Four more weeks in this boot. It seems far away (it'll be a whole different year for crying out loud) but I'm trying so hard to stay proactive and positive. And I have to admit these past few weeks flew by in kind of a blur. And a week from today, I'll be back here telling you that I'm halfway there. So that's something!

Last week someone wrote a comment that was really eye-opening. She said she was uplifted by my desire to focus on performance rather than my weight, fat, etc. That meant a lot to me. And it reminded me of something that happened recently. When Ben and I were in Chicago last month, I went to Equinox Gold Coast on Saturday morning to workout. Straight up, Saturday workouts are pretty much always a struggle for me. It's the end of the week, and we'd had a particularly long day of travel the day before. (Lots of delays, a 90-minute cab ride into the city after a long flight with no food and I rarely sleep well in hotel beds.) But I got my ass over there. 

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Me on "Picture Day"... The day I had my photo taken for the Equinox personal training wall.

There was a girl who looked kind of like Snooki from Jersey Shore working out near me, very short and small. I smile at everyone whom I make eye contact with in the gym whether I'm working or not. The reason for this is I always remember how self-conscious I used to feel in the gym and know from experience a smile from anyone stranger can make a difference in someone's day! Snooki didn't smile back, but I'm sure my smiling at everyone is creepy to some. That's fine. 

There are some women in the gym whom I see and think, "DAMN." They're obviously cut and in sick shape. Snooki and I kept winding up next to each other on the floor, and I couldn't help but admire her workout. As I sleepily made my way through my deadlift sets, this gal was back squatting like a boss, pumping out set after set of 10 reps. (I wasn't counting her sets; I'm not THAT creepy. I knew it was 10 because I heard her yell to one of the trainers on the floor, "I'm doing sets of 10!" And for reference, she was lifting more than my max weight, and I only do 8 in a set!) Then when I was doing my lat pull downs, she was next to me pumping out pull-up after pull-up. This little chick was a powerhouse. It was awesome!

It was also a great reminder that strength has no shape or size. I think it's too easy for people to see someone thin and assume they're fit, or to think, "Wow," when someone who isn't "ripped" lifts lots of weight at the gym. This past weekend, I went back to work. I have to be honest with you; I was so happy to see my clients but wasn't exactly thrilled to be back at the 'scene of the crime' if you will. I pushed any personal discomfort aside because my clients are EVERYTHING to me and I love them like family. On Saturday, I was training one of my brides-to-be. You know how sometimes you can FEEL someone's eyes on you? I had that feeling, and I looked up from cueing her to see a guy watching me, and he smiled and waved when he caught my eye. I smiled and mouthed, "HEY!" back quickly before looking down again. It took me a few seconds to realize it was an ex-boyfriend of mine whom I hadn't seen in YEARS. And he was probably staring trying to figure out if it was really ME! Because I was a good 15lb heavier and out of shape back in those days! HA! That gave me a good laugh for the rest of the day! 

Photo taken after one of the best workouts of my life... trained by my then-manager, who is a badass mother of three and Figure Competitor. Also wearing that tank right now!

Look, I don't think most people would look at me and guess my profession, and I'm okay with that. I'm passionate about what I do, and I love reminders that being "strong" really has nothing to do with what you look like. It's about so much more! Your drive and determination are what define you... not numbers on a scale or in a body comp read. Now don't get me wrong - I do use a lot of figures when helping a client set goals. But at the end of day, who you are mentally and emotionally is what truly matters in life. And if you don't have those kinds of strength, you won't get much of anywhere in the gym. Take it from someone who's suffered from clinical depression and crippling self doubt. Looking good means NOTHING if you're not feeling good, too.

This week, I challenge you to work out for sanity over vanity, whatever that means for you. Exercise to feel better. Sweat for the endorphins! Let me know how it goes.