HEY BABES, IT'S FRIYAY!
It's been such a rollercoaster of a week and if we're friends on FaceBook, you may have seen the article I shared regarding tips on Surviving Mercury in Retrograde, shedding light on some of the possibilities behind one of the weirdest weeks of 2016 so far. I hope you can relate, and are taking even more steps toward loving self-care during this time!
Some of you may have been following my Instagram and keeping up-to-date on my schooling with THE INSTITUTE OF INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION, and I wanted to take this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions I receive regarding my journey and my coaching.
Before you dive in, I want to share that the reason I dove into health coaching was to CONNECT WITH AND EMPOWER WOMEN in a way they truly deserve. My motto to wellness is progress, not perfectionto and coaching sessions can be effective tools used to propel you closer toward your truest self. When you wipe away your previous misconceptions of health in addition to the media's implementation of the diet mentality, you take conscious steps toward thriving.
YOU ASKED, I ANSWERED!
Why did you start BlissBranch? BlissBranch began in December 2011 as a way for me to help move forward from an unbalanced relationship with my body and food. I was in college and working with coaches and counselors who recommended blogging/journaling as a coping mechanism to see my thoughts and experiences in print, helping with self-reflection and to network with others in their health journeys as well.
What was your health journey like that brought you here? As easy as it could be to pin my adolescent health struggles on the simple act of growing up in East Texas (*ahem* completely covered in comfort food, Crisco, and BBQ culture), I suppose that would only be half the story.
Shortly after my parents' divorce when I was five, I began to dramatically put on weight --- by the time I was nine, I was 160+ pounds, 5-foot & 5-inches tall, had lost all of my teeth, and started my period. What many well-intentioned family members saw as a mere stage of emotional eating following the trauma of divorce, my mother saw as a bizarre medical mystery.
I endured two MRIs, countless awkward bodily exams, stool samples, urine cultures, and had given countless vials of blood. Even though I loved missing so much school, I was pretty confused and kind of scared at this point, fearing that maybe I was just a statistic in the wave of childhood obesity. After a couple of years bouncing from doctor to doctor, diagnosis to diagnosis, we finally landed at a prestigious children's hospital in Houston --- approximately four hours from our hometown. The doctor had found a small tumor in my brain, "the size of a pencil eraser", pressing against my pituitary gland and causing my rapid growth and premature puberty. He also found that I was insulin resistant as a result of my body being so far out of whack; he prescribed me with Metformin and saw to it that I have four checkups each year to see what my progress was like. There was talk of removing the tumor, but he wanted to see how the next few years went. After my diagnosis, I was annoyed yet relieved, and I proceeded to live my life as all of my friends did despite having a tumor.
Even though I had a group of really amazing friends, understanding teachers, and supportive family members, I wasn't guaranteed a free-pass from bullying. Before the diagnosis, I had endured so much childish tormenting; I couldn't fit under desks, run without wheezing, or share beds at slumber-parties. Boys assaulted me with an arsenal of insults daily, and girls were just as bad.
How was your relationship with your body and food unbalanced? By the time I reached high-school, I had discovered liquid eyeliner, Urban Outfitters, a deep love for obscure indie rock, and diet soda. My highest weight was 268 pounds, and I was very unhealthy. After ditching the Metformin for marijuana, the balanced meals for diet meal bars, I started losing weight. I spent weekends getting stoned and wasted with my friends, and weeknights blasting through homework and dreaming of becoming a successful novelist. My priorities eventually weened out to being exclusive to partying, flirting with guys, and losing weight. Diet food consumed me more than I really consumed it, in the end. I lost my period for two years, I had lost 160 pounds, and I was very sad. I still felt like everyone saw my "old body" and I didn't know how to stop it on my own.
At eighteen, I finally got rid of a few insanely toxic relationships, and started becoming obsessed with leading a "healthy" lifestyle. I put on twenty pounds, but my mind was still so confused. My hormones were so out of whack that I began having panic attacks in everyday situations: driving, working, sitting in class, sitting in my room, anything. I decided to finally head to the doctor to get help. That's when I met my team of counselors and coaches that really helped me relearn myself and helped get me back on a healthy path. My weight stabilized and my hormones leveled themselves out --- I haven't had a panic attack since I was nineteen.
Over the past three years, I've really become immersed in plant-based living, veganism, and with that a deep love for our environment. It's so fulfilling to have several motivations to take care of yourself and your planet. Last year, I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach with the hopes of helping others on their journey to wellness!
Are you a Nutritionist or Dietician? Nope! Health coaching and being there to support and encourage my clients is my number one goal. I cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or ailment, but I can be there to assist in your personal development and progress which will lead you to achieve your wellness goals. We can all play a very important role in the new wave of health awareness and helping others learn and love their plate.
What is a health coach? How did you become a health coach? Defined by my training, a health coach is a wellness professional who works with clients to help them achieve their personal wellness goals, serving as a supportive mentor and guide to help their clients discover which foods and lifestyle makes them feel the best. I'm currently attending the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and have completed my midway certification, leaving only several weeks of coaching until I'm graduated. This means that I am finishing out my remaining four months of school, but am qualified to begin seeing clients! Being midway certified means I can offer my coaching at a discounted rate, which is so incredible for those of you who have considered seeing a health coach at a lower price point.
If you're interested in becoming a health coach, let me know! I'm an ambassador at the school and can help get the process started.
I see you're vegan. Do you only love/work with vegans? Absolutely not! Being a vegan is a devoted personal choice that my husband and I made in 2015 and have grown very passionate about. We apply veganism to our entire lifestyle mainly for ethical and environmental reasons, which I have been known to share on the blog! That being said, I'm a huge advocate for exploring whole-foods, focusing on a plant-based lifestyle when possible. With my coaching, I've been trained with the philosophy of bio-individuality meaning that everyone is different; something that works for you may not work for me, and so on.
Certainly, if you're curious about a vegan philosophy and leading a plant-based lifestyle, we can discuss your motivation behind these desires, and get you on your ideal path.
Exploring and experimenting with food and mindfulness is the true joy in working with a health coach, and I love sharing that with others!
If your food philosophy isn't merely "being vegan," what is it? My philosophy is that food shouldn't be a weapon or a reward. I believe that food is simply a nourishing component of our existence, and we have full permission to enjoy it. Food is fuel, but when prepared and eaten with love and mindfulness, it can also be a beautiful way to practice healthful self-care. Above all else, I believe maintaining balance is the key to experiencing optimal health in any area of your life.
I believe that food is most beneficial to the human body when consumed in a way that is closest to nature, and I advocate eating organic and local when possible. By nourishing your body now, you're taking care of your future self in the process, making your life a healthier and happier ride!
Are you currently working with clients? Yes! Whether you're in the Nashville region and want to meet face-to-face, or you're interested in phone or FaceTime coaching, I've made that available as well! Your comfort is my #1 priority!
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT IT'S OKAY TO FEEL STUCK AND OVERWHELMED SOMETIMES. THERE'S SO MANY DIFFERENT PLANS AND WAYS TO LIVE OUT THERE, AND EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, THERE'S SOMETHING NEW.
YOU'RE WORTH FINDING SOMETHING SPECIAL AND UNIQUE THAT WORKS FOR YOU, BECAUSE NO TWO PEOPLE ARE EXACTLY THE SAME!
I'd love to hear from you and book your FREE 20 minute consultation with me!