About

Hi there! My name is Stephanie and I am the Whole Health Dork.

Top of Jungfraujoch

What is Whole Health Dork?

This blog documents my life as I strive to maintain whole health in the hopes of inspiring, learning from, and teaching others. In keeping with a “whole health” approach, I incorporate all aspects of health: mind/body/spirit health, fitness, and nutrition and how all the little things that we do add up to the big picture of health.

I haven’t always been Whole Health Dork.

I was a bit overweight in my tweens. Though I was active in horseback riding, basketball, and soccer, I would eat mindlessly. Becoming a vegetarian didn’t help because I didn’t educate myself on proper nutrition. Empty carbs dominated my diet to keep me full. I was teased often for my weight and my general dorkiness (goodness forbid that I actually liked, and excelled at, school).

Grade 6

I fell to the pressure to be perfect when I was in middle school and ended up being hospitalized for bradycardia, compliments of anorexia nervosa and exercise bulimia.

Grade 7

“The need to be perfect” is obviously simplifying the reason I ended up succumbing to anorexia, but what I prefer to focus on is the fact that I recovered. I received aggressive treatment over the summer I was hospitalized and was back to doing everything I wanted within a year. Having restrictions placed on playing sports because my weight was so dangerously low was definitely inspiration to get better quickly.

~1.5 mo and 5 lbs gained after being discharged from the hospital 

I was pretty healthy through high school, playing sports, maintaining a weight I was comfortable with, and eating relatively healthfully.

Playing on a local co-ed basketball team

Once in college, I seemed to forget my previously healthy habits. I stopped being active. My college’s gym left much to be desired, and all you-can-eat-buffets plus my college’s nightly “M&C’s” (Milk and Cookies) tradition of setting out late night snacks didn’t help. Even though I had an amazing experience in college, my health suffered.

Heavier at college graduation

The consequences of my unhealthy lifestyle through college and my first full-time job lead to near-constant migraines. Eating badly, sitting at a computer for sometimes ten hours a day, having a terrible commute, disliking my stressful job, and not working out all contributed. It was at this point that I reached my heaviest weight ever.

I gained so much weight over a period of a few months that this dress I wore as a bridesmaid barely zipped all the way by the time I got it for the wedding.

It wasn’t until I got a new job that I finally started to feel better. I wasn’t strapped to a desk for nearly as long, and I moved a lot more during the day. I easily shed a few pounds and greatly reduced my migraines in a short time-frame. I became a gluten-free around this time after finally figuring out it was the culprit for my near-constant, painful bloating. It also helped eliminate a lot of my migraines and “fuzzy” brain.

Healthier and happier

I then started losing more weight unconsciously, but not from working out. I was stressed due to pressures at work, a close uncle’s terminal illness, and my upcoming wedding. To this day I still did not know how I lost that weight.

Red door wedding

I actually wore my first bikini ever on my honeymoon. I discovered they were quite necessary in the incredible heat and humidity of Barbados. Even though I brought a tankini and one-piece, I wore this suit the entire time out of necessity and for the first time in my life, I felt comfortable enough to do so.

First bikini

My husband and I then bought our first house. This moved me further from work and my commute became three hours round-trip on a good day and much longer in the snow. I had no time for exercise, or anything else. I would get up, commute, work, commute, eat dinner, go to bed, and then do it all over again.

I loved my job so much that I dealt with it for over a year, but it came to a point where quality of life was so poor that I moved on to a new opportunity that finally allowed me time to devote to focusing on my health. You can read more about my job transitions here.

Around the time I knew I needed to leave this great city in order to be healthier

I decided that in order to have the energy to make it through the day AND have some left over to work out, I had to fuel my body properly.  After years of an inconsistent and often unhealthy diet, I decided to focus on eating real, whole foods. Even though I was working out more consistently, it wasn’t until I incorporated diet changes that I felt fantastic.

Warrior Dash

Seeing progress, physically, emotionally, and athletically

It seems strange now that I struggled to eat well and work out regularly for so long, and now I look back and don’t know why I suffered for all those years.  After a year of eating well and exercising regularly, I lost over twenty pounds and have continued to maintain it since that time.

In getting back to working out, I discovered my love of running, which had always been a struggle for me.

As soon as I started getting really into my training, however, I began to experience pain in my glutes, first on the left, then on the right. I was sidelined from running, and eventually all physical activity, for over seven months. I was devastated. On top of it, I suffered a terrible case of tennis elbow that took me over a year to recover from. Once I was able to start running again in September, I quickly developed plantar fasciitis.

Plantar start

I have been slowly making my way back to running. In the meantime, my other favorite ways to stay in shape are HIIT, weight lifting, barre, and yoga. When I’m not working out, I love reading, traveling, discovering delicious new food, and spending time with Whole Health Husband (WHH), family, and friends.

In addition to blogging, I am a full-time clinical research coordinator at a community cancer center.

I hope you enjoy Whole Health Dork! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at WholeHealthDork@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Thanks for stopping by!

Waving

Please note:  I’m not a Registered Dietitian (RD), Registered Nurse (RN), or fitness trainer. For specific medical and fitness counseling, please contact a Registered Dietitian, your doctor, or a personal trainer. My blog posts are based on my own personal knowledge, experience, and opinions.

Regarding comments: I encourage all comments, but comments that are rude, mean-spirited, or attacking of anyone will be moderated, and the user may be moderated as well.

13 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Stephanie, just discovered this page on your blog. Thanks for sharing – you’ve come a long way, and I think life is a journey and there will always be ups & downs. Keep up the positive outlook !

    • Thank you, Karen! It’s crazy to look back on certain parts of my life now that they’re more than half a lifetime ago. I’m the same person, but at the same time, not. A better version of myself that’s constantly in a state of improvement, I like to think. Thanks for checking it out!

  2. Steph — so cool. Love your new blog. You’ve done a great job. Imagine that – we’ve only known you as Cousin Stephanie all this time, yet there was soooo much more to learn. You go girl! — Suzie and Rosie’s mom.

  3. Hi Stephanie, I just wanted to say that i think you are amazing for being so honest about life and your ‘adventures’ on the way. its refreshing to see a blog that shows where you have come from and why you do what you do. I defintely relate to eating disorders in my teens, thank goodness I was also able to heal from anorexia too. Anyway, I really just wanted to say hi! Wishing you well.

    • Hi Natasha! Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. 🙂 That’s great that you were also able to overcome that beast of an obstacle that is anorexia. It must feel so good to not only have moved beyond it, but to be on the other side and happy and healthy. Wishing you well as well! Thanks again!

  4. Wow, I just read your story and you are incredible. I can’t imagine what you went through but how powerful and inspiring that you preserved and made choices (like getting a new job) to become happier and healthier. Thank you for sharing!

    • Aw, thanks, Marisa! I just knew life could be better, so I tried to figure out a way to make it work. Sometimes you have to make some sacrifices (for example, I mostly really liked the job I left) for greater gains. We’re all a work in progress–something I try to remind myself of all the time. Thank you for stopping by!

  5. What an inspiring story! It speaks volume about your character, perseverance and strength! You go girl!

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