Nancy Uston-John

Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach

As a child and adolescent, I had always struggled with my weight. However, when I turned 16, I decided to do something about it. I was able to successfully lose 40 pounds through better food choices and exercise. This is where my passion for health and fitness began. Throughout high school and college, I was active in sports and strength training, and I was able to maintain a healthy weight throughout my 20’s. Even though I was happy with the number the scale, I was still battling a number of symptoms. I suffered from digestive issues, acne, allergies, and I never felt rested unless I got a full 9 hours of sleep. When I was 28, my son was born. Even though I had continued to exercise during my pregnancy, I had gained 50 pounds. Once, again, I was able to take off the weight through healthy food choices and exercise. In fact, by the time I was pregnant with my second child 4 years later, I was in the best shape of my life. ​ However, in 2011, a few months after the birth of my daughter, I slowly began to lose my ability to exercise. I went from someone who could lift 245 lbs of weights and run a half marathon to someone who was completely out of breath after walking up a flight of stairs. My joints were achy. I was tired all the time. I couldn’t find words to finish the ends of my sentences. My skin continued to be a mess and so was my digestion. I didn’t feel like myself anymore. After a few months of living with these symptoms, I felt like there was more to my story. The first doctor I went to see told me that it was normal to be tired when you had young children. She said that I was getting older, and that my hormones were changing. She went on to say that I seemed depressed and that I needed a hobby. I politely explained to her that I was not depressed, but that I soon would be if I wasn’t able to exercise and feel like myself again. After that experience, I went to several other doctors and specialists. No one could find anything wrong with me. All of my blood work always came back normal. Finally, in 2015, I learned that I had an autoimmune condition, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. My thyroid levels had always been normal, but a full thyroid panel showed that I had antibodies to my thyroid that were not supposed to be there. I was told there was nothing to do until my thyroid burned itself out. This was not acceptable to me. So I used my love of learning to study everything I could about how to put this condition into remission. My research led me to Functional Medicine. Functional medicine focuses on getting to the root of a health issue by examining different lifestyle factors (nutrition, movement, sleep, stress management, and relationships.) It is a science based practice that examines the person as a whole to see what might be contributing to a person’s symptoms. Since there was nothing that traditional medicine could do to help me at that time, I felt that I had nothing to lose. So I started seeing a Functional Medicine doctor. I learned that although I was eating all of the right foods, my body was not absorbing any of the nutrients. In addition, I learned that I was sensitive to many of the foods I was eating, and they were causing inflammation in my body. By following an eating plan that I tailored to my body’s specific needs and taking my recommended supplements, I slowly started on my wellness journey. I started to really take care of myself and listen to my body. I learned that it had been giving me signals throughout the years, but I had always ignored them. Although my body started to slowly heal, I knew that I was still missing a piece of my health puzzle. After doing further research, I learned that the root cause of my autoimmune condition was Chronic Lyme Disease. By combining traditional treatments of a Lyme Literate MD with functional medicine principles, I have completely put my condition into remission. I once again have the energy for long walks with my dog, swimming laps, weight lifting, and yoga classes. My skin and digestion are healed. I no longer suffer from seasonal allergies. My joint pain is gone. I continue to experience symptom free days as long as I prioritize taking care of myself. So although my health journey has been challenging, I believe it’s happened for a reason. And it led me to be a Nationally Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach so that I could help others feel empowered to take back their health. We all deserve to feel well.