Welcome to my blog!
My name is Amber…and this is my story.
I have a passion for food, writing, and spreading positive vibes.
My love for food started at a young age. My mother’s cooking was great, but I grew up going out to eat with my parents a lot. Red Lobster, The Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, and KFC were just a few of the places we would frequent. There was always room for dessert, too: Fannie Mae Chocolates, Dean’s Ice cream, and Butterfingers were some of my favorites. As a child you don’t have a care in the world about what your diet consists of as long as you get what you want. However, once you get older and your body changes, your metabolism isn’t what it used to be and calories don’t seem to “vanish” like before.
I grew up watching my mom wake up early every morning and chart her weight. She would do laps around the basement, watch workout videos, and buy diet books. It might just be one of the reasons I began to think I needed to lose weight. As a child I was not overweight by any means, but I was a little chubby in some spots. It may have just been a cruel, childish thing that my peers went through, but several times they would joke and call me “fat,” quickly followed by, “oh, just kidding.” I constantly compared myself to the other girls in my classes: I wish I were that thin. She has a cute dress, I wish I could wear that. How come my legs don’t look like that? From as early as eight years old, I was waking up early to do sit ups and weigh myself.
In 2003 my mother passed away from breast cancer and left my father and I to fend for ourselves. Not much of a cook and wanting to save time, my father always opted to go out to dinner. Middle school consisted of late night drives to Burger King or McDonald’s with my dad for Whoppers or Big Macs, hot dog joints downtown, refills on bottomless chips at restaurants, and endless desserts. I was eating all the food I enjoyed, but getting more and more upset everytime I went to the fitting room to try on new clothes.
My father and I finally changed our diets around my junior year of high school. I had reached my heaviest weight and was tired of feeling like garbage. I got a gym membership, ate right, and trained hard. My clothes were starting to slip off of me and my number on the scale was going down.
Unfortunately I suffered one or two emotional breakdowns a few months in to my diet. I always used to think, the only thing I can control in my life is my fitness. I spent more and more time at the gym and consumed less and less calories. My routine had gone from a couple minutes on the treadmill and an hour of weights to an hour on the treadmill at the highest incline and an hour 1/2 or more lifting weights. I watched the number on the scale go down, but every time I looked in the mirror I still saw this overweight girl.
I moved to Savannah, GA for art school in February of 2013 and moved away July of 2014. My eating disorder completely consumed me by this point. I lived alone and had to made new friends, so I would spend most of my free time going for runs, working out, or riding my bike. I was also a server and would rarely get a chance to sit down in a 12 hour shift. My routine became waking up before the sun rose, run for three or more miles, bike two or more miles to the gym and workout for two hours, bike two or more miles home, make myself a protein shake, bike two miles to work where I was running around for 8+ hours, and then bike home. I would maybe have a few bites of something here or there, but most of my days consisted of not eating. I’d go out after work and drink the night away just to wake up early and do my workout routine all over again, almost as a punishment.
I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t know how to fix it. My body was so light and trying to survive off the minimal energy I gave it.
I then moved to New York, where I hoped my problem would become better. I had some friends out here, so I knew I figured I’d be better because of spending time around people. This also was not the case. I worked in a bakery and was surrounded by delicious treats all day. It was literally impossible for me to go a day without indulging in something and punishing myself later by sweating it out at the gym.
Then I discovered a guideline known as “IIFYM,” or If It Fits Your Macros. This is something popular amongst body builders, the fitness community, and people who are having a hard time with a food/body relationship. Depending on your fitness goal, you calculate your daily calories and split them up in to the three macro nutrient categories: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Once you calculate your numbers and distinguish how many grams of each you are allowing yourself each day based on your age, height, gender, workout routine, and fitness goal, you can essentially eat whatever you so choose as long as it “fits” your macros. Micro nutrients like vitamins are still super important, and receiving the daily dose of these should be a priority. But, through this diet I was finally able to come to a healthy balance. I could still have a bit of a chocolate bar or a whole donut, as long as it fit and I also met my micronutrient goals. I also set a balance of about 15-20% of my diet being what I consider “cheat” or “less healthy” options, but these are what make me happy. This may be as simple as adding in peanut butter to my oatmeal, or sprinkling cheese on an omelette. The rest of my diet consists of primarily healthy choices.
There was still a struggle on some days, but I am finally doing better. My love to cook healthy, well balanced, and delicious meals that are not just good for your body but for your soul has brought me here. I want to share my recipes, thoughts, aspirations, struggles, and guidance with the world.