Genes are a funny thing. I can identify things about me and my personality and point directly to whom I inherited it from – from my feet to my stubbornness to my build.

I was “lucky” enough to inherit my dads figure- great if I had been a football player (except for the height)- not so much for wanting a soft, feminine build.

I have spent most of my life pointing out the things about my frame that I wasn’t happy with- particularly my arms. I never wanted to “bulk up” and was always self conscious about looking stocky or like a football player.

Its true- I have broad shoulders and a wide rib cage and a boxier frame. I have curves, hips, and a butt. Hips that have thankfully allowed me to birth 3 children relatively easily and carry them around on my hip for a long time! Thankfully I still hear “hold me” from my 3 year old ALL THE TIME!!

Something happened today. I was doing mountain climbers in the straps and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. This is was I saw: (The picture in this blog)

My arms looked pretty jacked- and I was actually thrilled. This was a complete change in perspective for me. I was able to embrace my arms instead of criticize them. I saw arms that were strong and fit. I could see past the boxy frame and saw arms that were strong but still looked feminine.

I am grateful for them- I can still carry around my “baby”. This weekend I was able to lift my crazy heavy 7 year old to help him onto a high bar at the playground. I can carry the crap out of grocery bags.

David and I recently rearranged furniture in our house and he didn’t have to call a neighbor to help- even when we had to hurl a couch over the porch so we could get it into our basement! I am independent, capable, and can even do a few body weight pull ups.

As I get closer to 40, I’m learning to appreciate my body more. This summer I wore bikini for the first time since the creation of the “tankini” in my twenties. Did I look perfect? Hell no- but I wore it proudly.

Proud that not only have I been working on my body for many years, but I’ve also been working on my mind – I’m learning to appreciate my body for the experience and strength it has. I no longer look like I’m 25- and thats just fine.

In fact, I’m actually stronger and more fit now than I was then. I’m using my dad’s arms to my advantage- I should be thanking him for giving me the ability to be strong rather than sarcastically thanking him for providing me with a body of a football player.

It’s constant work (and not so easy sometimes) to be thankful my body rather than to be critical of what I don’t. It’s a new way of thinking and being- and yet it’s a lot less exhausting. You should try it sometime!

Dedicated to your health,

Abby Peterson

P.s. Want to not gain a single pound from now until New Years? Join our Zero Pound Holiday Challenge- with 12 workouts, a ticket to our Holiday Survival Workshop and tons of nutrition and stress-relief tips to help you rock this holiday season. Go to http://39minuteworkout-at-home.com/transformation-39/ and click on the link at the top right to join!