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Kelsey Wells’ Before-and-After Photo Shows How She Stopped Feeling Self-Conscious About Her Muscular Body

Health logoHealth 3/12/2018 Blake Bakkila

a woman wearing a swimsuit © Provided by TIME Inc. Strong, toned legs like hers are something to be "da*n proud of," she said—and we couldn't agree more!

One of our favorite fitness influencers just shared inspiring words about her relationship with her body. On Saturday, personal trainer Kelsey Wells posted a side-by-side photo with a caption about how she’s embraced her muscular figure.

“The first time I saw a photo of myself flexing like this (years ago when I first began consistently exercising) my first reaction was not kind. I felt uncomfortable and my automatic mental response was to feel self conscious of my legs,” she wrote, later adding, “I just wanted to be thin.

Most of Wells’ social media content includes videos of her routines (check out her six butt-sculpting exercises here), before-and-after snaps of people doing her PWR program, and photos with her family. In this post, however, she talked about how far she’s come since the days when she dreamed of being thin.

RELATED: 5 Inspiring Fitness Influencers to Follow on Instagram

Calling herself a “glass half full person,” she said she’s been encouraged by other strong women who have filled her Instagram feed with positive messages about self-love. “I am proud that I have unlearned the destructive body image narrative that was [ingrained] in me for so long,” she continued. “And I am proud to now help change the societal narrative from the one I grew up with to one of SELF LOVE.”

For Wells, it was all about adjusting her mindset. “Now I look at my legs with gratitude—bruises and scars and stretch marks and all,” she said. “And I’m d*mn proud of the muscle I’ve built.”

This is not the first time she’s spoken out about loving her muscles. Last September, she clapped back at commenters who called her “manly.”

Comments along the lines of "you're looking manly" or "careful you don't want to be bulky" or "weightlifting isn't feminine" never cease to amaze me.??????????????? I choose not to respond to negativity, but I do have something to say about this and I want to say it loud and clear. NOT in response to those who have left negative messages and comments, but instead to ALL MY FELLOW WOMEN who have ever received a similar comment or been told they need to do/be something different to be beautiful or feminine. THE ONLY THING A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE IS TO BE HERSELF. We empower ourselves when we are living our truth and doing what we are PASSIONATE about with our WHOLE HEARTS. I was always a girly girl growing up and I love getting dressed up on occasion. What has surprised me though is finding I feel most beautiful when I'm gross and sweaty in the gym when I'm pushing myself in my training, and even more so as I'm wrestling on the floor with my son or any time I'm looking into that little face and teaching him about his world. . There is 100% beauty and femininity in lifting weights. Just as there is in dancing. There is beauty in MOTHERHOOD. There is beauty in marriage. There is beauty in being a homemaker. There is beauty in being single. There is beauty in pursuing a career. There is beauty in education, in learning both inside and outside of school. There is beauty in public speaking. There is beauty in private, sincere conversation. There is beauty in writing and cooking and cleaning and singing and playing sports and playing instruments and anything and everything else you might enjoy, because simply there is SO MUCH BEAUTY in YOU, you just need to choose to see it. And it has nothing to do with what you look like. So free yourself of the opinions of others and the beauty standards of society. Pay attention to the moments in life you FEEL beautiful. What are you doing? DO MORE OF THAT. ???? . kelseywells.com/app

A post shared by KELSEY WELLS (@kelseywells) on Sep 22, 2017 at 7:41am PDT

"THE ONLY THING A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE IS TO BE HERSELF," Wells proclaimed in the post. “I feel most beautiful when I'm gross and sweaty in the gym when I'm pushing myself in my training, and even more so as I'm wrestling on the floor with my son or any time I'm looking into that little face and teaching him about his world.”

Gallery: How to get a great core workout during any exercise (courtesy Women's Health)

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