Why oh Why

Hello all those in blogger-land and welcome to the first post of The Rihel Life, a blog dedicated to healthy natural living.

I’ve been sitting and staring at my computer for a while now, trying to figure out what the heck I should write for my first post, when I came to the conclusion that it’s probably best to give you a bit of background on me and my journey so far. It makes no sense to start giving tips on living a healthy life when you have no idea who I am or why I’m doing this in the first place.

So let’s start at the beginning. My name is Amy. I’m newly married, a full-time nanny, and currently working on pursuing a career in health and wellness. I’ve been interested in healthy living since roughly middle school. I had always been a bit of a …squishy kid and started being interested in diet and exercise around puberty. Two things became quickly apparent; I love eating, and don’t like moving. Ok, that’s not fully true. I like moving, but I have a bit of a rocky past with sports. My parents signed me up for every sport under the sun when I was little, trying to find something that I liked… or was even remotely good at. But having terrible hand eye coordination, and being on the heavier side made it very difficult to find something that I enjoyed. I distinctly remember being 9-10ish in gymnastics and having trouble swinging my body backwards over the bar. A teacher came to help, but I was too heavy for her I guess, so it took 2 teachers to push me around, and I remember them laughing to themselves. It was mortifying. Over and over again my attempts to “move” were met with some form of failure, or honestly, boredom. Then towards the end of middle school I started a dance class. Having grownup in a musically inclined family I finally felt like I had a leg-up on something. I had rhythm and was actually pretty good. Some weight came off, and I toned up a bit, but more than that, I gained some confidence in my body. I felt like my body was finally doing what I wanted it to do. Fast forward a few years, I wasn’t in dance anymore but I was really getting into nutrition and working out. I was doing some strength training at home and really got into yoga. I lost 20 lbs the summer before my junior year of high school and felt amazing. I was getting all sorts of compliments, felt great in my body, was told I was “skinny”, and loved every minute of it. I remember my Dad asking me if I noticed the change in my body after dropping all that weight. I told him “No, that I couldn’t see it”. Looking back at pictures now, I can see how much I really had changed; and I can also see how much of a skewed body image I really did have. I still saw myself as the chunky kid. The one who was always last. The one who much preferred singing to throwing a ball. Toss in a tumultuous move across the country right before my senior year and I yoyo-ed right back. I eventually lost some of that weight, but the scars of growing up thinking you were fat were… are still with me.

Enter, Jonathan. My now husband. He’s the type of guy I never ever ever ever thought I would date. Ever. He’s huge into sports, was assistant coach for a track and cross country team, ran on a cross country team, and loved baseball. I never thought in a million years I would go for a sports guy. Ever. 🙂  But thank God we found each other because he has been one of the best healing devices I could ever have asked for. He has helped heal my “fat kid psyche” in more ways than he’ll ever know. Soon after we started dating he took me running. Let me just say, I didn’t like it at first. It hurt. It was kinda boring. And I couldn’t go more than a few blocks before I was huffing and puffing. But the more I did it, the better I felt, the better I was at it, and the more I started to actually enjoy it.  So I ran my first 5k. Then another and another. Then he pushed me to try a 10k and I thought never in a million years I could run over 6 miles; but I did it. And now I’ve run dozens of half marathons, and a full (thinking of doing another soon too). Running was simple. Just one foot in front of the other. But was hard. It takes hard work and dedication and a lot of mental staying power. Your mind wants to give up a thousand times before your body really needs too. Jonathan pushed me. I have a tendency to give up the moment something gets tough, but he wouldn’t let me. He kept pushing me to try harder, go farther, and it’s addictive. That drive to succeed, to push boundaries, to set goals and achieve them; it envelopes you. And it enters your life and takes hold not letting you just settle but giving you control over things you were letting control you.

But sometimes life swings you in a different direction, and for Jonathan and I, it was moving. We moved to Sacramento just over 3 years ago and as much as I love love love living here, my structure, my “habits” were gone. I didn’t have the same support group, my running buddies, that I did back in the bay area. I tried to find other people to run with, but it would never work out. I tried running by myself, which worked for a time but would become very boring very quickly. I needed something different. I became stagnant. I started working longer hours than I ever had before, and I was tired. I got to the heaviest weight I have ever been (170 for those of you dying to know) and then I got engaged. Dun Dun Dun!!!  Jonathan has always told me that I was beautiful, but I was not ready to have all eyes on me on my wedding day, when I wasn’t happy with who I was or what I looked like. I felt powerless. So I took charge, really diving into researching diet and exercise.  I started eating Paleo (we’ll dive into that topic more another day) and gym hopping trying to find something that I could stick with and dropped 10 lbs in the process. But that wasn’t enough. I never could find an exercise program that gave me what I was searching for…. and I didn’t know what I was searching for. So after several searches for gyms online I found Kaia Fit, an all women’s functional intense training program, and it looked intimidating to say the least. There were pictures of women doing pullups, flipping tires, doing burpees and tuck jumps and it scared the crap out of me. But I kept finding myself going back to their website and reading their blog. So finally a few months before my wedding and right around my birthday, I decided to take the plunge and try it out. It was exactly what I had been looking for, exactly what I didn’t know I needed. It was hard…seemingly impossible during the first few weeks, but was extremely addictive.  I was surround by women of all shapes, sizes, and ages pushing themselves to their limits day after day. Everyone was working at their hardest level. There was no one goal to work towards except to do better than you had the day before. And the best part was that you were never competing against the other women, you were cheering for them. It finally gave me that team atmosphere that I had always desired from sports, while allowing me to work towards my goals as an individual.

And that’s brings us to today, where I’m taking the next big leap and working to get Personal trainer certified so I can start helping others  find that strength, confidence, and greater health that I found. To make any change either with ourselves or our surroundings it’s important to discover your “why”; your motivation. My why used to be to get “skinny”, to look better in clothes, to weigh less. But now I’ve discovered there is more to it than just being a certain size. Now my “why” is to be strong, to be fit, to be able to do a full pull up without assistance 🙂 oh, and you. You are now my “why”. You are now my motivation. I just know I can’t be the only person struggling with their weight, self- doubt, and self-loathing. I want to help others find that inner strength, that will power, and the ability to find confidence not only in the way they look but in what they can achieve.

That’s my “why”. What’s yours?


Love and joy,



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