If you haven’t read Part 1 of My Story, you’ll want to go check out that post first.
If you already read part 1, you may remember we left off in 2012
where I was trying to balance more in life than body could handle….
Now looking back, I’m quite certain part of the reason I felt so good during 2011-2012 was because I was in a state of incessantly high cortisol. Think of how you feel when you get an adrenalin (stress hormone) rush. You feel ramped up and ready to take on the world, right?! High cortisol (stress hormone) can make you feel the same way. The following persistent stressors in my daily life were undoubtedly causing this phenomenon: balancing a busy new career with my family and social life, sacrificing sleep for work and exercise, undereating and getting too little fat in my diet in general (necessary for hormone production, critical for brain health, and more), being underweight, over-training, experiencing left-over emotional stress from previous life events, etc. Does this list sound at all similar to you or for someone you know? Your list may not be the same things exactly, but I believe we are all under significant stress that can easily burden us daily! I let it all run me into the ground. I crashed and crashed hard that fall of 2012.
Sorry for the photo quality – I didn’t take the pictures with the intent to share them. I’m sharing them, though, because I now know so many people deal with this and have no idea why. As a coach, I’ll help guide you in identifying the causes of bloating and other gut and digestive issues.
The top photos are of my abdomen in the morning in 2012. As mentioned, I was underweight at the time. I often had some bloat even in the morning, but look how my belly grew so large by the end of the SAME day…
With my naturopath and other members I eventually added to my health care team, we were slowly peeling back all the layers. I dealt with numerous symptoms and several different diagnoses such as: extreme fatigue, bloating and blood sugar dysregulation (hypoglycemia); intense headaches; systemic yeast (often known as candida); HPA axis dysfunction (adrenal fatigue – stage 3); SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth); parasites; MTHFR and other snps; hypothyroidism; significant weight gain (again); swelling, extreme brain fog…the list could go on and on.
Over time we’ve dealt with/healed several of the issues I was experiencing, yet uncovered others. I now have a diagnosis of Chronic Lyme Disease (possibly contracted in 2012 which would have added to my stress burden, though perhaps acquired earlier but now my immune system could no longer keep it in check due to the overwhelming stressors) along with several co-infections including Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), Biotoxin Illness also known as Chronic Immune Response Syndrome (CIRS – mold and lyme related), etc. These larger diagnoses are the root cause of many of the other symptoms and earlier diagnoses.
I can tell you that many people with my diagnoses are bed-bound, unable to hold jobs, etc. Although I have had some really rough stages, I have not been bed-bound. I have had times when it was very difficult to function through days and weeks and months at a time, but I have fared quite well compared to many with these same diagnoses. Most all of my practitioners and I credit this largely to my healthy diet and lifestyle since my decline first began in 2012. Furthermore, I am hungry for vitality! I constantly strive to thrive! I tend to my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I educate myself in order to be my own best advocate. I have found this to be critical to my recovery and am, again, incredibly thankful for those tools I learned in my early days of education, because without them I firmly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today. I don’t say these things to boast, but rather to emphasize how important it is to focus on the big picture rather than getting lost in the minutia of health and healing.
I have been through many iterations of various “healing” and elimination diets over the years—Vegetarian (my least successful), Gluten-Free, Low FODMAP, GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome), Paleo, Paleo AIP (Paleo Autoimmune Protocol), Keto, low histamine, low mold…..etc. I can tell you that I’ve found benefits to just about all of these, but when it comes down to it, the best “diet” (in the general sense of the word) I’ve found is the one tailored to each of my unique needs using the knowledge I’ve gained in my years of experience with myself and my clients! This diet thoroughly emphasizes real, whole foods intended to completely nourish my body—with a focus entirely on my personal health, and pleasure too! This is how I guide my clients as well.
I am hungry for vitality! I constantly strive to thrive! I tend to my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I educate myself in order to be my own best advocate. I have found this to be critical to my recovery and am, again, incredibly thankful for those tools I learned in my early days of education, because without them I firmly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today. I don't say these things to boast, but rather to emphasize how important it is to focus on the big picture rather than getting lost in the minutia of health and healing.
My experience is that health journeys are rarely a straight path back to vibrant health. They are often filled with lots of twists and turns, just like most journeys to success with any type of important goal. Getting comfortable with the process is key to thriving on these journeys. Furthermore, I’ve found it critical to recognize that all parts of ourselves- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – are intertwined on this journey and require our loving care for a truly thriving life!
My journey continues to be winding, but the overall direction is up! It has taken some work for me to realize that “perfect health” is not the same as a thriving and vibrant life, which is what I truly desire now and forever. I continue to struggle with certain symptoms on and off again. In general the spring and summer make me feel much more like myself, while fall and winter continue to have increased symptoms. Although the symptoms I experience continue to be incredibly challenging at times, I’m beyond grateful for the progress I’ve made so far. I love all the wisdom I’ve accumulated about myself and about helping others through this journey. I am drastically changed from the person I once was. I’m thankful for these changes and welcome the evolutions I’ll continue to make as I travel through the seasons of this life.
These are just a few of many every day moments in the past year or so where I have felt simply HAPPY!
These are the moments that comprise the VIBRANT and THRIVING life I think we all desire most!
I have been blessed with a supportive and loving husband and some amazing family, friends, clients, and practitioners who help me to learn more about myself and how to serve others all of the time. Having a strong support community is essential to our life journeys!
...I'm beyond grateful for the progress I've made so far. I love all the wisdom I've accumulated about myself and about helping others through this journey. I am drastically changed from the person I once was. I'm thankful for these changes and welcome the evolutions I’ll continue to make as I travel through the seasons of this life.
It is true what they say that nothing will cause you to dig deeper, learn, and advance more than going through a particular experience yourself. Have you witnessed this? All that I’ve learned has no doubt been so that I can pass my knowledge on to those in need. Having been a health coach for 6 years now my original passion for helping people, even going all the way back to age 4, has certainly evolved. I continue to welcome further growth, wisdom, and understanding as I partner with others on their journeys. I’d love for that to be YOU! Come join me!