While I’m currently pursuing my musical passions and developing my skills as a singer-songwriter, I’m super excited about sharing the story of my transformation in just a few short years from being a shy, fearful, bullied and overweight adolescent to a confident, emotionally and physically healthy, “FoodieFittie” who lost 78 lbs in a single year! I started telling my story and people began thinking of me as a teen authority on health and wellness. I wanted to take things further and become an inspiring voice for teens in a variety of area that are key to self esteem and a healthy lifestyle. That’s why I just created my 21 Day FoodieFittie program – to share the answers I learned about how to change my life in all these areas. In addition to talking about proper exercise, nutrition, and preparing healthy, quick and easy meals that taste good, I’m excited about helping my peers and others understand the power of positive thinking and determination in overcoming adversities in life.
I grew up in Johns Creek, GA as the youngest and only girl in a family of five. Everyone thought I was creative and I showed an early excitement about music – but looking back, I think I turned to music out of desperation. I like to say, “I don’t care what anyone says, I just care what I think!” By the time I was eight, I remember performing in front of 600 people at my school talent show. Inspired by superstars like Taylor Swift and Alanis Morissette, I also began writing songs and playing piano and guitar. See, I knew that no matter how much pain I felt, no matter how badly people treated me, no one could take away my music. I believe in the power of music to heal now more than ever. I always tell people, “Music saved me.” Some think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not!
Music was my constant companion and refuge when I had to deal with family difficulties like my brother’s drug problem (he’s now clean!) and my mom’s heavy medical issues. Still like a lot of kids, I couldn’t avoid some of the darker things that are part of growing up. I became a victim of cyber-bullying, which is unfortunately an even bigger trend today. It was a rude awakening to what the real world can be like. The injury of that got worse when the older kids at school began stalking and harassing me. I once loved my sense of individuality, but suddenly I felt alone and unaccepted. My free spirit was gone, replaced with fear, self-consciousness and feeling isolated. I kind of withdrew. I lost friends and gained a lot of weight. Whatever confidence I had was gone. My parents knew something had to be done.
Looking back, I like to say that I sang and ran my way out of depression. I ran because it was the only thing I could think to do to clear her mind of her troubles. I became obsessed about researching ways I could feel better about myself. I set my sights on the food I was eating, and I have to say that this, along with my crazy fitness regimen and her ability to make music, brought me back from the brink at 15. Now I’ve made it my mission to talk to other teens, just like me who might also be standing on the edge of a cliff, feeling alone and useless as I once was.
One of the keys to my transformation was starting on a well-known nutritional program called Flexible Dieting. This focuses less on food name and moreso on food composition, like what foods are made up of in terms of the macronutrients, micronutrients and fibre. Following a flexible diet program called If It Fits Your Macro, I lost 78 lbs. in 2015. In addition to kickboxing and weightlifting, I also became an avid runner, running three miles a day – and I was proud to participate in my first full marathon in March 2016. 2015 was a breakthrough year on the fitness front. I ran eleven half marathons (including the Hotlanta Half Marathon) and six 5k/10ks, including charitable events such as the Susan J. Komen Run for the Cure and the Big Peach Sizzler for Cystic Fibrosis and a FULL marathon! These were great for me on so many levels.
It’s nice that people are inspired with my comeback story, but I still want to challenge them further. So I ask them, “If I told you that you could have awesome cut abs by just changing what you eat, would you believe me? Because it’s true! Looking fit and tight and great isn’t impossible. I can tell you what I did to feel better about my 15 year old ‘no longer fat’ body. And believe me, I didn’t always like the way I looked. If I can do this, you can do this. No doubt!”
I had this family friend who was familiar with my singing, songwriting and desire to pursue a musical career. She recommended that my family and I hook up with PCG (Premiere Career Guidance) Nashville, which has changed the lives and fortunes of hundreds of established and up and coming musicians and artists. I feel blessed that PCG Nashville Founder and President Bernard Porter saw great potential, ambition and my desire to work hard. They accepted me ito their program, and I began making monthly trips to Nashville to work with their top trainers.
Everything began coming together for me! I was losing weight, developing my songwriting, vocal and performance skills and maintaining a 3.8 average in school. What naturally followed was that I once again became the free-spirited, confident girl that my family once knew me as. I will continue to pursue music, but when I go to college, I plan to work towards a degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences.
So, beyond my goal of becoming a touring and recording artist, I’m really excited about sharing my story of overcoming adversity – which is the foundation of the FoodieFittie 21 Day Program I wrote. I want to draw upon my success to inspire kids and parents alike to fight through childhood traumas like I have – and to never let any setbacks interfere with the pursuit of their dreams. Believe me, I’m living proof that with determination and the proper coaching and guidance, anything is possible.
I have to give credit to PCG Nashville for not only helping me develop my musical talents, but also transforming my life. When I first started with PCG, I was in the 20th percentile of obesity and I had been bullied my whole life. I knew I loved music and felt I had enough talent to pursue it, but I had poor self- image and really didn’t know who I wanted to be. They helped me face the roots of my depression so I could work through the deeper issues. I was given exercises to help change my mindset and they guided me into a better outlook on life and who I was and wanted to be.
I have to admit, I’m still getting used to seeing myself as a thin person because I have struggled with weight issues my whole life. I came into the world as an 11 lb. baby and my birth mother – I’m adopted – suffered from diabetes. I grew up an emotional eater and food was my comfort. I was tired of being called the fat girl through middle school and was bullied my whole life. At one point, I was suicidal and got to the point where if things didn’t change, I don’t think I would have made it. When I joined PCG, they really helped me through it. They want you to be the best artist you can be. But besides giving people with raw talent the overall tools you need to develop your skills and become successful in the music industry, they really care about us as human beings – and for me, that made all the difference. PCG made me realize that I can do anything I put my mind to – and now I want to make sure that you can do the same thing!