My Personal Health & Fitness Journey
It’s funny to me that some people assume that health and fitness professionals were born that way. That we have this gene that naturally craves exercise and healthy food. Well, I was definitely NOT born with that gene, if there is such a thing. Here’s the real, unfiltered, messy story of what led me to health and fitness coaching and WHY I DO WHAT I DO…
I grew up with lots of great food around me! My dad was in the catering business, owned an ice cream shop, and had a food truck before food trucks were a “thing”. Oh…and he had a love of donuts! Not to mention, I had wonderful women on both my Scottish and Polish sides showing love through food.
Although I have great memories of my childhood, I did not learn sound nutrition and developed taste buds for anything fried or sweet.
I wouldn’t say I had a weight problem, but I was usually the “big-boned” girl in the crowd with some meat on those bones! And I was certainly NOT athletic, preferring the stage over any court or field.
Then Came the 1980’s…
The ’80’s were very diet and exercise focused (think Jane Fonda) and, as most of my friends, I started to become body-conscious. For the next couple of decades, I dabbled in exercise and various diets but always as a means to an end, the end being a goal weight, a jean size, a high school reunion, a beach vacation, etc.
Once the “end” arrived, diet and exercise were not a priority and old habits returned. That changed in my mid-30’s. As a wife, and working mother of two young boys, I craved two things: more energy and some “me time”. I found both with running. And I was hooked.
I Became an Avid Runner
I went from barely jogging around the block to becoming an ultra-marathoner. Being a runner became part of my identity. And this “athlete” mindset led me to pursue other admirable fitness activities like weight lifting, boot camp workouts, etc. I then became a personal trainer, taught high intensity classes, trained clients at all hours, never missed my own weight workouts, all the while running, running, running. And I LOVED IT! Especially the changes to my body.
During this time, I also changed what I ate following the traditional low calorie/low fat diet advice. Everyone knew the way to a healthy body was to eat less and exercise more, right? You can imagine this way of eating combined with my intense exercise led to weight loss. I got down to a weight and jean size that I don’t ever remember, even in middle school.
Was I sometimes (often) tired, sore, moody, restless, anxious, hungry? Yes! But I was on fire for exercise and “healthy eating”! Which was a good thing, right?
Too Much of a Good Thing is NOT a Good Thing
While I was using conventional advice to create and maintain the body that looked healthy to the outside world, I was unknowingly sabotaging my metabolic health on the inside. This lifestyle of chronic cardio, constant gym workouts, low fat eating, and always watching calories eventually sent my body into a hormonal tailspin manifesting as uncontrollable food cravings (especially carbs), stress fractures, loss of menstruation, brain fog, high stress, poor sleep, unpredictable mood swings, and a broken thyroid. I looked lean and fit on the outside, but for how long and at what cost on the inside?
I Needed a More Sustainable and Balanced Approach
I had to rethink my entire strategy. First, I determined WHY. Why even put in the effort? For years, a race date on my calendar or a number on the scale served as my WHY. I had to go a bit broader and deeper. Next, I redefined HEALTH for me; getting clear on my personal health objectives beyond the scale. Then I got busy figuring out HOW; If not the “eat less, exercise more” strategy, then how?
A New Roadmap to Health
I poured over every morsel of information on the latest scientific (not fad) recommendations on nutrition and exercise and created a new “roadmap” to health, focusing on balanced habits that would create and sustain the “healthiest version of me”, inside and out, now and into the future.
My definition of health and my path to get there look very different than just a few short years ago. I still run, workout, and eat wisely, but in ways that prioritize metabolic and functional health. And I’m happy to report that I’m successfully reversing the damage caused by my seemingly healthy choices over the past few decades and feel fabulous! Most importantly, this is a lifestyle that I can sustain for the long haul.
Now I’m on a Mission to Help Others
Now that I know better (took me long enough!), I’m on a mission to help others find a balanced and sustainable path to their own personal health and fitness goals. A path that focuses on gaining health, as opposed to just losing weight. A path that allows you to BE MORE, as opposed to just weighing less. Because you are MORE THAN A BODY.
My Professional Journey
In my professional career, I’ve always been a trainer. For 20+ years, I was a Corporate Trainer developing and facilitating countless workshops, and coaching individuals and teams to maximize processes, people, and profit. Grateful for this experience but not passionate about the specific industry, I had the opportunity to switch careers mid-life and apply my training expertise to my passion for health and fitness.
Starting as a certified personal trainer, I worked with group classes and one-on-one clients for just a few short years before I had two key realizations:
- Many clients were using exercise as a way to lose weight or as a compensation for other poor health habits
- The initial motivation that new clients had was never enough to create a lasting habit of exercise, many canceling when “life” got in the way
I had a great desire to affect both situations which led me to further my education and become a certified Health Coach and Behavior Change Specialist. As such, I am now uniquely qualified to help clients build comprehensive health and fitness plans focused on overall health, and provide education and direction on the psychological, biological, and physical factors that influence the everyday choices that create lasting habits.
My Credentials & Certifications Include:
- Certified Health Coach
American Council on Exercise (ACE); NCCA Accredited
- Certified Personal Trainer
American Council on Exercise (ACE); NCCA Accredited
- Behavior Change Specialist
American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- CPR/AED Certified
American Heart Association
- Professionally Insured
Why I Do What I Do
The quick answer: TO SERVE. Sound corny? Those close to me know it’s not. I believe that we are put on this earth to serve each other, in our own unique ways. For me, that means serving my clients with coaching as they pursue the healthiest version of themselves, both inside and out. The cool thing is that in doing so, these clients become more capable of serving others. It’s all about service. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning.