This pic was taken when I was almost 40 lbs. heavier than I am now and I absolutely LOVE myself in the picture to the left.
I will tell you why….
The reason I love myself in this picture because I was SET FREE from the # on the scale when this picture was taken.
It is pure liberation when you can start to define health in terms of your mental, emotional and spiritual state as opposed to just your physical state. Everything will change in your health journey if you can LET GO of the # on the scale.
When this picture was taken –almost ten years ago - I went on a path of re-defining “health” in a way the world doesn’t promote. I no longer cared what # was appropriate for my BMI and I could give a rats a** what magazines were saying, “I should be at.” It was none other than Jesus who led me to this FREEDOM. (Galatians 5:1) This same mindset and miraculous freedom is something I hope and pray over every person I am able to personal train. Let me tell you a lil’ bit about my sassy 21/22 year ol’ self and the mentality I had when I began my weight loss journey. Who knows, maybe it will help you on your own path toward freedom.
I love this girl because she was excited for the future and thrilled about the possibilities. When this pic was taken, I didn’t quite know I was going to be a personal trainer at this point in my health journey. I was an athletic trainer at the time (actually a very different field) and holy WOW – was God going to change my course BIG time the following year. I literally had no clue where I was going; but I knew it would be somewhere REALLY good, because I was following Christ. His way is ALWAYS better than my way. I let God pick my career; not the other way around.
I love this girl because at this time in my life, it was the beginning of my new routine of going the gym every week. I will never forget how I would DIE doing a brisk walk on the treadmill and I could barely make it five minutes on the elliptical. Not only that, lifting weights actually HURT. (Like…not a good hurt…. a bad hurt) I also ate pretty crappy, so my body was really mad at me when I first started lifting weights. BUT I LOVE HER because she was trying to be better. She pushed through; she showed up day after day after day and she NEVER gave up. I knew deep down it was really good for me.
I love this girl because she had (and still has) AWESOME friends who love and loved her a lot. This girl has REAL friends who speak the truth in love (meaning if I wasn’t living up to my best self, they would confront me) who fought for quality time and who expressed how proud they were of her accomplishments. Heck, I didn’t need a man at this time in my life. My friends always made me feel beautiful, worthy and seen for who I was and who I was trying to become. #GirlPower
I love this girl because I am deeply loved by my parents. I am a FIRM believer that the love you receive you project to the world. I am physically glowing in this picture because I know I am loved for exactly who I am. For whatever bad mistakes I made or will make; I am UNCONDITIONALLY loved.
Side Note: Let’s talk about conditional love for a sec. Conditional love is more common than you think and I see it a lot in my field of work. It’s one of the many reasons people struggle with their health goals.
When love is conditional, it means that if you fit into someone’s realm of how THEY see you or how they interpret your personality, they will like or love you. HOWEVER, the second you become someone outside of that realm they created you to be and challenge their understanding of “how they think you should be” they will leave you, shame you, judge you and/or manipulate you.
NEW FLASH: That’s idolatry and idolatry is TOXIC. (If you know someone like that, RUN!) I am SO thankful I have people that have always loved me unconditionally no matter what!
I love this girl because she was exploring, seeking and understanding Scripture for the first time EVER. I went on a journey of self-discovery this year. I was FINALLY released from the confines of Religion and all the judgment it brings. Jesus showed UP when this pic was taken. God revealed his magnificent love through Christ in a way I can’t even put fully into words. It part of the mystery of the Gospel and a miracle I will never forget. This girl is smiling bright in this picture because she is finally in a serious relationship with her Maker and they have a lot of catching up to do.
I love this girl because no matter what weight I was: I took care of myself! I picked cute clothes, I colored my hair, painted my nails, I slapped on some lipstick, strapped on my four-inch heels and I-WENT-to-CHURCH.
<< Cue “Sexy and I Know It” Song >>
I finally got to a place where I wanted to feel good, healthy and attractive for myself and nobody else. What a magical moment it is in your life to not want attention from people who don’t really care to give it to you in the first place.
I love this girl because I started serving others as part of another new routine toward becoming healthy. I worked with the homeless every weekend that year when this pic was taken. That year, I knew I was making a difference. I intentionally put myself in tough situations to bring some glimmer of hope to many people who were hopeless. I had life altering conversations and said many prayers with men and women who accepted Christ into their life and heart. My smile represents watching and experiencing REAL change!!! Let me tell you some #TRUTH - Heart transformations are much more important than body transformations. You can have the biggest arms and the tightest abs in the gym, but if you don’t work on the CRAP that is going on in your mind and in your heart, you are missing the WHOLE point.
I love this girl because she tried SO many different things that year. She traveled. She explored. She went to many crazy-fun concerts. Different churches and denominations. Worked with all different cultures. Researched philosophies. World Religions. Way of thinking, interacting and creating. I went on a much-needed mission of trying to better understand the world and all the crazy people in it. And what I learned about myself and about other people is that we are all a little crazy and that's ok! I can work with crazy, but I can't work with assholes.
For a long time I did not want to assume that “my way of thinking was the right was of thinking.” Going down this rabbit hole of sociology and anthropology made me grow in ways that I never thought possible. I dedicated two years of my life to studying other world religions. These finding and collections of truth I came across changed my perspective in immense ways and fueled my fire for Jesus that much more.
I love this girl because LOVING yourself is a rebellious act and deep down… I’ve always been a rebel.
If you know anything about me, I constantly challenge the norms in our world and anytime our world with its mirrors and smoke promotes something “awesome” – I go the opposite way.
The biggest thing that makes me a rebel is the fact that I am a Jesus follower. There is literally nothing more controversial you can do. His WAY is the opposite of our world and Jesus preferred to chill with prostitutes, drug lords, tax collectors, the lame, the mute the deaf, the blind, the rejects, the outcasts, the homeless and all the people “you feel sorry for.”
His teachings are the foundation of receiving a REAL lifestyle change and actually start the process of making some sense of this weird world we live in. From his teaching, my job is to TESTIFY (aka showing evidence) of His truth, power, signs, miracles and wonders. This #truth has become the foundation of how I operate as a lifestyle coach to this very day. Presenting the truth is the most powerful thing you can ever do with your life.
This mindset of SELF LOVE is SO desperately needed to enter into TRUE health and it’s the reason I felt called to write this article. The world and its judgment will hate it. Many people may not even finish reading this article because they will assume I am “So caught up in herself”
“She’s always been fit, she doesn’t know what its like!” or
“She’s had an easy life. That’s why it’s easy for her to love herself”
People may think I'm narcissistic or self consumed or (fill in the blank) for writing this self love blog but… the truth is: I wrote this letter for ME many years ago. I found it on my computer when I was cleaning and files and I thought, “Wow, you go glen coco!...not wonder why my weight came off so smoothly. I truly did love myself.” And I still do.
Here’s the TRUTH: It is SO GOOD to see men and women walking in confidence and loving themselves EXACTLY for who they are AND where they are TODAY. Because guess what: Confidence is the sexiest thing you will ever wear and it sure as HECK is not a # on the scale.
Whatever weight I am or will be, whatever body fat percentage I am or will be or big or small dress size: I love me. Courtney. I am perfectly imperfect and I am rooting for ME. My life, my health and my faith! Now it’s YOUR turn! Right here. Right now. TODAY.
And if you don’t know how to do that….I will gladly be your cheerleader! I WANT TO ROOT FOR YOU TOO!!!
This is what I do as a lifestyle coach and it would be my honor to work with you and help you slay the dragons that try and bring you down. LET’S WORK and fight the good fight. Together.