Hello! My name is Chasity Dix and I’m the owner of My Healthy Chef Personal Chef Services and writer of this blog! I’m 27 and currently live in Austin, Texas with my wonderful husband and our precious outdoor cat, Sassy. This blog is meant to inspire others to eat great food and do great things! I love cooking delicious vegan meals and I especially love sharing them with others, whether it be tangibly or in the form of recipes and photos. I also want to share my journey to live a more active and fit lifestyle, and hopefully inspire others to do the same!
Let’s back up a bit though. I have not always cared about health and fitness, and I certainly have not always followed a vegan diet. Around my senior year of high school I started to struggle with my love for food but went into my freshman year at Schreiner University a nice, healthy weight of 135 pounds for my 5’7” frame. I wasn’t very active but I was nice and trim so I thought I was healthy. To help keep my love for food in check I started following the South Beach Diet (terrible, I know).
In my sophomore year of college I got into a serious relationship and also discovered the socially freeing effects of alcohol, so my focus soon shifted from eating healthy to having a good time and making lots of friends. The summer after my sophomore year my weight had crept up to about 150 pounds. I guess since I’d avoided the freshman 15 I decided to try and pack it all on in just a few months my sophomore year.
Throughout the rest of college I continued to focus on having as much fun as I could and as a result I had little time left over to think about taking care of my body or doing well in my classes. In May of 2008 I graduated with my bachelors degree in Psychology and had brought my weight up to a miserable 160 pounds. I was very unhappy with how I looked and how I felt but somehow I still couldn’t muster up what was needed to make real changes in my life.
I accepted a job as a traveling leadership consultant for my sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, to begin the summer after graduation. This meant I would be spending the next 9 months traveling to a different university each week and relying on the chapter members feed me. Once I started traveling it became even more difficult for me to lose weight. I was struggling a lot emotionally so I wasn’t motivated to get out and exercise (food is my comfort), and the women in charge of feeding me continuously took me to restaurants like Chili’s, Wendy’s, etc. I was enjoying meeting all these new people from around the country and I kept packing on the pounds.
By the time I finished traveling in late April 2009 and was back home to begin my real post-college life, my weight was somewhere between 165 to 170 pounds and I was beyond miserable. I was really upset with the way that I looked, knowing that it was no one’s fault but my own, and I also felt like the insecurities caused by my weight had really kept me from enjoying my traveling experiences to the fullest.
This was my breaking point. I feel like everyone who has overcome weight issues has this one moment where everything changes mentally for them, and until this moment happens you’re not really ready to take action and make the other changes that you need to. You think that you’re ready so you try and try, but until this moment happens all of that trying is really for nothing.
I decided to join a gym and started tracking my calories and workouts with Livestrong.com. I joined 24-Hour Fitness and went to fitness classes like Step Aerobics, Spin, Yoga, and Water Aerobics. I was always the youngest person in the water aerobics classes by about 40 years but it was really a great class for me to slowly start building my muscles so I could go on to more intense classes, like Lift and Set.
I became obsessed with counting calories and getting in my workouts. Honestly, I think I went overboard and wasn’t that healthy with it. I was eating somewhere between 900 and 1,300 calories a day and working out 5-6 days a week, often more than once in a day. My skin was constantly broken out and my hair got really thin. I was losing weight and feeling a lot better about my body in that respect, but I was still insecure because of the other problems that were arising.
Through hard work and dedication I was down to 145 pounds by July 2009! I was back to wearing a size 8, the size I was wearing then I left for college, which I had felt like would never happen again. I thought I was on track and healthy and then something really great happened. I went to a 4th of July party with some friends and met a wonderful man who ended up completely changing my life for the better!
Ross and I got to talking at the party and I found out that he just received his masters degree in exercise science, was trying to find a job as a personal trainer, and was also a competitive road cyclist. We talked about health and fitness for hours, all while drinking margaritas and eating fajitas, chips, and salsa!
Fast forward quite a bit and Ross and I have been together for almost 4 years and we just got married on April 20, 2013!
In the time that we’ve been together Ross has taught me that food is supposed to be fuel for your body, not what you plan all of your social gatherings around. He’s taught me that working out is not just something you do so you can look good in a swimsuit, but something you do to build a strong body that will carry you far. He’s taught me that it’s okay for girls to be strong and that sweating is sexy. Ross has taught me how to be the person I’ve always wanted to be and brought me more happiness than I thought possible! He also introduced me to one of the loves of my life — RUNNING! I’ve now completed two 5Ks, one 5-miler, two 10Ks, and one half-marathon. Hopefully I can add full marathon to this list soon!
In October 2011 I ended up reading The Kind Diet on the recommendation of a friend, which I didn’t know was a book about following a healthy vegan diet until I started reading it. It completely changed the way I think about my food and what I put in my body, and it also prompted me to read Eating Animals, The China Study, Veganist, The Engine 2 Diet, Eat to Live, The Starch Solution, and to watch Forks Over Knives, all of which made me realize that the healthiest thing for me to do for my body (and the planet) with regard to food is to begin following a vegan diet. So on November 1, 2011 I gave up all animals products cold turkey, which means no meat, no dairy, no gelatin, and so on. Ross was completely surprised by my decision since cheese was my favorite food and we loved eating local beef jerky together, but he has been totally supportive of my decision even though he still eats meat.
Once I started following a vegan diet I lost some more weight and find myself typically weighing in between 135-142 pounds, depending on how lazy I’m being at the time :)
I am no longer eating and working out simply for the aesthetic gains, but instead for the long-term benefits. I am happier than I’ve ever been and never feel like I am “missing out” by not eating meat or dairy. Making the switch to a vegan diet and cooking new foods made me realize I really do love food and I don’t have to ignore that passion just because I’m eating healthy. I really love cooking for other people and having them declare at the end of the meal that there’s no way that was healthy or vegan because it just tasted too good!
In January 2012 I started My Healthy Chef personal chef service and started cooking part time for clients (you can read more about that here). I absolutely love it and am looking forward to the day I can quit my office job and cook full-time, whether it be as a personal chef, a recipe creator and cookbook author, or whatever I can dream up that involves food and makes me happy! I want to make a difference in people’s lives somehow and I can think of no better way to do that than through delicious food!