are so aammaazziinngg! I am proud to know you.

  35. WOW girl!
    You are so INSPIRING!!! I love that you are showing others they can love everything about their bodies after a transformation. Thank you for stepping up and showing others what is possible! I love that you are not afraid to put yourself out there! GO GIRL!
    I would love to chat with you more! Shoot me an email getfitwithjules@yahoo.com :)

  36. You are gorgeous and strong! Damn, girl!! I love your confidence and the glint in your eye–you can see how much you love your life. Inspiration for the day. :)

  37. Eery body is a goddamn miracle!! I just was featured in an article here in Austin about bodies and size an swimwear and you know what? You look damn fine to me. I’m a little jealous of your booty in fact. Kudos to you for putting it out there, and saying yeah, it’s mine and this is how I look, and it’s perfectly badass. You are amazing!!

  38. I think you just saved my life..my healthy life that is.you are my hero! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  39. Wonderful post! Was reading a Ronnie’s Weigh post and she had a link to this post. Your body is beautiful. You are strong. Celebrate it and enjoy it. I always like to imagine how I might reflect on myself and my life 10 or 30 yes from this moment. I look back on my early twenties and wonder why I didn’t have more confidence or just enjoy being me– I always wishes I was better, so now in my 30’s I’m determined to not have that ‘why didn’t I’ feeling.
    Thanks again for such an inspirational post.

  40. You are fantastic. I am 50 years old and have had an “ugly body” since I was in my early 20s after losing a lot of weight. I have so much respect for your courage and your being real about this issue.

  41. Can’t tell you how much I love this! Having lost 225 pounds, my body looks deflated. I have to focus on all of the things I can do now, rather then focus on what my body looks like naked. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.

  42. Wow! A friend posted this on FB today. I read it through a stunned sense of awe and then tears. You are so courageous to put it all out there and I applaud you. Thank you for dispeling so many myths at once. Thank you for encouraging me to stay the course. I’ve been trying to lose weight my whole life and now at 60 it’s happening. I have a long road but choosing to live life present instead of in a food fog is thrilling and scary. The daily fight to eat healthy is just that, a fight. Thank you so much for helping me remember what is really important and kicking the tiny paradigm our society is obsessed with in the BUTT!!!! You are amazing.

  43. Thank you for the inspiration, I am so hard on myself and I weight 140lbs. My body is not perfect nor will it ever be. You are amazing. I need to start loving myself for who I am and what I give.

  44. You are incredible. Thank you for showing that REAL woman can be strong and beautiful! I showed this to a friend that lost 300 pounds and he was just as inspired by you bravery and strength!

    Thank you!

  45. I don’t know you, but you frickin’ rock. I wish all women would focus on getting their bodies better at doing stuff rather than getting their bodies to look different. You inspire.

  46. You are amazing, I read this and it made me cry. I lost 100 pounds and the more weight I lost the fatter and fatter I felt, I would look in the mirror and see a sharpei. As I was losing it I tried everything to keep my skin toned and in check, but to no avail…. I hate weighing less because I look and feel horrible :(

  47. Beautiful, spectacular, I am floored by your strength and words.

    Srength of spirit and strength of body. An amazing, powerful body!

    You are beaming joy. Thank you for your words and your honesty. Wholeheartedly inspired.

  48. You are so freaking inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing yourself at your most vulnerable and also you being your most amazing self. It so reminds me what I am really out to achieve in my own life, to get some of my strength, flexibility and fitness back rather than fit into my old skinny jeans. You look gorgeous and what you have achieved and will continue to achieve is just brilliant. Because of what you have just shared I now have a renewed focus and one which is for the right reasons too :) Keep up your fabulous work!

  49. I wish I was as strong as you. If I could only figure out what’s stopping me. Fear and embarrassment? Maybe a touch of laziness? I don’t know. I just know I think your strength (inner and outer) is beautiful. Nothing ugly about it.

  50. Thanks for your honesty in sharing your body and its beautiful strength. You’re awesome – I found your story incredibly inspirational!

  51. Love this! So inspiring of you to do this. You are AWESOME! How did you get so flexible ?? Thats my one downfall that I seem never to get progress in, I would love to be able to do the splits. Keep doing what you re doing :D!!!!!

  52. Thank you for the inspiration. I too have an imperfect body and have been doing crossfit for one year. Sometimes I wonder, what’s the point because I can’t see results and have only lost about 15 pounds. But, this morning I did 90 burpees, started off strong and scaled towards the end… Last year 3 would just about kill me. Thank you again, for making me see what is right in front of me.

  53. I really admire and envy your thought process. Sometimes I feel this way but then the others unknowing comments are what does it – like the “Do you still go to the gym” comments or “I have a friend who does that too but she’s really ripped” comments. Meanwhile I’m working out very hard all week long. You are fabulous. Good on you!

  54. WOW, is all I can say.
    You are such a wonderful lady, love the way you posted this. I do have those days as well, but like you said, we have to start loving ourselves….I am soooo darn proud of what you are doing. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

  55. I just wanted to add to the love fest here — because YOU ARE AWESOME and UNSTOPPABLE. These pics show such a beautiful badass, I am so very thankful to you for sharing your story with the world. Signed, another committed Crossfitter!

  56. Great job! Thanks for sharing. It means a lot to me to see real women post real fitness journey stories….undressed models doing squats does not motivate me. People like you do!

  57. this post is absolute perfection. THANK YOU – from the bottom of my heart – for posting your story and photos. so many people (myself included) have felt sad/down/frustrated/judged by their ‘ugly’ bodies and it’s time for that to end. your post is a reminder that the body can do so much more than we give it credit for, not matter what it looks like. and isn’t that what matters more?

    i needed an extra reminder because lately i’ve hit a bit of a wall with my fitness journey. i’ve been frustrated over results (or lack thereof), i’ve gotten fatigued by all the planning and prepping. i’ve wished and wished for a way that this process can be easier. and then, just this morning, before reading your post, i decided to give myself a little pep talk because i’m getting married at the end of next month and while i had grand ideas of how much weight i could lose or how many sizes i could drop, they haven’t gone exactly as planned. so i reminded myself of three very, very important things. 1 – i will always have weight loss/fitness/health goals. i will continue to better myself, always. just keep going, it’s not a race. 2 – nothing i want to happen will happen overnight, so just keep working at it, one day at a time. slow and steady. and 3 – in 39 days i get to marry my best friend. he loves me every day for me. he loves my personality, he loves my attitude, he loves my family, he loves my friends, he loves everything i can do, he loves me for me. so what if my body isn’t what i thought it ‘should’ be on our wedding day…instead, just like our relationship, my body will continue to grow and change in the future. and it can do a lot of cool stuff.

    so, thank you for posting this. your ‘ugly’ body is way more than what it looks like, just like all of us. it’s a badass body that can lift heavy s&@%. keep it up girl!

  58. Not to b a freaking mush but your story really touched me! Im very glad you shared it and ill tell you now- most people dont have the balls to be so open and vulnerable as you have been in this post!! Big freekin kudos to you!!

  59. You have accomplished, and are MUCH stronger and healthier, than the majority of thin/fit women. Screw the idea of flawless, you are perfect!! I have mid-shaped knees and so much loose skin after my weight loss that some days it does not feel worth it…it feels as if I cannot progress, but you have shown so many of us that we can- I can…because right now I cannot do any of the things you posted about! Thank you for helping me renew my goals! :)

  60. This took tremendous courage! I can relate on so many levels – I’m down 100 pounds and still won’t wear anything above mid foot or the elbow! It is so the hormones that drive us to and sometimes over the edge. My weight issues started when I started getting my period at age 9. I’m finally starting to win the battle with clean food and exercise just in time to start menapause.

  61. (Apologies if this posts more than once; I’m having connection issues and can’t tell if it’s going through.) I’d like to tell you a bit of my journey, and hope it will be helpful to someone. I’ve never been what the world calls “heavy” unless your standard is those emaciated supermodels, but I’ve rarely been happy with my body either. I was always active, but I got more serious about my fitness when I started doing Fit for Life in 2005 and worked out HARD (to the point where if it were any harder, I would have passed out or been throwing up on my sneakers) six days a week for several years. I actually got a bit heavier–I lost some fat and gained more weight in muscle, so I lost a few inches in the process even though the scale went up–and I was already pretty strong from gymnastics and yoga, but I got stronger; I’m a 5’2″ 40-something woman who routinely did slow squats (20 seconds per rep) with a 50-pound dumbbell in each hand.

    Then my husband, who had been my Most Important Person since college–half of our lives–left me. During that time I lost 22 pounds in six weeks because I quit eating almost completely, so I weighed less than I had since I was a lean eleven-year-old, and people started telling me I looked a bit emaciated. I had wanted to lose the weight, but the way I lost it wasn’t healthy, and it wasn’t worth what I went through which resulted in the weight loss. It’s common among those of us who have been left by our spouses, and we call it the midlife crisis diet, even though it’s our spouses rather than us who are experiencing a midlife crisis.

    I lost interest in fitness after the split because just taking a shower became a major daily accomplishment for about four years. It didn’t help that my husband left me for a woman who was half my age but at least double (if not triple) my weight. Obviously, being fit wasn’t enough to make me worthy of love. I had been suicidally depressed to some degree since my early teens, and it’s basically a miracle that I survived all of this. It was a hundred times harder than anything else I had ever done in my life.

    Finally, after several years of barely coping with all that had happened, I started regaining interest in fitness, as the depression somehow (miraculously and inexplicably) went into a sort of remission for the first time in thirty years, and I started putting my life back together in a different pattern. But about that same time I developed an elbow injury which made it excruciatingly painful just to take a soup can off a shelf, so my beloved weightlifting and other workout routines went back on hold, although I knew I should try harder to work around the injury instead.

    I confess that I still haven’t worked my way back up to the really hard exercise and clean eating, but I haven’t been a total slug, and I’ve had a lot of work to do on my emotions and attitude instead. I have been learning to love myself and experience God’s love instead of relying on another person to validate me, or judging myself on whether I am being or doing or looking a certain way. I am learning to accept myself for exactly who and where I am in my life, while at the same time working on becoming a better person. Due to the split, I lost a lot of people I thought were friends, but despite my shyness, I have found some new friends, and the bonus is that I don’t have to wonder whether they like me for myself or just tolerate me as an adjunct to my husband. I like to think that in the process, I am becoming more who I was meant to be.

    The reason I have told my rather long-winded tale is to help explain why I believe that nothing which changes your body is as important as changing your attitude so that you can love yourself for who you are on the inside, and also so that you can accept love from others and from your higher power for the same reason. This creates a positive loop, because the more you love yourself for who you are, the easier it is to love yourself enough to push yourself to become better, in whatever way is meaningful for you. In other words, you love yourself exactly as you are, and at the same time you love yourself too much to let yourself just stagnate there. If you don’t love yourself and your body when you know it is imperfect, it doesn’t matter how much weight you lose or how much you exercise; you won’t ever be satisfied with it, even if you develop a prizewinning body, until you change your attitude. It’s the same thing with your life as a whole: It will basically never be perfect, so if you want to be happy, you have to learn to be happy and grateful for whatever you have, even while you are working to improve it.

    Andrea, I congratulate you on the work you have done on your body, and even more on your attitude toward it. I salute all of the hard work you have done to get to this point in your journey, both physical and mental. And I think you should know that you have the most wonderful smile!

  62. You’re awesome! Keep up the good work! You can definitely see the progress, and you really are looking fantastic and beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

    Hallie

  63. You. Are. Amazing.

    And your post was just want I’ve been needing to read, and your photos just what I needed to see. Thank you for inspiring me, and helping me to remember to not beat myself up about what my body looks like…but to celebrate what my body can do.

    Sending you cyber hugs and high-fives!

    xo

  64. Kudos to reaching your fitness goals but you have a way to go towards loving your body. You don’t insult something you love and “ugly” is by no means an endearment. That’s like saying you love your children yet call them stupid. Hopefully soon you’ll truly love your body and stop hiding your legs at the beach. Because your body is beautiful and deserves to be loved and respected, not insulted.

  65. I love this post! Love your message! Love your strong, beautiful body and wonderful smile and love for life! Kudos for an amazing post, that took courage and will touch more lives than you can possibly imagine!

  66. Kudos to reaching your fitness goal. However, despite your article, it doesn’t seem that you truly love your body. Calling something that does such wonderful things for you “ugly” is like saying you love your children while referring to them “stupid”. Still you are headed in the right direction so hopefully soon you will truly love your body and stop hiding your legs at the beach. Because your body is unique and beautiful and deserves to be completely loved and respected.

  67. You’re way braver than. Could ever be. You are awesome. You made me see my body in a different way. I too feel he same way sometimes, it is very frustrating. And it is nice to know that I’m not the only one going through this. Thank you! And keep up the hard work, it is paying off, big time!

  68. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Losing weight is a hard battle. But after you’ve lost weight, the real war begins. Getting rid that “I’m so fat and ugly” mentality is difficult. I remember losing 70 lbs and fitting in a size 8, and still hiding behind people in photos. It’s crazy!

    You are beautiful and strong!

  69. You are so beautiful and amazing! I just found this site and you are a true inspiration!!! Thank you for posting this and keep up the great work love!!!!

  70. You, quite literally, brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing your story, and for pouring out your heart on this page. I think each and every woman who reads this will relate, in some way or another, as there is always “something” that trips us up.

    In all honestly, you are GORGEOUS… and it is clear that you are stunning on the outside as well as on the inside! Do you have any idea how many sweet ladies you are encouraging with your story? The numbers will be countless, as this spreads across the vast expanse of the… INTERNET… ;)

    Love to you!
    Jaque (A Trim Healthy Mama!)

  71. what a really beautiful post. You are an amazing, gorgeous, strong woman and I hope you feel very proud of yourself.

  72. I am pretty small, and have never weighed over 120, but you clearly have more energy and strength than I do, so good on you for being so happy and working so hard. I don’t think I could do that split, pull-up or climb a rope, even though I “appear” fit.

  73. God bless you! I’ve neer been happy with my appearance. Even when I got down to 138, I was ashamed of the tummy skin and gave up ballooning me back up to almost 200 lbs. I applaud your hard work and dedication to yourself. I’ve never been comfortable enough to photograph myself, always feeling I wasn’t photo ready. You are an inspiration. Keep up your healthy path. You have amazing strength, both inside and out. :) With kindest wishes….

  74. I have lost 175lbs and while reading this, swore it was about me! We are built the same and have quite a bit of the same skin issues. Thank you for this story!

  75. You. Are. GORGEOUS. I don’t know you and I am proud of you. These pictures made me smile from ear to ear and get goosebumps. What a beautiful person you are, inside and out. Keep it up, girl.

  76. You are powerful and beautiful! Congratulations on a transformation that seems to have made you incredibly happy. Strength training has gotten me to love my much-larger-than-average thighs, even if I do the strength training in long pants or capris because I can’t find shorts that really fit my legs without falling down off my waist! When we push our bodies to get stronger and more flexible and more capable of doing awesome things, I think it makes us love them more, no matter what we look like!

  77. you are amazing !!!!! you inspired me. thanks for sharing your story. and you are a very beautiful girl with a very beautiful heart

  78. Thank you for this. I struggle with my body image a lot, and the fact that I weigh more than women my height are “supposed” to. I have been trying to remember that I am STRONG, I work cattle, I walk for miles and miles a day, and I can throw hay on the back of a truck as well as any guy. I need to remember that it’s ok that I have cellulite and a pudgy tummy. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. You’ve made my day better. You’ve helped make me a better person too.

  79. Loved your story! Ive gone through something similar myslef. I’ve lost 100 pounds from diet and Crossfit but am still not happy with how I look. I want to wear a tank too without feeling totally self conscious. You’ve helped me remember how far I’ve come and to be proud of who I am, loose skin and all. Thank you!

  80. I wanted to drop a curse word here, but it’s the first time I’ve posted so I don’t want to be obnoxious – but that is FREAKING awesome!!! YOU ROCK it like a bad a$$!!!!! :) :) :)

  81. INSPIRATIONAL! You are a rock star! Thanks for being you, inside that rockin’ body, with the best attitude ever :) It is very difficult to be surrounded by that vision of ‘perfect’. I for one have struggled with it being a curvy woman surrounded by boyish skinny women and wondered what I have to do to look like that, to fit those clothes, be a size 4 or whatever. It is so how you feel and to honor you – you as an individual… Both beautiful inside and out.
    Thanks so much for this :D

  82. I needed to see this today, thank you =)
    I have lost 46kg and had forgotten this last week how awesome that is. You know the why is my skin still sagging why is it so hard to loose this last (insert here kg, for me 10)? My doctor bless him has said how proud he was of me for going it alone. And yet this last few days I had forgotten, I did this, me, wow, I’m friggen awesome lols.
    I think being diagnosed with erosive arthritis and realising I can’t hold things very well any more really got me down, but after reading this it has given me a ‘kick up the ass’. Okay maybe I can’t hold dumbbells or curl my hands anymore, but there has to be something I can use to exercise with weights.
    Thank you Thank you thank you, you’re lovely =)

  83. I’m 67 years old and have had 2 kidney transplants, two hip replacements and too many other procedures to mention without boring everyone. I am over weight, not by much but still, over weight. BUT, my motto is “I’m still standing!” After all the health problems, I’m still standing. Sure, I’d like to lose a few pounds, wouldn’t we all? But, being surprisingly healthy, given all my health issues, is far more important than having the perfect body image (whatever that is). I guess it’s all a matter of priorities, isn’t it?

  84. Thank you for sharing your pictures and story. Back in 2009, I was at my heaviest weight-240 lb. I started doing bootcamp and crossfit and got down to 163 lb. I was able to do an unassisted pullup. Unfortunately over the last year, I didn’t have the best habits nutrition-wise and gained back 20 lbs. I lost my ability to do a pullup. I have been using the extra weight as an excuse to not do certain things. You are an amazing inspiration and I’m sharing your story with all of my friends. What you have accomplished is truly amazing and you look outstanding. Your confidence inspires me. Glad that I’m not alone in my struggle :)

  85. Amazing results, so amazing and courageous of you to share with everyone! I had lost 175lbs total, and was really having issues with the extra skin. Putting 20 lbs back on at least made me comfortable enough to look in the mirror, but can completely sympathize. I have just been looking at it all wrong. Thanks for the change in perspective! Keep up the good work!

  86. Fantastic! I love that you focus on what you can do. A family friend of ours (aged 15) recently had a terrible spinal cord injury, and is now paralysed from his neck down. Now, when I hear people complaining about various body parts, all I can think is that our young friend would give anything to be in a body that worked (even if it only worked enough so that he could scratch is own face) – regardless of what it looked like.

  87. Fantastic post! Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing. The only thing I disagree with is that your body is not ugly at all, it, like you, is so incredibly beautiful inside and out!!!

    Keep shining! Love and light to you and yours. :)

  88. Brilliant!!! You have done amazing and ur so right. I have lost over 8 stone and have issues with my body too…skin and stuff….constantly work out and at 43 am Fitter and stronger than most 18year olds. We compare ourselves to others and set unachievable goals….we should aim to be the best we can be, and happy and healthy and strong! Well done for loving yourself and sharing these pics. XXX
    Awesome!! Xx

  89. I really admire what you have done. Losing that kind of weight is no small undertaking by any means. Though I don’t have an issue with weight myself, I am a RN and I see the frequent and devastating effect it has on many patients I work with professionally. You have done an amazing thing. Not only have you lost a great deal of weight, you are much stronger and flexible for your effort. You can do things I can’t. About how you look, I don’t think you have a lot to worry about there. You in that little outfit, I would have stopped to look. You are beautiful. It’s not that my opinion matters here, but when we talk to ourselves, we are the only one listening. Maybe the same person that was talking before you lost all that weight is still talking sometimes. Be well on your journey. You’re a hero, it’s okay to feel that way.

  90. Thank you!! I needed this article right now. I’ve started on my 100+ pound weight loss journey over the next year and a half (before my 40th b-day) and I keep hitting this road block in my head thinking that my body will look like a deflated balloon at the end. This thought has brought me to tears and stopped me in my efforts before. I need to accept that even if this is true (which likely it is) that I will feel and move better than I do now. I needed to hear this and start focusing on what my body will be capable of, instead of what it will look like. I’m only about 1/5th of the way there…and this time I’m going to stop giving up on myself!! So thank you!!!

  91. This is a brilliant article. May I may a small suggestion, go get that denim skirt and wear it proudly. Just because the media perpetuates super skinny bodies, doesn’t mean that we need to conform to it or that your body is any less beautiful than anyone else’s. Fuck it. Just do it. Love your body. Stop looking at what is supposed to be “beautiful”. You’re healthy and fit and that’s what matters. I have a plus sized blogger friend who wears whatever she wants without caring what people think or say. And she’s most comfortable doing that. You’re beautiful just the way you are. Embrace it.

  92. You are awesome!! I have legs like yours, and I always have envied those with ‘model’s’ legs. I have always been frustrated, because despite running, biking, and weight training, they don’t look fit. Thank you, thank you for sharing! You are so beautiful inside and out! I can’t praise you enough. Thank you for the inspiration!! Bless you!

  93. Excellent perspective. You are able to do what most people cannot, physically. (and you ARE cute in a pair of jeans, I concur!)

  94. Thank you for sharing this. Amazing story from an amazing woman. I applaud the courage to start the journey you are on, I applaud the courage to write those words and take the pictures. Inspiration all over.

  95. I have followed your posts for over a year and love every one. This is my favorite so far. I am not a blogger but constantly think about this topic. I have made more changes in what my body can do than how it looks, and these changes make me happier about who I am. Thanks for celebrating strength and progress from any starting point.

  96. Wow. Thank you for your inspiration and willingness to bare your soul (and your body) to us! I’ve just restarted my weight loss/exercise journey, and your photos and philosophy are what I needed this morning!

  97. I think I was meant to read your blog this morning. My massage therapist posted it and I thought “why not!” You are definitely an inspiration to so many. Please don’t get me wrong by reaching out to you…but I think I can help you. I’m a personal trainer ( for 30yrs) and work for a all natural, cellular cleansing company. This is not a colon cleanse….this is a system that works synergistically to detox the body. I know you are eating clean but you have to release the toxins which are stored in and around the fat cells. Our bodies were not designed to consume the toxins we are faced with every day. God did not intend for our soil to be destroyed by pesticides and herbicides. The air we breath and the water we drink is all contaminated. Our livers can’t do their job because of the overload of toxins which are stored in and around our fat cells. I have witnessed many of my clients release tons of body fat. We have a 100, 200 and a 300lb club now. Their skin is taunt and there is no more brain fog, inflammation or low energy. I’d love to share more if you are interested.

  98. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For being so honest; for being so brave! I, too, have lost just over 120 pounds, and if you place my head on your body, we would be twins! With summer approaching and hopping on a cruise ship in 10 days, I was “hating on” my body. I gave birth to two healthy children and recently completed a half-marathon, but I couldn’t appreciate the beauty and strength. I will hop on that ship, enjoy myself, and try to remember the beauty this body has accomplished because of your post!

  99. You are absolutely Awesome!!! Keep up the hard work that you are doing and thank you for inspiring me to work harder myself and not focus on numbers on scale or jeans. I am healthier and stronger than I was 10 years ago, and getting stronger to keep up with my little 1 year old man. This old momma still has many healthy years ahead (42 and still rockin’)

  100. YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING! Thank you for sharing this. It is so easy to forget where we have come from and just focus on how much is left. Too many of us focus on weight and size and forget it’s about being healthy, fit, strong, and energetic. You are a Goddess!

  101. Wow! You are awesome and you are beautiful. This post made me laugh, cry and then get up from my desk and take a walk to move my ugly body. I am going to read this again and again when I feel like giving up.

  102. Oh my gosh, I love you! A friend posted a link to your blog a few minutes ago…I haven’t even read your entire day’s post yet, but your pix are so similar to mine (or would be if I ever had the nerve to do them). Nothing like being in tears before 9 a.m.! Down 150 lbs. myself, Xfit once a week and lift weights 2 other days a week, Warrior Dash, aiming toward Spartan next year. Thank you THANK YOU for sharing yourself and encouraging me to love and appreciate this body–a body that’s become strong though hidden from others with plenty of hangy skin–and spurring me on to one more day of doing those things I love.
    Looking forward to exploring more of your blog. Bless you!

  103. Just ran across this magnificent post on Facebook and felt compelled to say hi! Thank you for this. I’ve been making some major lifestyle changes that include eating better and working out 3-4 times per week for the last 9 months. I’m amazed at the progress I’ve made and very proud of myself! Then I catch that glimpse of myself, see myself in that tagged picture, try on something that’s smaller but still not flattering and BAM! I’m forgetting all that progress and falling deep into the frustration and sadness you described so well. Bookmarking your page immediately so I can visit often and remind myself of the real reasons I’m on this journey. xoxo

  104. I also struggle with the same thing. I’ve lost 88lbs (actually probably more like 120 lbs, but I didn’t weight at the start because it was way too scary). I’m down to a size 4 and am healthier than I’ve ever been. BUT, I have some saggy skin and nasty stretch marks that makes me sad. Not to mention some sagging at my thighs. Even at my heaviest, my legs always looked good. This disturbs me more than anything. It was the one part of my body I liked. Now, I feel like there is nothing on my body I like. :( I’m working hard to change my way of thinking and focus more on health and what I can now do. I’m making progress but it’s hard to accept that I will probably stay this way unless, of course, I go the surgery route. Like you, I started a weight loss blog to keep me accountable, to work through some issues (like this), and to let others know they aren’t alone. Thanks so much for the post. Now, I don’t feel alone! :) Keep going. You’re rockin’ it!

  105. I love your site, thank you for sharing your story. You are an incredibly strong lady, I love that you have shown others that they too can accomplish their dreams by never giving up!!! I am the mother of 5 (my body has seen better days) and grandmother of 10, you have made my day!!! God bless you and all your followers!!!

  106. Wow what an amazing article. Short, sweet, and incredibly inspiring. I love how you organized this and displayed all the amazing things you are now able to do after two years of Crossfit. I admire your strength, courage, and positive attitude. I am definitely going to keep this article saved & pass it along to everyone I can think of!!!

  107. This was a truly inspiring post for all of us imperfect people out here. I love that you are celebrating the positive in your life … focusing on what you CAN do. You are gorgeous, by the way. And I’m a new fan and subscriber as of this post!

  108. WOW! What a fantastic way to start my morning. I am impressed by what you can do (I’ve NEVER done a pull up!) and I’m inspired to get some exercise in today. You are beautiful in all of your pictures! And girl, you DO look cute in a pair of jeans!!

  109. Wow. Saw your post on FB and and am I ever glad! I am here at work, silently crying at my desk because this hits so hard. I love your truth. I have struggled with body issues my entire life, but have been getting better. I am overweight, but also STRONG. I have been lifting and eating right for me for a few years and my body has changed and continues too, but sometimes I lose sight of what is more important. Your post has reminded me. I am physically capable of doing just about everything I want, which is more than a lot of people my age (45) can do. And also able to set goals and reach them because of the information I have discovered and implemented.

    Thank you for your honesty and photos.

  110. I would love to meet you. Reading your blog is like looking at my own life at the moment. I’ve lost 5.5 stone and struggling to get the rest off even though I’m exercising 4 times a week. Struggling with body image issues at the moment. I think you are beautiful the way you are and your an absolute inspiration!

  111. Just wow!!!! Tanks for sharing and make me believe … You’ve made my day and you tell me that I am strong too!!!

  112. I know it’s different for a guy – as much as I can try to say “no, it’s not,” it is different for a guy.

    But, just this morning, I hit a milestone weight. My body is stronger than it’s ever been. And I have this bubble of fat around my midsection that, I know, will never go away . . . years of neglect aren’t reason that you can’t make improvements — but, there are some abuses that even the most elastic being can’t bounce back from.

    All that said, thank you for this. I need to remind myself that, yeah, I’m able to do a motherf**king pull-up now (my weight has yo-yo’d over the years . . . I’ve been significantly heavier, and even a bit lighter, than I am right now, but until recently, attempting a pull-up left me feeling like I did in 6th grade during the presidential fitness test). Heck, I can do multiples. Though I’m afraid to even try a cartwheel or to climb a rope, so you’re far more bad**s than me.

  113. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing this. I’ve only lost half of what you have lost, but deal with loose skin, cellulite, flabby tummy, etc. whenever I start to feel bad about how my legs look I try to remind myself of how these legs have run 12 half marathons and 2 full marathons, and I become incredibly grateful for the strength I have now, and the transformation I’ve undergone. I am with you on plastic surgery, tempting sometimes, but I couldn’t survive that long without running. Thank you for being so open and raw with everyone and for helping remind so many of the importance of embracing their bodies. I am so grateful for this. Thank you. ❤️

  114. thank you for sharing this with the world. we need more positive people like you.

    what you say is so true for all women big and small, far and wide. i was 30 lbs overweight and have since reached my target weight through exercise and eating clean (like you), and i still find myself looking in the mirror unhappy from time to time. like you said, i need to get my head out of my ass and be confident and proud in the strength, both mental and physical, which it has taken to get to this place. the comparison within – not without.

    smiles, love, and peace

  115. I am in tears.

    Thank you for sharing this…..

    I also struggle with an “ugly” body; totally forgetting all of the awesome things my ‘ugly’ body can now do.

    Thank you for sharing this….for making me see that my ‘ugly’ isn’t so ‘ugly’ after all.

    xoxox

  116. wow you inspire me !! I have lost 40 lb this last year and have kept it off ! I changed my life , workout , eat clean

  117. Your amazing in so many ways. And beautiful inside and out. I would love to see your message spread across the minds of todays’ youth

  118. I have recently lost 70lbs in 6 months –have not really found an exercise program that fits with my life (Emergency room nurse NIGHT shift)….any way my weight lose was d/t the bariatric procedure —-the SLEEVE—it has been a life saver for me–my problem has always been portion control==now I have it!!!!—I knew I was going to have SKIN–I am hoping with a good exercise plan there will be less of it–but there will still be some–I think I will be ok with it if I can tone up

  119. Beyond the fact that you are amazing, I truly feel this speaks to women of all sizes. Feeling comfortable in your own skin at any size is sometimes difficult. Something we all have gone through, so thank you for allowing us to learn about your journey and reminding us that we need to remember to celebrate who we are. Keep moving forward and thank you!!!

  120. I am so glad I happened across your courageous and encouraging words – you are beautiful! Wow!! I often have to pull my head out of nether-regions…at the end of my run mix I put “Can Can” from Moulin Rouge, which repeatedly shouts “Because I/we can can can can can…” It usually makes me laugh then grimace then laugh, but always corrects my attitude and makes (usually fleetingly) me grateful for what I can do. I am sorry that our society and my own contributions to it judge any part of you “ugly” – lady, you are amazing, sparkling –
    Keep up the good work, and wow again, thanks for sharing!

  121. I am super impressed with the things you can do and the changes you have made. I’ve always wanted to do a cartwheel but lack the strength and definitely the coordination. Thank you for being brave and showing us what being dedicated to improving your body and health and life can accomplish!! :)

  122. good progress. but keep it up. dont take these comments as “stay where you are” there’s still work to be done.

  123. I have not even read the blog yet but after seeing your photos you have inspired me more than just about anything else I have seen during my own personal journey over the last four years. I am looking forward to reading what you have and what you will do going forward. Beautiful!

  124. I cried while reading this and will be posting my thoughts/emotional reaction and a link to this on my own personal blog.

    You are an inspiration. I don’t know what else to say. Thank you for giving me the permission I couldn’t give myself to be grateful and loving of my own body. You rock.

  125. It’s incredibly sad that our society has made us value super skinny, unhealthy models instead of celebrating health and fitness regardless of our shapes. You are a true inspiration. I think when we don’t look like the models in those fitness magazines after all that hard work, we consider ourselves failures. You have reminded me that it’s not what the outside looks like that’s important but rather, what it can DO!
    Thank you!

  126. You are amazing, an inspiration and brave! I literally am at a loss for words. I feel like crying. Congratulations on all the accomplishments you have made. My goal is one day to be able to do at least 1 pull up! Thank you for be so honest and true!

  127. Good for you! You’ve clearly worked hard, and you should be soo proud of yourself. Thanks for sharing with us! You are a breath of fresh air. :)

  128. Thank you for your refreshing candor. I have been obese since childhood and struggled for years with issues of self esteem and self worth. In my late twenties i joined a group that advocated for the rights of obese (fat, i use that as a descriptor only. I became a spokesperson for the group. They and three really good therapists helped me go from suicidal depression to living my life as a highly fulfilled person. I spoke twice a year t a local high school sociology class on “Being Fat In A Thin Oriented Society “. 90% of what i spoke of was self respect, respect for others and the unspoken messages we send to thosr we love when we judge others for being outside the AVERAGE SIZE. I have since run in to two of the students in one of the 20+ classed i spoke with who express their profound gratitude for me aand my message and how it changed them and so many others they knew. Talk about being humbled by life’s opportunity.
    Over the years since i earned my BBA and MMSM and became a certified Master NLP practitioner. I have developed a new companies major division and been in senior management in a few others. I have chaired committees and been an officer in several organizations. I have loved and been loved by a few wonderful men. Now i say all this so anyone thinking you have to be of “Average ” weight to succeed, you are mistaken.
    I did however suffer severe knee damage as the result of my weight combined with a birth anomaly. At my max i weighed 390 lbs (i am 5’11”). I have had one knee replaced and then, because my weight was taking such a toll on my health, i had a gastric bypass. Since i have lost nearly 60 lbs and had lost 30 before surgery. Now i am preparing to have my other knee replaced. I am enjoying having all my clothes bag on me. I probably struggle a bit more with my body image than before because of the loose skin. I am looking forward to losing my next 80 lbs and buying some compression garments. Until then, i am just enjoying learning to eat differently and regaining my health. I would encourage everyone to add the love of body to their life’s journey.
    Blessings and Nameste

  129. I am pear-shaped and have had similar body issues my entire life. I need to lose over 150 lbs. You inspire me–and I am sure my body will have the same skin issues that you have after I am finished getting stronger and losing weight. Thank you for sharing your pictures. YOU ROCK and are gorgeous! XO

  130. You are just amazing, and you rock your jeans! Looking at your photos, I can almost believe that I can achieve my health & fitness goals!

  131. A fellow Crossfit mama friend of mine posted this to her FB page. Thanks for sharing your story & for reminding us what health & fitness is really all about! I sooooo needed this today. You are truly and inspiration. Get it Girl!!!!!

  132. This made me cry happy tears. :) You’ve got grace, strength, and bravery….the whole package! Keep up the awesome work!

  133. […] sitting here reading the comments and pictures that people have shared with me in response to my “I Love My Ugly Body” post and I’m seeing a trend that proves my theory.  Exercise in NOT where it’s […]

  134. This is so encouraging! I have never really struggled with my body until this last year and it is very new for me. This perspective is… I don’t even have words. You are amazing and strong and beautiful! Thank you for sharing so we can be encouraged!

  135. THANK YOU!!!!! Like so many on here and yourself, I have a hard time accepting my body. I will try and love it for the things it CAN DO and not focus on what it isn’t yet. It’s amazing how someone’s story can resonate with so many, and it’s because we are not alone. No problem is so unique that it hasn’t been experienced, in some part, by another human being. HUGS!!!

  136. Thank you for this. I have lost 82 pounds myself and struggle to find acceptance with a new body that is fitter but basically looks like I melted with all my extra skin. I really try hard to remember that I am not defined by just how I look, but what I can do. I am a marathon finisher. I have a resting heart rate of 42. I kick ass. Thank you for the reminder! <3

  137. Wow! What an amazing, beautiful, strong, and inspirational woman that you are! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this!

  138. You are awesome, simply awesome. You are such an inspiration. Just gorgeous, and I wish…I WISH my body could do have the things yours can. I’m a work in progress, but I’ve got a long way to go. You look fantastic!

  139. I’ve lost about 120 pounds and relate to this so much. There are times that I look at all the loose skin and it makes me very sad. But when I look at how far I have come, I am damn proud of myself!

  140. Congratulations and don’t let anything stop you, ever. You have come way further than what’s left to cover. (For days your face is dumped in your ass again). Much respect.Thanks for sharing.

  141. Thank you for posting this! It’s very encouraging, helpful, and just a reality check that I can really relate to. I also grew up hating my body and always dreaming of the summer I’d get to when I’d finally do all the right things and be able to wear a bikini. It’s still never happened (at 30), and will never. I have learned a lot about staying healthy, and taking steps just bit by bit to improve my diet and well being. But my legs still look chubby, my arms still sag, and I have a belly. What’s most important is what is happening to your body internally and the life and vitality that will give you in the future! Please don’t look down on yourself because of appearances. They really do NOT matter!

  142. That settles it…I’m moving to the moon! Seriously, though, thank you for sharing such an inspirational and authentic post. It’s difficult to embrace our post-obesity bodies. It’s easy to buy into the lie that we looked better naked when all that skin was filled out (I’ve been told this by others and even thought it on occasion), but you have illustrated the reality. Our appearance means nothing compared to what our bodies can now do.

  143. Thank you for sharing this Andrea! You are amazing and beautiful and you inspire me. Keep up the good work.

    Live. Laugh. Love

  144. […] A shot of Andrea looking strong and fierce from her blog, I’mperfect Life.So this blog post 10+ reasons I Love My Ugly Body by Andrea at I’mperfect Life has been making the rounds and I have to say that I’m in awe of how strong and vulnerable Andrea is in this post. Even though she’s shed 164 lbs Andrea shares her struggle with the ideal body type and loving herself, but through a series of photos Andrea shows how wonderfully strong and beautiful her body really is. A must-read for anyone whose ever felt like they aren’t enough during their fitness journey.  […]

  145. I have never heard of you before this morning. I have never visited your blog, heard your name, seen your photos. But I have to say that at this moment I love you. You are an inspiration. I have weighed everywhere between 97 pounds and 180 pounds in my adult life – neither end of the spectrum was healthy…but at no point have I ever had the confidence or courage that you have. You are beautiful. I want to show this to my daughter tonight. Thank you for baring so much, both physically and emotionally.

  146. As someone who has lost 120(ish – I stopped weighing myself) pounds…this post speaks to my heart more than I can even express. THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping me get my head out of MY butt and appreciate all I can do now that I never could before! <3

  147. Your blog finally gave me the nudge I needed in order to release myself from constantly hoping or striving for a “better” (leaner, tighter, smaller) physique, and to focus on what I can DO rather than on what I look like.

    After all, on my 49th birthday, it’s about time I allow myself to be happy, in addition to being strong and healthy (which I am).

  148. Thank you for this!! This is A-mazing! Love love love! I can’t do any of the things you can do, but they are all things I WANT to be able to do. And like you, when I started my running in an attempt to get healthier, that’s always what it was: to get HEALTHIER. I hate when I tell people the stuff I’m trying to do to be healthier and they’re like “but you’re already skinny.” That’s not encouraging me to do things that are hard for me. That’s not congratulating me on progress I’ve made. I can be as skinny as anyone but if I can’t run a single block or lose my breath lifting a box or struggle going up and down stairs then “skinny” (a relative term) doesn’t matter. It’s not about weight, size, image, it’s about being able to physically do things I can’t yet do or couldn’t do before. And that’s the way to measure success with your body. I wanna be that lady at 89 that can dance and do the splits. I want to be that woman who can do a cartwheel (never could) and the junglegym (not since I was a kid). I want to move without grunting in effort. I’m only 34 people! Such physical weakness is unacceptable for someone like me who’s only limitations came not by birth or circumstance but by my own laziness. FIGHTING!!

  149. Thank you for having the guts to face a hyper-critical world to share your story in pictures! While I can totally relate to everything you’ve said and shown (I’ve maintained a 100 pound weight loss for nearly 2 decades, work out every day and still have wobbly cellulite covered thighs), I can’t say that I have your courage. You. Are. Amazing!

  150. Your post and another similar one made me finally show my “real” body today on my blog. I’ve been blogging for over 2 years about weight loss, but never got up the courage to show the “real” me. We NEED TO. So I thank you for inspiring me. You look great and strong! Way to go!!!!

  151. This is the first and only post of yours that I have ever read, and I couldn’t me more impressed. You are a rockstar. As a self-proclaimed “body-conscious girl, turned wellness-warrior woman” myself, I am so proud of the positivity that you are giving off with this post. You are beautiful. You are beautiful, and the fact that you are using your story to make others feel beautiful is, well, beautiful. SO grateful that women like yourself are out there dispelling the nasty stereotypes we are faced with daily. So Much Love <3

  152. This is a truly fabulous post, but I think I may have a bit different take on the need to appreciate…NOW. No, not when you lose “X” pounds, not when your jeans are size “X,” NOW. Five years ago I suffered a spontaneous eye disaster and with excellent surgical care, kept my sight, but not the kind of eye sight I’d had before. As I “continued to mature” osteoarthritis crept into my hips 1st replacement; no problem. Numbers 2,3 and 4 (!) over a three month period last year left me a virtual cripple with a ditch in my flesh where I used to worry about having fat! I’d give almost anything to have my previous “abilities” back, but that can’t happen. So, today, I went back into Physical Therapy and it feels good. I’m going to stay with it to regain my former strength and ability to walk when and where I want. My weight, my appearance? I no longer care about my relationship to the earth’s gravitational field. I will notice, appreciate and even treasure the things I CAN do, even now. (You NEVER know when you might lose them,) and I will celebrate any new breakthroughs that may come.

    Thank you for your strength and bravery.
    Kathy

  153. Andrea – I am half way to my weight loss goal. Thank you for reminding me that the most important reasons I am losing weight is to feel strong and healthy. I also have been working out at a CrossFit for the last 7 months. The first thing I did after reading your post was to develop a list of things I love about my body and I posted them right next to my list of reasons why I want to lose weight. Thank you! Keep up the good work.

  154. Absolutely beautiful!!! YOU are such an inspiration, not only by being able to put in the work to get yourself strong and healthy but for your deep desire to help others by being transparent and not afraid to be real! Truly amazing and thank you so much for sharing!!

  155. I followed a link to this page from Roni’s Weigh–so impressive. You are in incredible shape, and this post is wonderful.

  156. You rock. I haven’t lost as much as you (only 120 lb) but I do have skin like yours. Tummy, underarms, thighs and butt….who cares, I am no longer fat. You are amazing!!!

  157. I needed this. I have excess skin too and it sucks some times but I would rather have THIS UGLY body then then obese one I use to have! Thank you for sharing!

  158. Thank you so much for this article, and especially the pictures. I read this and cried. I have been having such a hatefest with my body after losing 83 pounds. I even told my husband I hate my body now as much as I hated my fat body.This finally gave me the courage to post before and “almost” after pics of my own. When I was heavier, I was not healthy, and definitely had no endurance. I think of all the things I CAN do now, most of them without even getting winded. So like you, I am now choosing to celebrate that instead of wasting my energy hating the part that’s just the shell anyway. It has caused a definite turning point for my journey. Thank you so, so much!

  159. First of all, you have every reason to be proud of the things your body can do–you totally rock! Although I am thin, I am envious of your strength and flexibility, and I work towards your achievements daily. But it makes me sad to hear you call your body ugly, because none of us are ugly. You weren’t ugly when you were heavier, and you aren’t ugly now. We can all blame the media for making the standard of beauty a size 00, but we don’t have to buy into that mentality. Repeat after me, please, “I am strong, flexible and beautiful, inside and out.”

  160. You are awesome! and beautiful! wow, you are one of the most REAL inspirations I’ve seen. Thank you for keeping it real. You are truly an incredible woman.

  161. Your story made me cry. I don’t know you yet I am proud of you. You are truly an inspiration and an example of real beauty. Amazing.

  162. You look amazing!

    Thank you for the encouragement.

    It wouldn’t surprise if a plastic surgeon opted to perform liposuction for free!

  163. I have just found you through Chichi Kix (Fit Villains). I feel funny after reading your blog post. I feel like maybe one day I can be ok with how I look but then I have that same self hate feeling that I will never be super thin or “perfect” and I should just continue to be nothing (my thoughts of course). You have made me feel like I might actually be enough, like I might be beautiful to MYSELF and who cares what anyone else thinks? Thank you so much for you. I am in awe of you, your strength and your courage.

  164. Amazing post!

    It sucks that your body doesn’t reflect the incredible effort you’ve put into it, compared with the bodies of some who have never had to struggle or work half that hard. I know life isn’t fair, but at least here in the first world this seems like one of the more bitter examples :(

    At the same time though, there’s no doubt in any of those pictures that you’re an athlete. Your posture and smile say it all. And I bet you put up some crazy impressive numbers at your box! After all, not many people started their adventure wearing a 164lb weight vest ;D

    Cheers to you for being happy and healthy! And for inspiring us to be!

  165. Thank you so much for this post. I can totally relate – I have lost 200+ pounds and I struggle with how I feel about my body. I cannot wear shorts and I hate how my legs look. I have run half and full marathons and completed p90x but still dwell on how I hate how my legs look not celebrate what they allow me to do! Thank you for being so open and sharing this. The next time I get down about how my body looks I will re-read your post and try to focus on what my body can do!

  166. I lost over 200 pounds, twice. I kept the weight off for years, but have a lot of shame about all the loose skin. I love your attitude and want to surround myself with people like you. God bless you, you are an inspiration for all the right reasons.

  167. Thank you for putting yourself out there, and focusing on your strength and what you can do with your wonderful body. You’ve said it all.

  168. You’ve come a long way. And you’re so inspirational! It doesn’t matter what the number on the scale says… or what is your jean size… this is just beautiful! I can’t do most of the things you do. And this just shows that you have to be proud of everything you do. I am amazed. Truly amazed :)

  169. Thank you so much. This was exactly what I needed. I lost 80 lbs and reached my goal weight, however I was never happy with the way I looked. After stumbling across this page, I am now looking at my 5K medals and saying to myself “I love what my body can do”. You are definitely an inspiration.

  170. this is beyond awesome!
    what ever the cyber equivalent of a standing ovation is i give you one of those!
    you wonderfully beautifully courageous brilliant woman you :)

  171. YOU ROCK! Your strength goes way beyond lifting that tire. I am in awe and so so proud of the path you’ve chosen. Congratulations!!! and KEEP GOING!

  172. Thank you so much for this. I haven’t lost as much as you but I know the feeling of looking at everyone else’s flat stomachs, skinny thighs, thin arms, and then looking at my pudgy, flabby tummy, my flappy arms, and my cellulited thighs and thinking “that will never be me…” Some days it’s so hard to be proud of the journey but I have to remember what it took to get here. And sometimes, especially when I run across a finish line with my best time yet, I am VERY proud of my body for getting me there. :) This is beautiful. Thank you again for sharing!

  173. This is so awesome. I love that you are so open about your imperfections. We spend too much time beating ourselves up over our imperfections and not enough time celebrating our strengths. This is such a great message.

  174. Thank you for this wonderful post. You are very admirable and beautiful inside and out! I have been hiding my body for most of my 56 years of life. I am 5’6″ and currently weigh 154 pounds. I was married to someone for 24 years that when I weighed 130 pounds constantly told me I was too fat. I couldn’t enjoy my life and still don’t. I won’t wear a bathing suit or shorts…ever. My new husband doesn’t understand. He requested I wear some shorts and I flat refused. I won’t let any intimacy occur unless it’s DARK and he doesn’t like that nor does he understand it. I can’t say that I understand it myself…I just hate my body and have been ashamed of it even when there are many women who would love to be my size. Your article has helped. Thank you!!!

  175. Over the past year I have lost 70 lbs. I now look like a Shar Pei dog. But like you, I am proud of what I can now do. I’m training to run my first 5k. Tomorrow I am taking Boudoir photos for 55th birthday treat to myself. Thank you for your story!

  176. Thank you for this post and putting everything in perspective. I had weight loss surgery 5 years ago and complain (way too much) about the little pouch of skin left in my stomach. After reading this, I promise to never complain ago. Way to go girl, you are my inspiration!

  177. You are my hero. You are so fit and active and proud of all of you. We need to love ourselves for who we are not for who we are not.

  178. Dear Andrea, how I understand you! And even thought I also lost 50kg, and I also do crossfit 5xweek plus spinning 2xweek, and even thought I am as strong as I ever been in my life, sometimes when I look in the mirror, or when a certain pair of jeans don’t fit, I also forget.
    This post made me “remember”! :)
    All the best!
    Sofia from Portugal

  179. You are beautiful and absoluetly amazing!! I haven’t had the courage yet to post a single picture of myself on my blog (I haven’t posted updated pics to facebook since I started gained weight in 2009). This inspires me to put it all out there…and to keep going. Thank you for your amazing post!!

  180. You are so tough, and strong and beautiful on the inside and out. Beautiful where it matters most. I can’t even make myself get to the gym and I sit here with thrown out backs and necks because of my weakness. :/ I admire you and wish I had you as a workout buddy! :) HUGS

  181. You are an inspiration. I have always had a major issue with my appearance but only recently was diagnosed with BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder). Despite being a size 2 and leading a healthy lifestyle, I can’t look in the mirror without obsessing over a freckle or a lump. Your story made me realise what is really important. Focusing on what you can do rather than how you look is much healthier and one day I hope to gain the strength to do my first push up haha
    Thanks <3

  182. I have struggled the last three summers to lose weight (20-30 pounds), and despite exercising and eating right, the weight just seems stuck. Today I started accepting who I am, and appreciate the fact that I am strong and can run and run and run. Finding this post was the icing on the cake. Thank you. I am going to sign up for a half-marathon and get training TODAY!

  183. I love your blog! It’s inspiring to see someone so comfortable in their own skin (literally!). I didn’t have the same weight issues; just 20 – 30 lbs of middle-age spread plus stretch marks from my not-so-little bundle of joy who was over 10 lbs at birth (that was 32 years ago), but I did find a solution to both of my issues and am in a bikini again this year for the first time in 33 years. I know this is contrary to what you’re trying to project in your blog, but there is help in an all-natural, non-invasive, inexpensive and at-home form. It’s NOT a miracle, it WON’T work magically over-night, but with consistent use the It Works Ultimate Body Wrap will firm & tighten your skin. It also smooths the skin texture (nearly eliminated my stretch marks after a year of consistent use). Full disclosure… I am a distributor. I’m not posting to try to “sell” you something though. I’m posting because it discourages me to see so much skepticism about something I’ve seen first hand work; not just for me, but I have family members who have had weight loss surgery and not only use the It Works wraps but are distributors as well because the wraps work for them (they were distributors before I was, by-the-way). Please, if someone offers to wrap you, put your skepticism aside for a moment and just TRY it. Please don’t discount this solution before you’ve given it a try… I know the company name is corny, but it does say it all… the wrap just WORKS. It really does.

  184. Amazing! Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. Brought a tear to my eye. I shared with my best friend. We often get caught up “weight hating” as I call it but try our best to keep each other out of that mindset. Because Hey! I don’t want anyone talking about my best friend like that! Not even if she’s the one saying it.
    Thanks again and keep at it. Being healthy and being able to do fun things is more important than any stupid bikini :)

  185. I know this is a strange question, but what kind of Sports bra are you wearing your pictures? I looked online at Athletic 8 compression wear and didn’t see that particular one. A good sports bra is hard to find and I love that one….. :)

  186. Sharing with my daughters who are approaching puberty and already complaining that I “cursed” them with heavy thighs. I always respond by doing some obnoxious dancing or something and saying “but look what they can do!”

  187. Thank you so much or this post! This is so inspiring and helpful. I think all women are too hard on themselves and their bodies. I like what you said about focusing on what our bodies can do and what our strengths are instead of focusing on having the perfect size or shape. I struggle with being happy with my body even though I am fit and exercise regularly. I gain weight and it is tied to feelings of depression in me which I hate. I want to overcome that. I see body image issues frequently with my female clients, especially teenage girls. We get so many images of how women should look when in fact those models or actresses are not the typical size for women. We as women need to stand up, be proud of who we are inside and out, and celebrate our beauty. It is a challenge but one that can be overcome.

  188. I don’t know if you guys will see this but I just want everyone to know that I have read EVERY SINGLE comment on this post. Thank you so much for reading it, your kind words and for sharing your story. The response to this was overwhelming in a good way. <3

  189. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE what you’ve posted!!!!! I got my band about 4-1/2 years ago & lost 71 lbs. (gained about 15 back since but, it’s not too horrible) by about 3-1/2 years ago. I am physically disabled (left partial hemiparesis due to closed head injury), but much more mobile than anyone thought I would be. I have no real problems with my disability but, accepting how my body looks post-weight loss is very difficult. Reading what you’ve written and seeing your pictures helps me put my own body in a better perspective. I hope I can become as self-assured as you are! Having a band helped me lose weight that I couldn’t lose any other way and for that I am very thankful. Now seeing your page will help me to put my body acceptance in better perspective, too. THANK YOU!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!

  190. You are beautiful inside and outside and a great inspiration for all ladies out there. Your body is awesome and super strong!! Xx

  191. WOW…YOUR STORY IS AWSOME! I KNOW YOU ARE VERY PROUD OF YOURSELF! I’M IN THE STRUGGLE OF MY LIFE TO REACH MY GOALS! CONGRATS MY HAT IS OFF TO YOU!

  192. One of the best blogs I have ever seen. I love you for posting this. I am now 64 years old, and was feeling sorry for myself a bit for having some loose skin and flaws (due to age and losing 40 lbs) But seeing your blog has given me a new perspective on things. And you are as adorable as they come. Rock on, sister

  193. I have no words. Thank you! I have searched and searched to find someone who works out all the time but has the same flaws as I do. You have truly inspired me….like I’m in tears. Thank you….thank you….. ;)

  194. Thank you so so much for this post!! This is so powerful and so so true. You are so strong and amazing I wish I oozed your confidence too! Keep being amazing, you are such an inspiration!

  195. Wow!! You are AMAZING and 100% right. My body isn’t perfect but it has allowed me to do some pretty wonderful things: I can run 6:30-miles, complete ultramarathons, and hike beautiful places like the Inca Trail and the Grand Canyon. This makes ME and my body amazing. And I need to remember that.

    This is a wonderful read, thank you for sharing it!

  196. Not sure how many guys on your blog struggle with the same issue of body image but I do. When I changed my life around and began living primal and working out I was 210 lbs (I’m 5’8″). In 3 months I dropped 40 lbs and a year later I was down to 165. Ever since then I struggle to get the “lean” look. I even have gained some weight back and average between 168 and 175 depending on my conviction to eat totally clean and exercise regularly. I’ve gained toned legs, arms, shoulders and back but yet my belly flab hangs around.

    It’s summer yet again and as strong and somewhat toned that I have gotten over the yeare I still can’t bring myself to take my shirt off outside for the beach or my daughter’s parent/child swim lessons. I usually wear a tank top. Yet, with the weight that I’ve lost and the strength that I have gained, I play ice hockey every week for the past year and a half. I took up the sport that I gave up as a teenager and wasn’t able to play during my heavy years. I play every week either for pickup games or with a team battling it out on the ice. I love that I have the ability to play again and keep up with other players. I have speed and agility when I am out there. Yet, through all of my triumphs, I still feel self conscience about removing my shirt in public (except the locker room where guys guts are displayed everywhere – I usually feel good about myself at that point :-)). My wife always tells me that I look fine and that I should be proud of what I look like now. She usually holds up a pic of my former self to reaffirm what I’ve been able to do. Seeing your blog has reaffirmed my wife’s reaffirmation. It’s still going to be a struggle but maybe I can learn to just deal with my body as is and be proud that I am stronger now, can play hockey and most importantly, be healthier than I once was.

  197. You have no idea how badly I needed this today! I was just bashing myself for my cellulite (I’ve never had any before) and for my gut (it’s rather visible in this dress) – when I should have been congratulating myself on the 100 knee pushups I was able to do this morning (when before I struggled to do just one!) As well as all the other great things I can do!

    Thank you so much and keep on rocking!

  198. I can’t do half the things you can do…..heck I probably couldn’t do anything you listed above. Don’t ever give up and settle, but dang I’m jealous of your abilities!!

  199. Brilliant, brilliant , brilliant!
    Amazing what hides underneath our perceived ugliness, be it physical, psychological or otherwise. In trying to become what others(society) expect of us, we inevitably bury or at least misplace our strength, beauty, kindness, honesty, etc. You have shown more strength, beauty, kindness and honesty in your photographs and message than anything you will ever do of an exercise nature. You are Herculean!!!!

    Be well and always move forward…

    Oh, and P.S. not to mention, damn you’re cute! :)

  200. Thank you for this post. I can relate to everything you say. I started at 336 pounds and down to half my size (168). My body looks like yours and I’ve been too ashamed to show it. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband who loves me no matter what my body looks like. Your post brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for making realize I’m lucky to be able to do all that I can now that I have lost the weight and gained strength. Keep up the inspiring posts!

  201. Thank you so much for that! It’s nice to be reminded that the reflection we see is NOT a measure of what we can do–in and out of the gym. I’m so proud of you!

  202. I lost 120 pounds and I face the same issues. I am totally healthy in every way except I hate the excess skin. I almost feel as if the way I look with clothes on is “false advertising” haha. But in the end its all about how I feel and my stamina. I have maintained for going on 7 years and I love the way I feel.

    I think that you look amazing and your accomplishments and new healthy lifestyle truly shines. You glow with beauty and positive energy.

  203. Thank you SO MUCH for this!! I am right now at the start of my journey at a weight probably similar to where you started. A secret fear of mine has been, “What if I loose the weight and look like crap?” This post hit the nail on the head and you really, really inspire me. Thank you.

  204. First I want to thank you for writing this. It took courage and a hug amount of self love, growth and introspection to make this happen. As a trainer I often fight this very thing. Clients who are achieving extraordinary things yet only see the things they have yet to accomplish. They fail to see the gains and focus on the lose skin or number on that scale. I don’t need to tell you this. I just wanted to say a huge “THANK YOU” for putting this out there. Coming from someone with similar struggles this connects with my clients far more than anything I can tell them. Our visiting pastor the other day spoke about people sharing their story. He spoke about how your story can change the world. The courage to share your story is changing the world……….Keep it up.

  205. This is the most wonderful post I’ve ever read about the topic! It literally reduced me to tears, knowing how badly I think about my body. When I lost the weight I couldn’t handle it…and piled it back on. I don’t feel like I can go through it again – but reading this makes me realise (though i’ve heard it many times before) that I should focus on performance, not physical perfection! And even though I won’t do crossfit, I’m so very inspired to start my journey towards a healthier body again
    Thank you and please keep reading your own words everytime your lower self wants to tell you you’re not good enough! X

  206. This is FANTASTIC!!!!!! After losing over 300lb i know exactly how you feel. I’m so happy with my new life, but honestly sometimes looking in the mirror i have the same feelings you had. Fortunately, I was able to have an abdominoplasty done which removed my apron, all the excess skin on my torso and back. That was an amazing blessing…and now…i feel like it highlights everything else that was being hidden LOL but i will definitely take it without complaining! my after is wayyyyyyyyy better than before…even if i still have saggy legs, arms and breasts lol

    Thank you for sharing!

  207. Congratulations on an incredible journey and thanks for sharing it with us! You have touched on the problem – that we are our own worst enemies, we undermine ourselves for what we can’t do and the standards we will never attain instead of celebrating our strengths and what we can do!!

  208. Keep up the great work! I’m proud of you getting healthy, and having an even healthier attitude about everything you’ve gone through and continue to go through. I’m not too proud to say that I can’t even climb the rope that you look like you’re doing with little effort. When it comes time for the rope climbs at Spartan events, I try, but I know 30 burpees will be staring me down a few seconds later. Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished and for all that you do to inspire others.

  209. Keep up the great work! I’m proud of you for getting healthy, and having an even healthier attitude about everything you’ve gone through and continue to go through. I’m not too proud to say that I can’t even climb the rope that you look like you’re doing with little effort. When it comes time for the rope climbs at Spartan events, I try, but I know 30 burpees will be staring me down a few seconds later. Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished and for all that you do to inspire others.

  210. You are very right. How quick we are to demean ourselves.
    I used to be quite thin, skinny, in fact. I have lupus and other autoimmune disorders, and the medication causes me to be not only obese, but quite top heavy (that is in part genetic). At one point, I had to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting with myself and reasoned which I wanted to be: Fat or Dead. I chose fat. ‘Nuff said.
    Lots of hugs. Keep inspiring us all!

  211. This is a beautiful and accurate post, as women we are very hard on ourselves regarding our looks. thank you so much for sharing, you are such an inspiration for women. You are absolutely gorgeous!

  212. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve struggled with my health for years and my body shows it. I just had surgery and am using my healing time from that to also begin healing in other ways. I’m working to change my mindset. I’ve needed something like this exact post. As I assess and plan and gripe, I will remember all my body can do. I’ve been at war with my body for so many years. It’s time for a truce. I think I’m ready.

  213. I lost 110 lbs. 33 years ago-but being in my twenties at the time-i had already stretched my skin. I did regain 30 lbs., that it and I have been in a battle since but I never went all the way back and try to celebrate where I am in my 50’s! The sad thing was at the time-when I first lost my weight, I have almost NO pictures-because I still felt ugly even though i was quite slim! The whole self image thing-how i see me-is such a trap that robs us of any joy! I still am working on it but am trying to love the whole me, just as I am. Thank so much for your story!

  214. Such an amazing post. I had an opportunity to sit in a break out session with you at Blogher ’14 and I was so intrigued by your story, I had to read it. You never know what your body is capable until you try and you did. I have shared this with my network. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  215. Your brilliant and awesome, I trained as a fitness instructor and I am not a slim tiny person. I am a bit stocky but what I loved was that I am strong, it shouldn’t be how pretty one looks it’s all in the person. Keep going your amazing.

  216. […] 10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body from I’mperfect Life is a must read! Watch Your Mouth! Kaila from InMySkinnyGenes talks about how the language we use affects our relationship with food and our bodies. What Happened When I Drove My Mercedes to Pick Up Food Stamps – not nutrition-related, but a great read. Transition the Zone from Alison Golden, talking about the importance of transition moments in life. […]

  217. Hi Lady! Wow you are such an inspiration for so many people! You are beautiful lady inside and out! So glad I got to meet you on the train to Blogher’14! Hope you learned a ton and of course had fun! xoxo Sarah

  218. Nothing ugly about that body … go ahead and get rid of that word! Keep up the CrossFit, keep up the clean eating, keep up the positive attitude.

  219. You are my true inspiration, I have been working out and eating clean for the past 7 months. There are some days that I feel accomplished and some I feel as if I have not moved anywhere. Your story reminds me of mine and I am inspired and thanks for sharing. I will share your story with my friends and family.

  220. Wow Andrea !! I Really have to say that was so inspiring !! I’m so shy about my body that sometimes I feel embarassed to attend my crossfit classes because I’m the biggest one there but your story just motivates me to keep going. Your attitude and bravery is so beautiful !

  221. Thank you for sharing this! I so appreciate your honesty and you look amazing. I too, have always struggled with my weight and a poor self image but no more! You rock and thank you for being you. I love how Crossfit and eating clean has changed our lives.

  222. I am so impressed with the way you are confident and realize that you have made great strides. You are truly an inspirational person. Keep up the great work and encourage others!

  223. wow, you’re a great inspiration for everyone. We seek perfection but we must find happiness and be happy with ourselves first of all!! Thanks for sharing, I hope the message continues to be shared far and wide!! Keep on Rocking!!

  224. You are an inspiration. You make me feel proud to be a woman and proud to share your post with my 12 year old daughter. Your courage is a testament to hard work and dedication. I have so many clients that I work with that feel just like you and I can’t wait to share this with them, your journey will help their journey and give them courage in the dark times when they want to give up. Thank you so much. May you stay healthy, strong and sexy for ever!!! This is what SEXY looks like from the inside out. xoxo

  225. Wow, I am thoroughly impressed! Good for you! You should be very proud of yourself. You are beautiful both inside and out, and you have done much to improve your health and your fitness. You are an inspiration for all of us! Keep up the good work!

  226. I stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest. It was exactly what I needed to read. I have been trying to lose weight for over two decades (first joined WW at age 12) and nothing has ever been permanent for me. I have right about 164 pounds to lose (started at 309) and am right about the 20 pound mark right now. About 10 of those pounds since I started clean eating and CrossFit one month ago. I’ve been wrestling with thoughts of how hard I’m working and what if I hate my body afterward. The fact that you have already lost the exact amount I’d like to lose… Well, it was either coincidence or destiny that I stumbled upon your page today to see how you were able to turn your boo-hoo’s around and see the VERY positive side of your end result. Thank you for this much needed encouragement…

  227. I have such admiration for your courage. I have a similar lower body and I have not had the courage to show anyone….especially men…therefore preventing me from experiencing soooo many things…shorts? never….dress never…beach clothes are pants…who would love me if they saw me? Thing is I LOVE YOU already without meeting you…I dont have to…..I see your light and your spirit………Thank -you……maybe I will b brave like you someday….much love Tracy

  228. I have just read this and cried for the last 15 minutes. Because I am working towards the same goal and last week the ‘skin’ appeared. I was distraught. I almost chucked it in and now I’ve read this there’s no way I am going to let the fat win!
    What an inspiration you and so beautiful!
    Thank you for motivating me to stay on track.

  229. Neoteric Body Fitness follows you on Pinterest, and we looked up your website. You have amazing story, and you focus on the same thing Neoteric Body Fitness Home fitness workouts videos focus on. The apex of our mission is Health and Wellness. Helping people rebuild their self esteem while losing weight. Thank you for our story, and stay strong.

  230. My story is a bit different, but I am 38 and had a total knee replacement 5 weeks ago because of poor genetics. I am at the point where my recovery strides are small but consistent and I have watched my leg muscles atrophy. I came across your article and it has inspired me to remember that the small strides count too. Where I was yesterday is different from today and that in itself is a small victory. My knee is ugly, but it is going to be a wonderful functioning knee that will help me enjoy all the physical things I have missed over the past year and a half. Thank you for the motivational article. Kudos.

  231. So it should be that we can all find happiness in just who we are and what we look like at any BMI and any AGE !! Keep up the hard work. One correction. I heard someone state that they did not lose weight, they gave it up. If you lose your keys, you go get them back. If you get lost, you find your way back. Too many individuals lose weight then gain it back. When you give up that weight through diet and exercise, you are giving it up for good. I thought that was an interesting and potentially game changing way of thinking about it. You look great inside and out. Great job.

  232. Your body is beautiful! Seeing you do those things reminded me of my Mama, who, when I was about seven, overheard one of my friends say one day at a climbing wall that the mothers wouldn’t climb it with us kids because they were too old. So she got up, put on a harness, and climbed all the way to the top, just to prove that she could. And to make this story even more badass, my Mama is afraid of heights! You are amazing, and in those photos where you are doing those physical feats, all I see is a strong and capable woman proving who she is. The up close photos of your imperfections don’t reflect how other people see you, I don’t think. I know when I look in a mirror, I immediately focus in on things that no one else notices, but that draw my eye right in. In real life, when I’m going around doing things, the details aren’t obvious–and yours aren’t either. Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished.

  233. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. This was a fabulous and uplifting post. Thanks so much for the inspiration. I sometimes get frustrated with how far I have to go and don’t look at how far I’ve come. And I’m a lot older than you. Thanks for you youthful wisdom!

  234. Great for self-confidence and motivation BUT….. AND THIS IS A BIG BUT… Sexual desire from other men? There are guys attracted to big girls, small girls, and everything in between. Are there guys physically attracted to, well…? I do know many girls that had WLS and they feel aged now and wish they could go back. To each their own, I’m not saying one way is better than another. Many girls would be happier in the “fat” (before) body pic as well. Being “imperfect” as a big girl isn’t bad either and in many cases, it’s all in how YOU feel. Sexual attraction is only a natural factor in this, it’s part of life and part of how we all got here in the first place.

  235. This is truly amazing!! You are an inspiration to all of us in the same boat!
    NEVER EVER STOP WHAT U ARE BUSY DOING! YOU LOOK GREAT!!!!

  236. THANKS for YOU Andrea – YOU look GREAT – keep on the hard work – LOTS of love and energy from Denmark <3 <3 <3

  237. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!!

    I have lost 110 pounds (I’m not done…have another 20 or so to go) and I’m having issues with this very thing. It’s funny, I’m sooo proud of all the bruises and calluses but the saggy wrinkly skin, not so much…. UNTIL TODAY!!!!!

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