I did not expect to find a new career beneath a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
When most people in my Baby Boomer Generation are retired or planning to retire, I trained to become a Transformational Health Coach.
That diabetes diagnosis saved my life.
I was a prime candidate for the disease: genetically predisposed, diagnosed as insulin resistant, extremely overweight, and physically unfit. I never met a sticky bun I didn’t love. My father was diagnosed at the age of 42, and even though he received treatment in the form of oral medications and insulin injections, aging brought him heart disease, loss of several toes and kidney disease. With every reason to take his health experiences seriously, I persisted in the delusion that I would escape unscathed. I continued with the fantasy “it won’t happen to me.”
Fast-forward to January 2015 and my rude awakening; I had no one to blame but myself. I wallowed in self-pity a few days until I couldn’t stand myself, then said: “suck it up and improve.”
I had a lot to improve!
The first step I took after acceptance was to join an online group weight loss site. The SparkPeople site provided numerous resources and a built-in support system easily accessible from my electronic devices. I bought a food scale and began to weigh and measure everything I ate and drank, limiting calories and carbs. Diabetes Education Classes taught me the foods I needed to eat, and limit, to manage my condition.
The most challenging change was exercise.
I have Fibromyalgia. The best way to manage Fibromyalgia symptoms is to engage in regular, low-impact exercise such as swimming, yoga or walking. For years, I used my pain and exhaustion to avoid activity; with Diabetes Type 2, it was not an option. I started walking short distances for 10 minutes at a time, and after a few weeks, I could walk several blocks without stopping to rest. I used a portable elliptical machine to work up to 30 minutes per day of exercise.
Within six months I lost 40 pounds, brought my A1C down from 8 to 5.8 and added Zumba classes and weight training to my workout routine. During this time, I found myself sharing tips, recipes and motivational posts with my SparkPeople friends, and serving as a leader of the seasonal 5% Weight Loss Challenges.
I loved sharing information and lending support, knowing that changing my stubborn behavior and habits would help others reach their health and fitness goals.
I was living proof that women “of a certain age” can indeed lose weight and transform their bodies.
Inspiration to explore the requirements to become a Certified Health Coach struck in April of 2016. I knew I wanted to find a way to earn money and be my own boss, and all of a sudden, I began to notice all sorts of ads to pursue this training. As my husband and I discussed how to take the reins of our financial future, we looked at our recent health experiences and successes.
My husband was always interested in physical fitness. He had done an excellent job training and showing me how various exercises could be adapted to my physical capabilities. While he researched courses for his certification as a Personal Trainer, I continued to see ads to “Become A Health Coach” all over the social media sites I frequented.
I found the perfect school for me (Health Coach Institute) that offered business training as well as nutritional and transformational coaching. I also found a way to make my decision to enroll inevitable: at my class reunion, I told everyone that I planned to begin studying to become a Health Coach. I knew if I stated my intention at the gathering I had to follow through or lose face.
The more people I told, the stronger my conviction; there was no turning back.
I began my work with HCI in the July 2016 Class, completed all the requirements for and earned my certification in February 2017, and my husband earned his certification shortly after that. In May 2017 my husband and I attended a live HCI event in Miami. The three days changed my life! It was as though the heavens converged and I stepped into my power. I enrolled in the HMBA Grad Intensive course to strengthen my skills as a transformational coach.
My husband and I partnered in our new business, Renewed Vitality Health & Fitness Coaching. Every day is a gift, knowing that we have the skills and experience to help people reach their health and fitness goals.
To have crafted this future for ourselves is empowering, and we love every minute of the journey.