More Birkin Bag Than Birkenstock

by shawne on December 6, 2013

in Featured, Lifestyle, Wellness

What’s My Deal?

Why the heck am I a health coach if I was NEVER passionate about nutrition or exercise? I have always had a tumultuous relationship with food. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s as a latch-key kid raised on TV dinners and take-out. I loved my fake food! As an only child, my fake food kept me company and kept me well-entertained. But then, I started to chub up and began an even more torrid affair with chronic dieting. At the ripe old age of 12, I tip-toed into my first weight loss center meeting. They taught me how to count calories and check boxes that represented the “healthy” foods I ate each day. I learned about lots of products with labels that said “low fat” or “fat free”. My less fattening snacks still comforted me. I lost weight. I was a happy camper. End of story. Right? Wrong!

Yo-yo dieting continued through my teens and college years. I managed to lose weight when I tried but could never keep it off long enough to feel satisfied. I thought about food A LOT. I basically walked around always feeling deprived and HANGRY (Hungry + Angry)! At times I would go on binges as a result of the HANGER. Whenever I porked up a bit, I turned to one of the 57 diet plans I had tried over the years and got my weight down, until……

I had kids! This is not uncommon, but still, it was frustrating. I was busy, I was exhausted, I fed my emotions, and I didn’t exercise enough. Yeah, yeah, yeah but I deserved to lose weight because I was always eating my low calorie, low fat, “healthy” food that I first learned about when I was 12. I had a 3 point breakfast and salads with vinegar (no oil) and Diet Coke® at lunch for G-d’s s sake! I DESERVED to be thin! Even though I was considered to be only “a little overweight”, according to my doctor, I developed asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and borderline high blood sugar. Her solid advice was always the same; try diet and exercise. Duh. I added more fitness to my life. But, I’m kinda lazy so I exercised sometimes but not enough. Maybe I overestimated how much I exercised and underestimated how much I ate. Don’t we all do that? Nevertheless, I kept at it and kept trying. Something strange happened. One day I decided to ditch my half-assed effort and go all out. I reduced my caloric intake even further and spent 60-90 minutes on the treadmill 6 days a week. But I grew down right pissed off with my lackluster weight loss results and only meager changes in my bloodwork. I cried to my friends. I cried to my husband. I cried during McDonald’s® commercials. I was trying really hard but not reaping any of the rewards of my efforts. Not fair! But I kept trying.


One day my hubby gently pointed out that every time I was on the phone I would rummage through the pantry with my hand in a bag of chips, pretzels, crackers, anything. What was frightening to me is that I had NO IDEA that I was doing this. There was something about being on the phone that triggered this behavior. The telephone is where I have had some of life’s most difficult conversations. I ate mindlessly. But this was amnesia eating! I’d be munching and crunching away every time I was on a call. This little wake up call got me thinking about WHY I ate and not as much about WHAT I ate. I knew there was something more than counting calories and checking boxes. I was an emotional eater. Come to think of it, I always was!

All the while my husband was dealing with the management of his own chronic autoimmune disease (affectionately known as The Monster). I thought about the fact that we lost both of our mothers pre-maturely to cancer, our grandmothers to more cancer, and my grandfather to Alzheimer’s Disease. I thought about the 13 daily medications and injections my husband took to keep his condition at bay and the hard, cold truth that he was only feeling worse with each new drug added to his regimen. I thought about my children. What’s in store for them with all of these medical maladies in their family history? I began to research the bejeezus out of nutrition for chronic disease and for weight loss.

I learned about health coaching through a family member and worked with one. I knew the philosophy was fresh and different than anything I had tried before. I loved what I learned. I learned about REAL FOOD and how it affected everything from your hormones to your relationships. I was taught that each individual has foods that work for their unique body while other foods don’t. I learned a lot about emotional eating too. I wasn’t sure that this holistic stuff was the right fit for me though. After all, I’m a transplanted city gal whose tastes veer more toward Birkin Bag® than Birkenstock®. I’m just a mainstream momma! I’m not a crunchy hipster with a cause that eats granola or does yoga. Not that those things are bad but they are not ME. But I quickly learned that I didn’t need to run out and buy crystals or move to an Ashram to figure out how to get my weight and health under control and I sure as hell was gonna work on making my family’s health a top priority. Whad’ya got if you don’t have your health?


So I went back to research, I found a nutrition program that offered me one place to get all of the education I was seeking. I enrolled, acquired tons of super information and, voila! I’m a Certified Health Coach! Oh yeah, and I lost 20 pounds without dieting or killing myself at the gym in the process. My hubby still lives with his condition but the positive changes to his menu and lifestyle have helped in so many ways! We eat delicious, REAL food. I don’t feel deprived and I no longer diet or exist on fake food. I still LOVE food and don’t deprive myself anymore. I enjoy my favorite things but just do it differently now. I also don’t use or abuse food like I did for so many years. It’s not my friend, it’s just food! I am a work in progress but am thrilled to share what I’ve learned thus far. What I AM passionate about is helping women who relate to my story and who have walked the walk. I love when great women learn to free themselves from diet prison and emotional eating and learn that they too, deserve to live amazing lives. These days I am satisfied, I feel great, and I LIVE FAB! OliveFab.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana December 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Excellent!!! I always love reading your posts. The picture is fabulous! You had everyone thinking this picture was taken on a date with your husband before you were married. You look maybe 25 and way younger than the then picture. Beautiful transformation and an inspiration.


shawne December 6, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Thank you Dana. You know I have transformed if I posted that ‘before’ photo. Thanks for reading.


Kim G December 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Great post Shawne. You look fabulous!


shawne December 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Thanks so much Kim.


Lauren Rosenblum December 6, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Very moving. Thank you for sharing.


shawne December 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Thanks Lauren.


Charla August 18, 2014 at 3:52 am

You’ve really imrsseped me with that answer!


Melissa Seibel December 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I love your story and can definitely identify with it!


shawne December 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Thank you Melissa. I think so many women have traveled a similar path!


Stef December 30, 2013 at 2:38 am

Thanks for sharing. Beautiful before & after!


shawne December 30, 2013 at 4:11 am

Wow, thanks so much Stef!


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