My favorite time of each day is when I put my daughter to bed. It’s the one time of day I get to just BE with her. I will slowly sway or pace her room while quietly singing to her until she’s asleep or relaxed and ready to be laid down in her crib. These times are special to me because I know I won’t have them much longer but also because I love the way she wants me. Some nights she’ll put her little arms around my neck to pull my head down on hers and other nights her hands hang down around my waist and she rubs my love-handles. Who ever thought I’d enjoy getting my love-handles rubbed but I actually look forward to it.

I have always been overly critical about my body analyzing every bulge, cellulite line, loose skin, nose angle and more. But the crazy thing is while I was pregnant I started to see my body differently. I stopped critiquing it and started to appreciate it.

Nesting for me was more than getting my daughters nursery decorated and putting together the stroller. It was when I decided I was going to change how I thought about my body and how I talked to myself. I chose to look at my body and see the strength, beauty and accomplishments of everything it had done. I made a decision I was going to start loving my body the way it was and not constantly looking for ways to change it. My goal was for my daughter to never see me tearing myself down. That I’d never hide while getting dressed, never talk about diets or losing weight, and never grab or pinch areas of my body that “needed” to change. Because over the years I learned no matter how much I lost, or what size clothes I wore, it was never perfect enough. There was always another area that “needed” to be changed. I decided I was sick of never being enough.

The crazy thing is, when I stopped looking at myself through such a negative lens my body started to change and all the stresses I had been putting on myself went away. Living a healthy lifestyle became a lot easier and had a huge effect on me. When you mentally feel better about yourself you naturally want to fuel your body with better foods so that you physically feel better. When you feel better, exercising doesn’t seem like such a chore. When you exercise consistently for a week or two and start to feel the effects good endorphins have on you, you don’t want to stop. All these little changes lead to a lifestyle of change.

My love for myself and my body shows my daughter how to love herself. So today we flex our strong muscles in the mirror, we practice down-dog in the family room, we apply essential oils daily, we pick chicken over fries and fruit over fruit snacks and bless others with smiles and hugs everywhere we go!