It's mid-March and only a couple months until summer. Are you near or have you hit your fitness goals? Sometimes I wake up and kick myself because had I put in the work weeks ago, I'd be that much closer to my goals today. Too many people live in the now and forget about the goals that they want the most. In order to change your body and keep the weight off, one must sacrifice what they want now for what they want most. Easier said than done, I know; but the reward in the end is so much greater. They do say, the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. And for me, that battle has been a tough one. For the past eight years of my life, it has been one competition after another and finding balance without being extreme is often a difficult task. The most important lesson I have learned, and one that has especially helped me through this past year, is self-acceptance. I believe this is one of the hardest mentalities to maintain because we are all so quick to focus on the negative instead of embracing our positives. I write this today because accepting my body has been one of my biggest challenges. That is one reason why I write so much about embracing my curves because, for me, the more I say it out loud, the more I realize that I have worked hard for my body and the health challenges I face will not hold me back. I struggle like anyone else with cravings, losing motivation to push hard in the gym, and getting sucked into the vicious cycle of extreme dieting and binging. At the end of the day I am not perfect. Being perfect is something I use to take pride in, but was I really being honest with myself? I can honestly say that no, I wasn’t. I was hiding behind the next show, then the one after that and so on. I was terrified all the time that I would make a mistake or eat something I wasn’t supposed to. The pressure to succeed began to outweigh the fun that competing, or training in general, should have been. I am asked if and when I will compete again by a lot of people. I honestly love to compete and it wasn’t until these last couple of years that I realized how much I really, truly love it. I've also realized that there is so much more living to be done versus just living life from one show to another, and to be defined by your competitions is no life at all. So long story short, yes, I will compete again. Everyone’s choices are their own and for me I always choose the battle. When you love something why quit? If you aren’t hurting yourself or anyone else then go for it. This life is far too short to worry what others think, to let your body and mind beat you, and to give up. And now that I realize all I needed was a different route to get me to the same destination (that route being the diet and training), I find this especially true in my life. I hope after reading this blog you take the time to figure out what you really want, and then ask yourself if you are doing all you can to get there. Remember: the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. That's what will keep you going when times get tough and you ask yourself why. Good luck! Thanks so much for reading!