Jeannie: Out Of The Bottle

I will try to make a long story as brief as possible. I’d always lived a very conscious lifestyle. I lived in an “intention community” brimming with activists, alternative energy, organic gardening. I also always had an interest in aromatherapy and skincare, which I somewhat hid for fear of being perceived as shallow by my “world-changing” friends. I sacrificed my dream of a career in aromatherapy and skincare for dedicated motherhood, without regret, teaching dance to make ends meet. My children have been my world and are living testaments to the reward s of passionate motherhood.

I picked up The Truth About Beauty in March 2008 and dove into its principles completely by Easter that year (see my “before” picture on Easter Sunday, 2008, the day I started Kat’s program). As someone who had sugar every day, I knew Kat had been in my shoes. I never ate normally my entire life. As a dancer, I starved and then binged, obsessing every moment along the way. I had done everything. I’d purged in college. I’d switched to organic whole foods long ago. I’d been to counseling, Overeater’s Anonymous even Alcoholics Anonymous. By my forties I was looking haggard. Kat had vividly articulated this thing that I couldn’t’ even talk about. Even my husband did not know. There it was, right there on the pages in front of me: both my obsession to the letter, along with a declaration of our right—and a roadmap— to be beautiful, that had actually transformed her into a new person. No book had ever made me feel that way or connected the two main obsessions in my life: my eating disorder and beauty.

What I read was so powerful, I stopped bingeing (in spite of being surrounded by the most tempting foods I could imagine) —or skipping meals— on that Easter Sunday. My family was stunned. I had a rapid transformation and it was the first time in my life (at 48) anything had ever brought me swift, dramatic peace from my lifetime of bingeing and starving. I had never felt comfortable in my body, even as a dancer, but suddenly I was. And I wasn’t even exercising at the time. Within a month, I was sleeping better. My skin, which had been sallow and drawn, became noticeably glowing. My eyes got clear. My apple body started to change. My friend Deb came over and noticed it right away. My face looked “pretty” to me for the first time. With no makeup. My daughter said “there’s a spark in your face that wasn’t there before.” I never slept well, but I was sleeping deeply for I think, the first time. I remember my boyfriend did a double take the day I decided to doll up a little, and was somewhat speechless. I felt like I looked good, and he suddenly had a more confident person to deal with. I noticed how he would continue to “kindly” tempt me, such as offering M&Ms, etc. Interesting how some of the most important people in your life can try to sabotage you to keep themselves safe I had sustained this incredible peace around food and comfort in my own skin. No more meal skipping or subsisting on coffee between binges. This was the only thing that had ever worked.

This new confidence and health are what I credit for my strong desire—and physical ability—to go back to school for aesthetics.

The skin information in The Truth About Beauty had really opened my eyes and revived my passion for aesthetics. To read about the ability of natural substances to actually become part of the skin... To be reminded of the neurotoxins and other chemicals in conventional perfume... I always knew. I just discounted the significance of my own instincts. When I went to beauty school, they didn’t teach the biological concepts of skin transformation. I was forming these concepts by instinct through my own years of studying, but Kat’s book was the first place I felt them articulated anywhere. And in the natural products world, they hadn’t scratched the surface either, until Kat’s book brought the information on what was really out there together at what I felt was an unprecedented level. It really impassioned my resolve to make a career in beauty.

But then came the personal blows that threw me off kilter. I was prescribed ADHD meds to get me through some painful losses, which left me literally homeless. At first the drugs were “miraculous.” I was literally on speed, so I suddenly had energy I’d never had, and “no need” for Kat’s approach. I also lost every bit of fat off my body as a result of being on this “wonderful” amphetamine. The rush on this drug was exciting at first, but I couldn’t sleep and started to have frightening anxiety attacks in the afternoons that affected my breathing. I also had terrifying changes in my vision. When I tried to stop the drug, I realized that without it, I was literally unable to move or function. Here’s the part that is shocking in retrospect: I began to think about ways to literally end my life and how I could plan for my children’s future without me. I remember snapping in and out of these thoughts, and in between saying to myself: “I have to do Kat’s program.” There was no way I could afford it. But then, totally unexpected, I was doing my taxes online and as I braced myself and clicked on “taxes owed” I saw a large refund I was due. Within forty-eight hours I was booked to attend Kat’s June 19th program. Because it was a particularly large group, she invited us to begin the program early with TeleProgram sessions. The experience of doing that before the program was so motivating that I was able to get back on track with her program a week before attending. I was convinced by the TeleProgram to go much further with her approach than ever before. I truly believe that doing that ahead of time was what enabled me to be able to physically make the drive to Asheville, which was perilous, in spite of the intense strain that my vision challenged required of me in order to just get there.

And so began my road back literally and figuratively. Kat took us all under her wing, and treated us like equals. I remember thinking as she listened and responded to everyone’s questions “my gosh she is so patient.” I was immediately off all the caffeine and sugar. The second night after dinner, she made her turkey fennel dish from her book. I literally went outside by myself and cried for ten minutes at the idea that you could just make something so good and become healthy and beautiful eating it. It was sad in a way how many years I suffered thinking I needed to avoid such things. I was so exhausted at the program from a personal decision to wean off my drugs before the program (Kat insisted I do this under my doctor’s supervision), but I was allowed to just “be” and rest, and eat at the program. My cravings ended while there, as did my remaining fear of fat (I thought I had already let that go, but found that I really had not). For the first time I noticed I was waking up and just getting busy. No foggy period. My sleep and vision began to improve. My body had started to gradually sculpt, even before the program, just from the changes I made after the TeleProgram preview. I felt beautiful in a way I had NEVER felt, by the end of the program. We identified new health issues for me to look into back home. I knew, back home, when I made French toast for my kids and had no desire to eat any whatsoever, that I had returned to that incredible state I had only experienced once before.

I found out during the follow-up teleprogram session that I’d gotten into a bit of a rut of eating too many coconut flour foods about a month after returning home. My energy was dropping and I was wanting to be with Kat again. I jumped at a discounted alumni work/study opportunity to work on a program this week with Kat. I am writing this as we complete an eight-day private program here on amazing St. Simons Island. The fine-tuning here has taken me to a new level in energy and mental clarity, and my energy and body responded right away. I am finding myself running on the beach here, just because I feel like it. My drive here was incredible compared to the drive to the June 19th program. I did not strain and the drive was actually pleasurable and uneventful. My vision is so improved and my head does not ache from struggling as it had done since March. I can’t imagine what it will be like to drive back this time!

Most exciting is that I have much more energy for my aromatherapy and beauty creations and my head has cleared to where my sensitivity and smell have been honed to the level that I am finally feeling my potential as a scent alchemist. My creative spirit and intellect are working in tandem and I realize my future is bright. My body is exhibiting a firmness (and return of my waistline) and youthfulness unusual for someone my age, but probably not unusual for those on this program (you should see Kat!). I look back on how I was thinking just a few months ago and shudder to think of what c ould have been. I truly believe Kat’s program has saved my life.

Jeannie Ann Amash

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