I feel like I got a little ahead of myself, busting out a new blog, singing the praises of eating healthy, prioritizing exercise and self-care without giving you any context into how I even got to this place.
I didn’t realize I felt bad until I felt good.
Most of my life, “normal” was perpetual fatigue, constipation, gut ache, gas and general malaise. But c’mon, in the beginning, I was a college student surviving on pizza and beer. During my first professional job in public accounting, I worked long days that ended in longer happy hours. After having kids, sleep was an aspiration, I ate off their plates to save time and continued to chalk up the bloat, upset insides and foggy brain to motherhood. This is what being a woman feels like, right?
All the while, I wanted to be a friend who was always up for fun, a better wife, an energetic mom … And maybe fit into my jeans. So, I exercised. I ate less. I exercised some more. And still, I felt like shit.
My turning point, when I knew something was wrong and not just the circumstances of my life, was the day I could not swallow a bite of chicken. Like literally could not swallow the chicken. I was terrified. Scores of medical specialists and five years later, I was diagnosed with a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis. Say that three times fast. Luckily, a wise nurse practitioner suggested food-allergy testing to identify the cause of my narrowing esophagus. Turns out I’m allergic to corn. Turns out corn is in everything. I stopped eating corn. I felt better.
Food. Impacted. Feeling.
The unexpected link between food and my medical condition blew me open. I started reading, researching and experimenting with food. I paid attention to how the food I put in my mouth affected my energy, attitude, feelings … and gas.
I felt empowered. My body and I were partners, not enemies. I started to unravel my unique health path because what worked for one person didn’t necessarily work for me. I worked with a functional medicine practitioner that really helped me connect the dots through lab work and diet. This also helped me to key in on supporting my sluggish thyroid and other gut issues, like SIBO and severe gut dysbiosis (feel free to google. I will talk about it more, I am sure!)
My physical health journey also pointed me towards my mental health. I have suffered from depression off and on for as long as I can remember. It really got ahold of me after having my second son and I went on antidepressants, which was exactly what I needed at that time. I weaned off of them after a few years about the time I started diving into my physical health woes.
Realizing how much my diet and lifestyle affects every body function was so empowering. My depression and anxiety are greatly alleviated by making choices in my diet and lifestyle that honor my health. Do I always make those choices? No. I’m human. I like wine and tequila and baked goods. But I am so keenly aware of how I feel after having those things and I can care for myself accordingly.
Oh, and a good therapist is key. I am a huge proponent for therapy when it is needed in life.
I learned that health is about persistence, not perfection.
All of these experiences led me wanting to truly learn more in a more formal setting. I completed the year-long program through Institute of Integrative Nutrition and became a certified health coach in 2017. I coached several clients for about a year and started a coaching blog. Then I pivoted again.
Life happens. And fear shows up. I thought that it would be better to have a job outside the home, just having a place to show up to work. Um, yea. That was the fear I had of actually doing something I loved and being successful at it.
So, I abandoned the coaching and went to work at Evereve, my favorite clothing store and in pursuit of my second love of style and fashion (I was a stylist for CAbi for 4 years as well when the boys were little). For the next two years, it was everything I thought I needed. I loved the women I worked with and loved the customers I helped to feel great about themselves. It was so fun but something was always nudging me to get back to my blog.
With Covid wreaking havoc in everyone’s lives and knowing that school for my boys was going to be supremely different, I knew now was the time to make that change so I could be home more. So yet again, I pivoted and refocused on this blog.
Find your balance and what works for you
So, if you are still reading, I hope you found this background helpful to explain why I make the choices I make regarding food, self-care products, and everything else. My diet consists of mainly gluten-free, dairy-free whole foods, veggies, fruits, protein and good fats. I sometimes make a choice to deviate from that for a special occasion and when it feels worth it, like travel or wedding cake. This is what works for me and it took me many years to get to this place. I always encourage any woman to be curious about her own body and make choices that align with feeling her best, not what the next best fad is.
Also, I hope that maybe my story inspires you to make whatever change has been nagging at you…..food, exercise, pivoting in career, sky diving. Maybe not the last one. I never want to encourage anyone to jump out of a perfectly good plane.
embracing the explorer in me
I used to think that all of my job changes or pivoting in life was a bad thing. Then it was pointed out by my childhood best friend that I am an Explorer, which is a powerful archetype. She helped me to see that it is my greatest strength-always searching for meaning, always questioning how things operate, always trying to understand self, the world, others.
I know it doesn’t end here. It is just beginning. I have a whole lot more to learn.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. My health journey is in no way meant to be a recommendation for anyone. Please consult a doctor to figure out your path.