True Beauty is Confidence

She is Confident.

When I created True Beauty Movement, it was important to me that we give you all tangible things you can do to cultivate your positive body image and character instead of just fluffy words. All the time, we hear "Be confident. Be you!" However, why and how is a True Beauty confident? There has to be ways we can develop confidence...  it doesn't just happen magically.

Confidence is the key to fueling a True Beauty's light. She knows who she is, what her purpose is, and what makes her different. She knows that there is a unique calling on her life that only she can fulfill and she stays in her lane - she enjoys her given mission and finds power when she steps into that.

We've created a YouTube series dedicated to growing confidence, click here!

Today, we're also providing you with 3 Strategies for Growing Confidence. Let us know what you think.

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy. When the temptations come to compare your physical or true beauty to someone else's - list three things in your head that you love about yourself. We grow by building ourself and others up, not by tearing them down.
  2. Create an inner circle of positivity! Every True Beauty needs someone she can go to and use to help her see what she can't. Often others see the best in us that we are blind to. Their outside perspective allows us to see the beauty we radiate to others. This positive inner circle is there for you at your highest highs and lowest lows... they are an extension of you. We were never created to be alone and this team is a sounding board for life.
  3. Fold a piece of paper in half. Get all your negative thoughts about yourself out on paper. Get them out of your pretty little mind. Write them all on the left side of the paper. On the right side of the paper... write down the truth about those feelings. For example, on the left: "I have huge thighs that are ugly".... on the right: "I have powerful legs that allow me to run and they are beautiful exactly as they are."

It is my genuine hope that these strategies not only empower you but also inspire you to be intentional about growing confidence. I believe in you and I'm cheering you on. I can't wait to hear how these 3 strategies and our YouTube series empower you!

Humbled to Serve,

Amanda

True Beauty is Unique

She is unique.

In today's world, we are constantly bombarded with pressures to look - act - be a certain way. Whether it's through media, peers, or social networking... in a single moment we are instantly connected to all those pressures and more. These pressures are trying to make us be more like "them" (whoever that is) or fit a certain mold that is acceptable by society. 

If we were all meant to be the same... we would. We wouldn't have our unique quirks, appearance, or interests. We'd all be robots - lame! Why do we, as young women, spend so much time trying to be just like others, one-up those around us, or keep up with the sparkle next to us.

Instead, we have to step into the intentional calling on our life with the knowledge that we are altogether beautiful and unique.

One of my favorite analogies to use when discussing this topic is a snowflake and a young women. There are millions upon millions upon millions of snowflakes in the world... but no two are the same. Each one has unique traits and beauty. If even tiny snowflakes are different... don't you think that you were created to be different as well? What makes you different, makes you beautiful.

True beauties are unique and set-apart from society. They know their worth, innate physical beauty, and unique traits that make them who they are. They are in touch with what is going on in the world, but do not feel the need to match every person or trend comes along. They use the calling on their heart and inspiration from around them to shape their life.

So how do we actually celebrate and cultivate what makes us unique?

We look at our body and appreciate that no other human in the world is an exact replica of us. Our eyes, smile, and body are uniquely crafted and it's our responsibility to care for those. We recognize that our body is innately beautiful and does not need to fit a mold. 

We look at our heart and passions. We celebrate what makes our heart beat - what gets us fired up and inspired. We realize that not everyone has a heart for the same things as us, but we still pursue our beautiful dreams and interests no matter what society says. 

We look at our mind and see where we are strong and weak. We recognize the unique gifts we have and use those to pour into others. We use our brain to fuel our purpose and strive to learn more each day. We study what makes us happy and work to study what we need. We use our mind to see the best in others and the best in ourself without comparison.

We step into being uniquely us.

True beauty is unique - and so are you.

Humbled to serve,

Amanda 

A Story of Beauty from South Africa

Beauties -

My name is Monje Jordaan! I am 20 years of age and I am from a small town called Krugersdorp in South Africa. I am excited to serve as your South Africa Representative.


Growing up as a girl was not always easy. There was a lot of uncertainty on how to fit in with society, how to get a perfect body and how to maintain a beautiful skin. I think one of the most tragic difficulties facing young women is the fact that we don’t want to be perfect for ourselves... but for SOCIETY.  We will do anything just to fit in with the world out there. We are trying to change one of the most precious masterpieces ever made.

Think about it:  How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too…why even change that?

 
A couple of years ago, I went through a difficult time myself. I am a girl who was always worried about what other people think and say about me. I always wanted to be perfect, have a perfect body, flawless skin, and be accepted by society. I wanted to master everything by myself, without any assistance…just to prove people wrong. At some point in my life I even tried unhealthy ways to lose weight, but ended up hurting myself emotionally instead. My family was going through another divorce. We were splitting up and relationships were taken away from me.

It all caught up with me: I started getting anxiety attacks.  

Being the stubborn girl I was (and still am), I went on trying to do everything by myself. Dealing with the pain, the emotions and actions that went with it…doing my own thing and following my own path. Never knowing that God was standing on the side line trying to reach my hand to help me. Things got hard, I was losing a lot of weight and I was having multiple attacks where I was unconscious for 10-20 minutes, unaware when the next attack will happen and where I'd be when it struck. I fought a lot with God, blaming Him for all the things that went wrong in my life. I kept losing weight, relationships ended, I drifted away from people who meant the world to me… but most of all, I drifted away from God. I was more worried about what people thought of me and what I can do to be more beautiful that I completely missed the point.  


In the beginning of 2015, I had my biggest anxiety attack... which was my worst one too. I got the attack in my University dorm... I hit my head on my closet shelf and I was unconscious for 30-40 minutes. I was rushed to the hospital and they struggled to get a pulse rate. After I woke up, I didn’t know where I was or even what my own name was. It was horrible. I then realized: “Godly sized problems can not be defeated by manly sized strength”. I decided that it’s not worth it to “fit in” or to go through pain by yourself, you are loved by the most important person alive, He made you as you are and you are BEAUTIFUL!!  It’s not worth it to put yourself through pain and negativity like this.


If your identity is found in a human's praise, you’ll be eternally discontent.  People are fickle out there; they are here today and will be gone tomorrow. They love you when you agree and dislike you when you don’t. With the recent explosion of social media, it seems to me that this problem is getting worse for young women. You post pictures about your life, hoping that people will “like” it. Who even cares if it’s not the real you - you just need that approval.  

Do you know what?  Jesus’ only concern was doing the will of God, He didn’t care what others thought of Him. THIS ATTITUDE IS WHAT THE WORLD IS DESPERATE TO SEE!!  Let’s be honest with each other here, it’s hard to point people to Jesus if you need their approval. When you are looking for that approval from others, your life will have more ups and downs than the Goliath at Six Flags in Georgia. (I rode that thing, believe me)


If I had the chance to say one thing to each one of you...  I'd tell you how beautiful you are.  You are the daughter of a King, so walk like it, talk like it, dress like it and don’t let anyone ever let you doubt in yourself.  Body image is a major problem among young women all over the world. Including me. I am striving to begin to see myself the way God does... as a chosen princess.  He has called us out of darkness and into His light. God has broken us free from the chains of our past, shame and sins. He has given us freedom. When we think poorly of ourselves, we keep ourselves chained up in bondage and that is when anxiety, depression and total negativity takes over. Proverbs 3:15 says:  “She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” How amazing? 


You may live in this earthly time period, but you are ultimately a daughter of eternity!  You are a beloved, royal daughter of the most High God.  YOU are worthy of love and affection.  You are worth more than you can ever imagine.  You are worth more than the number on the scale, the brand of clothes you wear or even the amount of followers you have on Instagram.  

YOU ARE NEVER TOO MUCH AND YOU ARE ALWAYS ENOUGH.  Don’t ever forget it!!

With love from South Africa,

Monje Jordaan

Physical Attractiveness and True Beauty - Mutually Exclusive?

True Beauties - 

It's the weekend! Time to celebrate, relax, and reflect on all that goes on around us. Grab a cup of coffee and let's chat.

The term "beauty" is tossed around more than ocean waves. The dictionary defines beauty as:

"A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight."

Or

"A beautiful or pleasing thing or person"

With that, we can see that much of the definition is up to personal interpretation. What one person considers "beautiful" may not be the same as the next person's definition. Honestly, it's confusing and hard to navigate at times... but I've made an effort to break it down.

Do you realize that every part of your body was created intentionally and perfectly? You have innate physical beauty. That means before you could even contour - you were beautiful because of how you were made. You have a beautiful exterior no matter what society says. That is an unshakable truth. Society's definition of beauty - or more easily understood as "physical attractiveness" - will vary from one generation and culture to another. But your body is beautiful and perfect through all those times. We must take the term "beautiful" and "physical attractiveness" back into our own hands and not let it be dependent on however society currently defines it. Your body is beautiful and perfect - that's not up for negotiation... it's fact. 

You have a beautiful exterior - but the ultimate form of beauty... true beauty... is your heart. It's you being unique, confident, and inspirational. It's being filled with love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, self-control, patience, goodness, and gentleness. It's being every ounce of YOU.

You can be beautiful on the outside because of how you were created.... but if you don't radiate beauty from the inside... are you truly beautiful?

You can be considered "beautiful" by society's definition... but if you aren't kind to others... are you truly beautiful? 

You can be a world renowned model... but if you spend all your time trying to be like everyone else.... are you allowing your true beauty to shine?

I'll let you answer those questions on your own.

Physical attractiveness and True Beauty... mutually exclusive? No. You can have both but it's your choice. You are physically attractive by birth - but your true beauty is up to you. Society may or may not consider you "beautiful" but our goal is for you to clearly understand that your physical beauty is innate and factual... and your true beauty is who you are.

What will you choose? Just physical beauty.... or all together true beauty?

You were created to be both and now it's in your hands... choose wisely.

Xoxo,

Amanda

Hello, South Africa!

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In November - we will travel to South Africa to host True Beauty Workshops!

Mo was not only our first International Representative, but also made a way for True Beauty Movement to empower young women in South Africa! We are thrilled to announce that in November, Mo and I will both travel to South Africa to host workshops in local schools and orphanages.

It has been a privilege to build a relationship with Mo and God's hand has undeniably orchestrated each moment. We are so thankful for this opportunity! Additionally, Mo's story will be shared on our blog next week - stay tuned!

If you are interested in inviting us to host a workshop for your group during our time in South Africa, please contact us!

Humbled To Serve,

Amanda

Beautiful Then - Beautiful Now

As a very young girl - I was vivacious, constantly singing whenever I could, and couldn't care less what size clothing I wore. I was not born hating my body - and to be honest... all I cared about was having the energy to run around the soccer field with my Pops.

The older I got, the more aware I was of my changing body and how it compared to others. I would look at the thinner girls in elementary school and middle school... wishing I could receive the same kind of approval from my peers that they all had. I was evaluating my worth based on the words others spoke over my life. The bullying, lack of positive peer role models, and negative media images broke me down to a point where I wouldn't even look in the mirror because I couldn't stand to feel like an unattractive failure. 

I was constantly thinking to myself... "If I can just lose 5 more pounds, I'll be beautiful" or "If I can make some of these curves smaller... I'll have more friends and more people will like me." I was waiting for the world to allow me to be happy and feel beautiful instead of choosing it for myself.

I was confusing societal physical attractiveness, or outward beauty, with true beauty.

Now... as a soon to be 24 year old, eating disorder survivor, entrepreneur, and young adult.... I realize that I was beautiful all along. My beauty came, and still does come, from my heart to love and serve others, joy, kindness, and gentleness. Although I was not and am not perfect... I've always done my best to be a light and the best version of myself.

My past heartaches and challenges are one of my largest motivators to grow True Beauty Movement. I don't want any young woman to experience what I walked through. My worth and definition of "beauty" cannot come from the world, that will constantly be changing. It has to come from the knowledge that I was enough then - and I am still enough now.... my worth and beauty is found in Christ alone... and that unshakeable truth has to be at the bedrock of all that I am. He makes no mistakes and He made me (and YOU!) beautiful on the outside... but even more beautiful on the inside. 

The knowledge that there millions of young women across the world experiencing those exact same thoughts gives me the fire to push through 14 hour workdays and obstacles that come with scaling a non-profit. I do it for all the young women who are just like I was. It is my sincere hope to be the role model and guide that I so desperately needed growing up. 

This is part of my story - but I know that I am not alone. So often we see young women constantly striving for outward beauty, validation, worth, and acceptance. We must be the generation to change the conversation and start with true beauty.

You are truly beautiful now and you will be truly beautiful for decades to come as your heart radiates. Let's not wait until we lose the 5lbs to feel beautiful... let's make the choice to define beauty by our heart and realize that we are created wonderfully by the One who loves us most. He sees no flaw in you. 

Humbled to Serve,

Amanda

Amanda and True Beauty Movement Travel to Rwanda

There are no words to describe the incredible opportunities True Beauty Movement has been presented with over the past month.

Earlier in July, I was humbled to announce that we partnered with Starts With One International to present a True Beauty Workshop and serve Kenya's villages and young women in 2017! Dates will be set in stone early Fall... but as of right now we are projecting a Q1 journey. 

Once announcing this new International Alliance... an additional African organization reached out and invited me to present our signature workshop to their group of young women! How amazing!

With that being said....

In 2017, I will be presenting our True Beauty Workshop to the White Dove Girls' School in Rwanda

The girls are from a variety of backgrounds and most are orphans, refuges from the Congo and Burundi... but all are excelling in amazing ways. During my time, I will be able to serve young women in the 5th-12th grades and discuss the importance of body image, character, and pursuing your dreams.

Thank you to Patrice for allowing True Beauty this opportunity to lean in and serve. I cannot wait to meet everyone and pour into these beautiful young ladies.

Humbled to serve,

Amanda

Toolkits for Eating Disorder Caregivers

Identifying and overcoming an eating disorder is not easy and being a caregiver to someone in the depths can be confusing and challenging. The National Eating Disorders Association has compiled kits for Educators, Parents, and Athletic Trainers to aid in the process of proactivity - identifying the issue - and overcoming this deadly illness. 

Utilize these resources to help your loved one seek recovery!

Parent Toolkit

Educator Toolkit

Coach & Athletic Trainer Toolkit

 

Recovery is possible and it starts with you.

"Will Powers" for Improving Body Image

"Will Powers" for Improving Body Image

By: Michael Levine, PhD and Linda Smolak, PhD

Compliments of the National Eating Disorders Association.

I WILL ask myself: “Am I benefiting from focusing on what I believe are flaws in my body weight or shape?”

I WILL think of three reasons why it is ridiculous for me to believe that thinner people are happier or “better.” I will repeat these reasons to myself whenever I feel the urge to compare my body shape to someone else’s.

I WILL spend less and less time in front of mirrors—especially when they are making me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about my body.   

I WILL exercise for the joy of feeling my body move and grow stronger. I will not exercise simply to lose weight, purge fat from my body, or to “make-up” for calories I have eaten.

I WILL participate in activities that I enjoy, even if they call attention to my weight and shape.I will constantly remind myself that I deserve to do things I enjoy, like dancing, swimming, etc., no matter what my shape or size is!

I WILL refuse to wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that I do not like but wear simply because they divert attention from my weight or shape. I will wear clothes that are comfortable and that make me feel at home in my body.

I WILL list 5 to10 good qualities that I have, such as understanding, intelligence, or creativity. I will repeat these to myself whenever I start to feel bad about my body.

I WILL practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do. Not for how slender, or “well put together” they appear.

I WILL surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself and my abilities. When I am around people and things that support me and make me feel good, I will be less likely to base my self-esteem on the way my body looks.

I WILL treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to its needs. I will remember that my body is the vehicle that will carry me to my dreams! 

Amanda and True Beauty Movement Head to Kenya

True Beauties,

I want to start by thanking everyone for their overwhelming support as we scale True Beauty Movement and grow Internationally. Never did I imagine that the organization God put on my heart to create, 5 years ago, would have the ability to become what it is today. I am in pure awe of the way He has continued to orchestrate the growth. 

One of our strategies for International growth is the use of International Alliances to provide open doors that we would not otherwise have. I have continuously prayed for His guidance and discernment through this time... and I am humbled to share with you all True Beauty's newest adventure.

In 2017, I will be traveling to Kenya and partnering with Start With One International, Inc. to serve the women in a local village.

The area is living in deep poverty - which prohibits children from going to school and as a result... mothers often find themselves in prostitution in efforts to find any way to financially provide for their family. Taking it a step further - one of their biggest issues is collecting water. The mothers take hours out of their day to carry giant jugs of dirty water to their family. It takes a toll on their bodies and backs ... and the water is causing water borne diseases. The need is so engrained into the society - but it truly does start with just one life being changed. I will be conducting True Beauty Workshops, teaching jewelry making classes, spending time with the children, and fundraising for this worthy cause. My goal is to help them see a way out of prostitution, cultivate self-worth... body image... and character, and ultimately be the hands and feet of Jesus to these women.

Leading up to my departure, it's all hands on deck! We will be making shipments, Skype calls, and more. If this is something you are interested in leaning into, please let me know!

I can't help but praise God for allowing me this opportunity to lead True Beauty Movement into a new season and build it for His Kingdom. 

To learn more about Start With One International, click here.

That We May,

Amanda Moreno

20 Ways to Love Your Body

20 Ways to Love Your Body

Compiled By: Margo Maine, PhD

  1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams.  Honor it.  Respect it.  Fuel it.
  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do.  Read it and add to it often.
  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day.  Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
  4. Create a list of people you admire:  people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world.  Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments. 
  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
  6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance.  Try one!
  10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy. 
  11. Consider this:  your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.  Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.
  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.  Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body.  Loving your body means you get to feel like that again, even in this body, at this age.
  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself—without mentioning your appearance.  Add to it daily!
  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
  18. Search for the beauty in the world and in yourself.
  19. Consider that, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
  20. Eat when you are hungry.  Rest when you are tired.  Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Life On the Curvy Side

A Blog from Abby Guy: 

 I have always been bigger than other girls my age, moving up to adult sizes before everyone else. Despite this, my favorite store was Limited Too, like most 8-10 year olds, and for the first year or two I fit comfortably in the largest size they carried, but soon I found myself squeezing my maturing body into the tiny shorts and tank tops that were popular. I struggled between dressing with the trend and dressing to feel comfortable. Even now, as a 16 year old, I sometimes struggle to find clothes that fit in the popular teen stores. I am a curvy size 14 and even though a 14 is the average size of a woman, anything above a size 8-12 is scarce in a regular Junior section of a store. Finding pants, shorts, or dresses in my size is extremely difficult, and when I am sent to the “Plus Size” section, I find that my options are still slim. Instead of companies making all of their clothes in a large range of sizes, they narrow it down to a small selection of mostly unflattering pieces, especially for a young girl. As a 16 year old, I still want to feel young and fun with my style. I find myself having to get creative with new pieces to find my right fit and feel as confident as possible in my clothes.  

      As a pageant girl, I struggle with this most when I am looking for a formal gown. Dress shops normally carry a small rack of plus size gowns that look like they are from Prom of 2007. At a time when you want to feel your most confident, having to go to 12 different stores for a gown that is both from this time period and in your size or having to squeeze into a sample gown while the clerk reassures you, “It’s not you honey, it’s the dress,” as they fight with the zipper and call in backup to push the air out of your lungs can be a little disheartening. It makes me think, “If I’m average why am I disregarded in the world of fashion?”

      I have come so far on my journey in self confidence, from a shy, bullied kid to a talkative, confident teen. Kids in elementary school would say I was the fattest girl in the grade and those comments really damaged my self esteem to where when I was invited to a swim party, I didn’t want to go because I’d be the only one piece in a pool of bikinis.

    My negative mindset about my weight carried over to my hobby of dance. I believed that I could never be the dancer I wanted to be because I didn’t have the body for it. Ballerinas were tall and slim, and I was short, and chubby. I lost confidence in myself and began to try less in dance class. My ability did not progress, and I felt even worse about the dancer I was.

     I used to sit in the shower and list all of the things I wish I could change about myself, but now I stand there and proudly list in my head everything I love about my body, and I am glad to see that that list continues to get longer. I would obsess over the number on the scale, checking almost daily, but now I haven't been on a scale in over 2 years because I value my health and how comfortable and confident I feel in my body over any number on a scale. I look back at pictures of my younger self in times where I distinctly remember thinking I was fat and I realize now I was never as big as I thought I was. With representation of girls my size in the media, such as Ashley Graham who was the first plus size model on the cover of sports illustrated, and my growing confidence and acceptance of myself, I feel stronger in my individuality everyday. Life is a series of insecurities we have to overcome; if it’s not my weight, it’s my red, pimply skin, but we can’t let these insecurities stop us. I still have bad days, as I’m sure we all do, where I wish I didn’t have cellulite, or stretch marks, or my thighs rubbing in the summer heat, but as Amanda Moreno constantly reminds me, and an idea that has become my personal mantra, if I was meant to be anything than what I am, God, our creator, would have made me that way.

With Love From Life On the Curvy Side,

Abby Guy

Mississippi Representative

 

Daddy Daughter Date - Swimsuit Edition

If you have ever met Daddy Moreno... you know that he is a rockstar. He can't sit still during pageants and consistently paces in the back of the theater, loves his family beautifully, and probably the best pageant escort ever.

I want to share a memory I hold closely to my heart with you all.  

Growing up - I dealt with a mass amount of bullying about my weight and appearance. My dad watched as my heart would break after a long day of school or challenging ride on the school bus. We seldom spoke about it, but my Daddy always knew what was going on. He is a MASTER at reading me and probably knows me better than anyone else in the world.

Our family was gearing up to go on a cruise one year. As someone who was struggling with body image, the need to be in a swimsuit 99.9% of the time on a cruise freaked me out. I remember trying on swimsuits at Target and being completely miserable. I expressed to my Dad that I couldn't find a swimsuit and I just wanted to give up on finding one. Dad, being the amazing man he is, was not going to let his "little Princess" have a tainted trip because of her challenge. Daddy packed me up in the car and we ventured from our hometown to Atlanta for Phipps Plaza.

Phipps Plaza is our high-end mall. One of those where you almost have to pay for even breathing the air. I couldn't fathom shopping there. I come from a humble family - we don't live extravagantly. The thought of paying more than $30 for a swimsuit just seemed frivolous (I outgrew that - no worries.)

With all that in mind, we went in and picked looked around at the different swimsuit options. Filing through the racks, we found two that were worth atleast trying on. Walking into the fitting room seemed like a nightmare... too many mirrors and not enough coverage. I tried them on and Dad praised them complimenting the colors and how wonderful I looked. To my surprise, I didn't think they looked terrible. I told my Dad that I couldn't quite decide which I liked best. I felt emotional. We decided it was best to step away for a bit to get lunch and organize our thoughts.

I sat with Dad at the most upscale restaurant the mall had - the white table top kind. Dad kept loving on me, asking about school, and discussing various memories we had. Once finishing our meal, Dad asked the dreaded question.... "So which one do you like?" I told him how uncomfortable I felt in swimsuits and that both of these helped me feel confident. He looked at me, smiled, and gave me a big hug.

We spent close to $400 dollars on swimsuits that day... but what my Dad taught me and the way he made love a verb that day outweigh any amount of money. You see, my Dad was pursing my heart - showing me how a man should treat a woman - and telling his daughter through his actions the importance of confidence and body image.

Did we have $400 to spend on swimsuits? Probably not. It was a sacrifice that Mom and Dad both made for me. This happened when I was 10 and now 13 years later I still remember this date with Pops. I will forever remember the way my Dad expressed his love that day. I vividly remember him handing me the bag once the order was complete then giving me a big hug and kiss on my forehead.

Honestly - it could have be $4, $40, or $400 dollars for the swimsuits. The financial investment he made for me pales in comparison to the love he showed. He made a sacrifice for me, loved me, and became an earthly example of God's love.

God's love will always be unmatched, but moments like these give us a glimpse of how amazing He is. God made the ultimate sacrifice and gave His one and only Son so that we may experience Him.  My Daddy made a financial sacrifice so that his daughter could experience the self-love she needed. Pops had no idea how much this would stay with me over the years.

I use this story to illustrate the importance of Dads when it comes to the development of a young woman's confidence. Whatever it may be, your daughters need you to show them God's love. Make sacrifices, pursue their heart, take your daughter on dates, and be a living example of God's love.

Daddy - I love you and I will ALWAYS be your little girl.

xoxo,

Amand

Staying Dedicated to Recovery While in Training

When I was in treatment for the eating disorder I faced... I would often ask my therapist if she though I'd ever be able to compete in pageants again. She quickly responded with, "I hope so! If that's what you want to do, then let's do it but it will take work!" I looked at her with skepticism and questioned that possibility. 

Here I am three years later... and I can tell you that it's possible to stay dedicated to recovery and compete for an International title. It's possible and absolutely worth it.

When I set out on this journey to my dream job of Miss International - my family and I had a very serious discussion. We knew that with 20% of my score coming from Fitness Wear, it would be critical that I prepared in a healthy way. I've worked so hard to obtain true recovery - and I had no interest in turning back to that terrible illness. In my heart, I knew it'd be possible to prepare myself the healthy way... but I couldn't do it alone. My faith had to be in God's supernatural power - not mine. Trusting that He would guide me, I set out on a voyage to do what I wasn't sure I would ever be able to do again.

Along my journey, I've focused on becoming my personal best. I've focused on becoming strong - not skinny. I've challenged my body to become faster - fiercer - and more fit than ever before. I've nourished my body with heart healthy food... and a few cupcakes. I've run the largest 10K in the country. I've given my body the fuel it takes to be the best Miss International I can be.

Now... 18 days from my departure... I am overjoyed to say that I have prepared for Fitness Wear and stayed 100% dedicated to recovery. It has been challenging at times - but I believe that it has pushed me farther into recovery and made me a stronger advocate. The temptations did come, but I used the tactics I learned and my faith to pull me through and defeat the enemy. I refused to restrict calories, step on the scale, or put my worth in the number inside my dress.

I share this with you for a multitude of reasons. I hope that it inspires you to challenge yourself to do what you once believed you could not. I pray that those who have or are being challenged with an eating disorder... know that it's possible to stay in true recovery no matter what dream you have.  But most of all.... I want you all to know that with faith... all things are possible.

In Christ,

Amanda