top of page

Creating a Sustainable Health Journey

Everyone has an opinion on what works and what will work for you. It can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it feels like you have tried everything without the desired result.

As a functional health coach, I want to try and give you a few tips to get you the result you want and to help you live a great life along the way. The key is that you are creating it. Yes, there are guidelines, but by allowing you to play the major role, you are invested, and

the journey is meaningful to you. My goal here is to “meet you where you are” in your journey and help you overcome obstacles encountered along the way.

Make it Personal

Keto. Vegan. Paleo. Vegetarian. “Plant-based”. Mediterranean.

I am sure you have heard it all. Try this diet. It worked for me; I am sure it will work for you. Then, if it does not work, the response you hear is “You must not have done it right”. Well, there could not be anything further from the truth. The truth is that there is no one exactly like you. So, it is incredibly arrogant to say, “this is the best diet” or “this works for everyone.” To be honest, it is my belief that people that use this type of dialogue are only interested in weight loss versus creating a healthy person. The philosophy I embody and coach clients by is that ‘you do not lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy and lose weight’. Read that again and let it sink in.

Since there is no one like you, then there is no “one-size fits all” diet. So, why would you put your trust in someone who only tells you to count and restrict your calories, eat “x” times per day, count your macros, eat less and exercise more, etc. These tactics may work for certain individuals who are training for an athletic event/competition, or for a certain goal, and that is great. What I want for you is a plan that is sustainable and fits your lifestyle. I want you to learn and implement tools and create a system that allows you to live a life you love. One that heals you from the root, not just puts a band aid on the situation.


Ok, you probably rolled your eyes when you read “Mindset”. The phrase “change your mindset” is perhaps an overused term. I can empathize with you. Several years ago, when I was going through a particularly challenging time, I would hear just change your mindset. I had no idea what that meant or how to do it, and hearing it just made me angrier and more frustrated.

When creating your health journey, I want you to think about “mindset” in this way. I want you to practice eliminating negative thoughts in all walks of your life, not just around dieting and healthy eating. By doing this you will begin to turn limiting negative thoughts into a positive, growth mindset. You will start understanding why you had to go through the experiences you did to create the sustainable journey you are creating. In other words, those experiences did not happen to you, they happened for you. Which leads me to what I feel is the root to any mindset shift, which is “Determining your Why”.

Without a deep, meaningful reason to drive us forward, many people who start a journey will never complete it. It is simply because the “why” was not meaningful enough. A tool I use to help clients find their “why” is an exercise called Seven Levels Deep. You simply ask yourself “Why do you want to do this?” Perhaps you answer, “Because I want to lose weight.” Then you ask yourself “Why do I want to lose weight?” For every answer, ask yourself “why”. By the time you have answered “why” seven times you will be at your true reason. The reason that will keep you moving forward on the journey.

I have a morning routine that I utilize to set me up for success and to fix my mind on the positive. I did not always have this, but I find that it keeps me focused and allows me to be in control of my actions and emotions. It is a habit loop I have created for myself that pays dividends daily. For me, my morning routine looks like this:

  • 1. I naturally wake between 7 and 7:30 am and immediately go into a 15-minute guided gratitude

  • meditation. This is just a simple way for me to say thanks and to spend time with myself.

  • 2. Feet hit the floor and I consume about 16 ounces of water. I call it showering my insides.

  • 3. Perform about 45 - 60 seconds of light stretching/movement.

  • 4. Make my bed.

  • 5. Then it is my morning coffee (yes, I drink coffee), and then I walk or sit outside and read for about

  • 30 minutes.

  • 6. Shower and start my day of service.

This is what works for me. I try to get all these things in everyday, but sometimes I need to prioritize and only hit the non-negotiables. Again, this is what works for me. Find what sets you up for success and allows you to be your best self.

Understand How Food Affects You

This is where it gets really personalized. For me finding a sustainable health journey does not include counting calories, macros, or following any particular “diet” fad. Who needs the added stress? In my opinion, this is why most “diets” do not work. Also, we do not all live in the same climate, or have the same genes, or tastes, etc. You are your own unique self and therefore you need your own unique approach.

First, keep a food journal for a week. In this journal you are going to note all the foods, drinks, and snacks you consume daily. Also, you are going to note how you feel before, immediately after, and then how you feel 1-3 hours after. Do not limit this to just how your gut/stomach feels. Include your energy levels, any mental fog or clarity, emotions, nightly sleep quality, etc.

Second, based on your journal you are going to eliminate possible foods that trigger any agitation in your gut. This is the control center when you think about signals to your brain. If you are not sure where to start, start with the major culprits which are sugar, grains, gluten, and dairy. Third, eliminate these foods for three weeks. Continue to note how you feel after eliminating these foods. If you are asking “what am I going to eat?”, believe me there are plenty of options that will leave you satisfied and satiated. The key is to focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods. After three weeks of elimination, begin to reintroduce one food at a time on a weekly basis. I recommend starting the reintroduction phase with dairy. Once you have reintroduced the food, note how you feel after consuming it. If you do not react negatively, it is probably okay to consume again. However, if you feel

bloated, tired, foggy, or perhaps break-out you most likely have a sensitivity to that food, and it should be eliminated. No body likes to feel bloated or foggy.

After this exercise of journaling and eliminating, it is my hope that you begin to understand why you are eating and/or craving certain foods. Often, we are not eating because we are physically hungry. More often we eat because we are stressed, depressed, dehydrated, and bored...or a combination of all these factors. By going through this process, we become conscious eaters and we understand why we make certain food choices. I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect.

After years of knowing how my body reacts to dairy and sugar, and the “recovery” time for my body, I still fall prey to the allure of cookies and ice cream. The difference today is that I know and understand the consequences and I accept them, I know why I am making the choice, and I do not feel guilty. I know my journey will not be perfect, and I have the tools to correct myself and get back on the path.


The final key element to a sustainable health journey is movement. Moving our bodies is vital to maintaining our health especially in today’s sedentary world. It does not take a lot of time and it can take many forms. The key is to find something you enjoy. If you dislike the activity, you will not continue, and therefore it is not sustainable for you. There are many options available, and you do not have to join a gym to participate. A few of my favorites are:

  1. Resistance training – I enjoy this modality because it helps me maintain and grow lean tissue, which is vital for overall functionality as we get older.

  2. Yoga/Pilates – This is my go-to for mobility and range of motion training. It is also a good way to learn about your body, how it moves, and find areas of weakness. Another bonus, it teaches breathing techniques which help control stress levels and can be meditative as well.

  3. Hiking/Walking/Biking – I love this activity because it gets me out in nature. Most of us spend the majority of our day indoors in recycled air. Hiking/walking/biking allows us to embrace fresh air, explore new areas, and download some Vitamin D from the sun. Done in the morning or in the evening it also helps set our natural circadian rhythms for better sleep quality.

  4. Swimming/Tennis – I love to play tennis and I enjoy being in and around water. While I am not great at either of these activities, I enjoy challenging myself to improve. Also, they present a different element of movement than the other options, i.e., short bursts of energy for tennis, and swimming presents a new cardiovascular test for me.

  5. Mix it up – Finally, do not just stick with one activity. The more variety you have in your movement (and your diet) routine the easier it is to stay excited about it. Also, make it a social occasion. Invite friends, family, co-workers, etc. If you work in an office, I encourage you to get outside at least twice during the workday. It will revitalize you, help you think clearer, and reduce any stress you may be feeling.


Remember, you are your own unique individual. You are on your own journey. Your health journey will be unique to you. Only you know your background, your environment, your lifestyle, your level of knowledge, and your health history. Two of the most important things to remember is:

  1. You are not your past and never accept the phrase “learn to live with it” when it comes to your health.

  2. It is ok to fail. It is part of the learning experience and the journey. And you never win, or you learn.

Take these tips and create your own awesome health journey. If it seems too much all at once, then start with one piece of the puzzle and add on as you master each element. I would recommend starting with your mindset. Once you understand the “why” and release negative thoughts and energy you will naturally start to see positive changes in other walks of your life. Here’s wishing you lifelong health, using real life approaches.


bottom of page