When I was 16 I started look at myself differently in the mirror. I noticed more things that I hated about myself than like, I could tell that my thighs were bigger than anyone else's on my cheer team, my shoulders were too wide, and I had the traps of a man. I was beyond ashamed of the way I looked and I was determined that was why I wasn't in a relationship, why I wasn't happy with my life, and why I was so lost. 16 is a hard year, many adults don't remember being 16 and feeling those big emotions. Life is big and scary when you're young and don't know what's going on. Things are 100 times worse than they are and you feel so hopeless and lost. I remember that feeling, I remember feeling so lost and uncomfortable with myself that I didn't want to leave my house or see my friends.

I found myself skipping meals, lifting weights every day after school, running at least 3 miles every other day to try and improve how I looked. I was going overboard but no one was going to stop me. I can remember pausing at every mirror in our hallways or in the locker room to look at my stomach and see how flat it was getting, or I would snap a hair tie on my wrist when I was craving food that I smelt from the lunch room because I didn't want to eat. Eventually, I started going home on my lunch hour so nobody would wonder why I wasn't eating and that seemed to get people off my back for a bit. Graduation came and I probably weighed 100 pounds soaking wet, but I thought I was perfect.

Fast forward to college and things were very different for me. I was struggling to get myself to go to the dining center to eat meals everyday, I had made my class schedule so jam packed that I wasn't allowing myself time to sleep without having a massive amount of homework. When I became friends with everyone on my floor in the dorms, I was going out almost every single weekend to the "football" or "hockey" houses. I started to feel better, I was going out, people were holding me accountable for my meals, but I was beginning to fell guilty. All of the "hard work" I thought I had put into my body was going away and I was starting to gain my weight back. I thought it was the end of the world, but in all reality; it's what saved me.

Fitness isn't about being a size 0, 2, 4, 0r even a size 6. It's about keeping yourself healthy and happy while taking care of your bodies needs. If you happen to eat McDonalds one night, you're not going to instantly gain 20 pounds or have a heart attack. Everything is fine if you're eating it in moderation. I allowed myself to become drastically too small but I also went overboard regaining my weight back and ended up the heaviest I had even been. Miss North Dakota help me realize what I was doing to my body. Yes, I was working out; but only a few times a month, I wasn't eating right, I was partying too much and I wasn't allowing my body to hold and take in the nutrients it needed to survive. I was slowly allowing my body to fail and failing at accomplishing my dream job as Miss North Dakota.

When 2018 rolled around, I knew it was time to make a change. One of my best friends had just become a personal trainer and I decided to take the plunge and ask for help. She gave me a meal plan, helped me learn what a macro was, and gave me a workout like no other. I have always been a HUGE fan of lifting weights, but she is the reason I fell in love with them again. She pushed me to not only work hard in the gym, but fight for myself and what I deserve out of life. I began to quickly see results and this time, they were not drastic. They were steady results of eating the right foods, allowing myself a cheat snack every so often, letting myself feel free form starvation and everything in between. I was finally happy with where I was in life. I knew that once I started going, no one was going to stop me from chasing this dream.

I have been told over and over again that I can't lift because I'm a girl, I'm not "fit" enough, I look like a fool in the weight room, and so many other things by people who are lifting LESS WEIGHT THAN ME. Uh...excuse me? I don't think so. Girls can do whatever they set their minds to do. We are a force that can't be stopped once we get going with something. I am a powerful female who will work hard to not only create a healthy lifestyle for myself with the help of my friends and my new coaches, but I will work hard to earn my dream job. I, in no way, expect that crown to be handed to me. I will work for the job of a lifetime. It's not about who has the best dress or hair; it's about who is best meant to hold that job and I know I am her. I am a powerhouse who can not only life weights at the gym, but put on a crown and a gown and walk on a stage in heels to show I can speak to thousands of people to get my message across.

So boys, date the girl who can do more than just go watch you in the gym. Your girl will be your biggest cheerleader and spotter when you're lifting and everything else in life. We all struggle, and I found my sanity in lifting and if a guy can't wrap his head around that, it's not worth it to me. If lifting isn't your cup of tea, find what is and run with it. Don't let anyone tell you it's not.