Okay, this is a post I'm a little nervous about putting up, but I'm taking the plunge. I seem to do one every year or so. It's always hard to talk about weight issues and body composition. I am equal parts proud of the body I have now, and proud of the body I had 5 years back. It birthed a darling little girl, but it's still hard to see photos of when I was big because I remember how I felt about myself. My lack of self acceptance was very real. I've said it before and I'll say it again, when I accepted and loved who I was, the pounds fell off. Originally I got into triathlon because I wanted to loose the weight I had gained when I got pregnant with Annie. See, it's very exciting to take home one of these:

But, you don't realize that you still look very very pregnant after you have one. You even stand like you're still pregnant. Troy was skinny though, and he was darn proud of me for those 16 hours of natural childbirth.

But you think, oh breast feeding, now that will get rid of it all. But then a few months go by, and your little bug grows into cuteness like this:

But, apparently the breast feeding is a myth, especially when you are eating like you are breastfeeding two babies. I was still looking like this:

So, I let a few more months go by. I started hiking more and getting out as much as I could. It was a struggle since Annie would scream bloody murder every time I tried to feed her, but we kept with it and we made do with each other. She just got cuter:

And I think I got a little skinnier, I don't know, maybe not?

I hiked more and more, some weight started to come off. When Annie was 11 months our breastfeeding relationship had pretty much hit rock bottom. I was trying to "hang on" to the 1 year mark, but I woke up on her 11 month birthday knowing today would be the last day she would put up with nursing. It was a sad day for me and the relationship ended with tears, as did most of our nursing sessions. This was seconds after our last nursing session:

With nursing over I felt like I had my body back. From then on it was full steam ahead. The weight came off over about 6 months, Annie and I hiked all the time. We bought a Chariot and started going on epic adventures using Troy's old mountain bike. It was the beginning of the beginning for triathlete Sonja and her munchkin sidekick Annie. Why did the weight come off then? Well, I just decided I was going to like myself, stop beating myself up, and started letting the Sonja on the inside shine through. No more faking it, it was time to start living who I was.

I started racing 5Ks and stuff:

The weight flew off then. I was finding something I was passionate about. I loved running. I loved biking, I was learning to swim...didn't really know how, but I figured it out, bit by bit:

I even raced a few with my sidekick:

I'm thankful that I was able to make a change, thankful that I have had a supportive husband the whole way through. He always thought I was beautiful, even when I didn't think I was. He's always seen me for what I am on the inside. Spunk, attitude, and a zest to live life.

I started triathlons to help motivate myself to stay in shape and keep weight off. For years I was scared that any lapse in training would have me eating donuts and gaining weight. But as the years rolled on, my motivations have changed. The body and look has become the byproduct of training to get fast. Now it's not the weight management, it's the performance effect that I am after. Whatever weight and body type results from my current fitness, that's what I'm happy with. And really, who wouldn't be happy with a triathletes body?

So, yesterday I had some time on my hands. I was looking though old pictures, many that I've posted here and I decided to take some new ones. Because someday I will want to remember what I looked like 1 week before my first trip to Kona Ironman World Championships. Someday I will look back on these days with nostalgia.

I would say it's been a lot of hard work, but it's been a lot more fun than work. The best bodies come from fun and enjoyment I think. There's just a glow from within that exists when your having a blast getting fit. I'm happy to say that now I have this darling little girl and I still have a fantastic husband who thinks I'm beautiful:

And I am happy with myself. I'm happy that I have continued to accept and respect myself for several years now. I've replaced the girl who used to stick her tongue out at herself in the mirror or would shutter when she pulled on her maternity pants 6 months after having a baby. I made a change. I'm a better mom for it, I'm a better wife for it. There are more laughs in our house now, there is more fun.

So, here is the me now. 1 month and 12 days before my sidekick Annie turns 5, and one week before Kona. This is the body that 3.5 years of triathlons and a whole lot of self acceptance has yielded. That girl in the previous pictures is still there, but there's a little more strength behind her smile now.

Some people do yoga poses...i just jump!

The front and the back.

If I can impart anything with this post, I hope it is that the sky is the limit if you are willing to accept who you are right now. Self Acceptance is the key to the game. Being honest with yourself and yet not beating yourself up. Just accept what you would like to change, and move towards it. Once you really stop talking badly to yourself, you'll be surprised what you start getting done.

"Accept everything about yourself--I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end--no apologies, no regrets." - Clark Moustakas

"Self-acceptance comes from meeting life's challenges vigorously. Don't numb yourself to your trials and difficulties, nor build mental walls to exclude pain from your life. You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory." - J. Donald Walters

"Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it." - T.S. Eliot

6 more days until the big dance!