I can't remember a time when I was "okay" with my body.

When I hit puberty I became hyper-aware of the way my body looked and with that, the realization that my body didn't look like everyone else's. In middle school, being different is not good.

Things got a little better in high school, and as I now enter my senior year of college I'm changing my lifestyle for the long run.

1. Understand that every body is a good body.

Before I could change the way I looked I had to change the way I felt. Exercising and eating healthy is not a punishment for being too fat, but a good way to nourish yourself in a way that's loving.

2. Don't pay attention to the scale.

Weight is not an accurate representation of health. Weight loss should be secondary to feeling stronger and more confident.

3. Make short term goals.

I like to focus things on a week-by-week basis. Here are some of my short-term goals:

- Go to the gym at least four times this week.

- Learn to make one healthy recipe that also tastes good.

- Make time to do things I like (reading, scrolling social media, napping).

- Learn a new workout move.

All of these things I could do easily in a week. You'll have more opportunities to feel accomplishment, and if you don't reach them the tasks are simple enough to not destroy your progress.

4. Start working on something that you already like.

You would think my focus at the gym would be on making my waist smaller because that's where I have the most to lose. It's not! You're way more likely to find me doing squats and deadlifts than crunches. Why? Because I already like my ass and I think my legs are strong af.

I'd rather work on them and continue to build that confidence than start at square one somewhere else and risk discouragement.

5. Learn what serving sizes are.

It's not the food you're eating, but the amount you're eating. Allow yourself to indulge but in appropriate quantities. You will save calories and money at the same time!

6. Be open minded.

To new foods, new types of workouts, and to what you consider progress. Try new things! Learn new things about yourself. don't expect results to happen quickly or the way you want them too.

Changing your lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Do things at your own pace. Remember that this isn't a diet or a fad, this is your life! If the changes you make aren't fulfilling, don't be afraid to restart. You will kill this!