A little about me
So, how did a bookworm English major become a movement coach? It's been a long and winding road, and all of my training is inspired by my own experiences.
I grew up feeling uncoordinated and clumsy. I was not inclined to even attempt sports and preferred roaming around in the woods behind our house to any endeavor likely to work up a sweat.
The last kid picked for the kickball team? Right here. The kid most likely to spike the volleyball backwards? Yup. That was me. The kid who was sure she'd die before she would be able to run the whole mile required to pass 9th grade? Mmm hmm.
It's funny to joke about now, but it wasn't funny at the time. In fact, it was very serious. As a teenager I developed severe depression and began to isolate myself. I was so embarrassed of my overweight body that I wanted to be invisible.
At 17, I changed my eating habits and started to be more active by walking, then running, on a treadmill in the basement. I lost 35 pounds and was at a healthy weight for the first time since adolescence.
The response was overwhelming. So many people I knew rushed to tell me how amazing I looked, how they didn't realize that I was so pretty. Suddenly people wanted to be around me in a way they didn't before.
It felt so terrible; this was a confirmation that my size dictated my worthiness.
That lesson imprinted on my mind - I am only worthy if I am thin - and I became so scared of regaining the weight that I developed an eating disorder and began exercising excessively.
In my twenties, my entire life revolved around my obsession with food and exercise. I worked out two hours a day, six days a week. If I didn't leave the gym on the verge of collapse, I felt disappointed with myself. When I woke up in the night hungry (every night), I would put a bite of fat-free cottage cheese in my mouth and then spit it out.
It was bad. Really bad. At my worst, my hair was falling out and I could only manage a few hours of sleep a night because of the ephedra-laced workout drink I needed to fuel my workout binges. (Yes, ephedra, which is now illegal because it is responsible for the deaths of several athletes.)
But, boy, was I thin! And strong! Eh, but not really. I got sick at the drop of a hat. I had chronic pain. I had no social life because I was so exhausted from working out all the time, and besides, who wants to go to a party or restaurant when you can't eat any of the food?
I was also desperately lonely.
When I search my memory for a turning point, I can't find one. There was no AHA! moment when I realized the error of my ways. It was a long process, maybe 10 years of mini-AHA! moments that led me down the path I'm still on. I imagine I'll always be on this path, but a summary of my decade of revelations looks like this:
- Hiking and running in nature make me feel so good! In comparison, my high after leaving the gym was an anemic, store-bought tomato-like substance, but moving in nature was a homegrown tomato eaten off the vine. There's just no comparison.
- Moving in nature feels relevant. Moving my body up a hilly trail efficiently is more real and validating than working on my bench press or improving my treadmill stats.
- I want no part of an industry that thrives on making people feel like they aren't good enough, either as a consumer or as a business owner. I used to judge myself so harshly because I could never look like I thought I needed to look to be strong and healthy. Now I know health comes in many shapes and sizes.
- I want to study human movement, work on my own body, and help other people work on theirs from the perspective that we are all works in progress, we all start where we are, and we are all worth the effort. No amount of positive change is too small to count.
- Movement is a lifelong exploration, not a series of arm days, leg days, and cardio days.
Along the way, I've followed my interests, first to become a certified health coach, then a certified running coach, and now I'm finishing my training as a Restorative Exercise Specialist. If you haven't met a RES, don't worry, you're not alone. It's a fairly new designation, and you can read more about it at my teacher's page, Nutritious Movement.
(The RES program is now closed to new entrants, but the Nutritious Movement site is packed with insight about the guiding principles of the RES certification.)
My ambition is to be part of a shift in the exercise world that has nothing to do with burning calories or shredding your muscles; It's about getting back to your human roots and healing your body by moving more like our ancestors did.
Cultivating natural movements like walking, crawling, squatting, climbing offers powerful healing and incredible potential for healthy aging, not to mention that it just feels good to move, and who doesn't want more feel-good in their life?
If you're interested in working with me, contact me here. I can't wait to meet you!