Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.

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I gained about 60 pounds during my pregnancy with my first baby. And that was six years ago! Um, where did the time go? Since then I’ve been on a slow journey getting back to my healthy weight while having three more babies during the process. I mean, having kids is awesome! Somehow every time I get to a certain weight or size I become pregnant again. Yeah, yeah, I know…you don’t just happen to wake up pregnant without, um, well you know.

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My journey back to my healthy weight isn’t over, in fact it’s just begun again. Now that I’m not having any more children, I can focus on me without worrying about having another baby. You know, because my track record is spot on. Here are my main reasons to lose the weight and lose it for good!

1. Overall improvement of health: Per the Center of Disease Control, losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of your bodyweight will increase your health by improving your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and for me personally, my mood. I was depressed. Gaining so much weight caused me to think horrible thoughts about myself and caused me to withdraw from others. When I started to lose the weight, my mood improved and I started making more appearances with friends and family.

2. To sleep better: Heck, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when you have young children and/or are pregnant, but the process of losing weight allowed my body to rest efficiently. So no matter how many times my 16-month-old would wake up crying, I would still wake feeling refreshed.

>> Read more: How Pregnancy Affects Your Sleep Each Trimester


3. Building my confidence: When I am not actively working towards my goal, I have a tendency to speak negatively about myself and I will even slouch as a way to “hide” from others. When losing weight, I am kinder when speaking about myself and I stand taller. Just the other day I was doing the dishes and I felt like I grew a couple of inches! I mean it’s not like the counter was lowered. I even started to put myself out there and applied to become a Resident Mom!

>> Read more: 10 Confidence and Mood Boosters Too Good To Skip

4. To be able to play with my kids as they grow: My six year old LOVES to run around. I felt awful when I couldn’t keep up or was just too tired. Now that I’ve lost some weight, I am chasing him around and playing soccer with him. It’s so much fun to be active together as a family. A huge perk is that my kids’ moods improve when we have family workouts.

5. To buy clothing from one of my favorite stores (the largest size is a 12) and to fit back into my favorite pair of jeans: I saved this one for last as I believe that it’s the least important. It’s definitely a benefit when you can start shopping in one of your favorite stores and there are certainly more options available in smaller sizes at most stores in your local mall. I used this as my last resort motivation. In fact, I just tried on my favorite jeans and they almost fit!

>> Read more: Legs That Don’t Quit: Exercises To Rock Your Skinny Jeans

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My weight loss journey isn’t over but I believe in myself and I know that I will get to my healthy weight or size. If you are unsure about whether to begin your own journey, I recommend creating your own list of pros and cons. Be honest with yourself; starting a weight loss journey may mean giving up (or reducing access) to some of the things you enjoy now.

What would your life look like in five years if you lost the weight? Think about this: On a scale of 1-10, how important is it for you to lose the weight (10 being extremely important)? If you aren’t at an 8 or above, think about what it would take to get you there. Finding and writing down your motivation will remind you of what is at stake and what is possible should you achieve your goal. Post your motivation somewhere that you will see many times a day. Put that motivation up in your face and start! Just start one half-pound or pound at a time.

It’s not a race, it’s a journey. YOUR journey to break through the old you and become the healthier you. What is your number one reason to begin a new journey?

>> Read more by Kelly: What Hiring a Personal Trainer Did For Me