My story isn’t new. You’ve likely heard something like it before but this is my story and it’s what made me who I am today.
In short: I am a survivor of childhood leukemia.
I’ve battled an (undiagnosed but still very serious) eating disorder.
Despite being told I’d have difficulties conceiving (read: hormonal imbalances, adrenal dysfunction), I am a mom to one beautiful boy.
I love doing things that are good for my body and soul: walking, dancing, running, lifting weights, resting (although that’s a tough one sometimes), eating nutrient dense foods with occasional indulgences (I’m looking at you cookies and ice cream!), reading, going to the beach, spending time with family and friends.
I feel grateful, everyday, that I have the opportunity to do what I love and support people on their healing journeys!
All About Me
Let’s start at the beginning (some say, it’s a very good place to start). While my parents likely have a different view of the experience, being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia months before my 6th birthday is something I am grateful for. Ultimately, it is the reason I am the way I am today. Early on I wanted to be involved, I wanted to know things about procedures, and I declared I was going to be a doctor when I grew up. I knew I wanted to help people from the very start!
Fast forward to college and “Greek Life”. I became more social and outgoing so it allowed a different part of me to emerge. It also gave me access to free beer and way too much fast food so after freshman year (and gaining most of the “Freshman Fifteen”), I decided I wanted to be “healthy”. I took on the typical approach: eat less, move more. Unfortunately for me, I took that advice too seriously and ended up spiraling into an eating disorder (since it wasn’t actually diagnosed by any doctor I’ll call it an “under-eating + over-exercising problem”) that left me severely malnourished and depleted of energy. I was constantly experiencing anxiety attacks and my period disappeared.
Knowing I had a problem, I pretended to fix it by eating only organic and becoming vegetarian. I read in a book that it was good for me and it allowed me to continue eating minimally while covering it up with a “healthy diet”. Sure, vegetarian diets CAN be healthy if approached correctly but I did not do that. I also ran myself into the ground, often! Training for marathons, working full time, going to school for various things trying to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life (Helpful Hint: listen to your inner child when pondering this question), maintaining a social life (i.e., partying and binge drinking… a lot), and beating myself up because I never felt like I was doing enough!
It took close to a decade to finally find balance. I was done pretending I was healthy because I “looked good” when on the inside my body was begging for help. I was done pretending it was okay that I didn’t have my period. I started eating meat, I started eating full fat everything, I started letting my mind and body rest. And guess what? My energy returned, my personality improved, and best of all: Aunt Flo came a knockin’! It was the first time I realized that everything we’ve been taught (fat is bad, meat is bad, you must always be functioning at 10-speed in order to succeed) is wrong!
Although my period was back it was irregular so I started working on my hormonal imbalances with a health coach. While I understood the hormonal side, she was the one that truly opened my eyes to the importance of self-care, slowing down, and being kind to myself. Around the same time, a doctor told me “you’ll be lucky if you don’t have to use assistance to get pregnant… you may want to consider freezing your eggs”. I took her seriously because I knew my body had been through the ringer but I didn't let her warning bring me down. I continued nourishing my body hoping that when the time came I would be more than prepared to bear a child.
To her surprise, and ours, I was pregnant a month later. To say my son is a miracle is an understatement. And ultimately he is the reason why I remembered what my six year old self had declared so many years ago - “I want to help people become the best version of themselves!"
Knowing the impacts diet and lifestyle have on one’s health, and in particular, one's hormones, I decided to become a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) through the Nutritional Therapy Association to fulfill my calling and gain the confidence I needed to go out into the world and help women!