I am so excited to introduce you all to Amy Kurtz, the inspiring health and wellness coach and chronic illness warrior behind the best new read in the health world; “Kicking Sick.” Kicking Sick is available for preorder now, and I am telling you guys this one is going to be a huge hit! Tomorrow I will be sharing a sneak peek into the book with an in-depth review, but until then, here is a special Q&A with Amy herself on her chronic illness journey and how she kicked “sick.”
In Kicking Sick, you talk about a pivotal moment in your health journey where you realized that you had to be the one to heal yourself. Tell me a little more about that epiphany point for you. Was your attitude change instantaneous in that moment or was it a process over a period of time?
I had grown up for most of my life being at war with my body, because I grew up in chronic pain and then had a scary experience abroad where my body stopped working for me. I went into this “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” mode to fix my ailment, to get back to the life I dreamed of. I hit rock bottom when I spoke to a Colon specialist who told me that, he didn’t know why, but my colon was irreparably damaged and it would never work again. I just couldn’t accept that. I couldn’t understand that someone could say that without any proof. So, I went on strike. Before that I was used to playing by the book, listening to the doctors, doing everything they told me to do. For once, I did nothing! Then I started making the decisions. That was the turning point for me.
In the book you talk about the two attitudes towards having a chronic illness; the “sick chick” attitude where you accept that you are just sick and it defines you, and the “Glow Warrior” attitude where you actively fight forward for your healthiest life and do not let your illness define who you are. How long after that pivotal point in your journey did it take you to fully transition from a “sick chick” to a “Glow Warrior” both physically and emotionally?
I took a couple of months off. I had taken numerous medications, vitamin shots, IV drips, every treatment you could think of, you name it, I was either doing it or had recently tried it. I was exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I needed to grieve and allow myself to feel all the feelings that come with illness at a young age. After that, the shift happened really fast, because I was clear on how I wanted to feel vs how I was feeling before. I never stopped since.
Was finding your way back to a healthy life a linear journey forward, or were there times when you faced new health and internal challenges that forced you to take a step back?
Healing is never linear. Healing is a journey. It’s not a destination. Getting well takes a lot of trial and error, especially with chronic illness. It takes a lot of patience and deep compassion for yourself. Of course there were challenges! One of my favorite quotations is this: “At any given time you have two choices, step backward into fear or step forward into growth.”
How did you overcome those challenges to keep moving forward without a full relapse into becoming a “sick chick” again?
The truth is, I used to think like a sick chick, and talk to myself like one, too. But the reality was, I would never be able to heal from that place. I had a major shift. Once you make the decision that you are going to be a champion for your cause and you are determined to see the struggle that you are going through as an incredible transformative opportunity and experience versus something that’s just deeply traumatizing, then you can completely embrace the glow worrier, which I call the champion of the good life.
When you find yourself feeling discouraged, who and what do you turn to for re-motivation?
I am always coming back home to myself and my personal rituals to remind myself of who I really am. I’m also a student and a seeker of inspiration and motivation. Reading is a great place to start. I’ve always looked for inspiration from books, meditations, spiritual texts… I always go back to my hero, Kris Carr for inspiration. It is so important to find people who encourage you to think differently and who encourage you to see your situation differently.
In Kicking Sick you feature many other inspiring Glow Warriors that have helped you in your journey. Why is it so important to surround yourself with other Glow Warriors?
I think that it’s important to open yourself to ideas and new ways of thinking that challenge you and help you grow. The best way to do that is to surround yourself with positive people who nourish that part of you.
What is the most powerful thing you’ve learned from your team of Glow Warriors?
I’m still learning every day from them! What comes to mind right now is this: happiness and healing are possible no matter what the situation is. Suffering is optional. Be gentle and kind with yourself.
What is the greatest thing you’ve learned or gained from having a chronic illness?
One of the greatest lessons I have learned, and I have learned many, is that we are so much more than our physical body. The physical body is a part of you and not what defines you.
What would you say to people out there right now who have lost hope in their ability to get healthy again?
You’re not alone! I even wrote a book for you! You have me and a lot of valuable resources! No matter where you are in your health journey, there is always something you can do to improve your quality of life and take better care of yourself. There’s always a way to find light in a dark situation.
In the book you talk about building your Medical Team. For me personally, realizing that I needed to build and tailor my medical team to fit my personal body and needs was a huge turning point for the better in my healthcare. There is a lot of information to weed through on the web these days when trying to find a good doctor. What Internet or other resources would you suggest to readers who are not sure where to begin?
Be an EXPERT of your condition. Be your own advocate. Get clear with what you need in a partnership with your doctor(s). For me, what was immensely helpful was seeking out a good functional medicine doctor with a lot of experience who communicated well and treated me as a whole person.
There are a lot of fantastic natural therapies that you mention in Kicking Sick. Do you have a top 3 list of therapies you would suggest trying first for readers who are new to the natural medicine realm?
It really varies from depending on what your needs are! Everyone is different. But if I really had to choose my top three favorites for someone new to that side of healing, they would have to be acupuncture, meditation, and of course, diet. Let food be thy medicine!
What made you decide to tell your story by writing this book?
Statistically, 1 in 2 people have at least 1 chronic condition. That’s 365 million Americans and they’re not talking about it! When did not feeling well become the new normal? I felt so isolated and frustrated as a young woman dealing with chronic illness…I knew that I couldn’t be the only one. I knew I had to do something about it.
If there is one thing you hope that people will take away from reading Kicking Sick, what would that be?
I hope that readers will feel empowered and motivated to make choices that better serve them. That people will realize that they are more than their diagnosis, that they feel that it’s an opportunity for tremendous growth rather than a limitation.
As an inspiring health coach and a talented author, how do you balance your life and career goals with your self-care and healthcare?
Without a question, the bedrock for wellbeing are my self care rituals. It has become second nature to me; it’s a part of my lifestyle and the way I live. I’m talking about components like a healthy diet, fitness and exercise, making sure I have something that is JUST for me to wind down and feel good and tune into my body and spirit.
If readers are interested in contacting you for health coaching, where can they find you?
They can say hi and join the wellness revolution on my website amykurtz.com! Find me on social media and join the conversation, get fun tips and daily inspiration.
What is next for Amy Kurtz?
For now, I’m getting the word out loud and clear on Kicking Sick, and continuing on my mission to help people heal their lives and empower them to become an activist for their own health and wellbeing. And… secretly I’m already brainstorming my next book!
And keep your eyes posted for tomorrow’s in-depth review!
With great love,