My Journey to a Healthier Me

Life has a weird way of teaching you lessons.

Before, I didn’t really know what was good for me.

Like a jelly bean green juicy jumpsuit.

Yes, yes I did.

It’s weird, because sometimes we truly don’t know that what we’re doing isn’t the best for us.

Since I was little girl, I’ve always had an issue with the way I felt about my weight. Even at the young age of 10, I had this negative view about my weight and body image. Always wanting to be skinnier, to feel better, and wishing I could feel comfortable in the clothes I wore…Without feeling like I wanted to run home and put on baggy sweats.

This was me in high school.

I’m not going to sit here and say, “Look how fat I am, I’m pale, I was bloated, I look tired, and why in the heck aren’t I wearing cuter shoes…yidda yadda!”

See, that would be mean.

But it’s how I felt.

I was in the constant battle with myself, trying to feel good enough. You see I thought I was making the best choices for my body.I thought I was healthy. I thought that if I ran for 10 minutes it was okay for me to scarf down 3 chili dogs when I got home. I thought that eating a salad loaded with bacon, eggs, cheese, ranch dressing, and garlic croutons wasn’t bad for you. I mean, it was a salad! How bad could it be? I struggled because I thought I was doing everything I could to be healthy, happy, & skinny. Why wasn’t I?

I carried this (non) confidence in my self with me to college, and like most college students, eating & socializing is pretty common. It was a struggle for me to try to make the right choices, considering I really didn’t even know what was right. Then something happened. I got sick.I felt bloated, crampy, and sick to my stomach ALL the time. (Could it be the chili!?)  I went to several doctors, and no one could figure out what was wrong. Then one doctor took an x-ray of my stomach, and everything was black. My body wasn’t digesting food. The doctor suggested I omit gluten and dairy to see if that worked. So for the next 2 years I did just that. You see, back then, there wasn’t a lot of gluten-free/dairy free products, like there are today. So I had to eat really fresh and natural things like lean meats and fresh produce. At first, it was SOO hard. NO OLIVE GARDEN BREADSTICKS!!

With this new “lifestyle” I was living I began to notice not only a difference in my appearance but also how I felt. I had SO much energy. I was no longer tired and lethargic, now I felt awake and energetic. I decided to take up exercising, in particular running. I would wake up early in the morning and run…

Let me just add that I was never ever a runner. One time a friend and I tried out for track in HS, and we quit the next day.

Anyways I began to love it so much I started doing mini’ “races” at school.

I felt great!

But I became obsessed. Then the doctors told me that I really wasn’t allergic to gluten, but I was lactose intolerant, and I could start eating wheat again. I remember crying hysterically to my mom saying, “I’m gonna get fat again!” After that, I promised my self I wouldn’t let me get back to the old me again so I started really watching what I ate. Canned vegetables and rice crackers were my staple. I probably consumed 300 calories a day.

Luckily through the support of family and friends, I knew that things had to change.

I knew my goal was to become healthy & happy, and not focus so much on the skinny part.

I decided the best way to make this change was to do some research and become educated. I quickly switched my major to Health and Nutrition, studying up on some reading, and began to really learn and understand the beauty of living a healthy lifestyle and all it has to offer.

I stopped the fad diets, kicked the low carb, fat free foods the curb. Diets just weren’t working and I could never seem to stick with them, and there was no way I was going to diet the rest of my life. I knew that if I wanted to feel great inside and on the outside, I had to stop worrying about calories and counting my carbs. It just wasn’t the way I wanted to live.

My goal was to eat food, enjoy it, and feel great. The only way I was able to accomplish this was by eating wholesome and natural foods. After that I not only began to feel great inside, but I was able to maintain and feel great about my healthy weight. Taking the pressure off of myself of dieting was a load off my shoulders, and now I knew that I could eat foods without the constant worry that I struggled with.

Life has thrown a lot of curve balls. Some have been more challenging than others, but I am still learning to this day to be grateful for the body I have been giving. I know now how to make the best choices for my body. I know now that I am healthy. I know that I can run for as long as I want and still come home and eat chocolate, and this is because I know that I am no longer afraid of food. Instead I know that what I put into my body is going to contribute how I feel on the outside. And I must add I know I feel great when I eat chocolate =]..

Now I know.

Everyday is a new day. I’m not going to say I’m perfect. I mean I usually eat a gallon little bit of chocolate every day. I don’t always have time to work out, let alone shave my legs (TMI?). And sometimes my breakfast includes a cookie and left over brown rice.

This blog is about my life, my journey to making better decisions. All the while, trying my best to be an amazing wife and mother, and  keeping my family healthy and happy.

My focus is to raise my family with the attitude that our bodies are temples and we need to respect and take care of them. That doesn’t mean that we need to be skinny or fit into a size 2. That means that we need to give our bodies the food it needs to thrive, grow, and become strong to live healthy and happy lives.

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

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  1. Love this post! Im going through the learning process right now of not fearing foods and stopping the calorie counting. It’s daunting but freeing at the same time!

  2. This is beautiful, Ari. Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate so much to all of this, because I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember. I started restricting and over-exercising to gain control, but I did a lot of damage to my body and my mind. Now, it’s all about treating my body as a temple, like you said. Moving, resting, nourishing, and just not obsessing.
    You’re such a wonderful role model to your family!

  3. thanks for sharing. I think so many of us females go through this horrible bullshit of shaming ourselves and it stinks and now we have children and we see that there is something else more important than our low self esteem because we’re mamas now! and our bodies just did the most amazing thing which was grow and then deliver a baby into our lives which will need our attention rather than our obsessing over calories and food (but I have to admit I have been weird with food with my daughters a little but I am learning to relax about but still it’s hard.) thanks for this lovely blog and sharing with us out here.

    • So true Jenn! Our bodies create life, that’s pretty amazing! We need to love them for what they do and be grateful! Thanks for this sweet comment!

  4. Sounds just like ME! I guess some things in life have definitely gotten better with age 🙂 It’s so nice to feel happy and free and not bound by food and the constant want to be skinny. I am a MUCH bigger fan of health. Love ya cousin! XOXO

  5. I love your posts so much because I really am trying to eat better. I found out a long time ago that my body has some problem digesting meat, so I just decided to not eat it. But I am still young, so I eat with my family. I control what I eat because I can’t eat a lot of meals with my family and with this new freedom I went crazy. I restricted my meals to the lowest caloric value I could. Like you I loved canned vegetables. I can still tell you from memory that a drained can of green beans has 60 calories in it. I tried to base my meals around vegetables so I would end up at around 100-150 calories. When I ate with my family I could go up to 200. I remember Christmas break of my freshman year of high school, I was sick and had been for like 5 months prior. I assume it was because I wouldn’t eat over 600 calories on my highest day. I was having problems with my throat and with my stomach. But anyway, I was still physically capable of eating, just not mentally. One day, and this still makes me want to cry because I pray this was and will be my lowest day, I just heated water and drank it. Heated water and added lemon. Heated water and added a bullion cube for when I “really” got hungry. At around 5 I decided I had done so well, that I could eat a small Apple. I have been trying to change the way I eat and have gotten myself up to around 1000-1300 calories a day. I know it’s still too low, but I am getting there. I feel like the task to eat more is a lot scarier that to eat less. Since eating more I have gained like 15 lbs and it is so hard to feel ok when you know your body could weigh 115 with some fat to go, to then weigh 130 WHICH IS STILL SLIM AND HEALTHY at 5’8. Ahhh,I wish we could talk all day about food and our pasts together because I feel like everyone has a story. Your recipes have truly helped me and I want you to know you are making a difference. Thank you 🙂

    • Oh Marie, Thank you SO much for this comment! I know that it is such a struggle to overcome, but to know that you are making small improvements every day tells me that you will succeed and be happy! I can tell that you are already happier! As hard as those memories are, I have some myself, it reminds me that I know that’s a place I never want to go back to no matter what. Just remember that we only have one life and we have to enjoy it and our bodies have to be healthy and strong to do so. I’ll be praying for you and thinking of you often Marie! And Girl! 5’8 is a beautiful height! xoxo

  6. Good for you, Ari!!! I think we all have similar pasts/stories/struggles and you have such a beautiful way of looking at it all. I think it’s also really important and inspiring to remember that we make changes slowly and we can improve gradually. It doesn’t have to be overnight. It’s not a marathon and we don’t need to compete with anyone. You’re a truly beautiful person! Hope you and your little baby are doing well!

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