In addition to my lived experience (which many would argue is more important for being empathetic to the struggles of living with obesity and related health issues) I also hold a Master degree in Social Work. This perspective makes me unique from that of other health care professions because as a social worker, I love to look at systems and people in their environments, which I feel is key to successful longterm health behaviour change. I love exploring with clients ALL of the factors that contribute to their health. It is not only food or only exercise. It is sleep, your work, family responsibilities, how you spend your recreational time and much, much more.
I am SCOPE Certified (Strategic Centre for Obesity Professional Education) through World Obesity, a Fitness Instructor Specialist through CanFitPro, and I am currently working on my Personal Training Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I was honoured to be featured as an Athlete with Impact in Impact magazine and have been interviewed by Global TV and James Fell for the Chicago Tribune.
But more than anything, I love walking this path with people - whether they want to change their weight, their blood pressure, their confidence, self-image, energy levels, or develop new knowledge and skills - I am here to navigate the way as you create your healthiest life.
MY HEALTH JOURNEY
After my youngest child was born, my weight had peaked at over 300 pounds, I had type two diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and my mobility had gotten so bad it was difficult to move some days. I had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism years before and struggled with obesity since childhood. I had tried everything it seemed: points counting, meetings, fad diets, a personal trainer, hypnosis...the list goes on and on. At one point I had a doctor tell me that maybe this was just the way it was and to accept it. The trouble was my health (or lack thereof) was impacting my ability to live my fullest life.
In 2015, I was invited to appear on television and when I caught sight of myself on the monitor as we went live, the wind was knocked out of me. I didn't recognize myself. I knew what my clothing size was, I had just bought a new outfit for the appearance, but in my mind that is not how I pictured myself. I had four young children and progressive obesity related conditions. Something needed to shift. As a social worker I knew about the possibility of change (even though I had tried so many things before) and so, with some research, my professional knowledge, my experience as a certified fitness instructor, and some tenacity, I started to make small, sustainable changes. Two years later I had lost over half of my body weight and now maintain that loss. I now blend my personal experience and professional skills to support others along their health journeys.