Hi, I’m Paige! I’m a certified health coach with years of experience working directly with women just like you. Through my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and my expertise in cultivating a healthy, balanced lifestyle, I’ve helped hundreds of clients change their lives in the most powerful way imaginable — by being true to themselves.
This is my story – I hope you can relate to it and it inspires you!
It all started September 3, 2005. I had just gotten home from a trip with my boyfriend (at the time), and my dad. We had gone camping for about a week. The trailer, ATVs, and dirt bikes all came along on our trip — not to mention a slew of “junk foods.”At the time, it didn’t occur to me that mindlessly eating these foods wasn’t making my body happy. Meat and cheese burritos, macaroni and cheese, Doritos, lime potato chips, nachos, chili dogs, and soda were all just a regular part of my diet. I didn’t have any knowledge about proper nutrition, and it never occurred to me to question whether I even liked these foods — much less whether they were truly leaving me nourished and satisfied. I was used to the school’s pizza, Cup Noodles, and bagels with cream cheese that were served daily. At home, my parents always made a variety of food, and they cooked with our health in mind. Mom and Dad always let us kids eat whatever we chose to, and never forced us to finish our plates. They allowed us to listen to our bodies, and I am still thankful for that to this day.(So, just a disclaimer, my own struggle with healthy eating had nothing to do with my parents. In fact, I don’t blame anything or anyone for the weight I gained, other than just not knowing how to listen to my body — which is okay, because I learned!)
I would say from about the age of seven and up, I felt a little bit different from other girls. I was never fat by any means, but I remember always thinking I was bigger. This was never a problem for me, and it never became a problem, until right after that trip in 2005. To be honest, I always thought : “I’m just bigger boned, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” I wasn’t aware that I could diet, or go to the gym and exercise. I didn’t have any clue that there was something I could do to make me not so “big-boned.” I also thought that people only exercised if they liked sports, and I was never a sports person. I have never been a fan of competition.
After I got home from that trip, my boyfriend and I sat down and looked through the pictures. I started noticing for the first time that I had gained weight. I was pretty shocked. I decided to pull the old scale out of the closet, wipe off the dust, and weigh myself. When I finally climbed on board and saw the result, my jaw dropped at the number I saw. I had no clue how I had gotten there.
So, the day after seeing this picture, September 4, 2005, I decided I was going to do something about it. I woke up that morning, at the young age of 14, and told myself “I’m going to stay home from school today (I was allowed to stay home as long as I maintained consistently high grades), and I’m going to research everything I can about weight loss, and I’m going to get the body I’ve never had.” Believe me when I say: I did, and then some.
That day, everything changed for me. I stayed in from morning until night researching everything I could get my hands on. I started printing out anything I thought could help me. I began organizing these papers between the dividers of a binder that I went out and bought, dedicated solely to weight loss. I printed out calendars, calorie spreadsheets, inspirational pictures, and I printed out a page that had a “before” picture, and an empty space where I would put my “after” picture.
I remember that first month like it was yesterday. Every day when I woke up, I’d weigh myself, get ready for school, go downstairs and make a Balance protein shake, drink it down, and pack a Balance bar that I would have for lunch. I did this every day for four weeks. Each day that I accomplished it (which was every day), I would write a “B” in that day’s box on my calendar.
Almost every afternoon when I came home from school, I’d make a baked potato with either tomato or broccoli, and a little bit of cheese sprinkled on top. Then I’d ask my mom to drop my boyfriend and I off at the gym. I’d do cardio for one hour, while he lifted weights. Then I’d spend a second hour with him, learning about lifting weights. I was working out two hours a day, plus pushing myself every day in P.E. during school.
That year in P.E., I had this friend. She was a very close friend of mine, who had always been smaller than me. It was very noticeable that I was losing weight, because it was coming off fast, and she began to ask me about it. We started talking about weight loss, and really encouraging each other to take advantage of the time we had at school to work out. Every time we had to run the mile, we were the first ones ready. Every time our class had to play a game, our teacher would let us either run or walk instead, because we begged him, and he knew we were hard-working students.
Our time together soon turned into obsessive, daily discussions of “What did you eat for breakfast? How many calories did you end up having yesterday? What are you doing at the gym today? How much did you weigh this morning? I saw this girl today, and she was so skinny! I can’t wait until we are that skinny!” It was getting to the point where we were so into it that we literally didn’t talk about anything else. It didn’t help either of us, because it drove us deeper into our obsession.
I remember being at school with post-it notes attached to my binder that let me know how many calories I had left that day. Any time I took a bite of something that I was unsure of the calorie content, I would mark off 50 calories. After the first month of losing weight, I had lost about eight pounds, and weighed 140 pounds. I was on a 1,200 calorie-per-day diet, and I would allow myself Friday for a cheat day.
By the end of my second month, I had gotten down to 130 pounds. My cheat days had turned into guilt days, and my calorie intake turned into “however little I could eat” that day. I began having days where I would only consume 800 calories — the less, the better. In order to remind myself that I couldn’t eat “bad” foods, I would daily write the word “no” on both hands. I had gotten so obsessed with losing weight that I couldn’t even enjoy my cheat days, because I was so afraid that the scale would go up the next morning.
My weight definitely never went up, it just kept declining. By the end of the third month, December of 2005, I had gotten myself down to 120 pounds.This weight might not sound that low to some of you, but for me, being 5’8” and only 14 years old, it was much too low. I remember asking myself: “How am I ever going to stop losing weight?”
I didn’t have to worry about that though, because for some reason my body would not go below 120. I know this because I strived to be 118. I wanted so badly to be below 120, because the mirror always told me that I was not small enough. I needed to weigh just a little bit less, in order to be satisfied, for my life to be complete. My weight loss journey had turned into an obsession, rather than what it had originally been: a healthy lifestyle change. I remember taking this next picture, because I was told earlier that day that my legs had gotten way too skinny, but I just wasn’t seeing it. Now looking at this picture, I’m 100% aware that my legs were indeed much too skinny.
In January 2006, I self-diagnosed myself with BDD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I was sure that there was something wrong with my thinking, and I wanted nothing more than to just be normal again. I was so confused at how I didn’t see myself as a thin person, when I was so underweight. I remember one day going to Chipotle with my boyfriend and a group of friends. This particular day I decided to go for the burrito, instead of the burrito bowl. I took about two bites and said I was full. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy. I went home that day and decided that I was going to eat a little bit more, because obviously two bites did not fill me up. I ate about half the burrito then found myself in tears of shame. I felt so guilty; I felt like I had just ruined so much of the effort I had put into losing weight, from that one half of a burrito. I felt like I had failed. I had gotten myself into a place where my thinking was so unhealthy, and it was starting to become my life.
It was to the point where people would come up to me and ask me if I was anorexic, or if I needed to get help; where family members would try and talk to my mom about seeing if I had an eating disorder; where my friends would go out to eat during lunch and return to school with an extra meal for me. I was so fed up with all of the negative attention I was getting. I was so sick of people telling me I was skinny, with no intentions of it being a compliment. I was sick of it all.
I decided I was going to get healthy in the summer of 2006. I gained weight and landed myself at 127 pounds. For some reason, this was always my favorite weight. I maintained being between 127-130, through counting my calories and exercising (30 minutes a day of cardio, then 30 minutes of stretching, ab work, and push-ups). I did this for about four years, until the spring of 2010.
Then I found my church: Reality. Along with finding my church came finding my faith, and my life completely changed. At this point, I was so filled with joy and happiness that I didn’t care much about being skinny anymore. All I wanted to do was enjoy myself, and everyone around me. For about six months, I ate pretty much what I wanted. Towards the end of 2010, I’d say around November, my insecurities started setting back in. I had gained some weight, but I was healthy. I weighed about 140 pounds. I started seeing a female counselor at my church, because I did not want this be an issue; I was going to conquer this.
Along with seeing a counselor, I also started seeing a naturopath. His name is Larry Permen, and he works in Ventura, CA. I would recommend him to anyone! He has helped me so much.,I started seeing him towards the end of December, and he told me that he wanted me to stop eating grains, cheese, and sugar, for a period of six to eight weeks. This was to reset my mind, and get myself to a place where healthy eating was enjoyable. He said that I could start in January, because he knew how hard it would be to start during the Holidays.
So, January 1, 2011, I started this way of eating. This change turned out to be the greatest thing I ever did for my mind, and for my body. It led me into the healthiest mindset and healthiest body I’ve ever had. I stuck with this for seven weeks. I have since added back in whole grains, and a healthy amount of cheese and sugar. And I am happier with my body now than I have ever been!
I don’t worry about calories now. I make healthy choices as often as I can, and I eat whatever my body is craving. If I want a treat, I have a treat. I do not deprive myself, and I don’t “talk mean” to myself. I fill my head with good thoughts, because it is 100% about mindset for me.
I created this blog to share my journey with all of you, and I hope that you guys will be inspired to love yourselves! You totally deserve it! Don’t waste six years of your life trying to measure up to something you think you are not, because you are beautiful!
Being thin is not going to make you happier; being healthy is! The way to achieve happiness is to treat yourself well, and totally enjoy yourself. You are the only you in this entire world, and that is never going to change. We all have to live with food, and live with making health-related choices for the rest of our lives. We may as well do it right, and have fun along the way!
This is me today.
And I am happier and healthier than ever!
In 2012 I decided to take my journey to the next level and enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach.
I have years of experience working directly with women just like you. Through my studies and my expertise in cultivating a healthy, balanced lifestyle, I’ve helped hundreds of clients in my six-month Total Transformation Program and group/online programs change their lives in the most powerful way imaginable — by being true to themselves.
Request a free 60-minute consultation HERE