These three pictures capture me at three very different weights, with very different diets, mindsets and attitudes towards my health and wellbeing.
I came across the first picture of me the other day. My heart ached for that young girl, but at the same time I was also overwhelmed with gratitude. It was that version of me that began my journey into holistic health & nutritional medicine.
I’m putting my insecurities and embarrassment aside to tell you a part of my story in hope of helping anyone else out there struggling with their health to know that they are not alone. People may look effortlessly healthy through the lens of a filtered newsfeed but its so important to remember that our pages are a highlight reel, not reality.
But first I just want to say a couple things. This is just one chapter of my long (and still continuing) health journey, it is a summary of events and not every detail so please don’t jump to conclusions. Secondly, I am a giraffe (5”11 / 183cm) so what was well under/ overweight for my body frame will likely not be the same on yours.
Picture 1 - 2009 - 55 kg - 17 yo
My height is something I love today, but teenage me hated it. I towered over all my girlfriends (not to mention the boys - how embarrassing). Even though I was a normal weight my entire childhood I could never share clothes with my shorter and therefore smaller framed friends. Then, in my sophomore year of Highschool (year 10) I got a bestie who was almost my height - I was so excited! She was a lot skinnier than me, but it was the closest “closet sharing” friendship I’d ever had. So I stopped eating as much. Breakfast was a glass of pulpy OJ, lunch was non existent and dinner was ⅓ of whatever simple healthy dish was served at dinner.
Its insane to look back and realise that something so seemingly silly and trivial was the trigger for an eating disorder. However, what I have learned through my studies is that this is extremely normal. Any trauma, no matter how small during our vulnerable teenage years that is not properly addressed can manifest into a disordered eating, since at that age often our food is the only thing we have a sense of control over.
I got down to 55 kg with a BMI of 16.2 (anything under 18.5 is concerningly underweight). My period stopped for about a year before Mum took me to a “very reputable” gynecologist. Although it should have been oobvious to any professional with half a brain that it had stopped because I was not eating enough, she diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). People suffering from PCOS are commonly overweight, have cysts on their ovaries, acne, and hirsutism (excess hair growth). Absolutely none of these applied. She told me that because of this condition I would never be able to have children. With a pat on the back and a giant dose of steroids, she sent me on my way.
Picture 2 - 2012 - 85 kg - 20 yo
The steroids prescribed to me in this 20 minute consultation were the beginning of the worst health spiral I have ever experienced. The drugs made me blow up like a puffer fish (pictured lol). Next came 3 years of struggles with weight, mood, brain fog and hormones. My gut health was in absolute shambles. I had more intolerances than I could count, just looking at dairy would make me sick and the bloating was 24/7.
Doctors continued to give me generic nutrition guidelines, band-aid solutions and ‘fix it’ pills. I followed all of them yet no matter what, I couldn’t get back to my naturally healthy self. Deep down I always knew something was missing.
Then when I was 21 I had an awful accident and broke my leg in 4 places. With 3 months in bed on my horizon I knew I needed to get into something to keep my mind busy.
I chose food: cooking it, learning about it, researching it.
I began to experiment with using my food as medicine and was amazed by the results.
Without going on a “diet” the weight melted off so quickly and my anxiety disappeared – I felt amazing, both inside and out. From then on I was hooked.
Hippocrates said it thousands of years ago, and in our world, today science has finally backed it up; Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food. And this is exactly what I studied in my Bachelor of Health Science: Nutritional Medicine.
Picture 3 - 2019 - 70 kg - 27 yo
I graduated from Endeavour College of Natural Health in 2016. Since then I have been so blessed to work with clients both online and in person all across the world.
But in no way is my personal health journey complete - which is a good thing! What I now know and appreciate is that the more struggles that I go through, the more I am able to relate to my clients experience. Every time I learn a new way to heal myself I am able to use that first hand experience to help show my clients how they too can do the same. Textbook knowledge and clinic experience are great but nothing is better than being able to work with a client through something that you know exactly how they felt.
You don’t need to starve yourself, eat like a Victoria Secret Angel or follow fad diets to be “healthy”. You don’t need to take endless supplements, smash yourself in the gym or only drink celery juice to be well. It is okay to be confused about what to eat! It is okay to feel lost and like sometimes it’s all too hard. This is normal! But.. with just a little time, education and a lot of love you can literally use the food that you eat to heal yourself from the inside out. No fads, no diets, no calorie counting. This is the magic of nutritional medicine.
If you are interested in learning more about how to use the food that you eat to heal yourself from the inside out please get in touch! I love chatting with you guys. If you want to book a consultation I would love to help you become your healthiest self. Jump here for more information.
Cheers to balance!
Shannon Rosie x