Hey beautiful…yes, I’m talking to you.

What?! You don’t feel beautiful or sexy? Have those two words not been in your wheelhouse since you turned 40?

Sadly, I’ve met more women than you would imagine who have felt the same way. Instead of feeling more confident with their bodies as they mature, I’ve met women who can’t lose weight and are constantly tired, or who feel and look older than they should having lost their sexy, self confidence somewhere along way.

I get it. Normal life for me was one long research project searching for the perfect diet, exercise plan and supplements that would help me become the woman who I knew was inside me somewhere but was trapped inside a body that was aging faster than it should.

My name is Stephanie west of the Mississippi and Lori to the east; that story, however, is for another time.

When I turned 46 I hit rock bottom and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Allow me to explain:

For most of my life I’ve suffered from one illness to another. During my elementary and high school years, I had countless bouts of respiratory illnesses, each time requiring successive rounds of antibiotics.

After gaining the freshman 15+ pounds in college, I went on a diet that catapulted me into a 10-year-long eating disorder.

By the time I reached my 20s, not only did I battle bulimia but I had horrible bowel issues, migraines and chronic urinary tract infections. Taking Tums and Ex-Lax, Imitrex for the migraines and Cipro for the UTI’s – I was stocking my own personal pharmacy.

At 32 I was diagnosed with an “incurable” debilitating bladder disease called Interstitial Cystitis (I.C.). The treatments were as painful as the disease itself. I endured monthly catheterization treatments plus MORE antibiotics.

Since it seemed like chronic UTI’s were in my foreseeable future, my Urologist gave me a year’s prescription of antibiotics so I could treat myself when I felt that very familiar pain coming on; this went on for the next six years.

I did everything the doctors told me to: I took the medications they told me to take and I ate the very “healthy” diet laid out by the USDA. As a result I felt like I was dying a very slow death. At 40, trying to homeschool three young kids, my health was nosediving into a dark pit and I had no idea how to crawl out.

The side effects of the medications exacerbated my problems as well. Bowel irritability, migraines and bladder problems still persisted, but now I had a weird rash on my elbows that wouldn’t go away and laryngitis reared its ugly head every month, lasting about five days at a clip. Chronic fatigue and “brain fog” made it almost impossible to be there for my husband and kids.

So I ditched the medications and decided to try to heal myself naturally.

I did countless juice cleanses and colon hydrotherapies; I “dry brushed” for a healthy lymphatic system and “oil pulled” to rid my body of bacteria. I experimented with various diets ranging from vegetarian and vegan to “raw” vegan. I saw chiropractors, an Iridologist, a Naturopath and several General Practitioners, each one giving me a new prognosis or no prognosis; just a shrug of the shoulders.

The money I spent on supplements almost makes me want to cry! Probiotics, aloe vera juice, essential oils, turmeric, garlic, Capylic acid, Gogi Juice – the list goes on and on. I prayed that my relief would come in a magic elixir, pill or powder. Some provided a little relief, others not at all.

As my health continued to decline everything in my world was affected. It was the constant elephant in the room. My self confidence was gone. My husband, who was trying to be as supportive as he could, was as frustrated as I was. Where was the fun girl he married? I wanted to be her, but my body, mind and spirit were aging faster than I could keep up with. I found myself singing the words to Garth Brooks’ song, “Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old.”

In February 2012, I was spent. I had accepted my fate. At 46, I was pre-diabetic and weighed about 100 pounds. My digestive system was shot and I found myself resorting to coffee enemas several times a day to relieve the pain in my gut. The beautiful, self confident, sexy woman whom I wanted so badly to be was gone. I was humiliated and beaten.

Late one night as I was researching I stumbled upon something that I had never heard of before – ancestral nutrition. The more I read the more intrigued I became. This eating philosophy made claims contrary to everything the medical community and USDA had told us for decades; it didn’t make sense to me. I guessed that I had nothing to lose at that point and thought I’d give this crazy diet a try.

After just a few days of this new approach to eating, which was actually easier to adopt than I had originally thought, the pain in my gut was gone. Two weeks in and my husband remarked that he couldn’t believe the change that had occurred in me by just eating a couple of hard-boiled eggs. I knew it was more than just the eggs but he was right. My energy levels were returning and for the first time in a long time I felt there was hope.

My New Normal

Six years later and I haven’t looked back. My digestive system healed and the “incurable” bladder disease is a relic of the past. The chronic fatigue and heavy “brain fog” have lifted. Most days my energy levels are through the roof! My blood sugar levels are normal and migraines occur now only one or twice a year, usually when I’m overtired.

As my energy levels began to return, so did my desire to exercise. I had lost a lot of muscle and strength and I was ready to make up for lost time. Like the different diets I tried to find relief, I also participated in various forms of exercises and exercise classes. Some I liked, some I didn’t think were sustainable, and frankly, some were just down right dangerous.

Then I discovered yoga; Ashtanga yoga to be precise, taught in the Mysore style.

Mysore is a self-led yoga practice following the Ashtanga sequence. Ashtanga isn’t just about exercise, even though it’s a wonderful form of strength training and endurance. It’s a moving meditation that has helped me become more confident, grounded and peaceful. Ashtanga has taught me to be patient with myself as I continue to grow stronger. But more importantly it’s given me back that feeling I felt was gone. I once again feel like the woman my husband married; I feel strong, beautiful and sexy.

With a Certificate in Nutritional Consulting, a YogaWorks RYT 200 Certification and over 300 hours of continuing education under my belt, I believe that everything happens for a reason.

“The best medicine is teaching people how not to need it.” ~Hippocrates

New Normal Nutritional Consulting was born from my desire to share, teach and help other women reclaim their health, confidence and beauty; to find their way back to sexy.

Sunflowers to me have always represented wellness. Their presence brings the warmth of the sun into any room they occupy. As I began to feel better day by day, I would close my eyes and imagine myself dancing through an endless field of these magical flowers. After all these years, I finally have hope. Today when I see a sunflower, I’m reminded of my journey and my mind takes me to that endless field of sunshine, health and peace.

May I take your hand? Let’s dance in the field together 🙂

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