Physical Health- My Journey

This post is gonna be hard for me to write. I have struggled so much with my body image, following certain plans, what I “should be doing” and pleasing others. I was worried so much about what others thought of me and if they thought I was “attractive” or “fit”. I just wanted others to like me and I thought being fit and looking a certain way would get me more friends. I am an introverted person and shy, but thinking back on my fourteen or fifteen year self, man the self confidence was at an all time low. I am an identical twin, so people were really aware of how I look ( or so I thought, nobody really cares.) I was approached differently in high school because people simply didn’t know who I was and were afraid to ask. Seriously, just ask, it makes everything easier. Anyway, my sister started to workout before me. I was always active with dance and I took on average three classes with ballet being the most strenuous. I loved it and I thought I could eat whatever I wanted aka fruit snacks, tostitos and ice-cream as an after school snack. Nope!! Doesn’t work that way, not all the time. Moderation yall. Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 9.50.12 PM

As I started to become more aware of social media and fitness accounts I started to compare myself to others. I noticed that I didn’t have abs and no thigh gap. I immediately thought that I was inadequate and chubby. I thought that people would think that I am ugly and not likable if I wasn’t skinny and thin. I hated my legs for the longest time and despised bikinis. I did only cardio on the elliptical because of my knee injuries and did not lift more than 5 lbs. I thought I had to lose weight and just get smaller. I had no idea what to eat and spoke terribly to myself. I would look in the mirror and rip myself apart calling myself “ugly” to “fat” when neither of those are true. Thinking back on how I talked to myself makes my heart sink – it physically feels like a rock is on my chest as I write this. I wasted so much of my time and energy hating myself. I caused myself so much anger and anxiety for what? Being born with beautiful legs? Being born as a unique individual? I don’t know what I was doing. Please, never speak to yourself in a hateful way. Nobody deserves to hear words like that especially not yourself. Your body is a temple and it should be treated as such; treated with respect and care. I used to tell myself that I didn’t deserve certain foods because I didn’t look good enough to eat them or that I didn’t look good enough to go to the gym. Does that even make sense?

Workout wise, I started at home. I started following online websites and videos from a well known brand. I saw bikini bodies and abs and tans and I thought “I want that.” I saw smoothies, veggies, black bodies and happiness and I wanted that. I would go down to my basement and do HIIT upon HIIT workouts and if I didn’t burn enough I would go on the elliptical until I burned enough to be good enough. I wasn’t happy. I thought I was. So, I gave it up and stopped working out. I focused on dance and I ended up hurting my knees. I would have to wear a brace on each knee. I went to physical therapy for patella femoral syndrome around my knee caps and tendonitis where my quad meets my knees. My IT band was so tight that sometimes I couldn’t walk. I then tried a chiropractor and would have relief for a day or so until my muscles or ligaments would move or tighten. The pain would then come back, so I went back to the chiropractor. They ended up adjusting my back as well. At that time I did not have any back pain. After they adjusted me I have had back pain since. Luckily as I have gotten older it was lessened, but it still has its moments. Cold weather causes my knees and lower black to ache. I describe it as having a headache in my body.

As I have gotten older I began to learn more. I began to learn more about food and nutrients and veggies and proteins. I found different types of exercise. I discovered weights more than 5 lbs thanks to my sister. Without my sister I don’t think I would have ever stepped foot in the weights side of the gym. She inspired me to try something new and I was absolutely terrified. I was worried of people judging me. There again, I cared so much about what the outside world thought of me, not what I thought of me. I let negative thoughts control me. But, I also thought, if my sister could do it so could I. I wanted to look like her in the gym. She was so controlled and lifted heavy weight. To beScreen Shot 2018-03-18 at 9.53.38 PMhonest I was jealous in the beginning and vanity kicked in. I’m gonna be honest about that. Everyone wants to look good and when you have someone who is identical to you, you don’t want people to be able to tell the difference by someone having a better body. Anyway, I started to ask her for help in the gym and we would go together so I wouldn’t hurt myself and so I could learn how to work certain muscles and use machines.

I then, again, hurt my knees. 

I tried to fill all of my rings on the apple watch and worked out like crazy for seven days straight to the point that my knees were bruising from the inside out and swollen. It hurt to walk and I couldn’t go up and down stairs. I was miserable, but I did it to myself thinking that is what I had to do to be “fit.” That happened in January 2017. I was then in physically therapy for twelve weeks after eight weeks of trying to let it “heal.” Thank god for my PT. I knew I had to heal and get stronger. Every session I went in an tried as hard as I could and pushed myself because I am eighteen and I needed to take my health seriously. I did not want to have a knee replacement in my thirties and wanted to be able to be active in the present.

After I graduated from PT (I got a graduation T Shirt ) and joined a series with millions of other women to be bikini ready for summer. My main goal for doing that was to gain strength. I went back to where I started and worked on learning how to squat and lunge properly without feeling a twinge or pull or pain. I wanted to just be able to move again and that is what I got from the series. I didn’t lose tons of weight or gain massive amounts of muscle, but I could do jump squats and lunges without any, ANY pain. I was not used to that. I thought  in the past that some amount of pain was normal, but as I started to connect with more amazing women on Instagram I realized that yea, nope, pain is not normal while working out. The series got me on the endorphins and nutrition and into the fitness lifestyle. However, I felt stuck.

Now that I could workout properly, I was stuck. I needed to have a push and I needed a change. Burt, I was afraid. I was afraid of change. I felt comfortable with the program I was using and I was aware of it from when I used it in the past. Even more so, I was afraid of getting injured trying something new. However, as I became more educatedScreen Shot 2018-03-18 at 9.53.07 PMabout food, I began to become frustrated with the terminology and wording that the brand used surrounding food like “slimdown,” “detox,” “slimming,” “fat burning” and just certain times to eat food. All of these words promote, at least to me, that body that you have now is an issue that has to be fixed. It personally made me feel worse about myself. The constant social media surrounding those terms made me feel inundated and overall anxious. I had this epiphany during the summer of 2017. I went to the weight room again and began to dominate as one of the only women there.

The weight room became a place of release and a time to focus on me. An hour dedicated to me and only me. It felt good to put myself first for once. I tend to be a people pleaser and I am starting to learn how to say no, but also try new things. If I never tried the gym, I would never have developed a passion for weightlifting.

Fast forward to present day. I have been squatting and doing jumping lunges and hitting new weights and new accomplishments. The stair master is fun for me and I enjoy the cable towers. It took me years to find what I love. I remember telling my sister last summer “ I just wish I could figure out what works for me so I can finally feel happy.” I was weight training then, but I wasn’t focusing on the aspects of it that I am now. I was training to tone and not look bulky and lose weight. Of course I wouldn’t improve because my mind set was allowing growth; it was diminishing any improvement. I was not letting myself grow. I wasn’t open to changing because I wasn’t accepting where I was in the moment. Once I allowed myself to have patience and listen to body, I started to grow. I started to gain strength and confidence within myself. I can not believe where I am now in my life. I never thought that I would get here. I think back to the girl who Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 9.51.30 PMscrolled through Instagram and felt unworthy of growth and happiness and I feel so bad for her. If you feel that way, you are not alone and you will find happiness. Physical health will only improve if your mental health is strong. Have patience and work on yourself. It is hard to confront those demons, but necessary for success. I have faith in each and every one of you. Remember that “the flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” 


You are enough.

You are worth it.

You are beautiful.

Favorite High Protein Meals/Snacks

Let’s be real, eating a balanced diet is hard. I’m not perfect, nobody is. Goldfish are my favorite snack and ice cream is a part of my soul (not even over exaggerating, I’m serious). I am still learning about nutrition and what works for me. Having a balance isn’t reality, so I just live life. At times I worry too much about carbs or not getting enough protein and then I remember that I am not numbers, I am happy and I am feeding my body and soul with necessary fuel to live. I love food and I love experimenting with recipes. Currently, I do not eat meat and in the beginning it was difficult for me. Nineteen, college student and figuring myself out; this diet switch was another challenge and I am so glad that I did it.

That being said, as a college student there are temptations from the hundreds of bake sales to fried food and ice cream bars. I do not usually give into them because of my pre packaged snacks. I know there are many different opinions circulating the topic saying that they are “bad for you” as a blanket statement. I am here to tell you that is BS if you read your labels. My Kind Breakfast Bars and Nature Valley Granola Cups save me during school. They are a good source of carbs and protein that will give ya energy to get through the next two or three classes of the day.

IMG_0123My favorite meal of the day though starts right at the beginning: breakfast. When I found out about Kodak pancakes, wow, my heart was full. Healthy pancakes?! I mean, come on. I get the Power Cakes one in the black box with 14g of protein. I also add in 2 tbsp of Pb2 sometimes. That combo is sooooo good with dark chocolate morsels or blueberries. I literally have pancakes every morning. If not I go for a smoothie bowl or oatmeal or some good ole fashion toast. Once I love something I just stick with it.

Now for lunch, I’m not a very savory type of person. I really love sweet food (aka breakfast) so a nice and easy vegetarian/plant based lunch that I can take to school can be a challenge. Depending on my vegetables that I have had for the day I could take overnight oats, but usually it is a wrap with Tofurky, spinach, vegan mayo and a slice a slice cheese with a yogurt cup on the side. Recently I haven’t actually been having a full lunch because I have been so busy so I blend up a ton of spinach, a banana, frozen berries, frozen mango and coconut almond milk and take that with me to school in a Healthy Human bottle and call it a day. Sometimes, I will also make double the serving of my dinner and take it for lunch the next day #hack. Easy ideas can be red lentil pasta or rice and beans with a side salad. Boom. IMG_4449

Last, but not least, dinner. My dinners recently have wither been rushed or snacks. When I have time I make bean tacos, a Mexican rice bowl with veggies, veggie stir fry, red lentil pasta, or my recent favorite soy maple pepper tofu with rice and veggies. Dinners can be difficult for busy gals, especially if you are in college. The dining hall at my college is terrible, thank god I commute, so I am in luck. I usually go for something easy with veggies because thats usually the time I get in my non leafy greens.

So, that was a lot.

Here is a little break down to help ya.


  • kodiak cakes with 2 tbsp of pb2
  • Ezekiel toast with pb and jelly
  • Oatmeal 1/2 cup oats, 2 t
    bsp pb2, cinnamon, 1 cup of coconut almond milk (base)
  • Banana nicecream with a siggis yogurt


  • red lentil pasta with gardein chicken tenders w/marinara
  • Food for life wrap with only mayo, Tofurky lunchmeat, and spinach and Swiss cheese
  • Salad with beans, lettuce and spinach, peppers, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, falafel 
  • Beans, rice, lettuce, corn, salsa, peppers


  • Kind Breakfast bar
  • Nature valley granola cups
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Green smoothie
  • Trail mix (tip: buy in bulk and make your own combo!)
  • Apple and pb
  • Pb banana muffins (homemade)

Dinner IMG_0218

  • Bean Tacooossss
  • Veggie stirfry with tofu
  • Veggie burgers with lettuce and tomato
  • Red lentil pasta and veggies w/olive oil for salad

I hope this helped y’all out! If your eating a balanced diet I’m 99% sure you’re getting enough protein! The less you worry the easier it is. If you wanna know any specific recipes let me know; I would be so happy to post them!


You are enough.

You are worth it.

You are beautiful.

Whole Food Based Nutrition: Why I Stopped Eating Meat

Over the past couple of months I was questioning my dietary habits. I felt sick a lot during the end of the summer of 2017 and the beginning of my first semester. I wasn’t sure what to do so I began to cut out different types of food for one week. First week I cut out dairy: no change. Still sick and still was miserable and bloated. Second week I cut out gluten: no change. The last thing I cut out was terrifying: meat. Living in the Western society of the world meat is praised as a high protein source for gaining muscle. It is frowned upon to cut out meat. Socially, you get questions and some people get very defensive about the subject. So, I didn’t tell anyone that I cut out meat for the week besides my family. After that week I no longer felt sick. I was not bloated and I felt overall better. Honestly, I was afraid. How could I accept that I can’t eat meat? What about all of the grilled chicken that I needed to eat to gain muscle? What about pork chops and bacon and Thanksgiving dinner? So, like any reasonable person would do in a time of panic I turned to the internet.

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Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube were my BFFs while educating myself about  being vegetarian. I found Youtuber’s like Caitlyn Shoemaker and Ellen Fisher and watched vegan video after vegan video looking (ok, hoping) for an answer to my one question: Can I do this? Can I make this life change in living in a society where meat is a main aspect of meals? More so, can I make this change in a family setting where we have cheeseburgers and pork in rotation every week. I found blogs about veganism and nutrition. I would go to the food store and look in the organic aisle reading food labels like it was job and using MyFitnessPal to look up the details of the macro and micro nutrients in organic, whole food. Could spinach, a leaf, really have 3g of protein per serving? (yes, have you ever thought about what a cow eats to make steak have protein?)

My mindset is one that doesn’t have a label. I never want to label myself because that is a permanent description of me.  I am not vegan or vegetarian. I focus on eating with whole food based nutrition in mind.  Sometimes I eat fish—the furthest I have gone toward meat in the past 8 months— and I do not want to feel anxious while eating it. I think of it as all of the other animals/animal products that I am not eating. I have shrunk my carbon footprint bettering not only myself, but the planet. Whenever somebody asks why I do it, first I give the health reasons as meat made me feel terrible, and then I go into my one personal beliefs about animals being sentient beings. Society doesn’t seem to like that answer very much. Luckily, plant based and less meat in general are becoming more common, but sometimes I do feel attacked by others responses. I worried about Thanksgiving and Christmas without eating turkey and what my family would say. Turns out, nobody cares what you eat. We all think that other people are judging us and what we do, when in reality most people don’t seem to care.

It can be a challenge. Sometimes the roasted chicken just smells so good or you wanna have a burger—its natural. If you grew up eating meat, 8 months of not eating it won’t make your body not want it. Having a strong ethical background makes the process so much easier and so much more worth it. Veggie burgers are soooo good and I finally figured out an amazing tofu recipe! It takes time to find what works for you.

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I’m gonna end this post with the question I get the most: “What if you want to eat meat again?” Honestly, I am worried. I am worried that I will feel guilty and be angry at myself. I am worried that my body won’t react properly and cause me to get sick. For the time being, I don’t eat meat, so I try not to worry about it. I am hoping that as I go longer and longer without eating meat I will become more adventurous with my food and experiment with more types of dishes. I never want to get bored with my food, so I’ll be trying lots of new recipes over the next months to see what works best for me. Moral of the story is to do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good. A healthy lifestyle should always have a good amount of carbs, fats and proteins, micro and macro nutrients, fruits and veggies, and some good old sweets. You can get your protein from steak, beans, oatmeal or even a massive salad. It depends on what you like to eat.


You are enough.

You are worth it.

You are beautiful.

Smoothie Bowl Tips and Tricks

Being in the thick of winter and tons of snow, I think of summer. Summer makes me think of a couple of key essentials: fruit, fruit and smoothie bowls. Hanging out on the beach or by the pool with a big bowl of watermelon, banana, strawberries, kiwi and blueberries…UGH the snow needs to STOP!! So, as a way to boycott the snow I have been making smoothie bowl after smoothie bowl after smoothie bowl. Ive been going to playa bowls a lot and it was making want them everyday, but not spend the money.

IMG_0102Buy frozen fruit in bulk. If you absolutely love fruit like me buy fruits that you eat everyday frozen and in bulk. Costco is my bff for getting frozen mango and mixed berries. My family gets three large bunches of bananas and I freeze one for smoothie bowls. Buying frozen fruit in bulk will save so much money.

Get in yo greens if you want. One of the main ways I get in my daily dose of leafy greens are in smoothies. Three cups of spinach with a banana, frozen mango and coconut almond milk tastes AMAZING. I swear by green smoothie. I tired one last summer and haven’t stopped having them.

Texture is everything. Some days I want a smoothie that needs a spoon and some days I want one with a straw. Creamer smoothies have more banana. Freezing bananas are a must for me. My first blender was a standard Ninja blender. I tried to make nice cream in that blender so many times and literally broke it twice. My dad was able to fix it, thankfully, but it didn’t last much after that, RIP. That being said, be careful. IMG_5767

Have a powerful blender. When I say a powerful blender I’m not telling y’all to go out a buy a $400 Vitamix. I invested in a blender from Amazon (love Amazon). ONE tip! If you wanna make nice cream a lot (Me lol), make sure your blender has removable blades. My blender does not and it is such a pain in the butt to clean well. Removable blades will save you so much time and make clean up so much easier.

Pack the nutrients. Lots of people can say smoothies are high calorie and yes that is true. Smoothies are my favorite meals and snacks when I wanna have lots of fruit and nutrients. Whoever said fruit is bad for you, I don’t know what they are talking about. As a whole food/plant based eater I personally think that there is no limit on the amount of fruit you can eat. Fruit is so good for you with fiber and even protein sometimes. Throw some veggies in the mix and you got a done deal for me.

Add in your favs. PP2, vegan protein powder, maca powder, matcha powder, dates, cinnamon, agave, oats, greens powder, Siggis yogurt etc. Have fun with it! So many different combinations out there.

Let me end with this. I want summer. I’ve had a smoothie bowl everyday for the past five days blended up with some Siggis yogurt. I hope that these little tips will help save some money, time and bring a little summer into this crazy winter.

Why the term Summer Body is Overrated

Recently I have been thinking about the pressure that a lot of women are feeling as all of the “Summer Body” and “Bikini Body” guides begin to kick into high gear. I remember the stress and self-hate that I felt for myself around this time a year ago.

“After these 12 weeks it will all be worth it. I will have the body I want.”

“Just eat the kale, why don’t you like kale like everyone else”

*Scrolling through Instagram seeing girls progressing* “Why am I not there???”

“7 days of low calorie will be fine, just do it you’ll look better.”

Those thoughts were just a few that were going through my head. I was in an unhealthy mental state and comparison was the name of the game. All I wanted was a “summer body,” I was absolutely obsessed. It is unrealistic to think that your body will completely change in such a short period of time IF you are working out and eating in a healthy way. Knowing that there are tons of women talking to themselves how I did makes my heart ache.

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The term “summer body” should be illegal. Who invented it? That phrase is in quotes because I have no idea what the heck that even means. What kind of body is it even referring too? There is NO reason that someone should think they need to reach a certain goal to wear a bathing suit. We all have our own insecurities, but nobody deserves to feel self hate. What some people don’t realize is that some programs are unhealthy both physically and mentally. Seeing woman talking about how little they ate because that is what the guide says or seeing posts about doing 13 workouts in one day is unhealthy physically, but also causes mental stress. Yes, I did that last year and this is me looking back and realizing how unhealthy I was to myself. I didn’t deserve that and neither do you.

With social media, we are inundated with the next best fitness trends seem to change every day. Honestly, it can be overwhelming and frustrating to see. Women constantly think they are not good enough because they haven’t reached what society wants from them.

Well, f*ck society. 

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This picture is on this post twice because it is that important!

Be you! I know that is so hard, trust me. The last thing I wanted people to tell me was to just be me and find what works for me. It took me years to find what I love and it is still evolving to this day. I’m not going to talk about what I love to do because that isn’t the point of this post. I want you, yes You reading this, to know that you are enough, you are worth it, and you are loved! Say f*uck society and set your own personal goals and a healthy and smart plan on how you can achieve it. Do your own research and educate yourself and find what interests you.

Summer is coming and I have to admit that sometimes I feel worried about it too. I worry about how certain bathing suits lay on my hips and if I will have abs that day. Then I remember how strong and HAPPY I am right now. I think about how much I have smiled in the last months and how much I have grown as a person. I think about all of the things I love about myself that insecurities are starting to disappear. It is liberating.

All women deserve to feel confident in the skin they are in. Don’t let a “Summer Body” plan dictate your worth. Keep training how you want and do what makes you HAPPY. Your happiness is the number 1 priority in your life. Summer should be a time for enjoying yourself and soaking up some sun with friends and family.

You are enough.

You are worth it.

You are beautiful.

Monday Munchies with Mandy: Chopt Salad Copy Cat

Welcome to the first Monday Munchies with Mandy!! I originally started my Instagram @mandymunchies to post my food to keep myself accountable. Now, I have moved away from that to post food that I LOVE and love to make! I have found so much fun in making my own food and styling it. Food photography is a thing and can become an obsession. Knowing exactly what is in my food is so amazing and rewarding once you figure out how to make something you love. I remember when I first started cooking and would cry whenever I messed up, I would forget to clean up my messy kitchen or I would make something and it would taste disgusting. I’m hoping these weekly posts can help save y’all some tears.

Now, when I say the word salad you probably think of a small plain Jane bowl that isn’t filling and you thank the heavens to have the piece of bread that comes with it. That was me. I hated salads. Kale salads made me nauseous and if I saw one I would gag (lol I wish I was over exaggerating). For a while I thought I wasn’t “healthy” enough since I didn’t have a salad for lunch. I literally haven’t had a salad as a meal for a year since the beginning of this March.

I have been at school much later, so packing dinners can be hard. On days that I was busy, I would order a salad from Chopt because they deliver to my campus. Low and behold I absolutely loved the salads, was shook, and was out thirty bucks by the end of the week from buying salads. Since I was on spring break last week, I thought I should experiment with my food. I was craving a salad and wasn’t going to let that slip away. I went to Stop and Shop to get ingredients for the salad of my dreams, but at a much cheaper price. Introducing the Chopt Salad Copy Cat.

The MexiCali salad at Chopt is my favorite because it is vegan, full of flavor and filling! I usually get the Lemon Tahini dressing because ya girl cannot handle spice. At Stop and Shop I got two bags of pre-chopped lettuce for $5, three peppers for $5, frozen corn for $2, dressing for $1.50 and organic canned black beans for $0.85. At home I already had my other ingredients averaging about $0.96 for one serving. These ingredients will last me the entire week and for other meals like tacos, stirfrys and wraps. This salad that we are gonna make is going to cost about $2.00 compared to Chopt’s $15.00. This salad to me is a full on nourish bowl. Eat the rainbow! Lets get into the recipe!


Lettuce (adjust to your liking, big handfuls)

Spinach (adjust to your liking)

1/3-1/2 cup of black beans

1/3 cup of corn

1/3-1/2 cup of mixed peppers

6 Tortilla Chips

~1 red potato, chopped

Protein: chicken, turkey, tofu. Tofu is my FAV

2 Tbsp of dressing*

Prep Time: 5 min

Total Time: 20 min


  1. Make sure you have a big enough bowl cause this salad is massive. Wash your leafy veggies well! If you get them already in the bag, they are clean.
  2. Use a large non serrated chopping knife to cut the lettuce and spinach into small strips to get the Chopt Salad effect.
  3. Wash and chop the rest of your veggies. If you are making a protein you can use this time to make it as well.
  4. Rinse and drain the black beans. You don’t want to have the sauce from the can in it.
  5. Wash and chop your potatoes. Mine were already made and leftover, so I just threw them in.
  6. Add dressing and toss.
  7. Add tortilla chips after tossing so they won’t get soggy.
  8. Enjoy!

*My dressing was $1.50 Stop and Shop Brand Roasted Red Pepper Hummus made with olive oil.

Let’s Talk Mental Health

I want to start with a disclaimer that I am not a doctor, I am simply a college freshman who has had to deal with some pretty difficult times. This post is going to be very honest about anxiety and depression and feelings of sadness. I hope this will help you not feel so alone. Talking about topics like this are how we open up and help others; it is how we spread awareness.

It started in eighth grade and I was twelve years old. I remember the exact night- it was December 3rd, 2014 and it was 11:30pm; that was late for a twelve year old. I was laying on my back and I felt like I was choking. I felt like my throat was closing in and I couldn’t swallow. I was sweating and I ran into my parents room telling them that I’m dying and I need to go to the hospital. They both tried to calm me down so I could speak, but I before they could I was already in the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up and I didn’t. I started to sob and hyperventilate and shake. When I went back into my parents room my mom was sitting in her bed trying not to cry and my dad was sitting on the end of the bed crying – it was the first time I saw him cry. Thats when I knew whatever was happening to me was serious. I don’t even remember what my parents said to me to help me calm down, but I remember my dad holding me to help me stop shaking. I ended up sleeping in the living room that night as my dad held me until I stopped shaking. I woke up the next morning with my eyes swollen and my dad on the couch next to me asleep. I was so confused at what was happening to me. I was supposed to go to school that day, but my parents kept me home.

That morning I didn’t eat. I couldn’t swallow. I thought I was chocking. I tried to keep it a secret from my twin sister because I didn’t want her to worry about me. I wanted everything to be “normal” and that everything was “fine” and that I am ok. The next week after that I didn’t go to school. I would eat half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, maybe some goldfish and would choke whenever I ate dinner. I wasn’t really chocking, but my throat felt like it was closing in. My mom called my school’s guidance counselor and I was told to come back to school as soon as I could so I would not begin to fear school. Every morning I met with my counselor and talked about everything worrying me. She would walk me to class after everyone was already there because I was too nervous to walk in crowds. Basically, the end result was me getting referred to a psychologist outside of the school. I am so thankful for that decision. I am so thankful that I had an amazing relationship with my psychologist and that I was able to be honest with her. We were able to figure my stressors and what triggered me. We were able to figure out coping mechanisms and skills management. After six months I was stopped going to therapy, but still had my family help me. Without my parents and siblings I would not have been able to get through that time in my life. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but I didn’t want anyone to know. Only my family could know and that made me happy.

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Fast forward to the first semester of college. I was excited to meet new people and start classes that I actually wanted to be in. After September, I was overwhelmed socially and academically. I still kept to my morning workouts, but I would come home everyday after my classes because I commute and I would cry as I ate my dinner. I felt like I had no friends because I would miss out on late night girl nights or going out because I wouldn’t have a place to go and driving home was out of the question. I secluded myself and I poured my time and efforts into my academics. Around October I just couldn’t do it anymore. My general psychology class made me realize “Hey wait, this is how you felt when you were 12, but maybe it is your amygdala acting up and your neurotransmitters are off and your serotonin is low.” I talked to my mom and she helped me figure out how to go to the psychologists at my college because it is a free service they offer. I am so, so, so happy that I went. Once again, my psychologist and I connected and I was open and honest about every aspect of my life: school, relationships, friends, food, fitness, body image, family, past deaths etc. You name it, we talked about it. I cried every session and it was therapeutic and helped me so much. We determined that I had still not accepted my grandma’s death three years ago. She died from breast cancer and suffered for fifteen months at 86 years old from chemotherapy, radiation, a hysterectomy, surgery on her femur and her heart almost stopping once before she actually died. I was fifteen when it happened and she was my second mom. I did not realize that I was depressed from not accepting her death, I thought I was just stressed from school work. After my first session of therapy, my psychologist and I determined that I wanted my Grandma to see me to go college and I wanted to tell her about my classes and I wanted her to be proud of me and I never got that. We worked together and eventually I stopped crying during my sessions and I was laughing and I was staying at school longer with my friends. I was happy. My brother told me one afternoon, “Wow you’re funny again.” I didn’t realize how depressed I was until looking back on it. I ended up seeking further help, but that is more personal. Maybe later I will post about it, but for now I want to start an open discussion about anxiety and depression.

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We need to talk about anxiety and depression more as a society. I never want anyone to feel closed off or alone how I felt in 8th grade. Now I talk to my friends about anxiety and I have made the strongest relationships with those who have the same issues as me. I have also, thankfully, lost friends who thought my anxiety was an excuse and that I was a “pathetic human being.” 

I have felt like I wasn’t enough or not worth it. I have felt like I was a nobody and nobody cared about me. I felt like I was small and worthless, but, I was honest about my feelings on social media. Social media CAN be helpful. I said exactly what I was feeling and left nothing out. In response, I have gotten messages on Instagram from people thanking me for being honest and helping them realize they are not alone. I have gotten no hate, only love.

I want you, who is reading this, to know that you are not alone. I want you to make true friends and relationships with people who care and love you. I want you to be happy mentally more than physically.

Think about working on mental health like working on physical health. You may start running for only five minutes and then have to walk or start off with 5 lb dumbbells. But day after day you will be able to run for one minute more. You will be able to lift heavier and be faster. You will feel better and enjoy the gym.

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So, why don’t we train the brain that way? Why don’t we work on ourselves mentally little by little to figure out ways to help our anxieties and worries. I still have panic attacks and I still worry about school and sometimes silly things. But, after learning that I get anxious partially from genetics, from situational aspects as well as the makeup of my brain, I have learned so much about myself and it has helped so much. We should all have to learn about the basic parts of the brain and the science behind it as we do with our biceps and glutes and how our joints move. We need to work with out brains and learn how it works and what it likes just like how we workout and what we eat. The brain is so important and so delicate, you only have one. You can replace a knee or a hip or even kidney, but you cannot replace your brain. You only have one, so train it to be healthy and to keep you healthy. You deserve it.

2018 Intentions!

As 2017 comes to a close I have a mix of emotions. Usually I reflect on my past year and I don’t want it to end. I used to have a hard time letting go of the past, both the good and the bad memories. I tend to cling onto events, but this time things are different. I am proud of what I have accomplished and how far I have grown. The end of the year feels peaceful. I don’t feel pressure like I used to put on myself for resolutions or completely changing myself saying “Next year I will reach all of my goals.” Boy I was wrong. Instead, I developed a completely new lifestyle and I love it. It was hard and painful both physically and mentally, yet the end result is so rewarding.Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 5.40.24 PM

In January of 2017 I decided to do the Apple Watch challenge for completing a perfect Move goal. I pushed my body way past its limits and it landed me with incredible knee and back pain. I didn’t go to dance for 4 weeks and I was in physical therapy for another eight. I basically had to learn how to walk again so my knees would be bending in the proper way to support my back. Crazy for an eighteen year old right? Na, not really. I was treating my body so terribly by not having rest days and overworking muscles that were begging me to stop. I talked to myself in such a horrible, hateful way. Looking back on it I realize this, but then I didn’t. I told myself that I was happy and everyone has body image issues at my age. I believed in slim downs and high protein low carb diets, but that just does not work for me.

Thankfully, as the summer approached I grew sick of it. My sister and one of my best friends were doing weightlifting and would go to the gym every morning together. I thought I had to do certain workouts and that weight lifting wasn’t for me. It gave me anxiety thinking of quitting the workouts I was doing because I thought I wouldn’t have success any other way. I cannot believe that I thought that. I have gained so much strength over the past 6 months when I started weight training as my primary workout. I still do yoga here and there as well as cardio, but not everyday. The stair master is my BFF and running a 5k is good for my mental strength. If you told my summer self that I would be weight lifting heavy weight in December and started to squat/deadlift/hip thrust with a squat rack and “big girl” barbell I would’ve laughed in your face.


When I started weight lifting I felt good about myself. I started to learn more about nutrition (post soon to come) and what makes ME feel good. I cannot believe how much I have grown over the past year. I no longer treat myself with such terrible habits and I am learning to love myself. It is scary to say that because that is a goal that I never thought I would reach. Me? Liking myself? It makes me cry thinking about the happiness I have welcomed into my life and what 2018 is going to bring. For 2018 I am not setting resolutions, I’m setting intentions. I do not want to change ANYTHING about how I am living my life right now – I am happy. I am proud and I am just… I don’t have words to describe this feeling. Maybe it is feeling relaxed or content. I just love it.

For my intentions, I’m splitting them up into categories: Physical health, mental health, social health and nutrition. All of my intentions are gonna be attainable, achievable and realistic. These aren’t gonna be like “By the end of 2018 I wanna look like (insert girl who has been working out for 3 years and has totally different genetics than me), and if I don’t I’m not gonna be happy.” No! Not good. Comparison is a plague and I was taken by it in the past, not in 2018. I am going to by the best that I can be, for me.

Physical Health: Fitness

2018 is gonna be all about gaining strength. I am going to be working on my back squat and deadlifts using a squat rack as well as hip thrusts. I really want to gain strength in my legs to protect my knees and lower back. All about safety. I also want to be able to do a shoulder press and a chin up by the end of the year. I am going to focus on mind to muscle connection and learn more about what exercises work which muscles. Strengthening my core is essential for lifting heavy because I really cannot handle more injuries. Having abs is cool, but having strength is even cooler.

Mental Health: Anxiety and Depression

People tend to forget how important the brain is. Your brain is so delicate and so important to who you are. After taking a general psych class in my first semester I became hooked on why the brain interrupts signals certain ways and how this affects me as an individual. I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and minor depression, and my psych class gave me the tools to learn why this was happening and what was happening in my brain (neurotransmitters and all that jazz). My goal for my mental stability is to continue to use the tools that I already have for dealing with it, but also learn more ways to help myself. Confidence and 100% self love is what I am working toward.

Social Health: Friendships and Introversion

I am a very introverted person. I do not do well in crowds and I like to recharge in my own room with a book and some music. People tend to overwhelm me. Socializing makes me anxious and I steered clear of it this semester. I was in a bad place during the semester, so I know 2018 will be my time to put myself out there and build strong friendships. I tend not to go out like an average college student, so I want to push myself out of my comfort zone even though it is terrifying.


I am going to write a whole post on my nutrition because it is honestly really entertaining. I have tried so many diets with meat, without meat, high protein, low carb etc etc. Now I am majorly plant based and have not eaten any meat since late September. My intention for 2018 is to learn more about veganism and vegetarianism and about superfoods and micro and macro nutrients and all that stuff. I also wanna look into meat options that are grass fed and grass finished. Give me all the science!

I hope 2018 brings you a year full of happiness, success, challenges to overcome and surprising new adventures that will make you into the person you want to be!


Welcome to the Curly Girly Blog!

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! My name is Mandy and I’m a College freshman and I have fallen in love with health and wellness both physical and mental. Throughout 2017 I have transformed both physically and mentally through learning what my body likes for fitness and fuel (aka foodddd) as well as therapy and self awareness.

I started an Instagram page around April of 2017 to keep me on track and motivated during the Tone It Up Bikini Series. For a little background about myself, I danced for fifteen years and it took a major toll on my body. When I was eleven I started to feel knee pain, but it was bearable until I was thirteen and my left knee twisted in a weird way while running. Five years later, I was still feeling pain and I started physical therapy (again, but for my lower back as well) in January 2017 until June. The Bikini Series was my way of strengthening my body again. Basically, I wanted to feel as young as I looked. I would joke that I felt like an eighty year old stuck in an eighteen year olds body.

During the Bikini Series I was in high school and I was stressing a lot about my physical appearance and what others thought of me. What a flipping waste of time. Looking back I see how ridiculous it was. After the Bikini Series I decided I wanted to try weight training (again) after not having success the year prior. I realized how much stronger my legs have gotten from the last couple of months, but I wanted more. I wasn’t happy doing Tone It Up, so I took a chance and tried something new. I felt so uncomfortable in that weight room. I felt “small” and “weak” and frankly terrified. Six months later, the weight room is my happy place and is therapeutic for me. It is a release from anxiety and depression. It gives me a time, usually about an hour and fifteen minutes, to just focus on myself and my wellness and my happiness.

So, why am I starting this blog? Just how the weight room was a terrifying change for me, so is this blog. I love to write and I love to connect with people like me, but for some reason I was afraid and held back by other peoples’ opinions. If I didn’t have the amazing supportive community on Instagram I would have never progressed as far as I have. I would have never made such amazing and strong friendships. I would have never learned so much about nutrition and weight lifting without Instagram. By reading so many posts about positive thoughts and loving yourself I started to believe it about myself. I want to be able to spread happiness and self love because maybe I could help one person. Maybe my experiences and my small, but challenging journey could give someone hope or let them know that they are not alone. You are never alone in this world, there is always, ALWAYS someone there for you. You can always talk to me. I know how hard the mental barrier is; I am still facing the challenges of anxiety and depression, but I am learning how to not let it control me.

I cannot wait to start sharing what has helped me and cannot wait to learn more! I love to learn and I love to grow. As the new year approaches, I figured this would be the best time to start this blog. I want to push myself and finally do something that I have always been afraid to do. I hope you join me on my journey – just a curly girly living life one day at a time.