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THE NUTRITION JOURNEY

You may be wondering what in the world nutrition and nutrition coaching have to do with manifestation, spirituality, living an aligned life, etc. Well...everything! It has everything to do with it because we have to live in these physical human bodies. These bodies are how we exist here on this planet! When we take care of them, to the absolute best of our ability, we are able to fully live in alignment with the soul.

Yes, physical health is indeed one way to live in alignment with Your Truth.

And we must get all areas of life into alignment, my friends, if we want to live magical lives! (Psst...it's not about perfection or some arbitrary end goal - it's about always pursuing alignment, which is a fun, free, natural, and joyous endeavor.)

There are many, many elements to physical health & wellness. I am specifically interested in nutrition and fitness, and that is what I am here to help you all with! Let me tell you how I got here...(It's a long story, but stick with me here! I want you all to get the full picture.)

WHY FITNESS & NUTRITION?
MY STORY

My Beginnings With Food

My story with nutrition is a winding one. First and foremost…I’ve always loved food.

 

All throughout my childhood, all I really thought about when it came to food was whether or not I was hungry and what I wanted to eat. That was it!

 

In high school, I started to get into “healthy eating.” I put that in quotes because all it really involved was making healthier versions of my favorite foods.

 

I never became obsessed, though. I did try to get my family in on it a little, but it was mostly just something I explored on my own. If something I made was gross, I just abandoned it! Simple as that.

Things with food and eating started to change when I went through my first major breakup later in high school. Now, listen, I know everyone goes through breakups. But when you’re a teenager and it’s your very first one, it feels like the end of the world. This one certainly did to me. Why does this matter? Stress.

 

Some people are stress eaters. Some are stress not-eaters. I fall into the latter category.

 

I remember going through my days at school not eating for the entire day. Of course I was hungry! But honestly, at the same time, I didn't have an appetite. I know, seems counterintuitive! That’s just truly how I felt.

 

Also, at this time, I was playing softball. Yes, all the while not eating! I placed myself into one heck of an energy imbalance (i.e., I was burning more energy than I was taking in at times and my energy intake was inconsistent). No, I didn't lose any weight, but I surely wasn’t helping my body feel safe, nourished, and taken care of. I might have eaten "enough" calories, overall/on average, to keep my body at its happy weight, but going for long stretches without eating, throwing off my blood sugar levels, not responding to my body's cues, etc., put me into a state where my body was not being treated like it should have been; subsequently, things within my body and my brain started to go a little sideways (I'll get to that in a minute!). 

 

We know that weight is a complicated thing, not completely as simple as “energy in, energy out.” (We’re still learning so much, in science, about the complexity of body weight! It’s one of the areas I’m fascinated by.) Yes, it does all come down to energy balance. However, the mechanisms behind that balance are what are nuanced and complex.

With no significant weight loss, I didn’t worry. Sure, I knew it wasn’t “normal” to not eat all day long, but I was sad! I figured things would go back to normal eventually.

 

After a lot of emotional roller coasters, I eventually returned to some normal eating patterns. But after this time, nothing was ever truly the same.

Eating Disorder

 

I believe this stint of not eating in response to stress was the beginning of my eating disorder experience.

 

There are many, many, many theories on how eating disorders develop, and the only clear thing I see? THEY’RE COMPLICATED!

 

Everyone’s reasons are different, yet I do not believe anyone chooses a disorder. They are far too miserable to be a conscious choice.

 

One theory that has always made sense to me and my story is that of a significant enough energy deficit “turning on” certain "survival genes" that influence restrictive eating behaviors.

 

There is a lot involved in this theory, but it basically posits that these "survival genes" are genetic remnants from the past where humans often had to survive times of famine. What would the survival strategy have been? Eat as little as possible and move as much as possible! Eating as little as possible saves scarce resources (food is obviously scarce in a famine). Moving as much as possible (a component of many disorders, often labeled as "compulsive movement") refers to the need to migrate - if you are living in a famine, clearly the area where you are living is not conducive to surviving and thriving. Better get moving to find the "land of abundance!"

Okay, I’ll have to stop myself here because there is so much more I could explain about this theory! I find it fascinating, and at the same time I do not believe it fully explains my eating disorder experience. I think anxiety, physiological responses to stress, and more also played a role. However, I do believe that my initial entry into a significant/inconsistent (unplanned) energy deficit (when I stopped eating after the breakup, as well as keeping on playing softball and expending a lot of energy) kicked things into motion. (One caveat here! Does this mean that I can never enter an energy deficit or that everyone needs to be afraid of going into an energy deficit [i.e., a diet], lest they also develop a restrictive eating disorder? Not at all! There are many, many, many factors to consider. It is not cut and dry, my friends! That is my opinion.)

 

So, here we are, entering into an eating disorder experience. Not knowing there was a problem. Therefore, it just kept going…the snowball slowly forming...

From high school all the way through college, it continued to wax and wane, changing how it presented and finally reaching its worst in 2021. In fact, 2019-2021 were the worst years of it.

Eating less. Moving more. Extreme anxiety around food. Rigid eating schedules and routines. Feeling absolutely trapped and becoming less healthy all the time. Losing who I was (my personality went totally offline). Mood swings. Hormone imbalances. Sleep problems. It was...a mess.
 

Throughout the years, I always knew (deep down) that something wasn’t right. Yet, I didn’t want to admit I had a “problem.” Being intentional about food and exercise can be incredibly healthy, and doing things differently from those around you need not be disordered. Yet, for me, the amount of anxiety that surrounded food and exercise signaled that there may be an issue.

Recovery

 

In 2021, as I was nearing the end of my one-year venture into elementary school special education teaching, I knew something had to change. I had lost so much weight (body fat and muscle), worried my friends and family, and become incredibly scared for my health. I didn’t care what I had to let go of at that point, nor what I had to change - I had to pause life as much as possible in order to focus on recovery.

 

I am happy to say, 1+ years later (at the time of writing this, 9/10/2023), I am recovered. Not a day goes by where I am not thankful for that journey.

A Newfound Passion

 

I could write pages and pages about the entire experience, but the important thing for right now is the fact that recovery lit a fire within me for learning even more about true physical health.

 

Specifically, fitness and nutrition. I needed to know how to heal my body (namely how to heal all the many things that had broken down during the disorder.) I wanted to gain back the muscle and corresponding strength that I had lost throughout the years. I must say that I have become obsessed (healthily obsessed!) with getting truly healthy. Not just recovering back to baseline. Let's call it…recovery+!

 

Throughout the past year and a half (at the time of writing this in the fall of 2023), I have built upon my basic nutrition knowledge (I have always been somewhat interested in it!). Here are some of the biggest things I have learned, thus far:

 

The importance of eating enough (truly enough) for one's unique energy needs

The individuality of nutrition

How nutrition plays a huge role in fitness - strength, performance, aesthetics, etc.

The role of nutrition in mood and mental health

How nutrition plays a major part in helping the body feel safe, which impacts many other physiological processes necessary for actually thriving in life

 

And I keep learning more!

 

I am always reading, taking in information online (from trusted professionals and those with lived experience!), and listening to podcasts (again, from trusted professionals and those with lived experience!) in order to hear different perspectives, stories, and the latest research findings.

 

I have come to realize that not everyone is as interested in the science of nutrition as I am! When you’re very wrapped up in and passionate about a topic, this can be difficult to remember at times - that not everyone cares as much as you.

 

But, I know that everyone wants to feel good. Everyone wants to be healthy. Everyone wants to feel confident in their body. And nutrition plays a humongous role! You simply can't truly feel good, be healthy, or be as confident as possible without taking your nutrition into account.

Here's Where You Come In!

 

That’s why I’m here as a nutrition coach - to help you learn what you need to know about nutrition, help you explore what works for you in your own way, help you reach the goals that you have, and take the complication and fear out of nutrition.

 

We all have to eat, you know. We might as well find out how to do so in the ways that feel best for each of us and help us live the lives we want!

 

Your nutrition needs will change as life changes - that’s okay! It’s a fluid process where you will require different approaches at different times. You will also make shifts as you learn more throughout your journey - more nutrition information, more about your preferences, etc. That’s the beauty of it - it’s never the same! Well, sometimes it is. And that’s okay, too! There will be periods of consistency and periods of change - both necessary and a-okay.

 

*I would like to also mention here that I am a Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT). Therefore, if you have questions about the fitness side of health, I got you! It is frequently featured in my Instagram posts, blog posts, and podcast episodes/YouTube videos. It is also something that you are welcome to dive deeper with me about if you're interested in a nutrition consultation call! Or, if you are totally ready for coaching, this can be a part of our time together there, as well! I just do not do exercise programming like other coaches; my coaching focus remains on the nutrition side of things!*

So, let me say one more little thing here, as I wrap up the journey story.

Physical & Spiritual

Through recovery from the eating disorder, I realized how important physical health is to being spiritually connected. Physical energy, I believe, is directly connected to spiritual energy. Just as we cannot live whole, fulfilling, magical lives by just focusing on the physical, human side, we cannot live whole, fulfilling, magical lives by just focusing on the spiritual. Spirituality can be the foundation! Yet, it will always lead you to what you need to do in order to care for your physical health the best.

I had dreams for my life when I was in the depths of the eating disorder experience. They were always whispering to me in the back of my head. Yet, I had no mental nor physical energy to engage with them. To even imagine them as a possibility. I was absolutely depleted. I was drained.

It wasn't until my physical health began to restore, along with my mental health (which is connected so intimately with physical health!), that I began to pursue my dreams. That I began to actually believe anything is possible.

That I finally began to feel my spiritual connection to God, the Universe, the entire realm beyond our physical world, and my own Soul, finally return.

The Universe never moves. Our Soul never moves. Yet, our participation in the connection is vital. We are a piece of the puzzle, and God will never force anything upon us. We must choose. And when we are in an unhealthy state (of our own choosing, meaning we have the power to change and we choose not to) in these bodies? That connection will never be as strong as it can be.

Our health journeys are unique. Your level of optimal health looks different from any other human. We can explore that together, my friends.

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