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What if my secret had nothing to do with food?

06 August

Ry Before and After Collage

9 years ago, I asked my husband to take the picture on the left. I had hit my first rock bottom with my health and was determined to make changes starting that day.

It wasn’t just the weight that bothered me, it was the whole out-of-whack shit-show I had become: broken out chin, extreme mood swings, constant stomach aches, allergies…I couldn’t take it anymore. That moment was the beginning of the journey that has lead me to a completely different body and a completely different inner life.

I’m not showing you these side-by-side pictures so you can just see weight-loss. I don’t even know what the actual weight-loss is (and for the record, the first photo is me before I was ever pregnant, the second is me after having had a child, and 6 months before getting pregnant with my second, and not even at my smallest.)

What I want you to do is look in my eyes in the “before” picture. What do you see? I see a woman who is really really really far away. Distant. Confused. Depressed. I was disconnected from myself and from my ability to connect with others.

Fast forward 9 years. What do you see?

A smaller woman, sure. But I see a woman who is connected. To herself, her body, her world, her emotions, and those around her.

I’m a work in progress, and being on that journey has become the reward – there is no final destination. There is no prize at the end. Being present on the ride actually IS my prize!

My transformation started with food, as so many stories like this one do. Food has healed my body, and in turn, my mind and my spirit. It has been my gateway into myself!

But you all know that part – it’s the reason I’m so passionate about this work.

I want you to know though that this work has been about way more than just food. Something deeper has facilitated this inner shift and profound emotional healing for me.

What’s the real deal then?

I did this by choosing, in tiny little steps, to change my habits and my thinking.

Not just the habits in the kitchen (although those are foundational!) but the way I saw myself. The way I spoke to myself. The way I challenged myself to script new truths. The way I loved and spoke to others. The way I tuned into my reactions and feelings. The way I invited vulnerability and tears. The way I learned to really feel.

What I need you to know is that true transformation might start with food, but along the way, an invitation to step into more of who you are will come.

Passing through into that place has been my most rewarding work and my deepest joy…

…and I honestly believe the same thing can happen for you.

The question is, do you believe it?



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Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach

Ryanna is a coach, accomplished speaker, and recipe developer with extensive experience helping women cultivate a mindset of self-love so they may heal and thrive while developing new habits in the kitchen.

16 Responses to “What if my secret had nothing to do with food?”

  1. Lisa August 6, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

    My lemon-water-in-the-morning habit came from YOU! <3

  2. Rachel August 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this experience. It resonates deeply with me, especially the part about your “first rock bottom” moment.

    • Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach August 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

      Thank you Rachel for replying. I wish rock bottoms didnt have to have so many tiers, but alas, they serve a purpose. I’m glad this resonated – sending you love!

  3. Edie August 6, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    I appreciate your heartfelt sharing, Ry. Intentionally posting your body pix for all of us raised with dysfunctional female beauty standards takes courage/and or awareness of our shallow culture. 👏

    You seem to imply this, and I think it’s worth stating: Your daily, mindful attention to what you put into your body, and your commitment to ingesting life-giving nourishment sent a powerful message to that always-listening inner self: you deserved the highest level of self care.

    In my experience, telling myself things to counter negative programming pales in comparison to repeatedly demonstrating it to my Self. In the end, it may be all about learning to love ourselves.

    P.S. Discovering Grub shortly after I moved here 2 years ago was a lovely and necessary connection. Your and Brianna’s fun and educational presentations validated and sometimes added to food knowledge I’d acquired, but hadn’t discovered here. And the 3-ingredient, easy, healthy, dark chocolate truffles recipe is to-die-for! 😎

    • Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach August 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

      Edie – What a beautiful reply! Thank you for taking the time to craft it. YES! You have touched on something powerful… the ACT of nourishment sent powerful signals to the body that just mantras alone could never have done. So well said. “You deserve the highest level of self care!” I’m so glad that finding Grub was an important part of your integration into the community here. And hooray for the 3 ingredient truffles! It’s a winner for sure. A way to love and treat our bodies at the same time! My best to you.

  4. Dawn Dossantos August 6, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

    Wow how inspiring and encoraging. It is a journey and so worth it. Thank you for being so transparent. Love ya

  5. Danielle Langlois August 7, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    Your willingness to be this open isn’t just admirable, it is freaking beautiful! THANK YOU for sharing such an intimate perspective on the connections between feelings, mindfulness, and food. It’s darn good medicine.

    • Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach August 7, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

      Well said, Danielle! Thank you for replying, it helps boost my confidence in offering this kind of perspective in this work. I can’t change my corner of the world writing recipes, it has to have more substance than that. 🙂 Thanks for your kindness, sending love from NC. <3

  6. Paige August 7, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    I believe it! I love this Ryanna and all the work you do, thank you. I’ve been on a similar journey. Started overeating in 2007-2008 in order to stuff down emotions from an abusive relationship finally ending that I was in ages 14-19… and really did not break that struggle until 2013, which is a lot shorter of an addiction than for so many people that struggle with over/binge eating. Also the reason I chose an abusive guy was because I was disconnected from and ashamed of my female body (without knowing it). Before 2007, and being 19 and on my own, I had been a sugar addict my whole life without even knowing it: candy galore, any type of sweet, big bowls of ice cream before bed, as many servings of things as I wanted… I know this is also many if not most peoples’ struggle. I was skinny because I played soccer competitively (which also really isn’t that great for the body), but when I was 18 I had my first gallbladder flare up and my 2 sisters and father were developing autoimmune diseases. That’s what turned a light on for me. Yay for healing and living a fuller more turned on, tuned in, and connected life!!!!

    PS right now I have mango lemon kefir in my fridge. Haven’t tried it yet but I’m excited!

    • Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach August 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

      Wow Paige – thank you for sharing more of your story! It’s so amazing, this connection that food has to healing and/or running from the deepest parts of ourselves. How amazing to have developed this kind of perspective starting at such a young age – I work with women who are starting to make these connections much much later. I can’t help but think of how many women you are going to impact in your life in various ways with this story and with your passion for life and people and this entire world. Yay for healing and living a fuller, more turned on, tuned in, more connected life indeed! Well said.

      ps – mango lemon is a combo I have never tried! Nice moves, I’ll add it to my list.

  7. M Vogel August 7, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Wow…..your story is inspiring. I have been trying to eat healthier. I have been receiving your e-mails. I just haven’t been able to take the first step. Your recipes sound healthy and yummy. But they sound so far from my normal eating / not the ingredients I have in my pantry…so I hesitate to change. And I have had some stressors in my life that take my time and energy. I haven’t been feeling the best and I believe if I could change some of my habits maybe that would improve. Just not sure where to begin. I have that sweet tooth you mentioned….your dark chocolate truffle identified above sounds incredible. How do i get that recipe?….didn’t see it on your website. I know, start with tiny steps….maybe I just need to find some of your easiest recipes and begin there. Thank you for sharing your story. I pray I can start a new healthy journey.

  8. Rick Essman, D.C. August 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Thumbs up RB, you nailed it, our food choices reflect our innate change in consciousness.

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