Hey, friends! Welcome to Kathleen Layer Coaching, I’m so excited to have you here. My name is Kathleen, I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio (Go Bucks!) but have had my fair share of traveling and adventure. I currently live in Brunswick, Maine with my husband, Braden and our dog, Wiley. I am a Certified Health Coach & Intuitive Eating Counselor coaching women through their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies so that we can tap into our true power and live in a world where diet culture doesn’t define us.
I never really thought much about my body until I was 18. My parents instilled a confidence in me early on by consistently reminding me of my strength, intelligence, and ability to succeed. Having a certain body type wasn’t a part of that (checking my thin privilege here). I grew up feeling proud of what my body could do for me, I felt comfortable in my own skin, and felt that I could take on anything.
That mentality changed my freshman year of college.
When I got to college, my mindset changed almost instantly. I was in an unfamiliar place physically and mentally. I went from a confident woman to someone who constantly questioned herself. And I quickly learned that a thigh-gap and flat stomach were what mattered most.
I started prioritizing workouts over nights out with my friends, I Googled things like, “what do Victoria’s Secret models eat?” and “how to lose weight before spring break?” I did the whole, “calories-in-calories-out” equation every day. I desperately wanted to be thin.
Cue diet #1: restriction + over-exercising.
I found through this process that I’m the queen of the F*ck It Diet. I’d restrict, restrict, restrict, and eventually get frustrated (aka hungry) and down three bowls of pasta and some soft serve, taste the sweet, sweet love that is a bagel and cream cheese, and tell myself I had given up on “being healthy” and I’d just stop taking care of myself altogether.
I stopped moving my body. Vegetables? Yea, right. I drank a lot of alcohol, I didn’t sleep well, and I wasn’t always the nicest person. I just kept pushing my body image issues further and further down. Kind of like trying to force a beach ball to go underwater, but eventually, it shoots right back up. Usually with a lot of force.
Welcome to post-grad life.
After graduation, I got an apartment in DC with my best friends from college. With an entry-level salary, you can’t really afford much, so amenities and nights out were prioritized over food. In an attempt to lose weight, I signed up for a half marathon with a friend that spring. Ironically, I rediscovered my love for movement here. I enjoyed the scenery, the fresh air, the city trails. I fell in love with running. But as my movement increased, my nourishment and self-care did not follow suit.
This marks the beginning of my “clean eating” days.
After I ran the half, I was obsessed with running. I ran almost every morning. I lost weight very quickly and I remember my parents visiting and saying how good I looked. I remember my friends telling me, “you’re so skinny!” I remember trying on a pair of shorts that basically fell off my body and feeling my value as a human rise as the scale fell. I thought I was happy. I thought I found the answer. Spoiler, I didn’t.
I was at a standstill. I was confused about my career, about my relationship with my boyfriend (now hubby), about what I really wanted out of my life. So, I moved back home to Columbus, Ohio to figure it out.
Enter: CrossFit, Paleo, and Whole30.
I went from wanting to be skinny to wanting to be strong and “lean.” From eating whatever I could afford, to only eating “clean, whole foods.” Apparently, I had been eating “dirty, half foods” before? Eventually (and thankfully) my body was like, “Kathleen, can I get a side of bread with that bullshit?”
Unfortunately, that led me to counting macros. I tracked every morsel of food that went into my body. I spent hours planning out what I was going to eat each day – I felt like a magician when all my macros fit perfectly! It’s so cool right? You can eat WHATEVER YOU WANT… *as long as it fits your macros*. I ate when I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t eat even when I was starving, and I was glued to MyFitnessPal (RIP).
I had a come-to-Jesus moment after a fellow macro-counting friend told me she was spoon-feeding herself olive oil. The pure ridiculousness of that scene made me question what the hell I was doing all of this for? Who was I doing this for? What are “abs” really going to do for me? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
I was done.
A couple months later I found Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size through a blogger I followed on Instagram. She led me to one of my favorite people, Christy Harrison, and it completely changed my life. (p.s. if you haven’t listened to Food Psych, it’s a game-changer).
I’m 27 years old at this point.
I spent almost a decade of my life fighting my body. Telling myself I’m not good enough. Hating exercise unless I was full drip-sweating and burning “x” number of calories. Being okay with my body some days, but really wishing I had that six-pack-victoria’s-secret-model-life most days. Thinking the key to life was to be smaller. Thinking I wasn’t healthy enough until I had a certain percentage of body fat. Defining my worth by the number on the scale. Refusing to eat cookies and bread, and pizza, and feeling like a queen when I did so. I was “so good.” I was “so healthy.”
I was SO OVER IT.
Fast forward to today. I’m married to my favorite human, I have the best friends and family in the entire world, I’m healthy – physically and mentally, and I finally have space for what matters. I’m starting my own business. I’m owning who I am. I’m at peace with food, with movement, and with my body. I’m confident. I don’t even know what a scale is anymore. And ya girl eats bread Every. Damn. Day.
I’m so lucky to be sharing my story with all of you. I wish I knew then what I know now about what it really means to be healthy, about what self-care looks like, about body diversity, about health at every size. About not thinking you are something that needs to be fixed, that needs to be smaller. About loving myself.
I wish I had someone to guide me back then, so I’m here now to help guide you. To help you trust your body again, to help you find out what it truly means to be healthy and happy. To help you give diet culture the middle finger.
I’d love nothing more than to hear your story. I’m always here to listen.
Want to chat more about your relationship with food and your body? Hit me up on Instagram, say hi here, or sign up for a free Feed Your Soul, Fuel Your Life Breakthrough Session.
Some of My Favorite Things
Coaching (body image, intuitive eating, and CrossFit), my pups – Wiley & Charlie, Columbus, OH (Go Bucks!), traveling the world with my favorite people, craft beer, ice cream, sweet potato fries, pretty much any baked good, my mom’s famous spaghetti sauce, cooking, being outside (preferably, on a walk), football (this is new for me, you can thank my husband), yoga, exploring new cities, trying new restaurants, sweatpants (or anything cozy really), and of course, adventuring through life with my #1 – Braden Layer.
Certified Health Coach – Health Coach Institute, BHC: Transformational Coaching Program
Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor – Original Intuitive Eating Pros Training & Certification by Intuitive Eating Creators, Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Health Coach Institute, Holistic MBA Mastery Program
BS, Psychology – The University of Colorado at Boulder
Upper Arlington High School – Go Bears