My journey to becoming a health coach is inextricably linked to my journey as a woman and a mom. Having taken in all the cultural messaging women receive, it has been a process of unlearning and remembering who I am, can, and want to be as much as it has been about learning new tools and strategies for health. My path started with weight loss and has become so much more - richer, deeper, and more beautiful. As I seek connection, true relationship, and trust with clients, I’ll candidly tell you about myself.
I spent about half my life hating myself and my body. I always felt fat as a kid. I had two naturally skinny friends that I compared myself to. In high school I was overweight and in college I gained the freshman fifteen bringing me to my heaviest.
A turning point happened after St. Patrick’s Day my freshman year. I will never forget going to Walmart to pick up the pictures taken that day. I cried and vowed to lose weight. I wrote directly on a picture with a paint pen, “fat and ugly” then circled my offending belly and thighs.
I kept up my steady partying routine involving high-calorie drinks and ate the same way I always had, so weight loss meant exercise. The first day I started exercising I remember running for a minute then stopping to walk because I could not keep running. I had to keep the walking and running intervals the whole time. And though I had added exercise to my life, my worth was still interchangeable with my size and weight.
6 years later, I found a missing puzzle piece when I moved back to my hometown of Hanford, California, into my fiancé's house with him and his two children. I'd seen and been a part of enough eating disorders, odd eating habits, and general weight obsession throughout college, I didn't want to impart that bad message to my soon to be step-daughter, who was ten at the time. I made a pact with myself to never say anything negative about my body or appearance in front of her. I felt a sense of obligation to her to keep my side of the body image fence clean, so I made and kept that commitment.
Since then, I’ve become a mom of three boys, and the same rule applies. I know that when I, as their mom, say anything negative about myself, I am teaching my sons the "not good enough” complex. Kids learn to doubt themselves when they hear their parents doubt themselves.
My focus as a parent is always looking for a way to make life the most pleasurable for everyone, and be a good role model. I’ve also had to get more creative in self care, because I don’t want to feel like I’m at the gym all the time sacrificing family time. After becoming a mom, and learning the ropes, I discovered Pilates and was hooked after my first session. A type of movement that you get to do barefoot, with just a little surface sweat, lying down? I’m in! The best part is you feel amazing after a session.
I loved it so much, and developed such a strong connection to my body, that I got certified and opened my own studio. Through the studio, I had the privilege of working with amazing women and their bodies, yet I witnessed first hand the insecurities that can run deep in women. One experience in particular stands out in my mind. A client came in for her private session and tells me, “let's work downstairs without the mirrors today, because I can’t look at myself today, I’m so fat and gross”. My heart sank. Here my beautiful client was coming in to do something good for herself, but it was overshadowed by self-loathing. I’ve never stopped thinking about that day, and how I can do more for clients so that they don’t experience such deep feelings of shame.
I came to realize that while I loved all of my clients and teaching Pilates, it was just a first step. Without it, I would’ve never discovered what I was meant to do with my life. It got me talking in front of people and doing things I was scared of, like leading a class. Yet I felt I had a bigger purpose in the world and I wanted to help women in a larger way. I closed my studio and pursued my dream to start a weight loss blog. I was so excited: “this is it! I can finally give women the help that they deserve!”
Yet starting a blog was HARD. It was solely focused on diet and weight loss, and though I knew deep down there were missing pieces and it wasn’t the full picture of my work, I wasn’t certain of what was. Three months in, I was deep in negative self-talk. I was stressed out about clothes fitting properly and body parts I judged as too fat. I worried that people would think, “that girl has a blog on weight-loss, health, and happiness?” “Who does she think she is?” “She’s not skinny enough.” Guess what this crummy mindset produced? 10 extra pounds!
EVERYTHING happens for a reason. I can now see that I put unrealistic, false expectations on myself because I had started a weight-loss blog. So how did I finally “get it”?
A few months later I was listening to the Style Your Mind podcast where the host, Cara Alwill Leyba, was talking about how to have confidence in what you’re doing. I was still struggling to shake the belief that, “if I’m not super skinny, no one would want to listen to me.” Cara gave the advice to become an expert: “Take a class. Read a book. Go back to school. Get a degree.” She’s a life coach by training. It was a real “aha” moment for me, where I thought: “What am I doing? How can I get trained, and certified? I think people do health coaching. I need to Google this. I think I could do this too”.
While I had a blog, I didn’t have a service that I was providing to clients. I had ideas, but no formal training. Health coaching provided both. Once I understood health coaching, I knew it was my next step.
I started my program at Health Coach Institute the next month and it was truly amazing. It was as if it was designed for me! I couldn’t believe it was giving me the science behind everything I had tried in my own life that had delivered results. I didn’t have to alter my beliefs or change who I was to get the most out of it. It felt like a really aligned decision. Normally a cleanse skeptic, I even went out on a limb and tried the Two Week Cleanse and now understand why it’s the ONLY cleanse I’ve ever done! And it actually works: yay science!
The program provided a deep dive in nutrition and coaching through experiential learning, which deepened my commitment to become a health coach because I was seeing the results in my own life, and I wanted to offer this to other women right away. It also showed me that I can only take clients as far as I’m willing to go. My motto has always been - "never quit growing, never quit learning” - and now I have a reason and a purpose for all of my own personal research! Most of the time it’s impossible, inconvenient, or unenjoyable to try everything in the self help world, so rest assured I bring everything - certification, coaching experience, personal experience and research on what’s out in the marketplace - to the table. I’m a one stop shop for personal growth!
Since completing my education, I’m now personally committed to self-acceptance and self-love, and most importantly using my experience to be of service to others as a health coach. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not someone who never battles self-doubt or negative thoughts. Because I’m human, I do. The difference now is that I know how get out of these mindsets ASAP.
And with certification from Health Coach Institute, I have had so many joyful successes with clients since. Now I’m ready to meet and work with you!
Balance: My goal is to help each client create a balanced lifestyle that works for you. It’s not about getting it perfect. It’s not about following a pre-set routine and forcing yourself by doing the same thing (that you hate) over and over again. It’s about letting you lead with what you love to do, because above all, balance makes you feel good. Feeling good is the key to life.
Growth: It’s the process of evolving as life unfolds that makes us each unique. As a coach, I work with you to find the next best step, and the next step, and the next step, and the next step after that, so we develop a personal growth plan that is tailored to your needs.
Humor: Is everything! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is “don’t take yourself too seriously”. My true work with clients is to coach them in taking the mental weight off, and laughter is one of the most effective tools we use. It’s really about having fun in the process, because life is meant to be enjoyed! Look at you! You’re alive right now! Breathing. Reading. Thinking. That’s amazing, you know?
Love: The path to truly loving yourself and being grateful for your life is one of the most rewarding to walk. My coaching programs are designed to support you in living from love. If you lead with love, and are truly rooted in it, not just saying the word, but feeling it in your body, life just flows. You are finally able to witness and experience its beauty, and it’s amazing.
Optimism: Having a positive, can-do attitude allows you to stand in your power, releases the “how” and trusts that anything you want - your biggest, scariest goal and the life of your dreams - is possible. I coach clients on how to live from a a place of trust and intuition so that optimism flows naturally.
Peace: Being in a state of peace means not just knowing, but believing “I’m good enough exactly as I am”. I don’t need to change one thing to be worthy of my life and I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, including myself. Through my programs, clients discover the tools that will best uncover this knowledge.
Pleasure: Stop depriving yourself of pleasure! When clients think about losing weight, their mind immediately goes to what not to eat, instead of thinking about what they get to enjoy! We will work together on developing not just what to eat, but how to live a life you savor.
Self-Respect: I see it time and again with every client: what you seek will not come until you’re ready to set boundaries and put yourself first. But having self-respect is not just about you, it’s about being the best parent you can be: a true role model for your children.