So I know I’ve talked about what a Health Coach is and what we do, but have you ever wondered how I got to this point? And maybe how you could become one too? My journey is one I don’t talk about often; not because I’m embarrassed by it, but because it took me so long to actually start on this journey! I can’t believe I put it off for so long, when my intuition, my entire being was screaming at me to do something different!
First, let’s start with where I was and how I ended up on this path to becoming a Health Coach. In 2009, I was engaged…well, sort of engaged…he hadn’t quite asked me yet, but he had the ring(s) and we were making all the plans for the big day in 2010 (long story…ugh). The whole time we were dating, I had started breaking out like crazy (all along my chin, which I later found out is indicative of hormonal issues). I was on birth control and assumed that it was just stress causing the break-outs. I did the normal thing of going to a dermatologist and getting on medicine/antibiotics because let’s face it, I was vain and I just wanted my face to clear up!
Well, fast forward to the end of 2009, and the engagement/relationship was called off because he had an indiscretion with someone that wasn’t me (yet another long story). My break-outs weren’t getting any better, and really appeared to be getting worse. I am fairly pale-skinned so the redness of the acne was very noticeable. I was very self-conscious of it and hated leaving the house like that. All throughout 2010, it was like that, and I had been on antibiotic after antibiotic to treat it.
End of 2010 into 2011, I deployed for six months (my then and current day job is with the Department of Defense). My acne was still an issue, and I literally was trying everything under the sun to control it. Let me clarify, I was trying any and all medications and other “natural” remedies, but for eating healthy and clean and not using the overly processed products on my face. When I returned home in 2011, I had zero energy, my face was a hot mess, and my eyebrows had started thinning. At this point, I’d been on birth control for just about 14 years, maybe almost 15 years.
So I started seeing a doctor who told me a lot of my symptoms appeared to be caused by issues with my thyroid and that prolonged use of birth control can cause those issues. So being an all or nothing type person, I immediately stopped taking my birth control…mid-cycle and everything. Well holy crap….and I thought my acne had been bad before??? My face went OUT OF CONTROL! It looked like I had a beard of acne! It was horrifying and it hurt like crazy! Everything I tried made it burn and hurt and more red!
So I went back to the dermatologist, who told me it was some sort of dermatitis mixed in with the acne and the only cure was antibiotics (surprise, surprise). They, of course, could not tell me what actually caused the dermatitis. How can you prevent something when you have no idea what caused it in the first place??? So the dermatitis cleared up, but the acne remained.
I won’t bore you with the details of the rest of 2011, 2012, and 2013, but let’s just suffice it to say that my face went through all the spectrums. Some days it would look okay, while others I didn’t even want to leave the house. I went back and forth to being on antibiotics to not wanting to be on any medicine. I was so embarrassed all the time and questioned how anyone was going to take me seriously because I looked like a pre-pubescent teenager. I can’t tell you the number of times I called my mom crying about it. And I can’t tell you the number of times I went to the dermatologist hoping for something other than an antibiotic “quick fix.” Because let me tell you, antibiotics don’t fix the underlying problem!!!! They only mask the problem and make it “better” for the short term. Once you are off the meds, the problem comes back in full force!
I was at a breaking point when the dermatologist recommended Accutane. At the time, I wasn’t on birth control and you have to be on two forms of it for them to even consider Accutane. And I knew I didn’t want to be back on birth control. I also knew that I wasn’t a huge fan of being placed on any other medication. At this point in my journey, I was trying to steer clear of medications and heal my gut from years of antibiotic use. I knew I had to change something in my life in order to avoid Accutane. I promised myself, and voiced this promise to my mom, that if I couldn’t fix it with diet and lifestyle changes, that Accutane would be my last resort.
I mean, it was so bad…in 2012, I lived in Suffolk, VA.and it was Halloween. I distinctly remember calling my mom in tears because my face was still broken out and so red and painful…I told her that I didn’t even need a mask to scare the kids! I even told her that I couldn’t possibly remove anything else from my diet….that if I did, I would be eating dirt!! Yes, I was at a low point in my life!
So I went vegan…I’d been vegetarian prior to that, but in the beginning of 2013, my new year’s resolution was to start cooking more whole foods and to become a vegan. I removed all dairy, eggs, all processed foods (including that fake vegetarian meat crap), all grains and bread (I decided to try removing gluten too), and I added in more vegetables and fruits. But I was still drinking coffee every day and having “healthy” sweet treats (even those vegan books make amazing desserts!!).
After moving from Suffolk to Virginia Beach mid-2013, and doing countless hours of research into the causes of acne, I finally figured out that most likely the cause of my acne and sleep issues and anxiety was hormonal. Duh. After being on birth control for about 15 years and then abruptly going off it, that would make sense. Now let’s see…at this point, I’d been off birth control for two years and had done countless different things to try to improve/heal my acne. Everything but try to get my hormones balanced.
So in the end of 2013, I decided to do a 21-day Sugar Detox. I’d learned that sugar has a monstrous effect on female hormones and can totally wreak havoc on a person’s body. The other eye opener for me was after my knee surgery in May 2013. The day of surgery, I couldn’t come out of the anesthetic. And when I was waking up, I was hot and sweaty and knew I needed food…I was having one of my attacks where my blood sugar was too low and I needed something to eat. The nurse or doctor (or whoever) took my blood sugar and told me it was way too high to need any food. But it wasn’t until I insisted and they gave me some crackers (or something) that I started feeling better. That was a scary feeling. You see, the night before, I had indulged (or over-indulged) on some of those “healthy” vegan
sweet treats! So of course my blood sugar was through the roof! I knew I needed to make a change!
So back to the sugar detox. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done! I was used to having something sweet every night after dinner. And to completely cut that off for 21 days?? Holy crap! Plus, having to watch everything else I ate to ensure I wasn’t accidentally eating sugar?? It was difficult. But can I just tell you that for the first time in just about two years my acne started clearing up? My face was no longer full of red bumps and it wasn’t painful! And something else happened during the detox…I started craving meat…like, I needed meat! And yes, I am now a meat eater again. But the biggest thing I learned is that we are all individuals!! What works for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for someone else! I had finally learned to listen to my body and give it what it needed!!! That, in and of itself, was the biggest takeaway of it all!
My journey hasn’t been a perfect one; I’ve had my trials and errors. I now know that too much sugar causes my face to break out like crazy. I also now know that almonds and almond butter do the same thing to me. I’ve also incorporated essential oils into my life, which has also drastically improved my life and my skin.
But the one thing that remained consistent is that through all of my research and internet searches, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) kept popping up. I read blog after blog about IIN and this amazing school and becoming a health coach. I can remember talking to my mom and my best friend about it and what they thought. Did they think I was crazy because I wanted to go to school (again) to become a health coach? Mind you, I was finishing up my second master’s in 2013 and this school was on my mind. I knew I couldn’t do both at the same time.
But in the end of 2013, roughly around the same time as the sugar detox, I got an email saying that tuition was going to be increased starting the following day. I was so nervous! I called my mom and my best friend, going on and on about spending all this money on a program and what if I quit my day job and failed? I mean, I had every excuse under the sun. Until I realized that going to school and becoming a health coach didn’t mean I had to quit my day job. It just meant that I would be more knowledgeable about health and nutrition, not only to help myself, but to help my friends and family. So I enrolled and put a start date of May 2014.
I’ll admit, it was scary. This path is completely different from my day job…like, a complete 180. And I have a cushy government job…but I knew that my passion has always been in health, nutrition, and physical fitness. I knew that my friends and family have always asked me questions about what they should eat, what supplements they should take, what exercises they should do. I’d always been that “go-to” person. I also knew that in my years of research and trying to figure out what was going on with my body that the universe was drawing me towards IIN.
And I also knew that I wanted to help others figure it all out much faster than I did. Because I know how humiliating it is to be 30 years old and have adult acne. And I know how painful it is to look in the mirror and all you see is acne and red and pain. And I know what it’s like to suffer because you don’t know what’s wrong or how to fix it. I can’t tell you the number of times I went to the doctor for not only my acne, but my fatigue and anxiety and insomnia. Time and again, I was told I was “normal” and “healthy” and that nothing was wrong. But I knew I wasn’t healthy, by any stretch of the word!!
I wish I had a picture of what I looked like at my worst, but I’ll admit it again…I’m vain. And I hated having my picture taken then. I hated looking at the pictures and seeing only acne. I have one from 2011 (it’s not the greatest and it’s definitely not at my worst), but you can see how tired I look and you can see the acne along my chin. And here’s what I look like now. I look refreshed and vibrant with clear skin!!
I limit my sugar intake, I limit my caffeine intake and only drink decaf coffee when I have it, I eat whole, real foods (nothing processed), and I use essential oils as part of my daily routine. I love how I look now. And yes, I know that the acne didn’t define me as a person…but it made me less confident, which made me less “me.” I also sleep much better, my anxiety is under control, and I actually have energy to get everything done and then some!! All without medication!!
I want to be able to help guide you on your journey! Whether that is to IIN to become a health coach to help other people, or to just learn more about health and nutrition to help yourself and your family! Ask me how to become a part of an amazing school with an amazing program that has drastically changed my life!
And if your journey doesn’t include IIN, that’s okay too! Because I have amazing six month programs that can help you get to the root causes of your health concerns. Think about it…Six months working with me to help you instead of YEARS of trial and error and research and starting all over again when something fails! Let me help you become the healthiest, happiest version of YOU. Because I’d love to be a part of your journey!!! Click HERE to find out how to work with me! It all starts with a FREE complimentary health consultation :) Let’s get you started today!
With love and wellness,
It’s been a busy week…or couple of weeks! I’m in the process of moving and finishing up teaching at my alma mater and life has been super busy! Every day has flown by, and I can’t believe we’re already to Friday! I move on Saturday and I’m still scrambling to get all my stuff packed. Packing is craziness, I tell you! But enough about that. I know you’re dying to hear about the last part of my story! So here we go…
On top of everything else I’ve talked about, I am also a big advocate for physical fitness and moving your body. I’ve always been into sports and being physically fit. I can remember waking up early on the weekends when I was in middle school to work out; remember step aerobics? Yeah, that was me. Seriously…in middle school. I ran track, played softball, played powder puff football (in college), played kickball (in my adult years and more for fun), and just generally enjoyed working out…yes, I’m one of THOSE people! I like moving my body and seeing what it can do for me. In my day job with DoD, I am the PT coordinator and have been trained in physical fitness. I also know that not every person will benefit from the same types of exercise or sports. Like everything else, you have to find what works for you; more importantly, you have to find and do what you ENJOY! Because working out should be fun, not work. I joined Crossfit Takeover (http://www.crossfittakeover.com) in February 2014, and I haven’t looked back. I have to admit, I was scared at first. The thought of walking into a Crossfit gym…I’d heard all the stories and pictured all these bad ass athletes and then thought of me walking in and looking like a complete fool. Mind you, I’d had knee surgery in May 2013 – I tore my ACL and my meniscus in an attempt to run a Tough Mudder. Needless to say, I won’t be doing that again. But here I am, February 2014, wanting to get back in shape but not really knowing where to start. So I walk into CTO and the rest, as they say, is history. The coaches were beyond helpful and welcoming, and the other members (i.e., all those bad ass athletes) were so friendly and encouraging. I love Crossfit, and I truly believe it’s something everyone can do and benefit from. The workouts are different every day and they truly challenge you. I’ve done so much more than I ever thought possible, and I am stronger and healthier and more fit than before my knee surgery, when I thought I was super fit. Anyways – I didn’t mean to go off on a Crossfit tangent, but my point is to find something that drives you to get to the gym every day. And that’s what I’m here for – to help you find what works for you and, more importantly, to help hold you accountable to keeping on track. Whether it’s getting out for a 30-minute walk after dinner or playing kickball or another fun sport or joining a local gym, get your body moving!! You’ll benefit in so many ways!
As you can see, it’s been a long road, one that continues even today, but it’s been such an amazing one. I’ve learned so much about myself, becoming healthier and happier and having more energy than I ever thought possible. My hormones have started regulating, my face is finally clearing up (except when I overindulge in those sugary treats!), my sleep has improved drastically, and my anxiety has nearly diminished! The journey has been a fun one, albeit a frustrating one. I’ve done most of it on my own, which can be discouraging and disheartening. In all my research, it led me to IIN and I kept being drawn back to it over the course of a year. I loved how I felt and what I was seeing happening to my body and my state of mind. I felt a spark of passion and excitement I hadn’t felt in a long time, especially in my current job. I decided, after a lot of soul searching and questioning, that I needed to enroll in IIN and follow my heart. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives, the same way that I’ve made changes in my life. But I want to make this an easier, more fun process for all of you! It was a lonely road to get where I am today, but I’m here to make this journey one you can share with a like-minded individual; an accountability partner, so to speak.
The truth of the matter is that every individual is different. There’s nothing saying that what works for me will work for anyone else. It’s what we call bio-individuality. As it is often said in the nutrition world, one person’s food is another person’s poison. No two individuals have the same needs, whether it is physically, emotionally, mentally, or nutritionally. Just as I worked with myself (really, experimented), I’ll work with you to help you find what foods work to nourish your body. I coach based on the principles that not only do we nourish ourselves with the foods we choose to eat, but also by balancing our lifestyle as a whole through lifestyle nourishment. This includes our relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality. My role as a Health Coach is to motivate, support, and help you reach your personal health goals. I’ll work with you to make positive changes step by step in a healthy way that is personalized and easily integrated into your diet and lifestyle.
You may be asking yourself why a health coach? What are the benefits of having a health coach? Well, here are a few:
With love and wellness,
Hi, and welcome to Wellness Wisdom with Whitney! I have a very important question for you:
Have you ever felt trapped or imprisoned by the endless diets and rounds of exercise that seem to go nowhere? I want to help you escape that endless trap and help you create a healthy, lasting lifestyle for an authentic, happy YOU!!
I am Whitney Cumpson, an up and coming Health Coach and a doTerra Wellness Advocate in Virginia Beach, VA. I am currently enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and will be a pre-certified Health Coach in December 2014, and a Certified Health Coach upon obtaining my certificate in June 2015. First and foremost, I want to say that I don’t believe in the word “diet.” I think a person who “diets” sets themselves up for failure, because it’s all about restrictions and things they can’t have. Instead, I’m here to help you focus on lifestyle changes and focus on all the amazing foods you CAN eat! There is a wide array of real, whole foods that are nourishing and healthy and absolutely delicious!! I want to help you discover that deliciousness!
Now I know some of you may be asking what, exactly, is a Health Coach and a Wellness Advocate? A Health Coach is someone who works with you to help you understand and create healthy eating habits, build a healthier relationship with food, define your specific health goals, gain awareness around lifestyle nourishment, provide you support and motivation, as well as help you create a personalized action plan to reach your health goals. I’d work with you on all these things (and more) and help hold you accountable on your progress. A Wellness Advocate provides you information and education on doTerra essential oils and how they can help you in your every day life. They are safe and easy to use for you, your children, your family, EVERYONE! Essential oils go hand in hand with your health and lifestyle goals! I’ve recently started using them for all sorts of things and I LOVE them!! But I’ll tell you a bit more about that in a later post.
First, I want to tell you a little about myself. It’s been a long road of personal discovery into my health problems, one that’s involved a lot of doctor trips and not understanding why I felt the way I did. It’s also one that involves a lot of self-discovery and learning about myself, as well as how to create the healthiest, happiest version of myself I could possibly be.
About 5 years ago, I was ending a very unhealthy relationship – one that included an engagement ring and a lot of wedding plans. I was unhappy, my face was breaking out (which I attributed to stress), I wasn’t sleeping well at all (insomnia, waking up with night sweats, etc.), I was unsatisfied at work, my anxiety was through the roof, and I had zero energy – I had enough to get up, work out, drag my sorry butt to work, then come home to eat dinner, sleep and do it all again the next day. It was no way to live my life. At the time, I did the “normal” thing of going to my regular doctor, who tested my thyroid and iron levels and found that everything was “normal.” He told me I was super healthy and that if all his patients were as healthy as me that he wouldn’t have a practice. However, I was still exhausted (this really doesn’t accurately describe how I was feeling) and breaking out and unhappy. I went to a dermatologist, as well, for my acne. Surprisingly, they put me on antibiotics. This wasn’t the first time I’d been on them for this issue, nor was it the first time I’d been on them in my life. I started having strep throat every year from a young age and was on antibiotics on an annual basis to cure it. In fact, I had strep throat three times in the first semester of my freshman year in college!! Yes, I still had my tonsils then. I didn’t get them out til I was almost 26!! Needless to say, I’d been on antibiotics almost my entire life!!
When I started realizing what the antibiotics were doing to my body, I talked to my dermatologist about going off them and asking if food could be causing my issues. Of course, the answer was no. So I did what anyone would do – I stopped taking the antibiotics, obviously. I didn’t want to have to rely on a medication for the rest of my life just to have clear skin. Shockingly, my skin issues came right back. There was a period where I didn’t want to go anywhere in public it was so bad. It seemed as if the only thing that worked was antibiotics…talk about super depressing.
Fast forward to 2011, I’m still having a lot of health issues – from severe anxiety to insomnia to acne. I yo-yoed between feeling okay and feeling awful, and between clear skin and severe break-outs. Nothing had really changed from the past couple years – I was unhappy with how I felt, how I looked, my overall health and physical body, my emotional and mental state, and my career path. I was at my wit’s end; I was tired of going to doctors and having them tell me nothing was wrong, that I was healthy. For goodness sake, I was miserable!!! I didn’t know how to turn it all around, so I started doing some of my own research online (who doesn’t love Google?!) and attempting to learn all I could to make the necessary changes I needed. I’d been a vegetarian for three years at that point, and my mom recommended a chiropractor and nutritionist for my ongoing issues (I also had neck/shoulder/back pain from a previous injury). The new doc immediately put me on a “cleanse;” now, mind you, I was already eating no dairy and no meat, but he put me on a very restrictive cleanse. On this cleanse, I wasn’t allowed to eat bread, alcohol, certain fruits or vegetables, no dairy (but I could substitute coconut yogurt, for instance), to name a few. The problem was I was starving! And I had no energy to do much of anything! It was even worse than before!! I barely had the energy to get out of bed and make it through the workday, let alone keep up my active lifestyle of running and working out. I knew this cleanse wasn’t working for me.
I guess I should back up and say that I was one of those “unhealthy” vegetarians. You know, the ones who eat fake meat and all the processed stuff that comes in the frozen section, as well as continuing to eat the high sugar “low fat” treats. Let’s just say cooking was unheard of for me. I wanted to eat right away without having to wait for anything. Having the microwave beep after 3 to 4 minutes to let me know my meal was ready was enough for me. So in comes 2012/2013: I made a resolution to start cooking (basically to teach myself how to cook) and use more whole foods. I HAD to break myself away from the processed, frozen meals! It took me awhile to find “easy” recipes that I was willing to try and that I enjoyed, and honestly, I felt like I was hungry all the time, but once I got “better” at cooking, I found I actually enjoyed it, and felt so much better! My face started clearing up, although I was still having breakouts, and still having insomnia issues. I felt better, but I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I even went through a stage where I did a juicing cleanse and tried to have at least one “juice” meal a day. I can honestly say it was very healthy and I felt great, but I was STARVING all the time. I don’t think juice as a meal replacement works for someone as active as me. But they were definitely good and good for me, just not the best way for me to “cleanse” my system.
I could go on for days about how awful I felt, but I need to start preparing for Thanksgiving tomorrow! I can’t believe it’s already this time of year! Friends, family, and yummy food! It doesn’t get any better than that! Enjoy your holidays and look for post 2 in the next week!
Lots of love and wellness!