Growing up I was never introduced to “working out” because we played sports and that was enough exercise to not have to worry about it. Let’s just say I played enough tennis every day to blow through an evening of all-you-can-eat pasta and breadsticks at Olive Garden and still be at an average weight – though I was never skinny, I was always the “athletic” build. And no, thank god I never did the Olive Garden trip – but just saying, I could’ve…I do love pasta. So when I got to college I wasn’t playing as much tennis, maybe 5-6 hours a week on the club team, and the weight started to slowly creep on. It wasn’t the freshman 15 or anything, but over the next 3 years the late night ice cream sandwiches (my favorite drunchie – drunk munchy for those of you that don’t know the cool college kid lingo),all-you-can-eat cafeterias, and of course the all-you-can-drink booze that accompanies the college lifestyle caught up with me.

Then at the start of my spring semester of junior year, I broke my wrist badly snowboarding and had to have surgery. I had 2 pins stuck in my right wrist for about 8 weeks so it was impossible to exercise –  even walking made my blood start pumping and it would hurt. I didn’t change my eating habits either so without exercise my weight started piling on even faster. By the summer of my junior year I was up to 180 lbs!! I’m 5’9″ so 180 isn’t obese or anything for my height, but I definitely needed to get back closer to 150 which is about what I weighed going into college. I’m going to show you a picture…as much as I hate it. It’s one of those pictures you instantly de-tag yourself from on Facebook (you know the ones) and now I’m sharing it with the world. Lol, I guess there are worse things.

2016 has been a one-of-a-kind year so far. In many ways, this has been the worst year of my life. In other ways it’s actually been the best, most enlightening year of my life. I guess that’s how things tend to happen if you can manage to seek the good in the bad. It’s like what people say – there can be no light without darkness, no good without evil. Sometimes it takes a hard, painful experience to truly realize how precious and amazing life is.

Let me back up a little. I’m Ali Daniel (hello, hello!) and I started this blog to chronicle my journey to finding health, fitness, happiness and ultimately myself (whatever that means) through trial and error and lots (and lots) of reading. Why did I embark on this “journey”? Well, for many of the same reasons that others, including maybe you, have. I was tired of days passing and not feeling like anything happened. I felt like life was flying by and I was just watching, helplessly unable to slow it down. I felt content, but not fulfilled (again, whatever that means). It wasn’t something I could easily describe or put my finger on. There wasn’t anything specific I could blame or say “This is what’s wrong.” I just felt like there was more to life, more out there to experience that I just wasn’t doing.