(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.
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