This is the back story for why I chose to chase my dreams, live a life filled with passion and never settle for anything less than amazing. This is why I chose to start Charm and Grit and why I want to help other women lead wonderful lives. I hope that knowing what fuels my fire can help you light yours.
Where I’m at Now:
I have an incredible husband who is supportive, makes me laugh, challenges me (in a good way) and is downright sexy. Score! I have a great family life with an amazing momma and brother and I really lucked out with some incredible in-laws. My dog rarely does anything worth scolding and brings me daily love. We live in a gorgeous home, outfitted with things that bring me smiles and comfort. I have a day job I love and clients who inspire me constantly. I get to actively pursue my dream of being a writer and of inspiring and helping other women to live their lives to the fullest. My days are filled with laughter, happiness, reading, writing and fitness-y greatness. I earned this life and I continue to strive for better while enjoying my now. I don’t like to say I ever really had a rough life, because there are millions of people who live in worse conditions than I ever did, but it wasn’t always easy. We all have our shit to deal with, we all have our trials and tribulations. That was then, this is now. While this dream chasing business isn’t all that glamorous and there are days I just wanna cry or hide in a cave somewhere, I love it and am so grateful to be able to do what I do and live how I live.
Where I Come From (A Recent History):
Before I changed my ways, before I regained my self-confidence, before I learned who I am and what I am about, I was overweight, unhappy, and scared. I had all of these big dreams I feared I was never going to accomplish. I was miserable; living a life I told myself I had to, instead of pursuing the life I wanted. I emotionally ate and quite frankly was pretty uneducated about what I needed to do to regain my athletic body. I was in a rut and didn’t know how to get out.
It was a difficult decision for me to confess this here, to you. My past is a place to which, I never want to return. I learned my lessons, I moved on. Let’s be clear - I don’t have any regrets, because my experiences have contributed to who I am and taught me valuable lessons. I simply feel no need to take that class again. Admittedly, in some ways, I am ashamed I ever allowed myself - a vibrant, athletic, confident, sassy young woman - to become an overweight shell of myself. Though I am a success story in many regards, I feel some of these battles were ones I should never have put myself in a position to have to fight in the first place. I should have never allowed myself to get fat, be belittled or to feel small. I should have never believed anyone who told me I wasn’t good enough to achieve what I wanted. But, I did. I did and I am a much stronger woman for having gone through it. It’s an emotional struggle on some dark days to not revert. I wasn’t convinced I should share this part of my story with you because I didn’t want to be a cliche. Another fat to fit story. Another “miserable in a relationship” to “look how amazing my marriage is”. Another “dreamer, uncertain how to make her dreams a reality”, to successful gal, killing it in her dream job. I wanted to show you that a great life is possible for anyone, if they are willing to put in the work. I foolishly thought I could do that without showing you where I came from. As if I could project an image of my life starting just a few short years ago, after I had sorted most of my shit out (let’s be honest, I may never have it all fully aligned).
It was a client who convinced me to share my story, my why. She was shocked to discover I once weighed in at 175lbs - a heavy weight for my 5’3” frame. It was she who told me that instead of this making her see less of me, she found me even more inspiring. She knows that I am fit and live a healthy lifestyle now, and while that did give her something to aspire to, knowing where I started from, also gave her encouragement and inspiration. I later talked to a friend about this and about my hesitation regarding being a cliche and how would this could all be interpreted. My darling friend pointed out that my history helps to fuel my WHY and that my passion, my personality AND my story is what attracts and inspires. My Why is what connects me to others. My success is what inspires. My perseverance is what helps others push through.
So yes, I used to be overweight. I struggled for 5 years to lose the weight I had gained after quitting competitive figure skating and going to University. I had worked with trainers, I had undertaken self-study about nutrition and fitness. I got to a point where I was training twice a day (weights in the morning and cardio at night) on only 1200 calories a day (sometimes less). My desperation to lose weight had become unhealthy. I finally found a doctor who would listen, who looked at my training and food logs and realized there had to be something going on. After many tests, elimination diets and another year, I managed to lose 30lbs by taking gluten out of my diet. Two years later I was convinced to take the celiac test, which resulted in a positive. I am now a total of 40lbs lighter than that max weight and am working on reducing by another 10lbs. Not because I have to, trust me, I love my body, I am very happy with how I look and more importantly how my body moves and feels. The additional weight is for my own aesthetics and a desire to challenge myself to compete in a physique competition. I pushed through many years of self-doubt and self-hatred. I cried many nights when I felt I looked horribly ugly in everything I had to wear and didn’t want to be seen in public. I ate my feelings away. Self-sabotaging. I worked my ass off in the gym and tried numerous diets. It took a lot of dedication, a stubborn unwillingness to accept anything but success, a LOT of introspection, but I eventually did accomplish my goals.
So yes, just a few years ago I was a young woman fresh out of a relationship which, in hindsight, erred on the side of being emotionally horrendous. Let me just say, I don’t think he meant to make me feel incompetent, insufficient and useless. I don’t think it was ever his intent to make me feel as though I couldn’t accomplish anything, be myself, or go after my dreams. He is, I believe, a good man, who knew what he wanted and who he was. I was a few years younger, uncertain of who I was, my life was in a huge state of flux and I believe his personality and wants overpowered mine. Not brave enough to go after my dreams and not knowing what I wanted to do in replacement, I adopted his dreams and his lifestyle for my own. Not knowing how to make myself happy, I set about trying to make him happy and relied on his praise for my happiness and self-esteem. Not knowing who I was, I tried to be the perfect version of what I thought he wanted me to be. I completely lost myself. I lost sight of my dreams. I lost my ambition. (Yes, I did gain a significant amount of that extra weight during this relationship). Eventually, our relationship ended largely because I was a mere shell of the strong, ambitious, perpetually happy woman he had met 4 years prior. I didn’t like this version of myself and not surprisingly, neither did he and our relationship deteriorated. As much as I had loved him, as much as I felt I needed him, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to stand on my own two feet and figure out what I wanted. It allowed me to answer to no one but myself and to only need to consider myself in my decisions. I was free to be me. I was free to pursue my dreams. It gave me the time and privacy I needed to think and reflect. I was able to regain my sense of self, my independence, my identity, my strength. I was me again! Once I was confident in who I was and where I wanted my life to go, the world responded and introduced me to my husband.
I started Charm and Grit to inspire women to take up the challenge of being themselves and live the life they want. I want to help women pursue their dreams, lead healthy lifestyles and live lives that are filled with love and happiness. I do what I do to help women find success in their lives, however they may define it. I want to be a source of information and inspiration. This is also the start of my dream. I want to do meaningful work, as my own boss. I want to set myself up so that I may financially contribute to my family, while also doing work I am passionate about, travel the world and one day, be at home with my kids. So yes, this is my dream and I do have “selfish” reasons for starting Charm and Grit. But mostly I want to do meaningful work that benefits the lives of others and I feel this is how I can do it. I want to show you that anything is possible. I hope that I can inspire you to greatness.
Memento Mori - Remember you are mortal.
Take hold of every opportunity, embrace every experience, cherish every memory. “Yesterday is already a dream, tomorrow, only a vision, but today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope” (Sanskrit).