Episode 048: Mindset and Disordered Eating with Kym Hermann

Episode 048: Mindset and Disordered Eating with Kym Hermann

Healing and recovering from an eating disorder led Kym Hermann to guide others to navigate their wellness journeys.

Kym is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who believes that everyone can find freedom from food bondage and self-limiting beliefs. Using holistic nutrition and mindset, she helps people unlock their real potential by nourishing their minds and bodies with real food nutrition and self-introspection.  

In this raw and personal interview, Kym tells us about:

  • Her seven years of disordered eating and the mindset she was in at the time

  • The work she put in to recover from it

  • Lasting damages she still struggles with today

  • How she guides others to navigate their way through similar journeys

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Click Here to Read the Episode Transcript...

Naomi Nakamura: In last week's episode, Episode 047, we had such a wonderful conversation on just what is intuitive eating and what happens when we stop obsessing about food. Now today I'm joined by my dear friend Kym Herrmann, who is sharing all about mindset and disordered eating.

Healing and recovering from an eating disorder led Kim to guide others to navigate their wellness journey. She is a certified nutrition consultant from Baumann College, a fellow 21-Day Sugar Detox coach, and is yet another Beautycounter colleague of mine. Aren't my team members. Just such amazing women?

Kym has continued her education and training programs by the Functional Nutrition Alliance, under Gabby Bernstein, as well as under Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe, and she also serves as one of the moderators for the 21-Day Sugar Detox and Balanced Bites social communities.

Kym believes that everyone can find freedom from food bondage and selflimiting beliefs, and she takes a holistic and psychoanalytic approach using nutrition and mindset to help her clients unlock their real potential by nourishing their minds and bodies with real food and self-introspection.

Kym resides just outside of Portland, Oregon with her husband and she also has a puppy dog named Piper just like Katie Garces from last week and she has three adult children. She loves backpacking and exploring the outdoors with her family and she's an avid runner. In fact, it's one of the many things we have bonded over and we learned that we both ran the Portland Marathon back in 2010 on 10-10-10. So in this discussion, Kym tells us about her seven years of disordered eating, how she recovered from it, the lasting damages that she still struggles with today, and how she guides others to navigate their way through similar journeys. This interview was profoundly raw and it was a very personal experience for Kym to share and I really appreciate her bravery and vulnerability in sharing and owning her story in the hopes of helping someone else who may be going through a similar struggle. So with that, let's get to our interview.

Hi Kym. Welcome to the show.

Kym Herrmann: Hi Naomi. Thanks for having me.

Naomi Nakamura: Why don't we start off by having you introduce yourself and tell us more about what it is ... who you are and what it is that you do?

Kym Herrmann: My name is Kym Herrmann and I'm a nutrition consultant and I work with individuals who have disordered eating. I teach them how to have healthier mindsets and how to get healthy eating real food, nutritious food.

Naomi Nakamura: Awesome. So what kind of led you to work with this kind of people? I think everybody on some level have disordered eating, but I feel like this is such a really important aspect to work with people on, and so see what kind of led you to this work?

Kym Herrmann: I guess I would have to say that it was really my own experience with an eating disorder when I was a teenager. And so my journey, it's really one that has spanned so many years, first developed way back when I had a nutritionist counseling me during my recovery and her guidance and helping me understand that food was actually my friend, not my enemy. It had me really wanting to help others who struggled with food they're eating and how they viewed food.

Naomi Nakamura: Can we go back a little bit to like when you were in your period of disordered eating? Like what was that like for you and what kind of led you to that and what was your whole thought process or mindset that around that?

Kym Herrmann: I'd really love to be able to say that there was just one root cause as to why I developed an eating disorder or why actually anybody develops an eating disorder, but it's always very, very unique and there's multiple causes. For me, it was these factors that actually caused the perfect storm.

Growing up I was a very quiet, shy little girl and at had a really early age, probably about four or five years old, I began to believe that I did not measure up. that was from experiences that I had had at that age and then I'm moving around a lot, I was always the new girl in school. So that fed into it and I just knew that I had to do whatever was told. My parents moved, I had to move too. And then the other thing was growing up I had always been very thin and I never really thought about my weight or what I ate at all. Actually I take it back, I did. I didn't think about my weight, but I thought about how I looked. I was tall. I was always a tall kid, very gangly, and I thought that my arms were hanging. In fact, they probably did hang all the way to my knees and I was convinced that I look like Olive Oyl on Popeye and I would look at my feet and they were huge. My family call them flippers.

Naomi Nakamura: How old were you at this point?

Kym Herrmann: I was 11, 12, 13 years old.

Naomi Nakamura: So this started really young for you. Were there outside influences, maybe like things that people would say that kind of led you to have these sort of judgements about yourself and your appearance?

Kym Herrmann: Oh yeah. You know kids without realizing it, they can be cruel and so being called spider legs or just saying I was so skinny and things like that. That was really embarrassing to me because everybody else ... all the other girls were short and petite and they looked so cute. Here I had a haircut that my mom gave me, my bangs were uneven and I was just very, very aware of my shortcoming.

Naomi Nakamura: I'm kinda smiling because I'm a short girl and when I was that age, I would just want so badly to be a tall girl. So we always ... The grass is always greener for us, right?

Kym Herrmann: It is. We always look at somebody that's not like us or I can't say always, but I think that we often look at people that aren't like us and we think that, "Oh, I wish I looked like that." I was probably one of the tallest girls, definitely one of the skinny girls and everything else seemed to be wrong. You know, my teeth were big, my hands were big, but I remember at one point thinking that if there was a surgery where they could just cut off my feet and make me short, I would love to be this short, little 5'4, 5'2 girl. So I was very awkward. It wasn't until I went into puberty that I actually started to develop and my body started changing and that was really uncomfortable for me. And it was a really rapid period of development, but there were also things that were going on in my family and my extended family that affected me as well.

So I had these stories that I always told myself that I had learned from a very early age, that I wasn't good enough, you just learned that I wasn't pretty enough. I was this, I was that and it was never enough. But when the people in your life also feed those things into you, it can have a really negative effect and so I had learned that I was destined to be overweight. So at one point I would go from being thin to very overweight because everybody in my family was and I was made to be aware of my changing body, instead of embracing it, I was told that I was getting heavy-

Naomi Nakamura: And these are probably just innocent comments that people make, right? 'Cause I heard the same things-

Kym Herrmann: Yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: When I was little and I hear people make the same comments now and these are seemingly innocent comments and no malice intended. But yet we don't realize the effect that it has on all of us, no matter what age, but especially at such a young age.

Kym Herrmann: Right, right. We just don't know how it's gonna affect somebody and sometimes they are just really innocent comments and maybe sometimes these comments are meant to be helpful depending on the mindset. And I already had a very broken mindset or one that didn't feel very good about myself. I was already telling myself stories that weren't true. And then one of the other things is ... And maybe not so much anymore, but at that period of time there was a lot of emphasis where I lived on image and how people look and I heard from male family members whose wives had gotten heavier, that they didn't love them anymore when they were heavy, but they did love them when they were thin. And so feeding in all of this into me at that time was extremely damaging and it just kind of fit into this ... I guess a form of illness that I had.

Naomi Nakamura: And during such formative years.

Kym Herrmann: Yes, yes. Yes. And-

Naomi Nakamura: So you're still in your teen years at this point?

Kym Herrmann: Oh yeah. I was ... yeah, early teens. I didn't even drive at this time. So then later on ... So my body was changing, I started working at McDonald's and I grew up eating the standard American diet. I loved instant mashed potatoes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, TV dinners, all of that sort of stuff.

Naomi Nakamura: Oh, my gosh. Swanson's TV dinners are my favorite.

Kym Herrmann: No, that was a treat.

Naomi Nakamura: It was. It was a Friday night treat.

Kym Herrmann: Yeah. Every fourth of July, we would go ... When my grandfather was alive, my granddaddy, who I love to death. Every fourth of July, we would go down to the beach in their camper and we would get this big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and it was like heaven on earth to me. I'd probably get sicker than a dog if I ate it now though. So I loved all those things and then working at McDonald's, we couldn't afford to eat at McDonald's when I was growing up because there were five of us kids and my family was in the military. So working at McDonald's, it was like heaven on earth, a big Mac and milkshake and large fries every day. There's nothing wrong with it. And then I would go home with my girlfriends and we'd have cinnamon toast and so you can imagine what had happened that summer.

It's like I never got what I would say overweight, but I really ballooned up and I had such an awareness of the changes in my body and I was really uncomfortable with it. At this time, I think when we're teenagers we ... and it starts at an earlier age now, but at that time we were talking about dieting a lot, my friends and I. I just started going on crash diet after crash diet, not really understanding what it was or knowing anything other than the fact that I wanted to lose weight and-

Naomi Nakamura: So you just wouldn't eat?

Kym Herrmann: Well at that time I would do a lot more over exercising, riding my bike, riding my bike to school, doing other things. Man, that was so long ago. I can't even remember like what the diet looked like then, but I do remember that I started hearing about just starving myself and I had never really heard of that before. And I can't even remember how I decided to do it, but I know that I decided and that was the only thing that worked. And I think within the first week or two, I had noticed that I started losing weight and something in me just snapped. It was ... Maybe it's like an addictive personality or what, but it snapped and I began to be very afraid of food. Food was no longer something that I enjoyed eating. It was my enemy and the more weight I lost, the more I had to lose. And you know, initially I thought that I was in control of this, but very, very quickly, my life had become completely out of control and it was just a vicious cycle and I was very, very tormented by it. You'll be lucky if I get through this without tears honestly.

But I struggled for several years, several years. I'm going to say probably for about seven years and it literally almost cost me my life and a lot, a lot of counseling, worked with a nutritionist, working on the mindset to get healthier.

Naomi Nakamura: So what kind of helped to pull you out of that? How did you get in with your nutritionist and your counselors? Like what led up to that?

Kym Herrmann: Well, at this time people were just starting to hear a lot about anorexia and bulimia and I struggled with both. It kind of flipped flopped and-

Naomi Nakamura: Whenever I hear that, the first thing always comes to my mind is Karen Carpenter, right?

Kym Herrmann: Yes.

Naomi Nakamura: Yeah.

Kym Herrmann: And so she was one of the first ones. The very first time I'd ever heard of anorexia was a movie and this movie was probably kind of a little bit of a trigger. So I'm always careful because I never want to give anybody ideas. But it was a movie called 'The Best Little Girl In The World' and right around when I was in high school, right around the time when I was at my worst ... I think I graduated just barely being a hundred pounds and I was about 5'7 at the time, 5'7 and a half, Karen Carpenter passed away. And so for me going on for so many years, it almost killed me.

My electrolyte balance was way off, my body just was not in a good state of health. And one of my good friends who's no longer with us, his mom was a nurse and intervened and she was so afraid for my life that she found at the local hospital a dietician to counsel me and work with me and pro bono because I didn't have any money. And I had actually sought out to get help, but at the time the hospitals didn't really have treatment programs or anything like this 'cause this is like in the early ... in the 80s, this is in the 80s.

I was waitressing, the perfect thing for somebody with an eating disorder. Right? I was waitressing and I didn't have insurance that would cover the cost of it or anything like that. So she intervened and that's where it all started and I knew that I had been really close to death, but I also knew that I lived and I was convinced that my life had continued on. Now I'll probably cry ... so that I could help others, and that ... that period of time it was hell and my heart just really breaks for anybody going through it. When I see young girls struggling with eating disorders, it's really hard to watch. So yeah, sorry about that.

Naomi Nakamura: No, you're fine.

Kym Herrmann: Yeah. Yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: It's such a compelling story, which is why I asked you to come on and share it.

Kym Herrmann: Yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: 'Cause they know that there's so many women and young women and young girls, like this does not discriminate with age. We all struggle with disordered eating at varying levels, but for some people it is more and you described it perfectly, it's tormenting.

Kym Herrmann: It is.

Naomi Nakamura: It's tormenting and it really starts at a young age. My cousin's daughter's 12 and I see her and her friends and even just hearing some of the languages that girls that age use, I can see that they're already trigger words. They're 11 and 12 and they're already talking about dieting and having to cheat on their diets and I'm like these girls are like so young, but yet they're exposed to this language at such a young age, that it's just ... They already have that mindset.

Kym Herrmann: Yeah. It's ... I think that there are so many pressures around us, even more so. For me, when I was in high school, I would look at the magazines and I remember ... I think it must be Shape magazine. I think it's that old or whatever, Heather Locklear being on there and she was like during that period and always looking at-

Naomi Nakamura: She was Sammy Jo in Dynasty.

Kym Herrmann: I had no idea. I didn't know that there was a such thing called airbrush. All's I knew is that she had this perfect body and she looked so cute and how come I don't look like that? Why ... I mean so I had that pressure but girls nowadays and women nowadays, we have these unrealistic expectations. We see TV, magazines, there's airbrushing, we have social media. Everybody ... I think my kids call it fake book, that everybody posts their very best pictures and they make their lives look like they're absolutely perfect and everything about them is. And then ... And even now like I go take a selfie for Instagram and it's like I gotta find the perfect ... "Like, oh my gosh. Look too many wrinkles or oh, look at ..." And it's still ... It's just kind of like the nature of the beast in society nowadays.

Naomi Nakamura: I heard this quote quite a few years ago that really stuck with me that just said, "Don't compare yourself to someone else's highlight reel." 'Cause that's really what social media is. It's really just other people's highlight reel.

Kym Herrmann: Yeah, of course. I mean only if I'm feeling really brave am I gonna put the most horrible picture. I mean I have lots of them that I take, but yeah, it's sad. It starts at a very early age.

Naomi Nakamura: So you started working with a nutritionist, a dietician, and so what was that like? And then what happened after that?

Kym Herrmann: I started working with her and even though she was really great, there were things that I know that weren't really great. So I learned through her that frozen meals were good for and they really wanted me to ... I was so malnourished that they wanted me ... she wanted me to drink Ensure drinks because that's what they used in the hospital. So I just thought that, "Okay, lean cuisines and all of this stuff, they were good for me." And really, I know she just wanted to get some food in me. I was so afraid of food.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, and that was probably a better option than where you were at. So stepping stones. Right?

Kym Herrmann: Right, right. I logged in and I learned all about ... I started learning about fats and carbohydrates and proteins, all of that. Just different aspects of food to where it was actually something that was good for me. Food was what was going to fuel my body. It wasn't the enemy that was just going to make me fat because I would literally be afraid to even have a half a piece of stick of gum because it had so many calories, it was gonna make me fat. I knew what calories were, but I didn't know anything else, and so she really helped me to see that and gave me some accountability. That was my changing for me. I remember I would always say after that that, "When I grow up or when I go to college, I wanna be a nutritional therapist." That's what I wanted to be, but I had no idea how to do it, and it was because of the work that she had done with me.

Naomi Nakamura: So bridge the gap then between that, you're wanting to be a nutritional therapist and then you are one now.

Kym Herrmann: I know. That was a dream come true for me and it took until I was in my forties. So, life moved on and I got married and had kids and I was still very interested in nutrition-

Naomi Nakamura: But you had kind of moved out of that whole disordered way of eating?

Kym Herrmann: I had. So it had affected me in ... which I'll talk about in a little bit, but I had moved out of it and I knew that I really ... I wanted to live and I wanted to do well. So I had moved out of it and actually had kids, which one of the effects of the disordered eating was they did not think that I was going to be able to have children. So that was really cool. I was very excited. I don't know if I've ever told you how I found out that I was pregnant with one of my kids.

Naomi Nakamura: No, I was gonna say, but you do have three of them now right?

Kym Herrmann: I do have three. I do have three. Yes.

Naomi Nakamura: Plus Piper.

Kym Herrmann: Oh yes. I know. I know. I had to lock Piper out of the office here because she would probably come up and try and talk to you.

Naomi Nakamura: Just for those who don't know, Piper's her puppy.

Kym Herrmann: My two year old, my fur baby. She thinks she's human and a lap dog at 75 pounds. So anyways, I had kids and in their well-meaning with one of my children, people would always tell me, "Oh, he's so busy. He's so hyper. You should get him checked for ADHD." That came up and so we had ... I was just appalled and horrified that somebody would say this about my two and three year old and the ... My son was in preschool, the preschool teachers were saying that. So we had talked to the doctor and based on this subjective test, the doctor said yes and suggested Ritalin. And I was like horrified that anybody would suggest that my three and a half year old be on Ritalin.

Then they suggested a diet called the Feingold diet and Dr. Feingold is a doctor who has done research on preservatives, food colorings, additives, artificial colors, all that sort of ... flavors, colors, all of that and how it affects the brain and the body and health. And I just devoured that and became very, very interested in nutrition at that point because I had no idea that these things that I've been feeding my family was affecting them in a negative way, just so fascinating to me. I actually at that time had learned that there was a preservative called BHT and it was in all of our children's cereals and it was in the vitamin A that's in milk, and it was an instant mashed potatoes, all of this. And it's a preservative that in Europe, they had discovered actually crosses over the placenta and it affects the brain. It changes the brainwaves in the baby in utero. It's also in most of our cosmetics that they sell in the regular stores.

So ... But I was just shocked and we had noticed that with my son when he had had it, that yes, it did change his behavior. So I was that person for several years that cooked everything from scratch, read all the labels and everything like that. After the kids were all in school and I went back to work, life happened and we just kind of got caught back up in eating the standard American diet, sugary cereals and all of that. And eventually I just kind of accidentally stumbled back upon my interest in nutrition. I was actually researching ways that I could avoid going through whatever happened to my body that everybody said was gonna happen when I was 40 ... when I turned 40. And I discovered ... I started researching what clean eating meant 'cause I had no idea and just kind of stumbled upon Robb Wolf's book, 'Paleo Solution', and just found it fascinating.

So I decided to give it a shot and was amazed at how much better I felt. And right around that time, Diane Sanfilippo, who is a friend of both of ours, had come around. She'd come out or she was coming out ... I guess this was like a couple of years later with her book, 'Practical Paleo', and I picked it up and she's teaching everybody everything that I've always wanted to do. This is so amazing. How did she ... Where'd she learn this? How does she do this? And yeah ... And then I decided ... I discovered that there were schools for holistic nutrition that didn't teach the standard American diet or the food pyramid and went to school to do that. So that was really an exciting time.

Naomi Nakamura: So after reading 'Practical Paleo', you decided to go back to school for holistic nutrition?

Kym Herrmann: Yes. I went to Baumann College, did the distance education and graduated in 2015. Even though prior to that, I had been really immersed in the nutrition field and writing about it and studying and talking to people.

Naomi Nakamura: So how do you work with people now and how do you help people with this disordered eating?

Kym Herrmann: The funny thing is is that I used to really think that I was the only one that struggled with a disorder ... eating disorder and it took me a long time before I could share it with a lot of people because when I was going through it, I was made fun of by people for it. And so there was a lot of shame that was involved, but as I've worked with clients I realized that just about everybody has some sort of issue with food. So one of the things that I really liked her work on with people is just understanding their mindset around themselves and around food. We really dig deep into their life. We'll go back, we'll look at eating patterns, comfort foods, all of that sort of stuff. Stories that they tell themselves and maybe the stories that they've started telling themselves ... Like for me, that I was not good enough, but he wanted to be around me wasn't about food, but it was about a situation that had happened way back when.

So we go into all of that and we start talking and learning and eating or they start eating whole foods and we do that ... A lot of times, we always do the ... an elimination diet to see how food affects their body and one of the things that I always find is that they're usually really surprised at the emotions that they're feeling. They start understanding, "Oh look. This is why I'm eating. I ran to get this bowl of ice cream because I had a really bad day at work, or even I ran to get that glass of wine because I had a really bad day at work." So we start looking at like that.

Naomi Nakamura: Or even that they're bored.

Kym Herrmann: Bored.

Naomi Nakamura: Because for whatever reason, maybe they're bored because they're just ... they're not interested in what they're doing in their lives right now. And it always comes back to food, but then rarely is it about the food.

Kym Herrmann: Right, right. Very correct. So we just dig, we just dig deep. I don't believe that my role as a nutrition consultant is solely about teaching people what to eat, when to eat it. But it's about digging into themselves and understanding themselves better and locking themselves, making them ... freeing themselves from the things that have been chaining them or controlling them, even if they didn't realize they being controlled by it.

Naomi Nakamura: So I know that you ... Well let me back up a little bit. Have you experienced any physical health repercussions from being in that period of disordered eating for a long time?

Kym Herrmann: Yeah. I have and I was diagnosed oh probably about 28 years ago with hypothyroidism and because I'm thin now, people are always like, "Are you sure?" Because they assume having low thyroid always means that you're going to be heavier. So I was diagnosed with that and I truly believe that the trauma that I put my body through kind of triggered it. So I'm very interested in epigenics and so with epigenics, we could have the predisposition to having a certain condition-

Naomi Nakamura: Epigenetics.

Kym Herrmann: Yes. Did I pronounce it wrong?

Naomi Nakamura: Epigenetics.

Kym Herrmann: Do you know this about me, that I always make up my own words? I do.

Naomi Nakamura: I think we all do.

Kym Herrmann: No, I ... My kids laugh at me all the time. They're like, "Mom. No ..." Yeah. No, I make up my own words. So anyway, so I'm really interested in that and how what we're... See, there I go again, how our genes is affected by our diet and lifestyle. I had the perfect trifecta. I had the genetic probability, I had this stress and the diet or the lack of a diet. So I had all of that and then when I started going through the healing, I developed a goiter and that's how they found my hypothyroidism. So I think that even now I eat like really ... I eat very clean. I take good care of myself. I'm still on a dosage of medication and recently I have a new doctor and I'm so in love with ... Well I'm so in love with him in a good way, it's like this is fun. We're researching and he suspects that-

Naomi Nakamura: Because you nerd out about stuff like I do.

Kym Herrmann: I totally nerd out. I totally nerd out. But my adrenals ... Of course, my adrenals were affected, but he suspects that there's a possibility that my adrenals never fully recovered. Thus, my thyroid didn't and I am kind of a high strung person that it can be a continuing thing. So we're kind of digging into that and I'm excited, but definitely my thyroid ... I know for a while my liver was affected and I only know that because doctors can always tell when you're not doing well. And I had one doctor talk to me about the colors ... the color of the white of my eyes, during that time it was yellow, so that would be my liver, and then my teeth from when I was bulimic for those years. It really ate away at the enamel of my teeth and the dentist can always tell. So they were really soft and I had to have-

Naomi Nakamura: Even today, they can tell?

Kym Herrmann: The backs of my teeth. Yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: Wow.

Kym Herrmann: I had to ... So the fronts of my teeth, because they were so soft and they had shortened and stuff. They didn't ... Nobody would ever be able to tell, but it was something that we had talked a lot about. So the fronts of my teeth, they're actually veneers and the backs, they can tell and I'm very, very open with my doctors. And so I've had my dentist for several years, but that's one of the first things that I tell them because I don't wanna keep any secrets. One of the first things that I tell my doctor is that, "Yes, this is my history." I do that because I believe that they need to know everything about me, just like I want to know the things about the clients that I work with so that they can help me with whatever I'm going through, and it's also a way of accountability for me too.

Naomi Nakamura: We both do this in our own work with our very first session, is wanting to know the history of your client. What got them to the state that they're in right now, right?

Kym Herrmann: Right.

Naomi Nakamura: Not just physically, but also that mindset piece so you know what's the best way to help them move forward to where it is they want to go.

Kym Herrmann: Right, right. Exactly. You know one of the things too is I feel ... And I can't speak for everybody, so this is just speaking for myself. But those years were very traumatizing to me and trauma stays with you in a certain way, so I know it's almost a part of me. But that being said, I'm okay with it because it makes me who I am and it gives me the ability to have empathy and understanding with others, and to really help them unlock things within them. So there's a part of me ... I would never wanna to live through it again, but there's a part of me that's thankful for it too.

Naomi Nakamura: It's owning your story.

Kym Herrmann: Right, Right. And it was harder for a long time. So it was very hard.

Naomi Nakamura: So if there's someone out there who's listening to this who might be at any stage that you have gone through, that they might be going through periods of feeling tormented or traumatized. What advice would you give them?

Kym Herrmann: Gosh, the first thing that I want to do ... I get this mental picture in my head, is I just wanna give that person a hug and I just wanna tell them you are not alone and you matter because oftentimes when we're going through that, we think that we are alone and we don't matter. And I would really encourage, even though I know that it's so hard, I would really encourage them to start with some help, 'cause this is something that's really difficult to do on your own. But not just help with going to like a counselor or anything like that. I would say like a life coach. They really help a lot, dig into some of the past and a nutritionist, and look for things that make you happy in life. Start building on nurturing yourself and loving yourself again because it really is ... sometimes it's an abuse of yourself to where you almost don't even like yourself anymore. So really nurture, but it will take work. It's not easy. It doesn't happen overnight. Changing mindset doesn't happen overnight, changing the fear doesn't happen overnight. So it's work and just be willing to do that work.

Naomi Nakamura: It's hard work. It's definitely worth it.

Kym Herrmann: Yeah. So thankful for where I am now in life. It's a continual journey. One of the things that I said that I would never want to do is to criticize myself so that my daughter would hear that and pick up on that sort of stuff and I've done it. And there were times ... There was a period of time where I just did even afterwards that I didn't like myself. I would say things like, I'm fat or I'm not good enough and realizing it, I saw how that affected my own daughter and hurt her. It would make her angry. That's the one part that I wish I could take back, some of that before I really started understanding even more so what was going on with my mindset, is women ... mothers and fathers because I see more and more men that struggle with disordered eating now too. I would just encourage people to be careful with how they talk about themselves to others. I have a lot of friends who I hear will say things that really beat themselves up, and if you would never say something to somebody else, it's not okay to say it to yourself. I would never go to somebody else and tell them the horrible things that I've told myself.

Naomi Nakamura: It's not just the words that we say out loud, but it's the words that we say internally to ourselves as well.

Kym Herrmann: Those are damaging. Yes, very true.

Naomi Nakamura: And those are the hardest ones to overcome.

Kym Herrmann: Yes. Yes, and we're all guilty of it. We all do it.

Naomi Nakamura: It's constant work, something that we all constantly have to work on.

Kym Herrmann: Right, it is. Life is a journey. It's always a path. It's like a marathon. It's not a sprint. It's a marathon.

Naomi Nakamura: I always laugh at people who use that and who've never run a marathon and I know you have and I have, so we know what that really means.

Kym Herrmann: I know. I know. My last one was so hard.

Naomi Nakamura: So was mine, that's why it was my last one. Speaker 37: Yeah. That's why it was my last one too.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing this story. You first shared this with me like eight months ago.

Kym Herrmann: I remember. I remember exactly where I was sitting and-

Naomi Nakamura: So was I and I remember thinking, "Dang it, I wish you recorded this 'cause this would have been such an awesome episode." So I'm glad we're doing this again.

Kym Herrmann: Yeah, and then I thought oh, this is so scary to go out there and to share my story because there's a lot of people who know me ... Because I have a lot of people that I know that maybe don't follow me on social media, so they haven't seen the Instagram. There's a lot of people that know me that don't know my story at all. So it's a big deal putting it out there, but sometimes you have to let it go. Sometimes you have to let your story go so that it can fly and help others.

Naomi Nakamura: Absolutely. So speaking of helping others, how can people just connect with you maybe if they want to work with you or just follow you and learn more about you and your story?

Kym Herrmann: Well, they can always find me on Instagram and I don't mind if somebody were to DM me. I don't mind that at all. They can find me, it's Kym, KYM_the_healthnut because I am a health nut and then also my website which is nourishmenaturally.com, find me there too.

Naomi Nakamura: And I'll link to everything in the show notes.

Kym Herrmann: I just want people to know that it's okay. It's okay if you struggle. You're not a bad person. You're okay. Everybody has some kind of struggle in life.

Naomi Nakamura: Absolutely. Well thank you so much.


Naomi Nakamura is a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, programs, coaching services and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop!
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