I want to share a conversation that Cody and I had the other night as we were on our way home from a barbecue with some friends.  I asked him, “Do you think I’ve been happier lately?”  He responded by saying, “Yeah, I do.”  He then asked me, “Do you think you’ve felt happier lately?”  And I said, “Most definitely.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always considered myself a generally happy person.  I have numerous people tell me regularly that they love seeing my smiling face, and if I’m not smiling, they know something must be wrong.  And behind that smile I genuinely do believe I’m a generally happy person.

Sure, I’ve had my hard times, but I can’t complain much about life.  God has given me an incredibly supportive family, a loving husband, wonderful friends, and so many other blessings that I don’t always feel like I deserve.

It’s been different lately though.  Different in a good way.  My mind isn’t constantly consumed by all of the worries and stresses that used to consume my thoughts related to my weight, calories, jeans size, etc.  I’ve been able to enjoy some of the foods I used to deprive myself of, I have developed a new love for yoga and other low intensity exercise that I never used to imagine myself enjoying, and I don’t obsess about whether my thighs and booty have grown every time I look in the mirror.

As we continued to talk, Cody went on to say, “It was so nice to see you go get a second brownie, enjoy it, and not beat yourself up about it at the barbecue tonight.”  That really stuck with me.  How sad that I used to be so hard on myself about a brownie?!  (Oh, and just to be clear, we’re not talking about these brownies, we’re talking about the “real deal” aka sugar/oil/chocolate kind of brownies.)

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my days where it’s not easy for me.  This whole ordeal isn’t a piece of cake by any means.  However, I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m thankful for having to go through this struggle.  That may be hard to understand, but the growth that I’ve experienced through this has been unbelievable.

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And what’s really cool?  I’m less irritable.  I’m less stressed.  I’m more positive.  I have more fun.  I laugh more.  I’m overall happier.

I challenge you to rethink your priorities in life.  Are your thoughts consumed with healthy thoughts?  Or do you beat yourself up about things that really don’t matter?  Challenge yourself this week by thinking about and doing things that genuinely make you happy.  Not stressed.  Not trying to please others.  Not pressuring yourself.  But happy!



  • Have you ever gone through a struggle that you felt like you grew from?
  • Do you feel like what I’m talking about in this post is something you need/want to work on?
  • What makes YOU truly happy?
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  1. says

    good work for you!! i’m also a generally very happy person, but occassionally i do find myself in ruts… when i am in a rut, i am usually a lot less patient and cranky towards others… that’s a big sign that i need to get out of the funk and get it together! :)

  2. says

    I love your blog! This is something that I’m really trying to work on.. It’s so hard changing habits that I have been doing for so long. I love reading your blog as it often makes me stop and think about the important things in life and my bigger goals :)

  3. says

    Definitely something I need to work on. Thank you so much for being so open, and sharing with us- it’s so nice to know I’m not alone in this! My husband always tells me he’d way rather me gain weight than obsess over food, and not allow myself to let go and have fun. But I still struggle! We were at a Cinco de Mayo party on Friday and I couldn’t stop thinking about the calories I was consuming- I even did an extra work out on Saturday because I felt guilty. What a mess!! But, I’m working on it and I will continue to get better! Thanks again for sharing!

    • Ashley says

      it’s all about baby steps! i think it’s awesome that you are able to recognize it. that’s a huge step! i love what your husband says to you too. that’s so great you have his support!

  4. says

    So happy that you have found that happiness! I definitely have issues with anxiety and worry about everything. I did a Tough Mudder in VT this weekend and all I could think about last week is how I would use and entire tank of gas over the course of a weekend.
    Seriously? It sounds SO silly even to me – but sometimes it is difficult to keep my mind from churning!

    I felt a sense of happiness after finally figuring out some underlying medical issues with my stomach. I was able to go on some medications to help clear things up -and felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted!

    • Ashley says

      i’m SO glad you’ve figured out what is going on with your stomach!! yay! i’m sure that must be such a relief. :)

  5. says

    Great post! And I know just what you are talking about. I am in a similar stage as you, and feel so much more free and way less stressed. I hope to even reduce that stress more too :)
    Honestly, I am the happiest when I can be with my friends and family just spending time together, I am not hard to please I guess :)

  6. says

    Great post, Ashley! I am a big ball of stress most of the time and I really need to work on that. My husband always seems stress free and it looks so much better on that side:)

  7. says

    I’m so happy for you! It’s amazing how little changes can make such a big difference in our lives, isn’t it? I quit my job, and my last day is Thursday. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but I know I’ll be much happier because of it! I knew that I’d never grow if I didn’t make a change.

    • Ashley says

      good for you emily!! i’m sure it wasn’t easy, but i admire you for doing what is best for you even when it was difficult.

  8. says

    Good for you hun! You deserve to be happier and less stressed. We shouldn’t let food control every aspect of our lives. We should just let go and enjoy life. I need to try harder to take my own advice, but I am glad to hear you are happier:)

  9. says

    I LOVE this post, it’s true with me too, I used to be a much happier person in general before I started worrying about losing weight, calories and what I “shouldn’t” eat. I’m definitely getting back to the old me though!

  10. says

    I love that things are going so well for you with this! I know you were nervous about it, but the fact that you are so much happier (and don’t worry, we know you were happy before too, it definitely showed) is awesome! So proud of and happy for you!

  11. says

    LOVE it!! Nice work, lady. I KNOW it is not easy at all. And I am SO proud of you!!!!!!

    Keep your chin and smile up, because you’re amazing and deserve all the goodness and blessings that are coming into your life :)

    Doesn’t it feel awesome to have ‘new’ priorities?! It’s like learning a new secret to the universe, huh?! hehe :) I too, am much happier since my recovery. Wahoo!!!

    Date night for happy people soon?!? :)

  12. says

    Absolutely I have gone through struggles that not only I have grown from but like you I have realized I am grateful for. That they were a gift. I really enjoyed reading you write that because boy have I been there.

    You blog resonates with several things I want to or am currently working on. I think making sure to meet one’s own needs help makes a person truly happy.

    And gratitude for the gifts and blessings in life are SO important. I am grateful to you for sharing your happiness and growth.

  13. Anna says

    I read your blog everyday ever since I found it, but I don’t generally comment. This post really struck a cord with me and I want to thank you. I genuinely WANT to get to the point where you have gotten (I know it’s an ongoing thing though and you still are working on it and getting even better), and I know it wasn’t easy, but I want to be OKAY with eating more dessert, or eating dinner out and not feeling like I need to “cut back” the next day or feel guilty in any way. I am graduating from college this weekend, and I want to ENJOY this week of indulgences with my roommates one last time, even if that means I am eating out more and drinking more than usual. Food is meant to be enjoyed afterall! It’s so hard for me, but I am going to do my best! I will remember you and this post everytime I am feeling guilty. Why do I care so much anyway? Life should NEVER be about counting calories, what size jeans I wear, feeling bad about myself, etc. There is so much more to life!!! I want to feel as happy as you do now, so this is my goal. Thank you Ashley! :)

  14. carly71722 says

    Isn’t it refreshing to just let it all go? I mean, you still lead a healthy life, but you don’t need to overconsume yourself with being healthy to the point where it is no longer healthy. My husband hates when I get strict with my diet b/c I’m a lot less fun 😉 Glad the FT board could help!

  15. says

    I’ve been trying to follow your example lately.. I’m 15, and I noticed patterns in my behavior towards food and exercise that haven’t been very healthy. I’m WAY too young to have to worry about that stuff, but I’m still young enough to be that naive. It’s nice to have someone remind me what life is REALLY about before I mess up, because I’m just starting to live! 😉

    Keep writing and keep up the good work! You don’t know how inspiring it is to read your posts now, and how much help it is! :) thanks for everything!

  16. says

    Very inspiring post! This is a struggle that I feel all women face. I know I sure do! Lately, I’ve tried to be extremely aware of the comments I make towards myself, especially when I look in the mirror. Instead of picking out all the little things I don’t like about what I see, I’ve been naming one or two things that I do like. It’s crazy how something so simple makes such a big difference in my overall attitude. Thanks for sharing!

  17. says

    this is awesome and beautiful all at the same time. we all put too much pressure on ourselves and then get no where in the process of beating ourselves up. I am glad you found this time freeing and enjoyable. So happy for you!

  18. says

    What a beautiful and inspiring post! I completely agree – I think it’s so easy for us to hyperfocus on the things that aren’t important and miss out on all the wondering things going on around us. I, too, fall in to this often and find myself stressing out over the most ridiculous things. But it’s only when I really step back and refocus on all of the amazing things that I DO have going on my life that those little things don’t seem like such a big deal anymore! What a great reminder for all of us! :)

  19. says

    I’m SO SO SO happy for you! I need to reach that point mentally where I’m not consumed by those thoughts. I just don’t quite know how to get there. Some days I feel like I am and then something happens and it’s like I fall off the bandwagon haha. I hope that I can get where you are. You are an inspiration Ash!! Have an awesome Monday love <3

    • Ashley says

      it’s not always easy, trust me. 😉 it’s definitely a work in progress. i’ve fallen off the bandwagon pleeeenty of times, but you just gotta keep getting back on and doing your best. that absolutely counts for something!! xoxo

  20. says

    I am so happy for you! I love that he mentioned the second brownie…..How many times do we “go back” and then beat ourselves up for the rest of the day/night for it. I think it’s great that you are at a better place Ashley. :)

  21. says

    Girl, you are growing so much! I love it!

    Being grateful, spending time with my family, setting boundaries and appreciating God and His many blessings makes me REALLY happy!

    Thanks for sharing your joy with us!

  22. says

    Yay yay yay!! This is so awesome to read. 😀 I’m SO incredibly happy for you, I can only imagine how relaxed, happy, and awesome it feels to not be consumed by negative thoughts and worrying all the time. I’m horrible about both of those things, but I’m really trying to get better- it’s just so hard sometimes! You are an inspiration for me, though. 😀

  23. says

    Good for you Ashley! So proud that you are happier! It’s great what this change did for your mental clarity! You are seriously an inspiration to me, I need to get on better track with my eating, and learn to let those silly things go. I may be e-mailing you sometime soon!

  24. says

    I love this. I’m so happy for you. Even though you weren’t “starving yourself to death” before, your brain is happier now. It’s functioning better and you notice. That’s awesome! That comment about the brownie would hit me deep too. When other people say something like that it can sound so trival. Like, well yeah, who would let a brownie ruin their day? But it’s hard and often it just happens. Glad to hear you’re loving you new-found freedom and on those hard days you can remind yourself you’re going in the right direction.

  25. Abby says

    I love this.
    I’m a junior in high school (feel bad for me?!) :) and love reading your blog everyday.
    I feel like I’m going through some of the experiences you have had, and its a relief to read this. You’re inspiring, and SO brave.
    Love the blog, reading it first hour (shh!) makes high school a little more bearable! :)

  26. says

    Awesome post Ashley! You’re so inspiring for the changes you’ve made in your life lately and and I’m so happy for you that you feel so much more at peace with yourself. :) I can actually really relate to this post because in the past few months I’ve stopped stressing out about food and just let myself indulge and have fun with friends. It makes life so much more enjoyable!

  27. Elizabeth says

    Congrats on your success so far :) I’m in a similar place, in true recovery from an ED and this is the first time in years that my thoughts haven’t been consumed by calories, sizes, etc. I’m amazed at how much space I have in my head now, how nice and quiet it can be without the ‘voice’ and how much happier I am also!

  28. says

    Umm I am 100% in love with this post!! So inspirational Ashley, especially during a time where I continuously need to be reminded of ideas like this! Thank you lady, seriously, you are helping me through this

  29. says

    It makes me so happy to read this, Ash! I can definitely relate to that feeling of being weighed down by the guilt of certain food choices. It makes sense that you’d be happier when you’re not hungry all the time! But more than anything, I’m glad to hear that you’re in a place of peace with your body. That is a huge triumph!

  30. says

    It’s not like I haven’t said it before, but I feel like I cant say it enough– I am SO proud of this beautiful strong woman you’re becoming through these trials that God has place in your path! It is SO encouraging for me to hear, and I thank you for sharing your journey :)

  31. Katie B says

    Even though I don’t have a blog I felt I needed to comment on this wonderful post. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months now and I just wanted to let you know how truly HELPFUL it has been for me. I’m going through very similar struggles in the journey to a healthier body and relationship with food. I too have been needing to gain weight and make some exercise changes which has not been easy but reading your blog has certainly given me the extra push I’ve needed sometimes just in the fact I know I’m not alone! Thank you :) May we all continue to nourish our bodies and honor our needs so we can embrace the meaning of truly living a FULL life! regardless of pant size 😉

  32. luv2run says

    hey i can relate to this! a lil while ago i had the (not so) brilliant idea of counting calories so i could get a flatter tummy. I was miserable the entire time, (which fortunately was only a few days) and food was constantly on my mind. It was so annoying! Luckily, after a few days of this i realized it was ridiculous to worry about calories since it made me so unhappy, and now i just enjoy eating tons of fruits and vegetables and lots of yummy healthy (and not so healthy;) foods. Moderation is the key! :) and i run tons cuz i adore running lol 😀 I’m so much happier. it was a RELIEF to stop counting those annoying calories lol 😀

  33. says

    I love this post :) I’ve found that while I sometimes worry about eating more, I’m overall happier. I workout when I want to and feel better about it because I know I’m doing it for the right reasons. So glad to hear it from someone else too!

  34. says

    Beautiful post, Ashley! And so inspiring too. :-) It’s amazing how freeing ourselves from the enslavement of restricted eating and excessive exercising creates so much more room for JOY in our lives, isn’t it?! I’ve been experiencing the same feelings over the past few weeks, and haven’t felt more alive in years. :) I’m so excited to hear that you’re truly LIVING now, and that you’re enjoying life’s simple pleasures again! That’s what God wants for us–to be healthy and happy, nothing less. Love ya, girl! xoxo

  35. says

    Just found your blog Ashley! This is an absolutely beautiful post. I myself struggle with anxiety and the pressure to please others. I feel our society has created “molds” that we all “must” fit into and it’s so hard to be ourselves at times. Once I realized this and started to live MY life that’s when I became truly happy. I’m so glad you’re finding your happy place!

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