How I Started Toward a Healthy Lifestyle

How I Started Toward a Healthy Lifestyle

How I Started Toward a Healthy Lifestyle. Changing habits and building a healthy relationship with food and fitness. | Read my story at SaltandSkillet.com

Let’s get personal!

I’ve been posting a lot of informative and educational articles since the beginning of Salt and Skillet. In fact, I was looking back on everything and realized that I’ve only posted informative articles! I’ve been so focused on the content I wanted to get out that I forgot about a pretty important aspect of this whole healthy lifestyle thing. Me!

Amy Olivieri | SaltandSkillet.cmLet me start by just saying, I am not a narcissistic person. While I am basically a Disney Princess, the whole world definitely doesn’t revolve around me. I don’t try to put myself in everything or make everything (or anything) about me. However, for the purposes of this website, I’m pretty important. I must say, without me, Salt and Skillet wouldn’t exist. And that’s not just because I manage the whole thing!

No – the real reason that I’m important to the website is because I’m human. Nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can be pretty clinical and mathematical in print, especially when looking at calories, nutrients, minutes exercised, heart rate, hours slept…you name it. It’s easy to tell somebody to just follow what the book says, because it’s literally written there for you! But, here’s the thing – real life is not like a textbook. You don’t need me to tell you that.

So, I’d like to start bringing myself into the blog more. I want to get personal. I want to get real. I want to tell you my story, how I got to this point in my life, and let you follow along as I learn, play, enjoy life, and maybe (probably) even make mistakes.

I want you to see that I’m human. Nutrition isn’t perfect. Health isn’t perfect. It’s personal, it’s alive, it’s happening right now! You and I are not so different!

I’d like to start with some things from my past. My story with health and nutrition. How I got here. Why I’m where I am right now. And here’s a little disclaimer – I’m putting it all out there. I’m afraid to hit publish on this post. I’m afraid of being judged. But I’m real, and you might be in a similar position as me. And that’s okay. Let’s strive for improvement together.

Amy, the Super-Perfect Princess (Nope.)

Oh, hi! I’m Amy! I’m 26, and I live in the state of New York. That’s in the United States of America. North America. Earth.

I’m on this weird journey where I was born, and then I learned stuff, and then I learned some more stuff, and then I kept learning, and now here I am! I know everything! Nope, spoiler alert, I’m still learning. In many cases, I’ve only skimmed the surface of learning. Or, in the case of how the heck my car works, I am totally clueless (Sorry, Dad, I tried to pay attention!).

I’ve gone through the first quarter (fingers crossed) of my life learning, including healthy eating and cooking. But I had to start somewhere, and it’s been a journey.

I’ve been normal weight. I’ve been overweight. I’ve even been obese. I’ve struggled with disordered eating here and there, or at least some characteristics of it. I’ve thought that all carbs were bad, or all fats were bad, or that you can exercise away anything you eat. I’ve misjudged calories. I’ve lived off of prepackaged foods and fast foods, exclusively. I’ve also eaten nothing but fruits and vegetables for a period of time. I’ve starved myself to lose weight, then “failed” and gorged myself to make myself feel better. I’ve used food as an emotional crutch. I’ve burned food, undercooked food, made slop and mush and inedible food. I’ve been afraid to cook, and I’ve been overly confident in my abilities as a cook. I’ve failed to run a mile, gotten winded going up stairs, experienced my pants no longer fitting, buying new ones, and no longer fitting into those, either. But, I’ve also crushed a two-mile run, squatted my own weight, and carried all the groceries in one trip! One!

And I find myself going back and forth between some of these things, even now.

I’ve been overwhelmed trying to right all the wrongs, learn about health and nutrition, and keep my emotions in check.

If any single one of these things sounds like you, that’s good. I’m not alone. That makes me feel better, and maybe it makes you feel better, too. We’re human, and we’re learning. We make mistakes, and we make decisions based on our emotions. We maybe put health on the back burner.

Let’s fix that together.

How I Decided to Get Educated on Health and Nutrition

If you just read all the things I’ve been through, you can probably imagine that it’s been an emotional and confusing ride. These were my preteen, teen, and young adult years. And these were just the things I had going on with my health. Forget about boys and school and stuff!

After all of that, I was sick. Sick of being fat. Sick of being exhausted all the time. Sick of being weak. Sick of being depressed.

When you’re sick of something, you make an effort to change it. I started to learn about healthy nutrition, cooking, and exercise. I asked my dad to teach me to cook, a great bonding experience and knowledge that I still use today. (Thanks, Dad!) I tried the newest and coolest Jillian Michaels workout DVDs or exercise regimens that involved resistance bands on my bedroom door. I went to the grocery store and picked out a new fruit and vegetable each week, and tried to learn how to prepare and eat it.

I spent hours and hours and hours on Google, Reddit, MyFitnessPal forums, and countless other communities and websites looking for the answers. I needed to know which foods were best, why they were the best, how to work them off, what to eat to fix depression, how to control emotional eating, you name it. I wanted to find the exact workout, the exact diet, the exact answer to everything related to my health. I even sought out a college degree in Nutrition, which I’m currently working on.

Hours became days. Days became weeks. Months. YEARS of research and trying to find “the one right answer” for how to live a healthy life. You know what I found?

There is no one right answer to live a healthy life. It’s personal, and you have to find your own “right” way.

“That’s a load of crap, Amy, I’m here for answers!” you yell at your computer/phone screen. Hey, I get it. I didn’t like that answer, either. But it’s true.

To a point.

There is a lot of false information out there. There are also a lot of gimmicky regimens or diets that claim to be the one true answer. They’re trying to sell you something. They’re trying to make a profit off of your misery and desperation and lack of knowledge. And it’s not your fault if you don’t know what’s true and what’s not – our society has literally done everything in it’s power to keep you in the dark and keep you confused so that you will buy those products! What the heck!

But, while there is a lot of false information, there’s also a lot of good information. We know that fruits and vegetables are good for you! We know that running and lifting weights are good for you! We know that there is a healthy way to handle stress and emotions! It’s just that each person might be a little bit different.

That’s because we all have different preferences, beliefs, and abilities.

If you feel strongly that cow’s milk is not for human consumption, don’t consume it! If you don’t like the taste of spinach, don’t eat it! If you’re a pirate with a peg leg and an eyepatch and you’re not capable of doing the “best of the best depth-perception running challenge”…don’t do it! (Also, I’ve always wanted to be friends with a pirate, so let’s be friends!)

One group may feel strongly that cardio exercise is a waste of time, and that weight-lifting is the only way to go. That’s great! You guys won’t clog up each other’s space, and you can both exercise your own way. Another group may be unable to consume gluten due to digestive issues. No problem! There’s lots of other foods to accommodate that.

My point is, while there are some general truths to a healthy lifestyle, it’s up to you to learn the basics and cater them to your own needs and desires.

Where do I come in?

As you’ve seen, I’ve been in the position of “totally lost and overwhelmed with information and sick, sick, sick!!!!” Now, I’m at the point where I feel that I know a great deal, and can start to pass that knowledge on. But I’m not an expert. I won’t sit here and preach at you and tell you I know it all. I’m still learning, and I hope to always be learning. (And not just because the field of nutrition is coming out with great new information – there’s just so much to learn!)

I want to be here to give you guys good information. I want it all to be in one place. And I don’t want it to overwhelm or scare you. Whether you’re here to learn the different vitamins and minerals, lead an overall healthier lifestyle, or just get started in the kitchen, you are welcome here.

Amy Olivieri, Wedding Day. April 23, 2017. | SaltandSkillet.com

It has always been a passion of mine to write and share information. I was (okay, and still kind of am) the nerd at school who liked homework. I want to better myself and grow as a person, and this website gives me purpose. It brings me pleasure to put all my knowledge in one place, share it with others who are looking to better themselves, and continue to learn in the process.

That’s my history, in a snapshot. There’s more to it, but no one wants to read a biography. And frankly, I’m not sure I’m ready to write it! Maybe you can relate to all of it, maybe just one piece, maybe nothing at all. But if you want to better yourself and look at your health or ability to cook at home, this is a good place for you.

I’m going to do it now. I’m going to hit publish…My heart’s kinda fluttery and nervous, but if you’re reading this, I had the courage to put this out there for the whole internet to read. My family and friends, strangers, acquaintances who have Googled me, everyone. And if I can post this publicly, you can learn to better yourself, however you’re looking to do it. Like I said, let’s do it together!

Thank you so much for reading this far, or even skipping ahead. I’ll be incorporating more personal aspects into the website, and I hope you find them useful or at least a little entertaining!


What is your reason for starting toward a healthy lifestyle? Why do you want to get healthy? Is it to lose weight, to build muscle, to lower your risk of disease? Does anything I said resonate with you, even a little?

If you’re brave enough, go ahead and let me know in the comments. Hey, do it anonymously if you want! It’ll make me feel even better to know I’m not alone in any of these aspects. Plus, I’m here for you guys. If I know you’re listening and ready, that’ll help me see that what I believe to be my purpose is reaching someone.

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