Voices

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Hi everyone! I just spent some time catching up on everything I’ve missed on here (Instagram) in the last week, and I was struck by just how encouraging this community is.  Post after post, reminding their people that they are loved, teaching important lessons, and sharing their hearts. Reading all of these had me feeling really inspired to share what’s been on my heart lately.  So, here goes. 

If you are struggling, with an eating disorder, with depression, with anxiety, with anything else, you need to know that you are STRONG.  The battles that happen on the inside, behind the scenes, are really, really hard battles. For me, those are the hardest battles.  But those who choose to fight these battles are so brave. Fighting against an eating disorder is like spending 24 hours a day listening to two people argue inside your own head.  It’s exhausting and it can so quickly fill you with anger. 

It is like saying no to one voice in your mind, and yes to another.  Every day you have to choose which voice you’re going to say yes to. One voice says, “You are still not enough.  You shouldn’t eat that. You should work harder. You should be more like her. You don’t deserve this. I’m going to help you. I’m going to make you feel better and stronger if you would just listen to me, I promise.” It took me two years to realize that this voice speaks nothing but LIES. 

The other voice in your head is whispering in the background. “Relax. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Eat. You deserve nourishment. Rest. You deserve rest. You are tired. You are hurting yourself. Let me help you. Let others help you.” This voice speaks TRUTH. 

Please, I beg you, listen to that true voice instead.  I didn’t start to recover until I decided to let this voice into the warzone that was my brain. I can still hear the arguments going on in my head, but they are quieter.  And if it gets noisy, I tell my eating disorder voice to SHUT UP, and I try to move on with my day, with my life. Slowly, that true, positive, life-giving voice will take over, until the eating disorder becomes the whisper. 

You are strong, and you need to be brave. 

The only way to heal is to be brave. Recovering from an eating disorder takes work.  It’s not fair, and I can’t explain why it happens to anyone, but sometimes there are things in life that we just have to get through. I promise you that if you are brave, it will pay off. Even if you take one step forward and two steps back, keep being brave.  Never give up, because that second voice in your head will never give up on you. 

I love all of you beautiful people, and I’m so thankful for this community.  The people that I have found on Instagram have helped me tremendously in my recovery, and my only hope is that I can help other people in the same way.  

XOXO, 

Julia

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College Q’s: Eating in a Dining Hall?

Hi friends!  Long time no blog post, but I wanted to talk about tips for eating in a dining hall at college because…it’s August! August means heading back to school for many people and for a lot of those people, it also means living in a dorm and eating in a dining hall.  This was a HUGE transition for me during my freshman year, but over the course of the year, I found some things that helped me to be a little more comfortable at college.  Here they are!

-Develop a few “staple meals” that you can get or make in your dining hall as a backup.  For example, I would make a salad at the salad bar at my school with chicken, greens, a BUNCH of veggies, and my favorite dressing.  Sometimes, I’d get a side of rice with it and then always a sweet treat of some kind! If I couldn’t find anything else that I wanted or could eat, I would just make my salad and the problem was solved. 

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-Try to recreate some of your favorite meals from home at school.  At home, I pretty much always have the same bowl of oats with fruit and nut butter for breakfast, so at school, I did my best to recreate my favorite breakfast because I knew it would be a comfort for me to keep some things the same, and it was!  So, even though it was extra, I brought a jar of nut butter into the dining hall every morning and added mashed banana to a bowl of oatmeal from the dining hall! 

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-Make sure your meals are balanced. Dining halls are interesting because eating there is so different from eating a meal at home.  Instead of having more limited options at home, and sometimes even a plate with carbs, protein, and veggies right in front of you, you’re thrown into a dining hall that has so many different stations and options, and it can be tricky to make sure you’re still getting all of the nutrients you need.  I always tried to make sure I had protein (usually meat for me), veggies or fruit, and carbs (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, tortilla chips, etc.) 

-Try new things! For the first few weeks of college, I mostly just stuck to foods that were safe and comfortable for me. But, as the year went on, I started to try some new things, and I actually found some new foods that I enjoy!

-Don’t get too stressed.  I often found myself getting way too stressed out about my choices in the dining hall, and how the food was prepared, and so on and so on.  But, it’s so important to remember that you’re probably only going to be eating in a dining hall for 2 or 3 years. It can be really hard to eat well in a dining hall, so just do your best and give yourself lots of grace.  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is that you’re eating enough and fueling your body.  You’re going to be just fine 🙂 

I hope these tips were helpful and let me know if you have any other questions!

XOXO,

Jules

 

Classic Cinnamon Banana Oats Recipe

Hey friends! Happy Saturday! After #NoFearFebruary, I took some time off of posting on my blog, but I’m back now and I’m excited to share some fun new recipes with you all!

Today, I’m sharing my recipe for my favorite breakfast, my Cinnamon Banana Oats! This bowl is creamy, filling, sweet, and easy to make!

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Ingredients:

Almond Milk (I usually use Silk Unsweetened Vanilla)

Bananas

Oats (I usually use Quaker or Bob’s Red Mill)

Cinnamon

Optional: Strawberries, Blueberries, Nut Butter, Granola

Instructions: 

Heat almond milk over medium heat until boiling

Add oats and cook until it begins to thicken

Mash 1⁄2-3⁄4 of banana and add to mixture

Add cinnamon and cook until desired consistency

Top with sliced strawberries, blueberries, remaining banana, nut butter, and granola if you’d like!

Here’s some inspiration for how to top your bowl of oats!

 

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Hope you all enjoy this recipe and have a happy Saturday!

XOXO,

Julia

#NoFearFebruary Day 28: A Final Encouragement!

Hi loves! I have tears in my eyes as I write this, as I’ve just spent some time reading the NEDA Week recovery stories of a few of my friends and role models here on Instagram.  These women are so, so brave. Everyone who decides to fight against their eating disorder is. The dedication, faith, and strength that that daily decision takes is incredible. I am overcome with pride for everyone who has made that decision.  But, I am also overcome with sadness for everyone who has experienced an eating disorder. For the months or years of their life that were lost to their ED. For the pain that they experienced. For the suffering that they and their families went through.  For the stress that their body underwent. For the personality that was stripped away from them. For the stress and anguish that lived in their hearts for so long. Eating disorders are terrible illnesses. They sneak up on people without them even knowing, and they steal away their lives.  But there is hope in recovery.

Recovery is the process of claiming what is rightfully yours from your eating disorder: your life.  Recovery is where you choose to fight each and every day to win your life back. It’s where you tell the voices in your head that they are wrong, that you don’t need to listen to them anymore, even if you don’t fully believe it yet.  But, the voices still win sometimes, and sometimes your actions start to follow. And when that happens, you have to remember what you are fighting for. Think about how your eating disorder truly made you feel, what it stole from you, what it did to your life.  Would you tell your best friend to listen to your eating disorder? Probably not. So you shouldn’t tell yourself to either. Why would you want to give into something that stole your joy, your peace, and your life? You deserve more. You deserve freedom. You deserve nourishment.  You deserve acceptance. Your body deserves love. Your mind deserves rest.

As No Fear February comes to an end, I want to give you all one final encouragement.  You are more than your struggles. Even if you feel broken right now, you can and will be okay again.  I thought I would never be free from my eating disorder. I thought that the thoughts would never go away, that I would always hate my body.  And even though I am by no means all the way there yet, I’ve made so much progress, and I will forever be grateful that I made the decision to commit to recovery, because I know that one day, I will get there.  I want to encourage you all to never, ever stop fighting. Even if it feels like it’s not worth it and it’d be easier to give in. Even when you just feel so, so tired of listening to the battle inside your head. Even when you’re in recovery, but still struggle.  Keep fighting. Keep believing. Keep trusting. Keep nourishing yourself. Your future self, and I, thank you. I can’t stress it enough how loved you all are. Live with strength and bravery, and be kind to your beautiful, strong bodies.

Sending my love to you all, and thanks for joining me this month for No Fear February! See you soon!

XOXO,

Julia

#NoFearFebruary Day 27: Resources for Support and Encouragement

Hi friends!  Today is the second to last day of #NoFearFebruary, and today I want to point you all towards some incredibly helpful sources of help and encouragement!  

First off, NEDA (The National Eating Disorders Association) is an amazing resource for those who are struggling with eating disorders and their families.  They provide screening tools, tips for starting conversations, steps to recovery, awareness materials, and an incredible amount of encouragement. My parents found NEDA to be so helpful when I was in treatment for my eating disorder.  NEDA also hosts hundreds of events every year to raise awareness for eating disorders, and raise funds for research. They are empowering people all over the world, and their work is so meaningful. Here’s the link to NEDA: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

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They are also partnering with Instagram this week on an amazing project where they are raising awareness and sharing stories.  They also created an awesome guide to using Instagram in a beneficial way. Here’s the link! https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/sites/default/files/IG%20x%20NEDA%20guide.pdf

The second resource I want to point you all towards is Strong Runner Chicks!  SRC is run by three amazing women who are using their experiences to help others and to create an amazing community of encouragement and support!  They run a blog, Instagram, and Facebook group, and they also host a podcast called Strong Runner Chick Radio! http://www.strongrunnerchicks.com 

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I had the pleasure of being a guest on their podcast earlier this week!  We talked about eating disorders, running, transitioning to college, and advice for young runners.  Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out!

https://strongrunchicks.podbean.com

The next resource I’d like to point out is… Instagram!  There are so, so many amazing people who are brave enough to share their stories, struggles, and advice here on Instagram, and I have found so many of them to be so incredibly helpful. Here’s a few of the people who have inspired me the most: @shutthekaleup, @restoring_radiance, @braeofsunshine, @arunnersappetitie, and @healthfulradiance.  All of these ladies are absolutely amazing and have turned their struggles into something beautiful.

 

Finally, I want to encourage you to check out the hashtags #ComeAsYouAre, #NEDAweek, #NEDAweek2019, and #NEDA.  You’ll find thousands of inspiring stories and testimonies from other people who are going through the same thing.

 

I hope you’ll all find these resources helpful!  You are all amazing, valued, and loved! Believe in yourself this week and keep being awesome. 

 

XOXO,

Julia

 

#NoFearFebruary Day 25: Q&A with @gracebulson!

H friends!  Today is Day 25 of No Fear February and I’m so excited to share another Q&A with you all today, this one with the one and only @gracebulson!  Grace is one of the most genuine people I’ve come across here on Instagram. She shares truthfully about her experiences in a way that helps others to find comfort and encouragement.  She is also partnering with her best friend @actually_alexandra on a project called @fearstofreedom where they are hosting some amazing getaways so be sure to check that out as well. I am so honored that she took the time to answer these questions for you guys to read, so check it out at the link in my bio!  

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  • Tell us a little bit about yourself; where you’re from, what you do, and what you’re passionate about!

 

Hey I’m Grace! I’m 20, from Los Angeles, CA and am currently living in Boston MA. I am the co founder of Fears to Freedom, which is a business my best friend & business partner started (@actually_alexandra ).

We run getaways all over Europe which focus on bringing together a community of like minded women to travel and gain the confidence to create and live the life of their dreams. We will also be online coaching, creating online courses, vlogging and offering much more in the near future! Along with that we really love content creating – taking pics, traveling and inspiring others to live the life of their dreams.

I am VERY passionate about traveling. From a young age I have ALWAYS wanted to travel, I believe it is the best way to grow and learn as a person. It really opens your eyes to all there is on Earth and all the different cultures, people, places, lifestyles, ways of life – everything. It is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

 

  • Have you struggled with an eating disorder or body image issues and if so, how did you begin to overcome it?

 

Yes, all throughout high school (especially senior year) and up until a few months ago I struggled with disordered eating and constant negative thoughts about myself and my body.

My disordered eating and unhealthy obsessive habits stemmed from my lack of self confidence in myself and my body and from the constant negativity I thought about myself. I was so insecure about myself and all I wanted was to lose weight thinking it would make me feel better about myself. Which it obviously didn’t.  

For years I spent hating my body, wishing I was smaller, thinking that barely eating and doing crazy amounts of exercise was going to fix that, but it never did. My recovery process was up and down, it wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight.

It started when I began to learn that my mindset was the most important factor in healing from my disordered thoughts and habits.

I began to overcome it by turning my negative thoughts into positive ones. By filling my thoughts with positive ones, with ones that made me feel good, not awful about myself.

By not letting those negative thoughts get to me.

I learned to love myself and my body where I was at in that moment – not after I lost 10 lbs, or fit into X size, but loving where and who I was at that moment.

Practicing self love, being nice & gentle to myself, my thoughts and my body all the time.

 

  • What is the best advice you have heard or been given about overcoming an eating disorder?

 

For me, when I put dying into the equation that really changed my whole perspective. I know its a weird topic to talk about but it seriously changes the game.

Knowing that you get one life and one day you’re going to die is terrifying, but also powerful.

We don’t know how long we get, we don’t know when our last day will be.

All we know is that we have RIGHT NOW.

Right now to change, right now to heal, right now to grow, right now to change your life.

You have this moment, right now to decide what you want to do with your life.

You call the shots, you make the rules. It’s your LIFE.

Try asking yourself the question, “Do I want to spend the rest of my life feeling like this and living this way?”

And 10/10 times the answer is nope.

Once you want to get better, once you want to stop feeling like that, once you want to recover that’s when that courage and that fight comes back into you.

That’s when you get the power to change your life.

Realizing that really helped me to recover.

 

  • What is one fear that you want to destroy for people who are struggling with eating disorders or body image issues?

 

Don’t fear food. Don’t fear your own body. Don’t fear failure. Don’t fear fat. Don’t fear judgement.

What you should be afraid of?

Living your life, trapped by an eating disorder, disordered eating or negative self/ body image issues.

Not living life how you want to live.

Not living to your highest potential, instead being trapped by your own self.

Looking back on your life wishing you would have done it differently.

Imagine your life without fear, without doubt.

Turn that imagination into a reality.

It takes time, it takes practice and it takes work but creating ways that work for you to smash those fears – it gives you your life and yourself back.

 

  • What do you believe contributes to the high amount of eating disorders in America?

 

The constant negative talk about food, weight, diets, bodies, calories etc.

Everyday in newspapers, commercials, magazines, social media etc we here about new ways to lose weight, burn fat, get bikini ready etc and that is the most toxic negative thing EVER.

We constantly see models, celebrities or athletes being praised for their fit skinny bodies and shamed when they gain weight.

It’s insane.

Those ad’s make you believe you have to lose weight, be skinny, look like a supermodel to be beautiful. NOT. true.

It’s crazy how diet culture is talked about 24/7 and it’s the norm to hear someone’s “on a diet”. If diets, weight, losing weight, low calories things were not talked about, promoted so much and ingrained into our minds the number of eating disorders would be much lower.  

I think it is improving, the new movement of all shapes and sizes being beautiful and the self love moment is growing which I think is amazing.

Everyone should be brought up loving themselves and others for who they are on the inside, not the outside.

 

  • What is one truth that you want to share, related to eating disorders and body image?

 

Hmm, a truth.

The truth is eating disorders, disordered eating and those negative thoughts around your body and yourself are so hard.

They consume you, they take over your life.

But they don’t have too.

Those thoughts are not going to last forever, as long as you choose to change them

YOU are in control of YOUR life.

I made the choice to take control of my life, I made the choice to stop living in fear and start living for myself.

Making decisions for myself, what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted.

If I knew 2 years ago ( at my worst, at my low ) that I would be where I am today I would have never believed it – I saw no way out, I seriously thought I was going to be trapped by my thoughts forever.

But it’s possible, if you put in the work, if you want to get better if you fight for yourself, you will gain control of your life.

You will recover.

I know this because I did it.
Thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Julia

#NoFearFebruary Day 22: Q&A with @restoring_radiance!

Hey everybody!  Its Friday! Woohoo we made it through the week!

Its also Day 22 of No Fear February, and today we have an interview with Lex Daddio from @restoring_radiance!  Lex is a wife and momma, and she also runs an amazing Instagram and blog called Restoring Radiance!  She is so open about her story and struggles and how she has overcome them, and she has helped so, so many people!  She also shares some amazingly tasty recipes and adorable pictures of her baby boy!

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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself; where you’re from, what you do, and what you’re passionate about!

I’m Lex Daddio! I live in Richmond, VA with my husband Thomas and my baby boy T (AKA Thomas III). I do Insta/ blogging full time and I’m a stay at home mama. I’m passionate about a lot of things! Like cooking/baking and inspiring people to get back in the kitchen as well as encouraging others that they aren’t alone in their eating disorders and that they can be free! Light always overcomes the darkness.

2) Have you struggled with an eating disorder or body image issues and if so, how did you begin to overcome it?

I did! I had a severe binge eating disorder for about 7 years. It was so rough and I was so depressed. I didn’t think I would ever be able to be normal around food. I hated my body and I honestly hated myself, which makes me so sad to think now! I didn’t have one ah-ha moment where I just flipped a switch. It was all a journey, but working with someone through it helped me a lot. I worked with the real life RD and nourishing minds nutrition. Having someone support you through it is super helpful.

3) What is the best advice you have heard or been given about overcoming an eating disorder?

It’s so hard, but to be patient with yourself because it takes time. Every little victory is a part of the big healing journey. The fight is so worth it!

4) What is one fear that you want to destroy for people who are struggling with eating disorders or body image issues?

That they are not alone. Because the more alone you feel, the more alone you feel. You want to crawl in a hole and hide from everyone. At least I did. I didn’t think anyone could understand these thoughts and feelings I was experiencing. I felt so alone, but the more I hid the worse it was. It wasn’t until I started exposing and bringing what I was dealing with into the light that I started to experience healing.

5) What do you believe contributes to the high incidence of eating disorders in America?

Dieting. I personally believe it’s the cause of it all. Not only is diet culture overwhelming to begin with but there are so many diets out there, who even knows what to eat anymore? Society says to eat this for a beach body or do this workout, etc. It’s constantly telling us to be skinnier or smarter or tanner or prettier or whatever. So many girls start restricting their food intake to try to lose weight. Restriction leads to binging. It just does. So most of the time, it’s not your loss of willpower or that you have a problem, your body is just starving and doing anything it can to keep you alive and going! At least that’s what I’ve noticed being a very common thing with binge eating disorders.

6) What is your favorite recipe that you’ve created?

I’m not going to lie, I have a lot of favorites. Usually I would say some kind of baked good but a recipe I love love love are these blackened fish tacos with avocado cilantro sauce from my blog! I’m also craving all things summer and fresh so these have been on my mind!

https://www.restoreyourradiance.com/single-post/2017/08/18/Blackened-Fish-Tacos-with-Avocado-Cilantro-Sauce
Thanks for reading everyone! Enjoy the weekend!!

XOXO,

Julia

#NoFearFebruary Day 20: Q&A with @em_balanced

Happy Wednesday!  Today is Day 20 of NFF and I have an awesome Q&A to share with you all with Emily from @em_balanced!  Hope you guys enjoy!

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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself; where you’re from, what you do, and what you’re passionate about!

 

Hi, I’m Emily Ware, a senior at the University of Mississippi studying Exercise Science. I would love to one day become a Strength & Conditioning coach for a basketball team. While many of my passions in life revolve around health & fitness, I also enjoying interacting and engaging with children and teens– whether it be at a daycare, an elementary school, a middle school, or high school hoping to be a positive influence on their life.

 

2) Have you struggled with an eating disorder or body image issues and if so, how did you begin to overcome it?

 

As a junior in high school I fell in love with the weight room, was happy, and my relationship with food and fitness was healthy. Unfortunately, senior year took a toll on me both mentally and physically. In January, I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and as the semester continued, my health deteriorated. Due to the eating disorder, in May, I was hospitalized for nearly a month due to my very low resting heart rate and my weight. It was then that I finally realized I had a problem and needed to change the way I was living my life. While in the hospital I was feed 6x a day and had to finish each meal. I was not allowed to work out or leave my room for that matter, and I met with a doctor, a nutritionist, and a therapist every day. An idea given to me by therapist helped me begin my recovery. His idea involved creating an Instagram account where I would post everything I ate in a day to “hold me accountable.” My Instagram account ‘em_balanced’, support from my family and friends, and daily meetings with my therapist were the three things that impacted me most during my recovery. I took my hospitalization as a ‘wake up’ call and decided I needed to change my ways. Don’t get me wrong, it was a battle and even four years later I find myself struggling from time to time, but all in all it was a decision I certainly do not regret.

 

3) What is the best advice you have heard or been given about overcoming an eating disorder?

 

The best trick that worked for me while I was overcoming my eating disorder was “structured eating.” I know it’s not an ideal way to live life, but it helped me a lot during my recovery. I used the clock to tell me when to eat and used some meal ideas I was given while in the hospital. Structured eating is definitely not an ideal way to live life, and today I don’t practice it, but during my recovery it helped me get in enough calories to help me gain weight and be healthy again. Another “trick” that worked for me was putting my scale in the closet rather than having it sit on my floor. When I ‘hid’ my scale, I wasn’t tempted to step on it every morning and look at the number. Not knowing my weight helped a lot and made me really focus on how I felt.

4) What is one fear that you want to destroy for people who are struggling with eating disorders or body image issues?

 

 

One fear I think is important for people battling an eating disorder to destroy involves never living up to social standards and expectations. Day after day, I woke up feeling unworthy. I didn’t believe in myself and rather than taking ownership of my life and my strengths, I let other people influence many of my actions. I felt as if I would never measure up which led me to take control of everything I ate and did to my body, hoping to one day be accepted – when in reality I already was. I had friends and a family who loved me, teachers who told me I was a great student, and coaches who told me I was a good athlete. The only person who thought something was wrong with me, was me, but one day that changed. I began to believe in myself, my looks and my strengths, and found areas I excel in at life. Individuals struggling with eating disorders fear never measuring up, but honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

5) What do you believe contributes to the high amount of eating disorders in America?

 

Many girls, and guys, feel pressure from social media and society in general to look/appear a certain way in order to be accepted. We often find ourselves comparing our bodies to those around us and famous individuals we dream to one day look like. These comparisons, along with new fad diets hitting the market tend to contribute to the high number of eating disorders in the country.

 

6) What is one truth that you want to share, related to eating disorders and body image?

 

The number on the scale does not define who you are as a person because you are so much more than the number it reflects. Every morning I would wake up and step on the scale and the number I saw determined whether or not I was going to have a good or a bad day. Very stupid, I know. But I learned from my experiences and continue to grow into a better person each and every day. Many people don’t think it is possible to recover from and eating disorder, and while that may be true, it is most certainly possible to minimize thoughts and habits to live a healthy and fulfilling life. While I still struggle with eating disorder thoughts, anxiety, and depression, it’s not a daily struggle. Some days are good, while others not so good, but one thing is for sure, it does get better.
Thank you Emily for sharing and thank you guys for reading!  Have the happiest night!

 

XOXO,

Julia

#NoFearFebruary Day 18: Q&A with @fitstrongshann

Hi! Happy Monday! To cure your Monday blues, I’ve got Day 18 of #NoFearFebruary, a Q&A with Shannon from @fitstrongshann!  I am so excited to share this interview with you all, and I hope you can take something away from this advice that Shannon shares!  She is so awesome and full of life, and she has always been an inspiration to me!

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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself; where you’re from, what you do, and what you’re passionate about!

My name is Shannon and I’m from New Jersey! I work as a Communications Manager for an online healthy snack company that works with schools, office buildings and coffee shops to provide healthy, allergy friendly snacks. I have also taken FitStrongShann and turned it from a hobby into a part time job (sort of, it’s still more fun than anything for me), and looking to expand the platform in 2019. I’m passionate about health and wellness, living your happiest life and going to concerts, seeing live music and traveling with my friends to follow my favorite bands and artists on tour

2) What is one fear that you want to destroy for people who are struggling with self acceptance or negative body image?

That you aren’t good enough. Because you are. You are always good enough. In every season of life, in every aspect. You are always enough, you are always worthy and you are always loved and supported. No matter what you’re going through, how low or how high things are in life – you are always worthy and loved, just as you are. Right in this moment.

3) What is the best advice you have ever received related to nutrition and listening to your body?

Do you.To only follow what your body is telling you, not what others are doing. Every body is very individual and no two bodies are the same. You know what’s best for your body and what you need to do for your health, some random person on Instagram, in a magazine or on TV does not know what’s best for you and your body.

4) What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to pursue their passion (whether that be in the wellness realm or elsewhere) but is afraid to do so?

Take the leap and go for it. Just start. In my opinion, following your passion and doing what you love is my favorite form of self-love. I changed my major at the very end of my sophomore year of college from chemical engineering to public relations, and it was the best leap of faith I had ever taken. there was no guarantee I was going to graduate on time and I was not guaranteed the extremely lucrative salary that comes with being an engineer, but I gained happiness and joy in my work. It brought so many incredible people and opportunities into my life, and while it wasn’t an easy decision to make, it was one of the best ones I made for myself. All of the other aspects of my life got better because of one leap of faith.

5) What is your favorite recipe you’ve created?

Definitely all of my cauliflower/veggie oatmeal recipes – they’re so versatile and super easy to make! I’m partial to the Chocolate Walnut Brownie Paleo “Oat” though.
Thanks for reading, friends! See you tomorrow!

XOXO,

Julia

#NoFearFebruary Day 17: Birthday!

Hey friends!  Today, I’ve got a sort of personal reflection for Day 17.  Yesterday was my 19th birthday!  It was a great day, and I was able to really enjoy the people I was with and the things I was doing.  This birthday was different than my last two, in a good way.

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Two years ago, on my 17th birthday, I was in the earliest stages of my recovery, and so much of my mental energy was taken up by my eating disorder and trying to get my life together, that I didn’t think much of the day.  

Last year, on my 18th birthday, I was well into recovery, but I was still struggling a lot, especially at this time last year. My mom made a cake, and I can vividly remember the internal struggle that I had going on in my mind.  I was so tired of letting my eating disorder make decisions for me. I wanted to celebrate with my parents. I wanted to be able to enjoy my own birthday cake without battling my mind in order to do it. I remember thinking, “This is so stupid.  It’s one piece of cake.” I ate the cake, but I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed it. I remember feeling so frustrated and confused by the battle in between my ears; the battle between me and my eating disorder.

Today, another year later, I still struggle.  I still deal with thoughts of restriction, guilt, and frustration almost every day. But, I’m a year farther away from the worst of my eating disorder. And this year, I enjoyed my birthday. I enjoyed a tasty cupcake and I didn’t feel guilty about doing so. I was able to celebrate another year of the life that God has given me to live.  I’m thankful for the progress that I’ve been able to make in my recovery, and that each year I’ve gained more and more strength and I’ve walked farther and farther away from this struggle. 

Here’s to overcoming fears, even if it takes a while to get there.

Have the best night, friends! You are loved!

XOXO,

Julia

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