Why I’m Not Calling Myself a Health Coach Anymore

Why I’m Not Calling Myself a Health Coach Anymore

Well. I’ve had it with “health.” The more I’m around “health” on the internet, the more I realize that: Health is making everyone crazy No one has any idea what health actually means anyway Most of the people peddling “health” are actually really selling you a life that’s, ironically, unhealthy. Have you ever stopped to consider that an obsessive fixation on perfecting your diet is just as bad as never fixing your diet at all, at least from a mental and emotional point of view? Sure, you may live forever (but probably you won’t), but what kind of life will it be if you’re obsessing about your calories, about your food quality, about your next workout, about the size of your thighs? We live in a very unhealthy world of health. Our airwaves and podcasts and news feeds are cluttered with advertisements for diets and detoxes, with press releases about the latest science discoveries (that, of course, contradict last week’s press releases), with glowing reviews of affiliate products and multi-level marketing starvation products. You have to choose whom to trust, and often, your ability to discern the trust-worthy is influenced by numbers of Twitter followers or doctored photos or fake reviews. I’m so sick of being associated with that nonsense. And I’m sick of people expecting that from me. I went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition not to become a nutritionist, but to learn how to coach people to a place of wellness and contentment. I loved the lectures on “Primary Food” (healthy relationships, physical activity, satisfying career, sense of spirituality/connectedness), but despised the myopic and often agenda-filled...
Holey, Not Holy: Why I Got My Nose Pierced

Holey, Not Holy: Why I Got My Nose Pierced

Anorexia has made me a very judgmental person. Well, anorexia, and also growing up in South Florida. (I’m not kidding. If you’re from Boca, then you know that the second you turn your back, at least five women are bitchily judging you from behind it.) I’m a very judgmental person, and part of that judgment comes from the fear of being imperfect. As a kid, I never cheated on a test. I never broke the rules while playing a game. I never searched for my Chanukah presents and tried to sneak a peek. Because that’s wrong. In high school, I never drank or did drugs. I got in trouble for staying out late and driving to Miami on a whim with my (also sober) friends exactly once. I waited until I was 17 for my first kiss, and no boy ever saw me without some form of clothing absolutely covering the “naughty bits.” (And I believed that those bits were naughty, and not in a good way.) When I got my cartilage pierced before prom, my dad was not happy with me. To be honest, I wasn’t too happy with me, either. The idea of doing something considered “bad,” coupled with having a permanent mark or scar left behind, made me physically ill. Even though I really loved that piercing and was so excited to have it done. The guilt and shame and fear about being judged for having it was so intense, that I was relieved when it got infected and closed up, leaving behind barely a mark. Beyond the judgment was this weird feeling of…disgust for having...

The Worst Thing That Happened When I Gained Weight

I spent most of my life fearing fat. The macronutrient, yes, but more so what it stood for: adipose tissue. Excess body weight. Like a dutiful American daughter, I transitioned from Lunchables to Snackwells, and later, when I discovered real food, I embraced the first world problem of breaking up with bread and shunning sugar. At the ripe old age of 13, I signed my first gym membership with more reverence and commitment than I would a marriage license. I started down the path toward restriction, extreme weight loss, and overexercise because I received so much positive feedback when I first lost weight. I went from nerdy, frizzy-haired dork to wearing a bikini and getting my first “kiss,” and all it took was a summer without pizza. (Or M&Ms. Or garlic rolls. Or…) Hell, I even got compliments on my transformation from relatives who only ever had snide remarks to make about me during family dinners. Behavioral psychologists would cry out with glee: nurture over nature! While I don’t entirely agree, I do believe that my belief system about losing weight—and its rewards—at the very least contributed to much of my disordered eating and exercise later in life. The thing is: if losing weight meant that cute boys would want to kiss me or family members would refrain from making snarky comments about my “braininess” at dinner, then losing weight meant that I received rewards. That also meant that gaining weight would mean I would lose everything that was “due” to me as a result of my dedication (read: restriction). Now, 13 years later, I am the heaviest I...
Health Update: Chronic Pain, Depression, Digestion–Oh My!

Health Update: Chronic Pain, Depression, Digestion–Oh My!

  It’s been a while since I’ve bothered to give you a health update, and in the spirit of full transparency, I’m going to say: it has been a rough month. Actually, it has been a rough couple of months if I’m being honest. And I’m being honest. So here we go: Ever since Paleo F(X), I feel like my health has steadily gone downhill. A few weeks before Paleo F(X), I started the thyroid medication and and acupuncture, and I felt like I was riding a unicorn over a rainbow on a daily basis. My ankle was healing, my depression was nonexistent, my anxiety was going away…All was going well. And then, if you recall (and if you don’t…well, catch up here), directly following my two back-to-back panels, after two days of eating mostly eggs, brussels sprouts, and whatever food I could forage on the expo floor and drinking more caffeine than I’d had in months, I sat down in the Paleo and Sexuality panel around 4 or 5 pm,* and my bad ankle promptly blew up. It was the worst flare I’d ever had in my life—worse than any non-surgical-related ankle pain I’ve suffered since the initial injury three years ago—and I hit a pocket of depression that led me to a free fall for the next few hours. The following day, again fueled by brussels sprouts, eggs, coffee, chocolate, and jerky, I had one of my first panic attacks in months and months—and I haven’t been the same since. As you may recall (and if you don’t, read this) my doctor did some follow up blood...
Sex, Shame, and Swimming Lessons

Sex, Shame, and Swimming Lessons

When I was about 3 and a half years old, we moved to Florida, and my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons. As a child, I would get sick often with migraines and sinus infections, and every time I put my face under the chlorinated water, I’d end up with splitting headaches or unending sniffles. Needless to say, I was resistant to the idea that I needed to learn how to breathe with my head fully immersed. Unfortunately, the swim instructor had other plans—plans from which the lesson could not deviate. And those plans involved me putting my face under the water and learning how to breathe. Our difference of opinion unfortunately did not work out in my favor, as the instructor had the advantage of size, strength, and strategy—and I spent my lessons with the instructor’s hand on my head, forcing it to stay immersed, even when I struggled and choked and splashed, signaling for air. I’m twenty seven and a half years old, and I still don’t know how to swim. ————— Last week, the #YesAllWomen hashtag started trending on Twitter, and as much as I wanted to join in, I mostly watched from the sidelines. The topic was a little too close to home. As much as this internet has become a transparent playground for exhibitionists like myself who don’t care that strangers in Norway know more about my last period than my doctor, there are still things we keep to ourselves. Perhaps because we’re not ready to share—perhaps because we’ll never be. Perhaps because there’s a deep sense of shame in owning these pieces of...
Life After Amenorrhea: Thoughts on Hormones, Acne, and MTHFR

Life After Amenorrhea: Thoughts on Hormones, Acne, and MTHFR

It’s been a little while since I’ve done an update on my health, since I’ve been preoccupied with body image—and trying o do the research to get my MTHFR podcast up and running by June. So I figured that today would be a good opportunity to let you in on where I’m at with acne, amenorrhea, and my thyroid: Well, as I mentioned a few months ago, my 704 day bout with amenorrhea ended—just a few days before Paleo F(X) as luck—or Murphy’s Law—would have it. How did I get my period back?* A combination of things, I think—and I’m still far from complete hormonal regulation, as I’ll explain below.   [image source] I’ve allowed myself to put on a significant amount of body fat this year. While that has been mentally/emotionally uncomfortable, my body needed it in order to achieve proper levels of hormones for fertility. (Per this study, “Evidence is presented that the high percentage of body fat (26-28%) in mature women is necessary for regular ovulatory cycles.”) I’ve had to stop almost all of my intense exercise. Again: not trying to achieve excessive states of leanness, this time coupled with a reduction in one of my major sources of stress (physiological vs. mental), allowed my body to start getting back to a place of hormonal function. I started taking T3 in the form of Liothyronine to regulate my thyroid function. Please note: thyroid medication is NOT something you tinker with by yourself; I’m working with a doctor who is monitoring my progress through blood tests. Despite being deathly afraid of needles, I started seeing an acupuncturist...