Some nutritionists try to come off as perfect – I would rather come off as honest.

I’ve had a difficult relationship with food and with my body. 

I struggled for years to find my own healthy balance, and that’s what brought me here: helping others do the same. 

I’ve always been an achiever, a perfectionist, a “go-get-’em” person. I strove to be perfect in all areas of life, and in college, that began to include my physical appearance.

I started to do everything “right” – low-fat foods, low-calorie foods, meal replacement shakes, plenty of cardio exercise … I started to feel amazing at first, like I was on a high. Gradually it got harder and harder, and the weight stopped coming off as easily. About two years into my search to be skinny, things really started to go wrong. One day, my body just turned OFF.

This is me running my first sprint triathlon. Just 6 months before I weighed 95 pounds.

I began to have severe health complications, mostly involving severe digestive issues, extreme fatigue, and depression. None of the many doctors I saw could help me. I was given an “IBS” label. They told me they didn’t really know what IBS was or why it happened, but that I should take prescription laxatives every day, drink plenty of water, and eat lots of fiber.

I followed their advice, continued eating as “healthy” and low-fat as possible, and felt worse and worse every day.

I knew their prescription wasn’t helping, so I kept looking for answers.

In 2009, I had a small breakthrough. I found out that I was intolerant of gluten. I was desperate for answers and help, and decided to go gluten free.

Physically, I felt relief for the first time in years.

But my relationship with food began to get worse.

I was so scared to touch even a drop of gluten, in fear that I would feel the pain I had felt before. I became health and food obsessed. I wanted to eat all the “right” foods and was sometimes afraid to eat anything cooked outside of my own home.

I started to lose weight drastically, which felt good. I started to look “good”. It made me want to lose more weight, and I took my old dieting and exercise habits to the extreme. I aimed to eat no more than 1200 calories a day and ran 5 miles every morning. Very often I would add in a second workout later in the day.

At first, I dropped weight like crazy. But something about it felt wrong. It felt unnatural and painful. My head felt foggy, I couldn’t think, I was freezing all the time, I had constant cravings, and I needed caffeine and exercise to get through the day. But everyone kept cheering me on!

I felt so alone and afraid, and I didn’t trust food anymore.

I was afraid of eating fat and looking fat. I was afraid of almost all foods because (a) someone told me they were bad for me, (b) they hurt my stomach to eat or (c) they had gluten in them. I was afraid to eat everything!

This is me in 2009, when I weighed about 100 pounds - not even my lowest.

This is me in 2009, when I weighed about 100 pounds – not even my lowest.

In just a few months I dropped from 130 pounds to 94 pounds. It was the start of a vicious dieting cycle that stripped my body and brain to a mere shell of what it once was. My digestion still wasn’t working like it should have, my brain felt dysfunctional, my zest for life was gone, my bones started to get weak, and my hormones completely collapsed.

The damage lasted years. And in the end, I was left unable to have children.

I spent years trying to recover from my intense, long-term dieting and exercise addiction.

At first, I gained weight back in an unhealthy way: bingeing on sugar-filled, gluten-free desserts, ice cream, and cereal. I went through a container of Nutella in a matter of days. I felt like I was doing something right, because I was gaining back weight, like everyone wanted me to.

But it just made my relationship with food more unhealthy and complicated. 

I just wanted to find a healthy balance – a way to eat that wasn’t a “diet”, that would make me feel good, that would allow me to be a healthy weight without struggling, and that would be livable in the long-term.

I experimented with so many different ways of eating, but every way left me with some negative consequence: constant hunger, digestive upset, foul moods, fatigue, gaining tons of body fat.

Then I discovered the Paleo diet. It took me 95% of the way to my health goals. I felt great! But I was still struggling: I still had a few digestive troubles, I didn’t have a menstrual cycle, and, most importantly, I still struggled with my relationship with food. I had a hard time with binge episodes and controlling my cravings.

My energy was better, and my body finally seemed healthy on the outside, but I was still dealing with a lot of issues on the inside.

My energy was better, and my body finally seemed healthy on the outside, but I was still dealing with a lot of issues on the inside.

I knew I had a few things to work on, and I knew they had to do with more than food.

My Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology allowed me to see that I needed to work on the psychology behind my relationship with food, not just the food on my plate.

This led me to learning the importance of mindful eating practices, stress relief, and working through my personal emotional struggles.

Finding psychological freedom around food has allowed me to break free from my food fears, to find a personalized diet that works just for me, and to enjoy my life more than ever!

I have let go of my perfectionism and instead found a way of living and eating that is effortless, relaxed, healthy, and enjoyable.

Through my whole journey, I met so many people who have asked me for help finding their own healthy balance. They’ve seen my transformation and want to know, “How do I find that?” They want to know how it’s so easy, how I have so much energy, and how I get to eat SO MUCH delicious food without gaining excess weight.

My years of research for myself gives me the opportunity to help. I’ve compiled years and years of research and self-experimentation into one program that can help others find their healthy balance with food – physically and mentally.

In 2013, I had my daughter! What an amazing testament to how far my body had healed. She is my light, my blessing.

arielle-zieja-baby-fertility-story

The program focuses on the food you eat and also on your relationship with it. It will help you find a way of eating that works for your body, your mind, and your lifestyle.

People who have used my program (including myself) have found:

relief from fatigue
relief from headaches and brain fog
the ability to stay thin, effortlessly
clearer thinking
relief from diabetes
relief from heart disease
relief from autoimmune issues
relief from allergies
relief from anxiety
relief from hormonal imbalances
increased sex drive
increased fertility
more comfortable pregnancies and breastfeeding

The list goes on and on.

I had no idea that my personal health struggles would allow me to help so many. I used to hate God and hate life because of what I went through. Now, I am grateful for my story.
I am grateful that I had the strength to overcome my difficulties so that I could help others, in the end. And that my program and coaching can help stop the vicious dieting cycle that so many others, like myself, go through every day.

Thank you so much for reading my story and for taking the time to learn about why I do what I do. I look forward to welcoming you to the Healthy Balance tribe and helping you find your food peace once and for all!

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I am finally able to enjoy my passions and hobbies and express who I really am. I am finally back to living in fullness!

I am finally able to enjoy my passions and hobbies and express who I really am. I am finally back to living in fullness, in so many ways!