I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body for most of my life.

At puberty, my body changed dramatically. I developed a booty and my pear-shaped body made me feel insecure and plump. No matter how hard I tried – from crazy diets to exercising – my big, round booty was always there.

Girls would tell me I needed to lose weight, while the boys would tell me I had a great body. I hated shopping for jeans and let’s not even talk about swimsuits – I was the girl who wore board shorts and bikini tops to hide my rump.

In my professional life, I was surrounded by beautiful, super-thin models, and skeletal waif-like editors – both male and female. It only made me feel more self-conscious about my looks.

I will never forget when one of the waifs watched me eat a bagel and then told me “You shouldn’t eat carbs.” So I cut out carbs, cold turkey. The thinner my waist became, the more voluptuous my booty appeared. I hated it! Why wouldn’t my backside flatten out like all the super-thin fashion girls around me?

And then, bam! Jennifer Lopez exploded on the scene.

She was a petite girl (like me) with a voluptuous backside (like me) and everyone loved her. She started to change the perception of women’s body types. Suddenly, it was ok to be curvy and pair-shaped (like me!).

Watching designers clamor to dress her was empowering to me. I suddenly started to embrace my body and my booty. I wore fitted pants and pencil skirts. I felt sexy. I found my idea of perfect.

But my newfound body happiness lasted only for a brief time. I got married, quickly became pregnant and everything changed again, especially after baby number two. Who had time to work out? I was lucky if I could brush my hair before taking the kiddies to school and getting to work in time.

Then boom! Beyonce hit the scene.

Just like the decade before, I believe that with eating right and exercising, I can gain back my body confidence. Only this time around it’s not so easy.

I’m now in my early forties and have to exercise a lot harder to keep my booty in shape. I keep images of Beyonce and Jennifer on my refrigerator door as motivation.

I embrace skinny jeans and leggings. And I am gaining the courage to wear slinky dresses and tight skirts. I’m feeling empowered, strong and sexy.

Thanks to these beautiful, bootylicious women, I believe in myself in every way.