Hi friends! I’m so excited to be sharing my first blog post with you all. I love sharing my journey on my Instagram (@balancedmissbailey), but I wanted a space where I could give you all more information, share some recipes that I use regularly, and share my story. So I hope you’ll come back and continue to visit! I figured it made most sense for my first post to be about my journey. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet!
My whole life I was overweight. For those of you who don’t know, I was adopted, and my whole family is naturally extremely healthy – so I always stuck out like a sore thumb. Growing up, my mom always pushed me to eat healthier, to go for long walks and to be more active, to join different sports teams, etc… but the food addiction was real. I remember nights having sleepovers with my friends as a child, and sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to eat ice cream or grab potato chips from the pantry because I wanted to stuff my face without my family seeing.
In high school, I started rowing, and I got in a little bit better shape, but the food addiction was still there. I always felt like the heaviest one of everyone, and it was always something I struggled with. Fast forward to college, and as you can imagine, things went downhill from there. The endless food available, the constant drinking and eating (and more eating), the tailgates, the chicken tenders and fries at football games, the boxed wine, the dining halls – I put on a TON of weight my freshman year of college, and I felt absolutely horrible about myself. I tried seeing a nutritionist while I was a freshman in college. She would create food plans for me and give me ideas of things to eat that week, and I would come in the next week and she would weigh me to determine my progress. Instead of the scale going down, it continued to go up, because as much as I wanted to care about my health, I just wasn’t fully there. I had no self control, and as bad as I wanted it, I wasn’t doing it.
By my senior year of college, I had reached 217 pounds, and I knew something had to change. People always ask me what the moment was where I realized something needed to change, and I remember it perfectly. I spent the weekend traveling to Ohio State to visit my boyfriend’s brother for a football game. I’ve always LOVED taking photos, so I spent the whole weekend enjoying myself, eating (lots of) fried chicken, drinking a lot, and taking lots of photos. On the car ride home back to Penn State, I decided I would spend the time uploading my photos to Facebook. One problem: I was scrolling through the photos, and realized that there was not a SINGLE photo I felt comfortable uploading, because I hated the way I looked in every single one. In that exact moment it hit me like a ton of bricks that I needed to make a drastic change, and that very next day, I started my journey.
My journey was filled with ups and downs, and started out as a very emotional one. I knew that one of my downfalls was the drinking and partying that occurs in college; not just because of the calories that came along with the drinks, but because I seemed to lose my sense of determination when I drank, and would always find myself in the fridge or the pantry after a night out with friends. It felt inevitable. So I knew what I needed to do: cut alcohol and partying out of the equation entirely, and scale back on my social life. As a senior in college, this was really difficult and as I mentioned, came with tons of highs and lows. During the first few months of my journey, there was no balance. I knew that at the beginning, in order to be successful, I had to be extremely strict and I couldn’t focus on balance. At that time in my life, that’s what I needed, as difficult as it would be. This meant that my social life suffered. I didn’t know the importance of balance yet, and at the time, I knew that it was going to be 100% or 0%. For months, I stayed home and cooked healthy meals on Friday nights while my friends went out to frat parties and bars. Looking back, does it make me sad that for a huge chunk of my senior year I missed out on that standard “senior year” that most people have? Of course it does. In fact, it makes me sad that I missed out on so many things in my life in general because my weight held me back. But come my senior year, I knew that the alternative wasn’t acceptable. I knew what I needed to do and that it would end up being worth it. And it was.
That year, I lost a lot of weight – 85 pounds to be specific! I tried Weight Watchers, tried a few fad diets such as low carb, and learned a lot about myself and what works for me. I got a personal trainer, and started working out for the first time in years. Over the years, I found that of everything I’ve done, Weight Watchers has worked best for me, and I’ve fallen in love with it. Weight Watchers has been the epitome of balance for me. It’s been years now and during that time I gained a little bit of weight back from my lowest weight, but have managed to get most of that weight off again with the help of Weight Watchers. But most importantly, I’ve finally figured out the importance of that balance. The tools Weight Watchers has taught me have become completely ingrained in my life, and as 20-something year old, I’ve finally learned the importance of balancing this health journey with a social life. I’ve learned that it’s okay for me to go out on a Friday night and enjoy some drinks and tacos with friends, and that as long as I wake up and get back on track, then I’m doing great. I’ve learned that if I want this to be a life-long journey, then balance is key. You’ll notice that balance is a big theme on my Instagram, and it will be on here, too!