A diagnosis didn't end the race.
Zero to Hero Journey
A nutrition expert's story of hope and healing.
HERO HEALTH PLAN
Healthy, Healing Foods
Rest & Relaxation
Finding a Purpose In the Pain
Lying in darkness in my bedroom in Ireland, staring at the same four walls for months on end, I cried bitter tears as my friends moved on and graduated from college. Some days I was barely able to lift my head off the pillow. Even taking a shower became a daunting task.
Fifteen years on I have completed five half marathons, excelled in my career as a registered dietitian and received honorary Medtronic 'Global Hero' status for my determination to not let a diagnosis end my race.
Throughout my 'Zero to Hero' journey I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Epstein Barr Virus, Hashimoto's, Interstitial Cystitis, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Urinary Retention. The list of misdiagnoses is almost as long and included a Brain Tumor, Addison's Disease and Crohn's Disease. At one point I felt like a medical mystery and I heard the all too typical response of 'it is all in your head'.
Through much research and support from my family, I got to the root cause of my problems and regained my health. I identified my underlying food allergies and sensitivities and nourished my body with the right balance of healing and soulful foods. I strengthened my body with resistance training and boosted my immune system with key nutritional supplements. I learned to manage my stress with yoga and meditation and I gained freedom from urinary catheters with a Medtronic Interstim device implanted in my spine to empty my bladder.
While my journey was painful, I have found a purpose in that pain as I am now sharing what I have learned to help others. In my private practice in Santa Maria, I am using a holistic and personalized approach to transform the lives of people in my community. Contact me now if you want me to help you too.
Multi-Award Winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Medtronic Global Hero Award (Oct 2016) -
Using Nutrition And Technology To Fuel The Race
In Oct 2016, I was honored with 25 amazing runners from around the world for accomplishments achieved in life with the help of medical technology. The medical technology that has helped me is called an InterStim II neurostimulator. It is implanted in my spine and normalizes the communication between my bladder and my brain.
Prior to getting this device implanted I was crippled with bladder pain and was relying on catheters to empty my bladder due to severe urinary retention. I became afraid to leave my house and spent most of my days curled up on the couch and my nights rocking myself to sleep on the toilet, begging the pain to stop even for a minute. After the device was implanted, I got my pain and bladder back under control within a few short months. It was a miracle! It gave me a new sense of hope that I needed to fully regain my health. With that, I set myself a goal of completing a half marathon. As I had never ran before in my life this was a very lofty goal but I was determined! I started off running 30 seconds at a time and after months of building on my 30 second intervals I eventually crossed the line of my first half marathon at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH.
Combined with my knowledge of nutrition for peak athletic performance, I have continued to improve my fitness and running and now enjoy helping others improve their fitness too. The key thing to remember though is that you don't have to become a long distance runner. You simply have to keep moving forward, one step at a time, walking or moving at whatever pace is right for you. As your dietitian and nutritionist, I will be there to cheer you on every step of the way!
Women Business Resource Network (Mar 2016)
I was awarded a prestigious position on a panel to speak to 160 of Americas top emerging women leaders in the Food Service industry. I was selected based on my ability to engage with my employees and motivate them to reach their peak potential. One of my key notes from the event was "feel the fear and do it anyway"!
It can be scary to admit that we need to change and become healthier. It can be even scarier to pick up the phone or email a nutritionist and ask for help! But I urge you to not let fear paralyze you. It is time to feel the fear and do it anyway! It is time to begin your journey back to better health.
Aramark Ring of Stars Award (Oct 2015)
In Oct 2015, I was honored in Phoenix, Arizona as one of only 200 out of 270,000 employees globally to receive the Aramark Rings of Stars award. I was recognized for my leadership and engagement skills. I was flown to Phoenix for an incredible week of celebrations. During the week I was described by the CEO of Aramark as "a dreamer and doer", "who is tenacious and resilient", and who has "a passion that fuels others and life".
In my private practice at Zero to Hero Nutrition in Santa Maria I am now using my passion to help others and fuel them on their health journey. It is the most rewarding job I have ever had and I absolutely love what I do. I hope I will get to transfer my passion for health, nutrition and wellness to you so I can help you become the star that you know you are!
Santa Maria Based Published Food And Nutrition Expert
"There is one word that describes Fiona...courage. Winston Churchill once stated 'Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.' Fiona is one of the most courageous individuals I have ever met, inspiring countless people around her to face adversity head on and overcome all obstacles. She helps them find their courage to fight back." (NBE)
"Fiona is not only someone who shows strength, she has shared courage, motivation and all around positive energy since the day I met her! She has been inspiring to me, showing me to live to the fullest no matter what cards are dealt to you!" (KG)
"Ms. McKiernan is an amazing woman that I have had the pleasure to work with for the last year and a half. She embodies all that we hope for in a generation of caring. She is intelligent, kind, and caring all at once." (CS)
"Fiona has perseverance like no one I have seen and she has a passion for helping others cope and live a fulfilling life with similar crippling conditions. She is a warrior." (EH)
"Fiona is a ray of sunshine! She inspires us all to aspire to be better people. She is a proven leader.She was recently nominated to represent our corporation at a national conference for working women. Although she has had a few setbacks with her illness, she always finds a way to reach out and support the rest of us". (MS)
"Fiona inspires me in a way that makes me push myself further and not take life for granted every day." (DMK)