BATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUD) – In an age of filters and social media pressures, finding a healthy body image can be difficult, and that’s what encouraged a local health coach to share her journey to self acceptance.

In today’s society, finding a healthy balance between perception and reality can be challenging.

“I think every growing girl goes through this.”

For many young women and girls, the ideas of “health” and “beauty” are often skewed.

“What you see provides nourishment to the body so being very particular about who you follow on Instagram and what their message is. I scroll through Instagram some days and some of it’s just not real. So, following accounts that promote body positivity, body acceptance and just overall health and it not being about what you look like but what you feel like.”

It’s a pressure Kristen Gurascio knows all too well.

“I let everybody’s opinions of me shape what I saw in the mirror. At some point, I just wasn’t happy with myself and I wasn’t happy with what I was eating,” Guarisco said.

For years she forced herself to workout for hours at a time and avoided foods that didn’t fit her strict diet.

“I grew up eating beautiful foods, beautiful foods that my mother cooked and would still portion super small and would restrict myself. I just wasn’t in a good place,” Guarisco said.

But, after studying nutrition in college and learning mindfulness in her yoga practice, she’s transformed her mentality around food.

“Over the years I’ve started to piece together nutrition and yoga and knowing that mindfulness is what sort of ties both of them together,” Guarisco said.

In 2019, she founded her health coaching business, The Freedom Garden.

“So now I’m starting to coach intuitive eating and mindful eating, meditating before you eat, allowing yourself to relax before you eat.”

She hopes to help others realize their positive body image, no matter what body they are in.

“I just want to share this message with people that you can evolve from obsessive eating, eating disorders to body acceptance and freedom around food.”

To learn more about Guarisco and The Freedom Garden visit her website or social media accounts.