My Early 30s
Becoming a health coach saved my life. If I hadn't had the opportunity to do this work, I'd have surely made my way down a dark path of self-destruction.
Before health-coaching, I was a blissfully ignorant, junk-food gobbling Boston transplant living in NYC trying to "make it" as an independent filmmaker in the 1990s.
Healthy eating was not the norm for anyone I knew growing up in Boston during the 70's and 80's. We all ate some variation of the same S.A.D. diet -- whole cow's milk (straight from the carton), fast food burgers and fries, sugar, sugar and lots more sugar.
To her credit, my mom cooked balanced meals on the regular and held my dessert hostage until I ate my the vegetables on my plate. But one good meal a day does not a healthy, well-balanced diet make. Plus there were way too many opportunities to eat crap away from home.
College saw a deepening of these same eating habits. There was a normalcy to it that reinforced what I ate, when I ate and how much I ate.
Experiencing Sickness. Discovering Health
By my early 30's: I was a closeted, self-hating, fast-foodie, who smoked cigarettes and kept a fast-acting asthma inhaler next to the pack of menthol cigarettes on my night table! I had chronic eczema and bout of chronic bronchitis. To say my outside appearance reflected my inner emotional state would be stating the very obvious to everyone but me.
And I'd have continued right along in my pitiful state if it weren't for that phone call from my older sister in the Spring of 2004.
Our mom's breast cancer had crept back in after 19 years in remission. That summer I put my life and burgeoning film career on pause and moved out to the Bay Area of Northern California to support them in any way I could. What happened that summer changed the direction of my life forever.
Not long after I arrived, my sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Just crazy! I watched them both seek alternative medical treatments from licensed naturopath in in concert with conventional oncology treatments: Reiki treatments, Tui Na massage, energy healing and chakra clearing, Acupuncture, targeted detox and internal cleansing programs, and all organic Farmer's Markets were pretty radical concepts in 2004.
My East Coast mind was ignorant of these untested "alternative" practices, but I was stunned into hopeful silence as witnessed much of their physical vitality return from incorporating all of these, radical "out there" modalities. Much of their physical weakness was gone. They had more energy, more vitality, and despite the chemotherapy, they were able to live their day-to-day lives "beyond cancer" again.
Decision to Live with Health and Vibrance
The situation forced a reckoning with my own mortality. I wasn’t sick like my mom or sister but I was still a chunky, bloated man to say the least (thanks to my dependency on emotionally distracting salt, fat, and alcohol). With mom and sis stabilized, I returned to NYC and applied some of what I learned out west. There weren't many holistic-leaning products supplements and services available in 2004 back east. I search and searched eventually finding a basic 7-day out of box colon cleanse and gave it a shot.
I felt a drastic improvement everywhere, especially my digestion, energy levels and quality of sleep.
My newfound vitality took a dive when mom made her transition in April 2005. Before I could process my feelings, my sister made her transition 21-months later in December 2005.
The compounded loss was deep and devastating. There were many occasions during my grief stricken gloom when I contemplated end my life just to get relief from the awful hopelessness. It was my focus on feeling better in my body that got me through the darkness of that period.
I tried a liver flush to address my debilitating allergies. My body felt lighter, less weighed down and my outlook improved a little.
Utilizing Methods that Worked for Me and Others
I saw a therapist, joined a spiritual community and was eventually able to find peace with my new reality. From then on I did some type of detox[link] or cleanse [link] every six months or so to help my spirit heal from my losses as well as the daily grind of fast-paced city living.
The effect of my self-care was akin to "peeling a layer of an onion" in terms of my total disregard for self-care and my crappy food and lifestyle choices. Each 6-month "reset" improved overall bodily functions. Within 3 years I was allergy and asthma-free, 26+ pounds lighter, and oddly younger looking in my late 40's than I did in my early 30's.
People around me noticed and inquired. I shared my experience and ended up becoming an informal coach for my closest friends and associates. My estranged father reemerged and I was even able to help him though some of his out health challenges, which fostered an unexpected familial bond between us.
Pretty soon, it just made sense to pursue health coaching professionally. Doing so has only increased my passion for helping others, men, in particular, find their own version of a healthy life.
Are you ready to feel better in your body and every other part of your life?
My Late 40s