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Growing up, I would say we were a pretty average family when it came to health and wellness. We weren't the most unhealthy family out there, but we definitely weren't the most healthy family out there.
We grew up playing sports. My parents were really supportive of us playing sports. We had to spend time outside. We would go on family bike rides together.
My mom was really good about making sure we had milk with our dinner. We had vegetables on our plate. We had fruits in our lunches.
I distinctly remember when I was 12 or 13, one day there was white bread in the pantry for our sandwiches, and the next day there was wheat bread.
Like little things like that, she's pretty good with the basics, but there wasn't anything like really extraordinary about our diet or how we were trying to handle our health and wellness.
I didn't notice that that had an effect on my opinions about health and wellness now until a couple years ago when I actually started my career.
That's kind of like the background of my family. My dad was also an ER physician for 20 years. He's about as Western conventional medicine as you could possibly get. I believe that's also had an effect on my career and how I decided to navigate health and wellness moving forward.
When it comes to my upbringing with sports and things like that, I did sports throughout middle school and high school, but I don't think I was ever considered an athlete until my junior and senior year of high school.
I think it was when I joined the track team that that was really a pivotal moment in my life for understanding the right way. role that health and nutrition and consistent intentional exercise plays in your life.
I went from just showing up to tennis practice and kind of doing things just to be social and because everyone else was doing it to all of a sudden showing up to track practice having already run three miles in the morning, doing a full two hour track practice and then the lifting weights for an extra 45 minutes on top of that.
I remember telling my mom when I joined the track team I was like "mom I'm going to be on varsity and if I'm going to be on varsity then I have to do everything that my varsity friends are doing so I have to eat like them, I have to train like them, I have to have all the same clothes and shoes as them."
So I started to pay more attention to what I was eating and how I was taking care of my body and I ended up getting into pretty decent shape towards the end of high school and that carried me through my freshman year of college.
Then I served a mission for my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -day Saints. And if you're not familiar with LDS missions or Mormon missions, we leave our families for 18 to 24 months, and we also leave everything else behind.
Like we, well, at least when I was serving, we didn't have smartphones, we didn't have technology, we didn't listen to regular music, we didn't watch movies, you know, we just focused on teaching people about God, and we limited communication with our families.
And I know if you're not familiar with it, that sounds really extreme, but it's actually kind of freeing. To only focus on one thing, like we didn't even have to worry about rent, like everything was taken care of while we were missionaries, and I was fortunate enough to serve my mission in New Zealand.
Yes, it's the most amazing place ever. I miss it every single day. But what I will say is most of the food that I ate, like, wasn't that great for me nutritionally.
When it comes to being a missionary, you're usually at the mercy of the culture that you're around because you don't really have time to cook yourself food, because you're just out and about all day, and you move to a new location in your country or wherever you're living every six weeks, so you don't really stock up on your pantry, you don't really stock up in your fridge, you just kind of like do these really simple things for food here and there.
So most of the time you're eating what other people are feeding you, whether it's members of the church congregation or the people that you're teaching. So most of my diet while I was on my mission consisted of fried chicken and white rice and more fried meat and lots of salt and lots of soda.
And that takes a toll on your body when you're not used to eating that way and then you eat that way, whether you like it or not, for 18 months straight. So when I came home from my mission, I had gained almost 40, 45 pounds and I just felt like absolutely awful from the inside out.
I was so grateful for my mission, I would never give it up or trade it for anything in the world, but I did not come home the healthiest person. So I decided that I was going to live in a calorie deficit.
I was gonna be vegetarian for six weeks. I was so tired of any kind of meat, it just made me nauseous and I was gonna do HIIT workouts. And I will say that this worked for a little bit. But unfortunately, I kind of continued in that feedback loop of only doing cardio like really high intensity stuff and living in a calorie deficit and Unfortunately that kind of took a little bit of a bad turn a couple years down the road.
We'll get there in a second.
So flash forward I Get married, thankfully, even though my husband met me like two weeks after I got home from New Zealand And I wasn't in the best shape of my life and I didn't feel super great He still liked me anyway, and we ended up getting married and we're still happily married but I looked great for my wedding and I continued to get more and more in shape as time went on and then what do you know?
COVID hit and During this time. I remember having this really really intense fear That I was basically going to undo Everything that I had just worked for with my health because now the gyms were closed I couldn't go anywhere.
I had to stay home You know the grocery store shelves were empty and I was gonna sit on my bum all day and I was like I'm gonna have a flat bum. I'm gonna game all this way back and I'm just terrified so me living in a calorie deficit and constantly doing cardio Coupled with all of the stuff that came with COVID kind of spun me into disordered eating And it got pretty bad It got pretty bad.
It was not a good time in my life But we're gonna pause there for a second because this is where my career kind of inserts it all it all kind of happened at the same time It's really interesting so Right when COVID hit I was a full -time college student, but the month before Everything shut down.
I saw a free masterclass online One day about how to make money as a food photographer and I was like what? That's a thing like that's a job that's wild. I don't want to be a food photographer but I want to take this master class just to see like how it's possible.
So I took this master class and I felt so invigorated. Like my soul was on fire while I was watching this. I was like oh my gosh I've always loved photography. I really love food you know now I'm a healthy food nut whatever and I can like make money doing this.
This is wild. I didn't know that you could make money doing creative things right? I thought you could only make money going to college and like you know doing something with your degree or whatever.
So I was so fascinated by it. So I signed up to be on this girl's email list and I followed her on social media and I kind of just like started keeping tabs and trying to learn things here and there and I was kind of taking notes and then when COVID hit you know Everything went online for school and all these things.
And sorry, I know this is a lot to try and keep straight. But also around this time, amidst my health, and now this new sudden peaked interest in food photography, my husband and I were also trying to decide if we were gonna have a baby.
And I knew I was a 100% sure that I was not going to try and be a mom and be a full -time student. Cause I was just not interested. I know women do it and I applaud you if that's you, but that is not what I wanted for my life.
So we were trying to decide, okay, well, do we wait until I'm done with my degree? And then we start our family or do I like postpone my degree to start our family? Kind of a thing. And we just couldn't really decide.
Well, then COVID hit and everything was online and everything was weird. And I'd also found this thing about how to make money as a food photographer and I really liked photography and I really liked food.
So like all of these things together, combined with me being passionate about teaching other people about like how to eat healthy on a budget, I kind of like pitched it to my husband and I was like, hey, what if I took this girl's course?
Cause the girl that did the masterclass had an online course that like taught you how to be a food photographer. And I was like, what if I took this girl's course? And this was my job. And it was just kind of like a stay at home gig that I could do on my own time and I could work however much I wanted.
And then we wouldn't have to worry about like paying for school and I hated college anyway. I was so miserable. And then we can start our family and also COVID sucks. And so we talked about it and we prayed about it and we thought about it a lot and we felt like that was the point.
path for our family. So I ended up dropping out of college to start my food blog and my food photography career as well as start trying to get pregnant so we can have a little baby. Now in my mind I figured it would only take a couple months of getting off of the pill to get pregnant because I'm like well there's only one way to get pregnant and I won't be on the pill anymore so it should be like pretty straightforward.
Now if you've been able to keep my story straight so far remember that right around this time you know I was getting into my disordered eating and I was really really unhealthy. So right at this time when I started trying to conceive I started my trying to conceive journey I was at the peak of my running career and I was also the strongest in the gym that I had ever been.
So you look at me You look at pictures of me from that time of my life and you'd probably say, oh my gosh, you are so in shape, you are so healthy, you are so lean, you are so skinny. I had a six pack, okay?
I was really proud, but I was an absolute wreck on the inside. And when I say wreck, I like really, really want to drive home that I was an absolute mess. Let me just break it down for you, okay? I weighed less than 100 pounds at 22 years old.
I had extreme gut issues to the point that my breath smelled horrible no matter how much I brushed my teeth, no matter how much gum I had. And I had the worst gas ever. Like I was legitimately convinced that Tyler was going to divorce me because it was so bad.
I would faint if I stood up too fast or if it was too hot outside. I couldn't regulate my body temperature. Like in the sense that if it was less than 80 degrees inside or outside, I was wearing a sweatshirt and socks.
Like I could not regulate my body temperature. I was so tired no matter how much I slept or rested. And I had a hard time focusing on work and intensive tasks. So you couple all of that together with my trying to conceive journey and my food insecurity and my disordered eating and jump starting this brand new career out of thin air and dropping out of college.
There was a lot going on. And it got to a point where my health was rapidly declining, but I had no idea how bad it was. Other people could see it. My mom was worried. Tyler, my husband was worried. My best friends were worried, but I had no idea how bad it was.
I thought I was just experiencing a few weird symptoms for a short period of time. Anyway, it's a hard place to be. Luckily, my husband loved me enough to sit down with me and have the hard conversation that I needed to hear.
He helped me see that although my intentions were good, I didn't have the bigger picture in mind and I was doing more harm than good to my body. And I remember him saying, we decided that we're going to start our family, but your body is not in a place to be pregnant and your body is not in a place to support two people.
But I know you want that and you can have that. You just have to change. You have to stop living the way that you're living and we need to get you healthy. We need to get you better. Now that was a really hard conversation, but I remember this feeling of, oh my gosh, I'm not just doing this for me anymore.
I'm doing it for my family. I'm doing it for my kids. And if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes. So I committed to not living in a calorie deficit and exercising less at the time I was running an average of like three to four miles a day and spending 90 minutes lifting weights in the gym, but I was in a calorie deficit.
Like it was really intense. So I committed to eating more, dialing down on my exercise, so I wasn't putting so much stress on my body. And I made a commitment to be really, really transparent with Tyler when I was hungry or tired.
Now, quick side note. If you feel like you are struggling with disordered eating or you feel like your health habits are a little bit out of whack and you're scared that they're gonna get worse and you're not quite sure what to do, this last thing that I just mentioned was something that really, really helped me work through all of this stuff.
I promised myself that I was going to vocalize every single time that I was hungry or tired. Cause if I said it out loud, I couldn't keep it to myself. And Tyler could walk me through the steps of what to do next.
This really, really helped me retrain my brain and develop healthy habits around food and exercise. And it held me accountable for the changes that I wanted to make and the person I wanted to become.
Because I knew I couldn't trust myself, right? I had trusted myself and it had gotten me in that dark place. And so now I had to trust somebody else to help me through that. So if you're struggling with that, that's like my little tip for you.
Okay, back to the story. So a few months later, After working really hard to improve my health, at this point we had been trying to get pregnant for about 10 months. We were very, very blessed to get a positive pregnancy test.
And if I'm being honest, this positive test was more than just a confirmation of a little baby on the way. It was the reassurance that I needed, that the changes that I'd been making really were better for me and that all of my hard work was paying off.
I remember looking at the scale and being like, I've only gained a pound in the last two weeks and feeling really discouraged or continuing to see negative tests after negative tests and being like, nothing's changing, but I'm changing what I'm doing.
So this positive test was a really big deal for me. But at the same time, I also knew that it was now going to be a lot harder to keep up my new habits because of all the changes that... you go through during pregnancy, including like weight gain and swelling and like all these other things that you've heard of.
And I was worried about that. So I just promised myself that I would keep doing the things I've been doing to get as far as I had, like eating enough food, focusing on my protein, getting enough sleep every night and honoring my body when it came to exercise and understanding when I was doing too much.
And you know what? I'm happy to say that my first pregnancy was a beautiful time of my life. And I really did take care of my body and my baby in the best way possible. In fact, whenever people ask, I always say that pregnancy and like the goal and the hope of being pregnant is what healed my disordered eating.
And I am so, so grateful for that time in my life.
After my son Hiram was born, I promised myself to continue the healthy habits that I had been practicing during pregnancy, which as you know were things that I had been practicing before I got pregnant.
I was like, well, it's working this far. Let's keep going. So I made sure to eat it maintenance while I was breastfeeding, and I tried my best to stay on top of meals, snacks, and my water. Tyler was also super great about filling up my water and checking in to make sure I was eating.
He's the... He's the MVP here. Well, despite my best efforts, postpartum got the best of me, and I was extremely overwhelmed with the demands of exclusively breastfeeding, and I was always anxious about how my milk was affecting my son, Hiram.
Was he crying because he was hungry? Was he crying because his tummy hurt? Was he crying because I ate something that made my milk taste bad? No matter how hard I tried, I was always worried, and I always believed that it had something to do with me.
Like it was always my fault. It was always gonna come back to me. Like, after all, I was a new mom. What did I know? I'd never done this before. By about three months postpartum, I was so anxious that it was affecting my marriage, my work, and my social life, and I was kind of withdrawing from everyone, and I was really bitter and short -tempered, and I did not like being around my son, and I felt guilty about that.
I legit did not enjoy spending time with Hiram. It was really, really sad, and I couldn't focus on anything except for what I was lacking in. And looking back, I realized that more than anything, I was lacking in knowledge.
The whole, just in her son's demand, drink water and eat oatmeal, it wasn't cutting it, okay? It was not giving me the confidence I needed to thrive postpartum, especially while I was learning to breastfeed.
Well, Tyler and I didn't have the money to see a therapist or a lactation consultant, so it was up to Dr. Google to solve my problems. Luckily, I'd taken stats and nutrition in college, so I started researching published studies and accredited articles to find anything about nutrition and its relationship to breastfeeding, because I figured, If I can only work with what I have and what I have as food and a house and a baby, maybe there's something I can do about my food to make this all better.
Well, turns out there's a major connection between the two. Now what bothered me is that this wasn't taught to moms. Why did I have to dig and dig and dig to find what should be basic Intro to Motherhood 101?
Ugh, it still bothers me to this day. Well, after a few months of implementing what I'd found through research, not only did my milk supply improve, but my mental health dramatically improved too. I was no longer anxious about my supply or how it was affecting Hiram because I knew what was going on with my body and I knew what to do if something came up.
Now, during this time, I'm still running my food blog. I forgot to mention that. I keep talking about my family because it's my favorite. I should probably fill you in on what's going on with my career.
So I launched my food blog. I got pregnant, kept up with my food blog and my food photography. I had clients. It was going well. And then postpartum, I started to shift my focus from just sharing healthy recipes on my food blog to like lactation recipes and giving the empowerment and the knowledge that moms needed about their health through recipes, if that makes sense.
I was still taking clients and I was still just kind of like posting random recipes here and there, but I was like starting to discover that I had a really big passion for helping moms with their breastfeeding because that's what cured me of my anxiety and that's what helped pull me out of that postpartum black hole that I was stuck in for so long.
So I kind of felt torn at this point with my career because I was a full time stay at home mom, but I also had this career that I was trying to build, but I also felt conflicted because I no longer just wanted to post random recipes.
I wanted to do like education and I wanted to focus on helping other moms and spreading the word and like making a difference, but I couldn't figure out how to do that with the brand that I had established and with where my business and my career was at at that point.
So once I once I really got to understand what I had been learning from myself with breastfeeding and lactation and all those things, and I was sharing it with other women. Turns out it resonated with a lot of women and I wasn't the only mom struggling with my milk supply and my mental health and all of these other things.
So months and months and months went by and I finally sat down one day and I was like, I don't wanna be a food blogger anymore. I don't wanna be a food photographer anymore. I feel like it's just an empty, meaningless thing and I'm not passionate about it anymore but like I can't get myself to give up.
Like I feel like there's still something for me to do with my food blog and my food photography. I just don't know what. So after months and months and months of thinking and taking a social media break and then coming back and then taking another social media break, I finally realized that my passion was in the nutrition and the lactation science but I needed to shift my brand and my message to...
Give those resources to women through recipes and through my blog The only problem was my current brand didn't fit that so I was like, okay, do I just change the name of my brand? Do I like start a new food blog?
Do I drop all my clients like I was kind of in this weird interim? and I was really really scared to make a change because I Had established a name for myself people knew me as cop I cooking even though they could never pronounce it and You know I had a bunch of followers from college When my food blog was originally just about healthy recipes for college kids so it had kind of morphed over time, but I'd still built up this audience and this following in this brand and I was like I feel like I just need to completely pivot and Rebrand and do all these things, but I need to figure out how to make it work with what I have.
So in May of this year 2023 I took the leap and I rebranded my business My food blog and my passion for sharing healthy recipes still stayed a part of the bigger picture But I added a whole new branch of content along with it and shifted the focus of my food blog So I was still a food blogger.
I was still a food photographer. I was still working from home I was still a stay -at -home mom, but instead of just sharing random healthy recipes like I had been doing for three years I now share healthy recipes for motherhood So whether you're trying to conceive pregnant postpartum or just trying to feed your family as well as researched articles and educational content to help you navigate the tricky parts of motherhood like troubleshooting milk supply problems reversing hormonal imbalances like PCOS and healing holistically after childbirth Basically the well -nourished mama is here today to guide you through the stages of motherhood with confidence and health.
There's so much that conventional medicine and society isn't teaching you that you deserve to know and I'm here to close that gap for you. To do this, I invested in multiple certifications to be formally trained on all things women's health, including pre and postnatal fitness, postpartum nutrition and functional medicine.
I also show up on multiple social platforms to make sure you get all the support you need in the way that's most convenient and easy to understand, like Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, your inbox and hopefully this podcast.
Really what I want you to understand is that I come from a place of wanting more than what I had. And not in like a really entitled, selfish, I'm better than you kind of away, but more in the sense of I know what it's like to not have a lot when it comes to your health or knowledge or training or support and I don't want you to have to go through what I did.
I don't want you to have to feel like postpartum is a black hole that you will never get out of. I was talking to my friend the other day and we were talking about why we both decided to go into the field of work that we did.
We're both in women's health and she was telling me she's like, I hated the message that essentially postpartum is hopeless but have hope. Like the idea that it's gonna suck but like it gets better. We both hated that message and when we learned that there's a way to make it not suck so that you don't have to feel crappy all the time and you don't have to feel unsupported and you don't have to feel like you're just a slave to whatever happens then we want to give you that experience and you're gonna get to meet her later.
She's gonna be the first guest on my podcast in a couple episodes but what I want you to know is that the reason I'm telling you my story today is because I want you to know that I came from that hard place.
I came from that black hole. I came from rock bottom and I made it out with the things that I'm going to teach you in this community whether it's on the podcast or on social media or in your email. This podcast is here to be an in -depth and conversational and personal research source for you so that you can have all of that knowledge that I never had until it was like too late in a sense.
You know, I didn't get it before I had kids. I had to get it during that black hole and during all of that postpartum stuff. And even if you're not a mom yet, I highly suggest that you pay attention to everything that you're gonna learn here because that way you don't have to experience both sides.
You can just have an amazing experience. And if you are like my mom's age, whether you're my mom's friends that are listening to this, or you're done having kids and so you're not gonna be going through pregnancy, postpartum, lactation, all those things, we're still gonna talk about a lot of topics on this podcast that are just about women's health in general that are here to help you be a well -nourished mom in all sense of the word.
Whether that's physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, all those things, I want you to have the resources to be your very best in the most holistic way possible. So instead of just throwing a bunch of pills at you or telling you just have hope it'll get better or oh you just have to make it through the first year or just wait until your kids go to school, all those things, I want you to love the now.
I don't want you to just wait for the later and hope that the later is better. I want you to love the now, where you're at right now, whatever stage you're in as a woman, whether you don't have kids or you're done having kids and you're just raising them or you have grandkids because you still have the influence to be such an incredible resource for those generations after you.
So where do you fit into all of this? You are my why if you hadn't figured that out already. I took the hard route and learned everything after the fact and on my own so you don't have to. I've gotten the education and created the resources to help you thrive in your motherhood journey so you can feel supported from the beginning unlike me.
Basically I don't want you to have to go through what I went through and in case you're wondering I don't just share about nutrition. I talk about fitness, mental health, marriage and everyday life hacks to help you live a well -rounded and well -nourished life because motherhood is all -encompassing right?
The well nourished mama for that very reason covers everything you need to flourish and thrive in motherhood. I'm going to tell you right now it is not just about surviving it's about thriving, okay?
That's what we're all about here, is thriving in motherhood. But most importantly, I want you to know that I'm coming from a place of honesty and transparency. I'm not here to be the all -knowing wizard behind the curtain who only tells you enough to get to the Yellowbrick Road and then watch you fumble along and fight off the wicked witch of the West all by yourself.
I'm here to literally teach you the science behind your body and the journey of motherhood so you can make the best choices for you and your family. Does this mean you can't trust your OBGYN or your formerly trained doctor?
No. I'm here to offer new insights and new perspectives from a different side of medicine that our society has forgotten about. The side of medicine that's been around way longer than our modern -day advancements.
I'm here to work with you and your doctor to give you the most support the most training and the most resources possible while you navigate this very special time of your life. Because you know what?
You can't make an informed decision on partial information. You need to know all the variables that play and you need to know all the different options out there. So thank you for being here. Thank you for trusting me to be a part of your motherhood journey.
And I hope I can continue to support you moving forward. I hope after today's episode, you have a better understanding of who I am, where I'm coming from and what you can expect from the Wellness Mama community.
And I hope that you are excited for what is to come. I've got some amazing topics planned out for the podcast. I've got some incredible guests that are gonna be coming on. And most importantly, I just have a wealth of knowledge to share with you.
So I hope you stick around. I hope you love this podcast as much as I do. And I hope we get to connect on social media. Thanks for being here, mama. I'll catch you next time. And that's the end of another episode.
I hope you love today's topic as much as I did. You can find all of today's show notes and details at thewellnourishedmama .com forward slash podcast, as well as all of my recipes and resources on the blog.
If you found this episode helpful, inspirational, or motivational in any way, please, please, please leave a five star rating and review so other mamas can discover the podcast too. Oh, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you don't miss any new episodes.
As always, you're amazing mama. Don't forget that. I'll see you in the next episode. Love you.