Meet the Blogger
My name is Ashley, a 23 year-old food and fitness enthusiast a.k.a. lover all of all things food and fitness.
I am newly married and currently live in the Salt Lake City, Utah area (specifically Eagle Mountain) with my husband and two
kids dogs, Ryan and Molly.
I was born and raised near the Phoenix (Arizona) area, bouncing back and forth between my dad’s and mom’s house all growing up. Fortunately, I had a relatively “easy” experience with divorce in my family. My parents were civil with each other, they lived relatively close to one another, and I got to see both of them regularly. They both remarried when I was two years old, so needless to say, my step parents have had a huge impact in my life too. My parents have since then had kids, and I am thankfully very close to all of my siblings.
I went off to college and got my B.A. degree in Psychology with a concentration in Health from a small, private school near the Los Angeles area called Azusa Pacific University. Initially my plan was to go into counseling and specialize in eating disorders and weight loss. As my college years went on, I was drained from copious amounts of studying and reading. I started to question whether if it was really worth it to me to go on to more schooling. Soon after I graduated, I moved out to Utah and married this incredible man I get to call my husband. October 9, 2010 = best day of my life!
I studied to get my personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) the summer before we got married. After we got married, I got a job at a 24 Hour Fitness as a trainer. I loved the health and fitness aspect of the job and the atmosphere of healthy living, but absolutely despised the sales aspect. The pressures of meeting quotas and constantly working evening and weekends eventually burned me out. I decided personal training wasn’t for me. I started to look for other jobs with honestly no clue what I was looking for.
My husband and I evaluated what my passions were and came up with various jobs that would suit my interests and education. Some of my top passions: healthy living, nutrition, fitness, children, administration, parks and recreation. I applied to several jobs but didn’t hear much from them. Then the position at my church opened for a Children’s Director. I considered it for two seconds and thought that I could never do it. I didn’t have the education or experience…there was no way. Then I felt like God just kept nudging me to look into it more. After a few months of thinking about it, praying, and talking to close family members and friends, I decided to talk to my head pastor about it. He was overjoyed to hear that I was interested in the position. Currently I am the Children’s Director at my church, and I wouldn’t look back at all. I love how God works!
I was always active growing up. I played volleyball and basketball throughout high school and loved every bit of it. I loved the excitement of the games, the unity of our team, the intensity of practices, and the idea of being held accountable to a team. I was always active, ate what I wanted, and never batted an eye at what I weighed. I was always conscious of not consuming much soda and hardly ever ate fast food, but other than that, I ate whatever and whenever I felt like it.
When I went off to college, I was immediately anxious about putting on the “freshman fifteen” since I wouldn’t be participating in competitive sports teams like I did in high school. I started working out at the gym like a crazy person, gave myself “restricted” foods, and was constantly consumed about how many calories I was eating every day. My anxiety and homesickness eventually led to depression and disordered eating habits. It’s hard for me to go into too much detail about this issue because in all honesty it is embarrassing to me. I look back on what I did to my body, and I feel ashamed, disgusted, and frustrated with myself. I went through some counseling to help me get through my freshman year of college, and it helped, but not enough.
I got in a pretty serious relationship the summer before my sophomore year of college that helped me snap out of my depression and really enjoy my life. However, I still continued to rollercoaster with my disordered eating. I would eat, restrict, eat, restrict, eat, restrict… It was a constant battle, and it was exhausting! My relationship with food and exercise constantly changed from being my best friend to my worst enemy. As time went on, I was able to admit to myself what I was really doing to my body. I was ready for a change. My boyfriend at the time really enjoyed working out, so I’d go to the gym with him almost every day. This got me very interested in strength training (rather than just cardio to burn calories), and I gradually started to develop a healthier approach to exercising and eating.
Fast forward a year and a half, and that boyfriend and I broke up. My previous disordered eating habits came back to haunt me, but I was extremely aware of it (thank goodness), so I decided to do something about it. Since then, I have developed a healthier way of living that involves exercise that I enjoy, nutritious foods that fuel my body, and the occasional indulgences. It definitely hasn’t been easy, and I still struggle with my self image and my relationship with food at times. I definitely have to thank my now husband for the support, love, and encouragement he has shown me through it all. He has been through it all with me. He has seen my worst and my best, he has shown more patience with me through it than I’ll ever understand, and he has supported and encouraged me every step of the way. Even though he might not always understand, he’s always there to hold me accountable, comfort me, and tell me I’m beautiful.
To this day, I still struggle with my self image at times. I will catch myself having negative thoughts about myself or worrying too much about how many calories I ate one day, but now I am aware of it and am often able to stop the thoughts before they really affect me. Up until about six months ago, I had a terrible relationship with the scale. You can read more about that here. It’s an on going battle, and I’m sure parts of it will haunt me for the rest of my life. Thankfully, I have an incredibly supportive and loving God, husband, family, and friends on my side.
I have learned to enjoy exercise rather than make it a painful, dreadful experience. My favorite types of exercise are strength training and circuit training. I have also learned to love cooking. I always told my parents when I was younger that I was going to marry a chef so I would never have to cook, but I was completely wrong because my husband is far from a chef! In fact, he pretty much only knows how to make like three things in the kitchen. 😉 When I moved into an apartment in college, I started to experiment with cooking more. I have always loved food, but I also wanted to be healthy. I started trying to transform “traditional” meals into “healthified” versions. From then on, the kitchen has been one of my favorite places to be. I love to cook, bake, and eat of course.
That’s “my story” in a nutshell. Yes, there’s plenty more I could go into, but you get the jist of it. 😉 If you ever need advice, encouragement, or questions answered, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me!
“My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries” came about in July 2011. Before that, I had a blog since 2009 that I would randomly write in to keep close family and friends up-to-date on my life. I had considered once or twice turning my blog into a “healthy living” blog (never knowing there was such a huge community of healthy living bloggers), but figured people wouldn’t enjoy it or think it’s weird. Then I found Peanut Butter Fingers which led me to multiple other healthy living blogs. I completely changed my mind and realized that I totally could start my own healthy living blog! Since then, my blog has been my outlet, my “me time”, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I have high hopes for it, so over time, I hope it’ll be able to “grow up” into a great blog.
My blog includes my daily adventures along with some of the meals I eat, recipes, and workouts. I try my best to post two times a day, once in the morning, and once in the late afternoon/early evening.
Please let me know if you ever have any questions, ideas, or suggestions for the blog! You can email me at email@example.com.