THE OVERWHELM IS REAL
When it comes to "being healthy", how do you know if you're hurting or helping?
We think we're doing all the right things:
✔️ drinking our organic green juice
✔️ finding time for a daily HIIT workout
✔️ avoiding sugar like the plague
But often, we're missing the biggest and most ignored part of wellness: not obsessing.
Depending on the approach, the pursuit of wellness can ironically make us more miserable than ever. And I can confirm this, first hand 🙋♀️
Whether we're constantly missing the mark, falling off the wagon or just dealing with the food guilt from any and every friggin' carb, trying to be healthy can feel like a full time job. And not a fun one.
Or at least, this was how my journey started.
THE NUTRITION "EXPERT"
Looking back, I dove into the business of nutrition with full blinders on.
I'd gone to school for nutrition and came out armed with all kinds of knowledge about health and wellness. It was exciting.
But, I was totally oblivious to the fact that I was obsessed with (and terrified of) almost every food I encountered. I'd created so many rules and restrictions for myself, that I couldn't *not* stress about them. I ended up in an unhealthy and disordered relationship with food,. One where fear governed all of my choices (and my life).
This might have been happening in my head, but it was also negatively impacting my body (hello, stress).
So, I'm going to share my journey through the wellness world with you.
And I hope it'll save you years of not knowing how to be healthy. But also, my hope is that you don't make the same mistakes I did: constantly worrying about your weight or wellness and confusing that for wholistic health.
THIS STORY GOES WAY BACK
When I was a kid, I was a sickly little child. Always struggling with some digestive issue.
In hindsight, I can see now how this could have contributed to my fear of certain foods. I was often eating things that didn't agree with me and realizing this was connected to how I felt.
I was also put on a "healthy diet" from a very young age, and unfortunately not encouraged to eat certain foods for the sake of wellness. I remember watching other kids have treats, and felt this surge of desperation when I realized I wasn't allowed them, too.
Sorry mom - totally not your fault! - but my food fears started early in life. And maybe you've felt the same.
Reflecting back, this level of restriction at that age probably informed my relationship with food for many years to come.
When I was a teenager, I didn't have the easiest time. I was severely bullied, struggling with clinical depression + anxiety, and definitely not in a good place with my body image.
I was navigating the beginnings of an eating disorder (under-eating, overexercising) and basically buying and doing anything I could to try and be "perfect".
Suffice it to say, it was obvious at the time that my health wasn't in the best place.
But luckily (thanks mom!), my parents recognized I needed support early on, and most importantly, they facilitated intervention via talk therapy and practitioner-recommended medication.
I'm so glad my parents and my health team was able to support me, because I’m honestly not sure how much harder things would have become.
LIVING THE DREAM
I really struggled through high school with the way I felt about myself. But, in spite of my confidence at the time, I knew I wanted to be an actor.
So, I moved to Toronto, went to an acting conservatory for 3 years, and graduated with the drive and ambition to make that dream a reality.
And at first it was amazing! I got to be creative every day. I'd met my best friends, had an amazing support system, and was able to work every single day, doing what I loved. I thought things were going great.
But the part we don't talk about enough in "the biz": is how much pressure there is, especially for women, to look a certain way. (Kind of seems like a no brainer, but it's a whole new level when you're living it.)
And (you guessed it) all of that pressure took its toll on my health in the long run.
THE BALL DROP
For me, my body image was at an all-time low, and it felt like my imperfections were confirmed to me by important people in the industry.
Just imagine being in your early 20's, and sitting down with a high-profile agent who tells you, "You're talented, but I won't send you out for auditions until you promise to lose at least 10 lbs."
At the time, I didn't realize how much that stuck with me. Eventually, I was dreading auditions and wouldn't eat for days before or after. I was trying every "healthy" diet under the sun and working out compulsively, all in an effort to look "right" for the camera and stage.
And the thing was, as reassuring as it felt to be in control: none of it was working. Underneath it all, I still didn't like myself, no matter what size my jeans were, or the number I saw on the scale.
(And how many of us feel this way? That it’s just never good enough.)
So in hindsight, I guess it makes sense that eventually, I burnt the eff out.
I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't do the 5am joe job, to go perform for pennies at the theatre later that day. To go on auditions where male casting directors would tell me "I like you... I don't like what you did, but I like you." 🤮
At the time, I thought the burnout was just due to my physical health. I was struggling with my energy, my digestion and my skin.
So I kept trying to change my diet, live a compulsively healthy lifestyle, and shrink my body. Recipe for success, right?! Right...
It's so clear now that I was missing a bigger part of this whole "wellness picture". I just couldn’t see it, then.
ENTER: THE WELLNESS WORLD
Once I decided I didn't want to pursue acting anymore, I asked myself: what makes me happy? what I am obsessed with? what do I choose to learn about in my spare time?
And for me, the answer has always been health and wellness.
I can see now that I was always trying to "fix myself": whether it was my digestion, (food sensitivities) my skin (hormonal acne, eczema) my mental health, my weight (which I thought was a bad thing), all things.
So I did what any ambitious young adult with low self esteem and an unhealthy obsession with food would do: I went back to school for nutrition.
After 2 years, I graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and launched Salt + Spoon Wellness. And it was amazing! I knew all this cool stuff about health. I thought I was doing everything I needed for my wellness. I was helping people live their best lives.
But, in the early days, the part of the equation that I was missing, was how much food fear had snuck in (or stuck around) from my many years in the pursuit "wellness".
Even now that this was my career, I was always trying the new wellness diet, always navigating tons of food restrictions. I would cut out entire food groups because I told myself they weren't healthy. I was always worried and obsessing over every ingredient, everything I ate, and how I thought it would make me feel or look.
THAT AH-HA REALNESS
I think my aha moment, (or maybe rock bottom, depending on how you look at it) was when I realized I'd cut out so many foods, that I was terrified to eat a grape. That was the moment I woke up, and realized how far down this rabbit hole I'd fallen.
And it was a huge turning point for me. I changed the way I thought about food for myself, the way I worked with my clients, and eventually I came across intuitive eating, the anti-diet movement and health at every size. And that's where it all finally came together.
My success with my clients skyrocketed. I started actually feeling better myself. And I was thinking differently about my body, how I looked, what I ate. I brought back all the foods. I made a pact with myself that I wasn't going to make any more food rules.
And you know what? I've truly never been healthier (and I can say that pretty confidently, as a professional in this field).
Now, I understand that health is about the whole picture, mindset and relationship to food included.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
I don't think my story's unique. I know for a fact that so many of us struggle with either worrying about food or trying to change our bodies.
And we don't always stop and ask the question: why??
To answer that question, you can start by taking the overwhelm out of wellness with my Must-Have Wellness Apps Checklist.
Wellness isn’t supposed to be overwhelming. Our lifestyle isn't supposed to cause guilt or shame. Food's here to nourish us, to fuel our bodies and bring us satisfaction.
There is a way to be healthy, enjoy wellness and love your body at the same time.
💛 Swapping diet culture for a better relationship with food will change your health from the inside out.
💛 No more crash cleanses, out of control binges or Monday morning "resets". You deserve so much more.
tl;dr: I became a nutritionist thinking I knew how to be healthy. But the part I was missing was knowing how to have a better relationship with food.
💛 Now's your chance to start your Food Freedom Breakthrough. If you're ready to hack your health and change your relationship with food, click below for my free Must-Have Wellness Apps Checklist!