As I start writing this post I had to stop for a little woo-saaa moment. I have meditated over the thought of telling my story for a LONG time, thinking I really didn't have much of a story, and the bit that I did have, I didn't feel the need to share. Thoughts would run through my head, "everyone goes through their own shit, yours is no different" or "your story doesn't make you special" – you know, the super nice chatter we listen to or as Melissa Amberosini calls it, "our inner mean girl." I came to the realization that everyone does go through their own shit, and if I’m comfortable with my story, I can be relatable and help others through their journey. I don't claim to have it all together when I meet my clients, and I am the first to admit my weaknesses, so they know that they aren't alone in their struggles.
I had a good childhood with a loving family growing up. I was a competitive athlete growing up, which meant I was able to follow the rules and get good grades. My high school boyfriend broke my heart and from there I went into a little rebellious stage. Started hanging out with people older than me, drinking, lying to my parents and thought I was doing things that normal teenagers do. I went on to play college softball, all the while living a toxic life full of alcohol, junk food and unhealthy relationships. I thought because I played ball, worked a part-time job, had a long-term relationship, prioritized time with my family, while working toward a bachelor’s degree, I was doing all right in life.
When I was finishing up school I decided my love for serving others and fitness is where I wanted to develop my career. I went back to a small private training facility in my hometown that my family trusted and trained at for many years. As an athlete I never saw myself as overweight, but when I went to the studio and applied for the job as a personal trainer, they had a standard that you practice what you preach, which meant my lifestyle needed to change. If I wanted the job I had to prove that I would eat better, incorporate fitness into my life, work on my mindset so I could better understand and help clients, drop some pounds, and step outside of my comfort zone.
In the process of quitting drinking, eating healthier, and becoming more fit, I lost 20 pounds – but that wasn't all that I lost. I lost relationships with friends, I ended a long and unstable relationship with a boyfriend, and even my relationship with my family changed. As I got stronger within myself and more confident in my health, I knew how much potential I had to grow into the person I wanted to be. I realized I had to shed who I used to be, so I could step into who I envisioned I could be. This was by no means a quick transition for me, especially at the age of 23. I decided that these changes would improve my quality of life and those around me and it was worth the sacrifice and commitment.
I went to my first holistic lifestyle coaching certification by Paul Chek (the gold standard of holistic academies and it changed my life. This practice allowed me to help my clients not just through fitness, but through healing the body. I started learning about stress, sleep, meditation, how food is grown, household and cosmetic product ingredients, and how these can each play a factor in our health. I wanted my family, friends and clients to understand how a holistic approach to making more conscious health decisions and consumer purchases could improve their lives.
Toxicity can present itself in so many ways in our lives: food, bad relationships, meaningless sex, alcohol, drugs, binging, stress, insomnia, depression, negative self-talk, etc. No one was going to change the path I was on – I was the only person in the driver’s seat and if I wanted change in my life I HAD TO BE THAT CHANGE. When I developed better beliefs and values in my life, my whole world changed. Enter my now husband, Matt. He was unlike any man I had ever dated. He treated me with respect, he was smart, supportive, was open to learn my lifestyle and quickly adapted his beliefs and values around health with mine as he learned and felt the benefits.
Things don’t always happen for a reason, but there is always a lesson to be learned from those experiences. I still sort through my past traumas trying to find all the lessons that lay within, and in fact, I’ve found that’s a very important exercise. The lessons will come with time and through reflection, and they must, as it is hard to conquer the future without acknowledging the past. I do believe that we attract the type of energy we put out, and that changing the way we view, and value life allows us to change our circumstances (which can be difficult to do at times!). Every day is a chance to become better than who you were yesterday.
XO – Stefanie