Hi! Thank you for visiting my site. My name is Katie Harrison. I am a teacher, a health coach, and a tiny cabin dweller in Alaska.
For most of my life I was a sugar addict. It started in childhood. My parents understood that too much processed sugar was unhealthy; instead we ate fish and wild game, vegetables from our garden, milk and cheese from our goats, and eggs from our chickens. Looking back, I am very grateful for the whole, natural foods that provided the nutrients for my childhood development.
But as a kid, all I could think about were the sugary snacks that my friends were able to eat so freely. My siblings and I spent our allowances on mounds of candy, which we would consume in secret. Sugar tasted soooo good and it made me feel a little loopy! I loved it.
This sugar obsession continued into adulthood, but it then combined with a paranoia about gaining weight. Entering college, I was determined not to return home for summer carrying the dreaded freshman fifteen. This led to a devotion to chronic cardio. I worked out a few hours a day: step classes, the stair climber, running, the rowing machine. This was during the low-fat era, so I read all the labels on my packaged foods to make sure I was eating zero grams of fat a day. I can’t even imagine how much sugar I was actually eating. I know now that when food manufacturers take out the fat in processed food, they add lots of sugar to make it taste appealing. I’m sure this led to a physical addiction to sugar and to an abundance of sugar bacteria in my gut.
Post college, I found myself unable to keep up with all that exercise. I started to gain weight. Noooo! This is when my diet obsession began.
I remember the first plan I stuck to long term: Body for Life. The program is very regimented for six days of the week (six small bland meals a day, structured daily exercise) and then the seventh day is a “free day”. I’m not going to lie, I dropped some serious weight on this plan. But I also developed a behavior pattern of restriction and overeating. During the six structured days of the week, all I thought about was what I was going to eat on the seventh. Sugar, sugar, sugar! I would eat so much on the free day that I would have a debilitating sugar hangover the next day. Two days later I would be living in the future again: obsessing about what I was going to eat on my free day.
This program was obviously not sustainable. Preparing six meals a day was a huge time drain. Going to the gym and doing the same exercises became really boring. I gave up the program, the weight I’d lost came back, and then I began searching for my next diet plan.
This was the cycle of my life for the next decade. Obsession about how much I wanted to eat sugar, contrasted with my paranoia that I would get fat if I ate it. Restriction and over-exercise. Diet books and plans. Counting calories, counting steps, counting macros. Soothing my anxiety and judgement about food with food.
During this time I was so focused on the end result of losing those same ten pounds that I was completely missing out on the beauty of the present moment. I didn’t understand it at the time, but my brain was so full of these obsessions that there was little space to develop an awareness of the magic of life.
All of the diets and negative thinking had effects on my physical body as well. I was constantly bloated and constipated. I had difficulty sleeping; my racing mind kept me awake for hours in the middle of the night. I developed acne in my late 30s. I was always so tired and hungry, and if I didn’t eat frequently I became fuzzy headed and wickedly grouchy.
My ongoing quest for the perfect diet led me to a couple of Marks: Mark Sisson and Mark Hyman. They talked about the effects of sugar on the body (basically, exactly my physical symptoms) and how increasing healthy fats could provide steady energy and relieve symptoms of inflammation. They advocated for low-sugar, high-fat eating. Also appealing to me was their focus on lifestyle factors: an emphasis on sleep, slowing down, time in nature, and joyful movement.
I began a four week trial of the lifestyle. Yes, I know, this sounds like yet another diet plan. But for me, something clicked. I discovered that my physical symptoms disappeared when I upped my healthy fats and reduced my glucose consumption. My energy skyrocketed, my bloating subsided, my acne disappeared and my digestion normalized for the first time in my adult life.
Additionally, I ended my relationship with chronic cardio and spent more time doing movement I loved: yoga, walking, and hiking. I began a meditation practice and limited evening technology use. For the first time in twenty years I began to fall asleep when my head hit the pillow and woke up naturally eight hours later.
I had no idea that it was possible to feel this good; this was a whole new level of life.
Looking back, I understand that this lifestyle gave me space from a physical addiction to sugar and the time to understand why I ate it for emotional reasons (numbing uncomfortable feelings). I learned to eat when I was hungry and to notice my conditioned thoughts and behaviors around food.
It gave me space from non-stop hunger and obsession about what to eat and when to eat it.
It freed up all the mental energy that had been consumed with guilt over eating something “bad” or dreaming about having that “perfect” body in the future.
I was able to slow down and learn how to enjoy the beauty of the present moment.
It’s difficult for me to describe the impact of this transformation, but I feel like I have been freed from the obsessive/restrictive/self-esteem crushing diet and exercise patterns in which I had lived most of my life. I liken it to a physical and mental blockade dissolving, which opened the path to feeling absolutely unstoppable.
I became a Primal Health Coach because I see so many people trapped in the cycle of diets, restriction, and obsessions about what to eat and what not to eat. I know how consuming this feels, and how vibrantly alive I am without it.
As a coach, I will guide you to release this struggle, to awaken your radiant health so that you can experience joy and serenity in the magic of the life that is meant for you.
Your time is now!
Glorious freedom and radiance await!