October 20, 2021

I live in Lincoln, Nebraska and I am a public school teacher. I teach high school and I absolutely love my job. I teach English and journalism. My husband is also a teacher, so we are both very busy.

We have 3 dogs (with our most recent addition in February), and we foster rescue dogs. I enjoy reading (typical English teacher), spending time with family and volunteering. I enjoy being active. I like to golf, hike, casually jog, and I am also a kickboxing instructor.

My joining CSF was unique in that I did not join to lose weight. I found out a few years ago that I had EoE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis) which basically means that I am allergic to a very large number of foods.

My list includes: soy… wheat… carrots… tomatoes… green beans… green peas… squash… peanuts… almonds… bananas… corn… coconut… radishes… red grapes… pumpkin

I was always a “healthy eater” prior to my diagnosis. A typical day for me was eating a wheat tortilla with peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon for breakfast.

For lunch, I would have undoubtedly had something I was allergic to. My afternoon snack was cold snap peas and carrots, and my dinner (like lunch) was probably killing my insides as well.

I was diagnosed with EoE when I was 35. So, essentially, my entire life I have been eating foods that were not good for me.

I was sort of stuck. What could I eat now? I find out I’m allergic to EVERYTHING! I immediately thought, “You need to figure this out. You have to completely change your lifestyle and how you’re eating.”

The feeling I had while trying to figure this out on my own was incredibly, overwhelmingly, defeated. That would be the easiest way to describe how I felt.

I literally couldn’t eat anything I had been eating. Pasta, cereal, veggies, out at restaurants, in my own home, I had to 100% change my nutrition. Not only that, but again, because I have been a healthy person, I knew I needed a way to make up for what I was no longer able to eat. My goal was to find a way to learn to eat all over again. Enter Copper State FIT

I felt very confident in reaching out to Copper State FIT. A college friend of mine, Amber Smith (now Little), had had huge success with the program and I followed her journey, so I knew the success of the program.

I felt very comfortable and confident after my initial consultation. We discussed that CSF looks at your lifestyle like a bank account. We make these healthy “deposits” each day by eating well, working out, meditating, whatever it may be to cover your mental and physical well-being. Then, when we go out to dinner, we go on vacation, or whatever, you look at that as “withdrawing” from your bank, which isn’t harmful because you’ve been building up those savings. So you just go back to making those deposits afterward. That mindset and analogy have stuck with me for my entire time with CSF.

I think human beings are SO HARD ON themselves for what we fail NOT to do. And then what do we do? We make excuses for why we DIDN’T do something so we can feel less guilty. Instead, why don’t we just focus on the positives we do most of the time and allow ourselves to dip into the negatives every once in a while?

It’s like that saying that you always forget the compliments people give you but remember the insults. We do the same with our health. If we fail for a day or a week or even a month, we tear ourselves down, when we haven’t really “failed” at anything. We took a break. We withdrew from our account.

So, full disclosure, I was no different. I held a pity party for myself for probably the first 3 months I joined. I kept telling my coach (Dana) reasons I couldn’t do things and how much I hated that I couldn’t eat “anything” I liked. (might be a bit of a dramatic person). So I would, make excuses for why I couldn’t do the things she was asking me.

Finally, one day, she said to me, “Okay, so how long are you going to feel sorry for yourself? Because you need to get over this. You either make the changes or you don’t.”

She will probably tell you it wasn’t that harsh…and it probably wasn’t, but it was at that moment I decided to stop making those excuses and commit to trying to relearn how to eat.

Within a month, I felt my health do a complete 180-degree pivot. I didn’t have abdominal pain, I wasn’t nauseous, I wasn’t as tired, I didn’t feel as bloated. Everything changed for me, and I haven’t looked back since.

Fast forward to now… my protein intake is much higher! I consistently try to hit 150 grams of protein daily. At first, I thought that was the most insane thing I had ever heard and physically impossible to do. Again, once I stopped making excuses and figured out what to eat, it was a breeze.

I stick to the same things most of the time, but I also know those things will make me feel good. And I’m not talking about emotionally (even though I do think I feel better mentally when I’m not sick) but physically. Even now, I know I can eat a cinnamon roll, but I’m probably not going to feel well later in the day. I can eat corn on the cob, but I’m going to have horrible abdominal pain a few hours later.

At the gym where I instruct, we have these 10-week challenges for our new members and I always say that I wish there was a way to bottle up the way you will feel in 10 weeks after watching your nutrition and committing to staying active because if you could sample how you will feel in 10 weeks, you would sign up in a heartbeat. I feel the same way about my health now with CSF. Whether you are looking for a way to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier, change your mindset, WHATEVER! I wish there was a way for me to show you how I felt then and how I feel now because you would have no hesitation whatsoever about making the commitment.

I told myself at the beginning of 2021 that my resolution for the year would be to commit to 90-100% nutrition and exercise. And I can say, with 100% honesty, I have done that.

There is a part of the weekly check-in form that asks you to rate your adherence to both nutrition and exercise. For a long time, I always selected the 70-80% (I think that is what it is?). Then, in December, I started to ask myself, “But why are you only selecting that? What if you truly committed to 90-100% and stopped being so hard on yourself?” So I decided to keep doing what I was doing but to say 90-100%. Was each week 100%? No. Absolutely not. And I don’t think it ever will be. I like junk food too much. But I can say I have given at least 90% every week of 2021. As crazy as it sounds, that minor adjustment of selecting that option has changed my mindset about my nutrition as well.

Had I not made the decision to work with Copper State FIT, I don’t know who I would have reached out to or what I would have done. I think one of two things would have happened: 1) I would’ve just continued eating the things I was allergic to and feeling horrible. 2.) I would’ve changed my eating habits but I would not have done it correctly and I would’ve ended up tired and run down because I was missing key components in my nutrition.

I have recommended CSF to anyone I know who is looking for any type of lifestyle change. I think the thing I keep coming back to is the idea of excuses. And I don’t say that just starting CSF. I’m saying that as a blanket statement for all of the things we just haven’t started yet.

We can always come up with reasons why we can’t do something. And I think one of the main reasons we do that is our fear of the unknown, which I completely get. We are creatures of habit. We like what we like because it’s familiar. But I think we have to be honest about that and be brave enough to push through our excuses to get to where we want to be.

I know several people who have committed to CSF who have had amazing results, and that’s not meaning physical results at all. Sure, they have lost weight, but when I think of the people I know who have committed to the program, I think of the way their mindset has changed and their view on, not only their health but the lives they lead.

When I had my initial consultation call, I said “I’m not looking to lose weight. I need to be healthy. I am not old, but I’m getting older, and I need to figure this out while there is still time to have a healthy life and to develop healthy habits.”

And I think that’s the joy of what CSF does. It teaches you how to live your life, not (just) how to lose weight.

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