Though it may look like it, this is not the story of a weight loss journey, rather it's the story of my pursuit of happiness, which had the side benefit of over 40 pounds of fat loss and a significant reduction in my other symptoms.
One of my Instagram friends told me that she was curious about my mountain woman lifestyle and how I ended up here, so I decided it would be fun to start sharing bits of my story every Wednesday.
In my darkest hour
I thought it would only be appropriate to start at my lowest point, back in 2012. In the picture on the left, the most obvious symptom of the stress I was under was my weight—I weighed nearly 200lbs in this picture, had extreme chronic neck and back pain, pretty intense eczema flares, IBS, depression, anxiety/panic attacks, and a pretty decent drinking problem, which helped me to cope with all of that.
Although I was obsessed with health and nutrition, my stress levels wouldn't allow my body to benefit from any of it. I was working too many hours under super stressful circumstances; driving in traffic just to sit in a freezing cold, windowless, cramped "box of an office" for 40+ hours a week; not spending enough time with my dogs; and hardly spending any time in nature.
I hated my life and I hated myself for not knowing how to escape it. I knew I didn't belong in Orange County, CA and I knew I didn't belong at a desk-job—I just didn't yet know where I belonged—but I was desperately desiring to find out.
Reduce your stress, Kristen, and follow your joy
If I could go back to this point in time, I would give my 29-year-old self a giant hug and say "Stop beating yourself up, you sweet, kind, beautiful woman. You're under way too much stress, and you're not listening to your heart. If you just follow your joy, things will swiftly change—way faster than you could ever imagine."
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Who is Kristen Stephen?
Kristen Stephen is a bodyworker, practicing integrative manual therapy, in Nederland, Colorado. Her mission is to help people live lives with less pain and more joy.
Please note, all material on this website is for for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice.
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