Hello there! Thank you so much for choosing to show up! I am super excited to squeal beside you on this otherwise challenging, and very individual exploration to personal heath and wellness. Let me introduce myself.
My name is Shannon and I have been THERE. I’m a product of the 80’s; I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, eating TV dinners and Ramen Noodles for meals, and Little Debbie’s Star Crunch and Oatmeal Pies for snacks. Weight Watchers, the Thigh Master, and sweat suits while running track were how people lost weight and got healthy. The rise and convenience of pharmaceutical and over the counter medications made it easy for us to resolve symptomatic issues with little or no concern for the underlying causes of these physical manifestations.
These eating habits shaped my young adult years. Drive thru lunches and late night dinners had become the norm. By the time I was 18 years old, my weight had topped out at just over 200lbs, and since I am of average height (5’5″), I knew that was way too much for my frame.
I will never forget the day that I couldn’t get my size 14 jeans past my knees… humiliated, all alone in my bedroom. I remember thinking to myself, “Why didn’t anyone tell me I was getting fat? When did this happen? How did I not see this coming?”
I am so grateful for so many things in my life story. But this one was big… I recall that day, standing in my full length mirror, stricken with disappointment and humiliation in one moment, and in the next breathe, something huge happened. My energy shifted and I envisioned my future self. I was healthy and successful and happy. While it was a brief glimpse at what could be, it felt very real and I was immediately hopeful. Change was on the horizon!
Watching my mom, grandparents, our extended family and friends gain and lose, getting on and off the diet train over and over again, could have sent me straight onto that same track. The constant weight fluctuation was lightly explained to me as genetics and I was often reminded that I come from a long line of ‘big-boned folks’ with hefty appetites!
At first, I did what I knew to do, what everyone else did, I went on a diet! I was tracking points, cutting carbs, and wrestled between low fat, low carb and high protein plans (which I later learned are really all the same… depriving the body of macro nutrients). Things changed, weight fell of pretty fast. I suppose any improvement from what I was eating would have promoted lower numbers on that pesky scale.
About 3 years into my weightless journey, as I was peeling open the corner of my ‘Smart Ones Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli’ microwave dinner, something brought my attention to the label on the back of the box; and this time, it wasn’t the calories or the carbs that caught my eye. When I glanced over the ingredients list, of course I expected to see things like, noodles, cheese, and broccoli, only to find things like ethoxyquin, maltrodextrin, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup solids, salt, trans fats, colorings, texturizers, preservatives and other non-food items, better known as chemicals.
I was somewhat shocked and taken back. I recall a conversation in my head that went something like this, “So you’re losing weight, but at what cost? Am I nourishing myself? Are my choices healing, promoting longevity and vitality? Are these non-food items creating illness and disease in my body ? How will I know? Maybe that is whats wrong with everyones (my family) efforts… They think they are doing themselves good.” Something didn’t feel right about this anymore. It was time to do my homework.
And that is exactly what I did. I signed up for workshops, bought books, took my time when I went shopping and started reading lots of labels. It was a bit confusing until I decided to stop studying what all the ‘crap’ could do to you, and turned my focus to how food can be rejuvenating, detoxifying, hormone balancing, energy boosting goodness. It was a magical flip of perspective.
While I had gained knowledge and had taken a new viewpoint, there was still great frustration. I would go to an event or gathering, or head out of town, away from the comfort of my own element, only to be stuck at the mercy of someone else’s planning; someone else who didn’t know what I knew. I experienced anger, bitterness, and great disappointment. I always did my best to internalize those feelings, but just like with unhealthy food, those emotions were only adding stress to my body. I had to do something. Something had to change. It was me. Again.
I knew that I had developed hard lines, boundaries, and rules that I had set for myself. I couldn’t just drop them… I would end up like my loved ones, struggling with my weight and wellness for a lifetime. I knew for sure, there had to be another way.
So after lots of journaling and contemplation, I came up with a philosophy, a way of integrating mindful eating and still being able to enjoy life as it spontaneously unfolded before me. I call it the ‘Good~Better~Best’ theory. Rather than being away from home at an event or gathering (without my BEST options) I would ask myself, “What if right now I just make the best choice I can? What can I consume that won’t decrease my energy or set me back?”
Self talk was and still is a huge factor in my world. I’d have to constantly remind myself that I have a deep awareness and commitment to my own healing, vitality, creativity, and health to stay on track with the lifestyle I so badly wanted to create.
I read labels. I create balanced meals. I consume organic healthy food. I do the best I can to plan ahead, and when things don’t go my way, I relax and choose what shows up. I maintain my values and listen to my intuition.
It has been 20 years now since I weighed my heaviest. Its been 13 years since I quit smoking cigarettes. Its been 12 years since I have missed a day of taking a walk or otherwise moving my body, (unless it was a scheduled day of absolute rest). I am committed. To me. To making the very best decision I can in every moment. I live by this quote by a favorite author of mine, “Every act is an act of self definition. Choose wisely always.” Who am I now, in this breath? I am vibrant, lovable, mindful, and healthy. I am the Fit Piglet! Oink!
Whats your story? How can I help you achieve your lifestyle goals? Who would you like to be? It all starts with awareness and mindfulness. Then commitment and creativity! Take the steps, as fast or slowly as you choose. But please, by all means, take charge of your life and participate in your own healing. The journey isn’t easy, but oink ~ it sure is worth it!