Beauty is defined as intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind. Anytime you refer to someone or something as beautiful, you always find yourself fascinated by the image looking back at you. From my perspective, beauty has a different meaning. Beauty is something that comes from the soul and the spirit, the way one views life. It’s a positive mind. It has taken me so many years to come to this realization. Before I had this epiphany, I believed that beauty was only skin deep.

Growing up I was always that chubby girl, the little girl who was a bit awkward and very silent. I was always very shy to meet people, because I always felt like they were judging everything about my being. Prior to high school, I didn’t really have close friends. They were mostly acquaintances or classmates; it was so difficult to open up to kids my age, because I really didn’t feel like I had anything in common with them. Also, I was just not happy with my own person; I didn’t feel pretty or cute, especially with my weight problem, my big bottle eye glasses, and my not so perfect smile. I felt like everything about me was all wrong and didn’t know why I was not flourishing like so many of my other classmates. My only support at the time was my mom and my grandparents. They were always the ones to tell me how beautiful I really was and how life would have big things for me when I grew up.

Now here I am, a Healthy Valley Makeover Challenge winner. Little did I know that my grandparents and my mom were right all along. This Makeover Challenge has been a ride for sure; it has been an incredible blessing that I will never ever forget. I can never thank Claudia and Mauricio Portillo enough for all that they have done for my family and me. Thanks to them I have been able to meet amazing people such as Dr. Pena, Dr. Twahirwa, and Drs. Lopez Jr. and Sr.

It is because of Dr. Pena that the light is back in my eyes and I will no longer use contact lenses or eye glasses. Dr. Twahirwa has provided me with the tools to begin and maintain a healthy life style change. He has also given me the ability to conquer what I view as my biggest flaw of all, my weight. Thanks to Drs. Lopez Jr. and Sr., I will have that million dollar smile my face was always meant to flaunt, which includes teeth that sparkle like diamonds with the color of pearls.

I truly believe that destiny always knows best. Thankfully my destiny put in my path this amazing opportunity to receive the benefits of this Healthy Makeover. This challenge has been life changing; it has made me realize how much I am capable of. Never again will I put myself down telling myself I’m not good enough. I now keep my thoughts so much more positive than before, and every day that passes I make sure to tell myself that I am beautiful, not only skin deep, but in mind, body, and soul.

By Denice Ledezma