Since I was a kid, I’ve loved food. Cooking, as well as eating. Unfortunately issues with both quality and quantity led to me being overweight nearly my entire adult life.
In 2008, at over 380 pounds, I decided I needed a change. I would lose weight with different “diets” over the years, but those pounds always came back – and they brought friends. I needed help.
On April 8, 2009 I had roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery and by January of 2010 I reached 188 pounds, my lowest weight since middle school. And while the surgery helped me lose the weight by helping me control how much I eat, the entire process has helped me learn to better choose what I eat. And it’s this new respect for the quality of what I eat that has, helped, and will continue to be the key for me to maintain my weight loss.
My outlook on food has changed, I still love to cook. I still love to eat. But now I get as much pleasure, maybe even more so, from the process involved in cooking healthy foods.
I was overweight, had sleep apnea, hyper-tension, acid reflux, with a family history of high cholesterol and diabetes. I’ve seen and lived with the consequences associated with over-eating and poor nutritional choices. I don’t “diet”, “diets” don’t work. Instead, through healthy eating and increased activity I live a Positively Healthy lifestyle.
Along the way, my outlook on health also evolved, I take a holistic or integrative approach, where the focus isn’t just on food, but also other aspects in your life such as exercise, relationships, and a spirituality to help find your personal balance. I’ve studied basic nutrition, dozens of dietary theories, and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods.
As I’ve learned more and more about being healthier myself, as I’ve been able to turn things around in my own life, I’ve received a lot of support and encouragement from those around me. And while there have been ups and downs, I continue to grow on personal and professional levels. I’m now working in the field of obesity treatment and using what my experiences to try and help others on a variety of different levels. For me, is sort of a way to “pay it forward” by sharing what I’ve experienced and what I’ve learned, helping others take the steps they need to start living a Positively Healthy life.
My interest in nutrition as a way to help others started when I earned a certerificate in Fitness Nutrition from the International Sports Sciences Association. From there I went on to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners after studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. While this isn’t where my career ended up heading, it helped solidify my desire to work with others and led to the start of Positively Healthy.
One of the more enjoyable ways I found to bring the discussion on health to others was as one of the founding producers and hosts of The Wake Up Call, a health & wellness program that broadcast out of the Twin Cities area on AM950 for nearly four years. Our goal was to become a place to find the education, encouragement, and inspiration you need to change your mind and change your health. We did this bringing out listeners open, informative and entertaining discussions on a variety of topics covering all aspects or health and wellness, helping to bring balance to your mind, body and spirit.
Many of my topics were of particular interest to me; obesity, weight loss, nutrition and fitness, but I also enjoyed being able to add my thoughts on the variety of health and wellness related topics that my co-hosts at The Wake up Call tackled.
I continue to bring education, support and inspiration to folks as an occasional contributor to the Weight Loss Surgery Podcast, as well as some of my own endeavors here and there.
The topic of obesity, the disease, it’s treatment, and the bias and stigma that surrounds it has been a major focus of mine in recent years. As such, I’ve been a proud member of the Obesity Action Coalition since 2011, and have been serving on the Board of Directors since December of 2016. As a volunteer, I currently am on the Your Weight Matters Convention Planning (our annual convention), and Long Term Planning Committees. I get to work with others as part of the OAC on various weight bias and obesity advocacy issues. In 2014, I was honored to receive the Barbara Thompson Award for Advocacy. Then in 2015 I was named OAC Member of the Year.
- Some of the other work I’ve done with, or as part of my work with the OAC
- Member Advocate for the Treat And Reduce Obesity Act – speaking to legislators in Washington DC
- Speaking on engaging patients as advocates to the MN Chapter of the ASMBS
- Assist in development and presentation of the Advocacy 101 class as part of Your Weight Matters 2014 Convention
- Co-Presenter of discussion on Beginning Advocacy at the Your Weight Matters 2014 Convention
- Assist in development and presentation of the You are the OAC: Discover the Power of Your Voice class as part of Your Weight Matters 2015 Convention
- Moderator for the discussion on The ABCs of the OAC – Simple Ways to Make a Difference for the Your Weight Matters 2015 Convention
- Moderator for the discussion on Breaking the Ice: Connecting with Fellow First-Time Attendees for the Your Weight Matters 2016 Convention
- Presenter for the discussion on Post-Op Wisdom: Lessons Learned from the Great Outdoors for the Your Weight Matters 2018 Convention
The OAC is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to those affected by obesity and was formed to build a nationwide coalition of those affected to become active advocates and spread the important message of the need for obesity education.
The OAC offers a wide variety of free educational resources on obesity, morbid obesity and childhood obesity, in addition to consequences and treatments of these conditions. The OAC also conducts a variety of advocacy efforts throughout the U.S. on both the National and state levels, and encourages individuals to become proactive advocates.
I am also available for speaking engagements on a variety of topics around obesity, healthy eating, bariatric surgery, obesity bias, advocacy and related subjects. Please feel free to contact me for more information.