Hello, I'm Vanessa. I'm a 45-year-old wife, mother, business owner, and healthy living enthusiast. I have two adult sons, two furbabies, and one handsome husband.
My Passion is Helping Others
Continually staying up-to-date with current research in nutrition, health, and wellness is my crazy obsession. For many years this passion, combined with my innate empathy and strong desire to help others, was my career.
I worked as a health and fitness professional, coaching individuals in achieving better physical health through nutrition and exercise. I was quite successful doing something I loved and then I crashed.
My Health was on a Downward Spiral
In the spring of 2008, my husband Tom and I were at a fitness convention in Las Vegas. Surrounded by others with exuberance and passion for the industry, I remarked how everyone there seemed so enthusiastic and had so much energy. Meanwhile, I felt flat, blah and tired. This was a defining moment.
I had gained a lot of weight in a short period of time. I was tired all the time, rarely laughed or had fun, I had no ambition to do anything or go anywhere. Nights were becoming sleepless and I had developed a nasty nighttime eating disorder. All day long I would eat my healthy meals and snacks and then at midnight find myself in front of the refrigerator binging on food. My workouts were sporadic as my energy and desire were non-existent. Worst of all, I had no hope.
I knew my health was on a downward spiral and I had to do something about it.
The night we returned home, I felt overwhelming sadness, depression and desperation. At the time, I was working very long hours, six days a week. My work environment had become quite tense and stressful due to several turnovers in management. There was division on our personal training team and going to work most days felt like going to war.
This three day escape gave me the respite and perspective I needed. If I was going to regain my health, I couldn't go back. The next day I resigned.
My Healing Journey
After 9 months of unsuccessfully trying to figure things out on my own, I was introduced to a naturopathic doctor who was confident he could help me.
My initial phone consultation with Dr. LaValle was over two hours in length. I was being asked to recall my health history, from what felt like the time I was born.
With health history complete and lab results in hand, Dr. LaValle explained I was living with significant adrenal fatigue.
My response to stress had gone awry.
He assured me I would regain my health, lose the weight, and be back to being my happy and energetic self. However, healing was going to require patience, time, and a surrendering to the process.
Not easy for this type A personality.
The adrenal fatigue I experienced was a direct result of an unhealthy response to stress, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I did not just wake up with it; instead it developed slowly over time. It was part of who I was and how I responded to life.
The healing process ended up being a four-year journey of self-discovery, which required me to learn a new way of thinking and living. I had to learn to let go of unhealthy habits like perfectionism and obsessiveness, as well as learn how to forgive others and myself. I had to learn gratitude and accept that things don’t just happen to me, but for me. I am not a victim.
In 2010, two years into my healing journey, I was beginning to desperately miss helping people. I missed my clients and gym friends. I wasn’t physically ready to go back to work at the gym, but I knew I still had something to contribute to others.
It was Tom’s idea; actually it was insistence, that I start a blog. There were a few variations but eventually Healthy Living How To was born.
Healthy Living How To
It has been eight years since I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I have lost the weight, regained my health and have hope for a healthy future. I worked closely with Dr. LaValle and his team during my healing process. This involved regular lab testing, nutritional guidance, personalized supplementation, and lifestyle modifications.
At the time I was not able to see the forest for the trees. Restoring my health and healing did not happen overnight, but over time my symptoms slowly faded. When I was at my worst, I felt like a victim and now I look back and see adrenal fatigue as my blessing.
The gifts I have been given on my healthy living journey have been abundant, I have been blessed by many along the way, and in return, I want to be a blessing to you.