Most before-and-after stories focus on the outward changes in a person, but for Skye Halliday Wilson, the transformation was as emotional as it was physical. “I was in an abusive relationship that put me in a black hole of depression,” she says. “I’d completely lost who I was, had no confidence and felt hopeless.”
Fortunately, she broke free of that relationship but not without some collateral emotional damage — she felt shattered and uncertain until a friend invited her to try a boot-camp class. “I started going every week and built my strength both physically and mentally,” she says. “I was in control of the woman I was building and remembered that I was so much stronger than the hurt that brought me down.”
Wilson had played sports growing up but admits that getting started with exercise again was tough. “There were times I was so out of breath, but I was too competitive and stubborn to stop,” she says of her boot-camp experience. “When I got back to school in the fall, I looked for a gym to train at as well as places to do yoga — and anything else. I was hooked!”
Around the same time, Wilson became interested in nutrition. “The media tells women to eat less and be smaller, when in reality if you’re training hard and eating the right food, you need more fuel!” she says. “I realized I was working out way too hard and not eating enough, so I focused on making sustainable diet changes to help transform my body.”
Soon, her changes were getting noticed, and Wilson’s college friends were reaching out for fitness and nutrition advice. “They sent me pictures from social media as their inspiration — images of edited bodies and physiques that weren’t sustainable,” she says. “Change happens when you grow small habits into a larger lifestyle — adding a walk to your evening, cutting out soda one day a week, eating a healthier breakfast. Not everything has to be extreme, and I wanted to share what I learned about balance.”
Today, Wilson is a certified nutrition coach who makes healthy living relatable and realistic to her clients and is now on track to earn an ISSA group exercise certification. “My philosophy focuses on a ‘little bit of everything’ — exercise, diet, rest and fun,” she says. “Fitness and nutrition are nothing if you aren’t enjoying your day to day.”
Whether working with clients one-on-one or in a group setting, the one constant will be her empathic approach and her understanding of how daunting it can be to begin again, especially when surfacing from a dark and scary place. Her advice for women in similar situations is simple: “Listen to your gut and do not dismiss abusive behavior,” she says. “Watch for those red flags, and remember that no relationship is worth your physical and mental health.”
Name: Skye Halliday Wilson
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Occupation: Health and nutrition coach
- One thing most people don’t know about me is that I have narcolepsy! I rarely have pure motivation to exercise due to exhaustion, so I rely on my weekly routine to stay on track.
- My favorite treat is my grandmother’s homemade cinnamon rolls. They are a great reminder that food isn’t just about fuel.
- My favorite exercise is barbell deadlifts.
- My least favorite exercise is anything to do with the Assault bike!
The International Sports Sciences Association offers evidence-based and innovative education and certification to fitness pros, nutritionists and medical professionals. As the winner of an ISSA certification in partnership with Oxygen, Skye Halliday Wilson will soon be able to inspire more people to take their first steps toward healthy living. Look for updates on her progress toward realizing her dreams in future issues!