We gather here today to celebrate an extremely important moment in a human’s life. This is a moment that most people strive to achieve, especially living in a world where “good enough” doesn’t exist. This moment has been lingering above my head for about a month, but I just couldn’t get the words to form the way I wanted them to. Let’s give it a shot.

I love myself again. 

I spent 5 years and 8 months living in what I would consider to be a personal hell. Some people get into relationships, that end up being the worst thing they’ve ever endured. I did too, except it was with myself. I manipulated my thoughts, I abused my heart, and I put myself through a lot of hurt. I made myself believe that food was just a series of numbers, which had to calculate to a certain end- or else my body wouldn’t accept it. I taught myself that the Instagram girls, the media’s perceptions, and the comparisons to females around me were what was necessary in order to live. I would lie to myself, and to the world, by saying that I felt pretty, or that I didn’t need the scale. I would use those words to try to bandaid how I really felt, and I’d get joy in ripping the bandaid off- while ripping myself apart.

And as terrible and gruesome as that sounds, it’s how I let my life be. Until August. This entire month was a wake up call. I realized that I had spent four years of weight loss living at home, where life was simple and my health was a priority. I was at the cusp of self love, until an engagement and an adventure began- which started the downward spiral. The downward spiral was really just a whole bunch of stress that I let bury me. I didn’t know how to cope with what was happening in my life, and there was a 24 pound weight gain as a result. I used the New Year as a starting point to “achieve self love”, but even as the pounds came off, it got worse. The stress got greater, and the tendencies to not enjoy food and obsess over a scale came back. But let’s not sweat the small stuff, we’re here to celebrate.

I’m officially one pound away from where I was the day I packed up my car and moved to Lincoln. That means I’ve lost 23 pounds since January. Considering I don’t go to the gym anymore, it makes me pretty proud. When I tell you guys I feel pretty- I mean it. This isn’t like the last three times where I would say it in a blog, hoping to convince myself of it’s truth. My heart feels it, my eyes see it, and it’s there. My body is my home, and it’s the only one I’ve got- I need to start treating it like it’s a place I want to live, instead of a place I fear to be.

I know I say this every time, but we really are in this together. My weight loss journey has been a doozy. I promise you those tears and those feelings you’ve got when looking in the mirror are the same ones I’ve had many times. You will get over that hump. You want to know what really changed it for me? I spent every single day for a week (even Dylan doesn’t know about this) asking myself if the thoughts I was thinking we’re appropriate to tell my 10 year old self. Would I call her fat? Ugly? Worthless? Would I tell her I hate her? Would I teach her that she doesn’t deserve something because she’s a certain size? NEVER. I want to tell 10 year old Jen that she’s beautiful, loved, and that I’m very proud of her. Once I started telling 24 year old Jen the same thing- my heart softened to the idea that maybe everything really WAS okay. Try it.

*The side by side picture above is of my at my lowest weight, in my best shape around July 2014- next to today 08.31.16. I feel more beautiful in the picture on the right, which is powerful*


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