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    SPARK Blog — #beyoutiful

    Guest Post: Bent, not broken...and totally #beyoutiful.

    On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum will join forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. We continue our series of inspirational blog posts with a BE YOUtiful message from Gelcys at Runner Unleashed.

    One of the hardest things you can do is love yourself, but it's also one of the easiest. I haven't had it easy. Ever since I was small, I've had problems with my spine. It hurt a lot and caused a lot of issues, but I never knew why because it wasn't visible. When I was 13, right at the peak of being a teenager, the problems started to show and that's when my insecurities began. When I was 15, I had my first operation. I was diagnosed with Scoliosis.

    My spine was so crooked, it looked like a snake had crawled in there and petrified itself in an "S" shape. I was embarrassed and was already shy, and my spine just made me feel worse. Spending 14 hours in the operating room, and the resulting stitches that started at the base of my neck and went all the way down to my bottom didn't help. Add to it the pain of recovery and the whole walking (and moving) like a robot thing.

    During my recovery, I was rear-ended and one of the metal pieces that was put into my spine to stabilize it from further curving had come out of place. So back to the operating room I went to remove that one piece. But, it was left on top of a nerve that went to my leg so it caused a hair-raising amount of pain. I made another trip to the operating room to repair that, but it didn't help.

    I said, "take all the hardware out of my spine! I've had it." It wasn't doing me any good.

    All through high school and college, I hid my scar because they cut into it so many times that it got bigger and darker. I felt like it just showed what I was going through. I was born in Venezuela and lived in Florida, minutes from Miami, surrounded by bathing suits and beaches.  It fueled my insecurities.

    But as I grew older, and to this day, I realized that it's not about how you look on the outside. Society is at it's worst right now when it comes to being a negative influence. It's time to look in the mirror and put all of that aside and look at yourself.

    My spine is still curving and I have a hump that sticks out. My scar is crooked and hasn't gone away. You know what? I show all of it. I no longer hide it. Yes, people stare and people point—but I don't care. I will gladly educate them on Scoliosis, why I look the way I do, and how they can prevent their child from developing it. And if that child is afraid of it, I can help them not be. 

    No one should be afraid to beYOUtiful.

    It is something all woman of all shapes, colors, sizes, and disabilities should be. Smile because it looks good on you. Be that brave woman inside you. Don't be afraid to show the world the true beauty within you. Don't hide it inside like I did for so long. Many call me brave for letting my "disability" show, but I don't think of it that way. I am allowing my true beauty to show because it's all beYOUtiful.

    Embrace what makes you different, don't hide it. You never know who you are giving strength to by being beYOUtiful and open. Never be ashamed of who you are and who you've become. You shouldn't be comparing yourself to others anyway. Everyone is on a different journey. So shine bright, and whenever you need a hero—look in the mirror because that hero is you. 

    And you are #beyoutiful. Show it to the world by downloading your free beYOUtiful poster. Snap a selfie with it, then post it to Instagram on Wednesday, October 18th—National Love Your Body Day. 

    Guest Post: Epic Self-Love Makes You #beyoutiful

    On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum will be joining forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. We continue our series of inspirational blog posts with a BE YOUtiful story from Genevieve Jerome of Fitty Foodlicious.

    Growing up, I never knew the concept of self-love. I was surrounded by people who constantly checked themselves out and were always worried about what other people thought of them. "She obviously takes care of herself, look at her makeup and clothes," they would say of others. Needless to say, I went to a high school that was very image conscious. In college, I was image conscious and hated my looks and every roll on my body. It wasn't until I turned 30 that I truly knew the meaning of EPIC self-love. 

    I realized how much energy I was wasting agonizing over my looks in the mirror, picking apart my every flaw instead of celebrating the things my body could do. I also realized that my habit of hiding food under my bed and eating until I felt "satisfied" wasn't doing it for me, either.  I needed to find my love from the inside, not from someone or something else.

    One day, someone told me what a light I was to others and it hit me—I am a light! A powerful, strong, bright light. Instead of staring at myself in the mirror all day or eating crappy food, I decided to take care of my body. I began telling myself daily mantras about how grateful I was for my strong body

    Now, the first thing I do every single morning is look in the mirror and say to myself: "I am a strong, capable woman." Then, throughout the day, I'll repeat other mantras out loud, like: "I am so loved" and "gosh, beautiful, you've got this."  Saying these mantras out loud gets me out of my own head and works to solidify my belief system. 

    It'll work for you, too. Repeat any mantras that speak to you. Do it in the car, waiting in line at the grocery store, or while you are running. Whatever you are doing, repeat your mantras, especially in times of self-doubt.

    Something else to try: Do something every day that you love! I go running nearly every day. It keeps me sane and helps keep my anxiety levels down. It helps me feel beYOUtiful. I put on my motivate wraps and run, enjoying every twist of the trail, the sun on my neck and the leaves under my feet. I love every second of it. 

    It's epic self-love, the 3-5 miles I do nearly every day. 

    To find epic self-love, you have to stop the comparison game. Don't look at other people with self-doubt. Don't wish you looked like them. Look at other people and find the motivation you need to do and be better. I played the comparison game a lot, but now I honor other powerful people and find inspiration from them. If we all did this, if we all worked together to empower each other, we would all be successful and feel much better about ourselves, too. 

    In addition to the mantras, I thank my body every day for what it does for me. I lost 155 pounds when I learned that food was fuel and not a coping mechanism. Eating healthy and being active is important, and I can love myself no matter what size I am. My body does amazing things. My legs let me run, and my lungs help me breathe and my arms pull me up to higher places. 

    I learned EPIC self love. 

    So stop tearing yourself down. Constantly remind yourself how amazing you are! You are a powerful human being, and you need to envelope yourself with as much EPIC self love as you can. Because then, you will be BE YOUtiful.

    Join Genevieve and women everywhere on Wednesday, October 18th for National Love Your Body Day. Download your free BE YOUtiful poster and help us show the world what it means to live a positive life full of epic self-love.

    Guest Post: Find Your Fitness #beyoutiful

    On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum will be joining forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. To get ready, we'll be sharing a series of inspirational blog posts from BE YOUtiful women. Today, we bring you Oneisha Lee from Shape Your Bliss.

    Fitness is hard. It takes work to stay healthy. From eating as clean as possible to finding a fun and effective workout to staying motivated, it's not something that will ever be easy. if you are anything like me, you are constantly scrolling through social media sites, finding before/after photos and thinking to yourself, "she looks so good now, I wish I looked like her."

    Of course, we shouldn't compare ourselves, but social media is a huge part of our life and it's truly too easy to fall into that trap.

    For the last couple of years, I struggled to find the right workout for me. My friend told me about a program that is incredibly popular, and the community on Instagram is unlike anything I've ever seen. Everyone is so supportive of one another, and their transformation photos are incredible. To be honest, the photos motivated me. Everyone looked "perfect" and I felt that if I did the workouts, then I would achieve this ideal body type.

    I gave it a go sometime last year, but never finished it. I tried three more times, but it never hooked me. Suddenly, I felt like an absolute failure, and the success stories made me feel worse. I did some self-searching, and after a few months, I realized that I lied strength training. I really admired the women who were weightlifting.

    Now, every single body type is beautiful, but it's important to figure out what is meaningful to you. As soon as I realized that I wanted to focus on lifting and getting stronger, I got to work.

    The next few weeks were truly difficult. Gyms had always terrified me, but with a definitive goal in mind, I was committed to doing anything and everything required of me to meet my goals. I joined my local gym—gyms had always been a foreign concept to me. I felt like everyone was watching and judging me. To say that I was self-conscious would be a huge understatement. Nevertheless, I was committed and I quickly realized that the community at my gym was really strong.

    So I kept working out. I experimented with all of the equipment, and eventually did my first-ever assisted pull-up. The transformation has been incredible.

    Although my body continues to shape up nicely, I have also transformed on the inside. My confidence is at an all-time high and I feel fantastic. I have so much energy throughout the day, and I am happier now, too. The gym has become my happy place. It makes me feel good. I am proud of my body and all that it can do.

    Like every woman, I still get self-conscious when I take photos. By no means do I think that I look perfect, but I have learned to be kinder to my body. I have also learned patience because the fitness journey is a long one. Results take time—but they don't mean anything if the process doesn't make you happy. 

    Your body is capable of doing so much. Regardless of what it looks like now, you have the power to transform it. So love your body. Cherish it deeply, and thank it every day for keeping you alive and healthy.

    Join Oneisha and women everywhere on Wednesday, October 18th for National Love Your Body Day. Download your free BE YOUtiful poster and help us show the world what it means to live a positive life full of self-love.