I want to start this by highlighting that I would not be where I am without the grace and power of Jesus Christ. Trust me, I have tried over & over again to “fix” myself or figure things out by my own strength, and every time it fails. Only when I am able to rest & trust in the saving power of God through His son Jesus am I able to better love myself & believe truth about myself. If you are interested in learning more about what a relationship with Jesus looks like & how that can help bring healing in your own health, fitness, & body image journey, please find the “Contact Me” page on this website and shoot me an email! I would love to hear from you!
I struggle with extremes– just like anyone else I have struggled with both extreme indulging and unhealthy habits, but also have swung to the opposite extreme of over-exercising and excessively restrictive eating habits. I have gone overboard with feasting, but I’ve also had a few bouts of too much fasting. Extremes are my struggle, but I am thankful for the way my extremes have forced me to search out the middle ground and seek balance. That’s what this blog and my services are all about– finding a balance that leaves us healthy, happy, and dependent on Jesus, not our own strength or willpower or determination.
Living an indulgent, unhealthy lifestyle in college, (and gaining 20+ pounds because of it!), I finally decided to stop my fast-food-gorging and sedentary ways, and started eating healthier, taking spin classes, and training for a half-marathon in 2011. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience for me. I lost weight and got in shape, sure, but I also realized the things my body could do when I was simply determined and disciplined. I felt all of the sudden like anything was possible!
This was great and I continued to live freely in my new healthy habits until something took a turn for the worse in my heart in 2012. For some reason, the first time ever in my life, I became self-conscious of my body and wanted just a little bit more results than what I was seeing. I started to get into a cycle of calorie-counting, skipping meals, exercising to make up for meals eaten, etc. I spiraled into this until fall of 2012 when I confessed this way of thinking, deleted my calorie-counting apps, and sought freedom. I stopped weighing myself and had major accountability to back me up. I kinda was free…kinda. I said all the right things and did all the right actions, but my heart was not free.
In 2013 I got certified to start teaching group fitness classes and this started my love for fitness. I decided a year later to quit my easy, safe accounting job and to pursue personal training and group fitness full time in 2014. Around this time, I also started to eat a paleo diet, ran four half-marathons, and started this blog.
Even though I was working out a lot and eating cleaner, I somehow started to gain a lot of weight back in this season of life. I know now looking back that it was due to stress and my overeating habits, and the high-fat diet I was eating, but at the time it was frustrating and confusing. I felt the pressure to look and be a certain way because now I was a trainer and instructor. I wanted to be a role model but I was gaining fat and couldn’t get it off.
Fall of 2014 my husband and I decided to train for a full marathon. On top of that I committed to 4 different part-time jobs. I was stressed out, to say the least. I felt so overcommitted that every part of my life felt like a huge F for failure. The only thing that felt controllable at the time was my marathon training, working out, and restricting my eating. I started to restrict my diet even more (basically only vegetables and lean protein) and worked out up to 3 or more hours a day, between all the running I was doing and all the classes I was teaching. I was a mess, but to me it “worked;” I lost 20+ pounds within about 2 months.
I was trucking along until right before our marathon when I got injured. In the midst of doctors appointments and tests, I found out that I have osteoporosis and my doctor was really concerned about my eating habits and overexercise tendencies. He diagnosed me with female athlete triad syndrome, and I was crushed. It was like everything I was doing was brought to my attention…all the ways I had been “coping” with my stress were out in the open and brought to the surface and I realized for the first time how destructive it was. The problem? I couldn’t stop. Reducing exercise to two hours a day felt horrible. I couldn’t get myself to eat bread or sugar without hating my body. I looked at myself in the mirror everyday and felt like I was overweight, even though I was at my lowest adult weight. I realized I had a true problem that I couldn’t just become aware of and get out of. I needed help.
I quit 3 out of my 4 part-time jobs in January 2015, started seeing a counselor, and basically started my life over. It was utterly humbling, awkward, and disappointing to say the least. But I had to be rebuilt. I had to be dug out from the inside. I struggled with severe depression, fatigue, lack of motivation…all signs of major adrenal fatigue from the months of over-stressing my body. It took months and months (and I’m still in the process) to rebuild my body and life.
In June of 2015 I finally turned a corner. I felt like God said that a trip to Puerto Rico with my mom and sister would be a turning point for me…and it truly was. I don’t know why, but I came back refreshed, happy, energized, and like myself again for the first time since December. I then felt God open the door before me to start personal training from my home again and to even start a women’s-only boot camp, with a focus on holistic, healthy, balanced fitness and health and safe environments for women to get stronger and grow healthy. I felt totally unworthy, but God started bringing people in and for the first time since I started fitness full-time, I saw training and empowering women through different eyes. It was deeply healing for me, and I’ve been running my services ever since by the grace of God.
I know this process is crazy imperfect and it would seem silly to post this on my blog for all my potential clients to see, but I am deeply thankful for the pain I went through and the extremes I bounced into because I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I am truly on the other side, even though still in the process of continually bringing myself into balance and giving myself grace. I want to teach women who have struggled with either extreme to do the same thing.
I hope this story blessed you! And if you made it to the end, I commend you ( I know it’s lengthy!) Please feel free to contact me if you resonate with any of my journey- I would love to connect and encourage you in any way possible!