My Story

Here on Naturally Ever After, I share the essence of what has helped me overcome some serious mental, emotional and physical struggles and start living with confidence. Some of the topics on the blog may catch your eye – I mean, who doesn’t want to love their body? Or quiet their anxious mind? But these subjects aren’t met to be taken lightly. You need to be able to trust where you’re getting your information from, so let me share my story.

The Girl Behind the Blog

couple and dog about naturally every after
…and they lived Naturally Ever After!

I’m Michelle, a health and lifestyle freelance writer living in Des Moines with my husband, Kyle, and our sweet black lab, Yoshi. The three of us are on a quest to be our best selves and get the most out of life. On our journey, we’ve found that often the simple, natural solutions have the most extraordinary results.

But we’ve come a long way.

When I first started dating Kyle in 2013, I experienced stomach aches on nearly a daily basis. I had terrible eczema on my legs, arms, stomach, back…it wasn’t pretty. None of this was all that new to me. I’d had flare-ups of these issues for years, but never did a whole lot about it. I just learned to live with it.

Kyle, however, was not going to let me live with stomach aches every day. He was determined to make me all better.

Thus began a long, expensive journey to figuring out my health. I started by seeing a gastroenterologist, who diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I had my blood drawn and tested negative for Celiac, Crohn’s and other digestion-related diseases. She put me on a low FODMAP diet, gave me pain pills, and guided me toward fiber supplements and Mirolax. After weeks without gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol, the stomach pain and IBS issues still persisted. The fiber supplements and Mirolax seemed to make the problem worse.

The doctor ordered an ultrasound and CT-scan, and the latter showed that my gallbladder wasn’t functioning properly. Finally, an answer!

Or so I thought.

One gallbladder removal later, life was still the same.

Enervated by doctor appointments and medical bills, Kyle and I started doing more of our own research and experiments. We found that certain foods weren’t always the culprit. Rather, it was a lifestyle factor causing all this distress in my gut.

Stress.

It all clicked. I had flare-ups in the hours leading up to networking events, for days before any kind of traveling, and the morning of our engagement party. There were many days at my old job when the stomach aches would strike at the beginning of my work day, often persisting until I got home for the night. The connection to stress was blatant.

I didn’t appear on the outside to be stressed, but I’ve always been one to bottle up anxiety. At that time in my life, I was still fairly fresh out of a depressive state I’d had in college, which revolved around an eating disorder and a serious lack of confidence. Even though I was extremely happy with my new life in Iowa with Kyle, I had a nagging fear that at any time, I could slip back to that depression – to that eating disorder – and completely unravel again.

My mind was constantly running with anxious thoughts. Until then, I had no idea there was a connection between my internal stress and my gut. Boy, was I wrong.

By winter of 2015, I knew I had to get my stress under control in order to manage my IBS and finally start feeling awesome. The upcoming year was a big one – Kyle and I were getting married (!!) and I was starting my own freelance writing business with the plan to leave my job at the time of the wedding. The year ahead looked like the ultimate picture of stress. I wanted to nix these stomach aches in the bud so I could fully enjoy being a bride and focus on my writing.

No more pills, surgeries or supplements. It was time to try natural remedies and relieve my stress, hoping to also relieve my gut distress.

I began taking time to meditate, clear my mind and focus on my breath. I exercised in a healthy way and ate healthy foods that made me feel good. I minimized the use of stimulants in my life, even giving up coffee and alcohol for a short while. I read and journaled each night and made an effort to unwind before bed, using essential oils and herbal tea to help me transition from the chaotic business-building and wedding-planning world to a restful night of sleep.

notebook in sand

The results amazed me. During what likely could have been the most stressful time of my life, I had less than a handful of stomach aches.

I had learned to manage my anxiety and quiet my noisy mind.

I had finally become confident in my mind and body and had dropped my fear of returning to an eating disorder.

I was experiencing life without physical discomfort, and I was hooked!

All of this I gained through natural remedies. No pills, no doctors, no procedures. And while every healthy lifestyle needs room for a little indulgence, I am never looking back.

So, why did I start Naturally Ever After?

Michelle BarichelloThose mornings when you don’t have energy to get out of bed, wondering what you have to live for.

Those days when you try on every outfit you own and are never satisfied with the way you look.

Those nights when you cry yourself to sleep after overeating.

Those big life events that you can’t enjoy because you’re so worried about what everyone thinks of you.

Too many women live like this, worrying and stressing instead of fully embracing who they are and their purpose in the world. I lived like this for long enough, and its toll on my health and energy was devastating.

Guilt. Shame. Negativity. I’ve been there. And I’ve been lucky enough to come out on the other side. I’m finally at a place where I can share what I have learned. My purpose is to help you be your most awesome self. Are you ready?

I’ll see you on the other side.

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