"Remind yourself that society has romanticized a concept of what beauty, fitness, and loving yourself looks like."

By Faith Brar
Updated: March 17, 2017

While before-and-after photos are usually a way to measure weight loss, fitness blogger Joanne Encarnacion is changing the game in an empowering way. In a refreshing post, the mother of two shared a picture of herself in October 2016 next to a picture of herself today, in which many would say she looks "less fit." She shared these side-by-side images to let the world know that she loves and accepts her body at all stages-with and without a little extra weight.

She starts her inspiring post with a hypothetical: "'I am a failure for not sticking to consistently training and for not eating as clean as I should have.' This is the story I could be telling myself."

Then, she changes her tone completely by saying that she "once heard that our reality is largely made up of our perceptions and beliefs, not facts. And that our ideas and theories are based on experiences and opinions, so much so that we start to create stories from these views and judgments. Instead of writing a failure story, I chose to look at this set of progress pictures a few days ago and tell myself a different story."

So, rather than feeling upset or disappointed in herself, Joanne chose to practice self-love and cut herself some much-needed slack. And let's face it, we could all stand to do that a bit more.

In a letter to herself she says, "Since October of last year you were working on recovering from a shoulder injury, rebuilding a marriage that was close to divorce, raising two young women (including an emotional teenager), creating long-lasting friendships with women you once felt unworthy to be around, and most importantly going back to school to start a career in health and life coaching that you've been daydreaming about for almost 2 years."

And while she wasn't able to "put as much energy" into her fitness commitments, she understands that "living a healthy life means nourishing all the areas that make you whole and fitness is just a part of that."

Thanks for reminding us to #LoveMyShape Joanne. We only get one body, so if we don't appreciate it, who will?

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