About Wendy

About Wendy 2017-06-11T07:58:03+00:00
Wendy Neal - Holistic Health Coach - Kickoff Wellness

My mission is to help people with food allergies or sensitivities to take the stress and overwhelm out of transitioning their diet and eat food they can enjoy confidently without the fear of being sick.

I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I learned innovative coaching methods, practical lifestyle management techniques, and over 100 dietary theories.

I studied with the world’s top health and wellness experts including: Joshua Rosenthal, Deepak Chopra, David Katz, Walter Willett, Andrew Weil, Mark Hyman, Susan Blum, Gabrielle Bernstein, Geneen Roth, Mehmet Oz, Ariana Huffington, and many more.

My education has equipped me with extensive, cutting-edge knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and prevention. Drawing on my expertise, I work with my clients to help make lifestyle changes and choose health-promoting ways that produce real and lasting results.

I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas of your life are connected. Does stress at your job or in your relationship(s) cause you to overeat? Does lack of sleep or low energy prevent you from exercising? As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole.

I also believe that no one diet works for everyone. I will guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices that best support you. I will also help you make gradual, lifelong changes that enable you to reach your current and future health goals.

My Story

Kickoff Wellness - Wendy Neal - Holistic Health Coach

I grew up in small town Iowa as a tomboy and preferred playing sports to cooking or sewing or playing with dolls or anything else that girls were “supposed” to like. I played basketball, kickball, and baseball. I played football with the boys up until about 8th grade (that’s when the boys got bigger than me and it hurt to get tackled). 🙂

My mom always made home cooked meals from scratch so I ate pretty healthy while growing up. But when I went out on my own, as most college students do, I ended up subsisting on cheap processed food like ramen noodles, mac and cheese, and frozen pizza. Most of what I ate came from a box in my pantry or the freezer.

In my early twenties I started having really weird symptoms and issues periodically. I started to have scary dizzy spells and episodes where I felt like I was going to faint.

I went to many doctors and had a ton of tests done. I went to an ear, nose and throat specialist for the dizziness, and got no diagnosis. I had an MRI on my brain because one doctor saw an eye flutter that led him to believe I had multiple sclerosis, but (thankfully!) it was negative.

As the years went by I started having more and more symptoms. I started to notice them gradually, but after many years I was feeling pretty miserable, suffering from the following symptoms on a nearly daily basis:

  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive issues
  • Leg and joint pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sinus problems
  • Tingling in hands/feet
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Chemical/environmental sensitivities

I was beginning to think that I’d have to live with pain and suffering forever. But that was not even the worst of it.

Fast forward to 2009. I got really ill with what I thought was a stomach bug with pain, nausea, cramping, and feeling overall yucky. But it never got better. Days turned into weeks and I ended up missing over a month of work and had to go on short term disability.

I also lost about 15 pounds during this period (those who know me personally know that I am very small-boned and have trouble keeping weight on anyway; I was literally skin and bones at this point).

I went to my doctor numerous times complaining of intense abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloating, joint and muscle pain, anxiety, and panic attacks. Each time I went, I was told that my pain and digestive symptoms were just all in my head. I was prescribed several prescription drugs for anxiety and depression, as well as sleeping pills.

Needless to say, not only did the drugs not make me feel any better, they made me feel much, much worse.

The anxiety and panic attacks got increasingly worse, and eventually they were so debilitating that I was petrified to leave my house. I believe the clinical term for that is agoraphobia.

Finally, Some Answers!

It was during this time that I decided to fire my doctor and sought out a Functional Medicine doctor to help me figure out what was wrong. At my first appointment, I got to sit with the doctor for a full hour going over my medical history and (very long) list of symptoms. At the end, he looked me in the eye and said, “I think I know what’s wrong with you, we just have to run some tests to confirm.”

His suspicions were spot on, as my test results revealed that I had multiple food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, hypothyroidism, and a yeast overgrowth in my digestive tract. I was extremely sensitive to dairy, egg whites, and gluten. After removing those foods from my diet, and taking some supplements to balance my deficiencies, manage my hypothyroidism, and heal my gut, I started to feel like a new person.

Granted I didn’t fully heal overnight; it had taken years of poor dietary choices to destroy my body, and it took over a year to fully heal. But I did eventually, and I’m so thankful!

Years of unhealthy eating had wreaked havoc on my body.

After my food allergy diagnosis, I had to unlearn years of bad habits and start eating healthier, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to eat anything. That’s because gluten and/or dairy are present in nearly all processed foods, and eggs are usually found in gluten-free versions of many breads and packaged foods. So eating meals out of a box was no longer an option for me. I had to find alternatives that wouldn’t make me feel sick.

Throughout my journey I was forced to educate myself. I learned about food allergies and intolerances; hidden sources of dairy and gluten that don’t legally need to be labeled; what kinds of foods I should be eating to be healthy; and most importantly, how to cook healthy meals from scratch. This was the most difficult thing for me. It needed to be as easy and quick as possible, as I was still recovering from all my symptoms and feeling pretty miserable. Takeout and cheap boxed food were not an option.

But I was vigilant, because I had to be. I had a job and responsibilities and a husband and children who depended on me. I made the necessary diet and lifestyle changes that I needed to in order to regain my health.

And for the first time in decades, I knew what feeling really good felt like.

Why Health Coaching, Why Now?

It’s been several years since I went through all this. In the years since, I’ve become the go to person for people I know who are just discovering or suspect they might have a food intolerance or sensitivity. I get all kinds of questions like what foods can they eat now, what restaurants can they safely eat at, and how to deal with people that don’t understand their new dietary choices.

Over the years I’ve happily shared my knowledge with anyone who asked, but I realized that I wanted to do a lot more. I wanted to change lives. I wanted to help people reach their full potential of health and happiness. So I decided to become a health coach.

I obtained my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certification from the prestigious Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I learned innovative coaching methods, practical lifestyle management techniques, and over 100 dietary theories.

I studied with the world’s top health and wellness experts including: Joshua Rosenthal, Deepak Chopra, David Katz, Walter Willett, Andrew Weil, Mark Hyman, Susan Blum, Gabrielle Bernstein, Geneen Roth, Mehmet Oz, Ariana Huffington, and many more.

My education has equipped me with extensive, cutting-edge knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and prevention. Drawing on my expertise, I work with my clients to help make lifestyle changes and choose health-promoting ways that produce real and lasting results.

My business name, Kickoff Wellness, was born from my love of American football and natural health. I strongly believe that given half a chance, the human body can heal itself, and I am a testament to that!

How Can I Help You?

If you’ve read this far my friend, then I’m assuming you or someone you know is struggling with transitioning their diet after being diagnosed with a food allergy or sensitivity, or perhaps a chronic disease is causing them to make dietary changes.

Oftentimes doctors will give a diagnosis and tell you that you need to change your diet, but not give any guidance or support on exactly how to do that. What I wouldn’t have given when I was recovering to have someone to guide me, someone who had already gone through what I was going through, someone to provide accountability, even be a shoulder to cry on as I was going through this massive change in diet and lifestyle.

I want to be that person for you. I want to be your partner in transitioning your diet so that you can feel confident that what you eat won’t make you sick, but rather will nourish you and heal you.

If you would like to learn more about how I may be able to help you, let’s chat on a free 30-minute call to see if we are the perfect fit for each other.

Book your free discovery call now!