My Health Journey
The truth is, I wasn’t always healthy. I grew up on Captain Crunch and microwave meals, was overweight as a child, and developed serious body image issues and eating disorders at the age of 12. For most of my life, I struggled with yo-yo dieting, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, and a serious lack of self-worth. Simply put, I hated my body and I tried everything to change it.
Eventually, my vicious cycle of extreme dieting and binge eating, work/coffee addiction, lack of sleep, chronic stress, and completely toxic lifestyle finally caught up with me one morning in July 2009 when I couldn’t lift myself out of bed. I literally could not move.
Specialists, scopes, and scans later, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
In that moment, I realized something extremely important – I have one body, one life on this earth, and I better start learning how to take care of myself before it’s too late!
So, I did just that – I got serious about my health and fitness, started researching how to heal my body naturally, and read every holistic health and nutrition book I could get my hands on. Luckily, at that time I was entering my second year of grad school and had access to a wide range of public health researchers and natural health experts. I quickly shifted my focus from solely studying obesity and weight loss to studying autoimmune diseases and using food as medicine.
I had no idea that what you ate had such an impact on all aspects of your health (beyond your weight).
Drink vegetable juice? Yuck! Eat berries? Does strawberries n’ cream oatmeal count? Apparently not. Reluctantly, I listened to the experts. I adopted an anti-inflammatory diet eating nothing but high-quality, nutrient-dense whole foods. I stopped eating sugar and started drinking green smoothies. I slept more. So much more.
Two weeks in and I felt like a new person. I had more energy, my skin was clearing up, and my digestion improved. Within a year, I completely reversed all of my symptoms and had no sign of an autoimmune disease when tested.
Now, I wish I could say my life was full of rainbows and butterflies from there. But it wasn’t.
After graduating, becoming a personal trainer, getting a full-time job, and starting my first business I found myself slipping back into old habits (working 12 hour days, staying up late, neglecting family & friends, flogging my body at the gym, and counting every morsel of food on my plate) all in the pursuit of “success” and the “perfect body.”
My physical appearance may have looked healthy, but my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors were FAR from it.
I became obsessed with fitness to the point where I was diagnosed with athletes amenorrhea (I didn’t get my period for 3 years) and adrenal fatigue. I was “fit” on the outside but still felt miserable inside.
At this point, I had ENOUGH! I wanted to be happy and healthy – mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
By the grace of God, my cry for help led me to the largest nutrition school in the world, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, to start my journey to become a certified Health Coach.
At IIN, I quickly learned that health is SO MUCH MORE than the food on your plate. Health is…
…Your mind, your body, your spirit, and the world that you create for yourself – NOT just your physical appearance.
…A direct reflection of your thoughts (such as “I am beautiful,” or “I am fat”), core beliefs (such as “Losing weight is hard,” or “I can do this”), words (that you say to others and about yourself), actions (such as what you choose to eat), and environment (such as who you choose to spend your time with).
…A journey, not a destination.
I also learned what was missing from my life and it came down to one foundational element for living an abundant, joy-filled life: FAITH.
On January 20, 2015, I surrendered my life to Jesus and started spending the same amount of time and energy on improving my spiritual health as I was on my physical body. And I’ve been on a wild journey of personal development and spiritual growth ever since!
Being the healthiest, best version of you is not something you can ever forget about, or be done with. It’s a decision that you’ll have to make every single day.
Even though I may be happier, healthier, and more in tune with myself than ever before, I’m still refining and adapting my habits, and I know I always will be.
My focus is on progress, not perfection.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31