Meet Stephanie

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Stephanie Sklar Rapp
Co-Founder & CEO

I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. We were a very active family: skiing, hiking, dancing, tennis and local sports teams. My mom cooked a family dinner every night and we sat around the table eating and talking and laughing together. I remember how everything became an adventure from baking cookies to scavenger hunts in the back yard to puppet shows from paper dolls we’d made from paper towel rolls or wooden spoons.The desire to make everything into an adventure and every day into a celebration never left me. I love cooking and entertaining and learning new things: taking classes on wine or food or fitness or nutrition. I started at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to satisfy my craving to dive deeper into the subjects which I’ve always been passionate about.

I believe in tasting everything, meeting new people, traveling and living as though today is the only thing we can be certain of. We are a sum of our experiences. To live with fervor and zest and positivity, you need energy and strength and overall wellbeing. I thought I was in great shape on all those fronts. I pushed myself through a competitive high school to get into a top college. I worked to graduate Summa Cum Laude and get a job at a top Investment Bank. And I’ve been challenging my limits there since graduation to continue to grow and advance, learn more, add more value and succeed.

For much of the past 12 years, I ate bowls of “health” cereal for breakfasts, big salads for lunch, and handfuls of nuts for snacks. I made sure to work out regularly, mixing it up with spinning, Pilates, boot camps, jogging, Kettlebell Kickboxing, yoga and barre. Any class in the city, I’d try it! Any challenge, I’d take it! I thought I had balance because I enjoyed good wine and cocktails with friends and homemade pasta and fresh baked breads. I thought I was epitomizing health because I read Fitness and Shape magazines and knew what was “good” and ate mostly low fat and high fiber and lots of fruits and vegetables: an omnivore who limited red meats and slices of cake.  But what my body told me loud and clear was that I was not a beacon for wellness.

I was taxing my being on every level: pushing hard to compete at work, pushing hard to get the most out of my workouts, to go out with friends, to entertain, to explore my passions and interests, to be a good partner to my now husband, to look good, smile, go, see and do. I wasn’t sleeping well because I was “on” from 6am to 10pm Monday through Friday and my weekends were wonderful but full from morning to night. This was thriving, I thought.

Then I realized I wanted to get pregnant not too far in the future, but I wasn’t sure that would be possible because of the chronic stresses I was putting on my body. I had a revelation while on my honeymoon in New Zealand, eating grass fed meats and local farm fresh cheese, spending hours outdoors in clean air and with the man I love. I was going to bed when it got dark and waking up when the sun came out. I was hiking and resting and laughing and I was away from the 24/7 NYC rush for the longest amount of time since moving to NYC in July 2008. I was taking time to breathe deeply and my cell phone had no service.

I came home from that trip and I started making small changes that had big impacts. I started meditating or deep breathing for a few minutes before bed each night. I took cues from Ayurveda about my body type and tweaked my workouts to compliment, not exasperate, who I naturally am. I added into my diet more animal parts and great fats from oils and grass fed cheeses and farmers’ market butter. Hello egg yolks! I switched from “health” foods to real foods, where the ingredients came from living plants and not chemical plants. I still work hard and I still have full days of office and family and friends and going and doing. But I learned to say “no.” That was (and still is) really hard. And I learned to turn off for a few minutes each day. And I learned that it is OK to ask for help. That we don’t have to go on our journey alone. That there are experts who know more than we do at times, who can get us to our goals, like how EMBODY Wellness can help you accomplish yours!

And guess what. I’m a new mom to Olivia Hudson Rapp, born February 3, 2015!

Degrees and Certifications
BA from The University of Pennsylvania: Summa Cum Laude
Certified Holistic Health Coach (AADP) from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Certified KBIA Kettlebell Kickboxing Instructor

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