Hi! I’m Kristen! My story is a little different than most, but if you have ever found yourself in a trap of endless diets and/or constant restriction, then maybe you can relate.
It all started in high school, where I started noticing my weight changing. I quickly turned to magazines (this was before the internet was LIFE) that PROMISED me that my perfect body was waiting for me… if I would just follow the diets and one-size fits all workouts in the pages that followed. AS IF. But this is what my favorite celebrities did (AS IF, again..) so there I was, sucked in. Very quickly, however, I was confused. Every new diet that came out was different and contradicted my previous diet attempts. I just wanted to be healthy!
Needless to say, I saw immediate results by cutting out entire food groups, not eating after 7pm, not eating between meals, blah blah blah. By basically cutting out all food, my weight dropped. It dropped tremendously. At 5’6”, I hit an all-time low of 95 pounds. I had been active all of my life and considered myself to be pretty strong. Physically and mentally. But somewhere in all of this crazy dieting madness and extreme weight loss, I lost myself. Dieting literally stole my happiness. I FEARED food. I so badly wanted out of the dieting life, but I had NO IDEA how to get out of it. I was smart enough to know that if I started eating normal again, I would put all the weight back on and that was scary to me. But OMG I was unhappy. Unhappy because I couldn’t eat the foods that I SO GREATLY missed. Unhappy because I couldn’t even go out to eat with friends because “do they even know how many calories are in those meals?”. Unhappy because I knew I was stuck in a lifestyle of dieting forever. This was my life now. If I swayed from it, I would spiral in a completely different direction.
Fast forward to college and me finding a true love in running. Running FUELED me. However, one morning, on a run, I felt a sharp shooting pain in my pelvis. Like CAN NOT WALK A STEP pain. Diagnosis – stress fracture. Further Diagnosis – Osteoporosis. At age 20.
How did I get here? How is it that I considered myself such a strong person and such an athlete and “DIETING QUEEN” (I thought that made me super healthy, by the way), but this doctor is telling me that my grandmother has stronger bones than I do. He is telling me that there is a chance my body is so weak from years of dieting and avoiding key nutrients that I may never be strong enough to run again. I may not even be strong enough to have kids. I may not be able to ever live the life I had imagined for myself. I. WAS. BROKEN. Literally.
I knew I was at a fork in the road. One way would lead me down this same path I had been on. A life I knew. A life of restrictions, disappointment and unhappiness. The other way would be full of HARD WORK. But that way was the only way I could try to FIGHT to get my life back. Where I could FIGHT FOR MY HEALTH.
I changed my path in school, and decided to become a Registered Dietitian. I was going all in. I would learn as much as a I possibly could about how to truly care for my body and how to eat to fuel my body for the life I always wanted.
3 years later, I had REVERSED OSTEOPOROSIS and I ran my first marathon. 2 years after that, I qualified for the Boston Marathon, and a year after that, I ran the Boston Marathon at 5 months postpartum. I even ran a half marathon at 12 weeks pregnant and came in 2nd. I have achieved goals that are so much greater than I ever imagined possible for myself.
I always say running saved my life, because without it, I never would have gotten that stress fracture which led to my knowledge of how dieting was destroying my body. But I know that what truly saved my life was deciding to ditch the dieting life and learn to eat both the foods I truly love as well as those that give me body and life I have today. And let me tell you, the restriction-free life IS GOOD.
Unhappy. Weak. Food-fearing. Chronic dieter.
Holding 2 drinks yet I wouldn’t have taken more than a sip from ONE of them, because I feared I would blow up if I added in foods not in my plan.
Happy. Strong. Food LOVER. Free from restriction.
Here is the day I placed FIRST in a women’s half marathon and I proudly enjoyed a drink afterwards, because now I know how to properly fuel my body so that nothing is off limits!!
Co-Founder- Girl Crush
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist