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HOW EMMA GOT REAL

This is the previous "ABOUT ME" section from my old website written at the launch of REALWITH Emma Wellness in May 2019...


And it only feels right to give you all the opportunity to witness the evolution of me, my brand, my mission & my journey. So let's keep this version of me in the archives, shall we?


Enjoy...


 

IT'S BEEN A LONG ROAD, BUT SH*T, IT WAS WORTH IT.


My wellness journey has been a long and amazing one – and it all started when I fell in love with sports. Since before I can remember the only thing that was important to me, the only thing that I thought could define me, was being an athlete.




And for the longest time, I thought that was my only option, it was all I was good at, all I was worth. This carried me through Division I Field Hockey at the University of New Hampshire – it pushed me to be the best athlete I could be. It led me to my first job coaching at Boston College – a top-ranked DI NCAA program. But this is where “being an athlete” came to an end. This is when I had to take a long hard look at WHO I was, WHAT I wanted to be, and HOW I would get there….


It took me 22 years to realize that I had another passion that had been inside me since I was a little girl – a passion for nutrition and being healthy.


At 5 years old, I would demand to have “sport snacks” (which was basically a large fruit salad). I would tell all my friends how great it was and how “healthy” it makes you. And so began my know-it-all stage…


THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS

Fast forward to high school and being insecure in my body (which looked like a little boy’s) and me researching ways to SUPPORT my hormones?!?! I was so eager to develop into a young woman – I would spend hours diving into articles and chewing ice instead of having a full meal in hopes of “getting curves” – because every 15 year old girl thinks skinny = curves, right!?


I was in a constant battle between wanting to be “sexy” and feminine or to be taken seriously as an athlete. I would tell myself I couldn’t have both.


I would use my athletic build as an excuse to myself for not being “sexy” – I convinced myself I would never have that sex appeal, that body that made the other girls jealous. I threw hateful words at myself any chance I got.


Speed it up another few years – now in college, still eager to learn about how to be the best looking I could be, but now it became how to be the best looking ATHLETE. I didn’t need to be sexy, I needed to be fit. Because back then, they weren’t the same thing – you were either sexy or you were fit. I began to form not-so-healthy habits. My relationship with food was addictive and restrictive all in one. I battled this all through college.


I wanted to LOOK like the athlete I thought that I was. And I thought the only way to earn respect was to fit the part. I wish I could say I figured it out before graduation, but I didn’t.

POST-GRAD LIFE

Jump to post-grad life – coaching at BC. I was an adult now, you know, with a 45 min commute to work! So began my obsession with podcasts. But – only health and wellness podcasts. I began to tell my friends and family all the cool and HORRIFYING things I had learned that day – like sugar's effect on the body, what gluten is, etc.


After the season ended I was on the hunt for a new job and came across a graduate assistant coaching position in Brooklyn, NY. I was like “BROOKLYN, UM YES – but what would I get my masters in?” Well, being as oblivious as I was – I turned to family and friends for some guidance.



They all unanimously said “WHY WOULDN’T YOU STUDY NUTRITION?! It is all you talk about!!!” And just like that, the ah-ha moment. I f*cking loved nutrition. 3 weeks later I moved to Brooklyn and began my journey to obtain my Masters in Sports Nutrition.


The thought was with this degree I could still be that athletically focused person, who would now be able to shoot the sh*t about health and wellness.


Living in Brooklyn, alone, was the best and hardest thing that I have ever done. My first few months there I found myself in a tailspin of doubt and self-loathing. I abused food and alcohol. I was studying how food works in the body and trying desperately to find a DIET that would make me “happy” – aka SKINNY.


I counted calories, macros, did intermittent fasting, ate 1 million grams of protein a day, all while working out 7 days a week, for 2 or more hours. Nothing worked. I never got the body I wanted.


I wasn’t happy. I was lonely. I felt worthless.


It wasn’t until I began to listen to holistic nutrition podcasts, read self-love books, and look at someone in the mirror that I did not recognize – that I saw I needed to love myself first.


With 1 semester left of my master's program I decided that before I can help anyone else, I needed to get my sh*t right. I began to dive into the world of intuitive eating, yoga, journaling, and doing LESS.


Within weeks I had dropped weight, my skin cleared up, my anxiety went down and I broke out of my “must be an athlete – must have a perfect body” mindset.


I was happy. I never felt more myself.

THE REAL WORLD

SPEED IT UP AGAIN to graduation day – I had a job being a sports nutritionist and performance coach all lined up ready and waiting for me in Portsmouth, NH. I was so excited with my new outlook on life – to help others achieve what I had. So I packed up and headed north.


I worked at this job for 3 weeks. That was all it took – to realize this isn’t giving me the joy I thought it would. And without another job or another plan – I quit. I decided I would do what needed to be done to make money but I wasn’t going to waste another day doing something that did not resonate with me.

3 weeks later I wound up in the ER (shoutout to my boyfriend for driving me in the middle of the night) for insanely bad abdominal pain and extreme distention.


I told the doctor that I had been getting this pain off and on since high school and that after endoscopies, tests, and lots of meds, I had been diagnosed with IBS (which I know I don’t actually have).

The ultrasound in the ER showed an excessive amount of gas built up in my abdomen – and all they said was “weird – here are some anti-inflammatories, good luck” and sent me home. CLASSIC.


From that day on, I had these stomach pains after every meal. I would be doubled over in pain with tears streaming down my face not knowing what it was that I ate to cause this pain. Or maybe it wasn’t food? Maybe I am getting stress stomach aches?



But f*ck these pains aren’t even in my stomach they are in my upper abdomen?!


I was at a loss. No doctors would help me figure it out. I was so upset that after finding my “wellness” in Brooklyn – I was not well, again. Not myself, again.

And not knowing how to fix it this time.


FINDING AND HEALING MYSELF

About 2 weeks after my ER visit and 2 weeks of eating close to nothing to avoid another ER visit – I listened to another podcast. The guest was a Holistic Health Coach who explained her life and living with her gut condition, SIBO.


Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.


She explained the symptoms and her struggle to find a doctor to diagnose her because this condition is still so new, and in that moment I was THE HAPPIEST GIRL EVER.


I called my mom and with all the joy in the world said “I THINK I HAVE SIBO!!!” *as if I won the lottery*


I took myself to a Naturopathic Doctor that following day and badda-bing badda-boom. SIBO. Highest levels she had seen. I was miserable from the symptoms (abdominal pain, constipation, fatigue, depression, anxiety – all the good stuff) but had never felt so relieved.


I took the summer to heal myself through antibiotics and herbal remedies and then said YOLO – I want to be a health coach. So back to school, I went – to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.



On the mend and feeling like myself again, learning about all the most amazing nutritional topics I could dream of – I landed myself a job as a strength instructor and wellness coach at Portsmouth’s top boutique fitness studio.


I was THRIVING – doing all the things I loved. Putting members through intense workouts to my personal playlists – loud, raw, real. Coaching my clients through their own mindset barriers and restrictive views on food. Feeling like myself again, feeling like I had a purpose and a voice, and being so grateful to share the wealth of self-love.


And now, even before I “think” I am ready – I am out here on my own. Building my own business. Trying to reach as many people as I can to let them know there are better ways to go about “being healthy.”


Wellness doesn’t come from the scale, or your income, or the food on your plate, not from romance or nice clothes.



It comes from you.

Taking care of you.

Being kind to you.

Loving you.



Xx, Emma



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