I finally had my moment. After nearly ten years of total hatred of my body, with many peaks and valleys of good times and bad, I had that special moment. I had that “aha” moment that I am perfect the way I am.

I was on the train two weeks ago, headed home from work. I was on my phone, scrolling through Facebook to pass the time until I reached my destination, when I stumbled upon a Buzzfeed article that just somehow made everything click.

It was an article about normal women recreating Victoria’s Secret model swimsuit shots. Each woman, they were all different shapes and sizes, put on an assigned suit and had to mimic the pose of the model. Some ladies had to dunk their heads in the ocean to recreate the look and others had to kneel on the coarse sand. Each woman gave her take on the experience and how she felt about it.

After I finished that article, I suddenly got it. I had a choice. I could spend the rest of my life hating my body, walking around uncomfortable and self-conscious about my body, my weight, and my looks, or I could realize that I was fucking hot. Suddenly my heart was set on fire and all I could think was, “I am fucking hot, and I can run an 8 minute mile, and I have a bitchin’ resting heart rate, and I eat my vegetables, and I’m fucking hot.” Suddenly it just felt like that was true. I had had my “aha” moment.

For years I have worked towards improving my self esteem and body image to no avail. It never mattered who said I was beautiful. It never mattered who called me sexy or hot or wonderful, because I never believed it. For nine months my boyfriend has told me that I am the sexiest and most beautiful woman, and for nine months I have not believed a word of it, and suddenly, it has clicked–I am hot.

I think it comes for all of us at different times. Not everyone is ready to realize that they are amazing. Sometimes it takes years, sometimes it takes months, and sometimes it never happens. For me, I thought it would never happen. Yes, I still have moments of insecurity but now, more than ever before I realize that I am beautiful and that I have no reason to be self-conscious of my body or of who I am.

I hope that one day you have the blessing of having that moment. I encourage you to seek inspiration everywhere, to read the good articles, to listen to what your friends say when they call you beautiful, and to never quit.

It’s easy to quit. Easy to give up on who you want to be. I still have a long way to go in my health and fitness journey, but I am closer than I have ever been before.