I HAVE FAT GENES

I'm originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, and my family was from farm country in Nebraska before that. That means a classic dairy-heavy meat-and-potatoes diet, and a bloodline that leans toward obesity. My genetics say I should be fat. In fact, I put on weight like crazy if I even look at a processed carbohydrate or think about eating dairy. Growing up in Fairbanks also meant many months of extreme cold and dark, with few opportunities to be active, and many excuses to gain weight. Even as a dancer I always struggled with my weight while my friends never seemed to give theirs a second thought. We ate sugar cereal, white bread, those hot dogs with cheese in the middle, and heavy dinners like lasagna, meatloaf, and dairy-soaked casseroles.

Luckily, gym class was always my absolute favorite, and I was that weird kid who loved seeing how many sit-ups I could do in a minute or how fast I could run the mile. I was never a gifted athlete, but I loved it and stuck with it over the years. I moved to Portland by myself when I was 17 and enrolled in a local community college, where I quickly gained the 'Freshman 15' (or 30) due to a steady diet of fast food and no access to a gym. Once I realized how quickly I was gaining weight, I joined a gym and started learning to lift weights. I fell in love with it!

Fitness was my stress relief and my passion as I worked my way through a Masters degree, and later became a trainer, continuing my education with certification after certification. I never felt great in my skin, though, and needed lots of work on my self image. I worked in a big box gym, then opened my own studio at 26 after seeing the many ways my clients were unhappy in a corporate gym.

The lowest time came in the year after I gave birth to my son. I had gained a lot of weight due to hormone therapy and it refused to budge. Depression set in and reached it's peak when I saw the photos from his first birthday. I was horrified by this stranger in the photos and couldn't believe that could be me! So I made a bet with a friend that I literally couldn't afford to lose, and started working out every day, which led to better food choices and a major shift in my mentality. I knew I never wanted to feel so awful again!

Soon after this shift began, I started digging into holistic nutrition and discovered new research on the effects of sugar on our bodies and brains, over-consumption of soy and processed carbohydrates, and the detrimental effects of overly rapid weight loss due to fad diets and extreme calorie restriction. It's taken me years to develop the systems and programs I now have in place for myself and my clients, and I'm grateful for every challenge, every bump in the road, and every 'aha moment'. Each lesson has brought me to where I am now and helped me become the kind of person who can relate deeply to the challenges and struggles of the wonderful people I help every day.

I'm a super-busy single mom and business owner. Out of necessity I've developed quick and easy ways to eat healthy, exercise daily, and be the kind of mom I can be proud of. And of course I make sure to have lots of fun while I'm at it, because why else are we here? Balancing a thriving business, a brilliant little boy, wonderful friendships, and a healthy lifestyle...this is my life's work and I love it!