Meet DANICA FRYE

#FanGirlFriday

"I wish I could tell every single girl that she is so beautiful and she is more than enough." - Danica Frye

Danica Frye is a Los Angeles based news producer and writer. After an injury in college and subsequent weight gain, she committed herself to a healthy lifestyle full of nutritious food and exercise. When she's not working her day job, she's running marathons, at Bar Method classes or posting AWESOME pictures of delicious, healthy food.

Go Danica! Feel free to make us some of your recipes ANY TIME :)

Every Ella: Hi Danica! Tell us about yourself.

Danica Frye: Hi! I'm a 20-something Southern California girl, born and raised. I've been fortunate to call Los Angeles my home all my life, except for a brief six months after college when I lived in San Francisco. My family is small but means everything to me; my brother is my absolute best friend. I'm a lover of almond milk lattes, acai bowls, country music, hockey and basset hounds, and I would rather be at the beach!

What is your current career?

I'm a news producer and writer, which is an absolute dream come true for me. I've wanted to work in news since I was four-years-old, and my dream was to work at the station where I'm at. Sometimes it's honestly still really surreal that this is actually my job!

You're a health and fitness enthusiast. What made you start that lifestyle and why is it important to you?

I was always very active while growing up. I started ballet when I was three, and started competitive Irish dancing in middle school. Some of my absolute favorite memories in my life are from the hours spent in the studio and at competitions. So health and fitness have always been a part of me!

I was forced to stop dancing during my sophomore year of college after I sprained my ankle three times in six months, and that's when I quickly gained 35 pounds. But I didn't instantly recommit to my active lifestyle. I went back and forth a lot, and said I was "starting over" a lot. I didn't stick to making a change until I had my own "rock bottom" moment and decided I needed to put myself first again. I decided that I was tired of making excuses, tired of not loving myself, tired of not feeling healthy and strong. I haven't looked back since I put myself first again, and my life hasn't been the same since. This lifestyle means everything to me, because I'm happiest when I commit to being the best version of myself every single day.

Was it a challenge to transition from unhealthy, carefree college ways to eating healthy and exercising?

College was hands down the best four years of my life. I am truly blessed to have gone to my dream university (go Waves!) and I was as involved as I could possibly be. I really struggled when I first stopped dancing because I had never really done any other form of exercise. I didn't know what to do, so I basically just stopped altogether. I think almost everyone can relate to the fact that in college you want to spend your time with friends and in various extracurricular activities, so at the time I was okay with letting my fitness slip. As for making the transition, my challenge wasn't in eating healthy and exercising, but in being consistent and balanced. I developed a serious problem with binge eating, and it was my struggle with that disordered eating that made the transition difficult. I had no problem committing to exercise; my challenge was a commitment to consistent nutrition.

What's been your most rewarding moment thus far in your journey? And your biggest challenge?

These go hand in hand for me. My biggest challenge has definitely been my struggle with binge eating. But conquering it has also been the most rewarding part of this journey. I was told over and over again that I would struggle with it my entire life. That was something that was very difficult to hear, and it was also something that I refused to accept. Being told that I would never conquer it is actually the best thing to have happened, because it was my fuel to overcome it for good. Building a healthy relationship with food again has brought so much joy and freedom back into my life, and it's definitely the most rewarding part of this journey.

What is your favorite work out to do?

Bar Method! Hands down! It's an incredible work out, and it challenges me in new ways every class. I also love going on hikes, going line dancing (surprisingly great cardio!) and lifting at the gym, and I have a serious love-hate relationship with running. I hate it, but I love the feeling of crossing the finish line, and the mind games you play with yourself to get there. I've done two half marathons without training; my third is this Sunday and I'm also doing the LA Marathon on Valentine's Day! Hopefully I train a little for that one :)

What is your favorite healthy meal? And your favorite cheat meal? 

How in the world do I pick?! I honestly really, really love vegetables. A big bowl of roasted veggies would be my favorite, as long as it involves sweet potatoes and avocado. I also really love making zoodles.

I absolutely hate the term "cheat meal". I much prefer referring to it as a treat, because "cheating" has such a negative connotation that shouldn't be associated with food. I'm a big believer in the truth that we are always allowed to treat ourselves in moderation. For me, restriction was the root of my struggle with binge eating. So if I'm craving something, I have it! I just make sure I eat the proper portion size and that the rest of my day is balanced. That said, my favorite treat is nut butter, especially almond butter! I have some kind of nut butter everyday because treat yo self :)

We are obsessed with your healthy food pictures on Instagram. Are you always on the prowl for great recipes?

I'm sure my Nana is out there laughing right now! She's 100% Italian and always said she didn't think I could even boil water! I really didn't start cooking until about a year ago, and I still have so much to learn. I don't really look up recipes, but I am constantly inspired by and learning from one of my closest friends who is an absolute genius in the kitchen. She's taught me so much!

I do try to keep it real on Instagram, though. Almost all my meals are on the go and eaten out of Tupperware! I usually have my first four meals of the day at work. I've become the queen of meal prep, because it's what makes this all possible for me. So a few hours of each weekend are dedicated to setting overnight oats, cooking lean meats and roasting every vegetable imaginable so I'm ready for a successful week.

Name one woman who has inspired you.

This is the easiest question I'll ever answer. My 90-year-old Nana is my biggest inspiration. She has been my rock and role model every single day of my life. She drove me to every dance class and spent hours curling my hair for competitions. She recycled bottles to pay for my high school tuition. To this day, she insists on giving me groceries just because that's who she is: a giver. I wouldn't be half the woman I am today without her love and sacrifice. Her strength is what gives me strength, and all I've ever wanted in this life is to make her proud.

What advice would you give girls today?

I wish I could tell every single girl that she is so beautiful and she is more than enough. I think it's important to truly embrace, accept and love yourself exactly where you are, and in exactly whatever season of life you're currently in. Obviously that's so much easier said than done, but it's so worth it to fight for that self love. Don't be afraid to put yourself first, because sometimes it's necessary to be selfish. If you aren't happy where you're at or with something in your life, make a change. But remember to have fun and enjoy moment of your life! It's the only one we get, so love hard and cherish every part of your beautiful life.

What are your future plans/goals?

Immediate plans include trying to squeeze in a few training runs for the LA Marathon in February. I don't have anything else set in stone! We'll see where life takes me. :)