“230”, that’s the number I saw when I realized my life needed a drastic change. 230 is more than just a number. It’s a symbol for all that I have overcome and a sign that I needed a wake up call. My weight was spinning out of control. The last time I was this weight I was a junior in high school. My life was a war zone; just waiting for the next grenade to explode. I was on antidepressants to help me handle the stress of a mentally abusive stepmother and boyfriend, the loss of several friends the year prior and taking on a full work load at a community college while still attending high school. All I wanted to do was eat, sleep and eat some more. I worked out at the YMCA on a regular basis but it still wasn’t enough to drop all the weight I had accumulated over the past two years. After six months of working out and only gaining more weight, I quit the gym.Toward the end of my junior year all that built up stress finally came to a head. I had finally hit rock bottom. I went from being an emotional eater who constantly ate to a walking zombie. I was so stressed that I couldn’t eat without feeling like I was going to vomit. The added stress made me drop 20 pounds in two weeks. It was incredibly unhealthy but it was the best thing that had happened to me in years. That’s how crappy my life had become. Just months later I turned eighteen and picked up smoking. This made the weight loss easier. Food became unappetizing. It seemed as though I could eat anything and lose weight without trying. The truth is, I could do this because I hardly ever ate. I lost a total of 70 pounds in two years. I felt great about my weight loss but there was still one thing missing in my life. A partner to share my life with. In August of 2014 I met my soul mate Kris. The moment he walked in the room on the night I met him everything felt right. All the clutter and garbage surrounding my life seemed to disapear. It wasn’t love at first sight but there was a strong voice in the back of my mind calling me to him. I had practically moved in a week after our first date. It wasn’t formal, it just happened. Since then I have been cigarette and nicotine free for over two years. I’ve gained more than a soulmate in those two years though I gained an appetite and about 65 pounds. I told myself I’d never get back to this point but I did. Now my thighs chafe, my clothes don’t fit and I feel sluggish and gross. I was so depressed about the weight gain that I created an even bigger problem by eating more because I was depressed about feeling fat. I always told myself, “tomorrow” but tomorrow never came. I’ve had a few medical reasons for the weight gain but I also knew it was partially my fault. I told myself that it was time to cut the crap and quit lying to myself. I lied about the tomorrow that never came and I lied about how much of the weight gain was my fault. After I was honest with myself I realized that I had been on a morbid path of self destruction because the best way to kill yourself is to feed the monster within full of lies. So I referred back to my nutrition book from college and got a nutritionist. All signs seemed point in one direction. A balanced diet. That was the not so secret secret to weight loss. The holy grail if you will. So why don’t people just eat a balanced diet if that’s the case. Simple, nobody wants to eat rabbit food. So the trick is getting that “rabbit food” to taste like a million dollar meal. Cooking a balanced meal that tastes good takes practice and creativity. Since I have both of these things I decided to share this journey with others. And thus, “Discovering Balance” was born. I hope you find these posts helpful and that you are able to apply these tips and recipes in your everyday life.