Opening Up

Howdy!! :)

After getting home from work today, I was in need of a little snackie. 😛  Jay and I have a softball game tonight, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be enjoying another grilled chicken sandwich after the game; but that wouldn’t be until about 8:00 and I was hungry!  I noticed a lonely pear sitting in the fruit basket and figured I should show him some love.

I chopped him up (nicely, I promise) and mixed it into some 1% cottage cheese (maybe about 3/4 cup? – I didn’t measure…) a few golden raisins, and a heavy-handed sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

I don’t even remember the last time I ate a pear, but this guy was soooo sweet and juicy!  I think I need to pick up a few more of these at the store this weekend because it was definitely an excellent combo.  I also ended up snacking on another small piece of corn bread, which happened a little too quickly for the camera…but you already know what it looks like. 😉

So in case you’ve been eagerly waiting in suspense (haha), here’s the answer to Part 2 of this afternoon’s question.  If you missed part 1, click here.  And you might wanna grab a cup of tea or a snack…it’s a long one!

Q: When did you become interested in fitness and wellness? Was there a turning point for you?

A: Continued…I had about 4 weeks until my trip to NYC, which I saw as an opportunity to “get thin”.  Now at this point in my life, not only did I put the stress of the contest on me, but I was also feeling the stress of losing Jay.  During this time, Jay and I decided to take a break; to grow up, and sort out our issues.  It really took a toll on me, and in turn, I focused all of my attention on food and losing weight.

I can tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been hungrier than I was at this time in my life.  I ate minuscule meals (if you could call them that); I avoided fat at all costs– heck I avoided food when I could; I hated even the slightest feeling of fullness in my stomach; I was constantly counting calories in my head; I ate sugar-free jell-o like it was going out of style; and I worked out harder than I ever had.  I can actually remember one of my lowest moments: my mom was preparing dinner, and I saw her adding a little extra butter to a dish.  I completely freaked because it was going to “ruin all of my hard work”.

Obviously, I was in a horrible place, and even after the contest was over, my misconstrued way of thinking continued.  I was miserable and depressed, but I was still getting thinner so I kept at it.  I would run into people I hadn’t seen in a while, maybe since high school, and they’d say “Oh Courtney, you lost weight? You look great!”.  During high school & the beginning of college, I was pretty average.  Certainly not overweight, but could afford to eat a few less cosmic brownies.  Well all of those comments kept me going.  Even the ones about my “so skinny arms” got me excited.  I thrived off of things like this.

My mom urged me, gently, to go speak to someone on more than one occasion, but I refused.  I didn’t want to go telling some doctor I had a problem.  I thought, sure I don’t want to eat fattening foods, but that doesn’t make me one of “those people”.

Luckily, a very close friend of mine could totally relate to what I was going through.  She had battled through some very similar issues in the past, and I knew I could always count on her.  We would talk a lot, about food, about feelings, about life.  The best part of it all was that she did not once judge me, and that’s exactly what I needed; just somebody to listen, and somebody who understood.  Had I gone to see a doctor, who knows whether or not I would have been diagnosed with anything?  But I’m glad I wasn’t, because I don’t want to ever have any kind of “label” floating over my head.  Yes, I had a problem, and I’ll leave it at that.  Thankfully, I had my own doctor in the form of my close friend.

While I slowly started to improve, it wasn’t until Jay and I got back together in May of 2008 that things really started to look up for me.  I was happy again, I felt complete, and I had more to focus on than just food and how to avoid it.  This is when I started reading food blogs, such as Tina’s & Kath’s.  At first, I looked at these meals and would think, “Geez, there’s no way I could eat all that without getting fat!”.  But slowly, as my mental and physical health started to improve, I realized that I was really just begging to be able to enjoy food again the way that these girls were, and the way that I used to.

I’d say it still took a good solid year until I felt totally comfortable with food that wasn’t “fat free” or “low-fat”.  But the more I read these blogs, and the happier I became with life, the easier it was for me to see the light.  It was amazing when I realized how much more energy I had when I actually ate some healthy fats and carbs!  And my moodiness?  So much better! (although Jay may beg to differ on that one sometimes 😉 )  Fitness also became an enjoyable hobby for me, rather than a dreaded requirement.  My workouts these days are MUCH more intense than they were then, and that’s because I have the stamina to do them.  I love the way a hot, sweaty workout makes me feel.  I love being sore the next day from a killer BodyPump session.  And the best part, I don’t love it because it could potentially make me “loose weight”…I do love it because it makes me feel, well…flippin’ fantastic! :)

Looking back, it’s crazy for me to see just how low things got, because I always had felt such joy with food and exercise.  Thankfully, all of that love is back, probably 100 times more than ever before.  I realized that I have so much more to focus on in life than being the “skinny girl”.  I have a loving husband, a phenomenal mother and father, a pretty kick-ass brother (most of the time!) and the best group of friends you will ever find, guaranteed.

To be honest, I’m pretty nervous about all of this being posted, because I’ve never opened up about this to anyone except my one close friend, Jay, and my mom.  My friends didn’t know, although they may have had an idea.  And my co-workers & acquaintances certainly didn’t know.  Most people are probably going to read this and think, “Geez, I never realized that you were so screwed up, Courtney?” Well, I was; plain and simple.  I battled some hurdles, but I overcame them; and to me, that’s more courageous than someone finding out about those battles in the first place.

So there you have it…that’s me, “healthy girl” in a nutshell. 😉

*Lindsey, thank you so much for asking this question…if it wasn’t for you asking, I don’t know if I ever would have opened up…and it feels fantastic!* :)


  1. says

    What a great story…I think you are GORGEOUS but you inside now shines just as brightly as ever! Love how you battled back and are in a good place again! :)

  2. Jae says

    This was awesome to read because well, body confidence is something that I havent achieved yet without going into panic mode whenever i feel even a little bit ‘fat’. Im really glad you posted this :) Thank you for opening up to us. But fyi, you’re absolutely GORGEOUS :) (im sure everyone else is inclined to agree with me on this too~! :))

  3. says

    This is an amazing story of battle and success. Thank you fr sharing it! I think it starts this way for most people, a “goal to tone up” and then the obsession makes us spiral out of control. I’m happy for you though that you have it all together now, healthy happy eating, Jay and all!!

  4. Heather says

    I just want you to know that this made me cry…lol. You are SO brave for opening up and talking about this. I love you girl <3

  5. says

    I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell us all of this. Amazing story, and now look at you – healthy, strong and knowledgeable!

  6. says

    Great post, Courtney :) I’m guessing that your story will be able to help quite a few other people with their relationships to food. And hey, no one is thinking “Geez, I never realized that you were so screwed up, Courtney” because everyone has their own demons and their own struggles. You are just brave enough to share!

  7. says

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I struggled in a similar way in high school. I’m so glad you found a healthier way to live. Love reading your blog!

  8. jeanine mitchell says

    what a great inspiring story Courtney and I could soooo relate. I had very similar issues in my twenties and for the first time in my life I am working out for the great feelings and stress relief it gives me than for how many pounds I’m going to lose. I have to always be careful when I go through my “healthy” streaks that I don’t go over board. I love your blog because it does give me so many ideas for healthy yummy things and you can have your cake too!!!! thanks so much for sharing.

  9. says

    Well, if you are going to open up about this topic anywhere–this is the right place.

    I know I have experienced everything you felt. It’s a horrible horrible and sad place to be. Unfortunately, when I was going through all this, I lost a lot of my friends b/c I simply was no longer fun to be around. I’ve had to work hard recently to rekindle relationships and focus on making new ones all bc I spent two years of my life obsessed with being thin and food.

    So glad we are where we are now!

  10. says

    Congrats on getting your story out there. That’s courageous and I’m sure you feel 100x better. Food + fitness are meant to be fun. Sometimes we just forget how to enjoy them. Here’s to health!

  11. says

    Awesome post Courtney! There’s so much I could say. First- the whole ‘butter in the pain comment’- I also did that to my Mom. We would fight a lot in high school over food issues & me not eating anything but veggies..@ the time I thought she was so mean, but looking back all she did was care about me SO much & she didn’t want to lose me…b/c I got scary scary scary skinny (think 72lbs. @ 5′ 2 and 1/2″) yuck.
    My parents are wonderful & got me the help I needed- like you found in your friend.
    And, I agree with you about the ‘skinny arms’ comment- my arms have always been one of my (in my mind) trouble spots. I have ALWAYS hated them for some reason. To hear any comments about my arms looking good like makes my YEAR! haha 😀 But I have realized that I do not want scary skinny arms, but toned strong arms.
    Once again, loved this post…made me think back to a lot of what I went thru as well. Glad you were able to open up about it. xoxo!

  12. peanutbutterfingers says

    i’m sure your emotions were all over the place when writing & posting this on your blog, but it’s something i think a LOT of women can relate to in one way or another – if they felt that way about themselves for a day or for several years. it’s so sad the pressure we seem to put on ourselves to look thin. striving to look (& be!) HEALTHY is so much better & really helped me turn the attention away from weight and onto my personal well-being.

    thanks for sharing such a personal post!

  13. says

    Thanks for sharing. Its hard opening up but it helps others to hear how someone has overcome struggles. More than you know 😉

  14. says

    This was so incredibly inspiring. I admire your courage so much! I’ve been working on a post about my own struggles and what I see in others’ struggles, but it’s taken me weeks to start to put everything out there. Thanks for giving me that little extra nudge! :)

    You’re beautiful, smart, and I’m so happy to see you spreading the happy, healthy way to live :) Power to ya girl!

  15. Teri says

    Ahhh thank you so much for this post. It is me to a T…down to the jello even! :)
    I hope one day to overcome it like you! You are so very inspiring!

  16. Alice says

    Honestly, one thing I find that all girls who have food blogs have in common – a history of eating disorders. I feel like its a way for you to say, “hey world – look what I ate today and I ate every last bite..yummm” meanwhile the food is still low calorie. (I mean a lunch of four 20 calorie wasa crackers topped with a little fruit?) So instead of counting calories in your head, you document every bite you eat for the world to see. Maybe its a way for you to keep yourself accountable? Not quite sure, but I believe your “healthy” blog is sending the wrong message to girls who follow you. And even your “birthday week pancake splurge” was hardly a “splurge” in the calorie department. You are sending the wrong message. Until you get some real help – stop blogging. Please.

    • Courtney says

      Alice, I think your approach here is a little harsh. I have never once claimed to document everything that I eat on a daily basis…and I don’t. If you have been reading for any amount of time, then you would know that I almost always split my lunches into two, just as I did today, without documenting the second. I am doing just fine for myself and living a very healthy lifestyle, so I would appreciate you not being so judgmental without knowing the whole story.

      • Audrey says

        I wanted to thank you for writing this post and the one before it. I have been really struggling with anorexia nervose since I was 13, and now, as I am move across the country for college, I am finally making some progress and getting the help I need. Your blog, and others like it, are one of my daily reminders of why I have to keep fighting. When I read that you were able to do a killer workout and still have the stamina to get up and do it again the next day, or eat out, or guess how much of an ingredient you put in your food or that you were simply able to eat “real” foods (not peanut butter flour or the fat free version or the bagel “thins”), it reminds me that life can be enjoyable again and that been a in the severely underwright range means if you have to give up everything and everyone that make your life full. I still have a LONG way to go physically and emotionally (eating disorders are psychiatric disorders that usuallyrequire life long treatment and/or monitoring), but I am at least making some progress. I just wanted to say that your blog and your honesty has made a positive impact in my life and has many a time helped stop me from relapsing. Please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

        • Courtney says

          Audrey, I admire your courage and strength for not only battling such an awful disease, but for coming out and speaking about it. I’m so glad to hear that you are making progress, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck on your trek across the country for college. Good luck to you girl, and have a BLAST! I’m always here if you need someone to speak to, so never hesitate to email. :)

      • RR says

        Have to say Courtney, although it is great that you can open up and share your story, i agree with Alice. Please remember that while the majority of women deal with body image issues on a daily basis, not many claim to have a disorder or condition because of it. There are people in this world batteling eating disorders brought on by deep seated psychological issues, many of whom are reacting to traumatic childhoods, experiences or events. What is important to note is that, while your story shows that you were not happy with your body, you did not have a medically disgnosed eating disorder. Overcoming something such as anorexia nervosa is a true achievment, one that must take supreme courage and diligence, and i don’t believe your story compares.

        I broke up with a boyfriend of 5 year a few years back and, lo and behold, went into a typical ‘eat less, lose weight, feel better’ lifestyle- unhealthy, granted. Shocking, not so much.

        Now i’m with someone that makes me happy- and hey, look at this- i eat more, excersise to become fit and have a generally sunnier outlook. Am i special? No. Did i overcome a battle? No. I’m typical, no different to anyone else. But i am lucky, i haven’t ever suffered through a real disorder.

        While i praise you for your efforts, especially since i too read blogs like yours and fitness magazines to maintain my health, i do recommend you take advice such as Alices above. Remember what messages you send out to the world. Some people just need that little push from average to eating disorder- and believing in controlled calorie counting could just be that push- and you advocate this.

        Thank you for some interesting reading though. :)

  17. Bingles says

    Have to agree with the above two comments, you are sending the wrong message out to others, and documenting your diet like meal plans coupled with overexercising…its heartbreaking. I sympathise with your troubled times but it seems like you are still in a disordered mindset.

  18. RK says

    I am really not trying to be rude at all, but I really agree with Bingles. You do seem to eat a lot of light/reduced fat/low calorie foods, and whenever you do indulge, you ALWAYS point out how guilty you feel afterwards, or how you are glad you didn’t go for another slice of cake, or how glad you are that you do not have certain treats at your home to tempt you, or make jokes about it expanding your waistline, and making it a point that you are going to make sure you workout the next day. I do not want to be judgemental, but to me you STILL seem very obsessed with your body, food, weight, and exercising. You make it seem as if you will immediately gain weight if you eat something that isn’t “healthy”. I do not think it is right for people to make it seem like this kind of lifstyle is normal or healthy when bluntly put it is not, especially with all the young and vulnerable people now a days who might happen to stumble across blogs like these. I hope I don’t seem too harsh here …

    • Courtney says

      I don’t think you’re being at all rude or harsh. I very much appreciate the honesty and your comment. I made sure to take some time to think about it, but after doing so, I do feel as though I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with some of what you’ve said.
      I don’t think it’s out of the norm for somebody to eat light/reduced fat/low calorie foods. Yes, I do try to make healthy choices by making some of my selections low-fat, etc, but that’s because I also like to balance them out with more indulgent treats. When it comes to treats like that (cake, cookies, beer, high calorie foods, etc.) then yes, I am glad that I didn’t go back for a second slice of cake; most people don’t usually need two slices of cake, haha. And when it comes to treats at home, I do prefer not to have them around me too often because I tend to lack the willpower to avoid them. I have a huge sweet tooth, and many times, once I get a little, I want it all. I don’t think that trying to avoid being in a situation where I may lack self-control is obsessive or unhealthy; rather, I think it’s more about being aware of how I react to certain situations and making smart choices.
      I will agree with you on the fact that food and exercising are very much a part of my life, but I think calling it obsessive is a little much. Perhaps is seems that way, since that is a major focus of my blog, but I have so much more going on in my life that does not revolve around these things that I just choose not to share. Sure, I feel better about getting in a great workout after knowing that I had a few extra cookies the day before. Who wouldn’t? But more importantly, I love working out for how it makes me feel, which is why it’s such a major part of my life.
      I can certainly tell you that there have been plenty of times where I have shared enjoying delicious, full-fat foods on the blog and I do not feel at all guilty about it. Life is too short, and that is something that I have learned. If I go overboard then sure, I feel pretty sluggish, as would anyone else who did the same thing.
      That being said, when I do have those indulges around me, and I may overdo it a bit, that’s when I’m not feeling my best. So if I can, I avoid it; but I’m not sure I would necessarily call that being obsessive or unhealthy. Perhaps my jokes about an “expanding waistline” may come off as obsessive to some, or a trigger for others but honestly, they’re not meant to be more than just that. I silly joke. But, that is certainly something for me to keep in mind, so thank you for bringing that to my attention.
      But when all is said and done, I honestly do not feel that my lifestyle is unhealthy.

      • RK says

        Well I’m not going to lie but always choosing the light/ lower fat/ lower calorie verson of something is not exactly normal or healthy, unless the person is overweight or has some sort of medical issue or intolerance that can not allow them to eat what they like. It seems like you always choose those over the regular version, and it just came off to me that you are the kind of person who is always watching their calories and trying to save as many calories as possible. I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat any low calorie foods at all, but I just don’t see it as normal when that is the only version you choose to buy or the food you tend to get the most of, especially if the regular version is actually the version you enjoy more. I also know that you don’t have to eat more than 1 slice of cake, but if you are craving it, I think you should just go for it. I now understand better the reason why you prefer not to have certain foods around because you can go overboard, but the way how you always talk about how glad you are they aren’t around to tempt you just seemed like another way to restrict and deny yourself. I know how great it feels to workout, but I do not think people should approach working out as an outlet to burn extra calories, or reverse the “damage” they did from a night of indulging. It seems all too disordered. No offence, but people who have a healthy outlook on food wouldn’t really make a big deal out of indulging, as they know that eating their favourite treats in moderation will not make them gain weight or become unhealthy … Well it did seem like you were pretty serious about the expanding waistline thing since you have mentioned it quite a bit … I’m sure you do not feel as though your lifestyle is unhealthy, but sometimes what you put on the blog and how you speak proves otherwise, and could definitely trigger people or have them feel as if it’s okay to be eating all these low calorie foods and they should feel bad if they aren’t and should go hop on a treadmill. Sadly enough there are a lot of HLB’s who live by this, and it does not make it right at all, especially when they re supporting each other in thinking this way.

        • Courtney says

          You’ve certainly made some really great points here, which I have genuinely took the time to think about, regarding my use of certain phrases on the blog. Thank you for bringing that to my attention, as I was unaware that I was using phrases like that so often (my husband also agreed!). I really do appreciate your comments and your way of relaying your feelings without sounding like you were attacking. I will be keeping your constructive criticism in mind for the future!

          • RK says

            Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comments and understanding that I was not trying to attack you, but rather just point out some things that I saw that were not promoting a healthy lifestyle. A lot of times when people try to bring issues like this up to others, they tend to reply in an immature matter. It amazes me how defensive and rude some people get, as if they have something they are hiding … but anyways I really appreciate you actually taking the time to think over others opinions and being reasonable :)

  19. Casey says

    Yikes! I am reading all of these comments towards the bottom and I immediately feel bad. I would have at least personally emailed you. Your past experiences are all your own. We all have our issues we have had to overcome. Your courage to put it out there on the internet says a lot. Thank you for continuing to blog… you keep me thoroughly entertained while I am at work :)

  20. Lyric Andersen says

    tthank you soso much for your inspiring story!! im fourteen and i have just overcome a very dangerous case of anorexia. I was doing the exact same thing. I wouldn’t eat anything until dinner came around and even then i would only eat a small portion of salad. I was never o. overweight in fact people sometimes asked me if i was anorexic even before i started an eating disorder (i wasn’t i just had a high metabolism) My family is naturally thin and we always ate healthy. But after listing to what my friends said about things like peanut butter and milk and how they made you “fat” i began over worrying about waat i was eating. After about 2months my mom finally told me i had to go to a doctor. I had dropped 20 pounds and i was only 61 pounds with a height of 5’1 and i was starving. All i wanted to do was acheive a flat belly which i already had!! i excersised like a maniac and even made myself puke a few times! IT started as an obsession with food and at the worst part of it i was eating only an apple a day and taking diet pills. my friends were worried and my grades were dropping! i’m so thankfull i had my family to help me through this and your inspiring story. hearing your story has helped me relies i’m not the only one who went through this!!! THANK YOU!!! i am now back too my old self and feeling much better :) i have succefully gained back my twenty pounds and have brought my grades back to their A point average:) i think you are beautiful on the inside out!

  21. says

    I just stumbled across your blog and I love it! This post particularly resonated with me. I went through something very similar when I was in high school. I understand people’s concerns, but I believe that YOU know you’re healthy and that’s what matters. I’m sure you’ll never let yourself get to the obsessive place you once were.

    I look forward trying your recipes –starting with the cookies first!

  22. says

    Thank you thank you for sharing your story! I went through a VERY similar situation, without the gig for a TV show :), but I have struggled for so long and am trying to get to a place like where you are. It’s so hard, but you are an inspiration and I hope that reading your blog can keep inspiring me to get better and improve my habits. Thank you for being so open and sharing so much. I hope I can learn so much from you.

  23. Anna says

    I had such a similar experience about two years ago. I calorie counted and added up calories constantly in my head. I was afraid to even eat a slice of bread, and i did the same thing about butter. My aunt put a pat of butter in corn, and I got so upset because she “ruined it”. Depriving myself of all things food made me moody, sad and irritable, but I didn’t seem to care, because i was so afraid of being over weight. I never wanted to admit that I had a problem, but eventually I realized I could not go on living that way. Now, thankfully, I am healthy, and able to enjoy healthy, home made foods. I put the best into my body, and in return receive the best. Thank you for your story and your blog, it helps knowing i’m not the only one out there going through difficult situations regarding food!
    Anna, 18

  24. Kristen says

    Ok, this might be creepy, but I just recently stumbled across your blog. I read Tina & Kath’s blogs also & that’s how I jumped over to yours! I just want to tell you what a HUGE sigh of relief it is to have you share this story. I was in the EXACT SAME position (minus the modeling) a few years ago & it took all this time to get back to a “good place” with body image/exercise/food intake. I never felt like I had a problem, I always just thought I was being more “healthy” than others – when in reality it was the furthest thing from it. I appreciate you opening up & sharing your story. I, too, have struggled with buying clothes in a larger size – or looking down & see a bit more of “me” than was there before. I do know that its for the best of our health & the future of our lives! I’m so happy you have overcome this & deal with some of the same ongoing issues that I do.

    Basically I think we are life twins!

    Thank you again.

  25. says

    sooo exciting….such an amazing time and esp during the holidays…I couldnt get enough salsa and ketchup during my pregnancy…Moes and chikfila were my go to eats :)

  26. says

    Thank you for being so open. I had a very similar experience in high school as a dancer. I had gotten so small that I had stopped my menstrual cycle. I was a mere 95 pounds… I cannot even bare to look at photos now.

    It wasn’t until college while studying engineering that a friend helped me as well. Not because she labeled me but because she truly loved and cared about me… she showed me how to love and accept myself and to live a life that I could finally relax and really laugh again. I started to get healthier and I finally started to find a balance in my life. Fast forward 5 years later I switched my career to health and fitness :).
    Jessica Streiff recently posted..The Snickerdoodle Shake


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