Hey there, I am Susan, one of the coaches and program director at Ideal Wellness.
I want to share with you how to become a guiding force in your own life. It is important not be a victim of our lives and circumstances but instead to be the force that chooses what and how we will live. Life should not be about just letting things happen, but instead, decide to create the experiences we want to happen. I am a firm believer in the ability to heal our bodies through our attitudes and choices. We can learn to love, embrace and enjoy all that this life has to offer. And yes, that sounds easier than it is but it can happen. With hard work, dedication, love, and kindness to ourselves, we can find the happiness many of us desire. I hope that my words will help you, inspire you, give you motivation and even help you to recognize that you are not alone. We all need one another and connection is part of the healing process. I believe in truth, speaking how I feel and think, so know that all of my words come from a place of love. My intentions are to help people to reflect on their own choices or ideas, to see if there are areas for growth and acknowledgment.
Let me start with how my journey through wellness began. I have struggled most of my adult life with the ups and downs of weight. Losing 10, 20, 30 then gaining 40 only to do it all over again and again. In 2001, after having my second child, I became seriously ill with an autoimmune condition called Sarcoidosis. This disease left me in constant pain throughout my entire body; I was completely debilitated for four months. Over the next several years, eleven to be exact, I continued to struggle with no relief. Several autoimmune conditions continued to pop up, by 2004, I had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, autoimmune Hepatitis C, Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s and the antibodies for Lupus but no symptoms. This left me defeated, heavy and depressed as hell! Then in 2007, I turned 40, had started to turn the corner, I had lost 30lbs and was feeling good. I decided I need to work with a trainer to build my strength. I worked with her three days a week, pushing cars, flipping tires and swing ropes. And in no time, I had gained 45lbs! Yep, I wanted to cry; my trainer accused me of overeating or not being truthful in my journal. I was devastated, that was wrong!! Apparently, I had overworked my adrenals causing myself to now have adrenal fatigue. After testing, I was told my cortisol levels was too high. And the best thing I could do for myself was to meditate, walk, take yoga and laugh. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
I had no idea how to meditate or do yoga, and currently, nothing was funny. I spent many a day sitting on the floor, pissed and in tears. I felt like a two-year-old throwing a full-blown temper tantrum. Until 2011, I decided to take back the control of MY life. It was time to figure out how to lose the weight and figure out why my body was attacking itself. There had to be a connection with something I was doing. I began to question everything. Then one day, it clicked, no one had ever asked me, “Susan, what do you eat or drink daily?” Could the answer be here…
I began by giving up the one thing I could not imagine my life without, Diet Coke. I drank more than a gallon a day. There was not a time in my adult life up to this point that you would ever see me without a 32oz cup in my hand. I was insistent that I could/would only drink if from a fountain pop machine. And hands down, my first choice would always be McDonald’s. Was it the drive to get it, possibly, but I was also convinced it just tasted better. This was a ritual in my life, several times a day. When it was suggested to give it up, I would panic. I even consulted my physician to see if there was a rehab for diet coke drinkers like there was for alcoholics. He actually made some calls for me. I was a bit mortified that I even suggested it. And guess what, there are no such places, but they do get many requests. Eventually, I was able to let go by switching over to iced coffee, which I freaking hated! I loaded it with sugar and cream so I could choke it down. However, after many months, I began backing out the sugar, then the cream and I truly began to like it.
And today, I freaking love it! Like all things, I have evolved and changed. I drink coffee with unsalted grass-fed butter, MCT and coconut oil every morning. Wow, what a difference. And as for diet coke, I have had it, but it no longer calls my name or fills any need for me.
Once I had accomplished that hurdle, I decided it was time to drop 50lbs and completely change how I thought about food. It was not easy; I was a complete SUGAR head! I was that person who kept boxes, the big dollar size boxes of candy in my nightstand drawer, just incase I needed a quick fix. And oh how I loved bagels with cream cheese for breakfast and lunch was ALWAYS a sandwich with chips. As for dinner, it was whatever was on the menu at the restaurant that my family had chosen because the idea of cooking scared me! I hated to cook; I felt I was terrible at it and I was incredibly insecure. I never wanted anyone outside of my husband and kids ever to have to try anything I made. However, today I L O V E to cook and to create new things without using a recipe. It did not happen overnight – it took days, weeks and months of trying different things and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And if you are open and ready to do the work, this can be you too.
So as you travel this path towards a healthy lifestyle be patient with yourself, take time to listen to your inner wisdom and learn to trust yourself.