I grew up in a busy household, at times there were 7 kids under our roof; I was the youngest. My nearest sibling is 3 years older than me, my eldest sibling is 15 years older than me; there was no natural place for me to fit in. Sport was something we 'did' it never became a part of who we were, especially me as I was never very talented, always the first to be cut and the last to be chosen for any team. Sounds pretty pathetic, right? It kind of was. Our family was not one that went out and played together, there was no such thing as a family hike or bike ride; activity and movement was just not something that was a strong value, I'm sure that was passed down to my parents from their parents so they; naturally, passed it along to us. I was still a pretty active kid, it just simply wasn't a part of who I was and I never grew up with a strong value around movement, fitness and health. It was the 80's, microwaves were all the rage, there was no such talk about 'whole foods', boxed cereals and a well stocked pantry was the norm and white bread was the standard in every house...when we 'got healthy' we switched to 60% whole wheat! We were a typical family, meat and potatoes, pasta once a week and Campbells soup with grilled cheese was a pretty normal lunch. With those standards, we didn't see a need to explore dietary options and we definitely never made the connection between food and health; we ate 'healthy', we weren't living off of fast food or TV dinners.
You may be wondering "what does this have to do with anything?" Stay with me, it will all come together
During the very formative years of my life; grade 6 and grade 9, I went through some very traumatic bouts of being bullied. I was publicly ridiculed time and time again, the cruel butt of many jokes about my slow development, pudgy shape, lack of athletic ability and any other physical attribute that stood out as slightly different from any other kid. Finally in the tenth grade I convinced my parents to allow me to switch schools; I was hopeful that the bullying would end and I would find my place to fit in. Again, being awkward and athletically challenged as I was; I still didn't totally fit in amongst my peers who all seemed to be gifted athletically, scholastically or monetarily. The bullying did not exist by my self esteem still struggled and I found other ways to fit in; most of which were not very healthy.
High school came and went and I progressed straight into college, still craving 'my place'. I discovered rather quickly that everyone accepts you at the nightclub! And that eating out of the school cafeteria as a vegetarian left very limited options. So I ate and drank my way into quite the state of un-health...and my Freshman 15 - or 20. My plan to drop those extra pounds did not come naturally to me at all; a friend suggested that we take up running as a way to shed our extra weight. It seemed like a great idea; I could do it alone so nobody could make fun of me, there seemed to be a lot of girls in college that were 'runners' so maybe I could be too and fit in with them and with any amount of luck I might lose the extra pounds I had acquired in a short amount of time.
Win - Win - Win
Off I went, my first run; I envisioned myself in my blue and purple Brookes track suit striding like a gazelle around my neighbourhood. I was very wrong. I thought I would die. Turned out that jogging for a couple of minutes was all my body would allow but I kept at it, continued going out and I eventually got better. Somewhere along the way, I became a Runner. That single out of character decision that I made out of desperation on a number of different levels, forever changed the direction of my entire life. I found my people. I found who I was. Running has saved me from my darkest moments and also brought me to my knees - literally - in one of the darkest but also most pivotal moments of my life.
Focusing on my health, fitness & movement and wellness saved my life. In my 40 years on this earth I have endured more heartache, trauma, grief, physical pain and health disasters that most people ever experience in their entire life. I chose to direct my attention towards healing myself through nutrition, movement, prayer, and surrounding myself with those that could lift me up and carry me along this journey.
Growing up in a family that didn't put much value on exercise, exceptional health or nutritional learning made me crave it even more. I see so many families that are stuck in the same cycle mine was; the grandparents did not value movement or nutrition so the parents don't either and they are raising children that have no idea what a healthy relationship with food looks like, what daily movement is all about and the benefits of it and they do not understand the effects of sugar, food additives, and unbalanced meals on their bodies, mental, physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Thanks for sticking with me, here's where it all comes together
I am on a mission to help build healthy families through a process of detoxing their bodies, discovering the effects of food on their body's reactions and overall health and creating a higher level of understanding and appreciation of daily movement, whole foods eating and their relationship with food.
When parents learn about their relationships with food, they can recognize what their kids' relationships with food is and have the opportunity to foster a healthier one. When kids understand what healthy living really looks like and are encouraged by the examples set by their parents, they build confidence at a young age and a desire to become and remain more active. Kids with a healthy self esteem, a strong love for activity and sport and a healthy diet are more balanced and therefore, less likely to experience bullying.
It's been said that you don't choose your career, your career chooses you. I can confidently say that my career of coaching others to greater health, fitness and wellness most definitely chose me! I can look back over my life experiences and actually feel immense gratitude for them and the learning opportunities they provided to me because they have brought me to this place and this place of helping YOU fills my heart every single day.
Thank you for bringing me on your journey with you!