Growing up I was raised in a health conscious family, but like most Americans, we would always go back for another helping of pasta, a second bowl of cereal, or one cookie turned into five. The next morning I would wake up and go for a long run to “burn it off,” swear by low fat foods, starve myself all day, only to repeat a binge meal the next. Doing this, I was able to stay in decent shape, but there were always days I hated my body, wished I could lose just five more pounds and felt like the only way to truly get the body I wanted was to eat bland food and very little of it.
Out of high school and entering college, I became an avid runner. Even running several half-marathons, I still wasn’t satisfied. Soon I found Crossfit, which brought much more variety into my workouts. Finding a new love for the barbell, I watched my body transform into a much more muscular physique. Like the majority of other Crossfitters, I strictly followed a Paleo and Whole30 diet. Doing this I felt much better in my workouts, I slimmed down and swore this was the only way to eat. Continuing to put on muscle, I just told myself that the “puffy” look I had was just the sacrifice I had to make to have muscle, be strong, and compete at a higher level. Over time I began to ask myself, “if I work so hard in the gym, why am I still so uncomfortable in my own skin?” I knew I needed a change to feel better about myself, but what kind? Will I have to quit lifting so heavy? Do I need to eat less? None of this sounded appealing, I didn’t want to give up something I loved and I definitely didn’t want to starve myself!!
Now, by no means do I want to bash Paleo or Whole30, I still to this day think they are awesome ways to clean up your diet, get on the right track, and even see great results. I just hit a point in my journey where I knew to become leaner, a better athlete and really love the way I looked, I had to take the next step. I took my Crossfit Level 1 Certification in 2012 and this was the first I learned of the Zone Diet. They taught this way of eating, but I had purposely ignored it because it required weighing and measuring your food. There was just NO WAY I could commit to weighing and measuring all my food! Way too much work, just not practical and I’m just way too busy to have time for that!! Over the next couple years I kept hearing various crossfitters talk about Zone and I saw an opportunity pop up online. My gym, Thorbeckes Crossfit, had been following Crossfit Invictus programming. Invictus is very reputible and they were advertising their 12-week nutrition challenge. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to commit myself, have an actual nutrition coach, and take that next step. I joined and over 12 weeks I saw great results. However, I took some short cuts, I would partially weigh meals, eye ball foods, and “treat myself” on the weekend. I was watching my portions closer then I ever had, really made sure I was getting a good balance of Protein, Carbs and Fat at each meal and kept my eating clean. I saw great results doing this, but over 12 weeks, I ended up a little bummed out that I didn’t see more extreme results.
A few months later, scrolling through social media, some “before and afters” caught my eye. I was then led to a coach that I immediately signed up with to begin Flexible Dieting. At this point, I was ready to take my commitment to nutrition to the next level. Over the next 18 weeks, I weighed and measured every single thing that I ate and drank. What I thought was going to be way too time consuming, socially paralyzing and a diet prison, became the most freeing, exciting thing i’d done in a long time. I had control of my food, I had no guilt, I was seeing absolutely amazing results physically, my mindset towards food became healthier then ever and my performance in the gym was skyrocketing. Was this real life?! I was eating clean, yet more then I had ever eaten before and enjoying treats that I love without having to punish myself the next day. I knew I had to learn more and spread my new found knowledge with as many people as possible.
Flex Fuel Life was born! My best friend Mallory Long started Flexible Dieting at the same time I had, and we knew almost instantly; that we wanted to create a place where people could experience what we had. This was something that no matter what age, activity level or lifestyle, people of all different walks of life could achieve success.
Starting this business just felt right. We knew going into this, we are in the right place. Its like crawling into bed after a long day, or putting on the perfect pair of shoes; it feels so, so good, to be on the right track, and helping others to boot.
I write this post to challenge you. Take a chance on yourself and make a commitment to make you feel awesome about YOU. I truly believe this is not just about outward appearance and physical change. It changes how you feel on the inside, boosts your confidence and gives you a healthy relationship with food.