The version of me on the left side of this picture taught 12-16 group fitness classes per week, fueled on 6-7 daily meals made of lean protein, steamed vegetables, and healthy whole grains. I did everything right, and yet found myself staring down the barrel of Type 2 diabetes.
When I saw this picture, taken by my sister while on vacation to Cuba in 2009, I didn’t even recognize myself. The abdominal weight had accumulated so quickly, I didn’t have a chance to notice it. And how does a girl like me get a belly like that anyway? The math didn’t add up: my calorie balance had been squarely and obsessively in check since my mid-teens.
Even more troubling than the weight gain was my completely unmanageable energy levels. I couldn’t get through a fitness class unless I drank orange juice the entire time. Every workout needed to be book-ended by precisely-timed carbohydrate feeds, or I’d sink into a nap that would occupy the rest of my day. My high-stress day job as an advertising Account Manager was suffering because I couldn’t make it through a meeting—an afternoon!—without nodding off or needing a nap in the car. Speaking of car naps, anytime I had to drive anywhere it became a game of chicken: will I manage to stay awake behind the wheel this time?
Kudos to my Western doctor for thinking somewhat outside of the box and declaring me “pre-diabetic.” It got my wheels turning on how everything we’d been taught to believe about exercise and diet—everything I’d ever preached in my 20+ years in the fitness industry—may not have been as cut and dried as we’d believed. Furthermore, the stress of my professional day job, she suggested, may have contributed to my body’s resistance to insulin. What a revelation! Health struggles and weight gain relating to lifestyle factors, and not simply as a result of a mismatch of calories in versus calories out.
By the way, I rejected that diagnosis. I immediately set out to reverse what the doctor declared was an inevitable descent into full-blown diabetes. Like most of us, the thirst for understanding HOW this could have happened to someone like me doing absolutely everything right lead me to Google. And Google brought me to Mark’s Daily Apple, and the Primal Blueprint book. I devoured every word of the book, the blog, the forum. It all made so much sense.
Within weeks of implementing the Primal Laws, everything in my life changed. The weight effortlessly began to vanish. My energy surged, and it has not stopped since I started that day seven years ago. My relationship with food can only be described as “effortless”—a revelation for a former-athlete-turned-fitness-professional like myself who’d battled disordered eating and body image issues literally forever.
The transformation was so miraculous that I couldn’t help but be evangelical about it. I told everyone I encountered that they needed to go Primal right this very minute. I convinced a few, but I wanted more reach.
I wanted a nutrition credential to help lend credibility to my impassioned rants, and so that I could build a legitimate business delivering the wisdom of Primal. I just couldn’t bring myself to register for a four-year degree in Dietetics, so instead I found a diploma program that offered more nutrition flexibility and wasn’t tethered to Canada’s Food Guide (our version of the Food Pyramid). In 2014, I graduated as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and got to work quitting my day job and spreading the message of unconventional dietary wisdom far and wide through my nutrition consulting and health coaching business, eat.simple.
The second the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification came into existence, you’d better believe I threw my credit card at it immediately. I was one of the early adopters of the the program, even though I didn’t open the portal or start reading the first module until a full calendar year after paying for it.
I quickly discovered that the piece that was missing from my nutrition consulting business was any hot clue how to coach humans through the process of large-scale lifestyle change. So when I got the email that the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification had evolved and grown to include a greater emphasis on coaching, and was being rebranded the Primal Health Coach certification, that’s when I logged in for the first time. I struggled through the program spectacularly, despite having a nutrition credential and dozens of fitness certifications under my belt. It challenged me, and I loved and respected every grueling moment of those mind-bending multiple choice quizzes. I could feel that I was growing; the coaching pieces built into the program, which had been lacking in every single other course or certification I’ve ever taken, were going to change the game for eat.simple.
The Primal Health Coach program is what took my business from a wobbly, uncertain start-up, to a growing and proven mini-empire that actually helps people enact massive lifestyle change in an accessible way. I no longer have the worry looming over my head “Will I be good at this, or will I have to admit defeat and return to the advertising rat race?” I’m getting set to hire eat.simple’s first employee to help me manage the workload of a client roster that just continues to grow. The clients are out there. They want your help. Go get them!
The ultimate lightning strike in this feel-good story happened in 2016 when the Primal Health Coach team announced it was growing too, and put out a call for resumes for folks with fitness, nutrition, and business backgrounds to come and work with the Primal team. I was hired as the Client Care Lead, supporting students and graduates through the Primal Health Coach program and afterward, as they set out to build their businesses. That I now get to call Mark Sisson my boss? “Dream come true” does not even begin to cover it, my friends. I know you know.
Back to that before and after photo. The picture on the right was taken in winter of 2016, on yet another tropical winter vacation, this time to Belize (it’s how we get through those long, cold, dark, Canadian winters). Once again I was taken aback: “Is that me?” I had to ask. Seven years later and my relationship with food, fitness, my body, and my metabolic function has become so effortless that I forget to notice how good it looks. But there’s no denying how good it feels. Not one day goes by where I don’t celebrate my own good health and that of the over 200 clients I’ve coached toward Primal living in the last three years.
I feel remarkably blessed that I get to live my authentic truth in life and in work, every darn day. Primal has changed my life, just as I know it can change yours.
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