Hi, I’m Alison, a 31 year old Canadian currently from Toronto who recently re-located to Vancouver with my Aussie husband, Mike.
The short story is that I grew up in Toronto, attended university and obtained a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management and a Master of Science in Consumer Studies. After I graduated from my master’s in 2008, I began my career in Market Research and decided to change my entire lifestyle around after hitting rock bottom at my first sit-down desk job. I still remember the exact moment when I made a promise to myself to change – I was on vacation with my family in Manhattan and I was sitting on a curb eating greasy take out from a food truck. I remember feeling like I could have scratched a layer of grease off my face. I immediately went home and committed to a strict workout and eating schedule.
After a year or so of diligently exercising and tracking every single thing I ate, I found myself waning in motivation and decided to start a blog to keep me accountable. I also immersed myself into the “healthy living blog” community and filled my blog reader with inspiring bloggers who could help keep me on track.
The long story is that I didn’t realize at the time how harmful this would be for me.
I began to fear eating out with friends. My parents never knew what to cook for me when I came home for dinner. And worse, after my first disastrous marathon attempt, I somehow thought that restricting my eating would help me lean out and result in a faster marathon.
I ended up training through pain and ran my second marathon with a stress fracture. I now believe that a combination of over training and under eating led to my eventual unravelling.
I wish I could say it ended there, but unfortunately, my stress fracture forced me to take 4 months off all weight-bearing exercise (which is pretty much anything cardio related) and the fear of packing on the pounds from the lack of exercise caused me to develop a full-blown eating disorder. I kept this to myself for years until one day, I blurted it out to my husband because I couldn’t deal with it on my own anymore. Since then, I’ve been successfully working through my issues and have become even more passionate about someday helping others work through theirs as well.
When it comes to running, I’ve changed my focus from leaning out to get faster, to training hard and letting my body naturally adapt. I work hard, and I focus on eating foods that help my running and make me feel good. Yes, that includes chocolate, beer, and bread. My heart and head are happier, and my race times are slowly improving.
When it comes to my career, I took the leap and started my own baking business where I sold my baked goods to local cafes across Toronto. I closed that baking business as it was starting to evolve into a mass production business which was not the vision I had for it when I began it. I intend to open a cafe some day where I will sell my own baked goods to customers. In the meantime, I work as a freelance market research consultant and writer. You can see some of my published work on blogTO, a popular Toronto culture website.
I also co-founded FitFrame with my husband, a photo-sharing app for the fitness community.
When it comes to my life and relationship with food, I’ve come to accept that it will always be a big part of my life and turning my back on it was the farthest thing from a solution to overcoming my issues with it. It has become clear to me that the only way to overcome it is to embrace it and learn to make peace with my body and its relationship with it. It has taken me a lifetime to get to this point, and I can’t wait to continue on this journey of self-acceptance and discovery.
I also want to help others who may find themselves in similar positions, so I plan to go back to school in the Fall of 2015 to study holistic nutrition. Once we arrived in Vancouver, I decided to attempt a career pivot from traditional market research on the supplier/agency side to user experience research on the client side. Unexpectedly, it has turned out to be one of the best career shifts and re-ignited my passion for research. I’m content exploring this career path further for now.
Fueling for Fitness is a personal collection of noteworthy life events, running-related thoughts, and recipes that inspire me.
I hope you enjoy your stay. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch.