As I sit down to write out my personal information on this page, my nerves find themselves to the surface of my skin.  The only person next to me is my husband, one of his hands resting on my leg and the other hovering the remote.  The fire-place is on, our leftover dinner sits on the coffee table in front of us, and our five month old chocolate lab is resting her growing body on my feet.  While it is just the three of us occupying my home, I can feel my body shake because I feel like there is one thousand people here.  Like I'm about to spill my deepest secrets to the entire world.  The one's I've stored inside my own heart and the heart of my husband's for so long wishing that they would eventually disappear. I looked over at my love.  His crooked smile was comforting, almost as if he knew the reason for my anxious heart and he asked me, "what are you afraid of?"  My lips sealed and the room remained silent and within seconds, I knew he was right.  What is there to be afraid of?  I'm naturally an anxious person and I know that life hands out scary situations, hard times, and uncomfortable moments.  There are times where you don't believe you will get a second chance and there are times when you wish you would have known the outcome of a situation before you had acted, and there are times like now, where I sit here questioning whether or not sharing little pieces of my past will make a difference in someone's life and maybe even my own.  Before I could speak, I looked down at my hands.  I started to type and I slowly started to move through the apprehension and as I did I transitioned into a world of discovery, exploration, and realization that it's these kind of moments that help a person grow.

Nearly three years ago, I decided to start living a healthy lifestyle.  I faced my insecurities and decided to change my self-image.  There was always a part of me that thought I should be thinner and I was determined to make that happen.  As time progressed I realized that I had a lot more insecurities than I originally thought.  First it was the number on the scale, then it was my pant size, then it was the small rolls that appeared when I would bend down to tie my shoe.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to look and be perfect 100 percent of the time and what began as a diet eventually developed into exercising multiple times a day and stressing over every single thing I put in my mouth.  I did not eat sweets.  I did not eat meat.  And I ate very little fat.

I would like to say that my breaking point was before I lost weight because this is typically what happens.  My story was reversed, however.  I lost 18 pounds after my senior year of college and it was during this time that my life began to crumble.  I was happy with my weight loss, however, I was hurting emotionally.  My personal life was flooded with exercise and nothing else and within months it became my priority before everything else, including my friends and even my family.  I thought I was living a healthy life, I thought I was doing my body good, and I was committed to living my life this way forever.  I was teaching cycling classes, training for half marathons, strength training the same muscle groups, and walking with my friends not because I enjoyed it, but to burn more calories.  All of this on top of oatmeal, a salad, and a piece of toast every single day left my body feeling absolutely miserable.  I became frustrated because I wasn't losing anymore weight and I still had not reached a certain weight, the only number I was hungry for.  A number that my body is not made for.  I maintained a 15 pound loss but thought I should be losing more than this since I was so committed to my workouts.  I moved home and began commuting to school and because of the long days, I would wake up at 4:30 each morning to run beforehand.  I was hardly eating lunch and I typically drank a pot of coffee each day to keep myself going.  When I would get home I would sometimes strength train or sometimes I would just binge on three bowls of cereal instead.  It was disgusting.

I questioned myself time after time.  Why could everyone else workout a few times a week while I spent hours in the gym?  Why could they have dessert and be completely okay with it?  It wasn't fair.  My husband has wiped away more tears than I would like to admit and looking back, it's hard for me to accept that he had to see me that way.  About a week before our wedding I confessed to him that I was losing my passion for exercise.  My body had spent too many months of aching and I had completely given up on ever reaching my goal weight.  Between my workouts and my diet I had absolutely no balance in my life and I started having physical symptoms to prove it.  I wanted so badly to be a motivator for healthy living yet my lifestyle choices were downright dangerous.  I was in  a constant battle with myself and I hated the person I was becoming.  That night, I cried into his arms.  I told him I wanted to change.  I begged him to help me, to support me, and to forgive me for the way I was living.  His chest became heavier against mine.  My sweatshirt was wet with tears and I could hardly even make eye contact with the only person I trusted.

Much like tonight, he smiled that crooked smile and whispered into my damp hair, "What are you afraid of?"

I changed in that moment.  I promised myself that I would never let my daughters fear food, degrade their bodies, or let them hear me degrade my own.  It was a Tuesday night that I will never forget.  I slept harder than I had in months.  I didn't exercise the following day, or the next.  I started a journal and wrote during every sunrise and I got to know myself.  I met the girl who didn't live her life according to an exercise routine and the girl who didn't diet.  I started realizing my potential and how much more my body could do when I slept, ate, and exercised just a little bit each day.  I became confident that I could be healthy and I could promote fitness the right way.  Words came down on paper that I never even knew I could write and I smiled at every single one of them.  I started eating three meals a day.  I started eating snacks.  And I started healing.  My wedding day was perfect for many reasons and I hope that every bride will get to experience what I did and feel the way I felt.  It was a beautiful day on the outside and deep inside my heart because for the first time in a very long time, I let myself be happy.  Once I did this I realized the infinite amount of love I had to give to the man standing in front of me.  I had no to-do list, no scheduled run, and I ate amazing food.  I've kept this a secret until now, but I had two pieces of cake that evening, in a row...and I didn't even think twice about it.  I danced, I kissed my husband, and I smiled for the rest of night.  It was such a small milestone for me but it will probably be one of the biggest turning points in my life.

So why am I writing all of this to you?

Mostly because I am finally at a place in my life where I feel like I can live.  I have accepted my mistakes in the past and know that without them I wouldn't be where I am today.  I will be the first to admit that three years of emotional and physical pain are not something that just disappear, however, it is a lifestyle that I've chosen not to accept anymore.  I have chosen to dig deep into my heart and into the heart's of others and search for words and use them to create a source of positive change.  After months of reading, writing, learning, practicing, and healing, I have slowly developed balance in my world and am confident enough to share it with others.  I want my story to let other people know that they are not alone.  It took me a very long time to see that I had to give myself a break in order to see a positive change in my life.

There comes a time where we need to be perfectly content with imperfection.  Our lives our not perfect and this world is not perfect and we are not perfect.  We are human.  We should be less concerned about the things that consume our lives and make more time for being alone, for breathing, for little blessings.  It is time to jump into adventures and give yourself and your body some much-needed love.  You are a strong soul, the world is beautiful because you are in it, and you are blessed.  If you are anything like me, there is a tiny seed of courage that lies deep within your heart and it waiting to grow.  Welcome to a world where it is perfectly acceptable to eat, drink, laugh, make mistakes, and rest.

I absolutely love life.  I love it I love it I love it!

I am currently doing the Insanity program, hot yoga, and playing with my lab each day.  I'm not sure how many calories I consume because it's not important to me anymore.  For the most part, I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full.  I also design and teach a workout class in my basement for my family every week.  We laugh, we listen to loud music, and we work really hard and it has become one of the greatest joys in my life.

I look forward to sharing my healthy living posts with you all.  If you have any questions about my story, the workouts I share, or health and fitness in general, I would love to hear from you.