- Jesus comes first. I didn’t always know Him, but He transformed my life and I don’t know where or who I would be without Him.
- I’m married to a man who keeps me laughing, tells me I’m beautiful and has been willing to stay in the game as we figure out this messy business called love.
- We have four children who are extremely exuberant and definitely do not need the coffee they sometimes nip at church.
- I am completely hooked on eating a plant-based, low sugar diet. It didn’t used to be that way, but, next to my faith, it’s been one of the biggest changes I’ve made in my four decades of living. I’m passionate about sharing this with others and taking away in the intimidation and fear that veggies seem to inspire.
- I’ve lived in three countries and a citizen of two of them and used to think anyone was crazy to move any distance less than a few hours away. Until we settled in a city we love and moved three times within one mile, ending up at the first home we lived in when we were first married. Now that is coming full circle.
- I am a perpetual entrepreneur, love board games, dread planning birthday parties, and having swimming with dolphins on my bucket list.
My Health Journey
I grew up eating a traditional diet typical of living in North America – meat, dairy, fruit & veggies with a side serving of sweets and processed snacks. For the first 30-some years of my life, this way of eating remained largely unaltered, although I started incorporating more vegetable-based dishes in an effort to keep the menu fresh and because I had a vague sense that cutting back on meat was a good thing to do.
Then in May 2012, everything changed when my dad was diagnosed with heart disease during a routine physical.
The heart disease diagnosis was a shock. My dad did not look or act as if he had heart disease and, in fact, had been taking better care of himself through diet and exercise in the preceding five years.
Ironically, a year earlier, my mom was presented with the book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” by Dr. Esselstyn. After rereading the book with my dad’s diagnosis in mind, my parents decided to give the diet a try in the hopes of staving off heart surgery.
Faced with the reality that genetically I might be predisposed to heart disease (and had poor cholesterol and triglyceride readings in my twenties), I read through Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and became convinced I needed to give plant-based eating a try. It also was a tangible way of supporting my dad.
The first few weeks and months were tough. It felt like my body was going into starvation mode as I eliminated meat, dairy and oils all in one go. Coupled with that was the frustration of trying to figure out how to cook all over again. When you eliminate the fats and flavors that accompany meat, butter, cheese and milk, nothing behaves in the same familiar way.
However, the health benefits from eating a plant-based diet far outweighed the growing pains of learning to eat a different ways: I shed a few extra pounds, my energy increased, more natural color returned to my face and I didn’t feel “heavy” after eating.
Since that first year of eating a plant-based diet, I’ve made additional modifications based on new information gleaned from books, magazines and blogs. For example, I grew skeptical of eating meat substitutes like TVP, tempeh and seitan. I’ve also reduced my intake of gluten-based grains.
In March-May 2014, I felt led to follow an anti-candida diet which eliminates ALL sugars because of symptoms I was experiencing. As with going to a plant-based diet, the first two weeks were the hardest and finding new alternatives for favorite recipes became a challenge. However staying off sugar for three months eliminated my cravings for it, significantly reduced the negative health symptoms I was previously experiencing, including reducing my anxiety and it caused me to amp up my creativity in the kitchen – praise God!
In 2016 when I began coaching with Beachbody, I made another change to my diet…Shakeology. I was so skeptical that drinking Shakeology would add any value to what I already was doing. After all, what could be better than a plant-based, low sugar diet. And I was never a “shake person” to begin with. However, after several months of having it every day, I noticed that I had more energy in the past. As in going from needing 8-10 hours of sleep to feeling energized with only 7-8 hours. I never thought this was possible! It’s also become a great tool I can use for myself and offer my clients to stay on track with nutrition goals.
My Business Story
I started my first business venture when I was four. I created a drawing for my dad and charged him one cent. Growing in confidence at my success, I drew a picture for my mom and charged her five cents.
Fast forward to the year after my second child was born. The economy had tanked around that time and the firm I had been freelancing for before his birth no longer needed my services. Not wanting to return to that same field, I decided to work for myself and partnered with a friend to start an organizing business. As we began speaking with potential clients, I had a growing sense that dis-organization was rooted in a deeper issue than just knowing where to put things. So I began praying about it.
One afternoon, while I was sitting on my couch in prayer asking God how I could really, authentically help people, He gave me the phrase, “life coach.” Although I didn’t actually hear Him speak out loud, it was almost as if He did because it was that clear.
I had never heard the term before and decided if it was a “thing” surely a search online would turn things up. It did. Suddenly, I knew this was what I was meant to do.
With my husband’s blessing, I enrolled with the International Coach Academy and completed my certification almost a year after giving birth to our third child. Did I mention I had been pregnant? No? Minor detail.
However, life with three kids three and under took over and, honestly, I couldn’t figure out how I would grow a life coaching business while growing our family. So I tabled it.
Skipping on seven more years…our fourth child was born during that time and as the time approached for him to start kindergarten, I began praying about working again. I would browse job sites on-line, gaze at “help wanted” signs in the windows of local stores, had dreams of returning to my previous full time job, but none of these seemed to make sense for times when my children would get sick or be home from school on vacation.
In my heart, I knew I wanted my own business, to set my own hours, to be there for my children when they came home from school. I wanted to return to my calling as a coach.
So when I saw a Facebook post from a friend about an opportunity to do just that, I looked into it. And that’s how my journey with Beachbody began. It hasn’t been easy…I wanted to quit less than two weeks into starting and many times since. But after quitting all those times before (including on an Etsy shop I started), I was more tired of giving up that I was of all the ways God has been using this business to grow and stretch me personally and professionally. It’s a story He still is writing and I’m excited by the desires He’s laid on my heart for sheBloom + Flourish. It’s one I hope you will continue to join me in to, either as a woman looking for support in their own health journey or in growing her own thriving business from scratch.