Photo by J.Mo Studios
Holistic Health Coach, Avid Rock Climber, Travel Addict, Lover of All Things Yoga, Animal Obsessed, Exercise + Nutrition Junky
But that just scratches the surface.
Over the last decade I’ve obtained two degrees in exercise science, built a successful wedding photography business in one of the most competitive markets in the US, got married, adopted six animals and all the while maintained a healthy diet, exercised a minimum of 200 days a year and traveled constantly. I was known as an overachiever, getting more done in a day that most people could get down in a week, a giver, constantly putting aside my needs to help out a friend, and a wine expert, consuming more than I’d like to admit most nights. I was trying to take the world by storm.
But I also battled chronic urinary tract infections, hypothyroidism, fatigue, panic disorder, severe anxiety, unexplained weight gain, systemic allergic reactions to medications as well as cold exposure, numerous food intolerances, leaky gut, candida overgrowth, multiple chemical sensitivity and most recently, heat intolerance, Celiac Disease and Dysautonomia.
With the right food choices and daily meditation, I was able to correct most of these things, but I still lived in fear of what was next. And it wasn’t until I was told I was healed, returned to my bad habits and collapsed while photographing a wedding that I realized that I hadn’t addressed the underlying issue. With five paramedics standing over me, all confused by my vitals and symptoms, I realized that life as I knew it was about to change.
I spent almost a month in bed, barely able to eat 500 calories each day and in constant fear of my life. My body was failing and none of my doctors knew what was happening to me or how to help. All of my test results were “normal” and my symptoms didn’t meet any western diagnosis. My head was spinning with anxiety and I hated myself. I hated my body. I hated my life. I was depressed, I was frustrated and I was pissed off.
But I wasn’t able to start healing until I realized the holistic nature of how the human body works and how STRESS, both good and bad, truly effects the body. Then I was able to see that the hate that I was feeling had always been there, and that my constant overachieving and limit pushing was just my way of trying to prove to myself that I was good enough. I realized then that in order to get better, I needed to take a holistic approach, and that in return I was going to have to learn to love and accept myself. And so I did.
I continued to eat healthy, slowly began to exercise again and started to embrace a mindful approach to life. I detoxified my relationships, let go of activities that weren’t adding to a positive life and learned to breathe (apparently, when I am excited, I forget to do that…). In the process I became in tune with my body in a way that I’d never been before, I built a support system of doctors, friends and family who I could truly depend on, I found strength inside of me that I never even knew I had. I found peace, happiness and hope for the future. I began to feel alive, healthy and EMPOWERED.
And so my second career was born. I knew after I collapsed that wedding photography was incompatible with my future and I was totally okay with that. I had known for a while that I needed a change, as it never fulfilled my desire to truly help people. The day I found out that I could help people like me, who experience chronic symptoms, inflammation and autoimmune diseases, my mind was blown. I had initially wanted to work in the exercise and nutrition field, but got distracted along the way. After diving back into it feet first, I knew that functional nutrition and holistic health coaching was exactly where I was and am supposed to be. I’ve never felt so called to anything in my life.
Click here to read more about Functional Nutrition of Boulder!
Rayna is a Holistic Health Coach. She has an Associates Degree in Exercise Science from CCAC, as well as a Bachelors Degree in Human Performance and Sport and a Minor in Nutrition from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
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