Me & My Work
My health journey began like a lot of people's. One day, I woke up and realized I looked and felt kind of lousy.
That daily routine repeated itself for a long while, growing worse by the year. Eventually, I got tired of this trend and decided to do something about it — and promptly ran into all sorts of frustrating and bewildering obstacles.
Healthy food was hard to find, and seemed complicated to prepare. Diets were never satisfying. Fast-food temptations were everywhere. Exercise took time, energy, skills and body confidence I didn't have.
My motivation flagged. I got bummed out. I just wanted to stay inside, eat junk and watch TV.
I kept buying health and fitness magazines, hoping they'd pull me out of my stupor. But all the airbrushed models and bikini-body workouts mostly made me feel worse about myself. The diets and workouts ranged from silly to downright dangerous. The ads pushed processed foods, pharmaceuticals, weight-loss pills, and other products I knew couldn't be good for me.
Eventually I started figuring things out for myself. I read a zillion health and psychology books. I went to seminars and workshops, consulted coaches and wise people. I developed new skills and mindsets that helped me transform my body and my life. And lo and behold, I got healthier and happier.
In the late 90s, excited to share some of the best stuff I was discovering, I started developing a body of work I now call "Refine Your Life." It's a mashup of life-shifting tools and perspectives on topics like values, vision, goals, motivation, action planning, obstacle-stomping and sustaining progress. I eventually turned my personal-development system into a workshop and workbook. (You find some of the materials from the course and a video overview of the process in the Goodies section.)
Happily, as I got better at managing the mental, emotional, physical and social challenges of making healthy choices, I found out that it really wasn't all that hard. I wondered why the media wasn't offering more helpful content. I wondered why they weren't covering a lot of the issues that seemed most essential and relevant to health seekers like me. I figured I couldn't be the only one weary of articles about skinny jeans and six-packs abs.
So in 2001, partnering with Life Time Fitness, I created the whole-person, whole-life magazine I'd been looking for.
These days, that magazine, Experience Life, reaches more than 3 million people, and I'm proud that it is one of the best respected health magazines in the country — and maybe the world. I was recently mind-boggled to learn that Queen Rania of Jordan digs Experience Life. So does Dr. Oz.
Kudos like those make me happy. But what makes me even happier is hearing from regular people how the work I've created or contributed to has helped them create and sustain positive change in their own lives. Because when one person's life changes for the better, all the lives around them change, too.
And little by little, I think that is how we are going to change this crazy, mixed-up world of ours for the better.
Over the past 12 years, I've become a little obsessed with the notion that being healthy in an unhealthy society like ours involves a certain amount of what I call "healthy deviance."
It isn't just a challenging thing to do, it is a revolutionary act.
The app is fun. It's earned a lot of five-star ratings, and more than 200,000 downloads. Plus, it's FREE. So you should definitely download it! Or at least check out the nifty (but less feature-rich and content-packed) web version.
In 2013, Arianna Huffington offered me an amazing job — running the Healthy Living section at The Huffington Post.
I gave that a try, but I'm a farm girl at heart, and it turned out that the New York City media scene was just not for me. Super intense. Exciting. Filled with possibility. And a bit too fast-paced for my physiology (for more on that, see my blog post "How Stress Speaks: An Ode to Lost Eyelashes").
So I returned to the beautiful Midwest and commenced work on a new book about "The Art of Being Healthy in an Unhealthy World."
I'm also chairing Experience Life's Board of Directors, working on some cool initiatives with its parent company, Life Time Fitness, plus speaking, teaching (via Studio E and en*theos Academy for Optimal Living), advising a couple of groovy health-and-happiness-oriented startups, and noodling with some other interesting projects, including a new-concept TV show.
Stay tuned for more on all that. And in the meantime, feel free to poke around for more nifty stuff, including some free goodies.
P.S. Looking for my complete bio? Find it here!