My entire life I have struggled with food. Diet pills, starving myself (though that never lasted very long) and bingeing, rinse, repeat. I was constantly comparing myself (and my thighs) to others. You see, I had hips and thighs and a rather generous tush at 13 years of age. Of course I wanted the slender boyish frame the models had and the girls that could wear anything. And then came along the no-fat craze which completely TOOK ME OUT. When I say took me out, I say completely changed the way I ate (listening to when I was full, loving my mom’s homemade meals) and turned me into someone who just well, ate. And ate and ate. I think I’m still working to reverse some of that insane calorie damage I did to myself back then and trying to bring myself back to a state of balance.
As a natural born redhead I think I’ve always had a bit of a rebel inside of me. Oh my brother is having Stouffer’s mac and cheese as a snack after school – I can have that too! (whether I wanted it or not). Again, comparing myself to others and not listening to what was right for MY body.
“Adulthood” was only slightly better. That’s where I coin my phrase the “rollercoaster cycle of good and bad” from. I went through phases where I was good (aka eating less crap and losing a few pounds) and phases where I was “bad” (aka eating after nights of drinking, drinking, well drinking some more and eating some more, mostly out of boredom).
So how did this rollercoaster all end for me? I attended the world’s leading nutrition school, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and finally learned how to get off of the rollercoaster for good. I learned how to re-eat, specifically what the right foods were for my unique body. I ended the cycle of “good and bad phases” and have never looked back. IIN, based in New York City, is a one-of-a-kind nutrition school that integrates many dietary theories, combining the knowledge of traditional philosophies like Ayurveda and macrobiotics with modern concepts like the USDA pyramid, the glycemic index, The Zone and raw foods.
I am a certified health coach and member of AADP, The American Association of Drugless Practitioners. I hold a B.A. from Syracuse University. Some of my many teachers include: Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, AnneMarie Colbin, Joel Fuhrman, Barry Sears (The Zone), Neal Barnard, Arthur Agatston (South Beach Diet), Sally Fallon, Mark Hyman, Andrea Beaman, David Katz, John Douillard, Walter Willet, Marion Nestle, Harville Hendrix.
People are always shocked to see me eating cake at a special event but I know that I’ve found balance in my life.
It’s not what you eat some of that time that makes you healthy, it’s what you eat most of the time.
I spend my days feeding my body delicious and exciting vegetables, grains, fish etc. I know these foods help me to have clear thoughts and energy every single day. I feel content inside. I’m doing work that I truly love down to my bones and no longer obsess about food in the damaging ways that I used to. Most importantly, I get to help people who have struggled with the very same things and guide them to be like me – the healthiest that they can be.
Photography © 2014 Steph Jensen Photography • www.stephjensen.com