I am in heaven, well as close as I can be anyway. I am on a Boeing 757, 10,000 feet up in the air on my way to the Canadian Rockies. Just me myself and nature for 16 days. No husband, no kids, no dog, no to do’s or routines.

OMG, what was I thinking?

I feel excited and proud about my decision to get away and give myself this quality time, yet the butterflies in my stomach is not overly reassuring right now … I better bring them up to my heart and turn them into courage, because here we go!

Being an athlete does not equal being healthy, on any level. A few years ago, I saw studies that claimed 1 out of 6 athletes met the diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. From my own experience I would not argue with that study. So what does it mean to be healthy anyway? As there are so many aspects to health – it can become quite complicated, if we chose to make it so. It is simple, yet not easy. But it is, however, an inside job.

As a swimmer, I was blessed with a good technique and great coaches. Even after 20 years in the pool and endless miles each day, I never had any physical injuries. It was not until the birth of my first son that my own “health awareness” seriously took off. The delivery ended up in an acute C section; and six months down the road, I started having low back pain, a common side effect to a C section.

I came across Paul Check’s work, a holistic approach to nutrition and exercise. I gradually rebuilt my core as I educated myself to becoming a holistic exercise coach. I used myself as a guinea pig in the process. It required patience and a connection to those tiny yet so essential muscles from within. Looking back at this process, it was a great metaphor for a new start. Since everything starts from the core of your being, your values, as well as your physical strength.

There was something about this holistic approach that strongly spoke to me – it made so much sense to look at the whole person. Working as a PT, I quickly woke up the power of personalized nutrition and its impact on my own health and my clients. It would determine how fast a client would reach their goals and if they would be able to sustain it. So I dove into the ocean of nutrition – and I thought I knew how to swim; but let me tell you … I am still learning. Nutrition is not only what we eat; it’s how, why and with whom that makes a difference.

A couple years later, I came across Dr. Deanna Minich’s work, and things really started to make sense to me as I was trying to figure my own health out. She “had me” when she said – “I will never tell you what to eat” – that is a unique statement form a holistic nutritionist of her status and experience. Her colorful way of organizing holistic health made me understand why I am drawn to certain things, and why I avoid other things. It made me realized that, health is so much more than nutrition and exercise – it’s not a number – or a medal – it’s a feeling.

As a Food and Spirit Practitioner I am today, I use this colorful system of health to balance my own life, access clients, and nourish my family and friends.

Through her colorful system I saw a girl with loose ROOTS, as I had been traveling the world, living abroad on and off since the age of 14. First as a professional swimmer embracing my own career; and then later married to a professional hockey player. I saw a need for more FLOW in my life; more play and creativity, as I was still stuck in a strict routine from being an athlete. I needed to start identifying my emotions, listen to them as messengers instead of avoiding them by going all out in the gym or eating them up. My FIRE was getting the best of me at the time – trying so hard to have my own identity as I was following in someone else’s foot steps. My “ I am not enough “ ghost was eating me up from the inside. And with that came a lot of digestive issues…

Through leafy greens and LOVE I found gratitude and forgiveness, two powerful tools to find my way back to more self acceptance. I found that my TRUTH or authenticity is one of my strongest values – it is that feeling that will not leave us alone and will keep showing up until the day we choose to learn its lesson.

My INSIGHT and intuition has always been very strong. But it has also made me stand out and feel alone. But as I’ve developed more self awareness, life experience and trust I now give it the attention it deserves. Finally nature and it’s SPIRIT, that connection that we are a part of something bigger always gives me a fresh perspective that makes me step back and take a big breath. Ahhh…

We can never fight change. Our subconscious minds will then take it as a welcoming battle sign and we will start producing stress hormones. The fundamental reason for a change needs to based on love in order for it to be truly nourishing, sustainable, and really make you “healthier”.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate can not drive out hate – only love can do that.” Today I am driven by my heart’s passion to empower other athletes – with a message that I wish I knew when I was at the peak of my career. I am informing, inspiring, and nourishing the whole athlete for enhanced performance.

Last words: Remember that self care is never selfish – it is essential!  These days, living away from the ordinary has given me the perspective I have been seeking. I feel more connected and in love with myself and my husband than I ever have before.

It feels like life has just started!

Love from the Canadian Rockies,

oka虉nt-15

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