Learned how to flip the script from "It happened to me" to "It happened for me"
Makeup by Monica Kalra
Hair by Laura Christine Clark
“Nothing takes me down again.” If we could bottle mother, wife, and corporate nurse Laura Meadows’ bravery and resilience, we would. In a heartbeat. This woman has seen the bottom—physically and emotionally. And she’s survived through sheer willpower and force of determination for the good of herself and her boys, to come out the other side and, now, tell her story. Of her transformative journey through immense pain and suffering to healthy, invigorated, and fit, Laura says: “It’s about overcoming the unimaginable. Persevering even though everything seems to hold you back. About taking one small step each day even when you don’t feel like it, especially when tomorrow seems so far away. About keeping faith that those small steps are truly moving you forward when you feel as if you are staying still or being pulled back. About asking yourself every day. How will you choose yourself?” Laura chose herself every single day after having spent weeks upon weeks in a hospital bed, beyond weak and totally debilitated. After experiencing complications with a routine surgery, Laura was left in a place she never wants to be again. Following her surgery she was unable to hold any food in her stomach and was told she had idiopathic gastroparesis. Which means that, for unknown reasons, her stomach wouldn’t empty properly, and that would often leave her vomiting upwards of 20 times a day.”
“It’s about overcoming the unimaginable. Persevering even though everything seems to hold you back. About taking one small step each day even when you don’t feel like it, especially when tomorrow seems so far away. About keeping faith that those small steps are truly moving you forward when you feel as if you are staying still or being pulled back. About asking yourself every day. How will you choose yourself?”
Over the next few months Laura lost over 40 pounds on her already petite frame. To further complicate matters, she then developed a condition known as SMAS (Superior Mesenteric Arterial Syndrome), leaving Laura significantly underweight at less than a mere 80 pounds. A once strong and resilient mom, Laura had become dependent, weak, and relying on feeding tubes for nutrition. For two years, Laura fought for answers. And quite literally her life. There were moments her fight felt insurmountable and she didn’t feel she was strong enough—neither physically, mentally, nor emotionally—to carry on. Her body was ravaged by illness, she was barely able to walk, and Laura was exhausted beyond belief—while battling the mental health challenges that come from a severe illness. Once a warrior, she felt powerless living in a body she didn’t recognize. And then, as a result of trauma, Laura developed an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder). Aka, a fancy medical term for being scared to eat anything that had once made her sick. Of this period, Laura says, “There comes a time in your life that is so profound it wakes you up to find your true strength. You dig so deep it hurts, but it’s where you need to go to be honest in what’s required to overcome what you are battling and go after what’s necessary to live your life—the life you want. At that moment, it was me versus me. It was personal, it was raw, and it was deep.”
Laura learned to inch forward each day. She showed up for herself through a year of therapy and self-healing, that began with yoga—while she had the feeding tube.
A key factor in Laura’s recovery started by her developing clear intentions and daily practices and habits to keep inching her forward in her journey to finding her strongest self. And inch forward she did, through a year of therapy and self-healing. Towards the strong (inside and out) woman she is today. After regaining most of her health back, Laura joined STRONG Girls (coaching program) and attended a STRONGCAMP, which changed her whole trajectory… She never looked back. It was the last piece to her puzzle in rediscovering her health, and fitness—but mostly coming into her true self. She concludes, “Yes, a bad thing happened to me, but I wasn’t going to let it define me. To flip the script of ‘It happened TO me’, to ‘It happened FOR me.’ It wasn’t my fault I experienced my illness, but it was my responsibility to overcome it. To not only regain my health and wellness, but to regain my life.” Now, as a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, Laura is mentoring other women to take control of theirs, too. And being that role model has gifted her with a strength she never dreamed possible just a short while ago.
Get STRONG(er) with Laura Meadows