I haven’t always been a health nut, but I’ve always wanted to be one.
I was a skinny kid who ate the Standard American Diet (SAD – an acronym that pretty much sums it up) of processed foods and soda, then turned into a slightly overweight teenager who still ate the same junk. As a teen my family made some healthy changes when my dad learned that his cholesterol and blood pressure were too high, and that’s when my health journey began.
I tried to take my newly learned habits to college, but dorm food and the low fat, packaged “diet” food trend of the day made it impossible to maintain my weight. At that point, I turned to exercise. I wish I could say that I loved exercise, but I used it more as a form of self torture to burn off my most recent Snackwells binge rather than an expression of loving my body. At my best, I ate a lot of fish and vegetables and spent too much time on the Stairmaster. At my worst, I binged and purged, took herbal laxatives, and spent all my time either exercising or napping between classes. This was NOT a journey to health, it was pure madness and an attempt to achieve the elusive skinny build that is not intended for my strong frame.
I think I spent about 90% of my 20’s thinking about my weight, what I should eat, when I could eat next, how I should be exercising more, and how much happier I would be if I could just lose 10 pounds. Sadly, I know I’m not alone in this. If we as women could STOP spending so much energy on this kind of nonsense, we would, no doubt, change the world. Instead, we are too busy thinking about making some parts of our bodies bigger and others smaller. All. The. Time. It’s pretty ridiculous, when you think about it.
I got married to my wonderful husband Sean the year I graduated from college right before my 23rd birthday. My late 20s and early 30s were spent having babies, and these precious little people made me start thinking about being healthy instead of skinny. As the mom of 2 daughters, it became really important to me to stop calling myself fat (out loud, anyway), to stop obsessing about calories, and to start saying positive things about myself and my body. And as the mother of a son, I wanted to be an example of strength and self respect. My children have always made me want to be my best self, but I didn’t really know where to begin.
I struggled with serious postpartum depression after each of my children were born, and by my 3rd and final baby, my health was in a state of disaster. My thyroid function was non-existent, I was exhausted, and very depressed. I was self medicating with handfuls of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and taking medication for depression and anxiety. This was probably the darkest time of my life, which brought loads of shame as I looked at the 3 beautiful children and doting husband who loved me unconditionally. I desperately wanted to be better for them, but I could barely get off the couch. I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness all the time, and frequently locked myself in the bathroom to cry.
Knowing what I know now about nutrition and health, I realize that I was destroying my health with sugar and making things SO much harder on myself. Since doctors have so little training in nutrition, neither of the physicians who were prescribing all the medication I was on ever asked me what I was eating or made any recommendations of what I should be eating. I came to them with crashed adrenals, no thyroid function, depression, chronic fatigue, and anxiety and the only hope they offered were pharmaceuticals. I knew that I needed to make better food choices and start working out, but I literally lacked the energy and will power to do it. I was a complete mess.
Thankfully, the addition of thyroid medicine to the cocktail of 6 prescriptions I was using gave me enough energy that I was able to get off the couch and start getting some exercise. This is when my life began to change. I’d still never found a form of exercise that I enjoyed, so my plan was to hit the gym and sweat it out for an hour regardless of how I felt. Then one day I was walking in the door at the same time a Zumba class had started, and I heard the music. I love music and I love to dance, so even though it looked terrifying and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up, I made my way through the door and took a spot in the back row. Three songs in, I wasn’t sure if I was going to puke, die, or sneak out, but every time the next song came on, I decided to stay for just one more. I made it through the hour. I was a sweaty mess. I was exhausted. But I felt better than I had in so long. I was hooked.
After 6 months of regular Zumba classes, I was able to get off my anxiety and depression medications, I’d lost 20 pounds, and for the first time in my life, I loved exercise. I decided to become an instructor in hopes of helping others.
This type of workout is so much more than exercise. It’s a spiritual experience. It’s like a sacred drum circle. It’s primal. The passion in the music, the shared energy with a group of people, forgetting about the size of your ass and moving your body with freedom …it’s hard to put that kind of joy into words. But that’s what it is – JOY. Freedom. Community. And it has taught me to love myself and my body.
Finding myself again and creating a passion for moving my body enabled me to get real about what I was eating. I stopped thinking about calories and deprivation and started thinking about what kind of fuel my body needed. I truly believe that self love and respect are at the root of making the best choices for long term health and weight management.
Since my initial love affair with Zumba fitness, I’ve now become a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Health Coach. I’m currently working on my nutrition certification with Precision Nutrition. I want to learn everything I can about moving and nourishing these incredible bodies we live in so that I can help as many people as possible fall in love with themselves and feel amazing.
After a few years on this exercise and clean eating path, I discovered some amazing nutritional supplements that have elevated my health to a new high and I love sharing them with others. I now understand that my poor gut health, blood sugar imbalance, and systemic inflammation were the underlying causes of the issues I dealt with in my 20s and 30s. The Plexus line of supplements were created to address these issues and more. If we ate the same food our ancestors ate and our soil was still as rich as it was hundreds of years ago, we could get what we need from our food, but the reality is that in our current environment it is impossible. Thanks to the Plexus line of products, in conjunction with my whole foods diet and exercise regimen, I am no longer reliant on medications and I’m at my leanest and most fit at age 41.
Every day I meet people who are fed up with the diet and exercise roller coaster. You’ve cut calories, you’ve cut carbs, you’ve counted points. You’ve worked out and pushed through the pain but didn’t see the results you were after. Or maybe you did get the results, but it still feels like a chore. Or getting to that magical number on the scale didn’t bring you fulfillment like you thought it would.
I GET IT!
Life is too short to eat things you don’t like, to have to always say NO to your favorite things, or do workouts you don’t enjoy. For real! I truly believe that we can all create health and wellness by making small changes, one at a time. In my opinion, it’s the only way to create real, lasting change. You may have a lifetime of bad habits to undo, so it could take time. But in the end, you’re worth it!
This website is where I’ll be sharing my practical tips for creating the healthy lifestyle you want. I hope to educate, inspire, and motivate you to be your best self. I’ll also post info about how you can work with me one-on-one or try some of the products I recommend. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you’ll stop by often!