Diane_-233-200x300From health crisis to globetrotting health consultant: my wellness story

The year was 1991.

I was a young divorced mom of two living in St. Louis, Missouri, working a high-stress job as a systems engineer.

I knew I wasn’t taking great care of myself, but felt there was little I could do about it. Between my job, school and my kids, I barely had enough time to sleep, let alone worry about what I was eating or doing to stay active.

Then, a fateful doctor visit revealed just how much of a toll my life was taking on my body.

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, unhealthy weight… the list went on. I was dumbstruck. There had been a history of unexpected health problems in my family – and my sister had passed away too young at 19 – but I never thought I would be facing one of my own.

The news hit me hard. I knew it was time to start looking for some kind of balance in my life… or else I wouldn’t be around to enjoy it much longer.

So I began researching and educating myself about ways to stay healthy, and started making shifts in every direction – from my food to my workouts to my career. I found an amazing new job in Chicago, moved my family there, and eventually started my own technology consulting business.

But I wasn’t in the clear yet. The next decade was full of trial & error.

I wasn’t eating the foods that fueled my body. I counted calories obsessively, and spent 2-3 hours a day at the gym.

Eventually, I started to recognize: I was so busy trying to get healthy and in control of my life, I was letting the journey control me.

There had to be another way.

One day in 2004, I stumbled upon a woman who called herself a life coach (Cheryl Richardson) on TV. She was talking about self-care and the role mindset played in changing behavior… everything I’d been trying to teach myself.

In that moment, I knew: this was it. This was the path I needed to be on.

Within minutes, I was emailing her asking how I could do what she did.

That’s when my road really began.

Cheryl wrote back, and before long I was enrolled at Coach University, followed by training for a Guiding Mindful Change coach certification with Active Living Every Day. I also attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City, to deepen what I was learning, and dive into the science behind holistic eating and healing. To pull it all together, I completed a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology.

I began consulting clients all over the world, and sharing my ideas with publications like the New York Times and  Balance Magazine.

The pieces were all falling into place; from the values I wanted to set for myself, to the goals I wanted to achieve in my work and my health. This was more than hitting the gym at the end of the day and eating greens. I learned how to make the choices that nourished me; physically, mentally, and spiritually, until they became second nature.  I also started eating 100% plant-based foods and improved my health and well-being for the long term.

Finally, I realized: I was living the life I’d envisioned.

While my education played a huge role, it was the mindset shifts and small steps that transformed me the most. I learned how to plan ahead to stay healthy no matter where I was or what I was doing. I found the courage to stand up for my needs, and build a schedule that didn’t exhaust me.

Now, it’s my mission to help others realize how to do the same – without the long road to get there.