My Big Body Breakdown

Hi Loves! First off, THANK YOU for reading my first blog post! I am more than excited to have a space to share with you my passion for holistic health and wellness. I truly believe it is going to change the way our world lives, breathes, and loves.  We are awakening to the beauty that lives within us and we are becoming aware of the natural healing potential of bodies. It is such an exciting time! I thought it might be helpful to explain my transition to where I am today and what inspired me to start this blog in the first place (this is a long one, so bare with me!) It’s been an interesting and eye opening couple of years to say the least ;)

Honestly, I never really gave much thought into holistic health until the fall of 2015. I had always dealt with mild anxiety and mood fluctuations over the years, specifically triggered around specific days in my cycle and various life changes and stressors, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2015 that it REALLY hit me. And it hit hard. I was recently engaged, I had just finished up a choir tour to NYC with my students, I had finally completed my masters degree, and I was officially a full time teacher at one building (previously traveling between 2). Life was great! But my body had a different story to tell.

After years and years of pushing my body to the brink, drinking way too much coffee, and the inconsistency with my eating and self-care practices, my body finally broke down. And this time, it wasn't bouncing back like usual. I felt as though I wasn’t in control of my body or my emotions. I would wake up every morning feeling like something was wrong. My body felt nervous All. The. Time. My mind wouldn’t stop racing. My appetite changed. My PMS was completely heightened and my acne was getting worse. I just didn’t feel like “Nina” anymore and it felt like something had taken over my entire body. It was time to take a hard look at what was going on underneath the symptoms, and I realized, I wasn’t going to be able to handle it this time alone.

It was at this point, when my body was on complete overdrive, that I went to see my doctor. After 2 emotional visits, I ended up getting prescribed an SSRI for anxiety. But something just didn’t feel right to me. There was a voice inside of me that kept screaming, “No! This can’t be right. Just listen to what your body is telling you!!” I had this overwhelmingly strong gut feeling that my body was stronger than what it was showing to be. That it was made to heal itself. That my natural state of being couldn’t possibly be stuck in this anxious ridden and unhappy place. Something lead me here, and if that was the case, then I could surely find my way back to balance. Even so, I ended up leaving with my prescription in hand and tried it out for about 4 days (emotional breakdowns and all because I’m a mess), but for some reason I just couldn’t shake that gut feeling from my appointment. I knew there had to be a better and more sustainable way. 

So I began researching and experimenting with food. I began listening to more wellness podcasts and I began reading more blogs. I realized so quickly that I was absolutely NOT alone in this and that my gut feeling was right - there were other women in this world fighting the same battle. Listening to their bodies, balancing their hormones, and nourishing themselves from the inside out. Naturally. If they could do this, then surely I could too!

Cue my experimental phase! I tried veganism, vegetarianism, all carbs/no carbs, gluten free, high fat, no dairy… you name it. I tried it. I was on a mission to discover what foods worked best for my unique body and it’s unique needs. I made sure to kick all processed foods to the curb and I limited my sugar and caffeine intake. And guess guest what…  it was working!! For the most part. Although I was seeing improvements, my body was still struggling with unexpected anxiety and I was still having a difficult time with menstrual cramps and acne. I could tell that my body was starting to balance itself with nutrition,  but it was clear that there was still a piece missing.

 It wasn’t until I stumbled across Stefanie Rupar’s “Paleo for Women” blog that it all started to make sense. (Check it out HERE!). Her blogs seemed to speak directly to me. The mood fluctuations, the up and down hormones, the acne, and the anxiety. She spoke about mental health and the paleo diet (specifically the paleo diet for women) and how she nourished her way back to a healthy lifestyle (and even cured her PCOS!). When I discovered she hosted a podcast with nutritional therapist, Noelle Tarr, I immediately began listening. SO. MANY. WOMEN. were writing in and asking for advice on how to heal similar symptoms. I remember listening to one of their episodes on my way to work and crying out of relief that I wasn’t alone.

And what REALLY struck me throughout this discovery process was that nutrition alone wasn’t enough. Our bodies are so incredibly intricate, and it was then that I realized, the clear correlation between our nutrition, lifestyle, and our spiritual needs.

Since then, I have been on a mission to discover how nutrition, lifestyle, and spirituality play a role in our overall well being and happiness. It truly is a trifecta! What we think directly affects how we feel, and how we feel affects the way our body functions on a physical level. Nutrition is a crucial piece of the puzzle, but if we don’t get the other 2 in alignment, we will always feel like something is missing.

I truly believe that all bodies are unique and there is not a  “one size fits all” diet or lifestyle for everyone. We must listen to our individual needs, experiment with what makes us feel good, and get in touch with whatever spiritual practices light us up.

As cheesy as it sounds, wellness is not a destination, but a never ending journey. So let’s build each other up, get honest, and share our stories along the way. This blog is my story. And I am so excited you have decided to join me. <3