I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico with two brothers and one sister, all of us born within four years, and our wonderfully supportive parents (and crazy – having us that closely together was a bold move). Upon graduating high school, I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder and moved to Denver shortly thereafter, where I have been ever since (save for a six-month period in which I traveled throughout Southeast Asia and subsequently moved in my with parents after I returned broke).
My journey with nutrition, fitness, and overall body image started in high school with what I’m sure was meant as an innocent comment regarding the fact that I consistently went back for a second helping of food like my older brother. Mind you, I was not overweight by any means, but I had put on a few pounds once puberty came a-knocking. I adopted a low-carb lifestyle that was all the rage at that point, in addition to engaging in high intensity exercise for 30-60 minutes per day. Not surprisingly, I lost weight quickly. This was highly motivating for the first few months, but it quickly turned into an obsession and my health started to deteriorate. Within six months, I lost my period, the palms of my hands started to peel, my mood was TERRIBLE, and I had difficultly focusing on anything else. My family remembers this time in my life pretty vividly simply because of my stellar mood.
When I moved away for college, I was surrounded by binge drinking, late night eating, eating junk food when hungover, and I participated in all of it! My weekends were filled with partying to excess, and my weekdays were spent swinging the pendulum to the other end of the spectrum in an attempt to control my weight. I became frustrated when my weight crept up, despite my obsessively controlled behavior during the week, and my weight ebbed and flowed throughout college as a result. When I returned from Italy after studying abroad during college, I was at my heaviest. I don’t regret any part of this time in my life, and I actually wish I had given myself permission to fully enjoy it without all of the internal judgment. It taught me what life is like when living in extremes, and it highlighted the fact that I need a balanced lifestyle to be happy in the long run.
Since I graduated college, my weight has changed in direct congruence with my lifestyle, priorities, and my internal state (i.e. happiness). When I was studying for my CPA exam full-time while living with my parents after college, partying was essentially non-existent, and yoga and meditation became staples in my routine. As a result, my eating habits stabilized, I made my emotional and physical well-being a top priority, and I gradually lost the extra weight I had gained. When I moved to Denver to start my career in public accounting a few months later, the partying crept back in, my weight increased as a result, and my obsessively controlling behavior with food and exercise returned. This cycle repeated itself several times throughout my young adult life until I finally had enough with the extremes. I was utterly exhausted, and I decided that I needed to make a permanent change for myself in order to become the woman I wanted to be with the life I wanted to create for myself.
This need for a complete lifestyle change led me to quitting my corporate job at the end of 2013 and traveling throughout Southeast Asia for three months with a few girlfriends I managed to convince to come with me. That trip was life-changing for all four of us, and I struggled throughout several parts of the journey. I was placed in an environment completely outside of my comfort zone without any responsibilities to keep my mind occupied throughout the day, so I was forced to come face to face with the thoughts in my head and the dissonance between who I was and who I wanted to be. I could no longer avoid the layers of myself I had assumed over the years (i.e. gossiping and judgment of others, lack of boundaries, insecurities about my body, non-existent communication skills, that I was on a career track I hated, my victim mentality, etc.). I made a promise to myself on that trip: I will always continue to work on myself and will grow into the woman I want to be. At that moment, I failed to realize that this will be a lifelong endeavor, but it was the first step in changing my life from the inside out.
For the last three years, I have made changes to almost every area of my life, including my career, how I choose to spend my time, relationships, and most importantly, my thoughts and my reactions to them. Meditation laid the foundation for identifying thoughts and patterns that weren’t serving me, and I then learned how to choose a different narrative. I truly believe awareness is the magic sauce to making lasting change, and it's a practice that is cultivated and implemented daily. That's the goal anyway!
As I have worked on my thoughts and my development as a person, my perspective and attitude about my body has changed accordingly. I no longer define myself by my appearance (although I still have days/moments when my mind goes there→ enter the tools of awareness and meditation), and I continue to learn to love my body where it is right now while still having goals (if I do at the time). While awareness and self-acceptance are the cornerstone of a healthy relationship with food, fitness, and our bodies, I have learned actionable tools that allow myself and others to live a healthy and obsession-free life.
It has been a long road to arrive at where I am today, and my goal is to help women find their freedom with food, exercise, and lifestyle in a way that is authentic and sustainable for them. There is no one-size-fits-all program, and the notion that there is one is a prevailing reason we all find ourselves in an obsessive and miserable mindset, feeling as though we’re running in place. This is a life-long journey that will continue to evolve, and this evolution will also look different for each person. There are highs and lows throughout this process, but it’s SO worth the effort. As a result of my experiences and what I continue to learn daily, I sincerely hope to contribute to your empowered approach to creating your life of freedom.