I am so excited to have one of my wonderful friends and a fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioner share on the blog today! Stef and I met in our NTP training class in Ann Arbor and became friends right away! (We paired up to be each other’s practice clients, and I think we spent more time chatting about each other than talking about our food journals and Symptom Burden Graphs. Whoops!)
I feel like her and I are soul sisters-you know those friends who you relate to on so many levels, can be vulnerable with, and totally understand one another, with no judgement? Well, that’s this girl for me. Many times, I feel like we are the same person, with similar interests, passions and struggles. Stef’s post today is about her journey toward self-love and body acceptance, something that I think we can all relate to. Stef and I talk a lot about this, especially as we both seek to get our hormonal health in balance and the challenges that come with it. I love what Stef writes in this post, and I know you will too! Enjoy!
I’m so excited to guest post on Simply Health. Jenn and I became fast friends in our Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program last year. She’s one of those women you feel like you’ve known forever– but it’s only been a year! We sat down next to each other in our first NTA workshop last January and have been great friends ever since. Jenn has been nice enough to let me share her little piece of the internet with me today and I’m so excited.
Since many of you do not know me, I thought I’d share a little bit about myself. Like Jenn, I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and am a banker by day, holistic nutritionist by night. I see clients and write for Whole Hog Nutrition, my blog, where I share meal ideas, tips to practice self-care and my personal trials and tribulations.
Many of my posts these days are related to body acceptance. Over the past year, I have been working to heal myself from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, or lack of menstrual cycle. Before starting this journey, I was competitive runner. I coached, trained and raced distances from 5Ks to marathons. Though I ‘looked’ the like picture of health on the outside, on the inside, I was struggling. I lost my period, sex drive and was perpetually fatigued. I struggled with sleep and dealt with bouts of anxiety and depression. My friends and family warned me that I was running too much, but I thought they didn’t understand. The truth is, I just wasn’t ready to hear it.
Running was a part of my identity and wasn’t ready to give it up. Years later, after an eye-opening conversation with my boyfriend, Andrew, I was finally ready to address the elephant in the room; overtraining. I vowed to cut down on exercise after completing the 2017 Boston Marathon and get serious about my health.
After Boston, my lifestyle really changed. I went from running 35-50 miles a week, at the peak of marathon training to ‘jogging’ three to five miles when it feels right. I cut out racing and coaching. Gained almost 10 pounds and started prioritizing sleep. Though this journey has not been easy, it has been worth it.
I’ve learned the importance of self-acceptance. That my body is the least interesting thing about me. My family and friends love me no matter what I look like. Sometimes it’s much easier to obsess about a training goal then address what’s really going on in your life. But let me tell you, these changes have not been easy.
The other day, I was talking to Andrew about my HA journey. I was struggling with areas of self-doubt and wanted to share it with him. This was a very vulnerable moment for me, admitting to someone I love that I do not always love myself. This conversation got me thinking.
You know the red car theory, right? The idea that we notice things that we have personal connection to. The connections can be based our experience, desires or interests. These connections shape what we see and observe. An example; when your best friend buys a new car, you see it everywhere.
My red car has been self-love and acceptance. This journey has shaped the way I see and observe the world around me. Like I mentioned in my rant a couple of weeks ago, diet culture is all around us. We are bombarded with messages, telling us we are not enough. Sometimes those messages sink in and trap us in a negative feedback loop. I’ve been there and done that. Instead of playing victim to diet culture, I’ve come up with a few simple tricks to stop it right in its tracks.
CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET
Get rid of anything that does not bring you joy. For me, this meant go through my closet and getting rid of things that didn’t fit or I just wasn’t into. I either donated the items or sold them to a local consignment shop. The act of removing the stress of ill-fitting clothes from my life empowered me to own my body.
BUY NEW CLOTHES
Invest in yourself. Buy clothes that fit and make you feel good. I learned early on in this journey, if I am not comfortable in my clothes, I am not comfortable in my skin. I went out and replaced things slowly, starting with jeans. I treat myself to a new top, jacket or pair of work pants when needed but do my best not to go overboard. I like the idea of having a closet filled with things I love and wear.
PRACTICE SELF CARE
Self-care is a personal act. Do what works best for you. The main goal here is to show yourself some grace. This can be something that is simple as focusing on sleep. Relaxing. Reading. Bubble baths. Wine. Anything, really. If you can’t think of an act of self-care, spend some time reflecting on what makes you tick and do that.
REFRAME YOUR THOUGHTS
Start each morning with an empowering affirmation. Here are some examples:
I am enough, I have enough. (my personal favorite)
I am worthy.
I am loved.
I love myself.
I am deserving of love and attention.
CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Social media can be toxic. We’ve all heard the quote, the stories we tell ourselves reflect how we think, act and feel. I think social media has the same power. Follow people who make you feel good. Unfollow those who don’t. And if it’s all too much, take a hiatus. You won’t miss much, I promise.
For more from Stef, make sure to check out her blog at www.wholehognutrition.com .