Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

…It’s a very good place to start. I won’t start singing the Sound of Music, but I do want to share a little more about me and why I started this blog.

After graduating high school in 2009, I moved from Southern California to attend Arizona State University. After a full year of copious amounts pizza and terrible sleep habits, I moved back home 15 pounds heavier and with full blown anxiety and depression. On a happier note, I did meet my future husband in February of 2010, but if you told me I was going to marry him then I would have told you to “shut the front door.”

In June 2010, I got a job as a Barista at a popular coffee chain and spent the next year over-caffeinated and overindulging in pastries before I realized that I was unhappy and needed a change. I had alienated all of my friends because depression sucks and anxiety made me cancel every plan. Community college was not doing it for me and that is no shade to community colleges, I just felt unfocused and stagnant. So I decided to move back to Tempe on my 20th birthday, July 30, 2011.

Over the next six and a half years I would start dating my husband, Doug, change my college major from Architecture, to Aerospace Engineering (I failed to many classes to continue in that degree), to “I don’t know what the f*ck I’m doing with my life,” and finally to Industrial Engineering. The summer of 2017 I found myself very unexpectedly pregnant one semester before I was supposed to graduate (more on that later). Doug and I got engaged in September, had Addison in October, and I finally graduated from ASU with a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering in December. It was quite a year.

During this entire time I continued to work for the coffee company, promoting to Shift Supervisor, and helping open two new locations in the Phoenix area. In many ways I am so grateful to that job because it had some amazing benefits as a part-time employee, but waking up at 3:30 only led to more over-caffeinating and even more pastries. For someone who self-medicated with sugar, it was a terrible place to be. If I hadn’t left that job, I would probably be a Type II diabetic.

Seven years of drinking sugary espresso beverages led me to gain around 40 pounds; my psoriasis had spread from my arms and legs to my neck and parts of my face where I couldn’t cover it up; and my acne was worse than when I was a teenager. I remember looking in the mirror one morning and feeling utter disgust at the person looking back at me. I had no self confidence. The thought of leaving the house to go to the grocery store could set off a panic attack. I was inexplicably exhausted and always close to tears. When Doug had work and I didn’t I would stay in bed forever. My house was messy. My poor dogs did not get the attention they deserved.

The real breaking point was dress shopping in May of 2017 for some event I can’t recall. I felt like a potato trying on dress after dress in larger and larger sizes and NOTHING fit. Nothing looked flattering or made me feel pretty. In hindsight, I was unknowingly about 18 weeks pregnant at the time (for many reasons that I will elaborate on later), and my hormones were probably out of control in that moment. I melted into a puddle of tears on the dressing room floor in Macy’s.

Shortly afterward, Doug convinced me to sign up for a Planet Fitness membership and he showed me how to work out in a gym. I had followed fitness programs at home before, but had never committed to making a habit. I stopped eating pastries at work and cut way back on the sugar and espresso. I suddenly had natural energy and motivation. My depression melted away and I had much less anxiety. I weighed less at the end of my pregnancy than I did at the beginning of the year. In fact, when I came home from the hospital, all of my clothes were two sizes too big. For the first time in a very long time I had confidence in myself. I had just birthed a small human, my body was literally producing food for her, and actually liked myself. I felt like Superwoman.

I like to think that getting pregnant saved my life and my relationship with my husband. It was the motivator to take a look at my mental and physical health and make some drastic improvements. I realized, through breastfeeding, that I was allergic to dairy and eliminating it cleared up most of my skin issues. I used to have terrible seasonal allergies and an food allergy to avocados. I haven’t had allergies in three years and avocados are their own food group in my diet (I will literally eat guacamole with just a spoon).

In 2018 we got married and nine months later we had baby two! Nineteen months separate Addison and Jensen…yup, we went for two under two. After graduation, we decided that I could be a full-time mom and it just made sense to have the babies now and start my career afterward. While it’s been challenging, getting to watch my girls grow and learn everyday has been the most rewarding experience over the last three years. It has also given me the time and motivation to learn about food, nutrition, and how to constantly improve my mental health. I have spent countless hours researching, reading, and listening to podcasts on how to become my most joy filled self and I just wanted to share what I’ve learned with all of you.

I don’t want any of you to feel like I’m fat shaming, or fat phobic. I absolutely believe that anyone can be happy at any size. This was just my personal journey to find joy in life again and I happened to find that in a smaller dress size, not because of it. The changes I made in my diet and lifestyle are because I needed to heal myself from the inside and it just so happened that it had a profound impact on my physical shape (as is expected when you switch to whole, natural, unprocessed, unpackaged foods).

I can’t wait to fill this space with anecdotes of my successes and failures so that we can all learn and grow together. Let me know of any topic you’d like me to write about in the comments! Let’s do this.

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