Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Once upon a time, 2 years and 30lbs ago...

I used to think that good health was something that came from a visit to the doctor, not the food that I ate or how I managed my stress levels. When I didn't feel well or something hurt, I hoped for some sort of diagnosis that would lead to a pill or cream that would make it all go away quickly and painlessly. I know this sounds strange coming from a Health Coach but hey, I'm being honest here and that was my state of mind just a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, I grew up playing sports and eating healthy foods (we had a garden in our backyard and we even had a chicken coop where we collected fresh eggs for brunch on Sunday mornings) but I thought about food as something that tasted good and as a way to manage my weight... not as something that had any bearing on my health.

Two years ago, I was 30lbs heavier, my cholesterol was as high as 239 and I suffered from chronic digestive issues.
I was naive enough to believe that what I ate didn't have any affect on how I felt and that food just amounted to calories in/calories out. I was naive enough to believe that eating healthy meant I had to give up everything I enjoyed and everything that tasted good. I was naive enough to believe that my red sensitive skin was just my genetic predisposition. I was naive enough to believe that my chronic stomach issues were just my terrible misfortune. I was also naive enough to believe that a Dr. that spent 5 minutes with me knew more about my body than I did, someone who has spent a lifetime with it.  It didn't seem that any of those beliefs were serving me as I was overweight, unhappy, unhealthy and stressed out so I knew I needed to make a change.

I started working out and joined the Weight Watchers online program. I lost 20lbs but when I realized that even though I had lost weight, I still didn't feel my best, I started looking into the connection between food, mind, body and overall health and well-being. I knew I had to address not only my diet but also my stressors, my emotions, my sleep habits and my work habits as these are all related to physical well-being. I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I stopped eating meat, I started running more frequently and taking classes at the gym, I read every book and article I could get my hands on and attended as many lectures and workshops around the city as I could. I first met Dr. Peter Bongiorno, N.D., L.Ac. at one of these lectures. He was speaking at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NY and after listening to him, I knew that I had to schedule an appointment with him asap.

Dr. Peter spent 90 minutes with me during my initial visit. Yes, you read that right. 90 minutes! He listened. He asked questions. He took notes. He even asked me if the recommendations that he made seemed reasonable to me and if I thought I could realistically integrate them into my current lifestyle. The answer was yes to the supplements (digestive enzymes and a probiotic), yes to eliminating dairy and caffeine for a few weeks, yes to getting a good night's sleep (preferably between the hours of 10pm-8am), yes to meditative yoga to help reduce stress (although I am still working on fitting this one in) and a resounding yes to not checking work email when I am not in the office.

Dr. Peter took all of my concerns and questions seriously and didn't dismiss anything without first digging deeper.  Now, my skin has dramatically improved, I can spend hours in the sun (with sunscreen of course) without breaking out in a rash, my digestive issues have cleared up and I feel content knowing that there are doctors out there that will listen to me, take my concerns seriously and work with me to make recommendations that are congruent with my lifestyle and my new beliefs.  Two years later, I have achieved my goals and am happy and healthy.  I am 30lbs lighter, have a cholesterol level of 176 and I have embarked on an exciting new career.  Time to set new goals!

We are all in control of our destiny.  You just have to believe that it's possible for you to be happy, healthy and successful.  Having people in your life that support you and hold you accountable is invaluable. For help and support reaching your goals, click here to schedule your FREE 30 minute Goal Setting Strategy Session with me and find out how we can work together. If you're lucky enough to live in New York and are interested in making an appointment to see Dr. Peter, click here.

Have a Healthy Day,

PS- Make sure to check out our Q&A with Dr. Peter Bongiorno in the Fresh Equation newsletter this Thursday!  Subscribe to the newsletter here so you don't miss it!  In the meantime, you can watch Dr. Peter here http://youtu.be/CKiK4ayaJe8.


  1. wow! looking at these pictures is such a good reminder of how far you have come! you look great and are great, inside and out. thanks for helping me do the same!

  2. you have come so far! and now you are helping other people reach their goals and realize what it means to be healthy! awesome!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story! You are such an inspiration- thanks for reminding me to take the time, and listen to whats right for me and for my own body! Jess