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    Hey! I'm Whitney, and thanks for dropping by my blog. I'm happy you're here. I have loved cooking and baking ever since I got my first "Easy Bake Oven" when I was five-years-old. Some of my favorite memories are around the dinner table, at a restaurant with friends and family or just piled up in front of the TV. I have learned so much about food whether its from tasting foreign cuisines, or from a good ole' home cooked meal. I have been blessed with a beautiful and loving family, and growing up-every little critter was my friend. I've been a vegan, a vegetarian and now I try to only purchase meat and vegetables from ethical sources. This blog was born in 2012 and was brought to life by my own personal journey with living a healthy lifestyle. My life and my diet has taken a lot of twists and turns. It has been triumphant, and at times tragic. Whether we think so or not, each step of our individual journey is important. Although we never are perfect, we are always growing and learning. My story to a healthier life and the creation of The Healthy Vita started with one step towards freedom. ////////////////// I remember the first time I started dieting...I was nine. I was involved in cheerleading and really involved in school. I have always felt like I was a perfectionist or type-A personality. I had to be perfect and everything I am had to be perfect. I had to be the best child, the best student, and I felt the pressure from a very young age to have the perfect body, I don't know how it started but it did. Through my middle and high school years I went through self-esteem highs and lows and array of eating disordered behaviors. It didn't help that I was involved in modeling which was riddled with disordered eating and unachievable expectations. I like so many young girls obsessed about size of my thighs, the shape of my stomach, the size of jeans, and how I never looked as perfect as those airbrushed super models and actresses splattered on the covers of Vogue. After high school, I thought that I had conquered my disordered eating habits and through spiritual guidance and a new environment at college I would be fine. In 2009, I finished my freshmen year of college, and I finally felt that I was like all other 18-year-old college kids. I ate junk food, lived off pop, Red Bull, and three hours of sleep a night. I had a great first year, I met the man I am now married to, I was a 4.0 student, and I made a lot of great friends...but I put on 10lbs and I was physically a mess. I felt like I was always sick and riddled with stomach problems. My freshmen year I stopped exercising, and my self-esteem was back to where it was, but now it was even worse because the dreadful thing happened...I gained weight. Although I was still in a healthy weight range, I went on a healthy eating and exercise rampage! I wanted to be thinner so I thought the solution was restricting my calorie intake or popping a diet a pill. The summer after my freshmen year I bought my first exercise DVD and began to get heavily into cardio. I began taking my first steps towards health and nutrition...It was a good shot, but all that happened was my eating disorder took on a new identity. I became addicted to exercise and calorie obsession. I purged through exercise, and I constantly criticized myself. I was able to mask my new reformed eating disorder as a "healthy lifestyle" but it was never out of joy or for being was to stay sick skinny. I became obsessed with weighing myself, and I found myself on a ladder climbing after endless unachievable goals. I focused more about the number, and the amount of calories entering my mouth than actually enjoying this wonderful life of healthy eating and exercise. I exercised when I was sick, and I even remember forcing my limping body to run because I was so anxious about burning what I ate. I would avoid going to eat with friends, or social functions in order to exercise. I needed help. I was desperate and with the help of my loving family and boyfriend (now my husband) I was able to get it. A lot of people do not understand disordered eating, and it keeps us silently suffering. When I would seek counsel from my church I was given a lecture on how I needed to pray more. Although prayer helped (I wouldn't have got through it without it) I also needed professional help. I want to make this very clear, that you are not a weak person because you struggle with something. ///////////////////////// I tell you my story because although my story is unique, my struggle is all too common. Many of you reading this know exactly what I am talking about. Media and society has caused us to put our self-worth in our appearance, and to judge ourselves without mercy. Tabloids and stories like this feed a sick obsession with weight... For so long, I felt crippled and silenced by my disorder. No one understood it, or maybe it is because in our society it is "expected" to be bone thin and "perfect." I think it is about time, we stop giving toxic tabloids and magazines our money. When I finally began my recovery I had a hard time putting into words how it felt. I read the book by actress Portia De'Rossi "Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain" and she summed it up perfectly: Do I love myself the way I am? Yes. (Well, I’m working on it!) But that doesn’t mean I love my body just the way it is. People who recover from eating disorders can’t be expected to have higher standards than the rest of society, most of whom would like to alter a body part or two. The difference now is that I’m no longer willing to compromise my health to achieve that. I’m not even willing to compromise my happiness to achieve it, or for the thought of my thighs to take up valuable space in my mind. It’s just not that important." Today I can proudly say that I received and completed treatment, and I don't care what stigma that has. 78% of girls hate their bodies by the time they are 17 and frankly I like others am sick of it. It is time we begin teaching our young girls and boys that their value is in who they are on the inside, and to appreciate their bodies for all that they can do and not how they look. It is time we give attention to the amazing accomplishments we can achieve through philanthropy and education, rather than on how a new actress lost weight. If we spent a tenth of the time we spend thinking about our bodies on helping others, I honestly believe we could solve the world's problems. We all come in beautiful shapes and sizes and I am learning to appreciate it. I did not learn disordered eating habits over night, and I'll probably deal with it for the rest of my life. However, I know that it has changed me for the better, and I hope my experiences help others. I can honestly say today, that I no longer look at food as the enemy but as an enjoyment, which I never thought would happen. As for my obsession with exercise, I now exercise 5-6 days a week, because I actually love it. I am getting to the place where I choose to exercise not to be underweight, or to be perfect but to be strong and healthy. I exercise to have stronger bones, and muscles, and I feed my body in order to do that. If there is a day that I don't feel like exercising and I would rather lay on the couch and watch an entire season of a show, I do it! It is no longer about a new "diet" or how to "restrict" or "look like a model." My soul is canvas made more beautiful with each passing day, and a beautiful soul requires a sturdy vessel. Food and exercise is just food and exercise. When I eat healthy its because I love how I feel when I do, and that is worth far more than any outward accomplishment. When I find myself obsessing about the piece of chocolate I ate, I think about how lucky I am to have thighs to walk, or how lucky I am to have arms to lift my crazy cats, hug my amazing husband, to lift a weight, or how lucky I am to be able to even buy chocolate in the first place. ///////////////////////// From a place of love and gratitude, we can heal and experience true peace. In a world where we are told to reach impossible standards it is hard to feel good about ourselves. I hope my story brings you comfort. I do not have all the answers, but I know that by focusing on living whole and healthy from the inside out I can make a difference in the environment, and in the lives of others. I started Healthy Vita (Latin for "life") as a way to document a journey, which is what this is. I am on a journey to live whole and healthy. I am on a journey to living a life focused on things that are eternal instead temporary, and I am on a journey of changing society. I don't know how to change it but I know that as we begin to share our stories of struggle, we begin to heal and show others that there is hope in the darkness of eating disorders. No matter where you are or where you struggle with self-image or a healthy lifestyle-it starts with one step. I hope you will reach out your hand for help, and know there are so many of us out there ready and waiting to reach out and help you or simply listen to you. I am on a journey to not give my hard earned dollars to tabloids and media that enforce these sick ideas that our worth is in our bodies. I am on a journey to healthy living from the inside out. I invite you to join me. post signature
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