Hello! My name is Kelsie and I’m the girl behind Health by Hansen! I’ve always had a passion for health and wellness but up until a few years ago I never understood the importance of my own health. In my short 24 years of living I’ve had a health wake up call twice, thankfully I finally listened! When I was a freshman in college I was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease. Looking back on my childhood, I believe I’ve always had Celiacs, but up until my body finally said enough was enough, I didn’t listen. My mom would be exasperated at how much I would sleep, debilitating migraines were common, the feeling of acid eating my entire body cavity was just another Tuesday for me and taking a kitchen knife to my legs because they itched with such intensity was a nightly occurrence; gross, I know! When I got wind of one of my Uncles being diagnosed with Celiac Disease I did a little research on what the symptoms were. I had maybe 1/3 of the symptoms, I mean, I was 17… how could I have depression? Anxiety? Brain Fog? Well one afternoon I got this big brown envelope in the mail from the doctors office confirming I had Celiac Disease and big list of foods I was no longer able to eat was enclosed with the letter from my doctor, talk about overwhelming. My mom would spend hours in a grocery store trying to decipher what was gluten free and what was off limits. If there was a big ‘gluten free’ sticker plastered on the front it was fair game in my books! Cookies, crackers, and cereals were my main staples of my diet. Eventually my body begged for real food, so I thought it was time for me to learn how to cook. I would call my mom with immense frustration, desperately looking for any advice on how to properly cook rice. Seriously, my cooking skills were THAT bad. After many failed attempts with rice I FINALLY began to find my way around the kitchen. After about a year of much trial and error I got pretty good at this whole cooking thing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was healthy cooking. Foods made with white gluten free flours, dishes full of butter and grease. Sadly, still no nutritional value to my diet what so ever. I was moody, depressed, still always tired, dropped out of college because I had zero drive, looking for anything that would make me feel better. I knew this wasn’t who I was- it felt like I was trapped in a world I didn’t belong, but I had no idea where to turn.
Fast forward to the Spring of 2015, my world was shaken, flipped upside down, and squashed on the cement. My sister was a bikini fitness competitor who was beautiful inside and out and I always aspired to be just like her. She mentioned there was a fitness competition she was competing in that following Fall and it would be neat for us to compete together! She said “you need to find something that makes you feel strong, at a time when you feel so weak.” I thought “alright, we’ll give it a shot.” So; I hired a coach, I was given a meal plan and a workout plan. I’m JAZZED! I was like, I so got this!! I was ready to find the girl that went missing so long ago. One plus side to this meal plan was REAL FOOD. It was bland food, but there were vegetables, lean protein, some fruit and complex carbs. My body was craving nutrients and I was finally giving it what it wanted. Nonetheless it was a brutal 16 week process that unfortunately created a bad relationship with food for me. Every Saturday was our “cheat day” and let me tell you, I put a whole new meaning to cheat day. To the point were I was physically sick. Over the course of the 16 weeks I developed a vicious cycle of eating everything I could get my hands on and fit in my mouth to structure, low calorie, low carb. Not only did this take a toll on my metabolism but also on my body image, self confidence, and mental state.
Come show day I was so exhausted I didn’t care what happened I just wanted it over with. The stage lights were beaming, the crowd was loud and everything endured over the last 16 weeks was coming to this one moment. We walked out and I had zero clue what I was doing but it was just like I was back dancing in front of thousands of people competing for the championship title. I loved it, the feeling was euphoric and when I was placed 4th in my class I was over the moon. I came running off stage into my then boyfriend, now husbands, arms and that burger we ate that night was the best damn tasting burger on the PLANET! But it didn’t stop at the one burger, then it was cupcakes, waffles the next morning, fries for lunch and so on. I couldn’t stop myself. Food became stressful, my body fat increased, and my self esteem diminished. The only thing I could think to do would be to sign up for another competition so then I HAD to stop. My logic this time was; if I try this approach called IIFYM, I could have more of a variety in my diet as long as it fit my macros. So I hired a new coach, got my macros- had weekly check ins to determine what needed to change with my protocol, and I was on my way. But there was one small problem… remember that whole metabolism thing? Yea, well I screwed mine up pretty good going from restriction to full blown crazy animal so it didn’t matter whether I was IIFYMs of the typical standard ‘bro’ diet, I was still eating a whole lot of no food (in my books). I was constantly tired, like really really effing tired, my emotions were so out of control I would lay in bed and cry for NO REASON (dramatic, i know… but I couldn’t stop the tears, literally), my digestive system hated me, food and an eating scheduled ruled everything about my life, and my mom was ready to kill me (sorry mom!). Come show I was really really done, I had zero care about how I looked I just wanted it to be over. I didn’t place last in my class, but pretty close, threw up the deuces and I was out!
I knew what was coming this time after the competition so I was prepared. I thought as long as I control what I’m eating I’ll be fine. But then I found myself still losing weight and my husband said “kels, its time to eat real food, we’re going out for dinner.” Apparently he didn’t like my being 103lb (I naturally sit at 125ish). It was awful, all I could think about was how many carbs would be in the chips I ate or fats could be in the salad dressing and how much cardio should I do the next day. Then we went for froyo and overwhelming feelings of anxiety came back so I naturally, I drowned them in hot fudge, only to be extremely disappointed in myself for allowing myself to indulge THAT much. It was a very all in or all out relationship with my foo, followed by anxiety, guilt and frustration. This was a mental cycle that I was going to fight with for a very long time.
None of this was healthy. Nothing about it! Not the restriction or exhaustion. Nor the havoc it wreaks on your hormones or mental state it creates, or training endlessly until creating injury or not eating enough food to recover from the work outs. When I walk off that stage I was desperately looking for what healthy was but I definitely knew that wasn’t it. 9 months later I finally decided to take the plunge and enroll in Institute of Integrative Nutrition. It has taught me what true health and freedom feels like. I know what it feels like to grow up not every feeling good, I understand what it feels like for food to rule your life, I get how toxic relationships create unhealthy beings. Thats why I’ve committed myself to become the best holistic health coach I can be. Hoping to give anyone the help they’ve been looking for.