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Meet Tessie Tracy of Food + Body Breakthrough in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tessie Tracy.

Tessie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Have you ever put yourself in a situation to be at risk of things going wrong, and thought, “oh, but that would never happen to me… maybe to someone else, but not me.” Well, I found myself in that exact position, humbled to be the ‘someone else’ in what I call my quarter life crisis.

I had been an athlete since the age of four you see. That’s right, four! This was when I started my 10-year journey as a gymnast. I competed up until about age 13 and the next ten years were full of every other sport on the planet: tennis, volleyball, cheerleading, crew, track, basketball, soccer, and hip-hop dancing.

Then, life changed: I graduated from college. I was not a collegiate cheerleader anymore. I didn’t have a coach telling me what my goal was or what to do.

I felt lost and had a total sport withdrawal. People started telling me I had “great shape for bodybuilding.” So, I googled and found an oh-so-fit power couple who trained people for bodybuilding and fitness shows. I called ‘em up, and I was on my way to a lot of growth (and also a lot of lesson-learning.)

Little red flags popped up along the way.

One of my closest friends stopped talking to me when I started training because she felt people commonly developed eating disorders and mental issues from doing these shows.

“But that would never happen to me.”

I took thermogenic (fat-burning pills), appetite suppressants, and 1,000mg of caffeine a day. This isn’t abnormal for competition prep, but I have a congenital heart condition, and should NEVER have been on so many pills that all had one prominent effect: elevated heart rate!

The red flags became a burning, scarlet, flashing red with sirens.

After a month, I remember thinking, “I don’t want to lose any more weight.” But, if I went to weigh-in with my trainers and wasn’t at least down one pound each week, they wouldn’t let me compete.

I followed the diet:
I cooked all my meals at home. I didn’t hang out with friends or family. I was crying everyday because my body and brain were so carb-deprived. I felt physically weak even though I was “strong.” A typical day: I did cardio, coached cheerleading part-time, worked part-time as a teaching assistant, went back to the gym to lift, and went to sleep for another 9-10 hours. Worst of all, I’d become the ‘someone else’ I thought I was exempt from becoming. I became someone who made sure to burn five extra calories at night if I’d indulged that day on a piece of gum. I’d got “there.” I was in this weird place of being super proud of my body and also not wanting to draw attention to it…

“Wow, you’re disappearing!” “Where’d your ass go?” “Your arms are really lean, and like half the size they used to be.” There was a bittersweet tug when these comments would hit me because deep down I knew this wasn’t a sustainable look for my body, but the other part of me truly fed off of this validation and felt shame at the thought of looking like my “old self.”

After the show, I went into a deep depression. I gained weight and more. I binged. I took on an emotional eating behavior that would last for years to come… And although it was a long healing process, my weight eventually evened out. Through Eating Psychology, I took on mindful eating, less stress around food, and more love for my body. Now my weight has evened out, although I don’t really weigh myself anymore, but I ended up in between where I was before and during the show, and I feel good. And although it was a hard decision, I let go of the validation I’d loved hearing and vowed never to do another show again. I’ve never looked back and have learned to embrace my body for what it is, how it makes me feel, and what it lets me do.

Now I help others do the same. I love helping women create sustainable goals with food and body that feel sustainable, empowering, and non-restrictive.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has definitely not been a smooth road always, which is fine. Every bump along the way only makes us stronger, I truly believe that.

In my own food and body journey, I’ve struggled with a heart condition that made high-intensity physical exercise very difficult. Being an athlete was my heart’s chance to adjust as well as it did, but it came with windy roads. For instance, I got lost on a long-distance run we had to do in the neighborhood of my middle school because I fell so far behind everyone else, I couldn’t see where to go. I eventually made it back… in tears. I passed out in the middle of a backflip at the end of our high school Nationals Cheer Competition routine. I even had to have my heart flat-lined and reset after a rapid heart rate episode that lasted over 12 hours. And I’ve had three cardiac ablation procedures, in which extra electrical pathways were taken out of my heart.

This, at the end of the day, while it’s difficult, also reminds me what a blessing it is to be able to exercise!

In my own business, the biggest hump, I would say, is that I take such an alternative, holistic approach to diet, exercise, and weight loss if you will. One thing I’ve found that takes navigating, is the fact that we are still so bombarded by messages of needing to look a certain way to be ‘healthy’, ‘fit’, ‘pretty’, etc. so while that can be so in our face, many people continue the quick fix, the diet, the cleanse, the all-or-nothing fitness routine, etc. And most of the time end back up where they started like I did after my bodybuilding show. I am not promising quick weight loss. I’m not promising a drop in clothing size. Do any of my clients experience that? Sure! But what I promise is the chance at a true transformation to end up authentically loving your body, feeling at peace with food, and finding balance with your goals.

Please tell us about Food + Body Breakthrough.
I help women breakthrough emotional eating, nutrition/food confusion, and inconsistency with fitness in order to create a healthy routine that feels balanced, empowering, and sustainable. I am known for teaching about the science around mindful and slow eating, and how setting up our internal environment of body love and self-confidence, actually helps us with any physical results we desire.

As a company, I’m proud of the free tools I create, such as my food + body goal guide and habit tracker, my 7-step audio lesson that walks you through the process of how to change any unwanted habit, belief or behavior, and my ‘food belief personality type’ quiz. I love getting creative and using ways I know I love to grow (with journaling, goal-setting, planning) in order to help my clients and audience.

What set’s me apart from other health coaches, is that I focus more on the mindset and psychological component to how we change our food behaviors, as opposed to just dishing out a meal plan or saying ‘do this, don’t do that.’ I also bring the component of Emotional Intelligence, which helps me guide clients in other life areas, so it’s a bit like life coaching. And lastly, I’m also a certified CrossFit Instructor with 2o+ of athletic experience, so I can guide clients in fitness as well.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would have majored in business in College. I followed my heart, and am so blessed to have the two Bachelor’s degrees that I have. But I do wish that my vision was launched with more business education earlier on. All that said, though, I trust the journey is perfect, and it’s always leading me where I need to be!

Pricing:

  • 12-Week transformational Food + Body Breakthrough Academy – all-inclusive program with one on one and small group component – fitness, mindset, nutrition – by application only – $1,500
  • 10-Session package – one-on-one 60min coaching sessions to deep dive and progress through your challenge with weight, food, body image, fitness, etc. – sessions can be redeemed any time within 6 months – $1,250
  • 2 Touch- up 30min Sessions – 1st session is a brief overview and assessment to discover the root of your challenge and create an action plan – the second session is check-in and accountability on the plan and blueprint moving forward – $150
  • 20min Discovery Call to learn more about working with me – FREE

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
John Duarte https://www.instagram.com/iamjohnduarte/

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. sandie chapmantracy

    April 4, 2019 at 16:07

    This is a great article. I have done Tessie’s Food and Body Breakthrough program and was so enlightened and refreshed afterwards.

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