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'Scars, marks, bumps and stretch marks all tell a story of resilience and growth'

'The biggest tip I have for embracing stretch marks is to see them as a reflection of your journey on this earth. All the scars, marks, bumps, and stretch marks tell a story of the resilience and growth. Whether you got your stretch marks from growth spurts, or growing a human, or gaining and losing weight; all of these were incredible journeys your body carried you through day in and day out. So instead of looking at them as flaws, I look at them as little reminders of how much I have overcome in my pursuit of health and wellness. These marks do not determine your worth, your intellect, or your beauty so once you take away their power over you, you can truly be free!'

'Stretch marks is a noun. Now, let’s rename it to “Beauty Marks” and see how our lives change. They only hold power over you if you let them. Once we allow ourselves to move passed that fear of the ‘what if’s’ of society and traditional beauty standards, it opens you up to be free and comfortable in your own skin. Our lives breed what we give energy to. And I CHOOSE to give my energy to appreciating everything my body has done, instead of tearing it down like we have been taught to do and missing out on precious moments in life.'

Finding peace with my stretch marks has been, and continues to be, a journey. I’ll be 100% honest and admit that it’s not always easy and I’m not completely there, yet. I’ve seen so many inspiring women and read incredible stories from those who have fully embraced their “tiger stripes” or “beauty marks” and I am in awe of them. Their strength, resilience and confidence are their true marks of beauty in my eyes. For me...the road is bumpy. I’m a former dancer and fitness instructor. I was known for being able to put on muscle and for my abs that “talked” when I breathed or laughed. I loved being known for being strong. But during my pregnancies (two in under two years) I didn’t take care of myself. I put on a lot of weight and with the births of my daughters, put my own well being further and further down on the priority list. Those girls are the light of my life. I’ve always known that I want to be an example to them of a strong woman. Soon after my second daughter was born, I realized I wasn’t living that. I made huge changes. I righted the sinking ship - got back into my health and wellness routine and shed 65 pounds in about 7 months. I found my energy, my strength and MYSELF again. I also uncovered lots of loose skin and stretch marks. But with the more effort that I put into strengthening my mind and my body, the more I step into confidence. I start to see the marks as reminders of all that my body has gone through - of the miracles it brought into my life. I also see an incredible opportunity to teach my daughters about self love. My oldest was born with a large Nevus - a rare birth mark that covers her right hand like a dark glove. I want to show her that being different from the norm doesn’t make you “wrong” or “less than” or “imperfect” - but perfectly beautiful the way that you are. I want to teach her - and her sister - resilience and confidence. To be the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves, to chase big goals, and to LOVE the skin they are in. I can only teach them that by walking the walk. So I’m careful with how I talk about myself and my body. I’m learning to fall genuinely in love with my own imperfections. I workout with them either watching or jumping in with me. I’m teaching them healthy eating and caring for our bodies. In the process of reprioritizing my own health and wellness, I’ve learned that my strength is not in my muscles - it’s in me. And I’ll teach my daughters through my example that my beauty - and theirs - shines outward from within.'

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