I wanted to start a new series called Success Stories as I have so many rockstar clients that I want to showcase here on my blog. These Success Stories have been written by my clients, sharing their health journey while working with me. I want to celebrate all that they have overcome and accomplished! It’s time to celebrate health! For more Success Stories click here.
I turned to Meg when I hit rock bottom, but the journey that lead me to her really started long before then. As a sophomore in college, I lost almost 30 pounds in three months due to inexplicable digestive issues and severe nausea. I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease about a year later, at which point I was severely malnourished and suffering from infections or flares on a bi-weekly basis. I started to see a holistic doctor to manage my autoimmune conditions – lupus and celiac disease – and she suggested that I start the GAPS diet, a healing protocol that emphasizes bone broth, animal proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables.
I jumped into the paleo lifestyle headfirst because I was so desperate to get better, and to a certain extent it was a success! I was able to study abroad in Rome, Italy for four months and travel all over Europe without getting sick enough to be sent home, and I considered that to be major progress. But I returned to the United States in December severely underweight and still a far cry from good health. Because the GAPS diet had already helped me so much, I was convinced that the only way to heal was to commit more fully to that protocol. I became obsessive about my food – I limited fruit to decrease my sugar intake, I refused to eat out for fear of cross contamination, I never ate anything unless I had read the ingredients list. But none of this helped me heal my malnourished body – I ended my junior year in the spring of 2015 skinnier and more miserable than I had ever been.
I found Meg on Instagram in June of that same year and immediately knew that I wanted to work with her simply because she was the only person I had ever encountered that talked about using real, whole, nutrient-dense foods to gain weight rather than lose it. I sent her a long email detailing all of my health issues and asking whether she thought we would be a good fit; though I did not realize it at the time, I’m sure Meg could tell just from that single email that I had so much more going on than just digestive problems and malnourishment. I thought that Meg would give me meal plans, teach me tricks, and provide me with the accountability I needed to restore my weight and then everything would be fine again, but Meg knew better than that. Though I insisted to myself that this would be a quick and easy solution, it soon became clear that working with Meg was going to be a long road to personal transformation.
There were many basic things that Meg and I worked on together that made a HUGE difference in my healing journey. After years of feeling digestive distress and developing abnormal eating habits as a result, I had absolutely no idea how much food or which kinds of foods I needed to be eating to gain weight. Meg helped me understand how to create a balanced plate that would fuel me for the day, respond to my hunger cues, and eat intuitively. She also pushed me to work on lifestyle factors (which I had been blatantly ignoring), most importantly my stress level. When I started to take more time to do the things I care about and spend time with those I love, I saw dramatic improvements in my overall wellbeing. All in all, Meg and I accomplished the goal I established when we started working together: I gained about 25 pounds in six months. But beyond these more typical functions of a nutritionist, Meg gently urged me to go deeper and to address issues I did not even know I had. As I reflect on all I learned from my time working with Meg, I realized that she gave me three unexpected and immeasurable gifts.
The first gift Meg gave to me was hope. In one of our first sessions, we were discussing my low energy levels, lack of appetite, bloating and constipation, etc. At this point, I had no hope of living without these ailments – my mindset was that I had chronic diseases that I could never fully overcome, so I just needed to accept my miserable reality. But Meg had other plans for me. In one of her first follow-up emails, she wrote: “remember that this RIGHT NOW isn’t ALWAYS going to be your normal. We’re working towards a new, healthier normal for you.” This was the first time that I really allowed myself to believe that I could heal, I could be happier, and I could one day feel like myself again. Even when I had setbacks or got bad news, I always cherished the hope Meg helped me find.
The second gift was freedom. When Meg and I started working together, she helped me realize that I was constantly worried about what other people were thinking or what I was supposed to be doing rather than listening to my own body, mind, and spirit. With Meg’s help, I stopped worrying about what people would think if I ate a whole avocado as snack or whether people were judging me for not going out. My newfound sense of freedom allowed me to experiment in the kitchen, go to sleep at 9 pm if I felt tired, and speak with my friends and family more honestly. Throughout our time working together, it is like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders as I have shed the burden of my self-consciousness and constant stress.
But the most important gift Meg gave to me was happiness. I have been defined by my bright smile and bubbly personality for most of my life, but I really lost those parts of myself for a while. When Meg and I started working together, I was serious, solemn, stressed, and sad. Over the past year, though, I feel like I have become my usual happy self again. I don’t remember the last time I cried myself to sleep. My smile lights up my whole face. I tell stupid dad jokes and overuse snapchat face filters. I regularly laugh until I cry. I feel playful and joyful again – two qualities I lacked entirely for a period of time. Today, without hesitation, I can say that I am happy.
So all in all, what did I gain from working with Meg? I gained 25 much-needed pounds and all of the physical benefits that accompany that – brighter skin, thicker hair, more energy, strength. But more importantly, I gained hope, freedom, and happiness. My health is still certainly not perfect, but I feel ready to face the challenges ahead of me and confident that I am prepared to handle all of life’s curveballs. I can honestly say that I love my life and I love myself – two things I never could have honestly claimed at this time last year. Oh, and have I mentioned that I love Meg too? 😉