My journey towards health and wellness is probably very similar to many other peoples’ out there. The beginning of my life was filled with chubbiness. I popped out weighing a whopping 10 pounds, and this impressive feat only continued with age.
As a kid, I was tall and I was chubby. This double whammy of a combination set me up with a nice hefty dose of heightened self awareness and insecurity.
Like most chubbies, I was addicted to sugar-filled, processed junk food. My afternoon snacks consisted of a giant microwaveable soft pretzel, or three, and I liked to end most evenings with a nice handful of sugar. Literally. My mom tells an infamous story of coming down into the kitchen and catching me in the pantry wrist deep in the bag of white table sugar, encouraging my older sister to lick her hand and stick it into the bag of sugar just like I was.
“Mom will never know!” – Younger Shannon
Fast-forward to my sophomore of high school, and I was sick and tired of being the “chubby one”. I made up my mind one New Years that it was time for me to shed a few pounds. I started exercising on my own, began stocking up on health and fitness magazines, and wrote out an entire “diet plan” for myself. I wanted to be like the women on the cover of the magazines, I decided. I wanted to be “fit” and “skinny” and “desirable”. So I began adamantly following all the advice I read, and thus began my journey down the under-eating, over-exercising rabbit hole. My next few years were filled with food fears and unhappiness with my body. Thankfully I was eventually forced to face these restrictive, self-deprecating habits, and with time and effort, things got better.
But I was still left confused. I wanted so badly to have a healthy relationship with food but I didn’t know the slightest bit how – all the magazines/books I was surrounded by encouraged restriction, putting emphasis on “low calorie this” and “low fat that”. But following that advice made things worse for me. I didn’t feel stronger at the gym; I felt weaker. I didn’t feel better about my body; I felt worse. I didn’t feel happier; I felt more depressed. I didn’t feel energetic & vibrant; I felt bloated & gassy.
So how did I finally manage to escape this rabbit hole?
Well, it wasn’t just one thing, it was a combination of many things. It was truly a journey. The two greatest milestones that kick started this journey for me were CrossFit and a gut-healing protocol created for me by a holistic Nutritionist.
CrossFit was my desperately needed catalyst. When I began Crossfit, towards the end of my senior year of high school, I was suddenly exposed to a whole new world of what was considered healthy. I found myself surrounded by incredibly strong women – everyday women – mothers, teachers, nannies, nurses – who performed amazing physical tasks at the gym, with pride. These women had muscles they were proud of. They radiated energy and motivation, and set an extremely positive example for me. Within a matter of weeks, I found my focus shifting away from eating less to get tinier and towards eating more to get stronger. I began focusing on what my body could do, instead of what it looked like, and began gravitating towards articles focusing on sports nutrition and recovery. This mental shift was HUGE for me.
My next a-ha moment came a few years later. While my mindset around food had become healthier, what I was putting into my body clearly wasn’t. I wasn’t getting the strength gains in the gym I had hoped for, and was experiencing daily digestive distress (quite the inconvenience). This led me to working with a holistic Nutritionist who guided me through a gut-healing protocol over my six week long break. I removed the gut irritating foods from my diet and was simultaneously introduced to a plethora of nourishing foods such as bone broth and raw fermented foods. Within a week, my chronic gas had subsided, and within several weeks I was experiencing all the things I had deep down desired – abundant energy throughout the day, glowing skin, better quality sleep, quicker recovery from workouts, and most importantly, mental clarity.
This experience completely flip flipped my view of food on it’s head.
This was my very first taste (pun intended) of foods’ ability to heal the body.
As the years went on, my desire to learn about food and overall health only grew stronger as I began to self-educate myself on all sorts of nutrition-related topics from gut health to traditional, ancestral diets. I tossed out the fitness magazines and went Amazon Prime crazy – ordering every health-related book that sparked my interest. Gradually, I began cultivating a different relationship with food.
Instead of seeing food as the enemy, as something to restrict and control, I gave food the power to heal, to be the life-giving force it was intended to be.
I also began using food as a powerful tool to combat different challenges in my life – from sports injuries to psoriasis flares to skin rashes to gut infections – I discovered that it could all be tackled by strategically changing up the food I was putting into my body.
Let’s fast-forward to now: My passion with the connection between food and health has lead me to pursue an education in Nutritional Therapy. My focus now is living a beautiful, abundant, healthy life, centered towards helping others to do the same. I want to be a guide for others as to how to tap into and discover true health.
I am on a mission, a mission to uplift.
To uplift not only myself, but everything & everyone
Thus, Nutrition Uplifted came to fruition.