A healthy lifestyle is a lifelong journey

TORONTO – If I were to go back in time and have a conversation with my younger self about my goals for the future, I can almost guarantee that she would not expect me to tell her that I would be venturing into a career in the health and fitness industry.

Rewind 5 years and you would find a lost, sick, unmotivated girl with no substantial goals for herself. At that point in my life I believed that higher education was not for me and that I was destined for life of simply “getting by”. I felt that my person was controlled by an eating disorder, which developed when I was only 12-years-old, and grew into a monster that had total domination over me. It was my best friend, my boyfriend, my family, my worst enemy, my religion, my everything. Needless to say, I had little to no self worth for my body, mind or spirit and found myself in my early twenties waking up every day with out a purpose or any sort of passion.

The abuse to my body extended to other unhealthy habits and practices such as smoking, drinking, and drugs often in an out-of-control manner. It had gotten to a point where I was smoking about a pack of cigarettes a day and could barely run a minute without feeling winded and nauseous. I wasn’t living. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of self-hate and self-abuse.

One day while visiting my mother, noting the detrimental effects smoking was having on me, she passed me a box of Nicorette patches in an effort to encourage me to quit. I was reluctant at first but the next day something came over me. I told myself, “OK, I’ll try this.” I used the patches for maybe 3 days, yet remarkably it was enough and I successfully kicked my smoking habit. I know for most people it certainly isn’t that easy, and I failed a number of attempts to quit in the past myself. I think subconsciously my body was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. From that day onward I finally gave myself permission to love myself.

I quickly needed to replace the smoking and drinking with something else, so I immediately started running outdoors and found this very therapeutic as it gave me time to clear my head, think and get fresh air into my ever-so-damaged lungs. Next I explored hot yoga, something I had always heard about but had always convinced myself that I wasn’t capable of doing.

From there it was a series of positive steps towards a healthier lifestyle. I joined a nearby women’s boot camp, which focused on holistic eating, curve enhancing and friendship building. Since I was finally starting to appreciate and respect my body, I realized that I needed to nourish and fuel it properly. My relationship with food was improving, even though I believe it is a life-long battle for those who’ve suffered eating disorders, and I finally allowed myself to enjoy food.

I found myself effortlessly walking up early before all of my roommates in order to be able to go for a run or go workout before starting my day. I felt like I was on top of the world! I found myself having so much energy, not only for working out, but for lots of activities. I became more confident and social, and explored interests of mine like jewelry making, dancing and cooking.

My mentality had shifted from being uninspired to wanting more for my future and myself. I realized that my life wasn’t predetermined and that there was so much for me to learn and grow from. I looked into education programs in the field of nutrition and found the Institute of Holistic Nutrition online and was immediately drawn to the program. With the support and push of a good friend of mine, I decided that it was the perfect time for me to start this new adventure and enroll.

The program honestly changed my life and opened my eyes to the world in a way I never thought it would, not only with the course material, but also through the amazing and knowledgeable teachers and my classmates who have come from all walks of life. Being around like-minded people is inspiring and uplifting and gives you hope. Although I am not quite finished the program – only 4 more classes to go – my thirst for knowledge and information has pushed me into new ventures. I have recently started the certification process of becoming a personal trainer and I hope to write my exam for that in 2 months. Attaining these credentials will open so many doors for me and has allowed me to finally realize I do have goals, and that I am capable of achieving them.

My greatest goal is to have an influence on others who need motivation to lead a more active, healthy, balanced and fulfilling life.

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