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Meet Nicolette Colly, ‘a NOLA girl gone green’

Written by  Nicolette Colly
(Photo by: Gus Bennett, New Orleans People Project) (Photo by: Gus Bennett, New Orleans People Project)
Editor’s Note: Ms. Nicolette Colly is as New Orleans as they come. Born and raised in Gentilly, a graduate of Eleanor McMain High School, Loyola University New Orleans, and Southern University Law Center, Nicolette is currently an Assistant Attorney General at the Louisiana Department of Justice in Baton Rouge and fitness guru. Join Nicolette on her journey of healthier living.



I believe that I’ve been an athlete my whole life. Climbing monstrous oak trees, riding bikes down the levees, and mastering the monkey bars are no easy feats. If I wasn’t at school or sleeping, I was outside. I had to master every competition and every game; losing did not sit well with me. Field Day in elementary school was like the Olympics. In high school, I honed my skills in softball, meeting and playing with some of the greatest girls I know and who are still good friends today. Neighborhood play and school sports taught me invaluable skills and the importance of teamwork.
Despite my active lifestyle, my eating habits were not good at all, lots of fast food, take-out, and dining out. I started packing on the pounds in law school and the years following. A tumultuous marriage and devastating divorce in 2010 led me to live a sedentary lifestyle. Depression and grief meant many days of going to work, eating anything, and sleeping as much as I could. Migraines, body aches, fatigue, and anxiety were a part of my everyday routine. A diagnosis of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD, pain and dysfunction of the muscles that move the jaw) made those days even harder. Later, after a doctor’s visit at which I found out my cholesterol was elevated, I had had enough.
 
This was when I first learned the toll that animal fats can take on the body. Consequently, I set out on a course to learn as much as I could about the body and food. I resumed my gym membership and started taking step aerobics, Pilates, and yoga. Getting back on a routine and attending classes helped me fight through the depression and gave me a reason to get out of bed and rejoin the world. I believe that group exercise is invaluable for those who may feel alone, are depressed, or don’t know where to start with exercising. Those classes helped me open up and start living again, stirring up a visible passion and drive in my step aerobics classes. At the time, it was all I had and the only thing I looked forward to doing.
 
Photo by: Britney TempleOne day out of the blue, my step aerobics instructor, John Denman, came up to me and said, “You’re going to teach.” Of course, fear and doubt immediately told me it would never happen. However, I pushed forward and got certified, but it took me almost six months to get over the fear of actually teaching a class. My instructor was so instrumental in my success as a teacher. I would’ve never gotten in front of a gym filled with over sixty people without him. Now, I teach step aerobics at the YMCA and Fit Lab Fitness.
 
The most significant part of my journey has been participating in The Daniel Fast twice a year. The Daniel Fast is a biblically based partial fast where for twenty-one days, one: (1) eats only fruits and vegetables, (2) drinks only water, and (3) takes out sweeteners, breads, yeast, and baking powder for a clean diet of “no artificial or processed foods nor any chemicals” as one makes his/her way through the “spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting.”
 
This fast has changed my life. I saw almost immediate improvement in my digestive health. I lost unhealthy weight, and not only did my appearance improve, but my mind, body, and spirit were more in tune. Mindless eating was over.
 
Nowadays, I strive to educate myself and others about the importance of taking charge of your own health and making better choices. It may not be immediately apparent, but lifestyle choices and eating habits can be the difference between life and death. Our health is all we have and we cannot entrust it to the food industry, doctors, and drug companies.
 
Through social media and an amazing book, The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You’ve Always Wanted by Kimberly Snyder, I’ve learned how to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and grains into my diet, while eliminating most meat, dairy, and artificial foods. Most of my friends know how much I love to post about everything I learn. I post anything from smoothie recipes to homemade cleaning products to what tests you should ask for when you visit your doctor. Knowledge is infinite power when it comes to our health.
 
I hope to continue to share the wealth of information, particularly about issues crucial to women’s health, food, knowledge, and fitness, through the use of social media, my fitness classes, and IntheNOLA.
 
Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself or that you can’t enjoy life. Healthy practices and informed decisions can make for a greater quality of life, an unencumbered spirit, and freedom from doctors, hospitals, and medicine…the greatest freedom there is.

Follow Nicolette on Twitter and Instagram!

*Note: Second photo by Britney Temple.
Last modified on Tuesday, 20 September 2016
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