2018: Pregnant & Weighing My Options
In the winter of 2017, I was 9 months pregnant sitting at my desk as a full-time grant writer on the 2nd floor of a warehouse-turned-office-space in Irvine, CA. A blinking cursor stared at me from my laptop (like it did every day). I had grants to write, money to raise…all for the cause of solving family homelessness on the West Coast. But, I had a problem. Growing inside of me was a little girl that I wanted to be home with as a mom. I wanted to hear her laugh. I wanted to see her first steps. I wanted her to wake up knowing I would be there to teach her to read, sing, and pray.
I had two options. I could either (a) take on more grant writing contracts from home or (b) lean into the little spark of entrepreneurial spirit in me that said, “What if I could do something BIGGER and grow something that was MY vision, not someone else’s?” What if I did that "coaching thing" I saw a friend doing on Facebook while being a full-time mom?
"No," I told myself. "It's not the right time and who knows if it would even work."
So I took the safe route. I picked up a grant writing contract and hushed the "what if" voice around coaching.
What I DID decide to do was become a participant in the fitness accountability group my friend was offering. In nine months, I was absolutely shocked! I lost 20 pounds and went from a postpartum woman who couldn't jump an inch off the ground without peeing to a push-up doing, six-pack wielding superwoman. The best part? I did it WHILE:
Moving cross-country from California to New York City
Traveling between four states and two countries
Never setting foot in a gym (I worked out in living rooms, hotels, and back yards)
Eating every food group (yes, that includes carbs!)
Starting a new part-time job
Being full-time care for a breastfeeding infant
Living at the poverty line when it all began
Using no equipment other than a set of dumbbells I bought on Craigslist
Feb. 2019: Student Loan Worries
In the middle of this life-changing transformation, I opened to the mail to find something new: A bill from the UK government for $440.
My husband and I had known that his student loan payment would eventually come due when Henri finished his PhD. The only problem was...we didn't have it.
While we were making more than ever in NYC, the exorbitant cost of living in the city had every dollar allocated to basic living expenses. The only way we were going to make it work was for me to (once again) choose between more grant contracts or coaching.
This time, I chose coaching.
I was tired of begging for 3% raises as an employee working for someone else. I was ready to "take a bet on me" for once and build a business that could show other women what I had found: a fitness routine they could FINALLY sustain.
I leaned in full-force and, in my first year as a coach, I helped 116 start their health and fitness journey and earned $11,000--more than enough to cover our loan.
Sept. 2019: Losing My Mom
On September 6, 2019 (seven months into coaching), my world then changed again. My sister texted frantically. saying that my mother had gone in for a routine heart catheterization on the morning of her 67th birthday. Following the procedure, she went into cardiac arrest, flatlined six times, and was now in critical condition with little to no neural function. I flew down to my hometown in Florida and, three days later, held my mother's hand as she peacefully passed.
Standing at the foot of my mother's hospital bed, I swore that I would be a part of the solution for women's health. About 15 years earlier, my sisters and I had also removed my father from life support after a brain trauma resulting from a motorcycle accident. My mother had struggled in her grief and the stress of her work as an attorney, gaining about 120 pounds. That change led to double knee replacements, the onset of type 2 diabetes, multiple surgeries, and stroke level blood pressure. In 2018, she started experiencing shortness of breath. By 2019, she was gone.
Growing up, I had few (if any) women in my life who had figured out how to weave fitness into their daily life over the long-run. I had seen first-hand what “I’ll get to it eventually” and “I just don't have time or energy” had led to for the women I loved. It led me to a commitment to "figure fitness out" for myself and others. I couldn't save my mamma...but perhaps I can save someone else's.
Jan. 2020: Growing a Team
Realizing that I wanted to expand my impact in the wake of my mom's death was a step in a new direction. I then had to figure out HOW to do that. I decided that, if I was to truly touch the lives of more women, I would need a team. On my own, I can only serve 15-20 new women a month, but with a team we can impact hundreds around the world.
That's when I launched REALNation Coaching and women have been joining ever since. We are now a growing group of entrepreneurs who coach full-time, part-time, and some of us just as a hobby. We are "proof that the products and process work." We strive each day to live OUR best embodied life, so we can inspire and help others do the same in a way that is affordable, effective, and convenient.
My Values / Goals on Instagram
Remind women that they are deeply loved + profoundly capable, individually and collectively.
Teach them how to make exercise & mindful nutrition enjoyable and sustainable until they are 80+ years old.
Show them how to build the mindset needed to reach their goals & JOYFULLY engage their career, family, and community.
Praise them for their success and resilience.
Invite them into community through challenge groups + coach mentorship as they build social media platforms reflecting their own unique vision, values, and gifting.