Independence Day: My Before/After Story

Sparkler

Tomorrow I celebrate my personal Independence Day… freedom from fear, from depression, from death. 

Seven years ago, I was driving home from a business meeting that had gone terribly awry.  I was crying and imagining how it was going to be when I got home.  My husband was out of town. I would be coming home to an empty house.  

And I was planning to end my life by committing suicide.

This was a not a snap decision.  Nor a momentary idea borne out of excruciating internal pain from my current situation.  

But rather, I had been considering this a long time.  I had visited this dark solution in my mind often.

In my childhood, I felt unseen.  In my teens, I felt alone and unsupported.  In my twenties, I clung to a poorly chosen husband and felt unloved.  In my thirties, I pondered my unfulfilling life.  And in my forties, I tried my very best but it was never enough.

sundress legs

Shortly after my 40th birthday, my [new] husband and I started a new venture together.  A business that allowed my perfectionism and people-pleasing to fully develop and crush me from the inside.

I fell back into that deep chasm.  “The Pit”, I called it.  An abyss where you are so deeply enveloped in darkness and isolation that you cannot even imagine that there is light.

At the bottom of The Pit is where absolute lies are told with the sincerity of the truth.  Your mind listens to them and becomes paralyzed and ashamed.  You are unable to reach out for help as you believe that you are unworthy of it.

abyss

That’s where I was that day seven years ago.  At the bottom.  In the dark.  Believing that I had no value to offer the world.  That my exit from it was my only option.

And then my mind changed.  It sounds ridiculous as I write it, but it happened that fast. 

“Go to the place that soothes your soul,” said The Voice,

 "You know where that is … go to the Ocean, to the Beach.”

beach sunset

I cannot say with a 100% certainty if it was God or my guardian Angel (I now firmly believe in both) who prompted me to seek comfort.  But my mind shifted in an instant from extinction to self-preservation.

I wish I could tell you that the way back to wellness, to wholeness, was a smooth transition of confidence and ease.  It was not.  

There was sadness, grief, soul searching, separation, confusion, weeping and seeking.  

And eventually, tiny tendrils of joy.  Creeping up out of the muck, very gently and slowly at first, bringing a freshness to my outlook, and returning hope back to my heart. 

And now, Hope holds permanent residence there, along with its other companions:  Peace, Joy and Love.  

peacelovejoy

This is my Before and After story.

Before, I was afraid.  I operated out of fear.  

Afraid I would not be loved.  

Afraid of being alone.  

Afraid of not having a purpose.  

Afraid of being seen and judged.

Afraid to stop and care for myself or I would lost the race.  

Afraid of failure.

 

And now I am living in the After where I focus on love, truth, joy and peace.

I love my husband who loved me when I thought I was un-love-able.

I love my friends, who held my hand and gave me safe haven to figure things out.

I love my family, who always loved me and believe in my potential.

I love my mentors, who have held space for me to grow and guided me.

I love my purpose, which is to guide others along their path.

I love myself by caring for my body with movement and nourishment.

I love myself by seeking wholeness and wellness.

I love myself and who I am becoming.

I seek truth as I listen to my Inner Voice, knowing that I can trust it.

I find joy and miracles in the minutia of daily life.

And, when I remove myself from all of the noise,

I find peace waiting for me.  

 

On October 13, 2009, I thought it was the end.  

On October 14, 2009, I began again, re-birthed through pain and sorrow, seeking the light.

 

The anniversary date  has become a day of remembrance, tearful gratitude and celebration.  

Sparkler Celebrate

I call it Independence Day, not because I don’t need anyone or anything, or because I have overthrown an oppressive ruler.  But because I have embraced true freedom:  the infinite abundance of living a continuous string of Divinely-infused moments.

I am free from the illusion that I was alone, unloved, unworthy and without purpose.

I am free to live as God designed me - as a vessel of light, love and unlimited potential.

And tomorrow, I am going to the beach.

Po on Beach

This story is dedicated to two of my friends (you know who you are) who shared your own Before/After stories with me;  and for all those women out there who battle depression and wonder if they can ever really feel hope, love, peace and joy again.  You can.

braceletsoffreedom

Why Nutrition Coaching Could Help You Get Unstuck

Peas_n-Carrots

A big thanks to my peer coaching partner, Robin Tinay-Potter, for collaborating with me and co-authoring this blogpost.  When she’s not hiking the scenic mountains of Lake Tahoe or working up a sweat in hot yoga, you can find her HERE.   Jump down to the bottom of this post to read more about an upcoming coaching project Robin and I are developing for you.


Have you ever thought to yourself: 

    “I really need a nutrition coach RIGHT NOW!”?  

Nope, me neither.

What I did say was:

     “I *think* I am eating right, and I am exercising, but I can’t seem to figure out why my body isn’t changing like I had hoped”

Flashback to 2012.  I has just become a personal trainer.  And I had hired a personal trainer to train me in the gym.  And I was studying to become a nutrition coach.  

Each week, I would lift weights two or three times.  Each day, I would eat several healthy meals based on what I read in my nutrition coaching textbook.  

I kept records and charts of my meals: the food item, the quantity, what time I am, and so on.  I’m a bit of a nerd, so I tracked everything on a spreadsheet and a calendar.   

And I was stuck.  All of my methods of measuring for change (scale, jeans, caliper, mirror) were showing very little movement.  I mean, I had changed some, but I had reached a point where I was not seeing the results.  I was working really hard and was thoroughly frustrated.

Which finally brought me to my next step:  getting over myself and asking for help.  

I needed someone to look over what I was doing and see what I was not seeing.  I needed someone who had some experience (more than me) with nutrition.  And most of all, I needed someone to guide me out of this stuck place and help me find my way to my end goal.

That’s really what a nutrition coach is - someone with knowledge about nutrition, but more importantly about helping you find your way towards making change especially when you are feeling stuck.  

What about you?  Have you ever said anything like:

  1. “I’ve done all the right things, but I’m not getting the results I want.”
  2. “I exercise and eat pretty well, but it isn’t enough and I don’t know what else to do.”
  3. “I know what to do, but I seem to sabotage myself…”
  4. “I know I shouldn’t, but I find myself snacking before bed even though I’m not really hungry.”
  5. “I do great during the week, but on the weekends I go off the rails a bit.”
  6. “I need accountability.”
  7. “I don’t have the support I need at home.”

Maybe you need more accountability or support, or just a another set of eyes on your page. 

A nutrition coach is much like a tour guide.  You are the one in charge of the destination.  They are there to show you the path with options to side roads, scenic detours, the “long way around” and shortcuts.  They help you avoid the major pitfalls, and offer you some tools (a virtual Swiss army knife, if you will) if you do get stuck in one place.  They are up ahead just a bit, so they are able to see the big picture and your potential.  They offer encouragement, support and insight, as someone who is observing (but not judging) your process.  

hiking guide

Okay, so now you are thinking:

“Perhaps I could use a little bit of help here, but what should I look for?”

Here are a few suggestions when making a decision about who to work with when you are looking for a nutrition coach:

  • They have experience, education, and passion for helping others
  • They ask questions specific to your circumstances, goals, desires, and challenges
  • You can be honest, open, and authentic with your Coach
  • They offer unique and personalized coaching practices that resonate with you
  • You feel heard, understood, and are receiving coaching that empowers you to meet your highest goals
  • You feel better after your session than you did when you began

“But wait,” you say, “There are so many fitness experts out there telling me nutrition stuff, how do I know what’s right for me?”

Here are few ideas of what you might be wary of these scenarios when searching for your Nutrition Coach:

  • Specific foods you have to eat or completely eliminate from your menu
  • Canned messages or statements designed to coach to the masses instead of giving you a personalized plan to help you meet YOUR goals
  • Promises that you will lose X amount of weight in a certain amount of time
  • Protocols that require you to use supplements
  • Complicated recipes or workout routines in order to comply with their program
  • Feeling worse after your session than you did when you began

The biggest difference is product vs. process . . . sales vs. self-efficacy.   Other coaches may just be focused on selling you products or cookie-cutter programs. A reputable Nutrition Coach’s focus is on helping you change your behaviors to reach your highest version of yourself through an interactive conversational process. 

Others may want you to develop dependence on them and their products.  A professional Nutrition Coach wants you to develop confidence, self-awareness and autonomy.

Still wondering if having a Nutrition Coach might be right for you?  Ask yourself these questions:

>What do I need right now to move forward?

>Do I need support, accountability, encouragement, solid information, guidance through a plan?

>How would I feel if I were not alone in this process of figuring out what’s right for me, my health, my body?

>What might it be like to have an expert guide to help me reach my health and wellness goals?

 

The truth is, there is hardly anything that we truly accomplish alone; we all need help, support and encouragement.

clasped hands

Do you still have some questions?  We have answers for you… FREE!  Come FitChat!

Robin and I will be hosting a LIVE ONLINE Q&A Session about fitness and nutrition coming up on Thursday October 20th at 8:30pm CST.   Please join us!

Click HERE for more details and SIGN UP NOW!