11/15/2013 09:41 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Extra Weight? Extra Grace

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I recently hit a MAJOR body/weight/exercise milestone.

No, I didn't lose 10 pounds.

Nope, I didn't finish a half-marathon.

Nah, my pants aren't feeling any looser.

My milestone involves me... in the nude... looking in the mirror. And rather than beating myself up for what I saw, I gave myself grace.

Guys. This is a BIG EFFING DEAL.

You see, my weight has been a 28 year struggle, culminating in high school when I lost 70 pounds in the most unhealthy ways possible. More recently, I decided to do Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred for Lent. Six days a week, I woke up at the butt-crack of dawn to do push-ups and let this woman scream at me. My results were so great that I decided to do her other DVD, Ripped in 30. It was like "How Akirah Got Her Groove Back" up in here. I thought I looked GOOD.

But then life happened. I graduated from grad school. My mom and I went on vacation. I started two new jobs. I had to study for my licensing exam. I launched a website. Oh, the excuses.

Once I skipped one day, it was easy to skip two days. And three days. Then four...

I don't know why I thought I'd be able to wake up every day at the butt crack of dawn, for the rest of my life, to do push-ups and get yelled at by that crazy woman. It's not like I do drugs. Because honestly, while I like being active, I don't care about getting ripped in 30. More power to all the Jillian fans out there, but my main priority is teaching women how to pursue healthy relationships. So of course working out every day (in ways I don't enjoy!) wasn't going to last.

I've been working really hard to disassociate my weight from my worth. My pant size, my marriage, and my appearance have NOTHING to do with my value as a person. Sure, they're a part of who I am, but they don't determine my worth. They never have and they never will.

My humanity determines my worth.

(Yours does too.)

So that day, I stared at my beautiful naked body, acknowledged that I'm no longer ripped in 30, and said out loud:

"I want to start moving my body again. I won't be a better person if my thighs and butt get a little smaller, but it'll make me feel good. Because moving makes me feel good."

And just like that, I hit my milestone.

This is how I see it. I can try to miserably do push-ups at the butt crack of dawn, every day, for the rest of my life. Or I can move my body a few times a week, the way I like to -- by doing yoga, dancing, and occasionally jogging. I can buy clothes that fit me instead of feeling bad when my old clothes don't. I can rock my one-piece instead of pining to wear a bikini... because I don't even LIKE the idea of walking around in something that looks like underwear.

I can stop dieting. I can stop body shaming. I can stop mistaking "fat" as a feeling.

So I will.

I went to the gym this morning. Two hours later, I ate two chocolate chip cookies. The gym was awesome. So were the cookies.

I'm really glad my life has room for both.

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