"Don't forget to fall in love with yourself first" I saw this quote today and it really struck me. After being in the best shape of my life for my bikini competition on December 3rd, it's a good thing that I fell in love with myself BEFORE ever deciding to compete. Six years ago, I contemplated doing a bikini competition IN ORDER to fall in love with myself/body, and had I done a competition then I'd be a mental mess right now because my body doesn't look like it did on December 3rd anymore. Instead, I just love myself, even when I'm not perfectly chiseled or when I'm a bit fluffier than what I would like to be any given day. You have to learn to love yourself FIRST, before the weight loss, before the six pack abs, before the sculpted shoulders. Furthermore, you have to love yourself for MORE than what's on the outside. If your self-love is only skin deep, you are going to be on a crazy emotional self-love, self-hate rollercoaster for the rest of your life. Why? Because your body is going to fluctuate with the season, with life changes and pregnancy, with life stresses and celebrations. If you only love yourself when you look "perfect" in your eyes, it's going to be a rough ride for you. You must base your self-worth on more than physical appearance. How do you learn to love yourself? You practice. You say good things about yourself, your body, what unique characteristics, your personality. You make it a point to look in the mirror and see MORE than just a body. You lift yourself up, instead of tearing yourself down. You look in the mirror and intentionally decide to love each unique, quirky "imperfection" that makes you, YOU. #youmatter#youareenough And, just to clarify, I am not saying that my body looks bad where it's at right now, but I talk to A LOT of women who strive for perfection with their bodies. They pick themselves apart for the tiny "imperfections" the rest of the world can't even see. If they step on the scale to find it a pound heavier, their entire week is ruined. Self love that is beyond skin deep, make that your 2017 resolution. That will make for a life changing year, I promise.