At 12-years old, I was trying to spend my summer just as any normal child would, but unfortunately I became quite ill. For nearly a month, I barely left my home because I needed to be near the bathroom; even water was difficult to hold down. Eventually, I began losing weight and my mother decided my body was fighting something more serious than “just a bug.” At the hospital, they ran routine tests, all of which came back normal. The doctors decided to perform further testing through a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, which also came back normal. Then, my personal doctor decided to do one more test for a food allergy to High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). It didn’t take long for the results to come back positive. All of this didn’t mean a lot to me as a 12-year old—until I realized how many drinks and foods contained HFCS. The list of foods and beverages I could eat and drink became incredibly short, and the stress and anxiety of not feeling like a “normal” kid only worsened the situation. As I began cutting HFCS out of my diet, it helped to a point, but it wasn’t the final solution because I was still experiencing symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Another trip to the doctor resulted in the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I continued cutting out trigger foods like anything processed or foods that contained HFCS, and I found some relief, but after several years, I grew tired of not eating what others around me were eating. I started reintroducing the foods I had worked so hard to avoid and my poor eating habits didn’t adversely affect me immediately. However, after a year I had gained 30 pounds and I became ill again. The same symptoms returned even worse than before, along with the additional symptom of excessive weight loss. All of this opened my eyes to the fact that I needed to take my health seriously. Once again, I returned to my doctor who restated that I was dealing with IBS. They suggested that I start taking antidepressants to relax the muscle spasms in my bowels, but I was concerned with the side effects. Instead, I decided to take my health into my own hands because I was convinced there must be other options. The IBS diagnosis led me to research the digestive system and how the bowels are affected by food, and that’s when my health transformation began. It was then that I began my journey of healthy eating and exercise and experienced the transformation of my gut health. I went from being that 12-year old who most knew as the “sick girl,” to a woman who is passionate about health and wellness. This transformation led me to pursue a career of helping others do the same through personal training and nutritional wellness. Today, I am so grateful for this journey that has given me the ability to listen to my body. Now, through my position at Healthy Simple Life, I can help people with similar stories feel secure and excited about reaching out to take the next step in their path towards health. If you’re considering coaching from the HSL team, I’d love to chat with you about what’s going on and help you take control of your health too!