As I sat at the dinner table looking down at my plate, tears filled my eyes as they had done multiple times that month. As the sobbing continued, I would pick at my food and try to not look up at my boyfriend sitting across the table.

It was the late fall of 2013 and we had recently moved from Denver, CO, where I grew up, to Austin, TX, for a new adventure. For the first time, I was faced with the separation from everything I knew, a brand new job, and the challenge of making new friends as an adult. On top of that, I had quit my exercising regime about a year before, through all cares for what food I put into my mouth out the window, and was weighing around 140 lbs at 5’2″. Some might say I was wasn’t feeling so hot.

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In our new home, I established a comfort and security in the couch with the company of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and complete bottle of wine. Every night – for three months. I would find myself at work, doing the job that I had loved for years (event & wedding planning), blaming everyone and everything around me for my unhappiness. When I wasn’t crying, drinking, or eating my weight in Cherry Garcia, I was looking for interior design jobs (my bachelor’s degree) to secretly feed my desire to please my parents.

New Years soon arrived and so I made one resolution, to simply FEEL BETTER in 2014. I wanted my confidence back; I needed to feel my playful heart again; I craved a healthy body, and I wanted to look in the mirror and be inspired by the woman who was looking back at me.

My first step was to find a way to become active again while also meeting new people, so I found a Groupon for a yoga studio near my office. Let me just say, that before my first class at this studio, I barely new how to roll out my mat…. After being mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged after my first class, I was stunned by the impact of what breath and movement could do to my body. I found myself going 3-4 times a week until my 30 day trial was up. I was hooked.

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I find it natural that when you put in hard work to physically take care of your body, you don’t find yourself wanting to counteract your efforts with shitty food. Therefore, I started cooking more, prepping meals, and watching what I ate. My “diet” consisted of a whole grain cereal for breakfast with a hard boiled egg, a turkey/chicken sandwich and salad for lunch, and something along the lines of spaghetti with ground turkey, baked chicken, or a homemade crockpot meal for dinner.

After a few months, I began to lose a little weight and noticed some muscle definition, but internally and mentally, I felt as if my physical body was on one level and nothing else matched up. For the next year and a half, I kept up with yoga and eating what I thought was “consciously”, until I signed up for my 200RYT (200hr registered yoga teacher) training in the spring of 2015. Little did I know that we had to make an oath of “ahimsa” or “nonviolence” throughout our 14 week program. This included no acts of killing or harming any living being (including spiders! AHH!).TRUE COMPASSION.

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I began this plant based diet with an open mind, thinking that after the 14 weeks, I always have the option to eat meat again. “It won’t kill me to go three months without eating any animals or their bi-products” is what I kept telling myself. So I began making meals, ones with meat for my boyfriend, and ones without for me. (This soon changed…)

After about 3 weeks, I began to feel the shift… The only way I can explain it is, I felt clean. My internal body started catching up with my physical body. I found myself with more energy, more awareness, more happy moods, and less body fat. Within those 14 weeks, I lost 10 more pounds, putting me at 120 lbs. After graduation, 5 books, 4 documentaries, avid research, and a new love for cooking, I had no cravings for meat and no desire but to continue my path of nonviolence in EVERY aspect of my life. I came to the simple question of, why does a living, breathing being have to suffer for the pleasure of my palette? I had always been a LARGE animal lover, but now I could wholeheartedly call myself animal lover without any guilt behind my heart.

So here I am, 10 months later, and never felt my mind, body, and spirit so incredibly in tune. I no longer hide from my blanket of blissful ignorance. I find myself more aware and conscious than I have ever been, wanting more and more knowledge on nutrition, studies, health, diet, diseases, the impact our food has no the environment, and everything else in between. With that said, starting next week, I will begin my new journey to becoming a health coach with the goal to keep open arms and an open heart to any and all people who are seeking to dive a little bit deeper within themselves to create a happier and healthier life.

Steve Jobs once said, “When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it….Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

I understand that my way of life is not for everyone and my intention is not to pressure that on anyone, but my hopes for this blog is to simply inspire others to live the life they imagined. There is the BEST version of YOU waiting, go and get it.

..::Special Thanks::..

I would like to give a special thank you to my boyfriend. He held my hand through the hysterical tears and pushed me to so many personal limits I did not know existed. I would also like to thank my teachers and fellow yogis at Flaming Lotus Yoga. You know who you all are. 🙂 You have helped grow and expand every layer of me. That community and your spirits are  noting but inspiring. Lastly, to my family. Your hearts of acceptance on the open road I took meant more to me than anything. Your support means the world to me. Much love to the rest of you fabulous folk who impact me everyday in becoming the best version of me I can be.

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