Part 2: I used to be all green juice and anti-sugar… Now I’m all Intuitive Eating and holistic health… What gives?? Why I changed.

(Post 2 of 3, read the first one here)

2014-2015

What was happening?

We moved to the beach, life was ideal! We traveled, partied HARD, people visited all the time, and we rebuilt our lives. And yet, something was still off. After a year in California neither of us could deny that we both felt that deep longing for something… something more.

I enrolled in nutrition school after discovering my culinary credits didn’t transfer (grrr so frustrating, BUT it ended up being a huge blessing). My education was fantastic. I graduated as a “Certified Health Coach” from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! That time introduced me to a lot of new AWESOME ideas AND reinforced some of my old (not so awesome) beliefs around food, body size, and health. I became a legit “green juice and gluten free” health coach. I really knew my stuff and was excited to help others get healthy and inspired!

Toby and I did the Whole30 (always the health nut I did it for an extra 15 days, 45 days total) and the one good thing that came from it was the decision to quit drinking all together.  We felt more aligned and better than ever! You probably saw A LOT of posts from me during this time. I genuinely was excited, and bursting with new-found knowledge. I am a passionate person in general and I used my platform to share food, cooking, and health tips with the world.

 

What was really happening?

I loved the freedom of not working full time and FINALLY spending more quiet time with my husband.

The decision to cut out alcohol seemed to come outta nowhere to our friends, but truthfully we had been talking about it for years. We were both SO bored with that “scene” and we knew it made us feel like crap. We also wanted to reel in our finances. We had gone down to one income and lived at the beach in California... so something had to give. I felt some internal pressure to start earning money (and having a meaningful purpose to my days) so I took on clients as soon as I could.

Here’s the thing I can admit when looking back…  

I was highly educated and not yet wise.

I didn’t really have much to offer people that they hadn’t heard before. The same old advice: eat more vegetables, avoid processed food, buy organic, diets don’t work, move your body, reduce stress, yada yada yada.   

The topic of weight loss came up again and again and again. I KNEW I didn’t want to sell weight loss or diet plans, I was clear enough in my own misery and KNEW that there wasn't a magic answer, but what if that’s what most people want??!

After my first few clients I felt a pit in my gut… What was I really doing? Was I doing this for the money? To help the world? To feed my ego? What do people actually need? What does 'health' mean anyway? Are weight loss and health even related? How does mental and emotional health affect the physical body??

I did some INTENSE soul searching and thankfully found a mentor to help guide me through this “crisis”. She introduced me to Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and the non-diet approach to coaching. She also taught me how to TRULY understand the current research and science and gave me endless resources to continue my education. (Her name is Isabel Foxen Duke and she’s fabulous.)

Through our work together I finally had to face my own fears around food and my shame around my body. Until then I had never really identified as a “dieter” or as someone struggling with “disordered eating”. I knew I couldn’t TRULY help others until I did the intuitive eating and recovery work myself. It was HARD but SO WORTH IT.

 

Meanwhile about my weight:

After the medication/drugs had gotten out of my system, AND because I was finally eating normally, I was gaining weight (which is to be expected). And while I was working on being ok with it, I was also painfully aware of how this could be perceived as a “failure” in the world of health and coaching. After all, if I was so healthy wouldn’t I be able to maintain my lower weight?? Nope, doesn’t work like that. For years I was knee-deep in disordered eating habits and nobody, including myself, seemed to notice or think it was a problem. In fact, it was widely normalized and even applauded! Gaining weight was part of my recovery process and it is often part of my client’s process as well.

 

Next Post: 2016-Present

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Part 1: I used to be all green juice and anti-sugar… Now I’m all Intuitive Eating and holistic health… What gives?? Why I changed.

(Post 1 of 3)

I recently had an honest conversation with a dear friend who lovingly shared some constructive feedback with me. She’s witnessed my progression from a part-time health enthusiast to a full-time health professional and couldn’t help but notice some changes over the years. Some of these changes were to be expected, but some appeared to be a complete and total reversal. “What to believe?” she asked.

 

She had a great point. I had changed. And in some ways, I’d changed A LOT.  I did so much work educating myself and then tailoring my social media, website, and blog posts to my perspective clients, that I had done a crap job of sharing my personal experiences with the ones I loved most.  

 

To add to the confusion, I literally moved across the country during this dramatic period of growth and maturity. All this “changing” was happening from afar... like FAR afar! There is only so much people can keep up via with Facebook, emails, the rare phone conversations, and/or the few times a year we are physically face-to-face.

So, for those of you who may be curious, here is a snapshot of what happened, when, and why.

2012-2013

What was going on?

I started getting really sick. Chronically sick. My migraines were increasing, my digestion was awful, my periods were a nightmare, and my skin was suddenly breaking out in eczema. I was a mess.  I was desperate and wanted solutions.

After years of seeking answers from traditional doctors, and not getting any better, I started exploring alternative/complimentary medicines like acupuncture, herbs, massage, and naturopathic care. These health professionals were amazing, and part of the treatment they suggested was eliminating certain foods to help manage my symptoms. I did some ‘legit’ allergy testing and SO MANY THINGS come up “positive” that it all seemed to makes sense… I was overwhelmed, but hopeful. 

I'd always loved to cook (and eat!) and because my new diet was so limited, I was cooking and experimenting a ton. I sort of became obsessed with food… OK, not sort of, more like totally. SO much so that I eventually quit my job and went to culinary school full-time. It seemed like the “perfect fit”. I was preaching the good word of clean eating, got to be around food all day, and was prioritizing my health!

What was actually going on?

I was miserable. I felt so terrible most of the time, AND I was so busy that I couldn’t see straight. I was a total FOMO junkie.  It was mostly “fun things” so I didn’t recognize the core issue:

I was not living in alignment.

I was doing what I thought I “should” be doing. What was easy, exciting, and new.  I was drinking A LOT, mostly because of all of the social stuff we did, but looking back I think it was largely due to the fact I was so restricted around food, it became an easy way for me to “indulge” and relax from being so tightly wound.

I had been doing hair for 12 years and it was NEVER a good fit for me… the money and social were fabulous, but the stress ripped my body apart. Toby (my husband) was working nonstop and was constantly preoccupied and exhausted. I felt all the weight all of his unhappiness/stress on top of my own. Stress, stress, stress. That is what this time frame was for me: STRESS!

I managed my stress by trying to tightly control my food and health. It wasn’t really working but it felt like I was at least doing something. I couldn’t bear the thought of suffering in silence, so I believed anything that promised answers or solutions. Meanwhile, we actively sought out a company-sponsored move to California. We both knew we needed a fresh start and desperately wanted to rebuild our life from the ground up.

Meanwhile my weight…

I lost a significant amount of weight because of the medication I was on. This was not something I “worked for”, but sadly the world reacted as if it was: with admiration and praise. It was a total mind f%#!. I felt terrible and yet I was being praised left and right?? As I became more restricted around food I actually started to believe I was being “so good” and becoming so much healthier! I wasn’t. I was just restricting my food and using caffeine and medication to get through the day. My weight was a false representation of my “health”. As I weaned off the medicine I feared the inevitable, and became determined NOT to gain the weight back. Who wants to go back to their ‘natural weight’ when they have had a taste of “thin privilege”?? Carbs and sugar were out, veggies and protein were in!

 

Next post: 2014-2016

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