I have been an athlete since childhood. I was not always competitive but I was pretty good at most sports I tried.
I loved learning how things worked and how to make things work better, often by taking things apart and rebuilding them. I would take my dolls apart and put them back together so they worked the way I wanted them to work and I could spin the arms without them falling off – amazing what paper clips and rubberbands can do!
Now, I know the human body cannot be healed with paper clips and rubber bands, but whole body is more than just the physical body – it includes the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. What you think and feel affects how you eat and how your body processes it. How you processed emotions as a child also affects your health later in life. I had to learn the hard way.
In February of 2000 when I was diagnosed with adrenal exhaustion, also known as chronic fatigue in the non holistic medical field. I had to take this health problem apart, and learn how to fix my own problem – MY body wasn’t working and I was so tired I needed a nap after walking to the mailbox and back. I was ignoring all the warning signs as swimming, biking and running were my only means of stress relief. It was the only time I felt free. My friends and I just had ‘good clean fun” beating ourselves up in training and loving how we felt. But then I had stress – work, relationships, family stuff and hidden stress from childhood trauma from constant criticism.
Sometimes, I would run 2 hours to clear my head. I realize now how out of balance that was!
By the time I went to the doctor, I was 70% depleted in all nutrients, my digestion was terrible, my gut was in dysbiosis and my monthly cycle had stopped for over 3 months, I had PMS, GI issues – pretty much a lot of issues I never noticed. Although I took care of myself and considered myself healthy, my body showed me that I really wasn’t. And neither was my mind and stress management.
I was on fumes and my mind didn’t want to accept it. “You can do anything!” my mind kept telling me, especially after finishing the inaugural Ironman USA in Lake Placid in 11:52 hours even with severe dehydration.
Now, I was sleeping 11 hours per day, dragging through each day and unable to finish even simple tasks. I wasn’t even able to remember anything, short or long term. I just wanted to move and sleep but my body ached!
I was like the walking dead and I was totally disconnected from my body.
I went through an identity crisis of who I am. I surely was not an athlete, not like this…but who was I??
I learned to reconnect with what made me happy, and stop using my athleticism to run away from being myself or from my stressors.
I learned to stop internalizing my emotions or ‘running’ away from stress and criticism, and start speaking up for me!
I only knew how to suppress my emotions and cope through sport.
Sports is where I connected with stillness, with God. It was where I got praise. So I kept doing more as I ignored every sign and symptom my body gave me. I didn’t want to listen. I just wanted to train and escape.
I had no idea how my doctor was going to ‘put me back together’ nor did I know how I was going to do it. Nutrition was a key part of my recovery, and knowing that I needed to find a new way to heal and lessen the stress.
I dove into learning about the condition, how I got there and how to work myself back out of it and become ‘me’ again.. or maybe the real me for the first time. It’s when I discovered the body needs 3 things:
- Eat real food
- Balance the blood sugar
- Manage your stress differently so it is no longer a stress
It’s what I do to help you fully recover and get back to racing and a fulfilling life with a newer sense of balance.
I learned about juicing to replenish nutrients quickly.
I learned about balancing blood sugar to repair and optimize my health.
I tried raw, I tried gluten free and many other things to find what works for me and my body.
I learned how to honor my body’s needs for rest, yoga and that occasional day off. I learned how to listen to what my body needed today – yoga instead of running some days. I learned to like a day off from training.
I learned how to start loving me and all aspects of me and how to laugh and be happy again.
I learned how to calm the fears and anxiety in my head and connect with me and my hearts dreams using emotional release techniques (and became a practitioner!).
I discovered spirituality and healing modalities to help release the stories, heal the criticisms from childhood and my own, and really embody who I am with loving kindness to me.
I continue to be curious and learn how I can help others because of my journey. I got certified as a level III eating disorder recovery coach to help work through the stressors that affect how you choose food, exercise, and self-care and reconnect you with your inner playfulness!
I want you to discover your innate goodness, innate gifts and absolute peace, joy and happiness of who you are in the body you are in. Athletics is still who I am and even now with arthritis, I find joy in my activities and am working on improving rather than giving in. This arthritis is probably my second hardest issue to work through but I can honestly say, I have learned so much about healing and trusting God to lead me to the answers I need for me. Maybe that is who lead you here to me….
I want you to become your own loving best friend, to help you heal all the physical, emotional, spiritual and emotional layers from inside out.
We only have one life, why not add balance, inner peace and joy to those years so you can be your best version of yourself as an athlete and human being!
I invite you to partner with me on your journey to your best health – body, mind, spirit and sport!
blessings and hugs, xo
To schedule an appointment, call Joanna at 215-272-6774.
Phone and email coaching sessions are available in addition to in person (local Bucks and Montgomery county and Philadelphia area only for in-person sessions). Credit cards and PayPal accepted.
To see Joanna’s education, please go here.