...having no energy, always feeling bloated, fluctuating in weight and struggling to keep it consistent, joint pain, waking up with a stiff neck and headaches, waking up randomly in the middle of the night, waking up tired (yes it's possible), going DAYS without pooping, crying at least twice a week and angry too often every day for, basically, no reason at all, brain fog, fatigue, terrible period symptoms...I was sick, depressed, and hated my body, but the worst part of it all, I was not myself.
At least that's what it felt like.
Let me refresh...
Hi, I'm Megan.
This was me for nearly five years. Wow! It's crazy to even say it. I went from being fun, energetic, athletic, happy, silly, "Megan" to being 100% the opposite. In the grand scheme of things, it all went down hill pretty fast [if you ask me].
And the root cause of it all?
Wait for it...
I was in a seriously unhealthy relationship for four and a half years. Most of all, I was in an unhealthy relationship with myself. I was drowning in self-doubt. I managed to put myself in two long relationships, almost back-to-back, and barely gave myself time in between to process anything about my life at the time. I was working two jobs, one as a bartender and the other as a Physical Therapist's aide, plus going to school full-time aspiring to become a Physical Therapist.
Pheww. Glad I got that off my chest.
The truth? I wasn't ready to be in this relationship. It was completely out of the box for me but, I went with it anyway.
One-by-one each area of my life began to fall out of place like cows being tipped in a grass field. Just sayin'.
I tried to stay active...epic fail.
I tried eating well...at 11 o'clock at night.
School? I forgot half the time I was even getting an education.
I tried hanging out with my friends...they'd just look at me like, "and who are you?"
I was slowly losing touch with my family, who was approximately 2.64 miles away (according to my Nike Running App).
I became the one who was late to all the family gatherings and waited till the last possible minute to get birthday and holiday gifts...you know, the day after next. This doesn't sound like a real problem, but, I'll have you know, this is coming from the girl who was always early and had my gifts picked out and purchased four months in advance!
Maybe not that far in advance...but close enough.
Then the unthinkable happened.
In 2012, I faced the most difficult decision a young woman at 24 years old should never have to face, and chose to have an abortion...because I didn't believe I was fit to be a mother. I didn't believe I deserved to be.
The following three years became the darkest years of my life and it took that long to forgive myself for what I'd done. I thought my twenties were supposed to be "the best years of your life."
Clearly, not for me.
Luckily, being a gymnast most of my life gave me enough strength to continue pushing myself forward and stay determined, just enough, to keep nudging myself to apply each of those three years in a row to graduate school, but to never be accepted. At this point, I was on auto-pilot. In three years I received a total of eight rejection letters from Doctorate programs along the east coast.
Needless to say, it was an emotional day when I finally accepted my very first college degree after being a professional student for seven full years. (See what I did there?) Finally, a Bachelor's Degree. 'Hey, at least it's something,' I thought to myself.
In the meantime, towards the end of 2014, I found myself at the doorsteps of an amazing Church where I rekindled the connection to my basic truth and it's a love affair I'll cherish for the rest of my life.
That was the start of my journey.
It didn't take long after that for the broken pieces of my life to slowly start finding their way back to each other. I felt like Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Some "limb" would fall off again and I'd have to stitch it back up and keep on movin'.
I consistently stumbled through three quarters of the year, continuing to entertain this relationship that was only keeping me distant from my truth. Did I admit it? Pshh. Not out loud that's for sure.
It didn't hit me until one day, as I was slingin' beer and cocktails at a little Gastro Pub in Speonk, Westhampton when this dude walks in about an hour before closing with his friend. The first thought in my mind was, 'man, I thought it was going to be an early night.'
Little did I know, this guy (or Hulk, as I like to call him) would be the love of my life three years later.
As corny as it sounds, I truly believe it was love at first sight. The minute we made eye contact, as I walked over with two menus in my hand, I felt this strange (but good) sensation run through me that I'd never felt before.
I prayed. A LOT.
More than I ever had my entire life up to that point. I didn't want more heartache, more disappointment, and more self-sabotaging. I needed to know what to do.
The vision of my life became clearer the longer I stayed in an unhealthy relationship with a person I knew for sure wasn't the right fit for me. Sadly, at the time, I realized he wasn't the one and the longer I stayed the more lost I would become.
So, someone had to be the adult.
Even though I could pass with an "under 21" ID at 27 years old, it had to be me.
I was forced to choose love...for myself.
We cried. We yelled. We hugged. We kept saying good-bye too many times. But, at the end of the day, we both knew it was the best choice for both of us. We'd been through a lot over the four and half years we were together. So, let me tell ya, it ain't easy breakin' out of that comfort zone.
It was tough.
Although, I have to say...life after that just got better and better.
It was like finding money in an old pair of jeans.
Getting over, what I call, the break-up hump surprisingly didn't take very long. I knew deep in my heart that this was the right thing to do and I needed to do it for ME.
It was about damn time!
During the time leading up to the break-up I had built a solid friendship with the Hulk. He became a regular. I know what you're thinking, but he's not a big drinker (which I love by the way).
One night, following the break-up, as we were getting ready to close down the bar, a group of us were having an awesome conversation about breakfast and all the different breakfast restaurants we all loved. After saying mine, the Hulk sounded super intrigued about it and was almost drooling at the idea of going there with his sister when I intervened and, without even a flinch, asked him to go with me.
Bold. I know.
Even I was surprised! I quickly turned around to say to myself, 'WTF did you just do?' With a smile of course.
It was a reflex...I couldn't even control it! But, the thought of it made me feel like a little girl who put on her favorite princess dress.
That following Sunday we met at my favorite breakfast spot and I was in awe.
My inner compass knew exactly where she was going. I found my soulmate. My Dominick. My Hulk. This sweet, gentle, caring giant was my perfect match and we'd only been on one date so far.
I knew that my life was going to turn around, drastically, and I was excited.
As much as I felt badly that it was so soon following my previous relationship, I couldn't help the fact of how right it felt, despite the small bursts of fear that tried pulling me back in the opposite direction.
We knew we were right where we were supposed to be. Every moment we spent together was magical and my heart was in complete happy-mode.
Could this get any better?
I was starting to feel whole again.
Exercise became easier because we both share the same love for fitness. I was able to start eating better because he loved delicious, healthy foods. I was rebuilding the relationships with my family and friends. Most importantly, I was finally feeling like myself again. Megan. The tiny, energetic, happy, athletic girl I once knew everything about.
Slowly but surely my life was gradually aligning with my truth.
Only one problem...now what?
After months of praying about school, It dawned on me that maybe my plan for becoming a PT was not necessarily the plan my God intended for me. I decided to put that dream behind me and allow the new path to be revealed. 'It just isn't meant to be, I guess,' I said to myself.
The one thing I knew for sure was that no matter what I did I wanted to help people. Doing what? Couldn't tell ya. I just knew that I still had a deep passion for helping others and wanted them to be healthier, happier, injury and sickness-free.
A nurse? Mmm, no.
An OT? Nah.
An anesthesiologist?! Wayyy too much schooling, plus, I don't know if I like chemistry that much.
Every occupation my parents and Dominick and I threw around, at first, sounded good but my inner compass would rapidly repel like trying to put two positive sides of magnets together.
Randomly, on a cool spring day in March of last year, I was browsing through the Instagram feed and only three posts down I see a sponsored ad that reads, "Become a Health Coach."
Intrigued, I was.
'I wonder what this is all about.'
I clicked the link and haven't turned back since.
Finding The Institute for Integrative Nutrition at this moment felt like a miracle. I made the phone call and spoke to this beautiful voice, Annette, who gave me all the information I needed. It was more than enough for me to make my decision, not even two days later, that I wanted to become a Health Coach.
It's been the [second] best year of my life.
The Health Coach Training Program began for me on May 16, 2016 and I have officially graduated on May 9, 2017.
This past year at IIN has put the past seven years of my life into perspective.
That I was seriously messed up...
I mean, I know I was messed up but I had my reasons, you know? :P
The reality is it has shown me that when you balance one area of your life the others follow because as you align yourself and your lifestyle with your purpose and your passions, it reflects itself back to satisfy your needs.
In other words, if I hadn't found my place spiritually, I wouldn't have had the clarity to get myself out of the unhealthy relationship, heal myself through my limiting beliefs that I wasn't a good person, found my soulmate, nourished my body with delicious, real, whole foods and good exercise, establish and reinvent meaningful relationships with people who support me, and align myself with the career I'm truly passionate about by choosing a school that actually made me feel like I can conquer the world.
I learned so much from this school, from hundreds of different dietary theories to the benefits of meditation, and it has been an enlightening experience. I wouldn't have been this clear about my life so far without joining the thousands of IINers in finding my own truth. Yeah, I could go on and just believe "everything happens for a reason," but it wouldn't have made this much sense.
As tacky as it sounds, I do believe everything happens for a reason - but not by chance.
By taking action.
IIN was the third upper level school I'd ever been to and it gave me so much more than just an education. It gave me the power to take back my life and find real meaning! It gave me the resources I need to put myself out into the world and start helping others achieve their goals and create balanced, abundant, joyful, beautiful lives. It also gave me space to build relationships with amazing like-minded individuals who will each contribute to our world in their own way and make a difference.
How cool is that?!
I know, I know.
So far, because of IIN, I am nailing it in my life! Not only was I given the tools to heal my emotional wounds, I get to do something I'm super passionate about which is helping YOU create the same kind of life!
What I want you to know is that you CAN accomplish your goals and feel great doing it!
There is no right or wrong way, but sometimes we simply need a small push or some guidance. How we treat our bodies is a reflection of how we're feeling about ourselves.
Trust me - I know.
You probably do to and won't admit it.
Remember the PINT of ice cream or loads of brownies and cookies you consumed after that horrible day?
Mhmm. Me too.
You see, it wasn't easy for me to get back on track and I didn't particularly have a go-to person to help me with it all - not up until I found IIN. All I had was my body and my spirituality that really guided me to where I am now. So I was determined to use them to step up, take action, and put myself back in the game.
My intention is to empower YOU to live your best life, become your best self, and eat the best food!
Because, let's face it, without good food it's incomplete.
All I do is EAT!
That's not all - but I'm a sucker for delicious food that makes me feel amazing...you should be too.
Thanks to IIN, I am able to share all the tools I was given that helped me learn how to beat self-doubt, emotional distress, and self-sabotaging behavior by moving my body in ways that excites me, surrounding myself with people who lift me up, eating nourishing, delicious food that fuels my body and mind, and creating a fulfilling career that gets me pumped every day!
It's my wish to inspire you to step up, take action, and get rid of YOUR limiting beliefs so you can reach your goals.
The journey will always continue, but it most certainly doesn't have to be hard.
I want to help you
do the same <3