My updated story – 2017 – The good, the bad and the victorious :)

This was me in 2008.  I was 5’7″ and 221 pounds.  I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life but never like this.  I was so unhealthy, so unhappy.

Back when I was twenty-two I was a little overweight and when I decided to get in shape it didn’t take long.  My dream back then was to open a full service gym, complete with chiropractor, massage therapist, naturopath, nutritionist and acupuncturist. A one-stop shopping place.  It would have a juice bar where you could get healthy snacks to refuel.  Problem was I hadn’t won the lottery.  But I was very health conscious and wanted to help others take care of their health too but nutritionists were few and far between 30 years ago.

Somewhere along the line I got lost.  Between losing my job, money being so tight, losing my self-confidence and my drive, my weight started to creep up and my health slowly started to decline.

Fast forward to September 14, 2011 when I was at my unhealthiest.  I went to work one day and my body locked up on me.  So I called the clinic and said I don’t care who or when, I needed help.  They said they had a new massage therapist on staff who had 90 minutes available.  I said book it.  Then I cleared it with my manager.

That was the day that changed my life.  Andrew (my RMT) talked to me for 90 minutes about my health and about life and told me I needed to reduce my circumference.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or smack him so I did both.  He offered to help me.  That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship which has lasted 6 years so far even though I don’t see him for the same reasons any more.  My friends and family (and especially my husband) had to endure a year of “Andrew said this” and “Andrew said that”.  A year of “Andrew doesn’t want me eating this” or “I can’t drink that”.  It drove them crazy I’m sure.  But as I explained to a few friends, it’s like I had spent years in a deep, dark hole, desperate to get out but having no idea how.  Andrew reached his hand down into that hole, grabbed me and dragged me up into the light.  And for that I will always love this man.  He not only changed me life … he saved it.  Of course I did the work, but if it wasn’t for his knowledge and his perseverance working with me, I’m afraid I might not be here.

I set a goal of losing 60 pounds in 1 year.  I beat that goal by 2 pounds.  And it’s a good thing I did this when I did because at the 1-year mark I started school to become a Holistic Nutritionist … a decision that has changed me forever.  Andrew inspired me to pursue my dreams and while I will likely never open a full service gym unless I win a lottery, I can help others get their health back and to pay it forward.

This is one of my favourite pictures of me. This is where I will be again … only better. 🙂

I won’t lie to you. Juggling a full time job, a 3-hour a day commute, a gruelling workload at school, a house to run and relationships (especially with hubby) to maintain, took its toll on me. I was able to maintain my weight for the first year of school. The second year, it started to climb. A lot of is was stress related. By graduation in 2013, I had gained about 20 pounds back was beating myself up quite well, totally disgusted with myself. I mean really … I was a holistic nutritionist!! How credible could I be with others when I couldn’t even keep myself healthy???? So I continued to beat myself up and the weight continued to pile on.

Things deteriorated steadily for almost 2 years. When my boss asked me if I needed help, I knew it was time to take control of my life again. I joined a group with a nutritionist I respect. She, and the women in that group, helped me more than I can tell you.

Between weight, hormonal and sexual issues, I have grown so much. I have learned who I want to be, what I need to do to be that person. I have failed and picked myself up and pushed harder. I’ve learned that I needed to stop playing small in life. I’m a big personality and needed to be true to who I truly am. I need to help people. That is probably one of my biggest needs.

Since I’ve struggled with my weight, hormones and sex, this seems like such a perfect fit. It started with a speech during school. Was reinforced during the program with Melissa and confirmed when I was able to help a couple of people with sexual issues.  I even had the privilege of starting a conversation that improved a couple’s sex life.  It all started with a conversation.

I started my career always wanting to help with hormones but it took a life of its own and went in the weight loss direction. While this is so important, the field is so saturated and to be honest, it didn’t excite me. I wanted to make sex my focus but was met with pushback from those close to me. So the old people pleaser in me took over and I made my focus hormone balancing and getting your energy, joy and sexy back. That started to move things in the right direction but I wasn’t really excited about what I was doing and I still felt stuck. Then one day … I don’t even remember the catalyst … I said enough. No more playing small or safe.

I LOVE helping people with sexual issues. Sex and hormones and intricately entwined. So at first I was focussed on helping women. Then I realized that men have hormones. Men have sexual issues. Men have nutritional issues. So I decided it was time to include the guys. So ladies … if your man is having trouble and he’s not willing to talk to you, don’t be upset. Just send him to his doctor or to me. I’m a stranger. He might be more willing to open up to me. Gentlemen … if you’re having trouble with erectile dysfunction (which could be pretty much anything related to your sex hormones) … please go see your doctor or come and see me. Get the help you need. It’s nothing to be uncomfortable with.

THIS is what lights me up! THIS is what makes me so happy!

It has not been easy.  I’ve questioned my dedication, my ability, my worthiness.  But I stuck with it.  And despite some challenges along the way, I have triumphed and I am a much better, happier, stronger person because of it.

This is me now.  It is possible to change, despite the obstacles.  You just have to believe in yourself.

If you’re struggling with libido, a mediocre sex life, out of control hormones or just bleh nutrition, please reach out to me at sandy@steppingstoneswellnessinc.com.  I totally get the struggle and I can help you.  In the meantime, have an awesome week and we’ll see you next time!

Sandy O’Shea, CNP
Holistic Nutritionist

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