IPL Philosophy

My Weight (and size) Matters

As a “body positive” advocate and role model for thousands of women, (10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body) sometimes I get flack for saying that my weight (and size) matters.

It’s like people think that I can’t love my body if I say I want, or am trying, to lose weight. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

My weight matters to me because I love my body.

In this new world of “body love” and “body acceptance” the scale (and our size) has (have) become something to discredit, which creates a bit of a slippery slope.

Although neither body-weight, nor size, should be the deciding factor when it comes to our health and happiness, they are undeniably a factor when it comes to our quality of life.

My highest weight was 328 pounds, in 2011. My lowest weight was 163 pounds in 2013.

My current weight is 201 pounds, post baby.

My comfy, sustainable, feel-great weight is 172 pounds.

(FYI, picture above is a gross misrepresentation of my actual jumping abilities, even at 172 pounds 🙂 )

I am 5 feet and 1 inch tall.

At 172 pounds I am plus sized according to the tag in my jeans and obese according to the BMI chart.

I still have cellulite, saddlebags, love handles and rolls but at 172 pounds, my body feels better and is able to do more than where I am now– which is why I’m working to lose the baby weight. 

My weight (and size) matters because it directly affects how I feel: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physically, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I want to live the life I desire without limitations due to my weight…or corresponding size.
  • I want my joints to be pain-free and capable of doing their jobs.
  • I want to have as much energy and stamina as possible because there’s a lot that I want to do.
  • I never want a seat belt extender on a plane; or to be uncomfortable in a chair with arms; or to be too big to fit on a roller coaster, again!
  • I never want to struggle to tie my shoes or to get up and down off the floor again– at least not until I’m really old!
  • My weight (and size) matters  because I love feeling my best, physically!

Mentally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to live the life I want to live.
  • I know that I only have one body and I’m the only one who can take care of it.
  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to prevent cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, among other weight-related health concerns.
  • I want my son to see a mom who cares about herself, for herself and for him.
  • I value my life and my future is very important to me.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling my best, mentally!

Emotionally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I feel a great sense of pride when I care for my body
  • I don’t want to feel stressed or anxious about any of the things I mentioned above, like I used to.
  • I never want to regret the choices I’ve made when it comes to my health.
  • I enjoy feeling strong and capable.
  • I am proud of myself when I make my weight a priority because I feel good physically and mentally.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling good, emotionally!

It matters because I love my body.
It matters because I find joy in my body.
It matters because I am proud of my body.
It matters because I value my body.

It matters because I love life and I want to live my best happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life every day in my best happy, healthy (plus sized, obese, “ugly“) body for as long as I can!

ATP- Love Your Body from the Inside-Out

I spent so many years fighting myself and my body, believing perfection was the only way to a happy, healthy life. Boy was I wrong! If you read my 10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body post, then you know that my body is far from perfect…you should also know that neither is my life, hence the name I’mperfect Life! Life is full of ups and downs, choices we’re proud of and others we waste time wishing would have been different. We can’t go back and change the past, all we can do is move forward. We can start by practicing ATP.

atp body imageAs I’ve learned over the years, the first step to living a truly happy, healthy life is to learn to LET GO OF PERFECTION. If you expect perfection you will only be met with perceived failure. We only get to live one life, so embrace the one you have and make it the best you can.

Start by letting go of perfection, follow the 12 Rules for living a happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life, and practice ATP daily…

It’s time to stop looking at our bodies as the problem and start treating them like they are the solution.

It’s time to stop this war that is tearing us apart and start creating peace within ourselves.

Wars don’t solve problems. Wars only beat one party down until they can’t fight anymore.

You have a choice, you can continue the war you’re having with your body until it can’t fight anymore or you can call a truce, make peace, and create change.

I hope you’ll choose to do the latter…


It’s time to forgive yourself– guilt and shame are not motivators.

It’s time to appreciate yourself– loving, caring, nurturing, trusting and accepting where you are right now.

It’s time to get excited about the possibilities!

It’s time to educate yourself- knowledge is power!

By forgiving, appreciating and educating you will have no choice but to grow and become the person you want to be.

It’s time to start practicing ATP


coverAt this moment, right now, I want to you to close your eyes (well in a minute after you’ve read the following…) and follow these steps:

1) Apologize to your body for all of the negative things you’ve said about it.

2) Thank it for doing its job of keeping you alive, despite how you’ve treated it.

3) Promise your body that from this point forward you will appreciate what it does for you every day that you will listen to it, love it and nurture it because you realize that without it, you would not be alive.

I want you to do this every day for the next 30 days. In the shower, in the car, walking through the parking lot, and lying in bed at night.


Creating a strong mind/body connection is absolutely necessary for life-long health and happiness. It’s what will free you from living in a body you don’t love and allow you to live a life you do love.

Bodies are smart.

Minds are powerful.

Making them work together is where true health and happiness lies.

Let go of perfection and start living your best, happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life today!

The Thoughtful Jar

When was the last time you stopped and asked yourself these four questions?

  • What brings you joy and love?
  • What is causing me stress?
  • What am I thankful for?
  • What am I proud of?

These days it’s too easy to get caught up in trying to survive, focused only on the tasks at hand that we forget to take the time to acknowledge what’s really happening in our lives.  

We might tell our husband or our kids that we love them every day, and yes, we mean it, but it also just becomes rote, a habit that isn’t truly acknowledged.

We might complain about things that frustrate us, giving them power to make us feel angry, but do we actually deal with those issues?

We might say “thank God!” or “thank heavens!” in a positive situation, but it’s only momentary thanks.

We might tell our kids we’re proud of them, we might even be proud of ourselves for something, but the acknowledgement is fleeting.


This is why I created the “Thoughtful Jar”
as a way to connect with our lives in small portions that offer a big impact, here’s how…


  1. Grab a clear jar or vase and designate it as your “Thoughtful Jar”
  2. Get a pad of multi-colored note paper (I got mine at Staples)
  3. Put the two together, some place convenient like the kitchen counter, your desk at work, or in the bathroom (you can even have more than one!)
  4. Each day…or whenever you feel compelled, write yourself a note on the color of note paper that corresponds with the topic (see below)
  5. At the end of the week take a look at your jar and the colors inside. Take notice of the prominent color(s) to help you decide what to focus on the next week.


Do you need to be more grateful? Do you need to reduce stress? Are you struggling to find something to be proud of or are joy and love something that feel foreign right now?

Life is full of ups and downs and it’s not going to be roses and puppies and rainbows all the time and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stress without taking the time to acknowledge what’s really going on– good, bad and ugly. 

Pink/Red= LOVE25766251216_d4b17bf1aa_z

Write yourself a note about something or someone you love. Don’t forget to include yourself.


Write down what is creating stress for you and include a possible solution. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but addressing stress, acknowledging it and identifyingg how you can resolve it will help you “deal” with it.

Yellow= THANKS

Write down what you’re thankful for! Don’t forget those challenges that make you stronger and wiser.

Green= PRIDE

Write down an accomplishment, big or small. It’s important to be proud of yourself no matter how insignificant that achievement might seem, it’s worth acknowledging.

Stop Falling Off the Weight Loss Wagon


Stop Falling off the Weight Loss Wagon for Good

A term I hear a lot in the weight loss/diet/fitness/healthy lifestyle world is “I fell off the wagon and can’t seem to get back on.” If you are like millions of other people (that number is not based on statistical data), you struggle with falling off the proverbial wagon too.

Here’s the thing…for whatever reason, we thinking the wagon is what we should strive for, but the truth is that the wagon is the problem, not the solution.  Seriously.

The proverbial weight loss wagon is one that haunts many of us who struggle with our weight, whether we’re working to lose weight, or working to keep it off. And falling off that wagon is what makes of feel like we’ve failed, like we’re hopeless, helpless and not in control. It affects our confidence in ourselves, inhibits feelings of self-love, and ultimately affects our ability to succeed.

Many people can follow a diet plan, even the strictest of plans for a period of time– especially if they are seeing results. But one “slip up” (erase this term from your vocabulary after this sentence) and they “fall off the wagon” (erase this term as well) by to returning to old habits, gaining weight they lost, or even just experiencing a few days of not staying “strict”. (let’s go ahead and erase that word too)

The Wagon

Historically speaking the “wagon” was a vehicle used to water down dusty roads during the summer months back before we had paved roads…you know, so people could breathe and stuff. Men who were abstaining from alcohol would say they were “on the water wagon” and if they returned to drinking alcohol they would say they had…well, you know.

Now when I think of a wagon, I instantly get an image of a covered wagon, not the same thing as a water wagon by any means, but it provides a good visual for me that encourages ditching the wagon for good.

During the prairie movement, wagons were notorious for being death traps– dirty, stinky, rickety, dangerous, death traps.

They didn’t provide much shelter from the elements– hot, sweltering, germ infested bubbles in the summer, and freezing cold, still germ-infested, wind-tunnels in the winter. They were confined; extremely uncomfortable, mini-prisons that provided wagon goers with two choices– endure the misery of sitting in/on the wagon, or walking next to it for miles and miles and miles each day, trying to reach an unknown destination in hopes of a better life.

Trying to lose weight and maintain weight-loss can feel just like that covered wagon, making it impossible to stay on, willingly. Which is why I’m a proponent of ditching the wagon completely and losing it for good. Literally and figuratively.

Once you get rid of that wretched wagon you are free! Free from guilt and shame, and onto living your best, happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life.

Freedom means you are in control, you feel peace and joy, and failure is no longer an option.

So let’s ditch the wagon for good, starting with a breath of fresh, clean air!

Here’s How

Know your short and long-term motivation

Having a strong “WHY” is absolutely necessary for creating true lifelong change. If your “why” is just, “to lose weight” or “to fit in that dress” or “to be healthy” you’re setting yourself up for failure. I mean, I know those all sound like fine reasons to lose weight, and they are, but their just “fine.” If you’re like me, and hundreds of thousand of others (maybe even millions) you’ve used those as your “why” many times in the past and still find yourself stuck in the cycle of diet/fail/repeat, right? So let’s do something different. Instead of making a blanket statement that has no real value let’s be more specific.

I want to lose weight because I feel uncomfortable in my body right now. I know that if I am able to lose 10% of my current body weight that my body will feel better! I’ll have more energy, feel stronger, be able to go longer, and live a full and active life.

Make choices that allow you to feel good now and later

Instead of trying to convince yourself to follow a diet and exercise routine solely to lose weight, tell yourself the following:

I will make choices each day that support the healthy lifestyle I want to live so I don’t have to wait to feel good. I will feel my best right now by eating to nourish my body. I will move more to strengthen my body. And I will love myself just the way I am at this very moment, because what I do and why I do it NOW is what ultimately affects my future.

Create realistic guidelines and boundaries for yourself

The truth is, you can’t lose weight without making some sacrifices but that doesn’t mean you need to find a diet plan that makes promises of weight loss and then stick to it to a T. Consistency is absolutely necessary but you are the boss of you which means you get to set the guidelines and boundaries. Make sure you set yourself up for success.

If you travel for work, it’s unrealistic to follow a plan that requires you to carry around color coded plastic containers of pre-made food. If you have four kids and have 20 minutes to prepare dinner every night, it’s unrealistic to expect yourself to spend an hour preparing some fancy paleo recipe. But you can determine your caloric and macro nutrient needs and plan your meals around those no matter where you are or how hectic your schedule.

If you work a full-time job with an hour commute, have napping babies, or any other scheduling conflicts that are out of your control, going to a 6pm workout class may not work for you no matter how good your intentions. This is why you must create a plan that you can do consistently and then do it.

Change your vocabulary about food and exercise

We have learned to demonize food rather than eating foods to nourish our bodies most of the time and eat foods for pleasure something the time, enjoying all of our food, all of the time. (Read Rule #2 for Living an I’mperfect Life)

We have decided that we need to exercise out of obligation rather than doing it because it feels good! (Read Rule #3 for Living an I’mperfect Life)

It’s time to stop earning food or punishing ourselves with exercise. We need to eat and move to feel our best, physically, mentally and emotionally without perceived failure, consequence, or reward.

Never “start over,” just keep moving forward

Starting over is what perpetuates the cycle of diet/fail/repeat– even if you’re just talking about tomorrow.

If I had a dime for the number of times I used to say, and continue to hear from others, “I’m starting over tomorrow!” Or even words of encouragement to others like, “Just start over tomorrow!” Or, “Tomorrow is a fresh start!”  I’d be rich! (yes, super cliche, I know, but it’s true.)

When we believe that we’ve “messed up” to the point of needing to “start over” we’re telling ourselves we’ve failed. We’re not crocheting a scarf for crying out loud! We can’t go back and undo the last row of stitches and redo them, and there’s no need to; we’re all just living our lives, doing the best we can.

That’s why there’s no such thing as messing up when it comes to living a happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life. There’s no starting over. We just keep moving forward. We take responsibility for the choices we make, whether they are ideal or not and use them to propel us forward.

Sometimes there are lessons to be learned that can help us create new habits but there’s no need to start over…or get back on the dreaded wagon.

Just ditch it for good!

Do These Four Things to Get Motivated for Good

Do you find it impossible to “get motivated?” You’re not alone! Let me show you how to get motivated for good!

First let’s look at the definition of “motivation.”

  1. 1a :  the act or process of motivating b :  the condition of being motivated

  2. 2:  a motivating force, stimulus, or influence :  incentive, drive

Notice that the definition doesn’t mention anything about actually DOING the act as a response to the idea of motivation. That’s because motivation is not ACTING, motivation is simply a reason for wanting something. It’s something we think and feel because something else affects us.
Motivation is REASON, NOT ACTION. You have can lots of reasons for wanting things without the desire to ACT.
A weird analogy for you: We are motivated to go to the bathroom by the signal our bladder sends to our brain, but that motivation isn’t action– in that moment we can choose to get up and go, stay there and wait until the motivation is stronger, or sit there and pee our pants.
Diet, and exercise, and weight loss are no different. We can be motivated all day long, feeling the urge to change our eating habits, move more, eat better, lose weight, etc., all with good reason (motivation) all while taking no action at all. Not because we don’t want to, but because the urge to act hasn’t hit us yet.
The exception between being motivated to pee and being motivated to lose weight (or create a lifestyle change) is that we don’t sit around stressing about whether or not we should pee. We’re not watching TV, sitting our desk, driving in our car, thinking, “I should go pee.” Unless of course we have to pee.
But with diet, and exercise, and weight loss, we constantly think about what we should be doing, what we’re doing wrong, how we need to do things differently without taking any action at all. We ARE in fact motivated, we do have ideas and even reason, but instead of spending our energy doing what we want/need to do (get up and go pee) we sit there stressing about it until we pee our pants…and then we sit there feeling bad, wishing we had just gotten up and gone to the bathroom, wanting a change of clothes, but…?

In my personal and professional opinion, “motivation” is a dumb word to associate with diet, exercise, and weight loss. It’s a word we use to make ourselves feel bad. “I just can’t find the motivation.” “How do I get motivated?” Like being motivated is the magical answer to all things perfect. It is an unfortunate expectation that we put on ourselves– whether by our own doing or others.

The truth about motivation is that is happens naturally when you’re ready, just like when you have to pee. The more you stress about not being motivated the worse it gets. It’s part of the guilt/shame/remorse/diet/fail/repeat cycle.

If you want to create change then you ARE in fact motivated, you just need to figure out how to use that motivation (your reason) to start doing, rather than wishing, hoping, thinking, praying and wanting.

Before I go any further I want you to know that it’s OKAY be motivated (want, wish, hope, pray, etc.) without taking action. It’s okay to be where you are RIGHT NOW, even if it’s not where you want to be. Loving yourself and your life for who, what and where you are right now is the only way to move forward because you have to get through the right now, in order to get to the future. Okay?

“Okay, Andrea! Sheesh! I get it. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and…”

Yes, exactly! Alright so now let’s talk about taking action.


How to move from Motivation to Action

Action is something that happens when our motivation is backed by a strong “why?” Meaning we can clearly define WHY what we want is important to us, and more so, that our WHY is compelling enough to ignite action.

Just to reiterate one more time: Wanting and doing are two totally different things. Wanting something is just an idea, doing something is taking action. It’s okay to want things without being willing (ready) to take action. When you’re ready, you’ll know.

Whether you’re ready now or waiting patiently to get ready, here’s what I want you to remember…

1) You must believe that change is possible.

No matter how many times you feel like you’ve failed in the past, IT IS POSSIBLE! We cannot approach change expecting to succeed if we already feel defeated and deflated. So let go of the past, without it, you wouldn’t be where you are today, and today that person (you) is ready for change.

2) You must be excited about your goal.

Excitement is what’s going to keep you going when it gets hard…and it will get hard. Some people think that excitement is motivation. Sometimes pure excitement does create action– but excitement waxes and wanes so you can’t depend purely on excitement to keep you moving forward. You have to be excited FOR change, not just because of it. In those moments, days, weeks and sometimes even months when exciting things aren’t happening, be excited about the future.

3) You must be willing to make sacrifices and change priorities– time, money, foods you love, comfort, etc.

You know the old saying, “we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results!” And it’s SO true. You’re going to have to change things– a lot of things, not at once, but over time. It might be sacrificing time spent in the break room, watching your favorite soap while eating lunch, to go for a walk instead. It might be asking a friend to take the kids to gymnastics so you can do some meal prep. It might be sacrificing your favorite coffee drink every morning because it doesn’t really add value to your goals. It might mean sacrificing that coffee drink so you can  put that money towards a more nutritious lunch that costs a bit more than what you’re used to.

Making sacrifices doesn’t mean deprivation. It means making changes that are a reflection of your change in priorities because you are creating change in your life.

This takes practice. But when we do it with the belief that change is possible, excitement about the future and with joy in our hearts, these sacrifices and changes in priorities are actually quite empowering and feel less like work and more like progress.

4) You must be willing to do the hard work.

The truth is that true change takes time and it’s not easy. There will be many ups and downs, ebbs and flows, struggles and victories– but they are ALL part of establishing lifelong success that no longer requires “finding motivation” because the idea, the want, the wish, the hope, the prayer, the desire, THE REASON…has become a reality.

This is your life!  Creating change IS hard!  It takes time, and patience, and tenacity! But I promise it will be worth it.

I Dare You

A few weeks ago an I’mperfect Lifer shared with me that she always wears a cardigan over her tank tops, even in the middle of summer because, as she put it, “we live in an opinionated world where people can hurt you.”

She said that her kids told her that she looked nice without the cardigan and then discounted it by saying that her kids love her “but adults are different.”

How often do you make choices about your clothing, activities, thoughts or actions based on how you think others might perceive you?

Do you sweat in long sleeves because you assume others will judge your untoned arms?

Do you avoid participating in events because you think others will believe you don’t belong?

Do you assume people are staring, snickering or treating you differently because you don’t fit the mold you think you should live in? If so I dare you to change your thoughts to change your life.

For the next seven days…

  • Every time you think a negative thought about yourself- STOP and say something nice in response. Even if it’s the same thing over and over again.
  • Every time you think a negative thought about someone else- STOP and say something nice.
  • Every time you think someone else is thinking, assuming or judging something about you- STOP and say something nice about them and you.

Even when it’s hard.

Even when if feels forced.

Even when you don’t want to.

Do it.

Change your thoughts and you will change your life, I promise.

Now dare someone else to do the same by sharing this post with them. <3


copy-of-blog-post-template-2I and double dog dare you to come back here in 7 days and tell me how much better you feel about yourself and others.

You are beautiful and so am I, on the inside and out. Once we allow ourselves to think these thoughts, we enable ourselves to feel them.

Go feel amazing. You deserve it.

It's Not Starting Over, It's Moving Forward

Last week was my first week back in the box  (gym) after being out for three weeks. And that was after only being back for 1.5 weeks after being gone for two months…after quitting…after injury..after too much travel…after more injury.

I hate to keep talking about how the last several months beat the crap out of me, but it’s important to understand what happened  in order to appreciate where I am and more importantly, where I’m going. Most recently, just on the heels of my miscarriage, I totally tweaked out my entire upper right quadrant– sleeping weird followed by turning my head and inhaling at the same time. You know, the way most weird muscle crap happens. This was exceptional though! I have never experienced pain like that! It was so bad at one point that it had me walking around with my arm slung over my head for days. Fun times.

I treated it with ice, chiropractic, massage, rest, stretching, foam rolling and my new handy-dandy tens unit

It was a really rough 12 days of feeling like I wanted to cut off my whole right side from the waist up. Did I mention how bad it hurt? Well, during this craptastic experience was when I stepped on the scale and realized I had gained 20lbs over the last few months.

Yes, TWENTY! Which was the swift kick in the ass that I needed to stop making excuses for my poor food choices that were NOT helping my situation- in fact they were only perpetuating the problem.

That day, Wednesday the 28th, I changed my diet back to whole foods (veg/fruit/meat/limited starches), foods that nourish my body (already down 14lbs!) rather than those that cause inflammation (only making my upper right quadrant worse) and I committed myself to getting back to the gym the following Monday, even if all I could do was stand around and look (not so) pretty.

I talked to my coach about all of the issues I’ve been having over the last several months. Issues that I referred to as injuries but ones that weren’t caused by a fall or a strain or doing any one thing to create them. They were issues that came from working out hard then sitting at my desk and on airplanes for hours on end; standing with one hip jutted out while having conversations, keeping my shoulders rounded ALL OF THE TIME and sticking my chin up and out beyond a neutral spine position.  Common body mechanic issues that we are unaware of in daily life. Ugh.

Back in October I had quit going to the gym because I thought that’s what was hurting me, but after reevaluating my daily life AND my performance in the gym I realized that the gym was the only place I WASN’T hurting myself. In fact, my form while lifting, running, rowing, etc., is actually pretty damned good because in those moments, it’s what I’m thinking about. I’m actively aware of my stance and posture. It’s the casual/habitual sitting and standing that are (were) ruining me.

So after this conversation with my coach, he and I made a deal to work on our posture out of the gym and work on resetting ourselves in the gym. Even though my form was good, it wasn’t perfect and reflected some of those bad habits I had in every day life. So resetting is what needs to happen and resetting is what we’ll do!

We started last Monday and will continue through the rest of February; every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We are starting at the bottom, with the VERY basics– squats, deadlifts, push-ups and pull-ups.  It may be hard to believe if you’ve seen my Ugly Body post, but those last two I can’t even do at all right now. It’s THAT bad!

My first task was to readjust my air squat. Even though it looked pretty perfect, it wasn’t. Sure my weight was in my heels, my chest was up and my hips were getting lower than my knees– but I wasn’t keeping my core as tight as I should have been. That’s actually what we’ve been working on the most. Glutes tight, rib cage down, abs tight, neutral spine— ALL OF THE TIME! It’s a LOT to think about, but I can tell a huge difference in how I feel. When I get everything just right, my squats are nearly effortless, my dead lifts are 10 times easier and my ring rows and dumbbell floor presses are stronger.

Ring rows and dumbbell floor presses…

Those are the modifications I’m doing right now instead of pull-ups and push-ups because like I said a minute ago, right now I can’t do EITHER!

A Giant Kick in the Balls of Pride!

That’s right. As of right now I cannot even do a single assisted pull-up or a modified push up! NOT. ONE! All because of that right-side tweak.

Do you know how bad that sucks? If you’ve had setbacks before then you know all too well. It sucks A LOT.  But the biggest thing that I have learned about fitness over the past few years is that it doesn’t get any better if I don’t keep working at it. So here I am doing dumbbell presses on the floor to stabilize my head, neck, shoulders and back with 10lbs of weight in each hand…and struggling like crazy to get that right arm vertical.

I mean STRUGGLING!  Last Monday was pitiful. The left arm was like, “yeah, whatever, let’s throw this shit!” While my right arm was slowly shaking its way up. Those 10lbs might as well have been 100lbs. It took every ounce of energy and concentration that I had in order to move that weight on Monday, but by Friday I was able to do 3 sets of 15…and by this Monday (just one week from when I started) I did 3 sets of 15 at 12lbs. It’s not impressive when compared to where I was just a short time ago, but it’s progress from where I was last week. 

I’ve also gone up 10lbs on my back squat and deadlift. They’re both less weight than I was able to lift last year, but this Monday’s weight was more than last Monday’s weight and that’s what matters.

Starting Over

People (me included) talk about “starting over” with diet and exercise the same way we would talk about a meal that we burned and had to throw away because it was inedible.  Why do we do that?!?!  So self-defeating!

I have come to realize that even though I am having to retrain my body to do the things that it once mastered, that does not mean that I am starting over, it means that I am making progress. I am choosing to keep moving, to keep training, to keep learning…all while recognizing everything that I learned and accomplished in the past has gotten me where I am today– not injured or messed up or broken or a failure, but capable of moving forward.

So instead of letting my brain be a pansy and let pride, frustration and a feeling of “starting over” stop me from making progress. I’m letting my body know that I am here for it, that I am taking care of it so it can take care of me. I know what my body is capable of– it’s proven time and time again that when I listen to it, when I give it what it needs– quality fuel and an opportunity to get stronger, it WILL do just that.

It is possible that I may never be able to hold my chin above a bar unassisted again, but there’s also a very good possibility that I WILL! The only way to find out is to do the work. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m here, I’m working hard and I’m not just giving up. I may not currently be faster, stronger, better than I was before, but I sure as hell am already MAKING PROGRESS.


I’m always making some kind of progress: physically, mentally, or emotionally. I hope you are too.


No, really…stop!

One of the most common questions I get is, “What kind of exercise is best if I want to lose weight?”  (AKA get skinny)

Well here it is…


“WHAT?!  Andrea!  You LOVE exercising!  You’re a personal trainer and Crossfit junkie!  WTH!  Have you been hacked?!”

Nope! Not hacked!  I just truly am not a fan of “exercise”!  For serious.  Never have been, never will be.

Exercise is mundane.  Exercise is something you do out of obligation.  Exercise is a chore.  And as I’m sitting here reading the comments and pictures that people have shared with me in response to my “I Love My Ugly Body” post and I’m seeing a trend that proves my theory.  Exercise in NOT where it’s at…TRAINING is!


The readers who are sharing their proud #ilovemybody pictures are those who love their bodies for what they are capable of doing…not pictures of themselves in bikinis but pictures of themselves running, swimming, cycling, lifting heavy weights, dancing, doing martial arts or crazy yoga poses…and more!

You know what all of those things require?  TRAINING!  These are people who found something they enjoyed, stuck with it, set goals, created a plan and worked hard to make it happen.

They aren’t gym rats.  They are athletes who come in all shapes and sizes!


You don’t have to be skinny to be fit.  I’m living proof of that!

The ONLY reason I have been successful in my weight loss and more importantly FITNESS is because I found something I love, something that drove me to work harder to improve.  For me that was Crossfit.  It’s what makes me want to be better and in return allows me to do the others things I enjoy doing like surfing, skiing and whitewater kayaking.

I’m not a runner and I never get on machines in the gym.  I simply spend four hours a week training to be being faster, stronger and better than before.   I keep track of that progress so I can see how far I’ve come…that’s what motivates me.

I am training to be awesome.

I hope you are too!

Stop looking at exercise as a chore that’s going to make you skinny and start training to be fit!  TRAIN your body to move faster, jump higher, lift heavier, dance longer or whatever it is that YOU want your body to do.


10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body

Andrea Matthes,

CPT-CFL1, Lifestyle Coach

Letting go of perfection to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Get Started

Even though I have lost 164lbs and  I am at my doctor’s goal weight

Even though I have been doing crossfit 4-5 days a week for almost 2 years and eat a very clean diet (90% of the time)…

Even though I am a certified personal trainer and a Spartan, a Rugged Maniac, a Warrior and a Triathlete

This is what my body looks like (almost) naked

Imperfect Life - 04

Because of this I try very hard to stay focused on fitness goals as my measure of success rather than my appearance, or the number on the scale, or the size of my jeans, but sometimes, just sometimes, I forget…

I am extremely passionate about sharing my story and the lessons I’ve learned in hopes of inspiring others to live their own I’mperfect Life!

MAY 16, 2014

A few weeks ago I did just that…I forgot. I was faced with a “Look Good Naked Challenge” at my gym that I knew I had no chance in hell of winning. I remembered that summer was just around the corner and realized that I would go a 25th year wearing shorts over my bathing to hide the legs I’ve hated since I was 11.  I tried on a jean skirt that I wanted so bad only to see my misshapen knees that have kept me from wearing anything above them throughout all of my adult years, and out of nowhere it hit me like a ton of bricks…I felt frustrated, discouraged and sad. Like really, really sad.  I even cried a little. I felt like all the hard work that I’d been doing wasn’t paying off and it made me want to give up.

I spent a good  week or so feeling sorry for myself, getting caught up in the vanity of it all.  I didn’t work as hard at the gym, I didn’t eat as well as I usually do and every time I looked in the mirror I felt worse than I had the time before.

I can’t recall if there was something specific that got me to pull my head out of my ass, but fortunately something did. (could have just been the end of my period…fricken hormones!) Regardless of what it was, I decided that it was time to REALLY celebrate what my ugly body CAN DO rather than focus on what it looks like…or doesn’t look like. So I asked my friend Emily, the amazing photographer, take some pictures of me DOING the THINGS I have NEVER, EVER…EVER in my entire life…not even as a kid (with the exception of the cartwheel) have been able to do until now.

So here you go!  Today I am celebrating what my body is capable of doing because of the lifestyle changes that I’ve made and the hard work I’ve done in and out of the gym.

I am PROUD of my ugly body because…


Imperfect Life - 13

ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO DO THIS (no strings attached!)

Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Pull Up


Imperfect Life - 12


Imperfect Life Andrea Matthes Cartwheel


Imperfect Life - 07


Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Splits


Imperfect Life - 05


Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Rope


Imperfect Life - 03


Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Tire Flip


Imperfect Life - 06


Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Rings


Imperfect Life - 12


Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes Pistol Squat


Andrea Matthes Imperfect Life FI



 Imperfect Life - Andrea Matthes

 Besides, I still look cute in a pair of jeans…

Imperfect Life - 52


Better Stronger Faster Andrea Matthes





The Annual I’mperfect Life Diet Bet Game starts May 22nd!


Love Your Body from the Inside-Out

Readable on your favorite electronic device!

It may seem hard to love your body the way is it right now. You may feel at war with your body, wishing it looked different, weighed less, or was a smaller size. You might feel like you’ve failed yourself and your body time and time again, trying to change the outside in order to love the inside…you are not alone. 

Check out this quick read from Andrea Matthes and start changing your perspective on your healthy and happiness by loving your body from the inside-out. 

Learn More

How about you?  Do you feel good about your body?  I hope so!

Let’s celebrate together! Do this…

Grab a picture of yourself doing something that makes you feel PROUD then…

Post it to the I’mperfect Life Facebook Page

Tweet it to me @imperfectlife2

Tag me on Instagram @imperfectlife2

Use the hashtags #ilovemybody #imperfectlife so I can celebrate WITH YOU!

I can’t wait to see what makes YOU proud!


PS: If you have ever, even for only one second, measured yourself against pictures I’ve posted, assuming that I looked like an athlete under my compression wear and wondered why you didn’t look the same, I hope that this post assures you that just like the scale, pictures don’t provide the whole truth either.  Although I try to be as honest as possible in my photos and posts, it’s hard to find balance between the truth and what sounds like self-deprecation–which is something I avoid.  Regardless of how ugly my body is under my clothes, it is STRONG and it’s getting stronger every day.  I am proud of my accomplishments and look forward to continued improvement.  While I toy with the idea of plastic surgery, the thought of taking time off from doing the things I love like Crossfit and races and LIFE in order to recover appeals to me far less than my reflection in the mirror.  So for now, I am just going to keep on doing what I’m doing– eating right, working out and embracing my I’mperfect Life.


Mad props to Athletics 8 Compression Wear for keeping my water balloon of a body TIGHT during my workouts so I can kick ass at being awesome.

And THANK YOU to Emily at Emily Marie Photography for reminding me that I am beautiful and strong!

Just a heads up, for those new to seeing this post…This was written in May 2014 and while I’m still on the same journey the path has changed multiple times since then– I experienced a few injuries that caused fitness related setbacks, a few family emergencies, a pregnancy, a miscarriage, a subsequent 20lbs weight gain and successful pregnancy resulting in a beautiful baby boy

I share it all here on my blog and I hope you’ll take time to look around for further inspiration. 

Thank you for taking the time to read and share. I can’t tell you how much the response to this post touches my heart, making me want to do more and be better. <3  

My heart is full of joy.


Stop Saying This

I wrote a post on Facebook the other day that said, “Nine word you will never hear me say: If I can do it, you can do it!”  I didn’t elaborate on it much, I just made the statement and left it at that.  Today, I’m elaborating because this is something that has bugged me for a long time and I feel compelled to share.

This is my message to all of you (us) who have been successful in losing weight…


“If I can do it, you (anyone) can do it!”

I realize that those words are meant to encourage others who feel like they can’t lose weight but I don’t believe they are as effective as you think.  In fact, I personally find those words insulting both to the person who says them AND to the person at whom they are aimed.  Worse than that, I believe that they are capable of doing more harm than good.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but to me, regardless of how well intended those words may be, when I hear or read them I instantly feel defensive.  

I mean, essentially what people are saying is, “Don’t tell me you can’t lose weight! Look at me! I lost weight so obviously you can too. I mean, if I, me and ALL of MY issues could lose weight then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do it too.”

Now I know those (probably) aren’t your intentions but regardless, that’s what those words are capable of: creating feelings of guilt and self-loathing.

Furthermore, your ability to lose weight has absolutely NOTHING to do with anyone else’s ability to do the same so PLEASE stop using this phrase to “inspire” others.  Stop encouraging people to compare themselves to you.  Stop rubbing it in their faces that YOU were successful and that they’re…not…yet. 


Be PROUD of your accomplishments without degrading yourself.  You achieved those goals because you worked hard and didn’t give up all while learning valuable lessons that should be celebrated and shared with others.

If you want to inspire your friends and family to live the happy, healthy lifestyle that you’ve achieved then talk about HOW you did it.  Be honest about how difficult it was; tell them about the sacrifices you made and continue to make without sounding all high and mighty about it. Share the obstacles that arose and what you did to overcome them. Tell them what worked for you and what didn’t work.  Reassure them that it is a PROCESS that requires trial and error, dedication and determination.  Let others know that there will be plateaus and setbacks and plenty of frustration but that in the end it’s all worth it.  Tell them that you believe in them and that you’re there to support them but DO NOT TELL THEM THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU DID IT THEY CAN TOO!

PLEASE, PLEASE erase those words from your vocabulary and remember that what actually determined your success was that you believed in YOURSELF. Allow others to believe in THEMSELVES too.

For those of you who are struggling to lose weight, please don’t compare yourself to me or others.  We all have our strengths, weaknesses, abilities, limitations and obstacles.  Yes, you CAN do it, but not because I did it, or because anyone else did it, it’s because YOU ARE doing it.  Believe in yourself.