My Journey to Health and Wellness
The road towards a wellness-inspired life was long and, at times, bumpy. Like many, I arrived at the "aha" moment during a major life event...I had just gotten engaged to the man of my dreams and quickly dove into the wedding planning process with zeal.
As a type A, always scheming up the "next idea" lady, I was excited to plan the perfect day to celebrate the next chapter of forever love...however, this excitement was superseded by a nagging realization-- that I would need to confront my eating disorder past....
Where it really began...
At age 14 I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. The words hung in mid-air, almost as if I was in a dream. Me? Anorexic? But I ate food-- how could I be anorexic? I had spent the better part of 4 months dieting my way towards what I assumed was a "healthier" athletic body-- I was a highly competitive figure skater and had reached that pivotal, and difficult, period of life known as "puberty." For a figure skater it is the kiss of death. I equated the development of a more womanly shape with being "fat" and blamed the sudden frequency of falling on jumps on this (the real culprit, though, was likely a major growth spurt). Dieting had gone too far, though, and it was when my primary care physician uttered the words "you're anorexic" that it finally sunk in.
I had succeeded at halting puberty, reversing my body's natural development, and starved myself down to a deathly low weight, which led to 4 months of in-patient hospitalization at a well-renowned Eating Disorder treatment facility. I was told that if I hadn't been admitted when I was, I would have died within weeks, if not days.
I struggled with my Eating Disorder through all of high school, and fought through the "eating disorder mind" years after achieving, and maintaining, a healthy weight.
My Twenties were a challenging decade of catching up socially (years of isolation with my disorder left me very socially awkward and disconnected from my peers), and forming an identity in the adult world that didn't involve an obsession with my body and food. I transferred a proclivity for obsession towards career, friendships and romantic relationships-- though I would discover there is a close connection between the marked need for control and obsessive nature of Eating Disorders and unhealthy patterns and behaviors in relationships.
I had to confront the dark side of my mind at many points during this time of my life, learning through growing pains, mistakes, life experiences and ample amounts of therapy, that this darkness can manifest itself in many ways. It can appear in the form of an "ef it" attitude about health and self-care, which happened in my late Twenties.
There were a few "aha" moments...my dad getting diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 53 years old. A very active guy, and so young, it was a devastating shock to our family, and one of the most difficult years of our life. He was one of the lucky few who was diagnosed in the early stages of cancer, so he was able to get surgery, undergo chemo and radiation, and is a cancer survivor today, 3 years later. It was a wake up call that I needed to take better care of myself after a 25 pound weight gain, and early signs of health problems associated with it (higher than normal blood pressure, resting heart rate, etc.) I started running a lot, signed up for races, and made exercise a more regular part of my life again.
During this time I also left a long-time (10 years to be exact) job to explore new career opportunities. That was the second.
The final and big "aha" moment that instigated the biggest life change to-date happened at work. I was starving, 2 weeks in to a wedding diet that wasn't working. I was eating 1,200 calories a day, working out every day (sometimes twice a day), and was hungry and tired all the time. I wasn't losing weight as fast as I wanted to and didn't know what I was doing wrong. Then it hit me that my focus and perspective were the problem. I was focused on weight, when I should be focused on enjoying the experience of planning the happiest day of my life with the man I love.
I had come way too far and achieved too much in my life to fall victim to disordered eating again. So I changed my perspective, deciding that self-care was the right goal for me. I stopped counting calories and started tracking macronutrients. I educated myself on nutrition and learned, for the first time in my life, what a healthy diet actually looks like. Within months, I had toned up, felt alive in a way I never had before, and people started to take notice. As more and more family and friends started reaching out and asking me what I was doing, I realized I was on to something-- that many people want to live a balanced, healthy life. They just need, like I did, the tools and resources to make it an actionable reality.
By this point it was clear that I had found my calling. Helping people has always been at the epicenter of what drives me, and I've been lucky enough to do it professionally in various ways at every place of employment-- whether working with clients, mentoring direct reports, or taking on a challenging project at the request of a boss. I wasn't helping people in a way that is so vital to their overall wellbeing, though, and that is the aspect of nutrition coaching that appeals to me so deeply.
In May of 2017 I walked away from a great paying job in advertising with no job lined up, signed up for a well-respected Nutrition coaching program, enrolled in school to become a Dietician, and didn't look back.
To say health and wellness is a passion would be an understatement. I'm an obsessive person, but I've learned to channel obsession into healthy thoughts and actions. I'm also a very practical person.
I know that a lot of the nutrition advice floating around-- on social media accounts, blogs, articles, etc.-- is rigid and impractical for most people. And that bothers me. A lot.
My experience with both an eating disorder and busy, career-woman life has shown me that there isn't a one-size-fits-all method that works for everyone. Labels and exclusions are not only limiting, they're also impossible to maintain.
This is because we aren't static beings. We're moving and evolving as rapidly as the world around us. We get stuck in back to back meetings and miss lunch. Our kids have soccer practice followed by birthday parties, or ballet class. Our loved ones get sick, need help cleaning the garage...the list of daily needs and to-do's is expansive. And it varies from person to person.
Our biology and environments differ greatly-- so why should our diet be the same?
My approach isn't revolutionary, but it's real. I present an authentic, candid and no b.s. approach to a subject that effects us all.
And my intentions are genuine.
I want to you help you. Pure and simple. Using tools that have helped me via modalities that meet your specific needs.
The discovery of your healthiest self begins with you. Are you ready?