The Full Story
When I was around the age of ten, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and was prescribed my first major set of medicated treatments. While the medication seemed to help my inability to focus properly in school, it turned me antisocial, almost eliminated my appetite, and was terrible for my overall health. I also ended up getting parasites soon after, which meant even more medication.
Then I hit puberty, and with it, came a plethora of an entirely new set of challenges: iron deficiency anemia to the point of hair loss, extremely low energy, freezing hands and feet, irregular heartbeats, and near-constant headaches. This was on top of the regular menstrual issues a woman experiences: pain, heavy and irregular flow, terrible mood swings, and intense brain fog. My “growth years” were spent feeling extremely uncomfortable in my own body, having blood work done, taking/testing medications, and constantly changing diagnoses.
I remember thinking “this is terrible” so many times during those years, but as I’m sure most every woman has experienced, you’re told to “not think too much about it,” “it’s normal,” “it’s part of becoming a woman.” So, instead of pushing to find out the true root of all these symptoms (yes, symptoms, not issues as they are all caused by something deeper in your body), you learn to just go about your life and deal with it—to mute the voice that keeps trying to tell you “something isn’t right,” to take medication and pretend it isn’t just some form of temporary bandage that’s not truly fixing the root cause of these symptoms. My body was talking to me, but instead of listening to it, I learned to ignore it.
Fast-forward to my twenties—this was a big decade for me. As a snapshot, I had my first child, completed my Public Relations degree, got a great marketing job, travelled the world, got married to my high school sweetheart, and then later left the corporate world and completed my Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) degree, and then had my second child.
My twenties were a time of growth, life lessons, and new perspectives. I was still experience health issues of my own, but it was also the time I got really curious about the dynamics of health. Travelling the world had exposed me to many different cultures, and seeing the way they each addressed personal health inspired me to thinking about the root causes of health issues and related preventative measures. It had sparked my passion, but I truly didn’t understand the connection between your body and health and nutrition until my own two pregnancies.
My first pregnancy was amazing: natural delivery, fast postpartum recovery. The typical “rainbows and butterflies” experience.
My second pregnancy was everything my first wasn’t. My son was born close to seven weeks early via emergency c-section. He was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), while serious postpartum problems of my own sent me to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for days afterwards. After eventually joining my son in the NICU, we spent a month together at the hospital—it was a long time to be away from my husband and daughter. All I wanted to do was to bring my son home; thinking that everything (my pain, struggles, and exhaustion) would be better if I could just be home.
However, when we were eventually released, it didn’t end up being some magical moment that completely resolved everything I was going through. My recovery was tough, and I spent a lot of time lying to myself and my family and friends about how I was truly feeling. I completely ignored my issues and tried to just focus on my kids to keep things afloat—blocking out everything else (internally and externally). I now know that to be the worst thing I could have done. That choice made my “recovery time” nonexistent. I didn’t focus on healing (mentally, physically, and emotionally) and I missed some serious red flags in my marriage.
I was so focused on doing just enough to exist each day that I completely missed my husband’s struggles to cope with life. He had issues of his own and had eventually turned to addiction to help him deal. While I knew I was supposed to step up and support him, I was nowhere near where I needed to be to properly handle the emotional and physical capacity of his issues. He needed proper help and support, and I wasn’t fully “there” to give it to him.
We had both reached a dark point in our life, and our family unit was suffering. Each of us had so ignored what was going on in our bodies that we hadn’t protected our own selves, so we were no longer able to support the other. We eventually decided to spend some time apart to think about our true values and if we could once again be aligned. As one could imagine, that brought with it a whole new set of fears: I was still weak and (holistically) unhealed from my recovery, I had two young kids to take care of, I had no job, and I had just separated from my husband.
Perhaps it was the fear or the reality that I could very well end up being alone, but the overall situation lit my ass on fire. It forced me to realize that only I could be the one to save myself. It was time for ME to step up and deal. I had to accept the situation, separate myself from all the bullshit, and start doing things differently. It was time for change. A time to stop ignoring my body’s needs and to look inwards to truly heal.
And so that’s what I did. I put myself first and I encouraged Jeremy to do the same. It was time for each of us to properly deal with our own issues before we could even try to figure out what the “us” could then look like.
Jeremy did a lot of internal searching and eventually found the help and support he needed to overcome his addictions, while I focused on coming back to myself. I moved in with my parents so they could help with the kids. I cut out all the “noise” from the world (negative untrustworthy people, social media). I started to say “no” to a lot of things and instead, focused on doing things I truly enjoyed: walked in nature, mushroom picking with my dad, yoga with my mom, gardened with my kids, watched documentaries, tried new recipes, completed more continuing education courses, and focused health. I even had functional testing done to see my current health status, then I allowed myself to “run wild” with improving my health based on those results.
When it comes to recovery, it’s not just about eating the right foods or taking the proper supplements—it requires adopting a total holistic mindset about your health and wellness journey. Removing negative things from your life and replacing those with positives, spending time doing the things you love, taking care of what goes into your body, and focusing where you “spend” your energy.
Eventually, Jeremy and I came back together and we are stronger than ever. We are more of a team now than we have ever been in our entire relationship. The time apart forced us to focus on ourselves and grow as individuals so we could be better as a unit.
In my journey, it wasn’t until I focused on my own intentions, values, goals, and self that I was able to be a better support to those I loved. There are many things we cannot control in life, but we can control the elements most important: how we react and our perspective. When going through hard times, you have a decision to make—a decision of how you want everything to turn out. How you’re going to come out of whatever darkness surrounds you—better and stronger than before. How you are going to learn from the lessons that brought you to where you now are.
Everyone loves a comeback, right?
Believe me when I say that my approach to nutrition is practical, realistic, and will be adapted your lifestyle. My passion, experience, and dedication come from a true place of understanding. I’ve been there. I walked through a darkness of my own, and then I made a choice to change. I adopted these same tactics and practices to turn my life, body, family, marriage, and overall health and wellness around to a place where I finally feel like myself. A place I don’t know if I’ve ever been—not since first being diagnosed with ADD and beginning years of bloodwork, missed diagnoses, and ignoring my body’s internal cries for help.
Working with me means focusing on whole foods and adopting a flexible lifestyle approach that includes nourishment (not deprivation) and getting to the true root of your problems. We will uncover the forever approach of a balanced and healthy lifestyle that fits your needs.
It’s your turn to make a choice. Choose you. Choose to change.