My History Being Overweight
As a child, I was thin. I practiced ballet and dance for 10 years. I became overweight as a teenager when I stopped dancing which carried with me into adulthood. Growing up, I wasn’t terribly sporty or interested in fitness and my diet wasn’t good.
In college, I began running and teaching group fitness. In 1999, I suffered a serious femur injury. Doctors told me I would never walk again. With this grim prognosis, I lost interest in fitness. I gave up on living life until one day I decided I was going to live again. I was determined to beat the odds and by what doctor’s call a miracle, I did.
Walking the Weight Off
One day I started walking and that one walk changed my entire life. I started walking every single day. As I began walking and feeling better about myself, I began making healthier food choices. I began creating healthier recipes, tracking my calories and stayed active. Within 10 months, I walked off 80 pounds. Walking made me feel so good that I eventually began racing. Since then, I’ve completed dozens of half marathons.
Falling in Love with Fitness
In 2013, I completed the most half marathons in a year ever and began training for my first triathlon. My love for being active eventually led me back to the gym. Today I train like a professional athlete. Weight training, cycling, hiking, walking, swimming and pilates are my fitness loves. Staying active is a top priority in my life. It just makes me feel good.
My Cycle of Injuries
Despite lifting weights regularly, cross training, taking calcium supplements daily and eating a healthy diet, in 2014 a cycle of injuries began that to this day I am still battling. It began in 2014, when I suffered a foot and ankle stress fracture. My injuries went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors and untreated for months. In July 2015, I was rear ended in a car accident resulting in a broken tibia.
My Battle with Estrogen
The breaks and stress fractures were linked to an estrogen deficiency. I had no reproductive hormones functioning, but doctors did not know why. Mayo Clinic advised me to take a high dose estrogen birth control pill. I knew this wasn’t the answer. They were treating a symptom, not the problem. I knew something else was wrong with my body, but doctors refused to listen.
After being passed around to dozens of medical professionals for 18 months, having multiple tests, being told it was in my head and shedding many tears of desperation, I was about to give up ever finding an answer until I found a naturopath who finally figured out I had an autoimmune disease which caused my estrogen problems.
Living Gluten Free with an Autoimmune Disease
She discovered I had Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disease), gluten sensitivity and weakened kidney and liver function. While my reproductive hormones are today functioning properly and my gluten sensitivity is under control, Hashimoto’s is an auto immune disease I am still battling. Once she diagnosed me and removed gluten from my diet, my symptoms cleared up rapidly.
Stress & The Sympathetic Nervous System
For 18 years, I worked in a high stress corporate America job. I know now my hormone imbalances were a result of chronic stress. When the sympathetic nervous system knows you’re under stress, it goes into fight or flight mode. It stops producing hormones and stops absorbing nutrients from food. Some stress is good, but chronic stress results in serious hormone imbalances like I had.
A New Life
My health issues forced me to take a hard look at my life and inspired me to do something to help others. It made me sad to think of the number of women battling hormone imbalances going undiagnosed or mis-treated because traditional doctors do not treat the body as a whole. I wrote a post about My Battle With Estrogen which has over 50k views. The outcry of women was overwhelming. To this day, it remains my most popular post.
In 2016, I quit my job, enrolled in holistic nutrition school, started freelancing and teaching swim lessons and cycling. I want to help other women so they don’t have to suffer the way I did. No woman should go through what I did.
Despite my hardships and battles, I want you to know that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Anyone can transform their life. It simply takes determination, consistency and never accepting no for an answer.
I’m just a woman, with a big heart who loves to workout and cook really good food and I hope you’ll come along for the ride!