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,