This is not your typical before and after.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good shiny before and after. The left side always looks unhappy, frumpy, overweight. The right is always thinner, perkier, “better”. I love before and afters because they’re a picture of growth. But they aren’t always a reflection of weight loss.
The girl on the left 4 years ago was anxious, extremely malnourished and stuck in depression. She was stuck mentally, physically, and emotionally. She was detached and secretly suffering.
The girl on the right is currently happy and healthy + 30 lbs. And I’m super okay with that.
When I look at the picture on the left, my heart hurts for her. Sunken eyes, bony shoulders, crazy acne from hormone imbalances, frail. You know what’s crazy? I’ve never had an eating disorder. The girl on the left actually ate so much food, more than I do now, but I was somehow extremely malnourished and failing inside my own body due to a genetic mutation that made my body unable to absorb folate. It is a genetic mutation called MTHFR (see my post on MTHFR here: My Journey With Anxiety & MTHFR).
Nothing was working properly within my cells and I was continually underweight, despite the amount of food that I ate. Folate isn’t just needed for our cells and tissues to function, but a lack of folate can also leave you with gnarly mental symptoms – anxiety, depression, crazy thoughts, and the general fear that you’re crazy AF and don’t know why.
I was also dangerously anemic, and struggling with daily dizziness and fatigue. I would have scary bouts of bleeding that would land me in the ER from blood loss. I remember finally deciding to see a naturopathic doctor, since my own doctors would not help me and did not know what was wrong. A few simple tests later, I had an answer.
I was put on an intense vitamin regimen that I still follow today (although I’ve modified it over the years) and started recovering. I’ve also committed to healing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I went after wholeness like a ruthless warrior and tore down anything in me that wasn’t full of light and truth.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because healing matters. The desire to heal myself and then others has become my life. I know what it feels like to be stuck and desperate. And when you pursue healing, it’s not just physical or mental or spiritual. We are whole beings, made up in parts. I have a soul (mind, emotions, desires) that needs to be whole. I have a body that needs to be whole. I have a spirit that needs to be whole. I made it my job to pursue greater healing in each area.
For my body, I started taking Thorne Prenatal vitamins for the iron and the methylated folate. I also took a small dose of additional methylated folate (the type you need if you have MTHFR), vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil, zinc, and additional iron. This was the very beginning of my vitamin journey and the basis of my wellness routine. I still take most of them, but I have added more supplements over the years like this methylated B vitamin with all of the B complex, probiotics, progesterone cream, and digestive enzymes. I’ve learned that my body can’t handle gluten or dairy, and I’ve really built my life around keeping my temple healthy.
For my spirit, I stepped away from the Christian boxed religion that had let me down. I pursued the God who resides right inside my own chest. I explored the deep, dark caverns of my heart with Him. I resurfaced painful childhood memories and let Love touch them and heal them. Christa Black Gifford was the perfect mentor for spiritual healing. Her book Heart Made Whole, her podcast called Head to Heart Podcast, and her Instagram for women, Spiritually Sexy, are all amazing resources.
For my soul, I learned about my personality type. I dove into the Enneagram and learned about who I am. If you want a great book on this BTW, buy The Sacred Enneagram. I stopped trying to look like everyone around me and accepted that we are all different and perfectly ourselves. I learned what made me happy, what made me feel alive (this is an ongoing life journey). I learned to use my voice and say things like “No” and “I don’t like that” and “Actually, I’m not sorry”.
What I’ve learned is that my vitamin deficiencies couldn’t be “prayed away” and my spiritual hurts and past traumas couldn’t be medicated into submission. Each part of you – spirit, body, soul – needs something different to heal. Decide to pursue the things that will make you whole. Dive into your brokenness unafraid of what you might find, knowing there’s a super badass, healthy “after” waiting on the other side.