How I went from unhealthy to healthy, fit + happy (and how you can too!)

I love pizza

In fact, when I was a teenager, I survived almost solely on pizza, pop & chocolate bars (Kit Kat was a favourite, but really any chocolate was great to me). The unfortunate thing was that this type of diet made me pretty unhealthy and somewhat overweight (who knew, right?). Eventually, I decided that I wanted to be healthier. Well, let’s be real - I just wanted to lose weight. So, I started eating what I thought healthy food was –  those awful cardboard “healthy” cereals for breakfast, bland salads for lunch, and a dinner with well, some vegetables. Healthy, right?

So, why wasn’t I losing weight? Why did I still feel like crap? Why did I feel so tired and annoyed at everything all the time? I was frustrated, I felt bad about myself and – worse – I felt like a failure. When I felt like I wasn’t doing good enough, I would double up my efforts. And then stop altogether. Then try again. Maybe I wasn’t cutting enough calories? I would try something new, then give up. I couldn’t do this, I thought. I’m failing at this.   

But (as it turns out) I also love running

Then, at 25, my now-husband and I broke up. Badly. I was a mess and my friends were worried. One of my friends, wanting to help, asked me to go to the gym with her just to get me out of the house. I’m going to be really honest here: my idea of a workout was a few sit-ups on my floor in front of the TV (I mean, ten sit ups is enough to get solid abs, right?) My friend, on the other hand, went to the gym daily. DAILY you guys. I think I actually laughed when she asked me to go with her. But she kept asking.

Eventually, I relented. And guess what? I hated it. To be fair, she took me to a SPIN CLASS. If you have never been to a spin class before and you are out of shape, it can be a special kind of workout hell. I actually did one of those fall-off-the-bike because your legs are LITERALLY DYING and you don’t think you will ever stand again things. Yeah. It was a pretty flattering look.

Needless to say, I didn’t want to go back. When I told my friend, she admitted that maybe – just maybe – a spin class had been a bad choice for a first workout. Let’s go for a run.

So I went for a run. And I LOVED it.

I started running every day. Now, those who know me know that I don’t do anything half-way. I am dedicated and passionate and – when I find something I love – well, I go for it full force. But I was still feeling crappy all the time. And tired. Always tired. I started to realize that if I ate my favourite foods – pizza, pop, chocolate – that I didn’t have the energy for a run. So I started to think about how to clean up my diet.

I Cut Out Refined Sugar

At the time I was diligently watching a reality show about a gym owner who also did nutrition counselling (I told you I REALLY got into this fitness thing). She was counselling a woman who was in tears and telling the gym owner that she didn’t know why she couldn’t lose weight. And the gym owner looked at this woman and said “It’s sugar. You need to stop eating refined sugar.”

This was the moment that changed everything. You guys I’m not kidding that the words of a reality show celebrity was the push I needed to find my way. I felt just like this woman – wanting a change, but totally lost. I went to my fridge and looked at every container and threw out anything that contained refined sugar. And then, since I threw out almost everything, I went grocery shopping. This is when I started reading ingredient labels to see what is really in the food I’m eating. Which led me to clean eating, which is eating things that contain only actual food and avoiding anything with preservatives or artificial additives.

Clean eating with consistent exercise was the change I had been looking for. I actually had energy to go for runs (yay!). I felt happier and I started to lose a bit of weight. I started to make other, small changes, one thing at a time. This was 10 years ago and I am still on my journey to health and wellness. It wasn’t a blip on my life radar. It wasn't another failed diet. Nope, it was an actual, real lifestyle change. HORRAY! I did this! Me – pizza eating, chocolate loving, ten sit-up abs me. I made this change and I kept going at it. One foot in front of the other. And that is a truly incredible feeling.

Let’s Do This

Why am I telling you this story? It’s to let you know that I did this – I went from unhealthy & inactive – and made a change. And you can too. You don’t have to start out a fitness model to be healthy. You can start out – like me – not knowing what you need to do, and you CAN make a change. And I am here to help.

This blog is dedicated to helping you incorporate health + wellness into your real life. I know you are busy. And maybe you don’t have an hour to go to the gym. Me either! But you can find 20 minutes a couple times a week to dedicate to your health. Start there. Start small. And it will add up over time.

The best part? You can still have pizza (I do!). It just has to be more occasional. And if you REALLY LOVE pizza? We’ve got you covered with a healthy pizza recipe here.

You can do this. Let us know in the comments what small step you are going to take today toward improving your health. 


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