I’ve struggled off and on over my 40 years with my general health and fitness. Growing up with a single mother, you can imagine money didn’t grow on trees, so I didn’t really learn anything about health, wellness, or what any of that really meant. I grew up knowing that no matter what my mother put on the table, she had worked her ass of for it, and I was going to eat it. Somewhere around middle school I learned that we didn’t have health coverage, and that I was lucky to be healthy, and believe me, I was and always have been thankful that I have never had to fight any serious health battles. That being said, what I know now is that that was all a very narrow perspective look at individual health and fitness. Yes, I have been healthy my whole life, but just like you, I had no idea until very recently, how what I eat, and how I treat my body directly effects my life.
As a typical adolescent I struggled off and on with weight and body image, but nothing out of the norm. When I became pregnant with my first son, I became hyperly aware of my body, but tried not to take the weight gain to seriously, after all, I was making a human, and that requires extra calories daily, and I preferred them in the form of frosted mini wheats and Ben & Jerry’s! However, the 80lbs I gained with that pregnancy (and the two pregnancies that followed) were a grim reality that not caring was not working. So I did what any normal mother of 3, busy business owner, and wife does…I half assed a bunch of “diets” over the next decade and lost and gained the same 20 pounds in every way imaginable!
The word “diet” is so misused and misunderstood these days that I’m using air quotes, and I’ll tell you why. By definition, the term “diet” means: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. Basically, a diet; your diet, is whatever you put in your mouth. It’s what one chooses to eat. PERIOD. Your diet could be cheetos and beer or it could be kale and asparagus, it’s up to you! As a society we have been hijacked by the health food community to believe that if you eat the same diet as a skinny person, you will be skinny. So someone writes a book, you buy the book, and you do your best to follow the book to the letter. You lose some weight, but after a week or two, lose your will power and have that soda. Once that happens you’re like “f-it! this isn’t working” and you ditch the book and the “diet” and buy some Cheetoes! Maybe this isn’t EXACTLY how “dieting” has played out for you, but we have all lived a version of this scenario to one degree or another.
When I hit my 30’s I started to think differently about the life I was living. I didn’t feel like it was mine. Well it was mine, and I loved certain things about it, like my kids, but it didn’t feel like it should be mine. I’ve always had a very strong connection to my true self, and something about my life during that time, just made me feel like an alien inside it. So I changed-EVERYTHING. Drastically, and abrasively, and almost over night. Some people would call it a mid life crisis, but it felt more like an awakening. I changed my car, my relationship, my friendships, my business, and my habits. In a very weird twist of fate, these changes happened so dramatically that it actually made it easy to cling to this one thing I felt I had control over…my health. That started the journey that has brought me here today! Over the last 7 years I have crafted a healthy lifestyle that works for ME! It may not work for everyone, but it works for me. The more I uncovered, the more questions I had. The more I questioned, the more I wanted to know, and the more I learned, the more I wanted others to know! I finally combined my love of health knowledge and my desire to help others and and enrolled at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), which is the most prestigious school to go to for health coaching.
My reason for choosing IIN was easy. I believed in their mission. They didn’t just want to teach old school concepts about nutrition, like the outdated food pyramid manufactured by US food companies, lobbied to law makers, and eventually taught in our public schools. IIN was not and is not interested in selling diets, but is committed to truly educating it’s students about food, from the ground up. Quite literally. They cover all things food. From growing and preserving food, to different regions of the world and how all cultures eat. I learned diet theory from ancient diets that have lasted thousands of years, to fad diets like the “lemonaide diet” (don’t act like you didn’t try that at least once!). And that wasn’t it, the biggest draw to me about IIN was the mind body connection. IIN focuses on connecting the psychology behind why we eat what we eat, why we self sabotage, and teaches the benefit of healthy relationships. FINALLY there was an accredited school teaching diet theory of the new school. We come from the earth, and food comes from the earth. There is no short cut. Just as we are connected as humans, we are connected to our food, and how you choose to fuel your body is an instinct that we have lost as a society. I could go on and on about the education that IIN provided me, but I will leave it at this: Everyone of us is 1 in 7.53 billion (as of the day I wrote this ;)). It is mathematically impossible to think that there is one “diet” that is perfect for all of us! We are instinctually aware of what we need at all times, but unfortunately we have not been taught to listen to these instincts. We are distracted, over worked, under educated, and honestly taught to ignore all of our instincts and power through. IIN has educated thousands of Holistic Health Coaches in the hopes that they will each educate thousands, and that is my goal!
My philosophy to health and wellness is simple. We are all different and thus each require a customized approach to our health. Something just as unique as our DNA. I don’t hand out cookie cutter meal plans or put clients on restrictive diets that do little more than test their will power. Instead, I dive into the psychology of what has kept them from being successful in the past, and figure out what daily habits we can implement to best change your patterns. I want to educate you with facts, not theories, and retrain you to listen to your body and trust your instincts. I don’t want to put you through rigorous physical activities and make you dread going to the gym. I want to help you find a physical activity that you love so much, and makes you feel so amazing, that you can’t wait to go again. I want to teach you the power of supportive friendships, and the strength in accountability. I want to help you design a healthy lifestyle that works for YOU and is sustainable for a lifetime!