KRISTEN CILLO, C.H.C
CERTIFIEd HEALTH COACH
Hello! I'm Kristen. I have an incredible family; a husband, a daughter, age 12, and two sons, ages 10 & 4.
I am a Certified Health Coach. I became interested in coaching after I self-navigated my way off the Diet Train. It was so refreshing and freeing to finally ditch that awful inner diet critic. I learned how to become intuitive, satisfied and sane around food, exercise and body image. I was surprised at all the varying pieces that I was unaware of and I am excited to be able to teach others how to take back the mental space that they've been wasting by obsessing over their bodies and diet/exercise plans. I love helping women become empowered to explore what makes them feel good. It is so rewarding when women realize they don't have to live in diet culture. When they learn how to become intuitive, stop being crazy around food and exercise, stop trying to "fix" their body when it ain't even broke!, and when they can the create habits they want in order to achieve success.
Of course I've certainly had my share of challenges and acceptance with body image. Most women do. It seems normal to talk about which exercise or eating plan you engage in, which body part you hate or what you wanted to change most about your appearance, etc.
However, my most recent challenge started out having nothing to do with my physical image, but it slowly snow-balled into it. This is the story that lead me into wanting to open my own coaching practice...
My last pregnancy was very tough. Before I became pregnant with my third child, I had suffered three miscarriages which I found out was caused by an autoimmune blood condition that I acquired at some point after my second child. I was put on injectable blood thinners in order to successfully maintain my pregnancy. During the pregnancy, I was emotionally worried about my son and also dealing with this new health issue. Physically, I was all bruised up and in pain from the shots and I gained a lot of weight. It all felt completely unnatural and uncomfortable.
After my son was born in 2013, healthy and happy, I was beyond ready to feel like myself again. I was always an active person, but I never enjoyed working out. However I was told by a doctor, who kept me on a blood thinner post pregnancy, that I needed to keep track of food and also exercise to maintain health. He scared me by throwing out words like, stroke and sudden aneurysm, pretty sure I heard die in your sleep .. but maybe my brain was on overload. Anyways, my anxiety about the situation made me want to gain a level of control so I decided to try running. I picked it up quickly, it seemed to relieve stress and I noticed the pregnancy weight falling off fast, which was becoming a huge motivation. I was thrilled that I was starting to feel great and by exercising and eating good. I felt like I was taking action in controlling my health.
About nine months later, I was physically in great shape and was also able to come off of the blood thinner meds (which had nothing to do with weight or being fit). However, I started noticing some crazy symptoms. I felt anxious, I couldn't sleep at night, fatigued during the day, had brain fog, I started having acne and more frequent migraines, I was moody and felt stressed out, and suffered from amenorrhea. In my mind I couldn't figure it out, I was doing all the healthy things! I even went to the doctor who confirmed that on paper, I was in great health and at a "normal" weight. I still was convinced something wasn't right. I began to research and learn everything I could about nutrition and health. I discovered that unconsciously, "being healthy" became extremely stressful on me, and it was taking a toll on my body. I was becoming too focused on eating the "right" food all the time and binding myself to an exercise plan. For example, I started hating running but felt like I had to continue to maintain the weight I had lost, and that was causing me stress. Feeling great was morphed into looking great. I was blind to the fact that even if you are perfect at nutrition and exercise, it is only half the equation of true health.
Something had to change. I started to focus on my mind and the healing of my body rather then putting the focus on eating good, exercise and weight maintenance . I stopped everything that I thought was right, and I redefined what health meant for me. I started making choices based on how I felt, rather then how I wanted my body to look. I did a complete mental overhaul, a key factor in change.
A couple of months in, I healed majority of my symptoms. I feel the best and most energetic I have in a long time. I have a new sense of empowerment, that health doesn't have to feel like a punishment or look a certain way. I am no longer looking or wanting to achieve perfection. I also have drastically changed my perception around body image. Its interesting that when I had physically achieved the outer body I wanted, I was actually the most unhappy and unhealthy. I realized I wasn't differentiating between the way I look and health. Once I started to separate them, I gained a lot of clarity on how I want to feel and also what I want to focus my energy on. And I love being on this journey!
Its easy for people, but especially women, to have distorted views on body image, that a better body equals health. Diet culture traps us into believing that by reaching certain body goals, we will achieve this mental and physical phenomenon.
And In fact, 98% of women are trapped in a diet, at some point in their lives. This means our daughters, nieces, or little sisters have a 98% chance of falling for some fad diet that promises to deliver her happiness in a Hollywood body. I don't know about you, but I never want my daughter to waste one moment of her beautiful life being negative towards her body. Negative body image in a young girl lowers self esteem, which can result in future poor choices. Young girls, however, are only learning what they see.
Each person should have an individual plan for keeping their own body feeling good. Most people have to figure out what that means in the first place. Diets will never work, they will always cause a yo-yo effect. This is why most diets fail and a high majority of people on a diet will regain the weight within a year. You have a choice to be your own experiment and your own advocate.
As your coach, I will help you determine and achieve your own personal goals so you can throw away the diet mentality once and for all. I will guide you into a non-diet, natural approach to food and exercise. I will help you feel sane and neutral around food, so you can stop feeling out of control and crazy around it. I will help you get past the mentality that you need to "change" and "fix" your body and instead start loving yourself right now. I will help you redefine and create new habits so that loving your body, food and exercise are mindless and intuitive. I will provide you with tools to decrease unwanted symptoms and behaviors around food. You will become amazed at how much you will learn and explore about your body once you say goodbye to dieting. I'm excited to guide you as you embark on this life-changing journey!
I have always had a passion and interest in organization. Ever since I was a child, I remember getting the most amazing feeling whenever I'd clean up my room, space, a closet or refreshed the furniture or my belongings. I know that living in a cluttered and overwhelmingly stuffed space can leave a person feeling stressed and stress will definitely add to your physical health. Your environment is very much a part of you. My mom used to say that when I was a teenager that she always knew if I was stressed or experiencing a difficult time in my life based on how my room looked. And its very true! This is why I've added this service along with my coaching. So you can decide to start from the outside in, or vice versa!
Its time to Invest in yourself.