Fill in the blank. For me it could’ve been one more:

  • glass of wine
  • bout of stomach pain and vomiting
  • day of worrying for my children’s wellbeing
  • loved-one’s suicide
  • abusive phone call
  • sinus infection
  • day of struggling with body image
  • round of antibiotics
  • betrayal of trust by an addict
  • episode of emotional binge-eating
  • day of longing for a healthy mother
  • day of being laxative-dependent

The list was a long one for me prior to December 28, 2010.   That was the day.

Woke up and decided one day copy

When I first shared this quote on social media awhile back, I had an overwhelming response with the question, “What happened before that day”?

My closest friends knew of the turmoil in my 20s and 30s within the family (mental illness, addictions, loss of loved ones to suicide, abusive and broken relationships, nasty custody battle). It may have even become as “normal” to most of our friends as it was to us, my husband and me. It simply was part of our lives, it was our normal. Others have not known of the extent of the difficulties we faced as a young family. I didn’t and don’t talk about those things a lot. In hindsight, I suppose it embarrassed me a little. I didn’t want to be defined by those issues. Also, I’ve never wanted to wear my trials as trophies. But more than anything, we worked tirelessly to create a healthy, happy, safe and loving home for our three children – protecting them and ourselves from the cruel circumstances that we couldn’t escape from outside of our happy little family of five.  Lastly, despite those challenges, I always felt we had more good fortune than we had bad. We had a ton of love, good friends, stable and supportive family members, adequate financial stability and a healthy social life.   Even so, eventually I couldn’t deny the profound physical and emotional toll the many years of heartache and stresses had on me.

On the outside I was an energetic, motivated, fit mom and social butterfly who was the life of a party.   On the inside, I was a mess. After years of trying to hold it all together, I feared I was on the verge of shattering. My body was failing me terribly. My previous efforts to take care of myself through misguided diet and exercise had failed, and I realized how my lifestyle and coping skills were contributing.

Below is an excerpt from an email that I’d sent to my closest friends on that day, December 28, 2010.   I’m not sure what made that day “the day”.   I just know I felt drained, defeated by my lack of control, and at this point, simply unwell with often debilitating digestive, hormonal and immunity issues.

“To my friends that I regularly drink large volumes of wine and eat copious amounts of cheese with… in order to remain the hot tamale that you’ve all come to love LOL, I have set a goal for myself to cut out alcohol completely for a couple months, and eliminate cheese and sugary treats from my diet. I’m telling you this because 1) apparently telling your friends makes you more accountable and 2) to lessen your shock when we get together and I bring a veggie tray and soda water! Here’s to a healthy and “regular” (re: bowel habits) new year”.

Their playful group responses included statements that made light of the content, I suppose matching the tone of my message. The one I’ve never forgotten was, “Someone call a shrink because I think Yvette’s lost her mind.” I know it was all in good fun, but I remember it bothered me greatly that they didn’t take me seriously. I suppose my message had been sort of a cry for help.  I now see that comment as a gift. Probably sparked in part by spite, I set out to heal my broken body from the inside out.

I didn’t understand the body and the science of our biochemistry then, but I knew I was sick of feeling sick. If cleaning up my diet might help me feel better, I was willing to give it an honest effort. I began learning, I found a holistic nutrition coach (which began my journey to natural bodybuilding and fitness competing), I withdrew from the activities and behaviors that sabotaged my efforts.

As they say, the rest is history!   Today I am healthy and happy. Nutrition truly changed my life, it was my miracle. I’m now a Pro Natural Figure Athlete and a Certified Holistic Nutrition coach with a passion for helping others experience the joy of wellness through nutrition.

Some of the same challenging circumstances still exist in my life, but time heals and optimal nutrition helps my body mitigate the potentially devastating effects of stress. As for my playful friends, they still are 🙂 But we don’t see each other near as often as we once did.   Change can be tough. But feeling less than your best is tougher.