Guest Blog of the Month - Bethany Holmes!

I found Bethany on Instagram a few months back, and quite frankly, I have loved her and her message ever since. Bethany is a holistic health coach as well, reason number one of 50 that I think she's great, who is working hard to help others recover from health traumas as she has experienced.

There is a large portion of Bethany's story that I resonate with like crazy (total anxiety and control over food leading to horribly destructive relationships with food) as well as an inspiring story of taking a tragedy and turning it into a success story. 

I'll let her share her story, but I hope you feel inspired and motivated after hearing her wonderful story, tips, and motivation. 

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+ If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be and why?!

I dream about having lunch with Deepak Chopra and Oprah. I cannot choose one! I know I would learn so much from both of them. They are both special humans on this earth, touching so many lives and making a difference. I would be an enlightening and inspiring such. Just to be in their energy and presence would be electric!

Can I join this lunch? 

+  Tell us a little bit about yourself!Where are you from, what is your favorite thing to do in your free time, and one random fact about you?!

I was born and raised in a suburb outside of Detroit, MI. I lived in Michigan until I was 24, moved out to NYC where I met my now husband, Clark. We moved back to Michigan in 2015 and this summer are moving back to NYC :) (We are very excited to go back). In my free time I love to walk my sweet golden doodle pup Charlie. Read. Listen to podcasts. Bake. Watch trash TV (I love Bravo), spend time with family and friends. One random fact is that I have never ever had a sip of coffee. People think I am crazy?

Bravo is life, and yes you are crazy because so is coffee!! Just kidding, I forgive you. 

+What got you into the health and wellness industry? I know so many women can relate to you and your journey to health. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

It has been a very long journey, but I will try to sum it up as best as I can without writing a novel. ;-) After college, before moving to NYC, I was very unhappy. I hated my job, I did not want to be living in Michigan. I wanted to move to NYC so badly, but I could not get a job and I had no money to support myself without one. I was applying like crazy, but getting very little response. I felt very frustrate and down on myself about it all. I was just in a really negative mindset (which is probably why nothing was working in my favor).

So during this time, I started to use food and exercise to control what I felt I had no control over. I started running (a lot) and doing yoga daily (both) and counting calories and timing out my meal..etc. It was very unhealthy. I got very thin to the point where people were asking me if I was okay and my response was "Yes, are you ok?'. I was so closed off. This went on for about 10 months or so and I finally saved enough money to move out to NYC and I got a job thankfully. When I made it to NYC, I was able to finally sit with myself, tune in and realize what I had been doing to my body. I recognized that I had an issue I needed to get help with. So I started working with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, and naturally through working with her and changing my mindset, I was able to drop all those destructive habits and develop a more loving relationship with myself and food. Food is so emotional and I had no idea what I was even doing, until I was able to step out of it and see it from a different perspective.

About a year after I had recovered from the disordered eating and over-exercising chapter of my life, I started feeling very sick. I was getting dizzy very often, had major fatigue, would experience numbness in my legs when I was running or walking, get frequent headaches..etc. For 9 months I went to doctors and specialists to try to figure out what is going on in my body. It was very frustrating because no one knew and every doctor just wanted to give me a medication to mask my symptoms. It made me furious. However, It was finally discovered that I was born with a malformation of blood vessels in my brain (called a canveroma malformation) and it had slowly been bleeding on and off causing all my of symptoms. Two weeks after learning this, the slow bleed burst into a very large hemorrhage and I was rushed into emergency brain surgery to save my life.

After brain surgery is when I realized how precious life is. How LUCKY I am to be here on this planet, living this life, having this experience. I did not want to do ANYTHING to delay my healing or to inhibit me from feeling my best. So this is when my health journey started. I started paying attention to how I am fueling my body in order to nourish it and care for it! I started to meditate and say no to things that stressed me out or didn't make me happy. I started to be more empathic and sympathetic to those around me and in return I felt the same support. I realized family, friends and community are so important. It was a wake up call. I also realized so many people are not taking care of themselves and I felt it was my responsibility to educate those around me that food is medicine, exercise is healing, meditation is a must ..etc.

I decided to make a complete career change and I went back to school to become a health coach. Mainly to help people live healthier lives, but I also wanted to focus on healing people recover from health traumas. When you do not have your health, you do not have anything. There is so much we cannot control, but we can love ourselves enough to nourish our bodies and mind through food and lifestyle and I want to help people understand what tools they need in order to heal and live free.

I started the "B Healed" program this year which is a program focused working with people who have undergone brain surgery, have a brain injury or a chronic health condition and are needed support in their journey to heal. There are not enough resources out there. After I had brain surgery I felt so alone and lost. I started to work with a health coach and my whole recovery changed - it was monumental in my recovery. So I knew I needed to be that for others!

Chills, sister. You are amazing. You have gone through this for an amazing reason, and you are going to help heal so people, I know that for sure. 

+ What was the key component that helped you find your healthy lifestyle and a loving relationship with food and your body?

Working with a therapist was very beneficial. But, after I had brain surgery, I realized there is NO room in my life for anything but a positive mindset about everything. It was that moment, I was so grateful to be alive that I just did not want to do anything to harm my body. I started to honor my body, respect my body, and I was so proud of my body for what it went through and how it was healing. I was just so damn grateful to be alive, there was no room for negative talk about anything. Now that is how I live my life and I feel so much lighter and free than I ever have before.

+ If you could share one thing to help other women looking to not only improve their health and fitness, but their self-love too, what would it be?

Do not compare. Do not mimic. You are your own unique, amazing person. Do not get caught up wishing you had a different body, more money, more things, etc. It is hard with social media to not get caught up looking at other people's lives and idolizing them. Focus on what makes you happy. What fills your soul? and then do more of that. It is simple, but we tend to over complicate it. Eat more plants. Move your body. Rest when you need to. Set boundaries where needed. ENJOY LIFE.

+ What is your favorite type of workout?

Pilates. Truly the most healing movement. I am so grateful to have found this practice.

+ If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh! Probably Sweet Potatoes OR smoothie bowl. Can you tell I am not good at picking one? haha

Me either, B. I wouldn't be able to answer my own question, it's okay lol. 

+ What is the most unique workout you've ever done?!

I honestly am not that adventurous with my workouts. I was a runner all through high school and then did yoga post college and now I am into Pilates and Barre. I really haven't done anything too unique. However, if you have never worked out on the pilates reformer, I would highly recommend. Some people have said they are intimidated by the machine, but it is truly amazing how that machine helps strengthen and lengthen your body.

+ What is your favorite quote to live by?

What you think you become

What you feel you attract

What you imagine you create

+ Where can everyone find you?

@thehealthy_b on instagram

Bethany Holmes or The Healthy B on Facebook