Harvesting My Health
My weight struggle goes back as far as I can remember. It was a shameful burden to carry since childhood. I went to the same school district K-12 and the kids were pretty cruel. When I would go clothes shopping the day inevitably ended in crying and hating myself.
I would restrict calories and workout excessively even in my early teens. It would last a few months then I would go back to gorging myself and went back to my larger self. Food definitely to me was a comfort, celebration, and constant companion. An old friend, in fact, but an abusive one that was not loving me back.
Eating a lovely pecan roll from 'Bread' in Durango, Colorado! Yummy!
When I graduated High School, I was just under 200 pounds. The first year of college I actually lost about 25 pounds thanks to working out regularly, synchronized swimming class and biking on campus. I ate a lot less sweets not being at home and any food I did want in the dorm room I had to bring about 3 blocks from the parking garage. Let’s just say I was selective when shopping and hated the campus food.
Overall I went up and down throughout college but was still pretty active throughout my binging periods. From what I can remember I never really got above 210 then. It was still a struggle to watch what I ate but the movement I had built into my lifestyle helped with the maintenance.
Left photo at a wine bar in Raleigh, North Carolina. on a work trip actually.
On the right me at a wine club party at local 'Driftwood Winery''. Notice a theme....
Once I graduated I got a desk job after college. The pounds crept on as I led an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. I drank alcohol to excess and ate a lot of convenience foods. After about 8 years, at almost 260 pounds, I had a large wakeup call when a dear family member was diagnosed with Cancer. I really took a step back and looked at my own health.
I spent about a year in intense group and 1:1 nutrition training. The nutritionist was also my personal trainer and helped me go from couch potato to completing 3 small triathlons the next year. I was eating the same lunch almost every day during this time for easy preparation. It involved constant calorie counting and tracking the protein, fat and carbohydrates I ate. I was eating a lot of processed and animal products so this was a very arduous weight loss for me.
I had to fight for every pound, including every Friday taking half days off work to workout. 8-12 hour workout totals each week were normal which included swimming, running, spinning and weight training. I got down to 209 during this intense cycle. Note that was also with the help of the stomach flu too, urgh!
Left photo at my first triathlon, Jacks Generic, in Austin, Texas.
On the at the 'Lavender Women's 5K' in Blanco, Texas. It was a hot day and the run through the ranch had me dodging cow patties.
As with a lot of us, having the larger goals at the time completed, it was not long after my last race that I began to regain the weight back. I did not continue to set bigger goals; I did not believe that I could keep it off. As I added in previously restricted foods I grew to fit my old clothes once again. I did not weigh myself for so long I am not really sure what my weight was but I had gone from a size 16/18 back to a 22/24. This brings me to the spring of 2015, events that would change the path of my life once again.
Left: photo in the woods of Virginia.
On the right: me in Las Vegas. Can you tell I had some wine?
I am here today to testimony that 2015 was a year in my life that was filled with unexpected blessings.
Let me set the scene.
I was having trouble making it up stairs. I would often have to use the “better” knee to lead each step and use my hands to support some of my weight.
I would need help standing up at night because my lower back was so tight and clenched in pain. The hips followed suit with inflammation and sciatic pain impeding sleep.
My whole body ached with some days spend in bed.
The last year and a half of that chapter of my journey left me with pretty consistent gall bladder/liver pain as I developed early fatty liver.
Almost daily acid reflux and IBS -D.
I was having trouble sleeping through the night, often waking up 2-3 hours at a time.
My mind was not clear, anxiety was a persistent companion, I didn’t have much hope nor ability to have future foresight.
My skin was breaking out.
My hair was thinning and fallout out at a rapid rate.
I had lost the outgoing and confident part of myself. I sometimes would stay at home for weeks at a time.
My body ached from being locked to the computer, and talk about cortisol and waist weight concentration!
The weight weighed on my body and my mind. It was a cycle: no permission to really love myself.
It was a usual Wednesday morning, March 2015. I was sitting, as I did most of the day, in front of my work computer. At the time I had been at this pharmaceutical research organization for about 11 years. I had a position where I worked from home and I had grown comfortable in my work. The work was not inspiring and I had too much on my plate to be able to focus on it with quality. The reason that I had got into research for, to help people, seemed a distant dream.
However, for some reason I told myself that I was not leaving until they asked me to. Well that Wednesday morning I was laid off. My world felt crushed and the breath left my chest. What would I do now?
Little did I know being laid off would turn out to be one of the biggest blessings in my life. Not having a job gave me time to learn again. First I learned the limits of my body. After a weekend with a couple of college girlfriends, drinking and eating without any care. Y’all, we’re talking fast food, sweets and whiskey and road tripping with water restriction to limit bathroom stops. Drinking every night.
Throughout the last night I had what I coin “double bucket” syndrome. Hot, then cold and sweating, nausea and a stomach ‘acidy’ intense burning. Let’s just say that the last night and the 9-hour drive home was excruciating. Every bump on the ride home made me wish for relief in any form. I could not keep anything down all day.
I hate needles but went so far as going to urgent care for IV fluids once we got back into town. I was not surprised when they told me I was dehydrated.
At first I thought it was food poisoning, trying to blame it on something outside of myself. While the food may have contributed, in reflection, I know it was my neglectful actions that caused my ailments.
The abusive relationship I had with myself had to stop. I had no choice. I made a few promises to my higher power during ‘the experience’.
Never a good look to be in pain and at the doctor.
Geeze just look at my face.
After my hitting my limits, I then got the next learning opportunity to begin to fix the ailments I was experiencing…a journey that continues today. The next couple of days after ‘the experience’, I ate toast and drank carrot/apple/ginger juice made cold-pressed at home. Thankfully I had recently been doing research on chemotherapy and alternative cancer treatments due to someone close to me going through a second battle. One of their Doctors told us about the healing power of carrot juice. Vegetable juicing was a break through discovery for us. A friend also told us about the documentary series “The Truth About Cancer” and 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead'. They began to change my life, as many documentaries do.
The juice, especially in this situation, healed my stomach pains quickly. I also noticed that my ‘Greenie’ recipe eased my gall bladder episodes as well. Sometimes within minutes. Over the next few months I tried to learn as much as I could about different diets and lifestyles that heal. I cut out fast food, processed food, GMOs, ate organic and became vegetarian. This helped me drop 38 lbs. I gained more confidence and had more room for self-love during this time. I began physical therapy as my pain was impeding daily activities. I could walk about a quarter mile before having to stop and relieve the back pressure.
How could I break through my once again stalled weight loss? While watching juicing videos, I found my way to Fitlife.TV. I remained unsure what my next step was. I asked and the universe provided, because days later I heard Fitlife was looking for transformation coaches and it would include my own 90-day transformation. I jumped right in knowing that I wanted to help myself and help others fulfill optimal wellness goals.
Now when I started Fitlife I was one of those Vegetarians that wanted to break their cheese habit but did not know how. I was eating a lot of grilled cheese, pizzas and french fries. It took about 6 weeks on the Fitlife anti-Inflammatory food program to really notice and tally all the improvements. As I lost weight, all of these improved but with going vegan, these improvements skyrocketed, especially energy, de-inflammation, increased mental clarity, spirituality and focus.
Carrot apple yumminess!
My noted sugar addiction and cravings really disappeared in week 6. I think consistent magnesium helped and of course my amazing coach Rushawn. She was there for me in every step and fail forward. Even a coach needs a coach after all. The Fitlife Community, aka Tribe, has been immensely supportive to me along my journey.
The way my day used to looked less than a year ago - waking up in pain, soreness and lethargy. The lower back, hips and knees would seize up. Helping myself up the stairs via my hands to help with weight, not able to carry things up with me. Multiple diet cokes per day, coffee to get going. Eating out of convenience, and if that meant fast food multiple times in a matter of days, it was what it meant. I ate carte blanche, food like pizza, donuts, croissants, and don’t get me started on Texas queso.
Now I wake up with energy and not in wrenching pain, sometimes none at all. I begin with intention, lemon water and a workout, followed by a juice or a smoothie most days. I eat nuts or avocado as snacks. A huge salad is my lunch for easy plant power. During the evening I prefer a warm/cooked meal. I drink water and herbal teas throughout the day. I live a plant based diet, and find the more alive my food is, the more alive I feel, closer to the source. Having lost 60 pounds, all of my ailments bulleted above are resolved and I am actually beginning to jog again!
Having completed my Transformation Coach Certification and am excited in helping others transform. I start Herbalist school this month and have plans for more intense nutritional therapy and physical training education in the future.
I can’t imagine the transformation that still lies ahead for me and you!
- Autumn, April 2016
Reach out and learn how to harvest your best health
as we fall into wellness together!!