For 6 ½ years, I’ve kept this part of my health journey hidden. The things I went through, the ways I felt, and the secrets I was too ashamed to share.
They affected me almost every day. The discomfort, the pain, the embarrassment. Always there, always present, determining so much of what I could and couldn’t do.
I was terrified of anyone finding out…
I worried about what you’d think or say or do. I worried about whether you’d judge me or think less of me. I feared being called a hypocrite for sharing healthy recipes, when my body looked and acted so far from “healthy.”
It feels like it’s time to pull back the curtain. It feels like it’s time to share.
Especially what I learned as a result of the past 6 ½ years.
If you’re only interested in recipes, I’m not offended. I’ll be back next week to share a brand new one.
But for now…
These are my secrets. This is my story.
It all started Saturday, February 15th. The morning after the Valentine’s Day I spent alone on the sofa, waiting for my then-boyfriend to come home so I could surprise him with homemade Rice Krispie treats, feeling so sad and confused when he arrived empty handed without even a card or a bar of chocolate. The same morning I somehow managed to injure my knee somewhere along my normal 6-mile route and then couldn’t run for three months.
My body refused to function properly.
It refused to poop.
I assumed it was just because my period was supposed to show up two days later, and I sometimes experienced constipation a couple of days before. Yet a week later, I still hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom. A week turned into two, then three, then four, then desperation.
My 13-pound dog could poop more than I could.
And my belly was now really swollen, uncomfortably extending outward like a four-month-pregnant woman’s or as if I had eaten three Thanksgiving dinners in one sitting. I felt so embarrassed, and I started wearing only my baggiest shirts and hooded sweatshirts to hide my midsection.
Even still, a little girl in the park noticed one day, pointed at my bulging stomach, and looked up at her mother with wide innocent blue eyes, asking, “Is she a mama too?”
I turned away, tears immediately threatening to flow down my cheeks.
I scheduled a doctor’s appointment. The physician said it was probably because of the iron supplements I had been taking for two years after a nephrologist had diagnosed me as slightly anemic. Iron tends to constipate people, so she told me to take a stool softener in the morning, a powder I stirred into water, and a different stool softener pill at night that also contained a small dose of a stimulant laxative.
She never told me when to stop.
So I headed straight to the pharmacy to pick up those over-the-counter medications. I started taking them religiously, never once missing a morning or evening dose, and I finally began going to the bathroom again. I wasn’t completely normal, but it was better than nothing, like I had endured for so many weeks.
Then came Miami.
It was my first food blogging conference. I flew all the way across the country from California to attend, spending three straight days making new friends, meeting potential clients, sitting in sessions, taking copious notes, and enjoying so much incredible food. A few days after I returned, the bigger issue appeared.
Within 15 minutes of eating just about anything, and sometimes as little as 5 minutes, my belly went from looking normal, mostly flat-ish from my active and health-oriented lifestyle, to the size of a six-month-pregnant woman’s. It literally expanded by four inches in diameter. And that left me curled up on the couch, my arms wrapped around my midsection, the inner pressure and pain enough to put tears in my eyes.
One of these extreme bloating sessions occurred almost every single day.
Eventually, after over a month of hoping and praying this was some sort of temporary bug I had picked up in Florida that would go away on its own, yet never actually finding any relief from my symptoms, I searched the internet for answers. I pored over the information I found about bloating and probable causes, scrolling through page after page.
After lots of research, I decided to try eliminating wheat and going gluten-free.
Not exactly easy, seeing as Amy’s Healthy Baking was my full-time job and sole income source… But I was desperate.
I bought gluten-free flours for baking, gluten-free cereals for breakfast, gluten-free granola bars for snacks, and read every label of every item I picked up at the grocery store, meticulously searching for any “may contain wheat” statement on its packaging. I was militant about what I ate. I desperately wanted the bloating to disappear.
And it did…
For about two weeks.
But then it returned, despite my extreme efforts to be incredibly careful about gluten. So I tried eliminating dairy next, another common bloating trigger, and I finally found relief again…
For a week.
My massive bloating came back yet again, the symptoms just as painful as before, so I scheduled another doctor’s appointment. She referred me to a local gastroenterologist. He didn’t even look at my midsection. He briefly listened to my symptoms before quickly ushering me out of his office, saying it sounded like IBS and as long as I followed a low-FODMAP diet, all of my symptoms should disappear.
I bought regular books and cookbooks. I studied their pages. I took notes about what foods were and weren’t allowed. I followed those guidelines religiously too.
It did absolutely nothing.
My belly now remained almost permanently as large as a six-month-pregnant lady’s. I felt constant stress from trying to continue coming up with gluten-free and dairy-free recipes to share here on Amy’s Healthy Baking without anyone becoming suspicious, and I was perpetually embarrassed and ashamed of the way I looked and felt.
I almost cried every time I caught a glimpse of my body in the mirror.
Over a month later, I scheduled another appointment with a different gastroenterologist, this one closer to my hometown, and I immediately felt relieved when he walked into the exam room. He patiently listened as I recounted every detail of my nine-month bloating and constipation saga, taking copious notes and filling up three sheets of paper, whereas the other GI hadn’t even bothered to pick up a pen. When he realized I had majored in chemistry, with an emphasis in organic, and I wanted to understand the science of what could be going on inside of my stomach and gut, he explained everything: his thoughts, his theories, his methods, and what he wanted to test me for. He also shared that IBS was a diagnosis of elimination, a label that could only be applied when everything else — every single other possible explanation — had been ruled out. How the low-FODMAP diet wasn’t a magical cure and I should be fine if I wanted to start eating wheat and dairy again. How that previous doctor had been careless, unprofessional, and wrong.
I felt so confident walking out of his office with a lab order in my hand. Even though it meant stool samples (next to impossible for me at that point) and blood tests (I have tiny veins, hate needles, and cry almost every time), I was so sure he’d find something with his exceptionally thorough methods.
Everything came back normal.
He recommended an endoscopy and colonoscopy next, but I balked. I wasn’t yet midway through my twenties and felt supremely embarrassed by the need to go through procedures mainly required of adults over 50, and with the ordinary results of my blood work, I doubted any answers would surface from those exams either.
So I turned them down.
A few months later, still with the same massive belly bloat and constant discomfort, I tried a different approach and scheduled appointments with a dietitian. She thought my issues sounded like a leaky gut and recommended food sensitivity testing, yet I immediately panicked when she explained that would mean going on an extreme elimination diet, one based on my personal test results, to allow my intestines time to heal.
Although everyone’s sensitivities varied, she confirmed that she would most likely require me to stop eating anything and everything that I baked… And therefore give up my entire livelihood. Along with my entire world.
I begged for a compromise. I said I’d agree to get the food sensitivity tests done in two months. That bought me time to figure out how to keep Amy’s Healthy Baking going, despite being forbidden from eating any recipe I created once the results returned, and it also allowed me to finish testing recipes for my cookbook before the manuscript due date arrived. She relented, and almost three months later, when she received the results, I cried.
Eggs, milk, honey, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, yeast, many gluten-free flours, and even baking powder were all on my restricted list.
Wheat, surprisingly enough, was not.
Based on my results, she handed me a list of foods that my body should have been able to tolerate. Plain chicken, beef, wheat, barley, white potatoes, beets, spinach, watermelon, cherries, strawberries, almonds, cashews, peanuts, cinnamon, mustard, baking soda, salt, and pepper.
That was it. If it wasn’t on the list — or included any ingredient not on the list — I couldn’t eat it.
According to her theory, limiting me to those “safe” and nonreactive foods would allow my leaky gut to heal, and we would slowly reintroduce other foods, one ingredient at a time, over the next six months once my bloating symptoms disappeared.
Yet they never did.
My bloating and constipation only got worse.
After two weeks, I wrote her an email and asked what to do. She replied a few days later, explaining she had consulted fellow dietitians, and they thought my symptoms sounded like SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. She mentioned that a gastroenterologist should be able to confirm the diagnosis and treat me with antibiotics.
Just to be safe, I still stuck with that dietitian’s supremely restricted food sensitivity diet, yet I also called the second gastroenterologist to ask about SIBO testing. Ever so kindly and gently, he recommended an endoscopy and colonoscopy again, explaining that my insurance might only agree to cover the expensive SIBO test once we had performed the cheaper and more common procedures first.
A few weeks later, I found myself sitting in the corner of the waiting room, staring at my hands in my lap, a hot flash of shame starting to creep its way onto my cheeks. Everyone else in the room was more than twice my age and looked perfectly healthy, and although they tried not to gawk at me, the girl not yet in her mid-twenties with a massively swollen belly, many of them still snuck sideways glances in my direction. I felt like a sore thumb or a monkey in a cage, the misfit that didn’t belong.
The results from both procedures came back normal. Just like I had predicted.
I was still perfectly healthy on paper.
Yet that second gastroenterologist stood by his word and referred me to a third GI, one with the specialized equipment to detect SIBO. After finally securing a consultation appointment in her incredibly busy schedule two months later, she listened to my never-ending story and signed me up for the next available breath test.
I arrived back at the hospital three weeks later, drank a special lactulose liquid solution, and sat in a chair in a quiet exam room for over two hours. Every 15 minutes, a nurse appeared, asked me to exhale into a tube, and disappeared with the vial. When the exam finished, she told me to expect a phone call with my results within the next two or three days.
My phone rang less than three hours later. I had tested positive. I had SIBO.
I finally had an answer.
That third gastroenterologist immediately faxed over a prescription for specialized antibiotics to treat the bacterial overgrowth in my small intestine, and I felt so relieved to have a solution. After more than 18 months of enduring the discomfort, pain, and swelling, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I was going to feel healthy and like myself again… And finally be able to eat normally too.
But that relief evaporated less than an hour later.
My insurance company refused to cover the antibiotics. They’d cost over $1000. Which was almost twice my apartment’s monthly rent.
I couldn’t hold it together, and I started crying. Big, fat tears flowed down my cheeks, the uncontrollable kind that leave you gasping for breath. My incredibly sweet mom came to my defense, called the insurance company, and somehow managed to work her magic. By the time she hung up, they had agreed to pay for all but $50 of the medicine’s cost.
For two weeks, I took those pills. One in the morning, one at night. I still stuck with the dietitian’s restrictive food list too, not daring to tempt fate while trying to heal my gut. When the prescription ran out, that third gastroenterologist called to see how I was feeling. I shared that my bloating had started to diminish a small amount — but nowhere near all the way — and asked to continue taking another round of antibiotics to make sure the SIBO was completely gone.
She ordered other tests instead, ones that included more blood samples and marker capsule pills and multiple rounds of X-rays. I reluctantly agreed, yet again… They all came back normal. My constipation and bloating also returned in full force, making me appear six months pregnant every single day.
And I developed a fear of food.
I stressed about almost everything I ate. Would it constipate me? Would it trigger another massive 15-minute bloat, one that left me lying in bed and curled up in pain?
I stopped going out to eat. I turned down nearly every social obligation. I cooked almost all of my own meals, only occasionally buying prepared foods from the grocery store after meticulously reading every ingredient on the label.
I moved back home. I recognized that I wouldn’t be able to continue Amy’s Healthy Baking without help, so I asked my parents to be my official taste testers. Although I couldn’t eat most of what I baked, they were so sweet and supportive, offering detailed feedback and constructive criticism for every recipe I created, knowing just how high my standards were and just how much of a perfectionist I was. That gave me a small amount of relief. I didn’t entirely lose my livelihood, my income, or have to give up blogging as a career.
Eventually, the following summer, more than two years after my symptoms began, a friend recommended a fourth gastroenterologist. Her husband had raved about how skilled, thorough, and understanding this doctor was, so I scheduled an appointment. When he entered the exam room, he patiently listened to my long saga, and he immediately agreed to test me for SIBO again.
Two weeks later, I showed up at his office for the breath test. Just over 30 minutes into the two-hour exam, the nurse cancelled the rest. My results were so high that the remaining samples weren’t necessary. She had already phoned in a prescription for more antibiotics to my pharmacy.
Unlike the third gastroenterologist, that fourth GI also insisted that I returned after finishing the pills. He wanted me to take another SIBO breath test to confirm the antibiotics had completely eliminated my bacterial overgrowth. If I still tested positive, he would keep prescribing medication until I was fully healthy again.
Finally… It felt like someone understood my discomfort, my pain, my fear of eating almost anything — and my desperation to feel normal and like myself again.
When I arrived for the follow-up exam, I stayed the full two hours, and my jaw dropped from sheer shock at the results. I had tested negative this time. The SIBO was gone… Yet I still had all of the same symptoms. The constipation. The huge swollen belly. The massive bloating triggers. None of them had disappeared… Or even gotten marginally better.
I completely gave up that day. Sitting in my car in the hospital parking lot, a bag of cashews and my purse resting on the passenger’s seat, my phone in my lap, tears streaming down my cheeks… I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take hearing yet again that nothing was wrong with me and I was perfectly healthy on paper. Not when everything looked and felt so incredibly wrong.
The daily discomfort and pain of constant constipation and bloating was easier to face.
For another three years, I endured them. A swollen stomach, irritated intestines, and perpetual shame became my everyday companions. I was still terrified to eat most foods, but I slowly started tasting my own recipes again, recognizing that the resulting bloating and pain was a small price to pay to be able to keep Amy’s Healthy Baking going.
I grew my business. I hired a team. I bought my first house.
I also learned a lot.
I learned that fresh fruits and vegetables were often the biggest triggers that resulted in the most painful belly bloat. Apples, grapes, mangoes, asparagus, pumpkin, squash, corn, onions, my favorite Brussels sprouts…
Along with lots of baking ingredients, seasonings, and other healthy foods too. Eggs, milk, most dairy products, molasses, maple syrup, honey, mint, oats, millet, tapioca, walnuts, chickpeas, poppy seeds, lentils, oregano, garlic, lecithin… The list went on and on.
I learned to research restaurants and scour their online menus ahead of time. I learned which mainstream ones offered “safe” options for me and, for the restaurants that didn’t, how to ever so politely request special customized orders from the ingredients listed throughout the menus’ descriptions without offending the wait staff or chefs in the kitchen. I learned that, in a pinch, water, French fries, and plain sourdough bread — the kind made with nothing but water, white flour, salt, and yeast, unlike many “healthy” multigrain options that often contained molasses or millet or oats — were usually the three safest options, all but guaranteed not to result in any mild or massive bloating.
I learned how to come up with completely believable excuses for why I wasn’t eating at social gatherings even though everyone else around me was. I learned how to gracefully decline all breakfast and brunch invitations, knowing how badly my belly would hurt and swell from any of the egg-laden omelets, scrambles, and quiches.
I learned to tuck plenty of snacks into my purse whenever I left the house, just in case I was gone for too long and couldn’t find safe snacks when my stomach started growling. I learned how to sneak those snacks from my purse without anybody noticing, especially while at graduations, birthday parties, and other catered events.
I learned to always buy beef jerky before traveling because it often proved to be nearly impossible to find “safe” proteins in most airports or hotels. I even learned how to come up with plausible excuses for why I, a fairly petite and short lady, would need to carry a huge one-pound bag of beef jerky in her purse like a bodybuilder when TSA agents, flight attendants, and other travelers gave me weird looks and started asking questions.
I learned to be okay with eating the same things almost every single day. For nearly five years. Plain chicken baked with nothing but salt, bananas, berries, watermelon, oranges, white potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, cashews, peanut butter, plain bread… With the occasional turkey, beef, shrimp, cantaloupe, honeydew, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, almonds, and pecans. I learned that doing so for that many years in a row would practically eliminate any cravings or temptations for other “unsafe” potential trigger foods — or any foods at all.
I learned how to find everyday outfits and gym clothes that hid my swollen belly. I learned to style them in a way that looked perfectly normal, not as if I was trying so hard to keep my stomach a secret. I even learned how to find fancier dresses for weddings and other special events that still appeared flattering, ones that somehow managed to completely mask my midsection.
I learned to look at nothing besides my face in the mirror, realizing that any downward glance, no matter how innocent or brief, would usually result in a frown, slumped shoulders, and tears threatening to fill my eyes.
And the whole time, I was scared to death of anyone finding out my secrets… Finding out how my body rejected almost everything I ate, how my belly stayed so big and swollen, how I didn’t look one bit “healthy.” I often doubted whether I was the right person to share healthy recipes on my blog… And constantly worried about whether people would judge me, hate me, and call me a hypocrite — or even worse.
Some days, it felt like a battle just to get out of bed and try not to cry when I saw my reflection in the mirror… Let alone keep maintaining the facade and pretending like nothing, nothing whatsoever, was wrong.
And then, not quite six years after my symptoms began, they all disappeared — literally overnight, in the span of just a few hours — the day I flew home after a weekend in Mexico for my best friend’s wedding.
My eating habits hadn’t changed. I got much less sleep than normal on my trip too, only a few hours each night, which, in the past, had practically guaranteed constipation and massive bloating in the days that followed.
Yet none of that happened. It was as if a switch had been flipped or a magic wand had been waved, making every single one of my symptoms disappear into thin air, even though everything in my life looked exactly the same.
The only difference?
I mentally let go.
I let go of stress. Of work. Of perfection. Of wondering and worrying and continuously doubting whether I was good enough. Of agonizing over what I looked like and what I ate and what other people might think of me. Of fearing their judgments, their ridicule, and their scorn.
I let it all go…
And I let myself be me.
The whole being that I am.
My symptoms disappearing was a result of releasing the desperation, tension, and constant striving to be successful, perfect, and everything I thought others wanted me to be. A result of listening to my heart and soul. Of following my intuition and letting it guide my thoughts, words, and actions.
I stepped out of perfection… And into authenticity.
I returned to me. The real me, the true me, the part of me buried deep inside my core that’s so peaceful and wise and pure. The part of me that finds magic and miracles in the seemingly mundane, happiness and joy in the tiniest things, beauty and bliss in the simplest of moments. The part of me that’s completely unaffected by the surface-level happenings of everyday life.
It felt like I was coming home. Rediscovering and reuniting with myself.
And, in hindsight, I never fully realized how lost I had become.
How long I had been chasing other people’s priorities, other people’s dreams, and other people’s approval. How long I had been trying on everyone else’s glass slippers, trying to fit myself inside of everyone else’s neat and tidy boxes, shrinking and twisting and contorting myself to become the person I thought everyone else wanted me to be and that I thought I should be.
Somehow, over the course of a long weekend in Mexico, that melted away. All of it.
And the core of me, the true and authentic part, the part that was left behind when the waves washed away the expectations and the stress and the doubts and the fears, was finally able to shine through.
For the next two weeks, life felt completely different. The surface level looked the same — I still ate similar foods, exercised daily, tested new recipes, photographed them, and did other work for Amy’s Healthy Baking — but I felt a deep and inexplicable peace, as if everything was going to magically fall into place without me needing to jump in, take control, and oversee every little detail like I usually did.
And it did. Everything did.
Because it wasn’t the outer part of my life that had changed…
It was me, on the inside.
Instead of seeing everything through the eyes of my mind, the part that worries and doubts and pushes and chases and strives until I’m left exhausted and panting for breath… I saw everything through the lens of my heart and soul.
The lens of gratitude and awe. Of realizing just how beautiful life can be when I just step out of the way, let the gentle glow of my soul work its magic, and let everything gracefully flow.
And it was. The things that unfolded in my life during those two weeks, both the seemingly insignificant and the more profound, felt magical, unlike anything my mind could’ve predicted or dreamed of, even in its most far-fetched of thoughts.
Including all of my symptoms — every last one — completely disappearing.
The doctors were right. They couldn’t find anything physically wrong with me… Because my health and gut issues all came from internal pressure, chasing perfectionism, and the thoughts in my mind.
And as soon as I let go of those things — really, truly let go, not just pretending to let go and not care and simply shoving those thoughts aside towards the dusty corners of my mind where I could still see and notice and occasionally crawl back towards and slip into them — that was when I healed.
Yet it didn’t last.
When Christmas came, along with my familiar people-pleasing tendencies and ceaseless striving to buy gifts and see friends and visit family, followed by New Years, the start of the busiest season for Amy’s Healthy Baking because of so many people searching for recipes to help with their health-oriented resolutions…
I unintentionally fell back into my old habits. My old routines. My old thought patterns.
I started working ten-hour days again, almost every day of the week. I pushed myself to create and test twice as many new recipes to share here on the blog. I greatly cut back on sleep to fit everything in.
All of my symptoms immediately reappeared.
The bloating, the triggers, the constipation, the fear of food… All of it.
It took me a few months to admit it. To fully recognize, not just partially but fully, completely, and deeply in both my heart and my bones, that those old priorities and that old pace, the chasing and racing ahead at breakneck speeds towards the future and goals that look so sparkly and shiny to everyone else, wasn’t what my soul wanted me to do.
It wanted something different.
My soul wanted me to slow down. To rest. To reevaluate my mental priorities.
To listen to the soft whisper of wisdom and intuition glowing inside of me, the one gently guiding me back onto my own path, my own journey, and towards my own future.
Not towards everyone else’s.
It was painful to admit I had stumbled and tripped and fallen, fallen so hard, bruising my ego and nearly breaking my body and my gut all over again, especially so soon after rediscovering myself and the blissful peace I felt after Mexico… But I finally started to listen.
I slowed down. I rested. I slept more — a lot more.
I stopped trying to be a superhero and do everything myself. I asked for a tiny bit of help. Then a little more.
And I talked.
I talked to myself in the mirror. I thought and journaled and thought some more. I spoke those thoughts aloud and let them come out of hiding from the darkest corners of my mind.
I talked to my family and friends. I shared some of the insights I started receiving and the changes in my life I started making, the ones that led to my symptoms diminishing and feeling myself heal again. And in doing so…
I realized I wasn’t the only one going through this.
Some of them had the exact same symptoms, the bloating and constipation and food fears. Some of them had other ones, like muscle spasms or vertigo or hives.
Yet for almost all of us, our symptoms seemed to be triggered and then exacerbated by stress… By listening to the voices in our heads listing out everything we needed to think, say, and do. By trying to live up to those mental expectations. By trying to be the person we thought everyone else wanted and needed us to be.
By juggling too many things on our to do lists, comparing ourselves to too many other people, worrying too much about what other people might think of us, doubting too often about whether we were actually good enough… or if we were coming up short yet again.
By losing touch with the voices of our intuitions and the voices of our souls.
During that period, I started paying attention to where I felt stress and tension within my body and the things that triggered them. Some were more obvious, especially ones related to work and blogging, while others were harder to detect, like the ones tied to hobbies and passions that previously brought me so much joy. They ranged from sights to smells to actions and everything in between, but each time, the thing triggered a thought in my mind that then led to the stress and tension I experienced within my body… And the constipation, bloating, and food issues that resulted too.
Once I began to recognize those stress triggers, I intentionally changed even more of my daily routines.
I worked less. I limited the amount of time I spent on social media and the accounts I followed. I stopped reading most of the news. I quit watching Netflix, many movies, and almost all TV, including the baseball games I used to love so much. I unsubscribed from lots of email newsletters. I switched the music I typically listened to, going from popular stations on Spotify to soothing instrumental tracks instead.
I also added new habits to my days. I built in time for quiet reflections. I meditated more. I spent more time outside during the golden hour in the evenings, the moments that felt so peaceful and realigning as I watched the soft rays of sunlight streaming through the leaves and tree branches on my street. I kept journaling in the way that worked for me, not the traditional way of pen and paper, but typing words and insights into a document on my phone with my two thumbs.
I healed. Again.
But this time…
This time it felt more stable. Deeper. Stronger. Like it had really, truly sunk in. Like I finally understood what my body and soul had been trying to tell me all along.
To trust my intuition. And to let go of everything else.
As hard as it was for my perfectionist, overachieving, somewhat micromanaging, and constantly worrying mind to agree to try…
I still did.
I let go of mental control. I let go of my worries, doubts, and fears — especially the ones of not feeling worthy or good enough.
My symptoms disappeared… And stayed almost completely gone.
Something happened that the old me never would’ve believed was ever going to be possible…
Despite the crazy state of the world right now, despite the added stress from lockdowns and shelter in place and social distancing, despite the millions of uncertainties and unknowns… I still healed.
And I feel so much more peace, joy, and self-love in these days, right now, in these moments, even with everything going on in the world, than I ever fathomed would be possible.
It almost feels as if I witnessed a miracle.
The miracle of my own healing.
That doesn’t mean things are perfect all of the time. There are still moments where I’ve let the stress and mental need for perfection get to me, especially when it comes to work and productivity, and then notice a small amount of bloating or other old symptoms as a result. Yet those moments are much fewer and farther between, diminishing with each passing week, as I’ve learned how to recognize them before they start snowballing into something bigger — and even how to stop them before they begin.
Eventually, I slowly started to share more of my insights, visualizations, and new daily routines that I developed as part of my healing journey with a few of my family and friends. Many of them stared at me wide-eyed as I mentioned my insights. Some of them tried using the same visualizations and adding in the same changes to their daily routines.
Most of them told me, whether there in that moment or later during the week, how they felt more relief, more understanding, and more peace. How the stress had started disappearing from their days too. How their bodies and lives had transformed.
And I realized…
Maybe those friends, family members, and I aren’t the only ones going through these things — or the only ones who could benefit from my insights, visualizations, or new daily habits and routines.
Maybe there are others out there who are searching for the same things I was… The answers, the relief, and the healing. Maybe there are others who feel the same worries, doubts, and fears as I did that they’ll never be enough or feel the same again, no matter what they do or how hard they try. Maybe there are others who are desperate to let go of the same tight white-knuckle grip stress, anxiety, comparison, or internal and external expectations have on their lives.
Maybe there are others who wish they could find someone who understands that being healthy on paper doesn’t necessarily mean truly feeling healthy or happy or whole. Who understands that eating mostly wholesome foods, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep can still leave them feeling like there’s something missing, like there’s a hole hidden somewhere deep inside, a void that they don’t know how to fill and can’t be covered up with a healthy lifestyle alone.
And then it hit me… Maybe some of those other individuals out there searching for answers, guidance, and relief are people who read my blog.
Maybe you’re one of them.
Maybe. Just maybe.
Because going through this journey completely transformed my life, because these struggles seem like something that many more individuals than I realized are going through too, and because I’d truly love to help as many people find that same relief, peace, and wholeness as I did…
I finally decided to choose bravery over fear and share my story with you.
As I mentioned in my last Coffee Break post, we will never know how many lives we touch, but we will always know how many lives touch ours. And just like I shared then…
You have touched mine. By being here, scrolling through my recipes, reading these words, and absorbing my story… You have touched my life.
Previously, I started a special separate group where I’ve shared more things like this about life, overcoming your shame and fears, and creating the life of your dreams. If this blog post resonated with you, or if you feel like this group’s nurturing and support is something you might like, then I’d love for you to join us here. It’s entirely free, and I’d be truly honored to have you become part of our group.
I’m not asking for medical advice, nor am I trying to offer any. Sometimes the symptoms I’ve experienced are signs of something more serious, things that could require trained healthcare professionals, treatment, or medication. If you’ve experienced anything similar and feel unsure, please consider scheduling an appointment with a doctor.