Molly-334

 

OK, let’s be honest. It’s hard out here for any woman, regardless of her level of “fitness.”

I was talking with my Life Coach recently, yes, I hired a Life Coach (blog post coming soon, of course), and she was asking me questions like,

“Molly… what is your main goal?”

“Where do you see your niche in the fitness industry?”

“What do you want to be known for?”

“What is your specialty going to be?”

Ugh!  You mean I have to choose?  But..but..but!  I love heavy lifting, and I love nutrition, and I love corrective exercise, and I love helping general population clients look better and feel better, and I love working with women with PCOS and Hashimoto’s and helping them feel better…

How will I ever decide?

Well, after some long, hard thinking… I came to the following conclusion:

I want to use all of my knowledge and interests (heavy lifting, nutrition, corrective exercise, etc.) to provide women with the best nutrition and training information possible, in a simple and easy to apply way.  But most of all,

I want to help women give themselves GRACE and COMPASSION when it comes to their bodies, and help them discover and accept what their best body looks like, without having to kill themselves to get it.

You see, if anyone knows anything about struggling with body image, it’s me.

I can remember being 7 years old and doing competitive gymnastics and thinking I was fat.

 

Yep.  Positively HUGE, right?

Yep. Positively HUGE, right?

 

I can remember being 13 and trying on cheerleading uniforms and being embarrassed that I was the biggest girl on the team (at 5’8” and 130 lbs.)

Yep.  Ginormous beast here too, right?

Yep. Ginormous beast here too, right?

 

I can remember going through sorority rush and feeling like I was bigger than all of the other girls rushing, and the “good sororities” might not want me.

Yes. That’s me and my friend wearing ONE pair of pants. Why not, right?
Just for reference, I was probably at my heaviest in this picture.

 

(And why would I want to be friends with people who might not “want me” because of my weight?  Good question.  But that’s a full blog post in itself, but you can get a taste of it here.)

I’ve struggled with weight and body image for as long as I can remember.  At just over 5’10” and being the second SHORTEST girl on my Mom’s side of the family, I never had any hope of being petite, which is fine.  But young girls are already self-conscious enough about their bodies when they have an “average” build, much less when they tower over everyone else.

But enough about my distant past.  As many of you may know if you read my blog or read/listen to interviews with me, I decided almost 10 years ago, in the beginning of 2004 that I wanted to change my life and “get in shape.”

 

My "before" photos that I had my roommate take with a disposable camera. =)

This is what 185 and a horrible spray tan looked like in 2004.

 

I was ~185 lbs, and at the time I estimated my body fat to be around 34% (more on body fat estimations in another future blog post…so much to write!)  Over the last 10 years I’ve competed in figure competitions and dabbled in powerlifting.  I’ve trained for strength and hypertrophy, and I’ve trained for fat loss. My weight has been as low as 152 lbs. when I did my first figure competition in 2006, and my weight has gotten as high as 183.5 lbs. in the last year after dealing with my Father’s unexpected death, the breakup of a 6 year relationship, moving houses, and moving gyms.

The Lows: (L) 152 in 2006 before my first figure competition. (R) 154 in my 3rd competition in 2008.

The Lows: (L) 152 in 2006 before my first figure competition. (R) 154 in my 3rd competition in 2008.

 

The Highs. (L) My before photos in 2004 at 185 lbs. (R) Photos from several months ago at 183.5.  What a difference some muscle mass makes, huh?

The Highs. (L) My before photos in 2004 at 185 lbs. (R) Photos from several months ago at 183.5.
What a difference some muscle mass makes, huh?

 

And of course, I’d be remiss not to mention that I am always dealing with my Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism), PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and adrenal dysfunction issues, and figuring out how to be my healthiest.  Each of those conditions by themselves can contribute to weight gain and excess body fat, so having the trifecta has not made it a very easy road.

 

So why am I telling you all of this?  Several reasons:

  1. Because it sucks!
  2. Because I have a feeling that you have struggled with weight and body image.
  3. Because I have a feeling that you are really hard on yourself in regards to how your body should look and perform.
  4. Because you have probably been through really stressful situations where you couldn’t make good nutrition and hard training a priority.
  5. Because you have probably had times in your fitness journey when you got very lean pretty easily, and then found it difficult to maintain over a long period of time.
  6. Because you probably look at women in the fitness industry and see our pictures on our websites and think we have it all figured out all the time and covet our bodies. (hint: most of us only put up pictures where we look our absolute BEST!)
  7. Because you have probably felt like the people around you were judging your body, and how you look, and how you eat, and talking about you behind your back if you don’t look like you do at your leanest all the time.
  8. Because you probably wonder why your friends can eat whatever they want for 2 weeks and only gain 2 lbs. and you eat what you want for 2 days and gain 7 lbs.
  9. Because you have probably dieted and tried to get leaner at some point, only to see no progress and wonder, “What the heck is going on?”
  10. Because some days you probably feel like saying, “Screw it!” and giving up and going back to your old habits, since what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working anyway.
  11. Because you probably have days where you wish you could just eat whatever your heart desired without wondering what the macronutrients in a dish are and wondering if you should wait until post-workout to eat it.
  12. Because you probably want to go on vacation without worrying if you should pack food, or if they have healthy restaurants near your hotel, or stressing about how much weight you might gain while you’re gone.

 

And the list goes on and on and on, because it’s HARD out here for a fit chick!

And it can be even harder when you’re in the industry in some form or fashion.  We endure so much extra scrutiny from our peers, our clients, our friends, and our family.   Sure, if you’re a trainer, you should be  reasonably lean (that definition will vary from person to person) and you should definitely train on a regular basis.  But just because you don’t have veins in your lower abs 365 days a year (or EVER, for that matter) doesn’t mean you’re not competent and can’t help your clients with their fat loss goals.  I’ve had so many women in the industry tell me that they feel horribly about themselves if they aren’t walking around shredded all the time, because that’s what they feel is expected of them, and that’s often verbalized TO them.  I know I have received the following comments when my weight fluctuated back up after a competition:

“Wow!  What happened to you?”

“Sooo… are you, uh, still doing the whole working out thing?”

“Oh my gosh!  I almost didn’t recognize you!”

“Why don’t you look the way you used to in your YouTube videos?  You were much leaner then.”

 

Blah blah blah

This was a progress picture from around a year ago.  Just for reference I was around 172 here.  And at this point in time, I was getting negative comments about my weight and body fat levels.

 

I just want you to know that you’re not alone.  In the industry or not, I train/work with/counsel women from all over the world about nutrition, training, body image, self-image, and much more.  I hear their stories and their struggles.  I celebrate their victories, and help them learn from their defeats.  I laugh with them, I cry with them, and I talk them off the ledge when they’re ready to jump.  So why am I qualified to do these things?

Because I AM one of them.

Most days, I do pretty well.  For the most part, I’ve learned to love my body regardless of how much body fat I am carrying at any given moment.  (And yes, I know that some people will argue that even at my biggest, I still looked good, but it’s not about how *they* feel about my body, it’s about how *I* feel about my body =) ).  And you can love your body while still wanting it to look differently.  There’s no hypocrisy there.  It’s the same as loving yourself even if you’re not exactly where you want to be in your life at this given moment.

In fact, I am currently working with a nutrition coach (John Meadows) trying to lean out a bit more in order to get where I am more comfortable, because EVERYONE needs a coach.  Even a coach. ;-D

And while I general do pretty well, I still have the occasional basket-case moment.  We all do.  Yes, even my most beautiful and fit friends in the fitness industry, even the ones who tell you that the scale is not the best measure of progress, even the ones who talk about the weight on the bar being more important than the weight on the scale… yeah they have meltdowns too.

In fact, back in November when I was hanging with Alli McKee and Neghar Fonooni (my co-founders in Girls Gone Strong) we went to the gym for a workout.  My back was bothering me that day and I wasn’t able to do much except my rehab work.  I was just 8 weeks past my big breakup, and I hadn’t stepped on a scale in that time, and I decided to weigh myself.  I stepped on the scale and I was 180 lbs. and the heaviest I had been in almost 10 years (since I decided to get in shape in 2004).

So obviously I just took a deep breath, realized that everything would be fine, and reminded myself that this was a different scale, I wasn’t fasted, and I was fully clothed, so it was no big deal, right?

WRONG.

I started sobbing in the middle of Alli’s gym and felt like a complete and total loser who didn’t even feel worthy to be a part of something called Girls Gone Strong.

Yep.  That’s pretty much what happened.  And yep.  Neghar and Alli had to talk me off the ledge.  Just like I do for other women all the time.

Yep.  This picture is from the very trip where the girls talked me off the ledge.

Yep. This picture is from the very trip where the girls talked me off the ledge. Love them.

 

So that’s what I want you to realize.  None of us have it all figured out.  Some of us are farther along in our self-acceptance journey than others, but we are all in it together.  In the meantime, let’s can the trash talk about our own bodies AND each other’s bodies.  (Yes, I hear it all the time.  Women trashing on other women, and I’ve been guilty of it as well, when I was unhappy with myself).

We have a finite amount of time on this planet, don’t we want to spend as little of it as possible surrounded by negativity?

So how do you do this?  How do you begin accepting and loving your body exactly as it is, while continuing to set goals and work towards them?  Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll give you my top 5 ways to acquire and maintain a healthy relationship with your body.

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198 Responses to It’s Hard Out Here for a Fit Chick…

  1. Saniah Fatemi says:

    Wow!! Thank you very much for being so honest and open about what you have dealt with. It is so true that many of us (including me) will look at folks in the fitness industry and say to ourselves “they don’t know what it’s like because they have the perfect bodies. Not all of us are blessed like that.” But to read this makes me realize that we are in more control than we think. Thank you for being an inspiration!!!

  2. charlene says:

    Thanks for the post!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Amy says:

    Awesome article, thanks so much for sharing!! Definitely helps to know that someone I look up to has been there, and felt the same way!!

  4. Erin Stimac says:

    AMEN Molly!! This is the best post I’ve ever read from you. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Your brutal honestly is appreciated so much more than you know! Keep doing what you’re doing. So much respect for you!!! :)

  5. Ame says:

    Thank you SO much for writing this Molly! I am also a fitness professional and agree that we place the hardest, strictest, and most judgmental standards on ourselves; as if we have to look ‘perfect’ all the time, no matter the circumstances or the toll it make take on our health. I am coming off 3yrs of rehab from a car/pedestrian accident and am 3 months postpartum and am working on loving my body right where I am! Yes, I know I am not where I want to be physically and yes I am working to change that but I cannot hate my body (many days this is a challenge for me). For heavens sake I just grew a baby which is the one of the things I think women should be the proudest of being capable of! I write all this to say THANK YOU for making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there because you are right, ALL women have these internal struggles!

  6. You hit the nail on head with this Molly! I myself am a trainer, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone feeling extra scrutinized. At one point, I would change in my office instead of the locker room just to avoid the stares.

    Thank you for the post!
    -LD

  7. Cori says:

    Great post! It’s crazy how we, as females, pick out certain things about ourselves that we don’t like and focus on them…even though no one else would ever see anything wrong or may actually LIKE the attributes we don’t like!

    Like when you are at “your heaviest” and you don’t necessarily want to be there and aren’t happy…someone else may look at you and want exactly what you have. Yet all we can think about is how “fat” we are…or more exactly how “fat” we think everyone else thinks we are.

    Even the fittest female out there could be looking in the mirror consumed by only seeing her flaws mostly because she is worried that everyone else out there only see them.

    It isn’t about not having aesthetic goals or only focusing on performance goals that changes your relationship with your body. It is about taking time each day to recognize all the good things and then NOT worrying about what you think other people may be seeing.

    Looking and feeling the way we want is a life-long process. One that we need to enjoy and accept that there are going to be bumps in the road.

    All of us can definitely be better about having a healthy relationship with our bodies, myself included. Can’t wait to see your Part 2!

  8. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for posting this! I am a recent graduate in the fitness field and becoming a personal trainer is quite stressful. It’s easy to question “how can I help others if I can’t even help myself?” But you’re right. Our own trials give us experience and we must learn to love ourselves in order to teach clients about how to treat their bodies right and love themselves. It helps to know that I am not alone. Everyone struggles.

  9. Michelle McDonald says:

    Wow….love your story…it is so hard to get to the place where we are not critical of our own bodies. I am 45 year old mother of 2… I train 5 days a week and try to eat healthy….it’s so hard to see perfect movie stars who have trainers, chefs, help, and back in a bikini in 2 weeks. Cant wait to hear more of your journey!
    ROCK ON!!!!
    Michelle

  10. Emily says:

    Amazing. Honest, brave and so inspiring. Absolute definition of a Girl Gone Strong. Thanks Molly!

  11. Kerri says:

    This is the best thing I have read in such a long time. Thank you so much for sharing and your honesty.

  12. AlexisH says:

    Thank you for this.

  13. Danielle says:

    Awesome post, Molly. I am sure, like most followers of GGS, you don’t know us but we sort of ‘know’ you but you guys make a difference when you post things like this. I am 5’8 and always wanted to be petite. I was 5’3 and 90# until I was 15 and I *exploded* 5 inches in less than a year (talk about growing pains…) and could not wrap my head around my new height and…weight/jean size. lots of negative body talk and even though i was only 120 pounds, i still felt huge. I am now 155 pounds (avg) and think oh boy, wouldn’t that be nice to be 120….knowing that i wasn’t happy then either!

    we’re all human and sometimes we just don’t have the strength to be 100% on point. you girls are transparent about who you are and what you struggle with, and it makes me feel like i am not a weirdo or alone. its not about making excuses, its just life. rambling aside, i just want to thank you and the GGS gals for posting this sort of stuff.

  14. Theresa says:

    Molly… I just… I’m speechless. This post was so great I don’t even know what to say. It’s like you read my mind. You’re a huge inspiration and role model for me, and this post just made me love you 10,000 times more! I think it’s safe to say you’ve definitely found your niche :) I can’t wait to see what you do next!

    PS. I totally agree that it’s all about how YOU feel about your body, but I just want to say that I think you’re gorgeous in every single one of those photos.

  15. Nicole says:

    Fantastic post. I feel like you in so many ways and could relate to your story on so many levels. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to the next post.

  16. Lindsay says:

    Thank you so much for creating this post! I can relate to this on every single level. I wish you lived within San Diego so I could come to you to talk me off the ledge (or scale) when you have those days where your doubts just outweigh all your positives. You women are all inspirational and thank you for sharing!

  17. Molly….You hit the nail on the head with this one. So exposed and real. Your journey and experiences really match mine (so closely its eerie actually..right down to the incidentals with ht/wt ranges, loss of parent, expectations etc). It really IS hard being a fit chick ;) Keep it up.

  18. Dyan Zbikowski says:

    Thank you for this post, Molly! I’ve struggled with body image and weight for various reasons (health, divorce, injuries, etc) for years. At 5’8″, I’ve been down as low as 129lbs and have even gone as high as 200+lbs. Although I’m not a personal trainer, my boyfriend of 2+ years is, and we are both nutritionists. There is so much pressure to ALWAYS walk the walk and look the part. It’s difficult to see numbers on the scale stay static when your weight on the barbell or kettlebell is going up. I could go on forever…but what you said in this post truly resonated with me. Thank you for sharing your story, pictures, and emotion. Keep on writing! Looking forward to part 2 :-)

    Dyan

  19. Stacey says:

    I thoroughly enjoy following your story, Molly. You have no idea how much I appreciate your honesty….and how I admire yoru journey.

  20. Vince says:

    Great blog! Takes courage to be so open and sharing of your personal demons and struggles. I applaud you. Just remember, as you stated it is about how you feel about your weight/body, do not let a desire for “perceived perfection” to negate the beautiful and inspiring gains and progress you have made. You are an inspiration from 150-180. A sexy real woman with curves and muscle!!

  21. Ana N. says:

    This is a great post, Molly! I can relate to it (and you) in so many ways. I’m 5’9 and can remember being in jr. high and thinking I was fat, because I was bigger than the other girls, but by no means fat what so ever. Even now, at 26 and 180lbs and around 28% body fat, I struggle with these feelings from time to time. It’s a constant battle for most women, but for me Girls Gone Strong has helped me to learn how to appreciate my body and my athletic build and strength. So, I just want to thank you, Molly, for writing this post and for helping myself (and many other women out there) learn how to love ourselves for more than how we look. You’re my fitness inspiration!

    Again, great post!

    Ana

  22. Laci Kavanagh says:

    Wow! This is just what I needed to read! Thanks so much!

  23. Abby Dineen says:

    I absolutely LOVE your honesty and appreciate this post so very much! If you were a trainer in Philly, I’d sign-up in a heartbeat!

  24. Stephanie says:

    This is wonderful. I admire you so much, Molly, and this is exactly why! I really appreciate the honesty here, and it’s a message that many women need to hear!

  25. Tina B says:

    Great post! Thank you for writing it. I’m a tall girl myself, and can relate to feeling big in comparison to others. I’ve been strength training recently and it makes me feel SO GOOD about myself, and GGS is a big part of my inspiration. Also, when I saw the pic of you in the green bikini my first reaction was “holy smokes, she looks amazing” and “that’s the kind of body I’d like to achieve” – I cannot believe for the life of me that you were getting negative comments! Jeebus. That’s insane.

  26. Lauren Olmeda says:

    Thank you so much for sharing and being so honest

  27. Thank you so much for this honest article. I was also tall at a young age (6’1″ at 14!), looked like a woman fast, and desperately wanted to fit in with the smaller girls. After growing up a bit, I accepted that my femurs were not going to shrink and my destiny was not to be a petite ballerina, but of course I have still been a victim of all the same body image issues as you. Being a rock climber, I am constantly around very thin people, and your self-perception really changes.

    The one thing that has changed the game for me was being diagnosed with a cancer, undergoing surgical treatment and a rough recovery, and finding strength training (motivated out of my own postoperative weakeness!). I am now still focused on fitness but more focused on how my body feels… grateful for it’s power and ability to heal.

  28. cameo says:

    Thank you for this.

  29. Sonia says:

    Honest, grounding and inspirational all at the same time. Fantastic piece Molly, thank you for sharing – it felt as if finally someone understood me!! xxx

  30. Kari says:

    I’m in tears. You hit the nail on the head with this honest blog post.
    I’m a woman who has felt all of this.
    Thank you!

  31. Lani says:

    Wow – the honesty of this post really hit me hard. At 6′, an athlete, always a big girl and now at my heaviest…I have broken down recently due to it being so hard to get where I want to be. I can’t even get in to the ups and downs, but they are so similar to what you’ve posted about and I am at the point of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. It is nice to hear that what may look easy for the fitness professionals isn’t always so and it truly is a lot of hard work always…I look forward to part 2. I am ready, have been ready…to kick it into gear, thank you for your post!

  32. Joe Dee says:

    Why would somebody ever break up with you? I mean none of us are perfect but just by reading this post, I can see you are beautiful from the inside-out. Don’t ever let anybody make you cry! Be humble, be modest….but also be an example!

  33. Meredith says:

    Thank you for this Molly! I needed this today – you always know exactly what to write! Thank you for sharing your journey, it really helps to see what coaches go through the same thing that us “normal” people go through. You are truly an inspiration :-) LOVE your blog and love you!
    M

  34. Judy says:

    you have captured my current situation so wonderfully, all i can do is exhale a sigh of relief. bravo for you for sharing your story, helping women everywhere feel like someone understands and they are not alone…

  35. Kayleigh says:

    Great post! As someone with a pituitary tumor and thyroid issues, weight has long been an issue since my body doesn’t know what it’s doing. It has been a struggle in the last few years, and your post reminded me that I’m not alone in this situation. I’m over 5’7″, and have never weighed less than 160, which can feel odd in a society of skinny, low-muscle folks. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I too had a pituitary tumor, and for a few years before I knew my diagnosis, I felt so bad about my body! I was eating more and more, gaining more weight, getting more depressed, etc. the viscious cycle. I had mine resected, and it was like I was “reset”. But now I am adrenally insufficient and hypothyroid so I have to deal with that. But as I said in my comment above, I am grateful for my health at this point. I started strength training after my surgery and it has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in my confidence, body image AND body composition! Good luck to you!

  36. nicci says:

    thank you…I have struggled with my weight my whole life until I found kettlebells and fell in love. I have trained(and trained others) consistently with them for 3 years and was able to maintain my original 90 lb loss but suffered and injury a few months back that kept me from doing anything physically active and I gained back 25 lbs. I have been feeling horrible about it and feel like I am on a roller coaster of “today is the day” and “screw it, I’ll never get back this time!” this justifies my feelings and to know that I’m not alone in my struggles & feelings makes a world of difference. thank you…

  37. Tamara says:

    Wow, thank you so much for this awesome, honest, amazing post!! Your generosity of spirit really shines through. I couldn’t agree more, we need to stop the trash talk (self and otherwise) and spread the loving kindness!

  38. Michelle says:

    Thank you SO much for this post! I’m a fitness business owner, yet I still battle with many of the same things that my clients do every day. I think it’s called – LIFE! I’ve always admired you, Molly, and this increases my admiration.

  39. Sara says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’ve slowly been coming around to my own aha moment in which I could accept that even the “perfect” women in the fitness industry aren’t perfect, and that we should focus more on acceptance and understanding that our bodies don’t just do what we tell them to do always. In fact, I know in my case I’ve been trying so hard and stressing so hard that it has caused my body to do the opposite! Knowing that even those we put on a pedestal are REAL makes all of this seem so much more bearable! Thanks again! I can’t wait to share this with “my girls”!

  40. nicole says:

    wow. I am that girl too! I am 6′ and have been since the 7th grade and I have a majorly warped body image of myself I am glad I found this page today. All 12 of your reasons I found myself saying “yes” to.

  41. Mary says:

    Wow!! Thank you so much for this post. You are amazing. I wish I could look like you! I am a former trainer. When I was training I weighed 118 lbs. Far to thin. I am now up to 218 lbs!! From. Size 2 to a size 20. I am to embarrassed to go to the gym. The other day I was at the store. Ran into someone I had not seen in years. She said, “what happened to you.” I wanted to hide under a rock. I have been eating things that I have not eaten in many years. Big time guilt. Most days I say, oh well, no one is looking at you. Who cares. I am stuck. I should know what to do. I do not know where to start. So I just hide in the house and rarely go out. I almost go into a panic when I have to go to the store. People will see me! I try to hide while in wal mart. Someday I would love to meet you. Thank you so very much!

  42. Rinna says:

    Like the others here, thank you for this post! I’m turning 35 tomorrow. At 18 I was a svelte 120 pound hottie, of course I got there thru obsessive exercise, anorexia and bulimia not brought on due to body image really, but because food was the only control I had in my crazy home life.

    When I found out I was pregnant at 23 I determined to go healthy & clean eating properly so I could be a great example to my daughter. One successful child (2001), one life threatening illness, a lost pregnancy (23 weeks in 2005), then kicking cigarettes for good (2011) and here I find myself at my worst weight ever, 191. It was gutting when the Dr said it out loud and how I have thought about how easy reverting to my old ways would be or, even worse, giving up for good. But my daughter is now 12 and hitting that pivotal body image stage for all girls. I want her to treat her body well and draw on good examples to do it.

    Two major hitches in my path, a weak right knee and the face that money and language (I live in Quebec) prevent me from joining a gym and hiring a trainer & nutritionist to give me the tools and right process. So I’m doing it on my own, not very well just yet, but not giving up either. This post gave me hope and I’m going to follow along with your blog from now on. Thanks!

  43. Matt Kittoe says:

    Thanks for being willing to put yourself on display here; you’re truly inspirational.

    I’m a dude, and I still found a LOT in this post that I could relate to.

  44. Beth says:

    Great article, and so true! I’m 56 and have been CrossFitting for 4 years but still have those days when I feel like I’m the ‘only one’ that feels this way…..I know I’m not but sometimes it’s overwhelming. Look forward to reading more.

  45. Nora says:

    As a former competitive gymnast myself, I’m constantly battling with my own body-image demons. I’ve always been an active person & in my youth I defined myself as “fit’ & “in-shape.” In high school my coaches did BMI tests on a monthly basis. I remember one time coming up as having a BMI of 13%– I was proud, happy, and feeling healthy… until my coach told me that I was grossly out of shape for my sport (I was 5’3″, 129lbs, in post-recovery from a broken back, & solid as a rock). At my next physical my doctor pulled out her chart & also declared that I was overweight. When I questioned her stating that muscle weighs more than fat, she replied “maybe so, but you should alter your diet by doing X, Y, & Z.” The next few months I increased my regular 4 hour daily workouts to 6 hours, significantly decreased portions, & started taking laxatives before “cheat” meals (The only reason I gave myself a cheat meal was to appease friends & family who were aware of my recent habits). Because the fitness industry places so much emphasis on numbers, I went from an extremely healthy athlete with a BMI in the teens to a depressed, self-abusive compulsive exerciser with a BMI that dipped below 9%. I was finally the “ideal” 115lbs and I have never looked so sick, exhausted, and emaciated.
    Today I still struggle with my own expectations for myself (which are totally unrealistic), but am slowly coming around. Thank you for putting your struggles and experiences out there. Hearing about your journey & seeing the photos of you (looking absolutely AMAZING and fit at 172!) really makes it clear how silly it is to rely on a scale of numbers and expectations. You’re beautiful, stunning, and inspiring.

  46. Teeny says:

    This post really meant a lot to me. It probably wasn’t easy for you to write, or post photos that you didn’t feel confident in, but it really means a lot that you’re willing to put yourself out there to express such an important message.

  47. Manette Gutterman says:

    You look freakin amazing to me! Would love to follow you. I’m headed back to my dr next week. Battling hormones and tired of gaining weight. They sent me home telling me my cortisol ran a little high & nothing is working. I went off the pill in order to try & feel better. All I have done is gain weight since. I need help so I’m begging for it again at the dr. Wish me luck!

  48. Holly says:

    Thank you so much for this post, Molly. I can identify with every word you wrote. I’m 5’11″, a personal trainer, gym manager, and am about 170lbs. I’m fit and healthy, but that is still about 20 lbs heavier than I am comfortable with. I went through a rough patch about 2 years ago, had to lessen my time in the gym, slacked off on clean eating, and have never been the same since. I’m now very SLOWLY learning how to re-adopt my old habits that kept me at a bf % that I was comfortable with. I could probably be quite comfortable with myself in my current state in another profession, however, like you said- the extra scrutiny I feel while working at the gym is almost overwhelming. I’m a trainer, so I’m supposed to wave my magic “fitness” wand and be 10% bf tomorrow…right? Ha! I don’t want to know what’s been said behind my back. It definitely helps to read about your experiences. It’s good to not be alone! Thank you. :)

  49. Kym says:

    What a great post! I appreciate your bold honesty. I’m 45 and have only been weight training and paying attention to nutrition for 3 years. I’ve lost fat and inches, and there are days when I feel like I’m Sisyphus rolling that “big girl” boulder right back up that hill.

    It’s been hard work, but at this point, I wouldn’t take nothing for the journey.

  50. Mandy says:

    Thank you so much for the blog. I needed this… especially today

  51. Rob says:

    Thank you for this very personal and insightful post. You are beautiful at any weight but I understand the struggle to want to be “better”. I know this helped many people and, I am sure it helped you to get this on paper (well…posted online but you know what I mean) This all goes to show how strong you are both mentally and physically and all I can say is thank you and keep up the amazing work!

  52. Crystal says:

    I cannot express how much you have touched my life. It all started with the TLAG seminar. I have struggled for many years, just like many women, with accepting the body that I have. Thank you Molly for being a strong woman and honest about what you have gone through!! I know that we are always hardest on ourselves and you have been an inspiration for me to make a change.

  53. donna clements says:

    A most excellent post.

  54. Carey says:

    Thank you so much for this – I have never commented on your posts before, even though I read them all. I’ve been struggling with feeling my responses are worth posting, but really what I have trouble reminding myself of is that I am not alone in having these feelings. I’ve had a negative relationship with food for over 20 years and even though I’m strong and get constant support at my gym, Mark Fisher Fitness, I’ve never been able to nail my diet and successfully uncover my muscles by losing fat. The fight drains me, and humiliates me; I tell myself I’ll be stuck with this issue forever.

    Reading your testimonial blog, I started to cry. I’ve had that breakdown. I’ve felt no friends actually wanted to be around me. And while I’ve never competed, I’ve set goals for myself that I fall short of and punish myself for not having the willpower.

    So thank you. For being honest and vulnerable enough to share your story. It’s a reminder of why Girls Gone Strong works; women supporting each other and staying open to each other’s humanity is a powerful thing.

    Looking forward to more posts, and I’m guessing I’ll be commenting more often: the first time is always the hardest. :)

  55. Kelly Wright says:

    Molly I have always admired you and your dedicated workouts. I remember seeing you at LAC and thinking “she is so pretty and seems so confident.” I am so glad that you are writing these blogs.. I’m always so hard on myself with emotional ups and downs. I use to eat anything and now my weight has been fluctuating up and down while eating healthy@ 45 years old and it’s getting harder and harder to get weight off..
    Thank You for keeping Real and giving others like myself hope.

  56. Evelyn says:

    Thank you so much for that post!
    I have Hashimoto’s disease too and i’t so frustrating! I eat healthy, train 4 times a week…and still am stuck at 175 pounds!
    Reading your post, seeing how great you look…what an inspiration! Thanks!

  57. I can relate to so much of what you’re saying here but trust that you are already helping other people accept their bodies. I can’t remember how I found your website but being thrown into the Girls Gone Strong world and realizing that I’m not crazy for wanting to focus on what my body can do and on doing the things that make me healthy (truly healthy–not just the cover model image of healthy that people assume is ideal).

    YOU ROCK.

    Thank you for writing and sharing this post.

  58. Al says:

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    Its not easy and takes a lot of courage.

    its hard out here for a fit chap as well. I can totally relate! What do you do when crying is not an option (men dont cry)? Trooper on like you do, find support and get up and try again.

    Looking forward to reading more, thanks again Molly
    Al

  59. Jessyca says:

    I loved this!!! Thank you for your heart and honesty! Your story really touched me. I’ve struggled so much with wanting to be perfect all the time. I love how you said we only take fit pics when we look our best…sooo true.You look amazing in ALL your photos!!

  60. Becky says:

    This post was so helpful. I have been on the ledge for a couple of weeks now – I needed to hear this for sure. I hate when people know I am a pretty committed and avid exercise chick, but my body doesn’t necessarily look like it, I feel extra judged and like a failure. Thanks for being honest and for the encouragement.

  61. brantley says:

    First of all, even at your “heaviest” you were still gorgeous! But I truly admire the way you have taken control of you life. especially dealing with the health issues -being a medical professional I know what a ordeal having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can be. Congratulations on your success and I look forward to more from you in the future.

  62. Lindsey says:

    Wow, this resonated with me so much. Thank you!

  63. Allison says:

    Wow. You will never know how much I needed to read this at this very moment. Body image has been on my brain for the last few weeks. I’m in my late twenties, and in a long term, loving relationship… but I’m more self conscious about my body then I was when I was awkward and 17. I thought this stuff was supposed to get easier as we got older…?

    I’m not a regular reader — just stumbled onto this via Twitter. Thankful that I did, and look forward to reading more from you.

    Cheers,
    Allison

  64. Nicole says:

    Thank you for this post! Exactly what I needed to read today!

  65. Ashley says:

    I just found this blog a few weeks ago and I am SO happy that I did! Thank you so much for sharing your story. This speaks to me in so many ways and I plan to revisit this post often!

  66. Trace says:

    Molly, If you were getting negative body comments at any time during when pics were taken, you need new friends and or relatives. You are a stunner in all of them. Good luck, don’t the b _ _ tards get you down. Trace

  67. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your inner thoughts!!! All those thoughts are what I struggle with as well and I have issues with bulimia which hinder my fitness goals as well. I was encouraged to hear your inner dialogue as it matches mine and just reminds me we are not alone!

  68. Jenny W. says:

    Thank you.

  69. Emily says:

    You’re the bomb.com. Enough said :-)

  70. Jill says:

    It’s so nice to hear that we all go through the same thing. There’s always those days where nothing looks right even if the scale hasn’t moved and the measurements don’t change but the feeling does.

    It’s nice to hear that those in the industry struggle too.

    Keep up the good work.

  71. Michelle Holbrook says:

    Hi Molly. You are a beautiful person no matter what weight you are. All of your pictures look great,and you are not fat by any means in ANY of those pictures. I also have PCOS and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism,and take meds for blood pressure,high triglycerides and cholesterol and Metformin for the PCOS. I am 51 and have NEVER been happy with myself my entire life. I am an RN and I know what I should eat, but have struggled for my whole life with carbohydrate addiction,and I am not very successful with controlling my diet. I am obese at 262 pounds. I do go to the gym about 3 times a week and I do the treadmill and the elliptical and some of the circuits,but can’t do any of the machines that would affect my lower back because I am recovering from a back(herniated disc) injury in January. Went to PT for several months and I am 90% better. I started back at the gym about a month ago and am working my way back slowly to what i was doing prior to the back injury,which was about 3 miles on the treadmill, and 2-3 miles on the elliptical, and some of the circuit. My question is,what type of exercising is most effective for someone with PCOS? I do love doing the treadmill the most,can tolerate the elliptical but don’t love it,and I don’t mind doing the circuits for my arms,chest,shoulders and trapezius muscles. I wonder if I am just not doing the right type of exercise to combat the effects of the PCOS. I am not allowed to do crunches ever again,and squats aren’t recommended by PT due to the risk of hurting the back again. Do you have any suggestions? Thank YOU!!!

  72. Victoria says:

    Great article! Learning how NOT to beat yourself up because you haven’t achieved your goals “yet”, is a big lesson to learn. But once you learn how to look at your body that way (and life in general), you become a far happier person. It becomes easier to enjoy the moment, without having to think “Oh, I’ll be happy when I finally “place goal here”.

    By the way, in your second last photograph (green bikini @ 170 lbs): people were giving you negative feedback? Really? I thought you looked totally hot! Man, I wouldn’t mind looking that “bad”.

    Anyway, I enjoy your posts. Keep up the great work!

  73. Esha says:

    Thank you soo much for this post!
    This is exactly what I feel majority of the time!
    Thank you for expressing your feelings loud, so that we all can know, that we are not the only ones who feel vulnerable.x

  74. Krista says:

    Molly,
    I feel like I could have written this. I have the SAME medical issues. My body image is so skewed. I’ve had the scale meltdowns. I’ve had the utter depression that after years of on and off dieting, thyroid disease and overtraining, I can only eat about 75% of the calories I used to be able to to fit into the same clothes at the same activity level. I’m always the one ordering the salad or vegetable dish while my friends splurge without a second thought, telling myself that it’s worth it. It is such a control issue – that our sense of self-worth comes from what we deny ourselves.

    I left the fitness industry to work in higher education, but also (secretly) because the pressure to look perfect was destroying me. I still feel it, except now I only have no one else in the industry to tell me “you’re crazy, you look great”, or “you could loose a little/gain a little here or there”, so it is a double-edged sword. But you are right – you only see airbrushed photos or photos done with people flexing at certain angles in pictures or online, yet this is what we judge ourselves against. I’d love to see what water manipulation could do for me to prep for a photo shoot! I think if we all got professional photos done, we’d ease up on ourselves. I know if a fitness guru told me I looked great, I’d relax! It is so strange, how much time we spend scrutinizing things we can’t change, rather than appreciating our unique, lovely selves.

    Thank you for sharing!

  75. Robyn Durham says:

    Beautiful article. Thank you so much for sharing, it really touched me.

  76. Great post Molly. Thank you.
    Last weekend I allowed myself to eat everything I wanted to eat. Every homemade chocolate chip cookie, sausage, salad, bread, anything I wanted, I had it. and I loved every minute of it. I gained 6 pounds. I started panicking, but then I told myself all was well, I was going to do all the workouts I committed to doing for the week, I did not need to over compensate, punish or even have a reaction to the scale. I did what I did and I enjoyed it. Now, I will abstain from that sort of permissiveness for quite a while. And I will eat as I normally do and it is OK.
    We put such pressure on ourselves!
    Thank you for the reminder to lay off judgement of our own bodies and other women’s bodies too.

  77. Jenn @ Lost in a Great Book says:

    Thanks so much for this post – it is amazing how many of us struggle with how we look every day, and how much of our self-confidence we put into what we see in the mirror. I’m going through that myself, and have to remind myself daily of all the good things I do and am before I lose it on myself – again.
    Keep writing – I’ll be checking back for more encouragement!

  78. Thank you for being so honest, Molly! As a woman with PCOS working as a personal trainer, I often feel down about myself when I look at women in the fitness industry who constantly seem to be ripped. It doesn’t help that I work with a team of guys who are all single-digit body fat. Even though I work as hard as them, I’m never going to look like them without starving myself. I try to eat well most of the time, but my body will take any excuse it can to hold on to fat and I just like the occasional junk food too much to cut it out completely. Thank you for sharing your struggles, and know that you are a beautiful person inside and out!

  79. Helen says:

    It was a fantastic post but with this statement “you should be reasonably lean (that definition will vary from person to person)” even with the caveat it shows you still buy into this notion that slim = healthy. A personal trainer needs to be HEALTHY not necessarily lean or even reasonably lean.

  80. Meghan says:

    So well written! Thank you so much for sharing!

  81. Donna says:

    Molly thank you for posting this. I wanted to write something long and profound and then …

    >>>>> OH. MY. GOD. The picture of you in the green bikini. Ooo la la! Can’t believe anyone would have ANYTHING to say about that body!! WOW. Exactly the right amount of curves and cut. <<<<<

    … I was stopped short.

  82. Joanne says:

    It is very courageous of and possibly also very scary at the same time to open up about your struggle which is every woman’s struggle in some type of variation.

    Thank you so much for relieving the pressure that there is with the fit “myth”. There are times I am fuller and yes..my belly isn’t as tight and times where I’m at my fittest…doing all the right things, pushing the weight, and all.

    Funny note is that when I decided to let it be, and do what I can…the compliments rolled in…because most of all…I think if we are happy with ourselves other people will notice it too. And the critics are self-loathers…never needed to be part of our lives anyway…:)

  83. Sarah says:

    Molly you are the best! I love seeing a taller fit woman talking about her weight! I’m 5’10 (currently pregnant so not even worried about fat and weight right now) but am usually 16-18% body fat and weigh 165ish lbs. Yay for us “big” fit girls (we’re not big at all)! It’s so frustrating to see woman who are 5’3 and weigh 120….my leg alone weighs 120! So many articles talk about those weights and smaller statures. I used to think something was wrong when I was always around 160…but finally realized years ago I’m just taller and can thankfully carry more weight healthfully. Thank you for posting this. And you look absolutely fabulous in all your pics above! You rock! :)

  84. Christina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  85. Julia Dewolf says:

    You have a ZILLION comments. But I wanted to add mine. Thank you. You look healthy and gorgeous in all the photos.

    I like you am working on being strong. I just started crossfit three times a week. I run 4 x a week, and train do 6 half marathons a year. I always want to be thinner, but that’s my unhealthy obsession. What do you do for strength?

    I think you look the best in your bottom photos where there only is a 2 pound difference. So this makes me want to continue to get strong like you.

  86. Kelly says:

    Very inspirational. I lost my dad unexpectedly as well and I gained so much wait from the stress. It was cancer and 8 months of going back and forth and eating out. I gained so much weight and that made me even more depressed. I had people say if you would just pack yourself food you would be fine. I thought yeah sure that’s exactly what I’m thinking about when I’m losing my dad. But know I’m taking it one day at a time and not trying to kill myself. If I go out to eat I go where everyone else wants to, but just try to make some better choices, but I don’t deprive myself. I’m a much happier person by taking this approach then doing what I’ve done in the past.

    I think you look amazing and Girls Gone Strong is an inspiration to all women young and old! Thank you for the awesome post!

  87. Katy says:

    Thank you for the wonderful and insightful post. Very real and raw!!

  88. Saffron says:

    I had never read your blog before and was linked to this post from a fellow powerlifter friend. And – while your content was amazing – I wanted to share a feeling I had that was more personal. I’m 5’10″ and have almost the exact same build and weight as you, including a history of weight fluctuation. I’ve never seen another woman who looks so much like me before, and in a way it’s really reassuring. I don’t want to value my physicality as much as I’m programmed to, but it’s hard to forget. And when you’re tall and muscular, it takes an act of rebellion to convince yourself that it’s ok to weigh 170lbs. I have no desire to pursue extreme leanness and all the sacrifices it entails, but somehow these culturally established “big” numbers on the scale are hard for me to accept, no matter how much I know intellectually that they’re ok. Thank you for putting yourself out there and showing realistic day to day thoughts and photos of a very fit person, you brought a little light to a stranger who happens to be a passable body double of yourself. :P

  89. Alanna says:

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you Molly, you’ve made a world of difference.

  90. Shirley says:

    You brought me to tears as I obviously struggle with self image and have for a very long time. Becoming more accepting of myself and my amazing accomplishments every day. Thank you so, so much for this!

  91. Becky W. says:

    Fantastic post. I can relate in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

  92. Shauna says:

    Molly, I read so much of me in your article. I am 5’10 and have been the big girl since grade school. Always bigger than anyone else and told I was too fat to do anything. So I went on a diet…the wrong kind and passed out in school. Always in sports and cheerleading as well, told by my best friend who was bigger than me that I wasn’t good enough to cheer. So I lost weight, then she really hated me. Wanted to model at 150 pnds and I was told I was too fat. My weight steadily crept up on me, my heaviest was 265pnds an I worked out every day.

    One day I decided to try bodybuilding…3 shows in less than 6months. In a little over a year with a coach, dieting and training I dropped 110 pounds. Everyone I told said I couldn’t do it except my husband. Even I had my doubts but the more the weight came off the more I believed. The first show came and everyone was like wow! Then they said I couldn’t change for the next show (6 weeks out), I came in the second looking different, they said ok she can do it. I find it amazing how many people who never talked to me before, started talking to me. I found it amusing really and sad at the same time. Even at 150 I was a heavy weight and still to heavy to show a lot of definition(I have a hard time losing water weight) I did manage a couple of 1st’s/2nd/3rd/an overall and a gold medal. So I achieved a lot.

    Now after a baby and a torn Achilles I am back to a heavy weight again and slowly making my way back down. Because of the weight gain, those that use to talk to me…don’t anymore. Their loss, not mine. The only person can get me there is me and I will be back one day… I know I can do it. Cheers

  93. Thank you for this post! It is so refreshing to hear that other people struggle too. We are so bombarded with pictures of perfect bodies all the time it is hard not to look down on ourselves. Our society puts too much focus on how much you weigh and not on the more important issue like are you healthy. Many of these celebrities we try so hard to emulate may not be particularly healthy. I am only a beginner when it comes to weight lifting and I struggle daily with body issues especially the scale.
    Thank you again for being a real person and standing up for all of us real women out there. You give us hope!

  94. NaTascha Krempges says:

    you just made my day…..i have resonated this to a tee and still struggle….you just lifted my chin a bit more;)

  95. Wendy says:

    Beautiful post, however I would like to say that even skinny women can have issues too with self image. Having always been of small frame and never able to put on weight consistently, I lived my life with poor self image. Now at a ripe old age through my strength training I have found the confidence, spiritually, bodily and psychologically to banish those negative image thoughts. I love Girls
    Gone Strong, wish there was something in Sydney, Australia like your group but I have what I regard as a fabulous trainer, a guy who really “gets it” so feel I am blessed and only moving forward now. bless YOU!

  96. Danielle says:

    Wow. I can relate to so much of this. I don’t admit it much, but I know that I have a body image problem. I’m sort of obsessed with whether I look fat at any time. Part of it is because my body has changed so much after two pregnancies. I went through a super skinny phase between my two kids’ births (without doing much of ANYTHING- I ran & hiked occasionally, walked a lot, breastfed around the clock, and ate whatever I wanted) and I’m still in mourning that I will never be that skinny again, even though I’m now working out and I’m getting pretty strong. I have to accept it, that I will never wear size 6 pants and feel like they are falling off.

    But I also really like reading this because I’m 5’10″ also and have a similar body type, but at 163 lbs I would LOVE to look how you look at 180. It makes me realize that I really do need to throw the damn scale away, it really means nothing. Almost nothing.

  97. David Haneline says:

    I want to say, as a man, with complete honesty, that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone is into something different. The women on the magazines do exist, but they aren’t the only women out there, and they aren’t the only women who are acceptable. The things I find the most attractive are health, joy, maturity, integrity, etc. If any of us don’t have these things, what are we?

    I have always struggled with my weight, as a man, in the opposite direction. I’ve always felt skinny, weak, etc. I’ve always been told I was weak and skinny. I’ve always been made fun of. Every time I’d start working out it was always to gain weight. You know what? Screw them. What do they know about what a man is supposed to look like? I work out now, run, etc. I do it to be HEALTHY.

    Health is the most important thing. Health isn’t a number. I know two women who struggle with anorexia and it makes me very sad. Think you are beautiful. Your opinion is the only one that matters. :)

  98. Jacqueline B says:

    Thank you so much for this !! I can relate in so many ways. :)

  99. Jessie says:

    Hey Molly! This article is awesome – I’m so glad I stumbled upon it via Twitter (gracias to Mark Fisher). Your words and mentality go right on par with a website I’m co-founding and launching in August called Little White Party Dress – we’re helping women of all ages shapes and sizes find confidence in themselves through fitness and nutrition to improve their personal and professional relationships, along with self-esteem and body image. We would LOVE to interview you for an article if you would be interested? Let me know and we’ll get something set up!

    Jessie

  100. Really touching and true. I have a friend who reminds me when I’m sore and tuckered out, “You’re changing your body, and that’s HARD.” And he’s right. It’s so much harder when the head is filled with judgement and negativity; thanks for helping to let that stuff go. You’re integrity is your strength. Thank you.

  101. Kari says:

    While I absolutely believe that women need to stand up for the proper care and treatmeant of our bodies, it is SUPER discouraging to me that you want to stay in an industry that has all but destroyed your body. I’m not naive on this topic. On the contrary, I’ve heavily researched hormonal imbalances associated with dieting and PCOS and Hashimotos disease are all interrelated to hormones. Our adrenal and endocrine systems can only handle so much starvation and over training before they flat out shut down. I have several friends who competed who now struggle with a laundry list of ailments. And all for some aesthetic competition. If you really want to help women, then become educated about the causes of hormonal illnesses and help others to see the dangers of extreme dieting – especially those used to compete. Adrenal fatigue is no laughing matter. Neither are PCOS and the rest of the hormonal -related problems women face from years of trying to obtain some idealized body. An excellent resource is Coach Scott Abel who has written books about these very topics and has helped treat people after they’ve dieted into metabolic failure. He “gets it”

    • Kari says:

      A little trigger happy there. I hope that you go a lot farther than just helping women accept their bodies. Best of luck.

  102. Rob says:

    Well, congratulations, you just made a grown man cry. As the Dad of a 14 year old girl, I want to ask – how can I get my daughter to read this? (Given the fact she’s a teenager, and therefore my IQ is somewhere in the negative triple digits…)

    And I’ve already tried the reverse psychology, “don’t read this” ploy…

    Thanks for having the guts to post this.

  103. Maria says:

    I love this! Being at one of those off-points in my life I’ve been hating the pounds I’ve gained from stress, hating that I “lost all I worked for” and hardly wanting to look at myself without clothes. Being 5’10″ it’s much different stepping on a scale and seeing the numbers rack up than my friends who are 5’2 and 110 lbs. I know what I want to look like, and I’m so encouraged to get back after it instead of throwing the towel after reading your post. Thank you for being open and real about the ups and downs Molly, and for talking us off the ledge and back into the game!!

  104. Cyndie says:

    Thank you for the post Molly. You’re such an inspiration, and you’re amazing.

  105. Apryl Kemper says:

    Thanks for sharing! I am there right now. Trying not to lose my shit about the scale. Trying to be logical and optimistic and love myself for being strong and not giving up. Great inspiration for those of us who aren’t in the industry but look to you guys as role models :)

  106. At all the weights in all the photos, your body is AMAZING and gorgeous. What a perfect shape you have. Don’t let those dark thoughts take over. Rejoice in your beautiful strong womanly body.

  107. Carrie says:

    Thanks for this beautiful and honest post! You look amazing; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Body image is such a huge a difficult thing. I look forward to the next post.

  108. Brad says:

    I can totally appreciate your comments even though I’m a guy. Its crazy how people “like us” all think and worry about the same things….I can so agree with the comment about if your going to eat a cheat mean does it need to be post workout…or even timing my training and diet around my vacation schedule so “Im the leanest guy at the pool”. I mean what is wrong with us…Heck, I can even recall that more than 1 relationship was ended over my crazy diet/workout schedule (anyone read the book “Bodyopus”. I appreciate your transparency and thank you for being willing to outline your personal plan for success.

    I encourage all you guys and gals to remember to keep things in perspective… ultimately our health “should” be our main goal…competing with ourselves and trying to continually push the envelope as to what we are capable of “personally” certainly is fun and has merit…but we should not take this so far as to negatively affect our quality of life or our relationships with others…if things get to that point, we HAVE to reevaluate things and refocus what is really important. Beauty is fleeting…and to some degree so are ab veins…but the quest for health and personal happiness (and productivity) should be our focus. Good luck to all those reading and thanks again to Molly for posting.

  109. Ang says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! Thank you!!!

  110. Amy says:

    You’ve been a hero and role model of mine for awhile…thank you for sharing what so many of us feel. I have had surgery for “female problems” and know that biology/hormones can make us crazy! But strength is beautiful…nothing is more empowering than being strong physically, and the mental strength that comes with it! I wish all women had strong role models like Girls Gone Strong! Do not doubt the positive effect that you have on the world.

  111. Dina Krohne says:

    Molly – thank you! For being honest and for giving the rest of us permission to be human. When you were crying in the gym … I can so relate. And anyone making a negative comment about you at 172 is an idiot or jealous – but I know it happens and I know how it feels. Turn the world on its head with your positive and real message!

  112. Kylee says:

    Well Molly you wanted to help people and I scrolled for what seemed like billions of comments to get to the bottom so I think you succeeded! Thank you for sharing and your honesty. You are a great role model to women everywhere!

  113. Amy in Austin says:

    Thank you so much for this brave post Molly! Like so many others I have struggled with body image; even today when I know I am on a healthy path with a moderate amount of strength work and sprint type conditioning and a solid diet of real food I still have to remind myself that I do not need to be super lean, that I enjoy myself and my life so much more when I am right where I am now. It’s a lot of hard work to fight the messages all around us, but reminding myself that I love my body for what it can do and that I am absolutely capable of attaining a tiny body fat percentage, but that path is not right for me.

    Again, thank you for being so open and inspiring Molly.

  114. Chris Barnes says:

    Wow, awesome and amazing! I don’t even know what to say really. Just awesome!

  115. Kristie butts says:

    Totally felt like you know me. Your story feels so like mine. Even your weight resembles mine and the seesaw that I have been riding my whole life. The positive is that we can all control the ride we ar on and as long as we hold on we will be ok

  116. Justin Yule says:

    This is such an awesome post and couldn’t have come at a better time for Janel and I. She was having one of those “meltdowns” the night before you wrote this. So glad she got this post the next day. Funny how that works…

    THANK YOU!

    HAVE FAITH & TAKE ACTION!
    Justin Yule

  117. Maggie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  118. Ed says:

    When I read that you were getting negative comments about your weight at 172, when clearly you are just fine, it made me crazy. Not only is 172 at your height completely fine and healthy, but … Who are these people who think they can just talk about someone’s weight? Where are their manners? Makes me upset.

  119. Girlfriend.. YOU are not alone here. Last night I was interviewed in a fitness magazine and I told my whole journey of fitness. From when I was a cardio queen counting calories just trying to get skinny, to the bikini competitions (and how awful the diet was) to now, as a Crossfit competitor. She asked what my heaviest was, 160. Well, what do I weigh now? 140. That really isn’t much, but that number does not even come close to telling my whole story. A 20 pound loss seems pretty insignificant, but I have seen as low as 117, which 43 pounds.. now THAT’S a story. But what people don’t realize is that at 117 I was malnourished, miserable, tired and unhealthy.

    Do I wish I always looked like I did in my post-show photos? HELL YES.
    Do I get close to as many compliments as I did when I was at that weight? no.
    Can I lift heavier than I did then? Yes.
    Do I still look good in a bikini? Of course!
    Am I happier now? Absolutely.

    You gotta figure out what is good for you.. we all do, and say FUCK everyone else and what they say or think. This is my life, this is your life, and what anyone else says or thinks really doesn’t matter.

    xoxoxoxoxox

  120. WAY TO GO MOLLY! You are beautiful inside and out! Thank you for posting this. We all come in different shapes and sizes….life, our emotions, etc impact our bodies, nutrition, body image, and more. More fitness pros need to talk about this stuff. Being physically and mentally fit isn’t about getting to a certain weight or size..it’s about feeling good about who you are. It’s all individual. You are an inspiration to women and women in fitness everyone. Not every trainer or coach is lean, we all are real people and our bodies change and we have different genetics. I am on the mission with you to empower women to repair their body image and love themselves. Kick butt Molly! You are a rockstar!

  121. Dionysia says:

    Appreciate your candor – So very human…100% awesome!

  122. Jim says:

    Molly .. great article and I’m sure will make a world of difference to lifting the mindset and self image of many women (.. to say nothing of of the men who love them!). We have a monumental challenge though with employers who penalize otherwise very fit and healthy (mainly) female employees because that number on the scale puts them in the range of obese on some ridiculous chart. So how do we attack that hill?

    peace,

    Jim (who mainly trains teens but specializes in injury prevention among female athletes)

  123. stephen says:

    108 responses in two days!!!

    Articles like this are going to be your legacy, Molly… and we can only hope that your influence continues to grow.

    This is bravery.

  124. Amy G says:

    Thank you so much for your post. It is as if you are reading my mind at this particular time in my life. Looking forward to your next post.

  125. crista says:

    thank you for this. I’m a 30 year old professional dancer and aerialist. I have an absolute, meltdown at weigh ins (which are every 2 weeks on the cruise ship I’m currently employed at). no one has ever told me to lose weight at this job but the fact that I weigh more then seemingly all other dancers tears at me. I workout, I “eat right”, I hire coaches, I pinch whatever fat I can find and stress over my big muscular thighs. I cry when I see pictures of me performing because I feel like I look like a giant oompa loompa in a world of ballerinas. I just bought Intuitive Eating as I’m tired of always being on a diet and still feeling like crap. I’ve been anorexic and bulimic and then clean eating, fitness minded… I hate that I weigh the same as my husband and he hates that I constantly find that a problem and let it make me feel like a giant beast and less then feminine. I have my good days, my good months. all that to say, it’s comforting that I’m not alone, but also quite sad that such wonderful women such as yourself struggle with such awful feelings. lots of love, crista

  126. Lulu says:

    Thanks so much for this post, you are a beautiful woman no matter what weight. I am 5:5 and 130 pounds and dreaming on being 110, maybe I will chill out.

  127. Deb says:

    I so needed this today! I have always been “the fit girl” and right now feel so far from fit I can’t stand it. Turning 50 and adding a grandbaby to my life has turned my body into something I don’t recognize. And I felt so alone in this nightmare.
    Thanks for taking the time to write this piece…you helped me immensely.
    Unlike you, I don’t have any friends to “talk me down from the ledge”. So your blog (and the other GSG’s have become my “fit friends” that I turn to when I’m strugglng.
    Keep it coming, Molly!

  128. Alice Beck says:

    Thank you for your open and honest post! I loved it!

    It is hard out here for a fit chick!!!

  129. julia says:

    I love the sentiment of this post, but it’s one thing to say you have to start by loving your body as it is. How do you do that?

    It’s just not that simple, I mean, I know you’re right, but I’ve got no experience of loving my body, so how do I start.

    Sorry my comments aren’t positive, but as I said it’s all easier said than done.

  130. Michelle Y. says:

    Molly,
    I read this when you first posted it and it has remained at the top of my mind as one of your most poignant posts. I devour everything you write and you continue to inspire me with your strength. I hope you recognize how much strength you demonstrated in sharing this with all of us. You embody GGS in every possible way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    -Michelle

  131. What an amazing and honest look at something that plagues so many women and men!! Thank you so much, Molly! I can’t wait to read future posts!

  132. Pennie Hawks says:

    Great post! Thanks so much for being so real. It’s refreshing to not feel judged. I realize, that I am my own harshest critic. Trying to get past that.

    You mentioned PCOS and Hashimotos as something you were struggling with. I could point you to some information about natural approaches to remedy those conditions. I have a number of young women in my life with PCOS and there’s a simple remedy that has completely returned them to normal. Awesome stuff. And, of course, Hashimotos is in the same family of hormone related issues and that has also been impacted.

    I’d rather go into great detail in an email so if you’re interested email me at phawks1988@verizon.net. Don’t worry, I’m not a pushy sales person. My mission in life is to help women with health and hormone imbalance issues and educate them on making healthier choices.

    Hope to hear from you. Make it a great day!

  133. Michelle says:

    I loked this post, thank you. I have been thinking about this for a few weeks…it was spurred by a male talking about a woman who won a Crossfit regional. They then followed up with, “she looks more female than the other females competing.” Is this really necessary? Do we say that about men? It got me thinking about how no one compiments my muscles but if I “lose” 5 lbs (more like move fat into muscle), I get compliments immediately. Strength work has helped me cope with this messed up world where we expect women to look like “women”. It’s given me power & confidence and that beats looks ANY DAY! :)

  134. laura says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I needed to hear this today. :) I’ve recently started a major lifestyle change by eating healthy and exercising a lot, I’m trying to balance my desire to change with the need to love my body right now. Keep it up, you’re an inspiration!! :)

  135. Brooke says:

    Hey sweet friend, thankful for this journey that we have both walked since high school……now being more in the fitness industry…it’s challenging… I love this post.

  136. Karlb says:

    Great post. I just want to say that it really is hard for women, and I am glad you are doing this. I have coache three collegiate women’s rugby clubs, including a national champion, and the love and support these women have for each other makes all the difference in gaining self confidence about their body types. Many of these athletes were not classically beautiful women, but they were warriors: fit, strong, and aggressive. I hope your willingness to share your experiences will help others. Keep up the great work.

  137. Self love for the beings that God created. I have personal experience of working it to the extreme and had dire consequences. I too have Hashimotos which can contributed to self loathing and depression. The thyroid is an integral key part of our physical and emotional health, and faith is the key to life.

    GOD BLESS YOU ALL IN YOUR JOURNEY, and may He be glorified and may you find peace.

  138. Ashley says:

    Wow, great, courageous post. Loved it – it made me cry! But it’s totally NOT FAIR that KY has both you AND Jim Laird. (Insert sad, pouty face) Any chance you guys would move your gym to New Orleans??!? ;)

  139. Angie says:

    Beautifully written. I am a walking clone of your pain and struggles. It is a sign of relief that other strength coach women share the same obstacles…NOT because (misery loves company), but because we can all strive together to help each other move away from the ledge. Thank you for sharing your story!

  140. Diana says:

    Molly,
    If only all people could be as honest as you about your body, not only with yourself, but with the world!
    Great, inspiring post!
    I’ve gone from 300+lbs down to doing triathlons, half-marathons and even passed the vigorous 3 day RKC back in 2010. Since turning 50 a year ago-menopause came into the picture and no matter how much or how little I ate, no matter how many miles I ran or how many swings I swung-the weight has been coming back. I’ve put back 50lbs of the original 120 I lost. Talk about a “self” mood buster….it took me all the way to the edge of suicidal thoughts. Thanks to God, those are gone, but the weight remains. My thoughts are intensely more peaceful than a year ago and I’m positive…..
    Just went through a hysterectomy, so once the restrictions from the surgery are lifted, those kettlebells of mine will once again be lifted, swung, dragged and whatever else I can think of doing with them!
    Blessings to you, may you continue to find peace in the mirror!

  141. Diana says:

    Molly,
    I thank you for such an honest post. One never has enough information to ever judge a single person….why we as humans always feel the need to do this just baffles me. We all just see the “high-light” reels of people’s lives, when truly the “behind-the-scene’s” is no different than our owns. We are spoon fed through the media and other outside social ways on how we should look, what to wear, how to think, what to think, what to speak, what to eat, how to workout, etc…..
    I’ve gone from 300+lbs in 2007 to my lowest of 175 in 2009. I’ve accomplished triathlons, half-marathons, one full marathon and even went through the biggest challenge of my life….accomplishing the 3 day event getting my RKC back in 2010. Since turning 50 a year ago, menopause entered my life. That brought back some of my 120lb weight that I had lost. That brought depression. It even brought suicidal thoughts…..thanks to God, those thoughts are gone and I’m living a more peaceful life. I just had a hysterectomy, so I have restrictions still in place….but as soon as those are lifted, I hope to find the “right” plan for me to get that 50lbs back off.
    Thanks so much for turning your “mess” into your “message”
    Blessings to you!

  142. Amy Gray says:

    I can absolutely relate to this article — and I thank you so much for sharing your struggles with us all. This has inspired me beyond words & I am going to share your blog with the women in my fitness group. It could help someone. Thank you again.

  143. Cecilia says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! Thank you. I too am a trainer and you took the thoughts and words out of my mouth!!!! I also have PCOS so I know how that is :( So I had a question about acne, as that comes with the territory with PCOS (man it’s fun to be a woman) any suggestions to deal with it? I have the classic hormonal, cystic acne along my jawline and CANNOT clear it up. I know medication will help but right now I am trying to get pregnant (which is ANOTHER story with PCOS–seriously, if it isn’t one thing it’s another) so I don’t want to be on medication. PLUS, I am very conscious and careful of what I put in my body and I try to be as natural and whole as possible. Thanks!

    So glad I found this blog, I will be following. :)

  144. Cecilia says:

    (Saw an error when I posted, not sure if this went through) sorry if it’s a repeat

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! Thank you. I too am a trainer and you took the thoughts and words out of my mouth!!!! I also have PCOS so I know how that is :( So I had a question about acne, as that comes with the territory with PCOS (man it’s fun to be a woman) any suggestions to deal with it? I have the classic hormonal, cystic acne along my jawline and CANNOT clear it up. I know medication will help but right now I am trying to get pregnant (which is ANOTHER story with PCOS–seriously, if it isn’t one thing it’s another) so I don’t want to be on medication. PLUS, I am very conscious and careful of what I put in my body and I try to be as natural and whole as possible. Thanks!

    So glad I found this blog, I will be following. :)

  145. Kat says:

    This post was EXACTLY what I needed to read! Been going through a hard first year out of college and now moving to a big city, which has all been very stressful. I’m still developing a healthy relationship with food as well as a healthy balance of eating well and exercising just enough (not too much, which has been a problem in the past). It’s all very hard. I also aspire to be a personal trainer/fitness instructor, but feel like a total phony sometimes when I have my own struggles with food and fitness. It is so refreshing to see a woman open up and be 100% honest about how NONE of us have it figured out – the pros and the beginners, the “average janes” and fitness enthusiasts. Thank you, Molly. This post is the first I am reading by you (got the link from Josh Hillis’ newsletter) but you are definitely some one I will be following from now on! Thank you so, so much!

  146. Tamara says:

    wow, you just made me cry. Thank you for writing this.

  147. Kathy says:

    Thanks Molly. After reading this awesome post, for today, I feel better about myself. I’m a 43 yr old, stay at home mom of three teens and have had body issues my whole life. I’m 5’9.5 and am my heaviest weight in a long time. I’ve had struggles too and am sorting them out, slowly. One of my goals is to be a certified trainer come July 2013 and am having a hard time with it because I don’t “look the part”. Your article means more to me than you’ll ever know and I thank you for putting yourself out there and appreciate it very much.

  148. Christine says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I too, am 5’10 female that has issues about my body all my life. Even today I struggle in a world where petite is viewed more beautiful. My weight was always over 150. The last i remember being 135, i was in 5th grade. I have since given up weighing myself because the scale will never read what i have programed in my head as healthy. My muscles are much larger than most women’s and i still see…too big…in my head. :/ This is a daily routine of visualizations to help me get past these negative personal thoughts. I am so glad you shared with us your story. You really helped me.

  149. ariane says:

    HOW did you get from the 2004 photos to those from 2006? Is what I would love to know!

  150. Jen says:

    I am a trainer with my own facility, going on about 2 yrs. now. Thank you SO MUCH for being open and honest about this! I believe people think we have it together all the time and we don’t. Mostly, we’re working in the trenches because of how you addressed it….WE ARE ONE OF THEM! I look forward to reading more of your blog posts and sharing them with my clients, friends, and colleagues.

  151. Rachel says:

    Thank you for this post. I teared up in relief and gratitude to read so much of what I struggle with spoken out loud. I’ve come a long way in my own fitness journey, lost over 100# and found a serious love for heavy lifting, but I still struggle every hour of every day with controlling my food intake and trying to find any level of body acceptance. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone.

  152. Emmie says:

    I wish that there were more bravery and more honesty – just what you’ve shown here – in the fitness world. Thank you for sharing your experience and shedding some much-needed light on a topic that I think MOST women can (painfully) relate to.
    Wishing you peace!

  153. Ulli says:

    Wow Wow Wow. So happy I saw these articles. It’s all so true. I just started working with a kick ass nutritionist and trainer to reverse months of metabolic damage, eat more and built muscle…..It’s a challenge because of all the reasons you state, but I am trying to look at the long term end goal :)

  154. Sandy says:

    You know, I am that girl that works out all the time and does not shead an ounce. My workout partner on the other hand looks great! I am frustrated and ready to give up! I was supposed to go to the pool this weekend and when I tried on my new bathing suit (XL) I looked horrible and came up with an excuse as to why I could not join my friends. I am at my heaviest right now but your article helped me to focus on my vision board again :) I realize taht I am not where I wasnt to be but my goal is NOT impossible. Thank you for the refresher and reminding me that I am not the only one out there who needed this booster! Thanks, I am a new fan!

  155. Amanda says:

    Thank you for sharing this in your post. I stumbled across your website for the first time, and as I read your through your post, I could almost feel a weight lifting off my shoulders, thinking “Man, I’m not the only one feeling like this”. I’ve struggled with maintaining a positive attitude towards my body image, and as of late I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to do better and do more. Just before reading this, I was worrying about how I would fit in some fitness today, just because I felt like I “needed” to. Now, whatever I do, I will remember to enjoy it. Thank you for inspiring me to keep up the positivity.

  156. Thanks for you honesty, this is a great post! You’re a very inspirational woman and you will tackle your goals

  157. Thanks Molly for such an amazing post. I really do struggle with body image sometimes even when I know rationally that how my body looks isn’t everything and I should just simply be happy with my body’s capabilities and strength. Thank you for a timely reminder.

  158. Darlene says:

    Molly-you probably have no idea how many hearts you touched with this today. Thank you! I always feel like 1 step forward 2 steps back. Maybe we just need to all help each other. Thank you for sharing your story-you are amazing!

  159. Mariska Koele says:

    Hi Molly, Thank you for the post. We all fall of the wagen every now and then. What is important that you have the ability to climb back up in a healthy way.

    I think in the green bikini you look good, people comment…it is what a lot of normal women look like. We are not all skinny and cuves are natural. Short? I am only 5’2.

    Do not lose the spirit, keep having fun working out!

  160. Rachel says:

    Woman, you are stunning and gorgeous at any and all weights. Period, end of story.

  161. Kristi says:

    This is great. I constantly struggle with body image, even though I look “good” for my size. But there is always that thought of, “I could look better.” This was a real inspiration to help me look a little more positively at who I am, where I am now and what I look like, while still striving to get to that goal “ideal” of myself.

    Thanks!

  162. Jen Hartman says:

    You are me. Im your height, and have struggled withon the same weights you have. When i moved in with my fiance over a year ago (he’s now my husband) I gained weight. We’re talking going from 160 to 185. Again. I had worked my ass off from 2010-2011 to lose weight and get fit. I loved fitness so much I decided to become a certified personal trainer. Ive always been bigger than other girls, not always fat just had more muscle mass. Though i was still working out and training hard I couldnt lose weight and today i still sit around 180lbs at 5’9″. My lack of visible abs and bulkiness greatly affected my career as a trainer especially with a gal who was 5’4″ 115 pds of steroidal muscle and fake ta ta’s was also working there. Every female thought they could and needed to look lile her. It killed my self esteem, it killed my self confidence in my work, and eventually I quit.

    I’m still struggling. I eat clean, and I’m continually learning and teaching myself about nutrition. However, the weight stays at 180 through it all.

  163. Dani Dufrene says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It is so encouraging to know that so many of us are encountering the same ebbs and flows in this adventure toward self acceptance. I believe it is this kind of authentic dialog that will help women to embrace and make peace with their bodies regardless of where they are at in their adventure. Thank you for being a strong, authentic woman. You are an inspiration to many. And for the record, you were beautiful in every single one of those pictures. Keep writing and keep sharing. You are making a difference.

  164. Margarita says:

    Well, just read this blog post while having my lunch at work and it literally brought tears to my eyes. I think you nailed it on the head with a sledgehammer ;0)

    Compassion, we need to show it to ourselves AND to other women…men do enough bashing of us already, we do not need to join the band wagon !

    Thanks, I struggle because I am petite but full figured (thanks to my Mom) and though I work out I am critical of myself…I think I will magically be 5′ 5″ with long, long slender legs…not happening. Trying to embrace the curves and enjoy my womanhood.

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story, I applaud you !!!

    Margarita

  165. Fiona MacDonald says:

    Amazing. Put into words how I feel on a daily basis and how I know most of my girlfriends feel as well. Truly touching!

  166. Azucena says:

    You are such a great inspiration!!!! You are so pretty and you look great!! *HUGS**** :)

  167. Jo says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. It can’t have been easy, but it means so much more to hear this from someone living in the fitness industry. I’ve heard this tale a thousand times and thought the issue didn’t really trouble me, but now I realise I’ve been holding back from my goal of getting involved with the health and fitness industry until I felt that others would judge my body ok. I didn’t think I could proceed because people wouldn’t take me seriously. Your article has been my lightbulb moment!

  168. Lisa says:

    Hey Molly. I want to shout this from the highest mountain! We should not have to feel like we are ‘brave’ for saying such things, yet we intrinsically know that it’s like coming out of the closet or something (I know about that too).

    I have learned (but still have trouble practicing) that people are critical when they themselves are insecure. It’s true for me too. I try to catch myself and say, ‘hey, what about ME is causing this?’ but it’s not always so obvious. I am also trying to share this with my two girls. As teens, this is when it all starts to happen. I want them to know that it’s OK to have bad days, it’s OK to just BE, to love your self and your body, and it’s OK to want to take care of it too!

    Thanks for this real outpouring of truth. As a trainer myself, I do try to encourage people to know why they want to ‘look’ a certain way. And is that really a reason that will keep them motivated? Most likely, no.

    Be well. You are beautiful in all those pictures.

  169. Daniela says:

    Hi Molly,

    First and foremost, I do not understand how it would matter to you what others say, do, or print about you. It’s all a judgement about themselves, it other self hatred about themselves, so it should not matter. If you’ve had these thoughts about your body since you were a young girl, I think a good place to visit is HOW those thoughts got there in the first place? Not feeling good about who you are, or your place in this world is about you. So some closure with that will give you a nice bit of energy and peace of mind in your head to working on you – a good EMDR therapist recommended, or a good therapist who can help with childhood issues.

    Secondly it’s the internet, posting good photos is just an open door to invite losers and haters to judge you, so no more photos. We like you, as you are, and we like your content. I don’t care what your body looks like, rather I need all that energy to keep mine at a nice 10% percent body fat (and no, I do NOT post pictures- as I KNOW what I like about me, and choose not to invite the world in on that discussion). I’m solid with my place in the world, and Molly G I want you to have that same experience.
    So I invite you to do this without photos of you body, just your good content. We love you, and your strength in writing. Your body is yours to enjoy and explore and do what you like with. It’s not up for discussion if it’s GOOD enough – it is. That’s it.
    Now go on your journey – and kill it girl. That’s what girls gone strong do. No more worrying about anything. No one owns you. Except you.
    Much love and strength. Vancouver, BC Canada

  170. I know what you mean about being the in the fitness industry and always feeling the need to be a beacon of fitness, instead of just happy, (strong) and healthy.

    Great post Molly. Looking pretty rad in all the photos, really.

    -Shane

  171. Nancy says:

    Thank you for being you! You should be proud of yourself for being such a courageous role model to so many women who need your help. I’ve read about you through Girls Gone Strong, but I’m definitely a major fan after reading this blog post. I loved your honestly. I hope things are getting easier for you after having so many life stressors occur at once. All you can do during a time like that is to take it one day at a time, and be satisfied that you are being the best possible version of yourself at that moment in time.

  172. Holly says:

    You are beautiful and the work you are doing is beyond inspiring. Thank you!

  173. Marna Marie' Strauss says:

    Dear Molly, I love your honesty..you truly are an inspiration to me… thank you for just being honest without covering it up with any tinsels and tack…

    Good luck on your road ahead… I’m so glad I found your site…

    Have a wonderful day!
    Regards from Cape Town, South Africa……

  174. Jen Young says:

    You are so brave to share this story, Molly. Not only do many women in the fitness industry struggle with weight and body image, but we also try to hide it. Thanks for taking a stand and showing us your vulnerability. That is true strength.

  175. Araceli Olivas says:

    :’) :’) Thanks for taking the time and for what you do. It really make me cry wile I was reading because I can totally relate. I can not believe how much it described how I have being feeling the past year I have being sooooo hard on my self that is why the tears because your words are the exact same ones that I say to my self all the time and I feel like giving up every day every time I step on a scale I see the numbers are still the same I cry I am currently working on accepting how my body looks and loving it. Reading your article really is going to help on loving my self. THANK YOU

  176. I just started writing a blog a couple of months ago and today I took your lead. It gave me the courage to put up a very open blog post revealing all my insecurities. As a man, I have dealt with some body dysmorphia myself. With all of the superhero movies and covers of men’s health etc, it has set the bar very high for men. I am also a personal trainer, so I feel almost as though I should look like that on a regular basis. But I don’t. Finding comfortably in my own body is tough sometimes. It may seem to another guy that I’m being oversensitive or whatever, but after getting ripped on for almost all of my grade school years definitely has left some scars. I consider myself somewhat of a “late bloomer” but gives me perspective to my clients because I wasn’t blessed with great genetics. Having most of my clientele being women, I think the fact that I read your blog and faced my own demons allows me to understand them when they come walking in and think I have no clue how they feel. Thank you for such a great blog post!

  177. maureen says:

    Enjoyed the post….open and honest…it does not matter how everyone else sees us only how we see ourselves…Body dysmorphia we all have it…God gave us the solution if we are lucky enough to grow old… bad eyes and wrinkles… we start focusing on them so much…our body then becomes hey it looks good for someone my age…that’s where I am right now a grandmother of three who goes to the gym 5 days a weeks…who often hears wow you look good for your age… which never makes me feel good only old…so young or old try to do the best you can to keep moving forward toward your goals and appreciate today because no one is guaranteed a tomorrow…Great site for women of all ages…there is no one better to help us in our struggles than a women who has been there herself….
    thanks

  178. Amy says:

    Thank you so much, Molly. Such an amazing, strong, wise, and inspiring post. Just… thank you.

  179. Verna says:

    Really hits home with me. I’m working out hard to lose weight and it doesn’t come off easy. It’s a constant struggle and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thank you for your honesty! BTW – your shot in the green bikini is amazing! You look great!

  180. This certainly hits home. I’m going through so much of what you are explaining so much so that I am almost ashamed to go to the gym where I became my leanest because I have extra bodyfat post comp. :(
    Thanks!

  181. Kate says:

    Of all your articles (which each in their own right ROCK!) this was my favorite and I have shared it with several girls in my workout circle. Please keep sharing, blogging and encouraging…we’re listening! You’re amazing!

  182. I feel like reading your posts is talking ME off the ledge. I just wrote an email to a friend of mine, post conversation with my brother (who, like me, has always struggled with his weight) and I was telling her that I need to learn how to except the cards that genetics gave me, because crying over my stomach doesn’t change what I have (no matter how much I work out and eat right, genetics still determine how I look). Thank you.
    I read a post of yours from early July “Is being really lean really worth it” first and am now reading back through because you’re really speaking to my heart!

  183. Kala says:

    Molly, thank you for this—a lot. I too have struggled almost all my life with body image perception (okay, I’m only 19, but still). I am also at my heaviest now, and while I’m nowhere near overweight (due to being underweight most of my teen years) I would like to lean out more. This article has definitely given me some much-needed perspective. Thanks again!

    And I think you have a beautiful body, by the way. :)

  184. Stephanie T says:

    Wow, thank you so much for the article and the pics! I am 6ft tall and after foot surgery and the holidays and a job I am not happy in I am up to 185! I am mad and sad and really frustrated at the same time. I have Hashimotos disease and it seems like 10lbs comes on with the wind and then takes months and months to lose. My goal is to become a lifter, right now I work out at home, I have a gym membership here at work and want to get a trainer so I can really start lifting. I’m just intimidated so I am happy to have found your blog! My friends are all on the short side and petite, that will never be me, but my brain keeps thinking it should be me. Looking forward to learning through you!

  185. Barbara says:

    I found this blog entry after hop-skipping through several other places – I think actually after Girls Gone Strong, which I was considering un-subscribing because I kept feeling lazy and gross after I read it (note that I don’t say “It kept making me feel lazy and gross” because it’s not responsible for me feeling that way – that’s on me). Anyhow, TL;dr I’m not un-subscribing. Thank you for this post, and for writing about what you struggle with and posting pictures and being vulnerable. I’m also 5’10″ (the shortest woman in my family, also), and I have ALWAYS felt huge, and like I have to apologize for being huge, and try not to take up so much fricken space! And I am struggling with fitness after an injury, and with what I would imagine are normal age-related changes for a 43-year-old, and just HATING MY ENTIRE SELF OK? It’s so, so hard, every day, just to not do that. You are helping me feel like it’s possible. Thank you.

  186. Theodora says:

    Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to see right now. I’m heading out to LA tomorrow for a “real woman” photo shoot for a fitness brand. I lost 50 pounds several years ago and have gained back a few of those. I work for a fitness company and write a fitness blog but feel like I don’t look like fit. I needed this.

  187. Kate says:

    I also have Hasimoto’s hypothyroidism. Thank you for this.

  188. Kate says:

    I also have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Thank you for this post.

  189. Lorna says:

    I’m so glad I found your site. My 63rd BD just arrived and I found your post refreshing and real. YES! I worked out like a fiend to keep my body good enough to love for years, then got a back injury and couldn’t work out until it healed. Yet now, I have to take it easy or I will start to hurt again. It’s a balancing act, for sure. And accepting my body for the shape it is, as I love it with good food and appropriate movement, is my goal now. It’s great to see someone young who isn’t touting a bunch of shoulds to women when it’s so unrealistic, and really unnecessary for every woman to, e.g. have cut abs. You are a delight and keep up the good work.

    • Christine says:

      Just now found this blog. Love it! Lorna, you are two DAYs younger than I am! I am JUST NOW beginning to understand what it takes to take the obsessive focus off my body image and let myself be who I am, albeit with a lot of work: workouts and proper food intake. When I was 10 years old (!) I sent away for a booklet from the back of a cereal box, showing women how to dress optimally for their “figure type”. What!? That was even way before girls/women seemed to start obsessing with body image like we know it today. I don’t know how I got the body image obsession curse, but I’ve fought with it ever since then. You know the saying “I didn’t have to diet until I started dieting”–that was me; years of yo-yo dieting etc. just took their toll. I am soooo glad I found GGS/Molly through Precision Nutrition Lean Eating, which I am a proud member of. I LOVE who I am becoming now, and it’s about d@mn time!!!

  190. Paula says:

    I love the comments about PCOS. As I have it, as well as my sister, my aunt, all my female cousins, and my great grandmother – all on my dad’s side. (Gee, I wonder if it’s hereditary?) When my symptoms started to show in college and I went from 120 to 175 in a year and half, I took a major body image crash. Nobody told me what happens to your weight when your hormones are all over the place. It took me another 4 years to find the treatment that worked for me. As soon as I finally leveled out my hormones (combined with living an active life style) I dropped 30 pounds in a year and kept it off. Without doing more than adjusting my hormones. Then I went through the struggle of “I’m at a healthy weight now, why work out?” Until I discovered how lethargic and grumpy I felt all the time. (Who doesn’t love some good old fashioned endorphins?) It’s neat to hear a story from someone who has PCOS (and it sounds from this, like much more than even that) as most people don’t know what it is at all and just assumed I’d gone on a ridiculous eating binge and stopped working out. (Which wasn’t true – at my heaviest I was on the strictest diet and work out plan of my life)

  191. Hope says:

    I’m 5’11″, it is nice to see someone else tall who gets being ‘bigger’ than average. Thanks for posting your weights too. I rarely find women my height, so it is hard to gauge a normal weight range for me when most of my female friends are average height to short. Getting below 180 takes unbelievable discpline and fairly extreme calorie restriction. I managed to get to 167 a few years ago, but it took several months of averaging under 1500 cal/day, working out constantly sometimes 2x/day – I was so tired. Now I pretty much target 180 as my ideal.

  192. Alison says:

    I have never had to struggle much to be slim and feel great respect for women who undergo such big changes in their bodies and face that with so much courage. I always imagine that girls slimmer than me look at me with contempt, but funnily enough, when I see girls bigger than me squeezing their butts into tight leggings and working hard to be strong I feel a sense of awe and admiration and inspiration. To read about someone who is a coach facing all the self judgement and negative self talk and pushing through it to accept herself as is really helpful to every body out there. Who is immune from this? I am yet to meet a soul….

  193. Nicole says:

    The best!

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