My Health Journey
To most people I appeared to be a healthy. I was an avid runner, gym-goer, was of normal weight, and was successful at my job, relationships, and at the time starting a family. What nobody else could see was that I was dealing with significant abdominal pain and distension, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, and fatigue on a daily basis. It impacted my life with reduced self-esteem, cancelled work and social events, trips to the ER/urgent care, visits to countless doctors and loss of time I’d rather be spending doing other things. It significantly limited my wardrobe choices for work or the gym because often I looked (and felt) 6 months pregnant. I felt outcasted for eating differently, it impacted my marriage and I felt alone. I jumped through all the traditional western medicine hoops. I had visits to the ER, Urgent Care, my GP, Gastroenterology, and radiology. Doctors did bloodwork, colonoscopies, ultrasounds, and a variety of other procedures. Nobody had answers or solutions. Then I started working with a naturopathic doctor that helped me step back and look at the bigger picture. It was through working with her that I finally had some answers: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), adrenal fatigue and low vitamin D. This renewed
my energy to keep fighting for answers. Many nights I would be up until 3am researching the latest diet, supplements or practitioners that could help me. I tried sugar detox, Whole 30, traditional Paleo, low FODMAP, SIBO diet, AIP, SCD, and many others. With each diet I carefully monitored and journaled everything…, and I hated it. I’d sometimes get a false sense of excitement because there would appear to be some symptom alleviation for a few days, maybe a week, and ONE TIME I FELT AWESOME FOR 16 WHOLE DAYS!!! This experience has been a major roller coaster for me; from determined and motivated to frustrated and hopeless back to determined and motivated and back to complete despair again!
I had learned of the Primal/Paleo way of life from a friend and initially thought it was all about food. As I researched it more and more, I realized it isn’t just what you put in your body but how you manage everything else. While diet and exercise are a big part, I realized you don’t have too push yourself to the breaking point to get results. One of the things I ended up giving up that helped me was long distance running and almost all higher intensity cardio, as well as giving myself permission to STOP doing the things I hated (spin class, kettlebells). This year I’ve even cut cardio back to nearly nothing other than just staying active like walks, jogs, kayaking etc. as well as my twice a week brief sprints. I also added YOGA about 5 years ago as well as fell in love with aerial silks which have both been fitness challenges and lifesavers for my mind and body. Additionally, I discovered I had flipped cortisol so I invested in a "happy light" for those dark winter mornings and asked my husband for help with kids to school or breakfast so I could listen to my body. I was finally starting to feel better. I still have days that aren’t great, but they are few and far between.
Destined to continue my search I took a huge leap. I boarded a plane destined for Austin, TX to attend the Paleo FX conference. Why was that such a big deal? Well for starters I HATE to fly. All my symptoms are exacerbated x 10. The thought of feeling like absolute crap and doing it all alone freaked me out. I prayed the passenger next to me would be cool holding my barf bag and watching me eat carrots and chew on ginger tabs for 3 hours. Secondly it was missing work, family life and my kids who I had rarely left alone other than our once a year vacation. Paleo FX was lifechanging for me. Have you ever gone somewhere and you’re like” THESE ARE MY PEOPLE”? Yeah well that was it for me. It was at that moment I started imagining … What might it be like if I did something different? What if I could help other people? I started a book of “wild and crazy ideas” and that was it. I still have this journal; its orange. At this point it had been over a decade of trial and error for me and I felt like while I was not “cured” (never will be) I had really made significant progress.
In Spring 2019 I made my annual trip to the Paleo FX conference. I have now survived several trips and while I still hate flying I can happily say the person next to me has never needed to hold the barf bag for me! On this trip I met Mark Sisson, the author of Primal Blueprint and the founder of the Primal Health Coaching Institute. This was it! I now had a path to take to make those crazy ideas in my little orange journal into something real. On September I completed my Primal Health Coaching certificate and am so excited to help people on their journey. My health transformation has helped me focus, relax and know what foods to avoid 100 percent and which are worth cheating with (helllloooo chocolate). My motivation to heal myself has now translated into my commitment to heal others. I’m no stranger to the helping profession and its where I’m most comfortable. It IS possible to improve your energy, weight, sleep, aches and pains and change your lifestyle long term to be illness free. Everyday small changes lead to big results. Keep Moving Forward!