When I was 11, I earned a 2nd place ribbon in the big fifth track meet for my speedy contribution to my team’s relay. I never forgot about that ribbon because, until recently, it was the only reminder that maybe I had a little bit of athleticism hidden somewhere in my being.
Truthfully, I was never good at sports, or anything that required physical exertion or coordination. I certainly never thought it was possible for me to be lean, let alone fit. I thought I was meant to be “curvy” (the word I used for my chubby-ness) and destined to be a bigger girl. BUT, I was determined to make up for that shortcoming (in my mind) by being an amazing cook and loving people as much as I possibly could. And, if I was going to do anything to better my health, I was going to do it alone…I was far too stubborn to think that I needed help from anyone.
Fast forward to 2012. My weight had ballooned to 266 pounds. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t drop any pounds, at least not for any significant amount of time. The excess weight began to wear on my 5 foot, 6.5 inch frame. My knees always hurt. My ankles were always injured. And my blood pressure was high. Even worse, it was a constant emotional struggle that I tried to hide from everyone. It affected me…all…the…time. It was a constant brain drain. It’s hard to feel confident about what your strengths are when you feel crappy about your body and health.
Enter Jason Burgoon. The details of my journey can be found in my success story linked here. But the short story is that he helped me find myself, find my confidence, find my true self during a journey that helped me shed half of my body weight. The encouraging environment and belief in what I was capable of (which was far more than I thought I was capable of) made a huge difference for me.
I remember the day he called me athletic. And now I’m glad I hung on to that red ribbon. It was true. There had been something inside of me dying to get out. He found it. And he uncovered it. Now, it’s not just Jason…it’s Aldon who has helped me discover and build strength, mentally and physically…it’s James who pushes my limits, and then makes me push harder…it’s Jackie who encourages me and inspires me to keep following this crazy perfect path…and, mostly, it’s the uncountable people who walk through the doors of this magical place and bring positivity to all who surround them. I can honestly say my closest friends are those whom I workout with…these are the people with whom I live my life. And I’m thankful.
I still love to cook, but I love cooking healthy. I still love making people happy and giving them hope, but realize my personal story of pursuing health is what makes the biggest difference in the lives of others. And a way that I can do that every, single day is by helping more people experience what I experienced…by standing beside my good friends, building a business that is changing peoples’ lives.
Everything I’ve ever done and learned in 17 years as a marketing and communications strategist for some of the nations largest and most-recognizable brands and as a small business owner working with non-profits and start-ups has crashed together with something very personal for me, something I’m wildly passionate about, something I can work beside my closest friends on…and I wouldn’t trade anything for it. This is what it means when passion becomes a career. And now I get to spend my life helping people find hope and discover and articulate their stories. I spend my days seeing the beauty in people and believing in them. As long as I’m sipping coffee, working out, eating sushi, or making memories with my closest friends, I’ve got enough energy to keep making a positive difference in the lives of as many people as possible.