I’ve done a lot of inside work on myself and see how important health and wellness are to living a fulfilling and happy life. With desire, a little intentional effort and some support and guidance, one can really empower themselves to make the sustainable changes in their life. I have seen a transformation in my life due to small changes in health and wellness practices and behaviors. Individuals I love deeply, who have dealt with very challenging issues in mind and body, have made life-changing improvements adhering to the fundamentals that I promote, encourage and believe in. Additionally, I've been fortunate to work with inspiring and strong clients who have seen considerable progress in their mind, body, spirit, relationships, and careers due to our work together. Individual health and wellness improvements can change the world. I genuinely believe this!
My story appears on the surface to be a healthy one through all stages of my life. It is all relative of course and I am very fortunate for the semi-charmed life I had without my intentional pursuits of making myself healthy and well. However, in addition to being 40-50 pounds overweight, lacking motivation and being all around lethargic, I have struggled with; body image, "rubberbanding" eating issues, depression, binging and generally being very disconnected with myself. Those issues lead to other challenging personal contentions to deal with as well. Psychologists and medications did not help my situations and I felt very "stuck" and alone in dealing with these things. I am so grateful and fortunate to have found a path to a better life. It may at times still be an unclear path under repair, with its obstacles and challenges, but I have the support, knowledge, positive behaviors and fortitude to get back on that path when I get "disconnected," which does still happen on occasions.
I was an active youth playing all the traditional team sports and excelling in basketball enough to eventually become a four-year collegiate athlete in that sport. Sports were my focus and I immersed myself in them. Even as an active athlete, I struggled with my body and the fact that I was soft and chubby and physically inferior to my teammates and peers. I became very self-conscious and did not know how to navigate that issue on my own. My lifestyle appeared similar to theirs in every way, but my body was noticeably different. I believed myself to be a victim of genetics and bad luck. Of course, at that time, I spent not one thought about Primary and Secondary Nutrition for my body and mind, which I now know is so important for overall health and well-being. And something I have ultimate control over.
My basketball playing experiences led me to opportunities for coaching basketball players at the middle school, high school, collegiate and professional levels. Very fulfilling experiences that I am grateful for. However, transitioning from athlete to coach also led to a significant decline in my health and the choices that I made. In a short period of time, I gained a considerable amount of "bad weight" which affected my physical health, but worse, mentally, as I struggled with losing the identity of “athlete," which I had considered myself to most importantly be since the age of 5. I engaged in behaviors that numbed the pain and issues that I was having with who I “was now” and who I “wasn’t anymore.” These behaviors were not new behaviors but only magnified now with the void of having lost what I believed was a great part of my individuality. I would sabotage the quality of my life beyond my 30's.
In an effort to simply lose the weight I had gained, I took what seemed like drastic measures one evening while under the influence of alcohol. I filled out an application to run a marathon and submitted it with payment. I had never run a distance, on purpose or for pleasure, longer than the length of a football field in my recollection at that time. I researched a basic training program and was actually disciplined enough to follow it and complete that first marathon. I changed very little else “health-wise,” but actually proved to myself, in finishing better than I thought I would, that perhaps this was a gateway to regaining some athletic identity. Moreover, it probably subconsciously rationalized a way to balance out my poor health choices that I would continue to still make. This running and marathon training could minimize or hide my binge episodes that still happened quite frequently.
I dropped the physical weight and aesthetically, perhaps I was happier with who I was??? I maintained my weight, but I also maintained my unhealthy lifestyle outside of my “running.” Poor health choices and habits led to a weekly cycle of binging and feeling lousy, followed by low motivation and a lack of self-esteem for days following that. This pattern would continue for years into adulthood as I got married and started a family.
As I continue to run a total of now 23 marathons, the goal of qualifying for The Boston Marathon has been prominent in my running life. In 2013, I missed qualifying by only 12 seconds..or so I thought. Turns out I actually qualified by almost under 5 minutes, however, I only just realized this in the Fall of 2017, much too late to of course sign up and actually run the race. It appeared an elusive goal to this point since I stated in 2009 that a Boston Qualifying time was now a goal of mine. I know family and friends quietly questioned whether I would make this happen for myself. I am incredibly happy to report that I qualified for Boston in June of 2018! So I will be running the 2019 Boston Marathon! It took me 9 years to realize this goal, but with each passing year, the fire burned hotter! Of course, I wanted to achieve this goal much sooner, but the time it took made it all the more meaningful!
In recent years of having this lofty goal on the forefront of my mind, I began to put up some resistance to the detrimental cycle I had put myself in years ago and began gravitating towards improving the quality of my overall health choices. More importantly than pursuing my running goal, was that I had other people relying on me and needing me to be a better person. I stumbled across some key "quasi-mentors" in the health and fitness industry, most note-ably, Ultra-Endurance, Vegan and Plant Power proponent, Rich Roll. His story, his messages, and those of the incredible individuals he led me to, really resonated with me and where I was at in my life! So with some intention, I started to analyze, reflect and change my daily practices and habits. I made the commitment to be a better person for my daughters, for my wife and for me.
After college when faced with having to earn a living, all I wanted to do was to become a coach. I was fortunate to have that opportunity for many years. But with life changes and coaching changes, I found myself in coaching situations that I was feeling very unhappy and unsatisfied with. This feeling led me to pursue other coaching avenues that would allow me to serve with the sense of purpose I have always wanted. Health and Wellness Coaching is that purpose. It provides me with daily opportunities to serve, love and care for others. I am passionate about coaching and working with individuals who aspire to achieve inspiring goals and those who want to embrace guidance and support to accomplish things they never felt were possible, or just always a bit out of reach. I whole-heartedly believe this is an area that I can make a considerable imprint on and am excited about the opportunities to help create a positive health and wellness ripple effect on our world.