Name: Tracy Nadler
Occupation: Certified Health Coach
What change in the world would you like to see through the work youʻre doing?
What we eat has a direct impact on our whole health–physically, mentally and emotionally. I would love for all of us to recognize and appreciate that connection. Wholesome and natural foods can truly be our medicine for a variety of ailments, while overly processed and factory-made foods can act as poison for many of us, causing chronic illness and disease. We have the ability to feel much better in our bodies and minds by choosing foods that nourish our cells and our souls (this starts by eating foods your great-grandmother would recognize!). I would love to see more of us taking the time for self-care of our bodies, minds and spirit (eating foods derived directly from nature, practicing meditation, moving our bodies, living in the moment, etc.). I believe that by educating others about the nourishment and benefits real food can provide, we will lead more fulfilling and happier lives. As Hippocrates wisely said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” As a certified health coach, I offer nutritional advice that can help others nurture their body, feed their mind and expand their spirit.
Briefly describe the journey that brought you to the work you are doing today.
My focus for many years was the number on the scale. I ate fat-free and chemically processed foods based on how many calories they had (the fewer the better I thought). It never occurred to me to read the ingredient labels or be concerned with what nutrients or chemicals I was putting in my body. Even if I had, I would not have understood them! For years I suffered from migraines, insomnia, IBS, an auto-immune disorder, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. I also had very high cholesterol and glucose levels. Outwardly I looked fairly healthy, but I certainly didn’t feel it. I naively thought this was the way I would always feel and I tried to manage (or mask) my symptoms with a variety of medications. I really did not know what it felt like to naturally feel good. I drank caffeine consistently throughout the day to fight my highs and lows that came from eating too much sugar. A friend of mine became a certified health coach a few years ago and told me I didn’t have to feel this way. I was rather skeptical when she told me that by changing the foods I ate and really listening to my body I could actually feel better. I was at a point where I really wanted to feel better and not just rely on a variety of pills (and suffer unpleasant side effects). I decided to overhaul my diet and was amazed at the changes I felt. I began consciously eating healthy fats, protein, complex carbohydrates and more vegetables than I knew existed! I cut way back on sugar and overly processed foods. I asked myself: do I understand all the words in the ingredients? Will the food I’m eating ever expire (or does it have a shelf life longer than a battery)? My fridge suddenly became overloaded with fresh fruits and vegetables and my pantry looked barer by the minute as I got rid of boxed snacks and treats. I also finally dealt with many of the emotional issues that were causing me to eat the way I did (because it never is just about the food). My cholesterol levels dropped over 100 points within three months. My glucose levels dropped to a normal range. I now no longer suffer from migraines, IBS and even my auto-immune disorder has disappeared. My doctors were astounded at the change. My energy levels are stable and I sleep much better. I don’t suffer the high and low moods that I used to (at least not to the extent I did before, but let’s be real, I’m human!). Seeing this incredible change in myself, I wanted to help others learn the value of eating real food and thus decided to pursue my certification in health coaching.
What or who inspires you? Why?
I am inspired by people who have marched, struggled or even dragged themselves through adversity and have come out on the other side stronger, happier and perhaps a little wiser. I am inspired by those people who are authentic about their experiences with pain and fear. I am inspired by those who have failed, failed again, and yet keep going. I am inspired by those who acknowledge their imperfections and continue to live life with integrity. I am inspired by people who are true to themselves and what they believe. I am inspired by the writings of Brene Brown, Jack Kornfield, Glennon Melton and Mark Nepo (among many others). On a more personal note, I find inspiration from my young daughter and the way she views the world. Her trust in her own instincts and her eagerness to be open has impacted me greatly. I find myself wanting to not only set a good example for her, but have also realized she is a good example for me. She challenges me to live fully in the moment and openly express my emotions. My husband’s support for our new way of eating is unwavering. His appreciation for the changes I have made motivate me even more. His capacity to listen and be open to trying new things (can you say kale chips?) inspire me when some of my old habits try to creep in. I am inspired by my health coach and dear friend, Featherleaf Dunigan, who questioned my old views of myself and helped me see my inner radiance. Two strong women, Kim Miller and Shannon Daugherty from Fit Mom Diet have inspired me by with their honest advice and for telling it like it is. They are great motivators in my journey toward good physical and mental fitness. My fitness instructor, Jinger Parson, has been an incredible source of inspiration. Her positive energy and drive has made me actually enjoy exercising! I have gained strength and confidence from her classes that I wasn’t quite sure was possible before. I am inspired by my dear friend, Shira Nicks (and founder of the non-profit, angel mamas) whose passion for helping others in need is astounding. I am inspired by those we help through angel mamas; by the souls whose lives are so incredibly tough and yet whose spirits are so bright. It is these connections with certain people in my life that have truly inspired me. We all have sources of inspiration within our reach. We just need to start looking and be aware of these inspirations.
What is your greatest personal or professional challenge at the moment? How are you working to overcome it?
My greatest challenge right now is being okay with saying “no” to things that create too much “busyness” in my life. I sometimes find it hard to set healthy boundaries as I want to say “yes!” to everyone and everything. I have learned, though, that this neither helps those asking nor myself when I am stretched too thin. I believe finding this balance for myself, family and others is important in creating a happy life.
What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
I would tell my 18 year old self that change is always possible – that I do not need to keep living in the “story” I have made for myself. I would tell myself to not worry so much about what others think and allow myself to express my true being. I would also tell myself to practice self-care. This means meditating, exercising, eating nourishing foods and taking time for myself while not feeling guilty about it. I would tell myself to practice listening to my inner wants and needs and to stay true to them. I would also tell myself that it really is okay to make mistakes – for this is how we learn and grow.
What is most rewarding about the work that you do?
I receive so much fulfillment from people I have coached (one-on-one or in workshops) who see how the changes they make daily can truly make them feel better. I love hearing about others’ successes when they start listening to their inner being and eating what their body really craves. Whether it be cutting out sugar or just adding in a fresh green juice daily, I love hearing how much happier people feel by making dietary changes and taking care of themselves. I know from experience, it can truly change your life.
Anything else youʻd like us to know or share with our fellow Swell mates?
I am honored to be a part of this community. I hope by sharing my experiences I may help inspire others to feel the best that they can. I would love to share the following websites that I am involved with:
Thank you for this opportunity!