"Please don't become one of those people who are so consumed with the 'ideal look' that they totally lose touch with reality. Look inside your heart more often - not into the mirror." That's a quote from my (unnecessarily) concerned mother after she read my first blog post.

I have to give Mom props because her words are as sentimental as a quote from Mother Theresa. I hear what she's saying, but I think my point was lost on her. Do I come across as narcissistic? A little. Does it sounds like I lost my sense of self and put too much emphasis on my outer appearance? Maybe. But, allow me to further explain and put my vanity into perspective.

I certainly take pride in how I look and I don't mind the occasional compliment on my ass. More importantly than a bangin' body or clothes that fit, is how I feel about myself, not how others feel about me. When I am active, I have more energy and feel more focus. When I am strong, I feel healthy and self-sufficient. When I am feeling good about myself, I'm confident and self-assured - not because I look good, but because I FEEL good. And when I feel good, everything in life is just a little bit more manageable.

What is the ideal look anyway? I think we all have our own ideals and I think that's okay, so long as they are realistic and healthy. My self-defined ideal is strength and ability, not dress size and weight. I have to work with what I have, ya know? I'm 5"1' with a petite frame and an athletic build. I never pay attention to the scale because when I exercise, I build muscle quickly, and I actually GAIN weight. So for me, I don't feel accomplished when I fit into a size zero; I feel accomplished when I have the strength to head-to-head with a man in a push-up competition. There is definitely an ideal and standard here, but they are ideals and standards that I set for myself. For me that means getting more compliments on my biceps, than on my ass.

What Do You Think?