You know those memories that pop up on Facebook? They remind you of things you did last year or several years ago. Well, I had one from last year that reminded me that this time last year, I was first posting about starting my business and becoming a health coach. Well, in that time, I've changed services for my blog and website and have lost that post. I want to repost it again this year, so you all can get to know me again and see who I am.
Have you ever felt trapped or imprisoned by the endless diets and rounds of exercise that seem to go nowhere? Time to create a healthy, lasting lifestyle for an authentic, happy YOU!!
Hello! Thank you for taking the time to break out of your diet and exercise prisons and become a healthier, happier you! I am Whitney Cumpson, and I am a Certified Health Coach and a DoTerra essential oils Wellness Advocate. 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!
First, I’ll 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 6 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. I wasn't allowed to eat bread, drink alcohol, certain fruits or veggies, no dairy, just 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.
So I decided in the beginning of 2013, I would become vegan and gluten-free and continue my quest to cook real, whole foods. I'd also been doing a lot of online research about acne and how to cure the underlying hormonal issues that were a problem. A lot of the other issues I was having (anxiety, insomnia, etc.) were also related to my underlying hormone problems. Of course, the dermatologist wanted to put me back on antibiotics or for me to go back on birth control (I took myself off them in 2011 - that's a whole other post). They also wanted me to try Accutane, but after reading the side effects and seeing how dried out it makes people really turned me off. I already had naturally dry skin; I didn't need the extra help. Plus, the other side effects in general scared me. So I made it my journey and goal to find out how to cure myself naturally. Being put on a drug, whether it was on antibiotics or birth control, was a last resort...and one I really didn't want to take.
In October 2013, I was still breaking out and couldn’t figure out what was causing it, even though I was eating pretty healthy and was doing my best to eat real, whole foods. I was eating a lot of nuts (as snacks and in meals as replacement items), still drinking alcohol, and had a wicked sweet tooth. I would make “healthy” sweet treats after dinner almost every night. I think I had myself convinced it was okay because I was using paleo ingredients. That makes it okay, right?!
By that point, I had had enough. I came across a 21-day sugar detox that really spoke to me – this is the one I did: http://balancedbites.com/category/21-day-sugar-detox. I knew I needed to break my addiction to sugar…because yes, sugar is addictive. Once you have some, your body continues to crave more and more of it. I stopped drinking alcohol, cut out the sweet treats, limited the amount of fruit I was eating, and quit eating food that had sugar in it or converted to sugar after eating it. Two weeks into it, my skin was clearing up and I started craving meat like you wouldn’t believe. Specifically, I started craving bacon.
I learned to finally listen to what my body needed and give it the right fuel to keep me going. I started eating meat again and have more energy and feel so much better than I did before. I have my sugar moments still, but it’s definitely not as bad as it once was. And I learned that sugar and eating a lot of nuts, specifically almonds, triggers my acne. It’s taken me years to figure this out, and sometimes it’s still a learning process. I’ve also tried my hand at a couple Whole 30s - http://whole30.com, which is 30 days of paleo eating; i.e, taking out alcohol, bread/gluten, grains/rice, any sugar, etc. I feel so much better when I eat that way, but it is very restrictive and time consuming. It truly is meant as a reset for your system, not as a way to eat forever.
I also use Essential Oils and became a Wellness Advocate with DoTerra. I was a little skeptical at first as to how using oils like that would work for me. But I don’t like taking medicine and I don’t like using things that aren’t natural on my skin. So little by little, I tried them out. I used different oils for headaches, which I tend to get when I’m stressed. I was amazed when they worked! I also started using different oils for PMS symptoms and cramps. Once I found the right combination and when to use them, I was once again amazed they worked. I now use essential oils for almost everything. I use lemon in my water in the morning to help flush my system and get the day started right. I use lavender, frankincense, and melaleuca as part of my face moisturizer in the mornings and evenings. I also use lavender and a blend called serenity at night on my feet to help me sleep. And when I get bug bites (which is often), I either use lavender or a mix of peppermint and oregano to help stop the itching. I also used a mixture of coconut oil and lavender on my boyfriend’s feet when he had a massive amount of bug bites from a night spent in dirty water. Within days, his feet were healed and clearing up with no itching. I’m amazed at how these oils work, and I continue to learn more about them every day.
I also stopped using any products with ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce or had to look up to learn what it was. I use all natural products for my face wash and I use coconut oil and tamanu oil in conjunction with the essential oils as my moisturizer. I buy natural shampoo and conditioner. Anything you put ON or IN your body affects you! Your skin is the largest organ of your body, so whatever you put on it will be instantly absorbed. So it makes sense that if you’re using highly processed lotions and soaps that your internal system is going to have that much more to detox out. Add that to any highly processed foods you’re eating and your body has to work that much harder to flush it all out! It’s amazing how all the little changes add up to a happier, healthier version of myself!
Wow - so I know that was a lot, but it's the first part of my story! Stay tuned for the second post next week!
With love and wellness,