Hi, I am Mariah, and I am Bryanna’s younger sister. I graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2018 and currently work as an attorney at a non-profit organization called Advocates for Faith and Freedom. I am a constitutional attorney with a primary focus on religious liberties and enjoy spending my down time training for triathlons.
Growing up, I participated in basketball, track, cross-country, and volleyball. I started my healthy lifestyle because of external factors like injuries forcing me into a healthier standard. Although I was physically active throughout my life, I did not take nutrition seriously. I was known as the “garbage gut.” After several setbacks with injuries, I started to realize the importance of nutrition in recovery.
In my junior year of high school, I broke my back due to repetitive trauma and excessive activity and was forced to undergo surgery. I took prescribed pain killers to manage my pain, which made me feel nauseous and suppressed my hunger. As a result, I grew even weaker. Although I was able to compete in sports my senior year, it took a full year to fully recover from my back injury.
I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to play for Rocky Mountain College Women’s Basketball Team in Billings, Montana. My college career was nothing short of disappointing. Within a year into college, I started to experience stomach bloating, cramping, and extreme fatigue. I also blew my ACL in my second season of basketball, which lead to inactivity that exacerbated my symptoms. After going to several doctors, trying to figure out the cause of my symptoms, I found out that I had a fungal infection, known as candida. The infection started after I broke my back and had worsened after my knee injury. The doctor explained that the pain killers destroyed the bacteria in my stomach and a fungal infection developed, wreaking havoc in my intestines.
My doctor treated me with a comprehensive eating plan that cut out all sugar. The fungi fed on sugar and starved without it. I felt even more exhausted during the treatment. As my body was killing off the infection, I experienced extreme fatigue, headaches, and body pains. This was all while I was recovering from my knee surgery.
After suffering a knee injury and then a neck injury my junior year, I switched to cross-country and track in my final year of undergraduate studies. After graduation, I still had an extra year of eligibility and ran for Pepperdine University while completing my first year of law school.
Even though my sports career came with plenty of disappointments, God used the trials to build in me strength and perseverance – traits that I rely on daily for my job. My injuries also forced me to shift my focus to triathlons, a sport that is less stressful on my body. After my first triathlon, I fell in love. I truly found a sport that I enjoy. The volume and cross-training are commensurate to my body’s limitations and capabilities. I do run road races every now and then, but I primarily focus on training for triathlons. During my first two years of training, I qualified for Nationals. My ultimate goal is to qualify for Worlds.
I strive to live a healthy lifestyle because I know firsthand the important role nutrition plays in recovery and everyday vitality. I am by no means perfect. I have plenty of cheat days, but I do not beat myself up about it. I also exercise daily because it relieves stress and helps me manage my busy lifestyle.
I am honored to be able to share inspiration here on Wholesomely Fit, and I hope you will enjoy being a part of the Wholesomely Fit family.