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mind.body.soul blog Why I Should Be Your Health Coach

November 1, 2017

My story or why I should be your health coach!

Welcome to mind.body.soul.!

Why am I the best person to help coach you to health, happiness, and wellness?

It is my experience that we understand how to help others because of the experiences that we have had in our own lives. I hope that my story will encourage you to begin your own journey to health and wellness. I was very lucky to have loving and supportive parents. I was allowed to grow and learn as an individual but with temperance and with the expectation of hard work and excelling at what I did. I worked for my dad as soon as I was able to reach the counter of his old-time soda fountain at the age of 14. Educational excellence was expected and extra-curricular activities encouraged. I was an A student, trumpet playing, majorette marching, and president of my youth group all four years of high school. I struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember going as far as to essentially stop eating for a period of time (which I don't think my parents are aware of even today!). It could be especially challenging because my step-brother and step-sister had the opposite issue--they couldn't seem to gain weight! It is still this way even today. It caused me much grief and self-doubt--like there was something wrong with me because I had so much trouble with weight loss. I Jane Fonda aerobicized myself and was able to maintain my weight at about 130 to 140 pounds through high school. Even so I never wore a size lower than 10. No matter how much "success" I had on the outside, I lacked confidence and self-love as I went off to college.

After graduation from high school, I could hardly wait to leave home and explore the world. I had some trouble acclimating myself and realizing that I didn't have the study skills to be successful in college. I always had a natural intelligence but at some point it takes effort to continue to learn. I had done well with business studies in high school so I naturally gravitated towards these classes. In hind-sight, I realize that I should have taken chemistry and physics in high school because I was very talented in these areas too, but being from a small rural community, I as a girl wasn't encouraged to study these topics. But more about that later.

College was a great learning experience about myself, not just academic education. I had a very hard time transitioning but managed to get pretty far before I started to make poor decisions that I can now reflect on as being made out of fear and not dealing with the underlying psychological factors that were guiding my unconscious actions. I realized late in my senior year of college that I was pursuing a career that was not the best suited for me but that I was convinced was right because it made my parents happy and was seen as a "profession" not just a career. Because I had this internal need to be perfect in my parent's eyes (which was part a true perspective but also a unreal expectation I placed on myself) I pushed myself on a path that wasn't necessarily of my own choice. I finally in a burst of what seemed like an abrupt about face, I broke up with my long time college boyfriend (which in hind sight was also probably a huge mistake) and I changed my major and transferred schools on what seemed like a whim to others.

My parents were understandably upset but for the first time in my life I was standing up for myself. I went through a period of sitting out of school because they didn't want to help pay for this mistake they felt I was making. I worked hard and finished my AA degree before starting my new program of study. It was then they understood that I had made a good decision and that I was succeeding and the financial support began again. It was a kind of quid pro quo….as long as I was successful they would support me. Back to that putting the perfectionist hat on again. Luckily, I was well suited to a combo degree in business and hospitality administration and I finally graduated and was ready to take on the world.

Coming back around to the dealing with my weight…it fluctuated wildly throughout my college career. I gained the freshman 20 pounds and then worked hard to lose it. But as my mental well-being crumbled, my weight issues came back and would plague me for the next 15 years or so. Up and down, yo-yo at its finest! Gain a few, lose a few, gain a lot, loose a lot, gain more! I did Weight Watchers, Nutri-System, Opti-fast, Medi-fast, Cabbage Soup, Atkins, Phen-fen, and just about anything else you can imagine! It didn't help that I had begun a career in the food world working as a chef and restaurant manager. I was surrounded by food 24/7 and having an unhealthy relationship with myself, my relationship with food was just adding insult to injury. I had unhealthy relationships, an unhealthy body, and no or little self-esteem. On the outside I was successful and I poured my heart and soul into my work because it was the one area of my life where I excelled.

Not to get in too deep with my personal life but it was at the time I was living and working in Savannah that I began to realize that I needed professional help to deal with a few things that were in my unconscious mind that were permeating though out my life and causing destructive cycles and an inability to face what was really causing my issues with food and long-term weight loss and general healthiness. I had two horrifying relationships that drove me to insanity and after six years of miserable life (but successful professionally), I moved to Jacksonville ready to avoid anything that seemed to deal with really facing my issues--it was the city of Savannah I thought I was running away from not realizing it was me running away from me. Little did I know at this juncture that it isn't a place or person that that I was unhappy about--you can't be happy until you are truly happy with yourself. It didn't matter where I lived…simply moving location wasn't going to fix me. I wish I had figured it out sooner. It took me almost another 5 years to figure this out.

I was still up and down with my weight and I was professionally very successful. That's because my job was my life. I was avoiding anything dealing with my personal life and as long as I didn't have to think about me and I was successful coaching people to do well at work, things were golden. Little be know I was crying all the way to work and crying all the way home. I couldn't figure out how someone who was prosperous and making money could be so depressed and unable to function outside of work. I was heavier than ever 270 pounds on my 5' 4" frame. I was spiraling out of control and something needed to give. I was slowly killing myself mentally and physically. And then it happened. It is cliché cut it really happened this way.

I had been seeing a psychiatrist who had helped stabilize my OCD and anxiety/depression disorder and a psychologist who was helping me to uncover my issues that I needed to face so I could successfully balance my life. It was working in that I was uncovering that I had abandonment issues, that while being flexible, I hated change or disruption in my life or better said I had major control issues. Since I felt my life was out of control the one thing I could control was my relationship with food. IN this case, emotional eating. What do you mean I shouldn't eat that? I'll show you who has control---eat eat eat eat. That was my pattern. I could lose weight but let me feel like I couldn't control my life, I defaulted to eating because I could control that. But while I was learning about me I still hadn't gotten the weight relationship under control.

September 11, 2001. Do you remember where you were on that day? I had gotten home around 2 am after my 10 hour shift work. I fell asleep on the couch (because I was struggling to sleep in addition to all of the other issues I had). I was having this weird dream where planes where crashing into buildings. I had fallen asleep with CNN on. I woke up to realize I hadn't been dreaming at all. The world was changing forever right before my eyes. I was taken aback at was happening in our world. I slept off and on that morning and reported to work at 1pm as was normal to a skeleton crew to handle the few calls that were coming in to the call center. IT was amazing that people were calling in and worried about things that had nothing to do with the national tragedy unfolding before our eyes. (Of course, my judgement failed to realize we all handle grief differently and these folks likely dealt with the loss by ignoring the fact.) Finally it was time to head home and it was on I-95 drive south that would shake me even more. Right in front of me a huge tractor trailer jack-knifed and ran into the barrier wall causing several cars to pile up. I was lucky I didn't hit anyone. I ran to action to see if anyone was hurt and wait for rescue to come. It was at this moment as I was standing among this chaos that I had a personal realization that I needed to change my life or end up dead. I was fat, depressed, anxious, suicidal and had no idea how to make it better. All I knew was that I had to do something and it was up to me to make it happen.

Standing there I decided to choose life! I had to do the work to make it better but while I had been seeing these amazing professionals, no matter what they helped with it was up to me. I had no idea how or where to start. I was scared and I knew it was going to take all of my strength to face me at my most vulnerable and was going to have to strip myself bare to move forward. While I had started to do the mental work (frankly, I owe my life to these two professionals) it was up to me to finally make the commitment to long term habit change. It wasn't until I finally saw a picture of myself from Thanksgiving of 2001 that I took the next step to saving my life by facing my weight issues.

A wonderful guy I was dating at the time suggested I talk with another co-worker about a weight loss procedure she had done. It was then that I learned about weight loss surgery and maybe this was a way to finally tame that beast. It was then that I was to meet the next health professional who would help me to safe my life by taking that education that I had mentally faced and to make successful and long term weight loss attainable in my life. It was six months of education and learning that I realized that while gastric bypass surgery would help me to control my out of control weight that my success would eventually be because of the mental work I had done prior to searching for help with the with control. On June 2, 2002 I began the next chapter of my life.

This journey is another entire story in itself so I am going to shorten it to get to the crux of the story. I was able to successfully lose 130 pounds and keep if off for ten years. I changed my lifestyle and habits. I went back to school to learn more about health care and studied to become a Medical Technologist with the plan to go to medical school. ( Sure wish I had taken those science courses in high school. I might have become a doctor from the beginning, but then I wouldn't have had the same life lessons.) More learning and a journey to realize that my passion was to help others to deal with their health and wellness issue with a holistic, lifestyle and habit change without judgement, with full support and understanding of why and how to approach successful change.

Recently (in the last three years) I have had a couple of personal setbacks. I had hysterectomy, I started a stressful part-time job, and I entered into a relationship that to this day is still causing me stress and anxiety. I had bladder control issues that caused me to ditch my healthy fitness changes because it was too embarrassing to be peeing on myself just walking up a flight of stairs. My body is so out of touch with itself. My metabolism completely changed and I am back to emotional eating due to my extremely chaotic life. I have been working to get back on track and I know that success is at my fingertips and I have been implementing habit change yet again. (By the way, another health professional stepped in and one bladder sling operation later, I no longer suffer from incontinence!)

What is your take away from this long outpouring? I am able to help you because first and foremost I have been exactly where you are standing! I have conquered my fears and had successful life change. I am currently still on my lifelong journey of wellness. I will never judge you or make you feel small or unable to change your life. I will stand up for you, support you, help you set goals, how to handle failure and keep moving forward. I have been you, I am you today, and I take great pride in helping you heal mind.body.soul.


You understand that the information received from me , in connection with the Program or otherwise should not be seen as medical, nursing or nutrition advice and is certainly not meant to take the place of seeing your licensed health professionals, including your doctors. You understand and agree that: 1. I am not providing health care, medical or nutrition therapy services and will not diagnose, treat or cure in any manner whatsoever, any disease, condition or other physical or mental ailment of the human body, 2. I am not acting in the capacity of a doctor, licensed dietician-nutritionist, massage therapist, psychologist or other licensed or registered professional, and 3. You have chosen to work with me and participate in the Program voluntarily. As your coach, I encourage you to maintain a relationship with your primary care physician or doctor. In the event that you do not have one and/or do not have routine physicals, I encourage you to do so. Do not discontinue or change any treatment plan that you may be on as a result of our sessions without discussing the change with your doctor. I may be able to recommend a professional for treatment if it is determined that you may need care.