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12049_4147659693041_1776413695_nGrowing up in a large family, which included over 60 foster siblings during a 10-year span, my childhood was a very busy, active time.  I spent my days playing outside; babysitting kids, participating in countless extra-curricular activities; and playing sports, including hockey and dance.  Meal time at my house had to have been comparable to when a farmer pours slop into the pigs’ trough.  It wasn’t pretty, but somehow my parents afforded to ensure that we all went to bed with full bellies.  Food was food, and whatever was cheap and easy was what was available.


Upon graduating from college in 2008 with a degree in Dental Hygiene, I had had a very healthy body image.  I had never had to watch what I ate, didn’t do the “gym” thing and, contrary to so many young women, actually liked what I saw in the mirror.  It was that summer, though, that everything changed.


So many factors in my life shifted in a very short span, and within a few months I spiraled into a hopeless depression, which to this day find it miraculous to have survived.  Because I had no energy and found eating to be comforting, I gained unwanted weight for the first time in my life.  Upon realizing this, my focus shifted to losing it.. fast.  I became enthralled with counting calories, measuring my food, exercising on the elliptical, and weighing myself numerous times throughout the day.  I had completely isolated myself from my friends, my family, and struggled to make it through the day without crying and contemplating suicide.  I desperately  needed help but was too ashamed to admit that my life had come to this.  Despite having lost those extra pounds, it still wasn’t enough.  The scale had become a measure of my worth, and the smaller the number, the more I felt in control.


Through the grace of God, I came across a team at Gundersen Lutheran comprised of a nutritionist, therapist and doctor who specialized in eating disorders.  This was my support team and the only people on the planet whom I trusted with my secret aside from my husband.  I shamefully began an intense out-patient treatment, which consisted of weekly sessions with each of my support team members.  It was exhausting, emotional, expensive, and one of the most challenging endeavors which I have ever faced.


After 18 months, I had made tremendous progress.  My weight had stabilized, my obsessive food thoughts had nearly stopped, I began to view food as fuel for my body instead of my drug, and I started to branch out of my house and spend time with friends again.  Life was looking up and I was hopeful.  I even started to share my struggle with some of my closest friends and my mom.


It was at this time that I learned about Eupraxia.  No way, no how was I going to get involved in a “weight loss” facility!  Some of my coworkers became members and it was all they could talk about.  They loved it and could not stop gushing over how great they were all feeling.  I wanted in, and after discussing at great length with my support team, we decided that I could join as long as A) I didn’t lose weight, B) I didn’t regress in my progress, and C) I would NEVER exercise because I felt like I had to vs wanted to.


I explained my concerns and situation to Steve upon meeting him last March.  He was nothing but encouraging and ensured me that I could find some benefit from becoming a member at Eupraxia.  At that, I took a leap of faith, signed up, and endured my first class.  I was immediately hooked.  I felt stronger, more energized, and truly felt ( and continue to feel) like this was my new therapy.  As the weeks passed, I saw slow, but amazing changes in my body including developing muscle!


I follow a Paleo lifestyle most of the time because I firmly believe in the science and evidence that back the health benefits of eating how Eupraxia teaches.  Having said that, I will never disallow myself from eating something else because I “can’t” have it.  One of my biggest victories in overcoming my eating disorder has been learning to trust and listen to my body, and strangely enough, my body craves those healthful foods anyway!


Never in a million years would I have believed that I would be one of your instructors.  I am thrilled for this opportunity and look forward to being there for each of you as you continue on your personal journey for wellness and optimal health.


No matter how hopeless you may feel or far from your goal you may be, your body is amazingly resilient and you can get there if you fuel yourself with positive thoughts and healthy food.  Surround yourself with supportive, uplifting people (who you will find at Eupraxia if nowhere else!), and remember that there is only one YOU and YOU are so worth investing in!