Hey Size-Strongers, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. As we begin to share our thoughts with you on this blog, Emily and I want to share our backstories. Why? Backstories help you to better understand who we are, where we came from, why it is that we believe that the only size that matters is strong. So here goes my life story…
I was blessed to have an extremely healthy childhood. I was raised in a household devoid of sugar, salt, or any kind of processed or packaged foods. We juiced, we dehydrated, we composted – we were healthy before it was “in”. In fact, kids used to make fun of my lunch at school all the time. I had to constantly explain that my sandwich wasn’t moldy – it was just avocado and sprouts!
Even though I grew up in such a healthy household I had one big problem – I had a mean sweet tooth. Any chance I got to sneak some sort of sugary treat, I took! Because 90% of the time my family made sure I ate healthfully and because I was extremely active (dance, gymnastics, karate, etc.), I never suffered any consequences from my
Then… college happened! I started out my college career at age 17, 5’1” tall and 100 lbs. All of a sudden I had total control over what went into my mouth, and man did I get my fill of soft-serve, peanut butter, ramen noodles, and, of course, alcohol. Throughout the next three years I grew about an inch and gained 40 lbs. I was lost and unhappy. I didn’t understand why, after growing up thin, all of a sudden it was a constant struggle to manage my weight. I decided that my college was the culprit – the bad influence – so I moved from my school in the Illinois cornfields to NYC to pursue my acting dream. While there, I learned that it wasn’t about where I was, but what I was/wasn’t doing for myself. I slowly began to learn more about health and began the journey back to the healthy lifestyle I grew up with.
I finished college in May of 2010 and started my first job in the Best City in the WHOLE WORLD — Chicago. In entering the “real world,” I struggled with finding a work/social life/health balance. I was so tired from diving head first into my job and social life that fitness just felt like something that had to be done, and making healthful food and drink choices was such a challenge when I already had a full social calendarand traveling for work. I began to slip back into old habits and started to feel out of control again. I knew that I had to find a way to make healthful eating and fitness a PART of my life, rather than an obstacle in it. So I began to experiment with fitness protocols and nutritional programs. A little over a year of experimentation, led me to Barre Bee Fit (now The Barre Code), a Primal approach to nutrition, and an obsession with being strong.
From August of 2011, my healthful lifestyle began to take shape. I started instructing group fitness classes, studying nutrition, and working on becoming stronger. I ran obstacle course races, started crossfitting, and burning out my muscles and my mind with barre work. I started feeling like an athlete. I started feeling like the type of person who could take on any challenge. I began to see myself as something more than a size 2 or an XS, or a weakling who needed to punish herself after a guilt-filled weekend. I became addicted to feeling strong and doing things that made me stronger. In pursuit of all things strong, I’ve attended multiple nutritional seminars, earned my Crossfit L1, a certification in Olympic Weightlifting through USAW, and began to box and study Krav Maga. I am always reading, researching, and trying to learn more about all things strength and wellness.
Look, I know my story is long and it there is a lot more to it that I’ve left out, but the bottom line is this: I’ve hated how I’ve looked, I’ve been obsessed with numbers, overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, and have been so upset with my lack of willpower. Through my journey, I’ve found strength and now I understand that it’s all got to come from the inside, from a desire to become the best version of you, and you’ve got to start from a place of self-love and respect. This is what my whole life is about now. Not just for me, but for all of you. I write this blog, teach my classes, and work in the fitness industry because I believe that STRENGTH is beautiful, that POWER comes from the inside, and that you can’t build yourself up by tearing yourself to pieces. I am Size Strong, and I want YOU to be Size Strong too!