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Featured Chobaniac: Whitney Y. of Some Days Off

Hey, everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your bellies are recovered from all of the delicious food. We’re back to work and it brings us great joy to introduce our Featured Chobaniac this week, Whitney of Some Days Off. She’s here today to share a particularly poignant and inspiring story with us. Take it away, Whitney!

Shoot an email to fans[at]chobani dot com if you’re interested in taking part in the “Featured Chobaniac” series. We’d love to share your story with friends far and wide!

{Click Read More to meet our Featured Chobaniac!}

Almost one year ago, my husband (Jake) proposed to me. I was sitting on the floor of our small house, packing for a trip to Mexico, wet hair, yoga pants and no makeup.

“I was wondering if you’d take this to Mexico, too?*

*Jake pulls out ring box*

Well, duh.

It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

It was also a moment that led to major changes for me. First not-so-good. Then really, really good.

The week before Jake proposed, a college friend passed away from an overdose. In the weeks following the proposal, Jake and I lost a former co-worker and friend, and I lost a current co-worker – both to suicide. In the midst of trying to mourn, we had the stress of the holidays and an annual charity event I plan with friends (all while starting to plan our wedding and trying to keep up at work). It was too much.

Way too much.

Anxiety took over. I had daily panic attacks for a few months before I decided to go see a therapist. It was expensive, but I couldn’t afford to NOT get help. I felt lost.

In conjunction with regular sessions, my therapist recommended I do two things right away:

1. Change my diet (more protein and clean foods – enter my daily Chobani serving)

2. Go to boxing classes to help with anger and exercise

Jake went with me to boxing three days a week, and it became one of our favorite things to do together (even if it was at 6 a.m.).

It’s also where I met Ellie, my current trainer and mentor. Ellie is a human ray of sunshine. She helped me hit my goal for the wedding in August, and now she’s coaching me to my first WBFF competition in May 2013. I’ve even started writing about my journey to the stage on my blog, Some Days Off.

Since I started training with Ellie, I’ve lost over 20 lbs. I have about 15 more to go before I glue on that terrifyingly small bikini for the competition. But with her, Jake and the rest of my support system in place (including my therapist, who I still see monthly to keep my mental health in check – no shame), I’m moving forward with confidence.

It’s almost exactly a year later, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. It makes me think of the three people who took their lives. I wish they could have hung on just a little longer, to see how good things can be once you make it out of the dark times.

I’m the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been. Jake and I had a beautiful wedding at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (where he works for Sporting KC) and our relationship is rock solid.

I am regularly inspired by my co-workers, friends and family. I’m even motivated by my dog, Sarge, who has Type 1 diabetes and seems to be ignoring the medical expectations of his diagnosis. (His parents obviously spoil him rotten…)

And I still have so much to look forward to.

You get one life, and (whatever your struggles) the path to happiness starts with the choices you make. I remind myself of that every day.