Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Journey to Finding Happiness: Body Image and Beyond


Well, my day started at 5:45 when I woke up naturally, which hardly ever happens. Normally the alarm alerts me that my day is starting.  Jax, my pup, was anxious to get outside, so I rolled out of bed and let him out.  I saw Sage starting to wakeup on the monitor so I prepped a bottle and went to the back door to let Jax back in and quickly smelled the scent of skunk.  Jax ran to the bedroom and sat on our floor and I knew I had made a big mistake letting him in.  My husband immediately woke up and shooed Jax back outside onto the deck leaving the lovely scent he had brought into the house.  Fantastic.

Thankfully my mom was arriving in the next hour.  I left to go to work in a frenzy fearing that I smelled like skunk.  My mom was on baby duty and my husband on Jax duty.  An hour into my workday I got a text that my husband had purchased cinnamon pinecones and my house smelled like Christmas.  I’ll take that!


In my last post I announced that I am now a Beachbody Health Coach – woohoo!  In reality, that’s just a title though and it’s going to take time before I feel like I truly own it.  As promised, I’m going to start by sharing my journey as it relates to body image and food.  I think everyone has a story to tell about how he/she feels about themself when it comes to food, fitness and overall health.  I think that in order for me to help others, I need to be honest about the fact that I wasn’t always so content with my body.  It’s been a work-in-progress essentially since college.  There are key things that happened in my life that were hugely beneficial for me and I’ll make sure to touch on those factors.  My journey has led me to wanting to coach others because I believe that eating and exercise does not need to be a stressful thing.  It can be rewarding and so much fun!  But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me begin.

I played field hockey all through high school which kept me looking athletic and fit.  My first serious issues with body image didn’t happen until college. During my sophomore year I was eating and drinking more and working out less, and I packed on a little weight.  My clothes were snug and it took me by surprise.  I had quit field hockey (played freshman year) because my heart wasn’t in it anymore.  I didn’t keep up with any sort of fitness routine, but I did keep up with late night eating and weekend drinking.  By the end of the year, I was really unhappy with how I looked.  I'm not sure how I stumbled across the idea to count my calories, but I did, and I started counting every calorie I consumed.  

I jumped deep into the game of calorie counting the summer before my junior year and it worked.  I figured out how many calories I could eat to lose weight and I stuck to it.  I was obsessed.  By the beginning of my junior year, I had lost the weight I had gained and a few pounds more.  I liked the comments I got from friends and the attention.  Only, I wasn't happy deep down.  I didn’t like the way I felt about myself.  Calorie counting was a vicious game that had sucked me in and consumed me.  I thought about it all the time.  Looking back, I feel sad for the girl that I was at that time.

My calorie counting and obsession with being skinny continued for the rest of college.  It was worse at times and better at others.  However, I started running my senior year and it was the best thing that happened to me at that time.  I threw myself into running the way I had with calorie counting, but running was my good friend.  Counting calories was hurting me mentally and physically, and running was my friend offering support in my time of need.  My goal was to run a marathon.  It was a big goal, but I wanted to do it for me.  I bought a book and started following a training plan, and from January to May my senior year running was my life.  I loved it (and still do)!  It was incredibly rewarding and something I did on my own.  I covered miles on the country roads around my campus and it brought me so much happiness.  I still was consumed by being skinny, but running was my happy place.  Running also changed my body.  It brought back the athletic look of my muscles that used to be there when I was playing field hockey.  I was proud of how running was changing me.  I felt accomplished and was proud of myself after each hard run.  That marathon didn't happen for years later, but the idea was planted in my mind that year.

Running also inspired me to eat better.  It was the first time I really started to think about the food I was putting in my body and how it would help me as a runner.  I worked as a cashier at the local grocery store in college and runners from the college cross country team would come through my checkout line.  I paid attention to what foods they were buying.  My mindset around food was starting to change.  It wasn't all about calories now, it was slowly becoming more about nutrition.  

Graduating college was exciting and scary.  I hurt my IT band at this time (probably overtraining) and didn’t run for the year following college.  I went through an ugly breakup and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  All of this threw me back into my old ways for the first six months after college.  Then I came across the book that changed my life.  In the fall of 2009, I was at a bookstore on my lunch hour and read a review in a magazine about a new book out called The Kind Diet.  I knew nothing about being vegan and didn't know anyone who followed a vegan diet.  It was entirely new to me and I was inspired beyond words.  I wanted the health benefits!  I wanted to help the planet!  I wanted to feel amazing!  Learning to eat a proper vegan diet took me some time, but in the end it’s been one of the best things that’s happened to me.  Some people think that a vegan diet limits what one can eat, but for me, it opened up a world of incredible foods, superfoods, delicious foods…!  Meeting my husband was also crucial to my development.  He taught me a lot more about what to eat to be healthier and stronger and I started eating foods I never had in the past.  Chipotle quickly became my favorite place to eat.  I no longer feared food.  Also, my husband got me back into running.  We ran a half marathon together in the first few months of knowing each other.  I was eating more and running more and it all felt sooo good.

In the years that followed my discovering a vegan diet, I did not stick to it 100%.  I went back to eating meat in 2012, but by January 2013, I once again embraced a vegan diet and haven’t had meat since December 2012.  However, I have dairy occasionally now.  I eat eggs and cheese slips in occasionally.  I call myself a plant-based, whole foods eater these days and I’m so proud to be a plant-based eater because it changed my life.  I no longer count calories.  I focus on the quality of food.

I love to cook and bake new delicious recipes.  I've got a stack of probably 30 cookbooks that I'm constantly flipping through to try something new.  I thank my plant-based diet for a wonderful pregnancy and a quick recovery after having my son.  I thank my plant-based diet for keeping me strong and healthy during those early months of serious sleep deprivation after having my son.  My baby boy is quickly becoming a toddler and I want to always be able to run around with him.  I want him to look up to his mama and embrace food and fitness as he grows up.  I want him to know the joy of food and never fear it.

I eat plant-based, whole foods because I feel my best that way.  I’m constantly reading to learn as much as I can.  My goals these days are more fitness related.  I want to get back into running and I want to get stronger and toned.  I’m excited to kickstart my journey with the CIZE fitness program.  

Well, that's the short version of how it went down.  Just writing it out shows me how far I've come and where I want to go.  I want to be the best version of me.  I want to feel my best.  I want to love myself and be proud of ME.  Most importantly, I know now that all of this is possible.

  My Shakeology arrived today and the CIZE fitness program is in transit.  I’ll be sharing my adventure every step of the way.  I would love if you'd like to join in!  We can go on this beautiful journey together.  Email me at if you’re interested or if you’d like chat more about what I can offer you on your journey.

Can you relate to my journey?

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