Hello! This is Part Two of our introduction to you- A chance to get to know us, our stories, and what drove us to create this blog. Let's meet Morgan, our resident health coach and badass!
What made you decide to become a health coach?
I have been interested in health and wellness my entire life, but it wasn’t until I went through my own struggles with health and ultimately found what being healthy truly feels like, that I became determined to help others find the same true health and wellness. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, that interest in health became an obsession. I developed an unhealthy relationship food and exercise. I became severely anorexic, and then later bulimic. I exercised for hours a day and if/when I did eat, it was low calorie, low fat, diet food with all sorts of chemicals and artificial flavors. I was also a personal trainer at the time, which I am embarrassed to say, because I don’t think I was fooling anyone with how I was treating myself. As you can imagine, my body and spirit were tremendously broken.
I eventually had a sort of spiritual awakening following a mental breakdown and decided that I had to live my life differently. I reached out and received help and support from my friends, family, and some professionals. I quit my personal training job because I felt that it contributed to my body image obsession, and started focusing on healing myself mentally and physically. Once I was in a healthy place mentally and physically, I decided I wanted to help people with their journey to health by focusing on feeling healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually, not by focusing just on what the body looks like.
What was life like before you started Crossfit & Paleo?
I started eating Paleo before I started CrossFit, so I’m going to start there. After being pretty healthy my entire life, in my early twenties I started to experience multiple debilitating symptoms. Both physical and mental, which I believe were a direct result of the abuse that I put my mind and body through during my dieting, anorexic, bulimic, low fat/calorie, diet food days. I experienced anxiety, depression, digestive issues, joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue, chronic infections, insomnia, chronic colds, various skin ailments, and respiratory issues. No doctor could definitively tell me what was wrong or what was causing my issues, but they did diagnose me with a list of chronic diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, emphysema, depression, anxiety, ADHD, IBS, dermatographism, an allergy to the sun, and a few more. I could barely go for a 20 minute slow walk without becoming extremely fatigued for days, which was devastating since I had previously been a nationally ranked athlete in multiple sports. I was put on all sorts of medications that didn’t help and had horrible side effects, some even caused permanent damage, and as you can imagine, I eventually got extremely frustrated and desperate. I remember thinking “this is no way to live”.
At the suggestion of a very dear friend and incredible human being, I sought out the help of a naturopath and started eating Paleo, which was about 5 years ago. Literally within a few days some of my symptoms went away, and after a few months more went away. After about a year of eating Paleo, I was a completely different person. All my “unexplained” symptoms were either completely gone or dramatically reduced. Incredible, right? That’s the power of food!!!
Now, on to CrossFit. As I mentioned earlier, in my late teens/early twenties I was an anorexic and bulimic obsessive exerciser. I absolutely hated my body. I despised my broad shoulders, I loathed my flat butt, and I was absolutely disgusted by my huge thighs, just to mention a few. I was so focused on what my body wasn’t, and what it didn’t look like, that I had completely lost sight of what it was and what it could do. At that time, exercise was purely a tool to get the body that I thought I wanted, that I thought would solve all my problems and make my life perfect. Then came CrossFit.
From my first workout, I was hooked! (BTW- I just started crying as I’m writing this). It brought back that feeling I had growing up when I was kicking ass at whatever sport I was doing. I loved it because there was a goal, something to beat! As I continued with CrossFit, I noticed that something in my spirit and mind shifted about how I saw my body and how I felt about it. I started to see my broad shoulders and think “Hell ya they’re big, they’re the reason I can rock some handstand pushups”, “Good thing my thighs are huge, I need them to squat impressive amounts of weight", and, "So what if there is a little cellulite- that doesn’t effect my squat”. I started not caring what the scale said because I knew that my body was strong, healthy, and kicked ass at WODs.
It has given me a whole new appreciation for my body. I absolutely love that I can accomplish things in CrossFit that I never thought I could do. I am constantly impressed with my body now. CrossFit is incredible because it encourages woman to focus on getting one more pull up or squatting five more pounds, not losing 5 more pounds or trimming 1 more inch off of our tummies! My focus is now on what I can do next, not how I need to look. That is huge for me.
What got you into Crossfit?
It’s kind of funny- I actually started CrossFit because I am a highly competitive person and I can’t stand it when someone around me is doing something athletic and I’m not!
Some close friends of mine started CrossFit and it was all they ever talked about (as all CrossFitters do). Then, the cherry on top, my husband started CrossFit and became obssesd too. I thought, “I have to see what the hype is all about”, purely because I couldn’t stand that these people around me were doing something that sounded so cool and I was not. I will forever be grateful to that group of friends and my husband for discovering CrossFit, becoming obsessed, and encouraging me to start.
What's been the biggest change for you since starting Crossfit and Paleo?
Since starting Paleo, the biggest change I have noticed is how incredibly healthy my mind and body feel. Since starting CrossFit, the biggest change has been how I see my body and the appreciation that I have for it.
What are you hoping to accomplish with She Thrives?
With She Thrives, I am determined to provide women with inspiration, motivation, and the tools needed to make the same life changes that Taylor and I have. I also hope to celebrate the incredible spiritual and physical changes that women have made, by sharing their stories and experiences. I just want every woman to realize that they are beautiful and strong, and already have the power within themselves to be who they truly are and kick ass in life- like they were meant to!