I spend my time supporting overwhelmed men and women to make sustainable, step-by-step diet and lifestyle changes so they can kick ass at life. I do this over the phone or via Skype, using personal coaching and lots and lots of awesome handouts (that’s just how I roll).
Now I provide a safe space for my clients to investigate what’s really holding them back from living the life they want. It’s not about deprivation, restriction, or will-power.
It’s about identifying what you really want and what’s keeping you stuck. I believe your whole life should be delicious and I want to help.
Q1. What does wellness and health mean to you?
Wellness and health mean you have enough energy, vitality, and physical strength to do the activities that nourish you and move your closer to your goals. It means you’re fulfilled physically, mentally, and spiritually. Working out and eating broccoli are great, but if you’re in a terrible relationship and you hate your job, you’re not healthy.
Q2. What is the #1 wellness practice you live by?
“Start from where you are.” I’m a huge perfectionist and I HATE doing things that I’m “bad” at, so new activities terrify me. The prospect of failure is not something I enjoy. (I’m working on it! My #2 practice is “We’re all works in progress.”)
People fall into an all-or-nothing mentality, or they wait for “perfect” circumstances. “Once I do X, then I can Y. I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow. I’ll start working out after the holidays. I’ll wait until I’ve settled in to my new job.” You have to start from where you are. If you’re drinking 6 cans of soda a day, you’re not going to stop in a day, or even a week. Try drinking 5 cans and adding in 1 glass of water. You don’t have to become a marathon-running vegan overnight. You don’t have to become one at all! But any step, no matter how small, is a good one.
Q3. Thinking back, what were your earliest influences regarding living a healthy and balanced life?
We didn’t eat much processed food growing up, but it was definitely the Standard American Diet. I went vegetarian in junior high and ate like crap through college. I am genetically lucky and don’t gain weight easily, but being thin and being healthy are not the same.
In 2008 I was working with a director who invited the company to help her “break in” her new acupuncture clinic. I was working 12-18 hours a day, living on coffee and carbs, had chronic sinus infections, headaches, and insomnia, and wasn’t very fun at all.
The acupuncture helped, but her “prescription” of limiting mucus-forming foods, following an Eastern approach to sleep and work schedules, and showing extraordinary empathy showed me the power of holistic health. I went in for sinus problems, but she pointed out the root of the problem instead of treating the symptoms alone.
Q4. What has your journey been like over the last couple of years to get you where you are today?
In 2009 my husband and I moved to California for his job. I was unemployed and miserably bored with no local network. I considered going back to school to become a dietitian or nutritionist, but my theater major only required a minimum of science classes, and more important, I didn’t agree with the USDA recommendations that the American Dietetic Association (who regulates RDs) follows.
After some research, I came across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I’m normally an obsessive researcher, and I definitely had a spreadsheet comparing and contrasting different programs and paths I could take, but something made me follow my intuition. Two weeks later I was enrolled in their health coach training program. I established my business, Center Stage Wellness, in January 2011, 2 weeks after my father passed away of cancer, and 2 weeks in to rehearsals for a world premiere musical at a nationally-known theater.
Having that base of healthy habits helped me so much in my job, but I also realized that working in theater wasn’t nourishing me. I was capable, I enjoyed the people, I did good work, but I wasn’t satisfied. I did my last show in October and am now focusing solely on my healthy life coaching practice.
Q5. Looking back what was the most challenging aspect of your journey and what did you learn from it?
California is wonderful, and I’m happier and healthier than I have ever been, but moving away from my family and friends to a city where I knew two people was tough. A huge shift for my extroverted self was being home alone; I didn’t know anyone else and my husband was working 60 hours a week. I threw myself a really well-catered pity party for a few months. But that period of unhappiness made me examine what I really needed and wanted from life, and then forced me to take action to change.
Gabby Bernstein has a great quotation from her book Spirit Junkie: “Hitting bottom is actually a miracle because it creates a situation in which you are out of options and must ask for help.”
Waiting for happiness to arrive doesn’t work, and I got to the point where I realized that nothing was going to change unless I did something differently. Taking action was scary, but it was the first step to feeling empowered in my life again.
Q6. What is the #1 healthy food you love? The #1 indulgence you give into once in a while?
In-season fruit is my answer to that impossible question. And chocolate is something that doesn’t last if it’s in the house.
Q7. To get you through challenging moments in life, what is the one mantra or quote that you live by?
“Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.” This is a recent favorite that comes in handy around boundaries and desires.
Q8. You’ve accomplished so much so far, what’s something you are most proud of?
Oh gosh, you’re sweet. Honestly, I’m most proud of the breakthroughs I’ve witnessed with my clients. I’ve worked in jobs that have an expectation of perfection, and it’s been such a rewarding shift for me to be able to support people and watch them truly change their lives. When I get emails from them saying they’ve achieved a goal or done something they never thought they could do, my heart just fills up.
Q9. What’s your advice to those struggling with finding their own path to health and happiness?
Ask for help! Remember, this is coming from someone who had a blog with the tagline “Then I will do it myself!”
If you can’t figure out what you need to do (or you can, but you’re not doing it), there is no shame in getting help. You’re not broken and you don’t need fixing, but sometimes an outside perspective can help illuminate where your thinking and actions are out of alignment. Last month I hired myself a coach because I just felt stuck. Every time I ask for help, I feel relieved and incredulous that I didn’t do it earlier.
Q10. Finally, what are your plans for 2012?
All I want is for everyone to be happy; is that so much to ask? This year I’m coming into my own as an entrepreneur and that energy will allow me to help more people get on track to being happy and healthy.
This summer I’m launching a new group coaching program for a small group of overwhelmed women to really take care of themselves and stop feeling guilty about it. I’m also working on some amazing social media marketing classes with a fellow coach and friend, Emily Levenson.
We bought a house last summer, so we’re currently in the middle of a giant landscaping project that will mean a garden for me! I’m really focusing on having more fun and less frustration in my own life, and that means finishing things, taking time to unplug and recharge, ensuring that I’m “out in the world” instead of behind my computer, and setting firm boundaries for myself and my time.