I have struggled with food and body image most of my life. Before being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I felt sick every time I ate which caused me to never trust food, and I definitely didn’t see it as something to provide nourishment.
Working in the beauty industry, I constantly felt the need to look perfect. To wear the perfect makeup, have the perfect hairstyle, and be the perfect size. This obsession with perfection caused me to go on unhealthy diets, although none of them stuck because I loved food way too much. I would eat small salads with my co-workers for lunch and then eat way too much at night. I felt so much shame and guilt, like a complete failure when I would overeat so I punished myself by over exercising the next day. It was an emotional roller coaster.
My unhealthy obsession with perfection and dieting continued throughout my early twenties. I battled with emotional eating and felt anxious around food. I started to learn more about health and how to nourish my body when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I became passionate about learning more so I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Throughout the program, I began to continue to re-learn how to listen to my body’s needs and developed an intuitive relationship with food. I finally learned how to give myself unconditional permission to eat and actually enjoy eating without guilt. No more “good” or “bad” foods. No more restricting and binging. No.More.Diets. I felt free.
I found my natural body weight and learned what it means to truly love my body without judgment. Now, I’ve developed a deep connection with my body and feel happier than ever. I make healthy choices because I know it makes me feel good – it’s not about achieving perfection or dieting. I’ve stopped allowing negative, self-criticizing thoughts control my mind and I treat myself with compassion, kindness, and grace.
Today, I share my wellness + lifestyle tips on my YouTube channel to over 121,000 subscribers in over 100 countries. In my one-on-one coaching program, I work with women to create a wellness lifestyle that feels satisfying yet balanced. You can see my coaching programs here.
I created YBL to help women cultivate a balanced, wellness lifestyle that feels satisfying and doable. I believe a healthy mindset is key in establishing a healthy life so I promote self-care, stress management routines, and self-compassion. I hope you are inspired to join our community & lifestyle!
I focus on all aspects of life to create the balance we desire in our life through cultivating a intuitive relationship with food, finding an exercise routine you enjoy, having supportive relationships, spiritual well-being, self-care, positivity, and finding fulfillment and happiness in everyday life.
I think I get this question the most! I’m not vegan. I believe in choosing real, whole foods over labels. Because I have Celiac Disease, everything I eat has to be gluten free. When I plan my meals, I focus on veggies first. I eat lots of greens, legumes, root veggies (sweet potatoes are my fave!), smoothies, nuts and other healthy fats/carbs like avocados, sprouted quinoa, buckwheat, millet, fish + more. My diet is always evolving with what is in season because I like to save money by shopping at local markets and produce stands.
I don’t find myself eating out as often because now I enjoy cooking at home. You gotta be smart about it though…delicious, organic produce is not cheap. I go by the “Dirty Dozen” list while shopping for organic produce and buy a lot of my foods in bulk. HERE>> is a blog post I did with more tips on how to shop healthy on a budget.
I love being active and doing workouts I enjoy. But I have one confession: I get bored very quickly with my workouts. If I don’t change things up frequently I stop doing them. I discovered Tracy Anderson several years ago and I’ve been doing her programs ever since. Right now I enjoy doing her Live Streaming program, but I don’t do it every day. I also love going outside for a walk/run, jumping rope, and doing yoga. My best advice is to experiment and find something you love that makes me feel good rather than worrying about calories burned. Feeling good is way more motivating than obsessing over burning calories.
Oh man, this is a tough one because I love eating! My favorite foods are guacamole with lots of cilantro, garlic mashed potatoes, spring/summer rolls, Santosha dark chocolate bars, and hot tea. (…does tea count as food?! 😉 ) The best meal I’ve ever had was the Italian Bread Service at Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World. Oh. My. YUM. Gluten free naan bread (!!!) with red pepper hummus, mango chutney, and coriander chutney. Heaven. I liked it so much that Matt and I recreated it for Valentine’s Day this year.
If you’ve watched my YouTube videos, then you know I’m obsessed with tea. I get a lot of questions about which teas are best for newbies. If you’re just starting out and wanting to drink a sweeter tea, I recommend trying Yogi Skin Detox. It’s a green tea with hibiscus, raspberry, and stevia leaf so it has a nice, subtle sweet flavor.
Click HERE>> if you want to know more about the health coaching program at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. IIN changed my life and I would be happy to talk with you about starting your journey!
Shannon H. Sullivan is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and plant-based cook, creator of the popular health coaching program Your Balanced Lifestyle, and web host/producer on Youtube where she posts weekly videos that inspire healthy eating and living. She lives in sunny Florida with her husband and Maltese, Mickey.