looking down at woman holding pink smoothie with blueberries on top

How Healthy is Haley?

You might be wondering who I am and why I started this blog; well, it’s kind of a long story. Essentially, this blog is about living a healthy lifestyle both inside and out! To learn more about me, keep reading…

IMG_5967I’ve always been a relatively healthy person, but health is more than diet and exercise as I have come to learn. Junk food was never my vice growing up. I was always enrolled in some kind of sport and my family was very active. My mom was not the best cook, but she embraced dinner time as an important part of our family’s day, nonetheless!

I was always the picky eater. Certain foods would regularly upset my stomach, but when in doubt, I resorted to eating spoonfuls of peanut butter which was good enough for me! As I got older, my digestive problems got worse and more debilitating. I couldn’t even go out to eat on dates without an episode. Within minutes of eating, I would look as bloated looking as a pregnant woman and in excruciating abdominal pain. I was embarrassed, frustrated, and hungry.

I stopped eating dairy beginning of high school because lactose intolerance runs in my family so that was the first trigger food I cut out completely. Eventually, I was diagnosed with IBS because no doctor could quite figure out why I was in such discomfort after eating out most places. I was prescribed an anti-spasmodic medication that I was suppose to take whenever I ate a big meal.  After the IBS diagnosis, I steered clear of gluten because of an intolerance the doctor said I may have even though I did not test positive for Celiac’s Disease. Red meat has always made my stomach turn so that has been off the table in my diet for a while now.  I kept a hidden stash of “Haley Approved Foods” in a cabinet in my family’s kitchen so I could at least eat safely in my own house without being keeled over in pain!

When I moved away to college, I was excited to be the only cook in my kitchen to experiment with different food options. I made a variety of homemade dinners like coconut crusted chicken tenders, snacks like pumpkin protein bars, and healthy treats like mug cakes. I was always the “health nut” that couldn’t eat out at the popular fast food places and greasy bar food was my worst enemy. Eating out was a pain and I was known for keeping snacks in my purse 24/7. Unfortunately, I did not manage my dietary needs well and lost a significant amount of weight while at school. Yet again, I was always hungry, never satisfied, and felt like a burden to go out with.

My limited diet and stress caused me to spiral downward from being a health-conscious eater to having an unhealthy eating disorder. [I had to edit in this paragraph because it was the hardest part to write and easiest to leave out; but necessary for your benefits]. If you have not had an eating disorder before, you are blessed. If you have or do, you understand the daily struggle. I went from having an upset, bloated stomach most days to avoiding most foods completely to avoid suffering through the consequences of a poor digestive system. I excused myself by thinking I was serving my body, but really I was restricting it.

As a result, I experienced constant social anxiety in complete contradiction to my personality of being a social butterfly. I dreaded going out with people because that most likely involved food. I was either made fun of for my food choices or could not find anything to eat on the menu so I brought snacks or starved. Eventually, I resorted to completely skipping out on social activities that kept me far from my “kitchen comfort zone”. I remember praying that I would fall asleep early at night so I did not have to worry about making dinner and battling my body’s symptoms against a massive headache.

I wanted to start this blog at school, but life obviously had a few twists I wasn’t expecting. I did not have healthy eating habits, even though I ate healthier foods than most, which caused a domino effect of bad habits that formed in my life. My self-image was terrible so I ate sparingly, worked out vigorously, and stressed out constantly. My IBS is strongly related to stress because I tend to bite off more than I can chew in every aspect of life. I have always been a busy bee holding multiple jobs and overachieving in everything from school to work and all things in between to keep my mind off myself.  I resorted to controlling what I could when everything seemed overwhelming which happened to be food.

Thankfully my faith, family, and honest friends kept me afloat and continue to be a daily encouragement. Having a strong support system is essential to a healthy lifestyle! But we can cover those topics at a later date. I find that each day is part of my recovery. Health doesn’t happen overnight but is ingrained into your lifestyle by forming daily habits that break the bad ones. This blog is my story, health is my habit, and creating recipes for specialty diets is my hobby.

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