In honor of #tbt, (throwback Thursday) I thought I'd share a story...
I grew up in your typical Standard American Diet (SAD) home eating some of the best American comfort food and spending my allowance on junk food, donuts and soda. Now, don't get my wrong, Mom made everything from scratch, including bread, biscuits, gravy, home-raised pork, chickens, eggs and the works. I didn't even know what Dinty Moore meant when somebody from school asked about my soup. That said, despite Mom's best efforts, it was tough to get me to eat veggies and I rarely enjoyed fruit. I predominately ate BBQ'd meat and carbs. Even though my mother tried to limit my intake, soda was a daily beverage. I was never very active but wasn’t exactly lazy either.
In June 2003 at 23 years old, I was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis, a rare Autoimmune disease. I struggled with reaching my feet and lifting my hands above my head due to severe connective tissue inflammation. My menstrual cycle was so irregular I at one point went 70 days between cycles. At 5’7″, I was 175 pounds, a SAD eater and struggling to find the strength to be an active person. I enjoyed dance, hiking and the occasional yoga class but I was far from routine and needed a lifestyle change. So I quit my corporate job, moved back home with mom and took my savings to see a Naturopathic Doctor. He put me on several herbal concoctions and a high protein, low carb diet. I avoided all things packaged and processed and completely stopped ALL sugar intake, including fruit. I was overridden with Candida from the inside out. I began losing weight quickly. I maintained this system steady for 3 months until I couldn’t afford it anymore. I had rid my body of all yeast overgrowth, walked around 20 pounds lighter, and started hiking and doing yoga regularly.
That Christmas I was in a horseback riding accident and broke my back in 4 places. I was bed ridden for quite some time, wearing a lovely designer body brace (insert laugh here) and unable to continue my new found physical independence. During my recovery, I began reaching for comfort foods again. Due to the lack of physical movement and the foods I began eating, I gained 25 pounds and battled with the disease and Candida once more.
I realized that I couldn't afford to continue like this so I pursued an education in Holistic Medicine. I started regular juice fasting, and went vegetarian within the first 6 months. Now, I coach people through their own journey to Restoring Wellness through www.WellnessByMotherNature.com.
I now walk around 60-70 pounds lighter than my max (199lbs), still routinely juice fast and eat vegetarian. I've journeyed from a predominately meat eating person to raw vegan and now, intuitive vegetarian, as I call it.
People routinely tell me that they CAN'T do it. They have to cook for a husband or children... or they have to do it alone. They see my figure now and assume I've always been this size or that I grew up eating this way. They say, "I can't do that because I love food too much."
"If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them." In each and every day - every moment - you have the opportunity to RECREATE yourSELF in the ways that you dream. See yourself as an athlete? - become one! See yourself thin? - do it. See yourself healthy? - FEEL IT and BECOME IT.
To those who say they CAN'T, I write this bio and other articles published in magazines on how to deal with a unique dietary lifestyle when others do not understand it. I cooked for my partner at the time - breakfast, lunch and dinners - while fasting. If I can do it - somebody who also LOVES food - you can do it too.
One thing you will face; however, are people who do not understand, who judge, who pity, who don't want to be around you, and those who are jealous of your strength. The key in this is 1) Do not preach to them about their choices; 2) Do not pity yourself for your choices; 3) Realize it is your STRENGTH - not any weakness - that helps you live this way and that this is YOUR life you're living afterall.
One mother wrote me with a description of how she tried her best to raise her daughter, who also has an autoimmune disease. It is a bit long but I highly recommend you read through to the end. She writes:
I know your story is important for people to open up and see you are just like everyone else. We all have a story. We all have a beginning, which affected where we find ourselves today. I've sat in your classes in the past and wondered if people are looking at my weight and asking themselves about "the unhealthy lady" in the front row. Granted, I'm taking the steps to get healthier and perhaps being the underdog inspires others. But I digress... I wanted to share with you how my story would read from the other side - as the mother of a child with an autoimmune disease. It is a little bit different than yours.
Read the rest here (toward the 2nd half of the page):
This blog is on the many avenues that interest Coach Stephanie. Subjects are a vast array of hobbies, career, desires, coaching and lifestyle.
"I am here for support, guidance, education and as an example of what works for ME. What works for me may work for you or at least provide you with a starting point from which to explore. I am discovering what works for me at every moment. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do feel I have a teaching and healing nature with which I am here to share. In this blog, I offer you a view into my practice of being that which makes my experience - MINE."
Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Practitioner, Stephanie Austin, was guided into holistic living in 2002 when she was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis, an uncommon autoimmune disease affecting the skin and muscle.
Opting for education rather than medication, Austin enrolled in a Holistic Health Practitioner program in 2004 after realizing she'd been gifted with disease so that she may learn to heal herself and later teach others to do the same.
Since her education, Austin has released over 60 pounds and conquered years of junk food addiction through holistic healing and nutrition techniques that she now passes onto others through her business, Wellness by Mother Nature.
Austin has been the Director of Education and Board Member for the nonprofit organization, The Wellness Kitchen. She is the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Graduate Award from www.ACHS.edu.
Austin is an author, coach and speaker who empowers people on the healing value of nutrition and the innate self-healing abilities of a body in balance.
She has helped hundreds of people achieve balance through methods such as meditation, herbs, movement, supplements, aromatherapy, homeopathy, nutrition, mind-body connection, energy healing and by closely listening to the needs of her clients.
It is awareness that brings change, not your effort. Why does it happen through awareness? - because the awareness changes you. And when you are different, the world is different. It is not a question of creating a different world, it is only a question of creating a different you. You are your world; so if you change, the world changes.
My Other Blogs
I've used several websites over the years to journal my juice cleanses. Since there are many years worth of journals, I am slowly moving them all to this one. Meanwhile, you can view my First Juice Fast blog here and a few others here and here.
If you're looking for program specific blogs (ie. Juice Cleanse or Gluten Free) visit the Classes and Programs here for their respective blogs, which are password assessable to clients only.
The Traveling Homesteader has an entirely separate blog here.
Otherwise, I write everything else here at www.StephanieAustin.com.