"Eight years ago I weighed 27 pounds less than I do right now, yet I've never been happier."

By Faith Brar

We live in a world where self-esteem is closely tied to the way we look and what we can accomplish. No one understands that better than marathon runner Dorothy Beal. The seasoned runner recently took to Instagram to share how for years she based her happiness on a number-whether it was what she saw on the scale or what she used to measure her skills as an athlete. Not anymore.

"8 years ago I weighed 27 pounds less than I do right now yet I've never been HAPPIER," she wrote alongside a picture of herself flexing her muscles. "If you had told me back then that I'd gain that much weight and not want to jump off a cliff I would have laughed at you."

Beal's ability to transform her mindset and have a more positive outlook is something she achieved gradually-and she doesn't want anyone to think otherwise. "A lot of you have messaged me and asked me how I stopped hating myself and started loving myself," she wrote. "First-it's something I work on daily. I didn't just wake up one day and say heyyy Dorothy I think you should stop hating yourself cause your kinda cool....it took work....BUT the one thing that really sticks out at me looking back is that it was never enough before AND I was never enough." (Related: #GainingWeightIsCool Is Proof That Being Healthy Is Different for Everyone)

She continued her post by listing all of the ways in which she used to undermine herself. Each was based on the impact she let numbers have on her. "My disordered mind thought that I had no self-control and that's why I couldn't break 110 on the scale," she explained. "I wasn't dedicated enough or running enough and that's why I couldn't break 3:10 in the marathon. Never mind the fact that if you had told the girl who ran 4:20 at her 1st marathon that one day she would run a 3:11 she a. wouldn't have believed you & b. would have been over the moon happy."

Today Beal takes everything one day at a time and makes sure to draw her happiness from what she can accomplish as a person. "When I die I don't want people to say: she was a really great runner!" she says, "I want them to say she was a really great person-really fun to be around and someone you could count on to be there for you. So that's how I live my life now." (Related: Plus-Size Model Candice Huffine Is Redefining What It Means to Have a Runner's Body)

While she still uses numbers to push her, she doesn't let them define who she is and how she views herself. "Numbers are still cool and I like them but I like them in a way that's NOT tied to my self-worth in any way," she concludes. "And on that note, I finished out July with 160 miles feeling strong and happy AF."

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