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A bit about my journey...

Turns out I CAN have my cake and eat it too!

"Everyone grab your snacks before Steph gets to the snack table."

 

These were the words I remember often hearing as my Nana would lay out a beautiful array of appetizers on her coffee table. My Nana had the best snacks, I would devour them, they were so comforting.  I never understood why everyone else wasn't eating as much as me! 

 

When I think back now, the thing about food for me, was that there were always happy memories around it. Food was directly tied to being happy.

healthy cake
Women standing and smiling

One thing about me is that I've always been very ambitious. This is great, but I used to have a pattern of taking on too much and setting unrealistic expectations for myself in an effort to receive recognition or praise for my work. This began at a young age when I was in school, continued throughout university and then into my career as a music teacher. It was a vicious cycle of perfectionism, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.

All of this busyness made fast, convenient food the best option and there was never time for exercise. I literally drank more diet coke than water for many years! The end of an exhausting day was celebrated with a sugary coffee beverage and a cookie.

My husband and I would stay up late, snacking while watching tv and I would tell myself “I deserve this, my day was so stressful.”

"Food is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug and exercise is the most potent, yet under-utilized antidepressant"

-Bob Philips

My personal breaking point came for me when I was pregnant with my second child. I had never been so anxious and overwhelmed in my life. I was constantly torn between wanting to give my full, undivided energy to my 2 year old son and between wanting to pursue my career ambitions. For years, I had tied so much of my self-worth to recognition I received from career accomplishments.

When my daughter was born, I felt lost. I had abandoned the idea of becoming one of those "career moms." I felt like garbage and I couldn't seem to lose any of my pregnancy weight. My husband was there with me too. He struggled with workaholism and with his weight. We both knew deep down that we needed to change something when he got declined for life insurance as a result of his BMI.

So I joined a busy mom bootcamp class. I brought my 6 week old daughter with me and she watched me from her carseat. I just wanted to get out of the house to help with my postpartum blues and to fit into the clothes in my closet. When I went, I learned that I had little muscle, I remember needing to use a broom as a cane to help me with body weight squats and lunges. I had not realized how out of shape I was! I had been in denial!

healthy family
healthy weight

I felt really good going to the gym. I was surprised how much I liked it as I had always hated sports and physical activity, mainly because I had struggled with them. However there was something humbling and empowering about working on my worst skill. I also really focused on my eating habits and eventually my body stopped craving all the not-so-healthy foods that it once did. My husband was on board and joined me in what became our journey towards a healthier life. I don't think I could have done it without him and his encouragement. It is so much easier to do anything when you have a good support system. 

I ended up becoming more fit than I ever imagined possible and felt amazing. When my maternity leave came to an end, I was concerned that going back to work would bring back all the stress that I had struggled with. To manage, my husband and I would diligently meal prep so that we didn’t revert back to our old ways. This definitely helped as we were super busy. I also really started to think about my definition of wellness and realized that being so busy all the time was not conducive to a healthy body or mind. Eventually we decided that it would be best for me to reduce my working hours to part-time so we could better balance our work/family life. Our new definition of wealth included our health, both physically and mentally. 

For the first time in my life, I had achieved balance!

healthy family
online nutrition coach

Fast forward to today, where having my cake and eating it too as taken on a whole new meaning. I've learned that fitness and becoming an athlete requires quite a bit of calories :) (I also have a few healthy cake recipes!) Part of the scope of my coaching practice involves teaching my clients, particularly athletes, to fuel their bodies for optimal performance and recovery. This not only requires eating a certain way, but developing the necessary mindset and habits to become that next level version of yourself!

Every next level of your life will demand a different version of you.

-Leonardo Dicaprio

barbell squats

2020 brought on the pandemic and when we spent all our time at home we began to even more really appreciate what was most important in life, our health and our family. During this time I also suffered the unexpected loss of my mother. She had not been sick and she was not very old. She passed away of a massive blood clot and I found her in her home when she wasn't returning any of our calls. I was stunned and I was devastated. This was such a pivotal time in my life and I was never the same again. I really learned during this year that anything can change in an instant.

As the months passed after her death, I began to really reflect on my life, my purpose, what I truly wanted and not the path that I thought I “should” be on. 

When I came across the Institute for Transformational Nutrition, a school that focuses on the whole picture, the science, the spiritual and the psychological aspects of nutrition, I knew what I was meant to do. As soon as I graduated, I decided to go all in and bet on myself. I quit my secure job to enjoy the wild ride of entrepreneurship. Life is too short to not enjoy the ride!

marathon runner

As I continue to work on this version on myself, which is so far my favourite, I invite you to reflect on your own transformation goals and what you are willing to do to achieve them. I may not know everything, but I can tell you that you are in charge of your own story and you can re-write at any point- you just need to believe in yourself and go for it! So if any of my story resonates with, or inspires you, let's connect, I want to meet you!  

Life itself is a privilege, but to live life to the fullest- well, that's a choice.

-Andy Andrews

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