9 years ago, I asked my husband to take the picture on the left. I had hit my first rock bottom with my health and was determined to make changes starting that day.

It wasn't just the weight that bothered me, it was the whole out-of-whack shit-show I had become: broken out chin, extreme mood swings, constant stomach aches, allergies...I couldn't take it anymore. That moment was the beginning of the journey that has lead me to a completely different body and a completely different inner life.

I'm not showing you these side-by-side pictures so you can just see weight-loss. I don't even know what the actual weight-loss is (and for the record, the first photo is me before I was ever pregnant, the second is me after having had a child, and 6 months before getting pregnant with my second, and not even at my smallest.)

What I want you to do is look in my eyes in the "before" picture. What do you see? I see a woman who is really really really far away. Distant. Confused. Depressed. I was disconnected from myself and from my ability to connect with others.

Fast forward 9 years. What do you see?

A smaller woman, sure. But I see a woman who is connected. To herself, her body, her world, her emotions, and those around her.

I’m a work in progress, and being on that journey has become the reward – there is no final destination. There is no prize at the end. Being present on the ride actually IS my prize!

My transformation started with food, as so many stories like this one do. Food has healed my body, and in turn, my mind and my spirit. It has been my gateway into myself!

But you all know that part – it’s the reason I’m so passionate about this work.

I want you to know though that this work has been about way more than just food. Something deeper has facilitated this inner shift and profound emotional healing for me.

What's the real deal then?

I did this by choosing, in tiny little steps, to change my habits and my thinking.

Not just the habits in the kitchen (although those are foundational!) but the way I saw myself. The way I spoke to myself. The way I challenged myself to script new truths. The way I loved and spoke to others. The way I tuned into my reactions and feelings. The way I invited vulnerability and tears. The way I learned to really feel.

What I need you to know is that true transformation might start with food, but along the way, an invitation to step into more of who you are will come.

Passing through into that place has been my most rewarding work and my deepest joy...

...and I honestly believe the same thing can happen for you.

The question is, do you believe it?

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Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach

Ryanna is a coach, accomplished speaker, and recipe developer with extensive experience helping women cultivate a mindset of self-love so they may heal and thrive while developing new habits in the kitchen.

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