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Kirstin – 2006 Graduate

kirstinLike many, I had some pretty rough teenage years. After my parents got divorced, I moved away from all my friends and family and started at a new school. Amongst all the new changes, I felt out of control. When I was 13, a family member mentioned some slight weight gain. I decided to go on my first diet, and the weight quickly came off. With weight loss came attention from popular girls, cute boys, and all sorts of questions about what I was doing to look so good. I felt amazing, and I did not want it to end. The more weight I lost, the happier I felt, until I didn’t. One day I woke up, and the weight loss just wasn’t enough. The number on the scale was severely low. I spent all hours of the day thinking about my weight. I had no time for friends, and I was consumed. What started off innocent became life-threatening in the blink of an eye. It’s crazy to think about it now, but this went on for almost seven years, and for a majority of it, I had no idea I had problem. One day it just clicked – I was anorexic.

At 19 years old, I was living at home and going nowhere fast. It had become clear to me that my struggles were not going away on their own. I began to consider the idea of treatment centers. When I found out about Mercy Multiplied, I began the application four different times! Arriving at the Mercy home, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I’d made up my mind to find healing!

Mercy was an amazing home filled with the most incredible girls. I learned and grew more from that group of girls than in any other situation in life. I got to the root of the control issues in my life and began to assess my relationships. I spent a lot of time with God – a lot. And for the first time, I began to see my value and worth. I was being transformed.

After graduating from Mercy, I knew I wanted to help women in the same way I’d been helped. I went to college and began studying Psychology. I then went on to get my Master’s Degree in Counseling. To make my college life a little crazier, I married my husband, Tomas, after my sophomore year. He is my “partner in crime,” and I would not trade him for the world.

While in school a new passion for nutrition, whole foods, began to emerge. Simultaneously, my passion for fitness was sparked. I had only known abusing exercise, so it was intimidating at first. I treaded super lightly and began jogging while training for a 5K for a friend’s organization. I taught myself how to be balanced with exercise and initially put limits on myself, until I was comfortable enough to trust myself again. At this point, I knew I still wanted to help people, but I needed to be out of an office, engaging with people, addressing all aspects of their lives.

In January, 2015 I started The Balance Culture, a place where all of my nutrition, fitness and writing passions come together. The Balance Culture studio is a women’s fitness studio that offers a variety of different types of classes. I also have a nutrition counseling practice where I help women find their balance with food. Lastly, I have a blog where I share about living a happy, healthy life.

Since The Balance Culture launched, I have been given a platform to connect with people through speaking and writing as well. God has opened so many doors, and I am forever grateful.

We donate 10% of our profits back to Mercy Multiplied to help support all the amazing work they do. Mercy gave me another shot at life, and now I want to spend my life offering the same to women.