Many people don't know that I haven't always been the healthy, joyful person they are familiar with today. But the truth is...a lot of people didn't realize how unhealthy I was before because I "looked healthy."
Recently, I shared a post on Instagram recounting my journey to transform my health. The response from my online community was overwhelming with requests for support, questions, and empathy. It turns out that I'm not alone in this struggle.
Here's what I shared and more on how I healed:
I look healthy, right? But what you can’t see in this photo...I was living in a space that I once occupied for over a decade and that I hear so many of you are in right now.
✖️ riddled with anxiety, short tempered, stressed. You sometimes can’t get a deep breath or feel like someone stacked weights on your chest.
✖️ your stomach never feels right no matter what you eat. It’s in knots. You’re bloated, uncomfortable. Even when you eat right & exercise you look and feel puffy.
✖️ you have unexplained aches & pains that you either shouldn’t have or you explain away with “I’m getting older”
✖️ your skin is sensitive, rashy, itchy, red....you know you have allergies or food sensitivities but to what?
✖️ you lack mental clarity...it’s like your brain comes in and out of a fog.
✖️ you’re just fing tired...exhausted! Tired of feeling like crap, tired of trying to figure it out & actually physically & mentally exhausted most days.
This is not part of getting older!!!! This is your body’s way of getting your attention. It’s screaming for support. For help! And you can turn it around. You can feel better!
I know what it costs you to walk around feeling this way. Quality of life, fun, joy, healthy relationships, success in your career at the level you desire...your true vibrancy, happiness & overall potential. I also know how life changing it is to finally start feeling better.
If you relate to any of these feelings, know that you can change it and it’s actually not that hard. It’s just takes a little time and the right guidance.
My journey inspired my mission to support as many people as possible in finding their healthiest, happiest self. That's why I work now to create multiple avenues and resources to connect with you guys and provide the tools, resources and information that made my transformation possible.
It took me years to find my way, but that journey, all the trial and error, all the courses, certifications, and years of coaching others...it helped me realize we are overcomplicating things. We just need to cut through all the BS and start making the simple, healthy choices that help us build a healthier body and mind once cell, one meal, one movement, one thought at a time.
It’s about small sustainable shifts over time...not massive, deprivation techniques that overwhelm.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MY HEALING JOURNEY:
I decided that the best way to get back to everyone who asked for help and to make this information available to those who hadn't seen the post, or were too busy to ask...was to share the highlights of how I took back my health here.
Like I said, it wasn't about one big, drastic change. It was truly about small sustainable shifts that, overtime, became a new lifestyle. I didn't make them all at once. That would have been overwhelming. I took time to allow each one to become part of my lifestyle... to become something that was no longer a struggle, but a non-negotiable...an easy choice...even something I looked forward to.
The impact these simple tools and changes had on my life was so transformational it didn't just change my health...it changed my career path, my appearance, and my relationships. It gave me back my joy. It's why I do what I do today. I wake up everyday with the gaol of paying it forward...of helping more people find their healthy and happy.
So, wherever you're at on your personal journey, remember that it took us all time to become unwell...to develop our struggles...and it takes time to heal them. Transformation is not about over night, quick fixes. It's about time + consistency. But if you are consistent, you will transform.
The good news is you can start having more energy, to see a little weight loss, to sleep better and to notice changes in your cravings and tastebuds in as little as 14-30 days. The first big change I noticed was the decrease in the severity and frequency of my panic attacks, and that took about 2-3 weeks of an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan like the one featured in our 21 Day Sugar Detox. Which leads me to the first step in my healing journey.
Shifted to a Whole Foods diet - About 12 years ago, in desperation to stop my panic attacks, which had become completely debilitating (there's a lot more to the story, but that was the final driver) I made an appointment with a chiropractor who's ad in the local Clipper said she treated anxiety. The main thing she told me after my first appointment..."I'm going to teach you how to eat and it's going to change your life." And that's exactly what happened. Essentially, what I learned, was how to stop eating to be skinny and how to start fueling my body with real food that it could properly digest, absorb and use to rebuild a stronger, healthier version of me one cell at a time. I didn't understand what plant-based was at that time. But the nutrition plan I followed was essentially plant-based (80/20) and a sugar reset. Over the last decade, I've learned so much more about properly fueling our bodies, reducing inflammation and resetting our tastebuds to make these shifts something we actually enjoy and choose without the help of willpower...without feeling deprived. Nic and I put our knowledge, personal experiences, and love of cooking healthy, real food into our 21 Day Sugar Detox. I followed a plan similar to this for 16 weeks straight when I first started my healing journey. And I basically haven't looked back since. It's become a way of life that I love to live because of how amazing it helps me feel and how much healing it's brought to my body and mind. If your body and gut need a reset. If you're ready to start feeling better. If you want to test the theory that food is the key to finally feeling better (mentally and physically)...then this is the place to start. You can download the 21 Day Sugar Detox here.
Began practicing gratitude and positive affirmations - Growing up, I was always a positive person. Despite a challenging childhood and a lot of struggles emtionally and financially, I never lost hope. I never stopped believing a joy filled life was possible for me. Until I got married. Over the course of 14 years of an emotionally abusive marriage I lost my joy. I became hopeless and negative. I gave up seeking true joy. I settled for surviving each day and small occasional glimpses of good. And then, one day, I got a massive wake up call. Things were actually so much worse than I ever realized, but somehow in that moment, I suddenly realized I still had the ability to choose. I wasn't hopeless or powerless. I'd lost 14 years to being negative and unhappy but I made the decision not to lose one more day to that way. I made my word joy and I woke up every morning and tired to think to think of 5-10 things I could feel joyful about. Sometimes it was simply getting to finish a warm cup of coffee before the kids woke up. Squeezing in 30 minutes of exercise even though I had to pause it twice to get the kids a snack and break up a fight. A pretty sunset. The more I focused on finding joy and gratitude in my day the more joyful things and reasons to be grateful I suddenly had. This simple practice played a huge role in my ability to stop living in fear and anxiety. I started sleeping better. I started pushing harder in my workouts. I felt more energized...more alive. Abusive relationships started falling away. I could no longer tolerate it in my life. Overtime, I learned to choose or attract like-minded people who contributed to helping me grow and feel more amazing on this journey. Three of the resources that helped me the most when I was first starting out were: May Cause Miracles (a daily lesson and meditation guide by Gabby Bernstein), 5 Minute Journal, and Abraham Hicks YouTube videos.
Healed my gut - This was the final step. I made so many improvements by transitioning my nutrition to Whole Foods and working on my mindset, but when I started learning about gut health. When I started learning how to help the good bacteria in my gut thrive so I could properly digest and absorb the nutrients from all the good food I was eating...that was when the actually healing came into play and I truly started thriving. That's when the hard work I was putting in in the gym started showing up on my body. When the fluff went away and that heavy, exhausted feeling left me. It's when the brain fog finally cleared up I started feeling truly energized all day long! Healing my gut helped me think better, feel better, look better and my skin...it transformed my skin. People started commenting on how it glowed and asking me about my skincare routine, which was nothing special and hadn't changed in years. When I healed my gut I stopped worrying about the foods I ate and how they might bloat me or make my stomach hurt. It was the final step in achieving vibrant health and food freedom. It was so powerful that I started teaching how I healed my gut to others in a 30 day Facebook group. As they got similar results, it evolved into an online course. And over the last 18 months, it's helped hundreds of women to become a healthier, happier version of themselves. The software I used to the run course was pretty expensive and dictated what I charged for the course, but I've come to a place where it's my priority to have this information in the hands of as many people as possible. So Nic and I I worked together to update the course based on our ongoing studying, learning, coaching and client feedback. To add new recipes and supplement recommendations from companies that have taken quality and results to a new level since science continues to improve the importance of the gut to our overall well-being and we moved the Trust Your Gut support course out of that expensive software and into a easier, more affordable email course. One email a day to deliver all the same lessons, informational videos, meal plans, supplement regimens, stress management tools and resources and more to help you optimize your gut health and start feeling your best - originally $297 - now available for just $27.
Transitioned to a plant-based diet - I tried being vegan three times before the plant-based lifestyle stuck. The first time was a two week experiment in nutrition school. I went into it with a negative mindset because I had no idea what I was going to eat or how to plan a meal. My food had always centered around animal protein. While I was already dairy free at this point because I knew how inflammatory it was and I had identified it as a major contributor to my skin issues, bloating and anxious feeling, I still ate animal protein at every meal. I had gone cage free with my eggs, grass-fed with my red meat, pasture-raised with our chicken and I never bought farm-raised fish, but plants were an afterthought. Because I didn't have a plan, I lived off salads and smoothies and I felt like shit. I was tired, hungry and lost a lot of weight fast that I didn't need to lose. I vowed never to be vegan again after that two weeks. Fast forward to several years later when I was going through my traumatic divorce. I had PTSD and my liver was in distress. I decided to eliminate animal protein to give my liver a little break and see if that would help me start feeling better. This time, I looked for recipes in advance. I found bloggers, pinned meal ideas on Pinterest and asked some vegan friends for help. It was an amazing experience. I was fully vegan for about 18 months and I loved it! When I became part of the 80 Day Obsession cast three years ago, they asked me to add fish into my diet as part of the accompanying nutrition plan and I agreed. For the next 18 months I bounced around from pescatarian to vegetarian to vegan and over the last year I finally settled on plant-based. For me, that looks no animal products most of the time. However, I do use collagen in my morning coffee and I'm not opposed to ever having any animal products again in my life. There may come a day when I decide to have some fish on an island vacation or maybe a special holiday. I don't know. For me, it's just about being open to feeling my best and eating plant-based 98% of the time is how I feel my best. Our guts need fiber to function optimally and we get fiber from plants. But you don't have to go all in like Nic and I. An 80/20 plant-based lifestyle can have huge benefits for long-term health and healing. No matter where you fall on the plant-based spectrum, it's all about knowing what to eat. Eating a diverse range of plants. And truly enjoying your food. That's why Nic and I created our plant-based cookbooks. To share our journeys, our favorite recipes, and our tips for making this a sustainable lifestyle you love to live (with your family...not independent of them.) If you want to incorporate more plants into your diet and you need recipe inspiration check out our blog or download one of our books here.
We know that any lifestyle transformation can be a challenge. There are tough days. Days you don't want to show up for yourself. Days you feel discouraged. There are also good days. Days you want to celebrate. Days you want to share with someone who gets it. If you're ready to start your transformation and you're looking for a community of like-minded individuals to learn with, grow with, celebrate with, and keep you accountable we have a few options. Check out our Plant-Based Community group for beginners or Calie's Transform 2020 accountability group.