Welcome to my life as a twenty-one year old Nutrition student with an infinite sweet tooth, everlasting appetite, and love for a great photo
My journey into the fitness world was much of an accident. Although I grew up in an ‘all things healthy’ kind of family, I never would’ve imagined I would be here. It all started during my sophomore year of high school when my good friend and I started following fitness accounts on Instagram. This was before it started to get really big and there were only about a handful of accounts that gave us (somewhat) promising information. The other thousands involved half naked, naturally skinny girls who loved the hashtag fitness. I remember being completely astonished with how different these girls looked. And by different I mean, the complete opposite with what I saw in the mirror. And that comparison was the beginning of a very long process.
These pictures happened daily – I liked checking to see if my abs had magically appeared yet. And they didn’t. I shared these photos of my body with the entire world and I even gave myself some hashtags, you know, #fitfam #fitspo #fitspiration. I didn’t see a beautiful, strong, and healthy body in these pictures – I saw potential for likes and followers. As the fitness world swept the internet, I was doing everything to fit the mold and compete in the biggest popularity contest, Instagram became a girl eat girl kind of community, and posting half naked pictures became acceptable – as long as it was for #fitness.
As high school went on and eventually came to an end, my mindset was no different. After years of worshiping and hoping, I felt completely defeated.
I transfered universities twice within my first year of college, not exactly every parents dream. Just before leaving for college number one, I decided to start a blog known as Keg Stands & Kettle Bells. I was so excited to be going away to school, meeting new people, and really starting over. I had big dreams of connecting with other college girls who wanted to become/stay healthy in school. (-like I had any clue right?!) I was dead set on doing everything I could to avoid the notorious ‘freshman fifteen’ – I went to the gym twice a day, cardio in the morning and lifting in the evening. I stuck to protein, lean meats, and somewhat little carbs; everything that I typically did before I left for school.
A few months in, I was introduced to a powerlifting gym back at home known as Nashdog. I was skeptical at first, I mean I’ve only seen dads at my local commercial gym, and these guys weren’t dads. Loud bangs, grunts, heavy weights, and chalk filled air. And that’s what I fell in love with. Going to the gym didn’t mean being there for an hour to reach 700 calories on my calorie tracker, it meant picking up some heavy weights and testing your limits. I didn’t care about being skinny or looking good, I wanted to be as strong as possible.
I started to follow an ‘If it fits your macros’ (#IIFYM) diet and became obsessed with the thought of being able to eat whatever, as long as it ‘fit my macros’ – and of course because all of my #fitspirations swore by it. Well, I gained twenty pounds within six months. I’m five foot three and 150 pounds does not look good on me. I counted my calories religiously, I still thought posing half naked was cool, and I was willing to say just about anything that was trendy. So in other words, I was exactly where I started.
I noticed changes with my body more so than just gaining weight. I started to feel angry (a lot), have anxiety (a lot), and I really started to hate my body (again). I soon found out my liver and kidneys weren’t working properly, my hormones were out of control, and my diet absolutely needed to change. I was asking so much from myself but I wasn’t giving my body the things it needed. I relied on supplements, processed proteins, and sugar alcohols. As long as the label said 0g of sugar and a lot of grams of protein – I was eating it. The furthest thing from a healthy diet – I know.
After realizing Chemistry wasn’t my calling, I decided to transfer to Arizona State University to finish degree and pursue my passion in Nutrition and Dietetics. I started getting serious with my blog and loved writing again. I had finally felt like I was doing something right and could see myself in this for the rest of my life. I wanted a job that I was going to love doing every day, and could truly help people. I am majoring in Nutrition Communications, which will allow me be a nutritionist and a writer. Having transferred twice within my freshman year, I was extremely scared and often times felt guilty, but I had to follow my heart, and that pesky gut that’s always right.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I’m proud to say with every mistake I have grown smarter, stronger, and more confident. They say you have to dabble with both sides of a spectrum to find your balance. The Healthiest Me is all about being true to yourself, nourishing your body, and not missing out on the delicious parts of life. I’m so glad you’re here!
Along With Me, Comes We: Meet Chad
Remember that powerlifting gym I mentioned? Oh right.. it’s his hehe
Chad is the head coach and owner of Nashdog Performance Center, where he trains high school and college level athletes (and me!). After starting in his parents two car garage almost five years ago, he is now known as Youngstown’s elite strength and conditioning coach.
When we’re not training together, we love traveling, being outside, cooking and eating delicious food. He’s my biggest support system and always inspiring me to chase my dreams and love myself for who I am. He is truly the greatest blessing and I don’t know where I would be without him!