Hi!  I’m Regan, a 34-year-old foodie, CrossFit'er, and have Ankylosing Spondylitis.  I started this blog in September 2010 as a way to document my journey to healthy living.  I took a long hiatus from my blog, but realized it was cathartic to write and I'm back at it!

What else could you want to know about me? 
  • I am an only child that grew up in a small town by the beach in eastern NC
  • I have been best friends with the same girl since diapers.  She's probably the only person that could tell me to get over myself and I wouldn't be mad.
  • I am definitely a type-A, list making, left-brain type person.
  • While I may not be Iceland Annie or Talayna Fortunato, I love CrossFit and I go into every WOD prepared to do my best and kick ass.  It's so empowering!
  • I could eat my weight (seriously) in El's Shrimpburgers.
  • I have been blessed with the most supportive friends and family and dare anyone to try to argue with me on that one.
How'd I get here:

I guess if I really think about it, I have been overweight and/or dieting since I was about 12-years-old.  Around the age of 12/13, I gained a lot of weight rather suddenly (over the course of 4-6 months).  I went from being the average/slightly chubby kid to the fat kid.  When all my friends were going through puberty, participating in sports, dating, and enjoying being a teenager, I was miserable.  I was gaining weight for no apparent reason, tolerating horrible and inexplicable stomach pain, and dealing with various hormone issues.  I went to several different types of doctors and no one could seem to figure out what was causing the problems.  I had test after test at Carteret General, Pitt Memorial and Duke University.  In the end, the doctors chalked it up to my just being overweight/obese and suggested that I lose weight.  This was the start of a vicious cycle... 

I went from TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) to Weight Watchers to not eating to making myself throw up.  Nothing worked.  I'd try to exercise, but would lose motivation quickly because I wasn't seeing results.  Of course, I didn't mention that I hid food in my room during this time.  How did I ever expect to lose weight when I was hiding Oreos and E.L. Fudge cookies under my bed?  The cycle of yo-yo dieting, not eating, making myself sick after eating, etc. continued until my sophomore year in college.  I don't think any of my family or friends realized how miserable I was during this time in my life because I was a fairly good actress.  Heck, I was Regan - I was the friendly, buddies with everyone, fat girl. 

My highest weight was ~360 pounds in May 2000.  That's a lot of weight for anyone, but it is even more when you are 5'4".  On Friday, May 19, 2000, I made a decision that I will always question...  I had weight loss surgery.  Every single day, I am grateful for those that encouraged me to have surgery; every single day I also regret the decision.  

I first learned about the surgery, being performed at Durham Regional Medical Center, from my supervisor at a small local publishing company.  After talking with her, I mentioned it to my small-town primary care doctor.  He had heard of the surgeon at Durham Regional and encouraged me to have the surgery.  My doctor and I were convinced that if I could just lose weight all my problems would just disappear - I would be a healthy, fun-loving person again.  Of course, he forgot to mention that you need to exercise, change your eating habits, and have to deal with all the mental issues associated with losing a ton of weight, etc.  My weight loss surgery was a success for the most part.  I did very well with the change in eating habits and did ok with the exercise, but didn't deal very well with all the other issues associated with the surgery.  My lowest weight after the surgery was 175 pounds.  Even after feeling relatively good about how I looked, I still had issues with food. 

Over the late spring/early summer of 2001, I started to gain a little bit of weight.  This was extremely odd to me considering that one year before I had the surgery and I was still limited with the foods I could eat.  At this same time, I started having even more abdominal/stomach pains, irregularities with my menstrual cycles and other issues that had subsided after losing a significant amount of weight.  Over the previous several years, my WHNP at my gynecologist office and I had discussed possible diagnoses for my various issues.  It wasn't until that summer that we decided it was time to really do the tests associated with getting a true diagnosis for the issues that had plagued my past and were raring their ugly head again.  She and I agreed that there was no reason for me to be gaining weight in my mid-section, having menstrual irregularities, stomach pain, etc. when I had just lost over 150 pounds.  Jill, my WHNP, referred me to Raleigh Endocrinology for the tests.  On Friday, August 17, 2001, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  I will remember that day like it was yesterday.   

While it was a relief to know what was going on, it was all I could do not to cry and shut everyone out of my life.  This began several years of yo-yo dieting, taking different birth controls to maintain proper hormone levels, taking diabetes regulating medications, flitting around with various means to control my weight, and engaging in other negative behaviors, etc.  It was during this time that I talked with a psychologist about my body and how horrible I perceived it to appear.  I trusted the psychologist with whom I was talking, but I never was completely honest with her during a single one of our sessions.  We talked about my body issues and discussed body dysmorphic disorder.  Now that I think back on it, I don't really know why I wasn't honest - the only thing I can think about my lack of honesty is that it showed me as being weak.  I had worked too hard to put up a wall of strength around me that I wasn't going to let anyone see me as weak - no one.  Since I was convinced that I could "fix" it all myself, I never went back after the fifth or sixth visit.   

I met my wonderful husband, Jason, in 2004.  When we met, I was floating around 210 pounds and a plain old "hot mess".  No matter how cliche it sounds, Jason and I were complete together.  He made me want to be the best person I could be and we were just a great fit.  We were engaged in May 2005.  When we got engaged, I realized that I definitely needed to lose some of the fluff or I wasn't going to be pleased with our wedding pictures.  It was also around this same time that I went off the various medications I had been on.  I didn't like how the medications made me feel and I wasn't really seeing any real benefits.  Jason and I agreed that we would work together to do what I needed to overcome my issues with food, my self-worth issues, and my tendency to be very hard on my physical appearance.  The entire time we have been together, through dating, engagement, and marriage - he has been my #1 cheerleader.  He understands my issues with food, exercise, and being self-defeating at times.  He encourages me to eat things that are good for me, understands that everyone needs a little treat at times, pushes me to go to the gym or run when I don't really want to go, etc.  No matter what is going on, he seems to know just the right thing to say to get me back on track.   

In May 2010, I decided it was time to really change.  I was determined to transform all of me.  I joined a new gym.  I started working out with a personal trainer and decided it was time to drop the yo-yo dieting and just live more healthily.  I started limiting my grocery store purchases to items that I could easily pronounce the ingredients, contained less sugar and/or sugar substitute, etc.  Once I decided that I was making a change, I started reading more healthy living blogs and food blogs.  It's amazing what you can create and never use an ingredient from a box!  Every blog I read pushes me to be a better person and to try new things.  As a note - Yes, I still eat what I want but I am careful about portions.  This girl isn't going to miss out on wine, Cosmopolitans, an occasional Oreo or McDonald's hot fudge sundae. (I hated to do it, but I had to scrap those items)

As I have continued on this journey of transformation, I have done a lot of changing.  I have tried everything to support my health and weight loss. Many program and supplements worked, but nothing really drilled down to the heart of the issue. Because of research and the encouragement of a friend, I tried a nutritional rebalancing and cellular cleansing program. Since the end of March, my life has been flipped upside down in the most awesome way possible! I am excited to share my journey with others!