Hi. I'm Stacie. Here is the Cliff's Notes version of my story. It's not a fairy tale by any means, but it's real, it's raw, and it's honest. I hope it inspires you to look at any challenge you are facing in life, and you realize that you have the power within you to conquer it. Your current situation is not your final destination... there is more for you. I truly believe that resiliency is like a muscle... the more you use it, the stronger it gets. My resiliency muscle is strong AF.
I grew up in dysfunction, abuse, neglect, and poverty. As a child, my home life was very chaotic. My father was abusive, and my mother was codependent. Often times my basic needs were ignored either because we didn't have the money, or because my parents were caught up in their dysfunction. For a long time I was resentful towards them because of this, but now I realize they were doing the best they could do at the time. I know if they had been capable of more, they would've done more. Even though I know none of this was intentional, these early childhood interactions hardwired me to go through life on edge, and feeling as though I wasn't worthy of love, happiness, money, you name it. Living in that home was like living in a minefield... you never knew which step was going to blow the whole place up. So, I learned very early on to stay quiet, act "perfectly", never question anything, and that I was not worthy of anything good. Chaos and abuse felt "normal" to me, and I became very good at ignoring danger signs, and ignoring the signs my body was giving me about the danger.
As a teenager I struggled with disordered eating, very low self-esteem, and extreme body dysmorphia. At my lowest weight I got down to 93 pounds, but you could not convince me I wasn't fat. I was never clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder, probably because I never went to the doctor, but I was very unhealthy... I suffered GI problems constantly, anxiety, and more. Controlling my food made me feel in control. Since I couldn't control the environment around me, it was the next best thing. I centered all of my intrinsic value and worth on how I looked. I lived in a very reactive state at all times. I had no control over my emotions... it was exhausting. As an adult I continued to perpetuate these beliefs. My disordered eating wasn't as bad, but still had a very bad relationship with my body and food.
Getting out of that house, I kept trying to do things differently than how I was raised. I thought I was choosing something better, but I kept finding myself in abusive relationships because that's what felt "right". I still obsessed about my body, and everything I "needed" to change about it. At the age of 22 I decided I needed breast implants because my breasts were slightly different sizes. (this is normal btw) So, that's what I did. Unfortunately, it didn't make me anymore confident, and honestly, part of me felt shame that there was this fake part of my body. Eventually I learned to ignore that shame, and I convinced myself I was confident with my choice.
At the age of 21 I started working as an EMT for an ambulance service in Springfield, MO. I worked full-time as an EMT for 16 years, and PRN for 2 years beyond that. I've often had people ask me how I got into EMS, and until recently (after a lot of therapy and introspection) I believe I was drawn to that profession because of my childhood. Being an EMT gave me a sense of control in the chaos. Suddenly I was thrust into these crazy, chaotic situations, but since I was wearing a uniform, I felt powerful. I felt important. It gave me an identity when I didn't know who I was. It was a way for my brain to make sense of trauma that I had experienced, without actually having to work through that trauma. It felt "right".
During my time on the ambulance I pursued my Bachelors of Science in Dietetics at Missouri State University. I had no intention of ever being a Clinical Dietitian. I chose that major because through my constant conquest of trying to change my body, I had actually grown to love fitness, but I knew nothing about nutrition. So, my pursuit of my degree was more out of wanting to learn more about the human body, and how nutrition affects it, than it was about pursuing a different career path.
While finishing up my degree, I became a mother to my beautiful daughter, Briella. I was married at the time, but when she was 3 years old her father and I divorced. There were a lot of reasons why... it was a very dysfunctional, codependent relationship, but the ultimate straw that 'broke the camel's back' was he had an affair. That heartbreak is still the most painful experience of my life, but from the ashes I arose a new woman. Becoming a single mom was terrifying, but it was the beginning of my new life. So, for that, I am grateful. At the time you couldn't have convinced me I would ever be happy again, but today I feel joy like I had never experienced before. Honestly, I am grateful he had an affair, because I know I wouldn't have left him for any other reason.
The next few years after my divorce is where I experienced the biggest personal growth. I started challenging myself to move out of my comfort zone. Through this transformation I started competing as a Figure/Fitness competitor. When I was 19 years old I had seen a Fitness competition on ESPN. I thought to myself "Those girls are amazing. I want to be like them". In my 20s I had expressed my desire to compete to close friends, who "lovingly" told me it wasn't possible for me... I had other responsibilities, I wasn't capable, etc. So, I put those ideas in the "That's impossible bucket", and I went on with my life. The year before my divorce I decided I wanted to try it. I was depressed because my marriage was falling apart, and I wanted to do something just for me. Plus, I started to meet other mothers, wives, etc. that were competing, and I thought to myself... "If they can do it, why can't I?" So, I contacted my coach, and 3 days before I was getting ready to start my prep I found out my husband was having an affair. So, everything else got put on hold. The year after my divorce was final, I decided it was time. So, I started my prep, and away I went. I trained for 16 weeks. I only told a handful of people what I was doing... not everyone was supportive, but I decided I was doing this for me - not them. I was terrified to tell everyone else out of fear that people would judge me, or that I would make a fool of myself. About a month before my competition I made the public announcement of what I was doing. To my surprise I had overwhelming support. It was incredible. I worked, and I worked, and I worked... blood, sweat, and tears. I looked the best I had ever looked. I got up on that stage, trembling, but confident... and I came in second to last place. lol The crazy thing was, I didn't feel any shame around that. To society, second to last place is a loss, but to me, it was a win. I accomplished more, and pushed myself farther out of my comfort zone in that 16 weeks than I did the entire decade before I decided to go for it. I continued to compete off and on over the next few years... again I came in second to last in my next competition, but in my 3rd, 4th, and 5th competitions I came in 1st. I was awarded my Pro status in the Diva Fitness Model division of the WBFF during my last competition. It was the final goal I set for myself in that arena.
What I learned from competing is winning did not make me feel any more accomplished than the times I lost. Looking like a fitness model did not make me love my body more... I still found all of the "flaws". What I realized from all of this is, it's not the trophy that changes you... it's the process that it takes to get there that changes you. I earned confidence because I challenged myself, not because I looked a certain way. That confidence spilled over into other areas of my life...
I finally sought therapy and learned how to face my demons. It wasn't flawless... I crashed and burned many times, but each time I learned something about myself and my capabilities. For instance, I again found myself in an abusive relationship which left me on the brink of homelessness, with no money. I had quit my job as an EMT to move out of state for that relationship, which quickly fell apart. I was at the lowest point of my life. I had wrapped my identity in the uniform of EMS which was gone, I lost every material possession I had accumulated, and I lost the false sense of security I had built for myself around my job and money...
Finding myself in complete brokenness, I finally found God. I had always been a Christian, but my faith was very much on the surface... I did the "actions", but I didn't have a relationship with Him. I tried to control every aspect of my life, and I still directed every turn exactly as I wanted. What I've realized in this journey is God is my GPS. He has given me free will and the ability to drive the car, but He has a route mapped out for me... and just like my literal GPS in real life, I sometimes miss my turn, but if I listen to His direction, He will reroute me back on my path. His plan is not always the easy plan, but it is the best plan. I just have to be humble enough to follow it.
Leaving that final abusive relationship, I decided to start my personal training business in Bentonville, Arkansas, which is where I reside today. It's home. I was finally able to use my degree, while helping people avoid the chronic health conditions I saw of my patients on the ambulance.
God has blessed me over and over, and has made my business successful. Granted, I have worked my butt off to be successful, but I owe all the glory to Him.
Throughout my business success, I have transformed how I help others. In the beginning it was just about helping people exercise and learn about nutrition, but now I have moved into coaching people on cultivating true health...
I experienced some very debilitating health problems in my 30s due partly to my breast implants, the severe dieting that goes along with competing, and more. I started experiencing chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog... it was debilitating. My labs started showing signs of autoimmunity and liver dysfunction. Here I was experiencing success in my business helping others get healthy, and yet, my health was collapsing very rapidly before my very eyes. I was scared. As a single mom, I am solely responsible for taking care of my daughter. There were times I honestly did not know how much longer I would be able to do it... but, because I had faced hard challenges before, both physically and in my life, I trusted myself and God to get me through this trial too. I sought out alternative and more holistic approaches to my health, and slowly but surely, I got it back. On July 22nd, 2019 I had my breast implants removed. Since then I have continued to improve significantly. I no longer experience chronic pain or brain fog. I'm still working through the fatigue and other symptoms, but I am heading in the right direction.
At my very worst of my health problems I remember sitting in my car, praying to God to give me enough energy to walk up the stairs to my second story apartment. In that moment I knew He would use my suffering someday to help others, and that's exactly what happened. Having my degree and having worked in the medical field, I thought I knew everything... I was wrong. Through my own health struggles I learned so much about the human body, nutrition, mindset, and more. Now, I am constantly on the search for new information to challenge what I already know about nutrition and health, and I plan to never stop learning. Losing my health has truly been a blessing to me and my clients because I am able to help them in ways I couldn't before.
I have completely transformed how I look at health as a whole. I used to believe if you "looked healthy" you were healthy... now I know that is not always the case. I used to workout and eat to look at certain way... now I treat my body as the precious being that it is. I used to believe that if I just worked harder, I could push through anything... now I know that rest and recovery are not weakness, they are essential to me being able to perform at my best. I used to think that my past wasn't affecting my present... now I know that there are certain unhealthy behaviors that I learned as coping mechanisms throughout my lifetime, and just like I learned those behaviors, I can learn new, healthier ones to replace them. I have FINALLY learned to love myself... even though I'm covered in scars, and I'm no longer a lean, mean fitness machine.
Now, I have a healthy relationship with my body, with food and exercise, with myself. I am by no means perfect, and I will never pretend to be... but, I am becoming the woman God created me to be. I have found my voice, and I am still learning to be bold enough to use it. I have learned that I am worthy, not because of anything I've accomplished in my life or how I look, but simply because I am me. I have learned that I do not have to conform to what society deems as "good" or beautiful... I am enough, as is, but I am always meant for more at the same time.
I have learned to forgive my parents and those who have hurt me in my past... including myself. Letting go of that resentment and pain has freed me to step into my future.
I believe I have purpose, and I believe part of that purpose is to help others find true health... because when you're healthy you can show up in this world as the person you were meant to be. By changing your health, you change your life.
Why am I telling you all of these personal details about my life outside of fitness and nutrition?
I believe my life struggles, and the lessons learned, will be used to help others with similar struggles. I know first hand that body image issues are not about how someone physically looks. I know food issues - whether over-restricting or overeating - are not about food. I know that feelings of worthiness or confidence has nothing to do with how much money you have, or how you look, or anything externally at all. I know looking outside of yourself will never fill that void within.
I still struggle daily... I accept the fact that I always will, but just like my past doesn't define me, my current struggles do not define me either. They simply force me to learn, and grow stronger and wiser everyday. I believe I am capable of helping others because of my struggles... not despite them.
I would not be the woman I am today without my struggles... I love the woman I am today.
I am thankful for it all.
There are no failures in life... you either win, or you learn.
Serving as an EMT was an honor, but it is not my purpose.
""You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously."
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking outside of your body"
The greatest wealth is health.
Becoming a Pro Fitness Competitor was an accomplishment, and I'm grateful for the experience, but what I loved about it had nothing to do with how I looked - I love what I learned from it...
I learned that willpower will not get you to your goals, but discipline will. I learned that self love has nothing to do with the exterior, but a decision you make. I learned that health is more valuable than looking good.
I learned that I can do hard things...
That's what I loved about competing.
"Don't limit your challenges; challenge your limits."
I have completed 8 Tough Mudders, including the Holy Grail. I don't do it for the obstacles... I do it because I love challenging others to push beyond their comfort zone... in physical fitness, and beyond.
A bird sitting on a a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not in the branch, but in her own wings.
I am not a thrill seeker, but I am a challenge taker. I don't like heights, and I don't care for flying, but I had 100% faith that God would bring me safely home... and He did.
However, jumping from 14,000 feet is not the scariest thing I've ever done...
Personal growth is a 1,000x scarier, but it's 100% worth it.
"How you spend your days is how you spend your life."
Learning to slow down and appreciate life has been transformative to my overall quality of life.
I no longer have to constantly "do"... I can just "be".
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am a warrior.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Celebrating my birthday with my kiddo at the drive-in movie, eating sushi, cheesecake & cannoli. Stayed up way too late and ate way too many Calories.
Life is too short to be lived on self-hatred and celery sticks. I used to worry about Calories or covering up my thunder thighs. I used to think it was sad to celebrate my birthday or Mother’s Day because I’m a single mom. Now I don’t. I get one shot at this life. I seriously doubt I’ll reach the end of it and be concerned about my cellulite (God, I hope not at least 🙄😂) Or think it was “sad” that I threw myself a party. No, instead I’ll be thankful for the memories. I don’t want miss out on being present in simple joys & moments with my daughter. Or teach her that she isn’t worthy of being celebrated if she's single or because she’s a mom.
Eat the damn cheesecake. Wear the damn bikini. Laugh until you wrinkle. Celebrate your damn self. Learning to live a life of balance, while living full out, is the life I want to live.
"Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye."
Through heartbreak I discovered a love for painting. I've never taken an art class beyond elementary school. There's always a point in each painting where it looks horrific, but I've learned that as long as I keep changing colors and brush strokes, it eventually becomes the masterpiece I envisioned in my mind.
Life is the same way.
I painted this piece inspired by a quote I saw...
"In a field of roses... She is a wildflower."
It perfectly describes how I view myself now. For years I tried to conform as a 'rose' because society says they are more valuable. Roses are beautiful, but now I choose to see the beauty in my wild heart.
The difference between a weed and a wildflower is perspective.
I chose to stop trying to change the flower.
I changed my perspective.
Suddenly, I saw my own beauty.
Children will do as you do... not as you say.
Being a single mom isn't always easy, but being this kid's mom is worth every challenge. I want to show her, by example, how to be healthy, happy, and to find her purpose in this life.
"The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself...
Don't forget to fall in love with yourself first."
"Sex and The City"
If you had told that broken, beaten down, scared girl of my past that she would create a life full of joy and purpose, she would've thought you were crazy.
I can't believe how far I've come... and, I have even further to go.
When I leave this earth I want to know I used all of my talents and gifts to the fullest. I want nothing left behind. I know I'm not guaranteed tomorrow, so everyday I strive to be the woman I've always wanted to be, and the woman God intended me to be. So, someday, hopefully many years from now, when I go 'home' I will hear the words "Well done my good and faithful servant".
Happiness is not a destination...
it is a decision you make everyday.
My mission is to help people...
Discover their purpose. We are all here for a reason. If you can't find your purpose... create it.
Cultivate true health - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Elevate their mindset so they can live in their purpose.
To not just live this life, but to truly thrive.
I achieve this by...
Speaking life into you. Society will tell you you're not enough, or that you're too much! Living the life that you're "supposed" to live instead of a life you love is a slow, miserable death. I believe God has purpose for you, and that you are worthy of good things... and I don't even know you. (yet) I am not a confrontational person. I don't debate, but you are worthy of happiness, and I can prove it!
Helping you determine the best nutrition and physical activity for you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Sustainable change comes from custom lifestyle and mindset changes. You can't perform at your best if you're not healthy.
Helping you navigate how to replace unhealthy habits with healthier ones. All habits are learned, so they can be unlearned and replaced. I am a certified Behavioral Change Specialist.
Helping you re-frame negative self talk, so you can learn to love yourself through the process. There is nothing wrong with striving for more, but learning to love yourself as you're transforming is what brings joy in the present is what makes it worth it... stop chasing the carrot of "someday", and start loving your life today.
Empowering you to take action in your life. Whatever your goal, I am here to walk alongside of you, cheer for you, and help you determine the steps you need to take to be successful.
Challenging you to move out of your comfort zone. Whether it's a physical challenge, or challenging your thoughts, I challenge you to expand what you believe is possible for you... and I help you reach it.
One of my gifts is I see the good in people, and I help them see the good in themselves. I see the potential that they don't see in themselves. I see the struggles, and I don't judge. What I've come to realize is we all struggle with the same things... it just manifests differently in everyone. I am not a therapist. I am a coach. Therapy can help you uncover the root cause of unhealthy behaviors, and coaches can help you navigate life through them and beyond them. I am not perfect, and I don't expect you to be either. If you're ready to change your health, and your life, for the better... I am here to help.