As the fourth of seven children, I’ve gained a great appreciation for family and relationships. People are the most important part of this life, and the more we serve others, the happier we become. This is why I love running Body Buddies. It’s such an honor to be able to provide information to help people like you live a healthier and happier life.
I began dancing when I was twelve. From the first day I walked into a studio, dance was my life and my every breath. I studied jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, contemporary and ballroom. After years of dancing as a member of my studio’s competition team, high school drill team, coaching that same team after graduating, teaching dance in private studios, judging competitions, teaching workshops and choreography, and dancing on the Dixie State University dance company, I was accepted to the MFA program (Master’s of Fine Arts) modern dance program at the University of Utah. I was so thrilled to be pursuing my dream of becoming an artistic director of dance at a university.
However, the serious back pain that intensified during heavy rehearsals and performances scared me. That was my senior year of college—dealing with constant and increasing pain. When it became too much, I forced myself into the doctor’s office. Prior to the visit, I knew I had scoliosis. That being said, however, I’d suffered very little pain; the disease had instead given me incredible flexibility that enhanced my abilities as a dancer.
After two orthopedic surgeons cautioned me to halt my dancing, advising that I put a rod in my back to straighten my spine, I began to consider my life and how all of my dreams would never come to fruition. Motivated, I buried myself in heavy research, after which I decided that I would not have surgery; I’d rather have a shorter but higher quality life, I reasoned, than a longer life of lesser quality.
With consistent chiropractic care and rigorous nutrition and fitness habits, my doctors are changing their minds about my condition. In 2011, they told me I would be in a wheelchair by age 40 and that my spine would begin to move into the region where my lungs are by age 60, which could possibly end my life. Now, in 2013, they tell me that by staying active and eating well I may be able to keep myself out of a wheelchair—permanently. As a result of my routines, the curvature of my spine hasn’t worsened and chiropractic care is keeping arthritis from setting in.
Though I’ve left behind my dream of being an artistic dance director, the disordered eating habits and thoughts that plagued me for years remained with me. For over a decade, I struggled with obsessive calorie-counting and restrictive diets in efforts to lose weight. After a time, my resolve broke, resulting in horrific binge-eating episodes of anywhere from 5,000-10,000 calories in a single sitting. In order to punish myself for the behavior and prevent the weight gain I feared, I would force myself to vomit immediately following the binge and spend hours at the gym to burn as many calories as possible. I exercised so viciously that I often developed injuries. Despite that, I forced myself to continue exercising. Voices of disdain, loathing, anger, and self-hatred constantly screamed in my mind. I hated myself and that no matter how hard I tried, I could not break my obsessive cycle of behavior.
My family, friends, academic and dance peers, and co-workers all knew me as a health nut—what they didn’t see was the dark side of me kept private and hidden from the world. I was ashamed of who I was in secret, and put that much more effort into how I appeared in public.
When I was 25, I’d finally had enough. I decided that I could not, and would not, continue the way I treated myself. I hated myself. I ridiculed myself. I loathed myself. Ten years of this was enough. I wanted discipline. I wanted control. I wanted to be the master of my habits and behavior. On March 17, 2012, something inside of me snapped. Many things in my life weren’t going right—I was failing in my dating relationships, resented my job, and felt miserable with my body and spirituality. Driving home that afternoon, I felt a thought swell inside my head so large that it felt it would expand like a balloon.
The phrase repeated itself over and over in my mind. Caught off guard, I lifted my hand to adjust the rearview mirror until I was looking at my reflection and stared myself down. Did that really come from me?
No matter if the voice was a product of my subconscious or a message from a loving and eternal God, the thought was real, and it welled deep inside me. In that moment, I knew that I could shape my own life and would do so from that day forward; I would prove to myself that I could do anything—and I would begin with my body. If I could discipline my body and my mind, I knew the rest of my life would fall into place.
For the first time, I followed through with a plan to change my body. It was the most grueling process I’ve ever experienced, but I transformed my body, my mind, and my entire life in a short eight weeks. I competed in three women’s figure competitions (a category of women’s bodybuilding) that summer, placing in the top three at each event.
That was the beginning of a new life where I buried myself in research and application. I am a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I don’t claim to know everything, but I’m constantly engaged in research and attending nutrition and exercise seminars to learn more. The health industry is full of lots of quacks and bogus ideas. I feel it’s my duty to sift through the vast information to find the most practical and strategic method for each of my clients, and all of my Body Buds.
I hope you will take advantage of the Body Buddies community and seek to help others around you, too. We can’t all change the world, but we can help one person at a time.
It was July 2012, and I had just finished my third and final Figure competition for the summer. After such an intense four-month process of transforming and learning so much about my body, I began thinking how what I now knew could help my family and friends. I had received many different vibes from those who knew me–both positive and negative–about my new way of life, so didn’t think anyone would want to hear me talk about the things that had become my new passion–exercise, nutrition, and mental discipline.
That night, I was watching The Wedding Planner. It was the part where the Italian man is telling Jennifer Lopez that even though he loves her and wants to marry her, he was okay to be her friend–“you know, like buddy buddy,” he said. But with his Italian accent, it sounded like “boddy buddy.” And that’s when it clicked. I decided to create a Facebook page called “Body Buddies” and invite friends and family to like it. I thought it would be a good outlet for me to share information that would be beneficial to them in their own physical fitness and healthy lifestyle efforts.
And so, Body Buddies was born. Post after post, follower after follower, Body Buddies continues to grow, and the people who I am so blessed to help are, and always will be, my Buds.
I’m a bit of a random person. I like to play with my Nerf gun. I speak fairly fluent Korean. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are my favorite food. I’ve played the piano since I was eight. Reading the dictionary is my guilty pleasure. I’m pretty much just a nerd with a very deep passion for nutrition, fitness, and helping the people around me learn to feel confident and happy in their own skin