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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Dawn

Finding Self-Love

Ialways wanted to be an active person, you know the woman who gets up early, goes to the farmers market, exercises, and ultimately spends most of her time doing things that make her happy. She’s got a glow, she’s confident, and she’s kind.

If you’ve spent any time with me in the last few years, you know I have been slowly trying to reach that goal, but it’s been really hard. I think the mindset that I don‘t deserve this lifestyle has impacted my progress. I also think I needed to grow past some points in my life that ultimately didn’t bring me this lifestyle. It hit me the most at the end of 2015, when I was so unhappy with the company I kept, the food I was feeding myself, and my lack of exercise. I had just started needing B12 injections that year and I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know any 21-year olds getting B12 injections. Things had to change and the journey has been long, but very rewarding.

In the last few years, I’ve done Beachbody, I’ve done hot yoga, I got certified to teach Barre, I joined a friendly gym, I did therapy, I found friends who support my active lifestyle, and I stopped limiting what I could do for myself. Every little step has been a step in stopping my self-limiting beliefs and has brought me to finding self-love.

I didn’t understand what my therapist meant on our last session when she said “I just want you to go out there and take care of yourself, the rest will find you”, but I understand now. It’s very liberating to really like who you are becoming. I don’t know everything, I am always learning and still young, and I still get anxiety, but it’s been really fun creating a lifestyle that makes me happy.

I wrote this post in March of 2021. I had a lot of feelings about how my year was going and as I wrote it, I realized I haven’t had the need to share my feelings since then. I never shared the article because I was afraid people would hate it and afraid people would think I am selling them something. Last August in 2020, my body was in rough shape. Although I was exercising, my body was sluggish, heavy, and I was constantly dealing with joint pain. I went to a BBQ and my friend said she had started with the Clean Fork, a new company based in Saint John, led by Danielle Knox. I couldn’t find a website, a Facebook page, or email. I did find her Instagram page and messaged her on there. At this point I was thinking “How new is this business?”, turns out, it was a month old. I trusted my friend and thought, “You don’t have anything to lose, just message Danielle and see how it goes”.

Danielle Knox has a kind soul. It was obvious from her intake forms, to her PDF nutrition plan, to the app I could message her on any time of day. I didn’t feel like Danielle was taking advantage of me or that I was just another client. I was important and I would say she makes us all feel special.

On August 31, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do the plan, but I followed a nutrition plan when I did Beachbody and I could do it again. This time however, things were different. I had a sister who decided to eat the same meals as me and follow the guidelines relatively closely so I wouldn’t be alone. I also worked from home, so meal prep was important, but packing a lunch every day wasn’t a hassle. Quitting alcohol wasn’t hard for me, but getting all my water and limiting my snacking was hard. I wanted nachos for two weeks straight and Danielle was so nice about it, she offered to make some on plan for me. I eventually got my free meal and it was nachos from 540 North (the best kind), I was super sick. The rest of the six weeks went by really well and I decided to start her workout plans. I lost 12 pounds in my first six weeks and then I went on a small vacation and gained 5 pounds. It happens.

I won‘t recap the entire year, but I will highlight the big moments. Like when I officially lost 20 pounds. It took 12 weeks for me to lose 20 pounds, which I thought was super slow, but turns out that’s the best for me. Then at Christmas, I made a comparison from Christmas 2019. My face was completely different and I felt I had my face back. I started walking a lot more during the pandemic and I kept that up during my year with The Clean Fork. I actually am looking forward to some fall/winter/spring walks this year.

My body changed all year and I was really proud that I was able to lose weight during a pandemic when gyms were living their own nightmares. Happy to say I grew out of my parents gym and started lifting heavy at the gym when restrictions changed. I started lifting 2-5 pounds and I am now lifting 15-35 pounds. I am strong.

I was so uncomfortable in my body, I constantly compared myself to others, and I was in a lot of pain all the time.

It started being about weight-loss, but eventually it stopped being about weight-loss and more about being active and strong enough to live the lifestyle I want. During January to April, I hit 30 pounds lost, but it took a ton of work mentally. Then I tried to maintain this summer, but when I say I had something to do every weekend since May, I mean it. In fairness, I probably gained some weight, but my clothing still fits, I don’t see it as a setback, and I didn’t lose the mentality of loving taking care of myself. Summer is really hard, but I am still proud of myself.

Heres what I thought a lot this year:

1) Losing weight is mentally exhausting. Danielle was there every step of the way and made sure I took maintenance breaks, so I didn’t burn myself out trying to lose weight. It was never about losing weight, it was about finding a lifestyle that worked for me.

2) Boundaries are important. I wasn’t going to be able to do everything all the time, but when I wanted to be on plan and have fun, Danielle was there to make sure we had lines I could say so everyone at the table understood and I could keep my hard work.

3) It’s hard to lose weight and keep the lifestyle you had. I was really really ready to change my lifestyle and lose weight. When I look back, I had to make changes and I was happy I did. Less joint pain is high on the list of reasons why.

4) You can eat at a restaurant and not feel like a trash can afterwards. Danielle offered tricks to eat at a restaurant and it was actually fun and I ate well. I don’t miss the bun when I get a burger.

5) Not being hungover and waking up early makes me happy. When I go to bed early and wake up early, I am filling my cup and I started to realize that I actually wasn’t missing out because I was choosing to be happy and energized at 7am instead.

6) The glow comes when you take care of yourself. It all came together this year when I started doing the Clean Fork. Danielle, told me to do the things I had always been told to do, but since I was paying her, I actually did them. I valued her opinion and as I started drinking my water, eating my balanced meals, and exercising regularly, a magical thing happened. The pieces of the puzzle started to form. The therapy in 2019 allowed me to stop doubting myself and The Clean Fork in 2020 gave me the tools to take care of myself. All together, I have found myself really loving who I am.

7) It’s okay if others are moving faster than you and it’s okay to not be super tiny. I still wear a large, I buy a size 10-12 pant, some clothes are still tight. I thought I would be a size medium and wear a size 8 pant. I re-adjusted my expectations to not be disappointed and actually just happy to be where I am instead of worrying about being at a specific place.

I am authentic to myself and I find myself justifying less and doing things that make me happy. My social anxiety will always make an appearance and I still have moments where I don’t want to take care of myself. Those are all okay, I am a human. I am really proud of the work I have put into myself. Weight-loss, my hair growing back, the glow, and the confidence are all side effects of actually taking the time to do what is right for my body to feel happy with myself.

Finding self-love isn’t always easy, but when you start listening to the voice that says “You actually want to do this”, it’s very eye opening and the love comes flooding in. I am a strong independent woman and I am here for myself above everything else.

All my love,


Here’s the difference a year can make when you take care of yourself.

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