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Hi I’m Fiona Ward Gregory a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (Institute of Integrative Nutrition) based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. I’m passionate about wellness, and specifically the fields of Gut Health, Healthy Aging and Epigenetics and Hormonal Balance..
Like many people involved in the wellness industry and the helping sciences my interest in nutrition, natural wellness and holistic wellbeing has been a life long passion. I’ve always eaten well according to traditional thinking but my story is common, middle age weight gain, digestive issues with wheat and dairy, sinus and allergies, frequent colds depression and anxiety and hormonal imbalances..
From time to time I’d get a bee in my bonnet and tidy up my eating and exercise, lose some weight and feel better, but in time life would get in the way and I’d find myself right back at square one. I wasn’t really sick but I certainly didn’t feel well, energised and truly happy.
Then three defining and life changing events happened and my journey into health coaching began.
In 2008 I lost my clean living, super fit and healthy husband of 54 to a brain tumor. He was offered the usual treatments of surgery, chemo and radiation all with significant impacts on his quality of life. But despite the offered interventions, the prognosis was that at best he could hope to extend his terminal diagnosis from 3 months to 6. He decided that was not for him, we went home, stuck to some basic natural principles around diet and lifestyle and completely baffled the medical professionals with how well, mobile and happy he was in his own home, right to the end 6 months later. Sometimes there are no cures for the medical conditions of this modern world, but what we do have are choices around how we can make the best of a bad situation. For Graham, he chose to die well rather than die suffering from the side effects of modern medicine.
The second major influence was meeting my second husband Tim, who had also lost his wife to cancer. Liz had been told she had 12 months but passed in just 5 having suffered dreadfully for most of that time in hospital, with the horrible side effects of Chemo and Radiation Therapies. Both Tim and I had blown out in the weight department and his blood pressure was out of control landing him in hospital in the ICU several times. Neither of us could face the prospect of losing another partner so soon; so we took action. We started eating clean, eliminating trigger foods and between us lost over 30kg. We did some intensive medical detective work to get to the bottom of a little know condition causing Tim’s health issues including some genetic testing and were able to turn that around as well.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was following shoulder surgery which I had in 2012. I ended up with a significant infection, one which destroyed bone and soft tissue resulting in many weeks in hospital on multiple IV antibiotics, followed by 4 months on regular antibiotics and a further 5 surgeries. My stomach and digestion was the second casualty, pain killers, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics left me with persistent vomiting and discomfort, it felt like everything I ate caused me pain and bloating. I lost a significant amount of weight and my food choices became very restricted. I was told by the infectious diseases specialist that the amount of antibiotics I had been given to beat the aggressive infection, had destroyed my microbiome and I was in fact now considered immune compromised. I was to avoid being in public where possible and stay away from anyone with a lurgy of any kind. I was taking 3 medications to address the pain and infection and a further 4 to manage the side effects of those medications. I couldn’t even get myself in and out of bed, to the bathroom, or dressed. I couldn’t drive, work or do the things I loved.
I made the decision that I would follow my heart and the path to natural wellness and study nutrition albeit online and from my hospital bed.
I had already eliminated wheat and dairy because of the digestive distress it caused me but I slowly started adding probiotics, bone broth, cultured foods and fermented vegetables and bit by bit I started to feel well and strong again. I got back in the sun and eventually the garden, back to work, driving and life. My shoulder will never be quite the same again but I can say my digestion is significantly better, my immune system is not perfect but its better than many of those around me.
I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in October 2015 and have since completed a Practitioner Certification with FitGenes, an Australian genetic testing company used by the Australian Institute for Sport. Nutrigenomics is an emerging science where we use food and food sourced supplements (meaning non chemical) to either switch on, switch off regulate specific genetic traits which impact healthy aging, weight management, oxidative stress, cardiovascular health, immune function, mental health and more.
Aside from lifestyle and exercise the next vital balancing act for me was that of hormones, which actually applies to both women and men, teens through to 50+. When my doctor wanted to put this menopausal Mamma on Hormone Replacement Therapy I dug deeper and found more natural ways to reduce exposure to some of the modern day toxins which can mess with your hormones, such as plastics, herbicides and some household and personal care items. I worked with herbal supplements to balance hormones without the concerns of artificial hormone management.
The final piece to the puzzle is always time and knowledge. How do you fit all this healthy learning into a busy life. It’s not enough to know what to do to look after your health but actually applying it is another matter. That’s where a Health Coach comes in, every single one of us is unique in every way. What works for one may not suit another but with a handful of strategies we can each find out what will work for us, for our body, for our lifestyle and for our budget.
If you are ready to reclaim your wellness and step into vibrant health in every area of your life book a One on One Health Review HERE. Online options are availabel.