I faked confidence for most of my life. The girl that was dancing on tables at parties, would look at herself in private and cry. I hated myself and I hated my body. There were days when I wouldn’t eat and days I would medicate with food. When I was in college, I made the cheerleading squad, and while the activity was doing good things for me, I saw myself as the fat cheerleader. I was working out hours a day, even outside of practice, but having a hard time changing. I wasn’t really changing my eating habits, but I was also under a lot of stress — school, family life, and a personal loathing of myself doesn’t really spark positive change.

I remember little hurtful comments family and “friends” would say about my body. Those words stuck with me. It was hard to find love for myself when I was hearing awful things from other people. I never saw beauty in the mirror. My perception of myself and my body were ugly and fat, so I put on a facade. That facade did more harm than good. Instead of getting down to the root cause of my pain, I ignored it. A curvy girl actually did get fat… because I was eating my feelings. Feelings that were made to feel invalid by those around me. I was not embracing how beautifully different I was… I hated myself, so I decided to make a transformation.

After taking up walking, then hiking, and cleaning up my diet, to not eating enough, I whittled myself down to 108lbs at my lightest. I abused laxatives to get that weight. And still, I looked at myself in the mirror and hated myself. Almost 70lbs lighter and I still saw ugly. I still thought I was fat. I was possibly more insecure then than I had ever been before. Funny how that works, isn’t it? But, out in public, I was a little, flirty, confident Hollywood girl. In private… I was killing myself to be skinny because I equated beauty and self-worth with being a size zero.

I thank God every day that my career took of to such an extent that I couldn’t sustain this level of body abuse any longer. Truth be told, the weight gain after not being able to train and diet like I had been was a shock to the system. But it was a necessary evil on my personal path to health and wellness. My then boyfriend never looked at me the same again, I felt horrible… my depression was as bad as it was when I was 19. I had trouble looking at myself and trouble finding the motivation to get into a new routine. But, one day, it clicked. I’m still so far from where I came and THIS time, I can do it the right way. I started looking at myself through love, speaking through love, and acting through love.

While my progress has been slow, I accept it and am grateful for it. My body had stopped trusting me– causing metabolic damage. Now, I’m like “hey girl, don’t worry, you’re getting fed today” or “Yea, I know you’re super sore, today’s a rest day.” I have such profound respect for my body and my mind knows that my heart is in a much better place, because of this, the changes that I am seeing are better than the dramatic weightloss of years before. I’m working for and with my body, not against it, which has allowed me to start chiseling my curves and build muscle. God gave me hips and tits… I’m done fighting it. I focus on being strong, not skinny. I’m fueling my body through proper nutrition and have realized that life is too short to pass up a cupcake.

Through love, my results are not only healthier, they will be more easily maintained. Getting your head and your heart to agree on anything is a feet within itself, but I’ve figured it out and I feels damn good. I have not felt this good about myself EVER. And although I am continuing to work on certain body goals, I love where I am at. I dress myself to compliment my figure and I don’t care what size I have to buy. A size does not define me. The number on the scale does not define me.

Do things because you love your body, not because you hate it. Transformation through hate will not change how your heart and mind view you, but transformation through love will truly heal your soul. This is why understanding your motivation matters. Doing anything out of self-hate is a slippery slope, girls and boys. Take it from me, I’ve been there. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Love yourself through every step of your journey and your body will transform like a caterpillar into a butterfly. I promise.

If you’d like to know more about how I fuel my body and what my workouts are please email me a (nicole lee fitness @ gmail. com)