My own journey with health includes ups and downs, twists and turns, and everything in between. It’s been a long and complicated road—and is far from over—but my story is why I am so passionate about yours: I believe everyone can transform their lives!
Though I grew up playing sports, I never thought about health! It wasn’t until college—when my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer—that I began to contemplate the impact of food, movement, and overall lifestyle on my body. Thankfully, my mom’s cancer was caught so early that they were able to eradicate it with a very complex and intense surgery. Needless to say, after having to monitor my mom’s feeding tube for a few months, I started to seriously contemplate my own health. I didn’t want to end up like that!
As sometimes happens, major life events are so impactful that they set off a spiral of obsessive behaviors. Enter my long-term battle with eating disorders. It started off innocently enough. I began to introduce more vegetables through salads and wraps. I started exercising. As I became more and more strict, the pounds started melting off and I felt amazing. The compliments started rolling in. Praise for my new “healthy” body! As the “melting” crept more towards “withering,” the compliments stopped and the concern was apparent. I was 90 pounds, had no muscle, and looked about ten years older than I was. I felt horrible and embarrassed by the way I looked. Though I did seek treatment and eventually got back to a “healthy weight,” I never stopped obsessing about my food intake.
Soon after I was married, I started racing triathlons. I loved the long bike rides and swims (and even the runs on occasion) because it was a place for me to quiet my mind after the chaos of being a corporate lawyer. Another bonus? I convinced myself that I didn’t have to worry so much about food because I was “burning off” whatever I ate when I was swimming, running, and biking. My muscle tone came back and I felt good again (read: I had control back!).
I gave birth to my daughter in July 2015. I had a good pregnancy and healthy baby, but was shell-shocked—as so many are—by the physical and mental demands of a newborn. I also decided to leave my corporate career. I was alone 7 days a week, 14 hours a day. Just me and a baby who wouldn’t stop crying most of the day. I was desperate for any glimmer of my former identity, so I decided to start training for a triathlon that would take place 12 weeks postpartum. I won’t lie that this decision was mainly to boost my ego and to show (I’m really not sure who?) that I still had it! The triathlon went well and back into training I went, only to find out that I was pregnant again when my daughter was six months old. I was devastated—which at this point sounds obnoxious—but that was my reality back then. I just had a taste of my former life and I wasn’t ready to go back to the sleepless nights and a body that wouldn’t tolerate a 50 mile bike ride.
After my son was born in August 2016, I went full bore back into training mode, desperate to get my pre-baby body back. It was then I discovered the dynamic duo of over-exercising and under-eating. By my son’s first birthday, I was the thinnest I had been since my college bout with anorexia and was getting compliments on my “amazing post-baby body!” Close friends and some family were concerned, but I kept convincing everyone that I was fine. And, for the most part I was. I was able to exercise at the level I wanted, tackled a 70.3 Ironman in the spring of 2017, and started transitioning to full marathons soon after.
In the midst of my marathon training in 2018, I started experiencing painful neuropathy. It started as Reynaud’s in my hands and feet, and slowly progressed to experiencing terrible pain if rain drops touched my bare skin or someone brushed my hair at the salon. I had zero reflexes and severe fatigue. My mood could easily have been described as bi-polar. Even after a barrage of blood work and other tests, the neurologist was baffled. I was terrified. For myself, my kids, my husband. However, to look at me you’d think I was perfectly healthy!
Though no one could point to a diagnosis, I know now after my own research and journey back to health, that my body was completely and utterly worn out. Between having babies nearly back-to-back, the demands of motherhood, over-exercising, and under-eating, my body was beyond stressed out and had just plain had it! Turns out, you can over-think and over-do what you think is “healthy.” As I started slowing down, I started trading my running shoes for a yoga mat. I discovered the pure magic (science) of using my breath.
I started eating and exercising intuitively. And guess what! My symptoms started to slowly dissipate. And I became a lot happier—my husband and kids too!
The truth is, my journey to health is still on-going. In fact, I hope it always is because that means I’m continuing to grow and learn. Though I looked “thin” and “healthy” on the outside, I was actually the farthest thing from it. I had terrible guilt anytime I left my kids to train, was exhausted, and wasn’t sleeping. I had no balance in my life—like most of us struggling to improve our health and wellness.
I want my struggle and return to health to help you as much as it helped me. I believe everyone deserves a rewarding and life-changing journey to wellness.
I love being a mom!
My kids—Hazel and Patrick—are my world. I love watching them grow and be creative. I even enjoy the pandemonium most days. I feel honored to parent them and they continue to teach me more than I could ever teach them.
I freaking LOVE dogs!
My Bernedoodle Winnie also keeps me on my toes. She’s my go-to walking, mountain biking, and frisbee buddy.
I have too many hobbies!
I truly enjoy most activities – cycling, mountain biking, yoga, hiking, walking, running (sometimes), horseback riding, kayaking, skiing, swimming, skiing - the list goes on. I’m not sure I’ve ever been “bored.”
I love a good nap and am not a morning person.
I love booze.
Wine, tequila, craft beer—you’ll never see me refuse a good drink. There is nothing more satisfying than a cold beer (and some salty chips) after a bike ride. Cheers!