Photography by Paul Buceta
In the midst of operating a booming chiropractic practice, and right before the pandemic hit, November/December STRONG cover model Dr. Stephanie Estima listened to her woman’s intuition and pivoted—in a big way. She closed up her brick and mortar and ventured into the online coaching world, and considering how the world shifted in 2020, the timing couldn’t have been better.
Now, the author of a book, The Betty Body (2021)—which dives into hormones, your cycles, age-related issues, thyroid function, menopause, and perimenopause—and a thriving podcast, Better! With Dr. Stephanie, which has over one million downloads, the 43-year-old is more certain than ever that she made the right move. “It was really quite scary at the time, but on the other side of it now, I’m very happy that I trusted my intuition and followed it.”
Honing Your Instincts
Following her intuition didn’t always come naturally to Dr. Stephanie, but she’s honed her instincts with practice and now in her 40s, which she dubs “the summer of life,” Dr. Stephanie is flourishing. Her goal? To teach other women how to listen to their intuition and decode their bodies’ signals, and act accordingly. “Your body communicates to you in symptoms when things are awry—and that doesn’t mean that your body’s broken, it doesn’t mean that your body’s failing you, this is the way that your body talks,” she explains.
Says Dr. Stephanie, “I felt called to help more women beyond the boundaries of my clinic because even myself as a practitioner, [I] had suffered for years with my own menstrual cycle. As I spoke to more and more women in my practice, menstrual irregularities and a fundamental lack of understanding of the hormonal ebbs and flows convinced me that this was a global problem. We are not taught about our fertility, we are not taught about how to optimize for our hormones. We are taught it is a nuisance, akin to some sort of punishment for being female. I wanted to educate women to understand their bodies so they can better make informed decisions about interventions—including risks—that are often not discussed in women's health care.”
Intuition Meets Data
Dr. Stephanie is a self-professed science geek and though she’s big on intuition, she’s just as in-tune with collecting and weighing tangible data. And for the woman who’s still learning to listen to her own body and care for her hormonal health, Dr. Stephanie has some practical advice. “I'd first say give yourself the honor of listening to yourself. Women are typically dismissed in traditional medicine, or we are offered a prescription to help with the symptoms, which do not solve the problem. So my first piece of advice is to listen to the intelligence of your body. The second piece of advice would be to begin collecting data.”
She continues, “As you begin collecting information about yourself, it will be easier to detect changes [in your body]. The third piece of advice would be to start with the low tech, mostly low-cost interventions first—master your nutrition, pick up a few new exercise moves from this magazine, or spend time every day in nature. It is amazing how much we can move the needle when we double down on the foundational basics we all know and can aim to get better at. The human form is a wonderland of geeky magic—we just need to give it the right tools to allow it to heal.”
Transcending Physical Health
Beyond physical health, Stephanie delves into personal growth too. The best advice she’s ever received? “If you don't have what it is you want, then you haven't grown into the person yet who can handle it, and more growth is required to get there. Running a business (along with being a parent) is the biggest personal development course you will ever enroll in!”
She expands, “So in order to transcend, you must expand the definition of who you are, expand your knowledge and skill acquisition, and have the ability to apply what you have learned consistently over a period of time to reap results. It is very similar to a health journey. We are all obsessed with dropping 10 pounds in 10 days, but the real transformation happens slowly, and in surrendering to the monotony of repetition over many months."
Now with a successful coaching business, her book, and her podcast, you might be surprised to learn that Dr. Stephanie’s not quite done yet. Some of her goals on the horizon: Fitness programs, nutrition programs, a clothing line, retreats, and ultimately teaching mindset mastery for what it’s like to be a female. A.K.A., world domination.