Growing up in your average household, health never really crossed my mind. I ate whatever my parents had in the fridge and unintentionally maintained an active lifestyle, simply because I loved being outside and the people I were around just did things. Anything having to do with weight wasn't something that I cared about nor could relate to... at the time.
Back in high school, you could find me constantly busy with things like work, trying to maintain a 4.0, attempting to make it into that cool social crowd (you know how high school is..), being on dance team year around, hanging out at youth group, volunteering, or anything else that peaked my interest at the time - I would do it. What I ate was not on my radar - so you can just assume that what types of foods I was eating was DEFINITELY not either. Yet, out of all of the basic food groups, carbohydrates were what I could consistently point out. (You know, the processed, bleached kinds we typically think of when we think of carbs - not the healthy greens and fruit that are also found in that category). Carbs were, and still are, my favorite food group. I remember always looking forward to dance team competitions where we danced for maybe 1 hour of the day and then got to load up on all of the filling and fatty pasta foods that the dance moms would amazingly bring us (which now I understand why the bathrooms always smelled so bad at dance competitions..). I loved it though; what went in went out, and weight control NEVER crossed my mind.
It wasn't until moving away for college that my young metabolism began to slow down, or that my burrito and pizza intake along with my lack of daily exercise grew unbalanced - I still haven't decided which one yet to willingly blame. The very moment that I first felt unhappy with my body is still with me like it was yesterday. Back home for Christmas break and only 4 months into my freshman year, I was sitting in my car in the mall parking lot crying to my mom on the phone after shopping that morning, explaining to her how the clothes I had once been able to fit and look good in before was not the case anymore. That was the moment that I realized I had gained the oh-so-common freshman 15, yet more. (I honestly don't even know how much because I was too guilty to look, but I knew my size XS to S high school self was gone). Even though in the realm of life, gaining weight is part of the journey, whether for positive or negative reasons, this was the very first time I had ever considered it as a negative. I had hit a low point.
From winter break to spring break, I made mini changes in my lifestyle and started learning how to be self motivated. It wasn't until a family trip to Sunriver Resort, a popular spot in Oregon, that I fully committed to changing towards a healthier me. While everyone else was out swimming at the pool one day (which I did not join in on being too embarrassed by my body), I took my very first "before" picture of myself in the bathroom mirror. From that moment on, I jumped in hard. I began with lots of running after hearing that it helped with fast weight loss. This was a big change for me, in and of itself, because I had always previously hated running. Then I started changing my diet to a more vegetable based one. No more late night burrito runs or cheesy calzones at the college cafeteria hangout for me. Not knowing what I was even reading or doing but trying to adjust accordingly, health and diet books or being at the gym was how I found myself spending all of my free time instead of hanging out with friends or family. The more time went by, the more I found myself getting into new, healthier habits. I fell so in love with everything involved in the journey to a healthier lifestyle (even back when the strictness of my new lifestyle wasn't always the best for me) that I even changed my university major from nursing to nutrition.
Shown above: pictures taken of a mud run during the trip to Sunriver Resort, to other fun runs and 'not-so-fun' runs (aka half marathons), to a very strict yet very fit part of my life after high school, to being told that fat is your best friend while in culinary school... and randomness throughout my fitness journey up to now.
Five years from that decision in the bathroom - from the lows of realizing a lifestyle change is needed, to the extreme no fat fitness fanatic, to now - I have come a long way and have learned a ton from school, experiences and all of the people that I have met along the way. Far off from all of the restriction eating and guilt if I don't hit the gym for a couple of days, I am happily living a balanced lifestyle, which is what has driven me to start this blog.
I would not trade my learning experiences and this process for anything. I strongly believe that everyone has their own health journey, whether from weight gain/loss, unexpected health implications, or just personal goals to bettering themselves. Some days we fall back and some days we go forward. It is all a journey that does not end and THAT is what I love about health. I am so excited to start this blog and share with you all that I have learned as well as learn from all of you. Enjoy.