I’m a Mayo Clinic and National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Forbes Columnist, National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, and author with three books on the shelf—but I can’t tell you what “health” or “wellness” should look like for you. I can’t tell you what gets you out of bed in the morning either. Those things are yours to define and pursue, in your own distinctive way.
I can't give you those answers, but I can give you the tools to figure out what you're craving and how to act on it.
I’ve spent nearly twenty years talking with people about their priorities and ambitions, identifying what gets in their way and how to move past those challenges: fatigue, anxiety, work, stress, loneliness, poor body image, chronic pain, disability, distraction, sleep and digestive problems... the list goes on.
There is no magic bullet, but we all have easy access to a definitive, much-neglected source of intelligence: our bodies. We have remarkably attuned central nervous systems that send consistent messages about the decisions we make and the ways we adapt and cope.
Our bodies offer all the information we need to thrive, but, often, we're so busy trying to control and manipulate our bodies that we can't hear those dispatches from central command. They offer a rich, productive data set. If we give ourselves a break from the incessant noise about what we're doing "wrong," we have countless opportunities to respond with healing reinforcements—microdoses of time, community, daylight, movement, and air.
Pushing the boundaries around who we are doesn’t have to feel like hard labor.
It can feel like coming home.
My mom is an epidemiologist, and my dad is a theologian. I grew up with a split personality between science and philosophy, but I landed in the arts. I was a theater kid who became a cocktail waitress and office temp with an eating disorder and chronic depression. I’ve also been a street mime, a singer/songwriter, a fruit wholesaler, and a magazine columnist. In 2003, I went back to school part-time at UCLA to study nutrition, physiology, and eastern philosophy. I became a personal trainer not to conquer my body, but to make peace with it—and I’ve been working on that riddle ever since.
To escape the uneasiness, I tried, first, to manipulate my body… then to accept it, and finally to respond to it.
In 2018, on my book tour for Physical Disobedience, I spoke with readers about fueling our bodies as agents of change, but, talking with people on the road, I realized that we are so STRESSED, our nervous systems are howling at us. Working with clients over the last 20 years, I've learned that, to affect any kind of lasting change on a personal or global scale, the only viable path forward is to honor our aches, pains, limitations, quirks, and "bad" habits—utilizing them as guideposts to identify our needs and meet them with relief.
It's spectacularly simple but hard to do when your body is the enemy.
My newest book, The Habit Trip: A Fill-in-the-Blank Journey to a Life on Purpose, is an interactive, fill-in-the-blank storybook based in behavioral science, with mythical creatures and a talking dog, because why not? We’ve tried all the grim, draconian ways to change (and the perky, hyper-vigilant ones too), and those haven’t worked out all that well. Maybe we just need a little playtime to dance around the edges of what's possible and why it matters. This book is a sun-bleached roadmap through ten areas of life to help you identify what’s working, what’s not, and what you want to do about the areas that aren’t.
In the end, we’re headed home—to our bodies, our instincts, our intelligence, and our collective pursuit of something worthwhile. If we can get our act together and recognize our value, we can get a whole lot of good done in this world.
I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to get my swagger on.