25% Bigger 25% Better

I always thought I was a pretty good person:  I love my mama, I believe in God, and I love loving on people; however, despite my innate desire to do good, I can readily admit that I am a far better person now than I once was.  

In 2004, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and admitted to Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. My time at Remuda coupled with the after-care support I received provided me with the first pivotal experience that truly changed who I am.  Although I  was discharged with a smile on my face and an additional 27 pounds on my body, the true testament to my recovery was my successful transition back into the real world.  Without my supportive family,  I'd be the first to tell you that recovery would have been impossible. I wish I could say the same was true of my then friends, You've all heard the saying:  "in times like this, you find out who your true friends are." 

Journal excerpt from my time at Remuda Ranch

 February 11, 2015 (about 6 weeks after discharge)

February 11, 2015 (about 6 weeks after discharge)

Journal Entry Two
 My high-school bestie fellow Stingray Allstar from Carrolton, GA who helped me get through high school, Age 16 . 

My high-school bestie fellow Stingray Allstar from Carrolton, GA who helped me get through high school, Age 16 . 

Returning to Atlanta post-treatment was one of the most difficult things I have ever done (and for the record, returning to The Westminster Schools was even harder).  In the months following my inpatient care, I realized I had never really had true friends to begin with. One by one, the girls in my exclusive friend group, The Forever Eight, dropped off and the initial support I had received dissolved into abject neglect. In less than a year, I had lost decade-long friendships, nearly 25% of my body weight, and the self-confidence I had never doubted.  Perhaps, learning these things about me comes as surprise to you? I can confidently say, I would not be who I am today without experiencing the painful sting of adolescent abandonment.

1 Week before Channing

With the threat of relapse behind me, and ten-plus years of maturing to boot, I found out I was pregnant. I would be lying if I told you that the idea of gaining a significant amount of weight didn’t disturb me. Long gone are the days of calorie counting and weighing myself incessantly, but the idea of gaining 25% off my body weight felt like a trigger. Before my weight gain manifest, I googled topics such as, “how much weight should I gain in the first trimester,” “how much weight should I gain overall during my pregnancy,” and “how much does my placenta weigh.” My mama could tell you that I’ve got the eating disorder bit handled (after all, she’s the one who fielded my many phone calls over the years when I’ve found myself stuck in analysis paralysis), but the thoughts - they never truly go away. Throughout my 7 months of pregnancy, I learned more about self-acceptance than I was prepared for. Some weeks I gained two pounds, some months I gained two pounds. Some photos made me cringe, other photos made me smile. While my normal worries hadn’t subsided, I learned to accept them for what they were; then, I kicked back in the bathtub and stared at my baby bump. I twirled around in the mirror marveling at curves I had never seen before. And finally,  was able to adopt a carefree attitude about my ability to quickly outgrow outfit after outfit. While it wasn’t easy, it was real. Honestly, I feared that I would go into crazy mode trying to get my body back postpartum; miraculously, I have never cared less in my life. The worries are actually gone. My stomach isn’t as flat as it once was, my legs are not as toned, and my pre-baby clothes still fit a little awkward. Instead of focusing on those things, I’m focusing on the little miracle my husband and I created. Something about carrying a child makes you pause and reflect. All of the “phoney baloney” bible verses my mama used to read me, “your body is not your own,” blah blah blah, well they finally rang true. I’ve realized my body is way cooler than six pack abs and the skinniest thighs you’ve ever seen. I carried a baby, and birthed a baby, and now I am nourishing her with my body.  

Carly + Channing

I hope you’ve enjoyed following my journey with Northside Hospital. To learn more about their maternity resources, check out their website here. It’s hard to believe I was sitting down to discuss our partnership last summer - we’ve come a long way. If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat feel free to shoot me an email carly@carlygraceyoga.com 

17 Comments

Carly Grace Milyo

Born in New York City,  Carly Grace grew up in Atlanta and graduated from The Westminster Schools.  Carly received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Tech in 2012. During her college career, Carly began practicing yoga as an escape from her intense ACC Cheerleading training. The rigor and requirements Carly upheld as an ACC athlete combined with the social expectations and action packed schedule expected of an Alpha Phi left Carly depleted both physically and mentally.  Before Carly found yoga, she used running, partying with friends, and restricting her diet to maintain a sense of control in her life. It was Carly's true desire to find more purposeful and authentic friendships and to invest her time in cultivating her greater well-being and spirituality that lead her to yoga. 

The creativity and physical challenge of yoga captivated and inspired Carly. Yoga was the first thing Carly practiced where the perfect-ten mentality was not required; in fact, perfection is the antithesis of yoga principles.  After hanging up her poms poms and retiring from her ACC Cheerleading career, Carly quickly found herself  invested in the In Balance Yoga Community in Blacksburg, VA.  With encouragement and affirmation from Studio Owner, Becky Crigger, Carly set out for New York City to train with Dana Trixie Flynn at Laughing Lotus Love Skool.

Yoga Alliance 200 E-RYT, Carly has studied and practiced with many influencers and teachers all over the United States.  Carly currently teaches Thunderbolt Power Yoga®;  a powerful alignment based vinyasa flow inspired by some of her greatest influencers including, Dana Trixie Flynn and Baron Baptiste.  Carly infuses creative ideas and sequencing into her classes. Her purpose as a teacher is to inspire people to move like themselves. Carly is committed to helping students be audaciously playful in both their practice and in their lives. 

You can catch Carly Grace teaching at her studio Thunderbolt Power Yoga, at off-site events such as the infamous FIT Yoga Series with Carly Grace at W Atl Buckhead, at music festivals, corporate conferences, and more!  Be sure to look out for Carly's quarterly Boombox Power Yoga® Class offered alongside a live DJ, accompanied by her pink boombox, and enhanced with a 16 inch disco ball. 

In the mean time, you can follow her adventures on instagram (@yoga__barbie) or give her a wave when you see her drive by in her infamous pink jeep!