My Journey

My Journey

 

If you love health and wellness and delicious treats, you’ll feel right at home here.  The experiences I have had with fitness and nutrition are a major part of my life and are the reason I have started this blog.  Because of the struggles, I have gone through I have learned so much and I love to share my knowledge and passion to educate others on proper nutrition and living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

My love of physical fitness started at the age of four when I learned how to play soccer.  That first team experience started a life-long love of sports which taught me many valuable skills like dedication, commitment, hard work, leadership, and teamwork.  Throughout my youth, I became a successful athlete excelling in basketball and soccer and even earning an All-American award.  

When it was time for college, I was excited to get out of Buffalo and start a new chapter in my life; I was accepted into the Physical Education department at SUNY Cortland.  I was unaware that this new stage would lead to one of the hardest battles of my life.  Like many young college students, I spent my first semester eating unhealthy, partying, drinking and putting myself in bad situations.  I knew that I had to make a change in order to get back to the healthy lifestyle I was used to.  During my second semester, I started running more, made the gym a priority six days a week and changed my diet completely.  What started as good intentions and healthy habits took a very dangerous turn.  As I started losing weight, I became obsessive and soon my only focus became food, exercise and getting perfect grades.  I didn’t have time for friendships or possible relationships, I was not living my life to the fullest and lost sight of so many important things.

By the start of my sophomore year my unhealthy decisions had caught up to me.    Playing soccer, running extra miles and doing separate gym workouts while restricting my diet caused my body to start to shut down.  I was always tired and had dizzy spells, I developed digestive problems and even passed out.  My regular body temperature dropped to 93 degrees and my heart was only beating 30 times per minute.  My body simply couldn’t keep up and I was sent to the emergency room where I was admitted to the hospital for a month in order to stabilize my health.  My “healthy lifestyle” had turned into an eating disorder that had overtaken my life.  One of the turning points in my journey was when my brother Ryan came to visit me at the hospital.  At that point I still wasn’t working to get better:  I wasn’t listening to the doctors,  I was hiding food and had to be supervised even when I was showering.  But my brother was the voice that finally got through to me when he told me “I just want Alicia back.”  That moment was when I realized that my eating disorder wasn’t just destroying me, it was destroying the people I love too.  That was when I made one of the scariest decisions of my life…I decided to get help.

I spent several months at an inpatient eating disorder treatment center to win my life back, to find the “real” Alicia.  When I first started, I was scared, and not certain that I wanted to get better.  It took a few weeks, but I started to develop friendships with the other patients who provided support and encouragement.  Between group therapy, one-on-one therapy, working with a nutritionist and kitchen work, I slowly started to beat the bad guy in my head, who we call “ED” in the eating disorder world.  When I was discharged from the treatment center I knew that I was given a fresh start and I was determined to finish my degree.

After returning home I finished my physical education degree and made the bold decision to move to Myrtle Beach where I went to Coastal Carolina University to attend their exercise and sports science program.  It was here that I felt happy, free and full of life – I was ready to make the most of the opportunities in front of me.  During my time in South Carolina, I continued running and maintained a lean physique, but for the first time in a while, I was fueling my body properly.

After school I stayed in Myrtle Beach and started working as a personal trainer where I was introduced to the world of bodybuilding and fitness competitions.  I fell in love with strength training and started to lift heavier weights instead of focusing solely on cardio workouts.  

Even with my change in training, I didn’t have an opportunity to compete until I returned to Buffalo in 2014.  At the time, I was looking for a new fitness goal and wanted to push myself so I registered for the Mr./Mrs. Buffalo as a bikini athlete.  During the process I learned so much about nutrition and training styles.  I worked closely with my coach to make sure that I was staying healthy throughout my training.  I loved the process of training and the science of the nutrition involved so I decided to continue.  I became a nationally Qualified Bikini Competitor at my next competition and bodybuilding has become an important part of my lifestyle since then.

Life has brought me many adventures and lessons since then, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I continue to train my clients as well as working in a management position at my gym.  I love working in such a great training atmosphere with a talented team where I have the ability to help change people’s lives.  The opportunity to meet and create relationships with those around me and to have a positive influence on them, is what drives me everyday.  It is my passion to continue to impact the lives around me which is why I have started Sweet N Fit, a company dedicated to fitness and nutrition to help others to have a healthy relationship with food.  I have experienced how nutrition can literally kill you and I have experienced fueling your body to be healthy and strong.  It is my mission to empower others to choose healthy!

During my time struggling with an eating disorder, I learned how to bake well (making desserts for others is part of how many people with eating disorders gain control).  In addition to my baking skills, now I  have developed solid nutritional knowledge.  In order to satisfy my own sweet tooth I started creating healthy protein based desserts which I often share with my friends and clients.  I don’t want to keep these amazing desserts just to myself and the small circle around me…it is time to share these treats with everyone through Sweet N Fit!  

For now, I will be sharing my favorite recipes through this blog.  I am always working on new projects and my next goal is to start packaging and selling my cookies, brownies and bars for anyone who wants to grab a quick treat on the go!  I look forward to growing as a person and a business and I am grateful to have you along for the journey!

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