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Wholeheartedly Healthy

One day, some guy is gonna see me eating a whole rotisserie chicken with my bare hands in my parked car, and think, “That’s her. She’s the one.”

You want to know how I was led to health coaching? Well, pull up a chair because I have a story for you. But, first… Let me give you a little background about myself.

I was born Rosalee but my friends call me, Rose- Houston, Texas born and bred. I am a United States Navy Hospital Corpsman Veteran with a professional medical background as a Medical Laboratory Scientist with degrees in biochemistry and biomedical science. I have been into health and fitness for over 20 years. I am a certified yoga teacher, and currently train in body building. I love it, my body, and most of all, I love who I have become. But, it’s taken me a long time to get here. My parents died when I was young. I was 11 when my mother was murdered (that’s another story we won’t discuss here), and my father died when I was 19 due to diabetes and alcoholism. This obviously left a huge impact on me throughout my young adulthood. I served in the Navy for 5 years as a Hospital Corpsman. I thought I was going to be a “Lifer.” I wanted to be, but that’s just not where my path led me. I also thought I was going to be a doctor, but that didn’t happen, either (I’ll touch on that, later).

When I was 38, I had just been laid off from my job, just ended a toxic relationship, my kids were out of control and running off (they had both expressed how much they hated me and told me they’d be better off if I was dead), I was suffering from severe chest pain (achalasia cardia), even after surgeries, in and out of the hospital since before I got out of the Navy, I had no support, there was no amount of alcohol that was going to fix it, sitting in my room against my bed with my rifle my dad left me. No hope. Every single area of my life had gone to shit. My career, my relationships, my spirituality, my mental and physical health, finances, home environment. Everything. Poor, poor me… nobody loves me. I’m probably better off dead.

But, before I really decide to pull this trigger…

I’m going to call an old boyfriend (because that’s what girls do). He was the first guy I ever learned how to be a friend to, and not just in a relationship. He was, and quite possibly may still be, the smartest, and kindest man I’ve ever known (even if we were only in our 20s. I totally fucked that one up. Just sayin’). I called him up and blubber out in my sobbing, “I’m weak. Please, help me.”

That shit still makes me tear up (because I remember how bad I was hurting) and I don’t remember a damn thing he said. We must’ve been on the phone for at least an hour, and the only thing I remember him saying is, “Look at the big picture.” Well. What the hell is that supposed to mean? It took me a while. I really had to sit there and ponder on it for a bit before I understood what he was trying to say. Sometimes, we get so caught up and focused on the details, that we forget to look at the big picture. I get it! You may not get it at this point, but I got it, and that’s all that matters.

I hang up the phone (or maybe I didn’t. I don’t remember), toss it down, and crawl over to my computer desk. I start googling “Authentic meditation.” (There’s also another story about why meditation came into mind at that very moment- but, that’ll have to be another time). In my search, I found a place in Thailand that will teach you how to meditate, AND you can earn your yoga teacher certification in a 30-day full immersion, residential training. Boom. Tuition paid. Flight booked. Bags packed. Peace, little bitches!

The more I got into my yoga practice, the more I learned about the different styles and lineages. For 3 years, I was fully submersed into my yoga practice. In that time, I even went straight to the source: KPJAYI in Mysore, India (twice) to practice with Guru Sharath Jois- grandson of Guru Pattabhi Jois. The founder of Ashtanga yoga. I got fat.

I thought switching to a vegan diet would make me skinny like the rest of the skinny yoga girls, but that’s not what happened. Did you know Oreos were vegan? That’s the kind of vegan diet I was on. As a matter of fact, I had gained so much weight that my teacher, Sharathji, didn’t recognize me during my second visit to the Shala. My friends were honest with me and agreed I had put on too much weight. They felt it was unhealthy, and it was! I told them the next time they saw me, I was going to be skinny again. One of them said, “How do you know?” “I just know.” Her doubt ignited a little irritation… and motivation. It was “on” now.

The moment I laid foot back on U.S. soil, I changed my diet and got my lumpy ass back in the gym. It was this time frame I made my second total body transformation. I was actually prepping for a show (NPC bodybuilding- Bikini Division), but I got a hernia and had to have hernia repair 4 weeks out. I followed through with the scheduled photo shoot, though! I wasn’t going to miss that!

May 2018 - May 2019

It was during this transition that it came to me. First of all, I have degrees in Biochemistry and Biomedical Science. This is something I have been interested in for a really long time. 20+ years! As a matter of fact, while shuffling through some old papers in my office, I found copies of my old applications that I submitted to med schools when I was applying to. I found my essay and started to skim over it. Even then, when they asked me why I wanted to be a doctor, my answer was to treat patients holistically, through nutrition and exercise. I wanted to open a wellness center, specifically for patients with obesity-related issues (and I’m still thinking about doing that).

Why obesity? A couple of reasons:

  1. My dad was a Type 1 Diabetic. It’s what killed him (or he let kill him). The majority of my family have died from diabetes, or currently are diabetic. It runs on both sides of my family. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have “the genes” for it. It just means that the diabetes gene expression has dominated the majority of my relatives through their lifestyle choices. Genes can be “turned on” under certain circumstances, hence why diabetes can be prevented and controlled through nutrition and exercise (as can most diseases).

  2. When I served in the Navy as Hospital Corpsman, we are taught and trained that we are doing something for a greater purpose than ourselves. We are trained to provide healthcare to Sailors and Marines (but mostly Marines). I served during 9/11, and the war seemed to give us even more purpose. When I got out and started attending college, I still had to work part-time. I was phlebotomist at a couple of the local hospitals and would work from 3am-8am so I could still get the girls off to school and make my first class at 9am. I was pretty damn good at what I did. As a matter of fact, any person that couldn’t get their sticks during the 3am shift, would leave them for me so I could collect. It was hard for some of them because most of the patients had stents, ports, were mostly obese, going through dialysis, and those other “kids” didn’t have half the experience I did. When I thought about this, my perspective about med school and modern medicine changed, completely.

Whereas, before, I felt I was serving a purpose for the greater good as a Corpsman. We were serving and healing those who were getting body parts blown off or risking it because they signed a blank check. Then, I get out and realize the majority of these civilian patients are suffering from obesity-related diseases. These are diseases that could’ve been prevented if they just learned how to put down the pizza and beer.

The other thing was, I began to put 2 and 2 together- developing my own theory for bio-individuality. I am realizing that I can’t be vegan. Not only was I turning into a total heifer, but I began to have nightmares.

I would have this recurring dream that I was sleeping in a colonial home. It was dead of night when I would hear something outside the window. I would get up my in white nightgown and look outside to see what the ruckus was all about. As I look out the window, I see someone chasing chickens and tearing into them like a zombie, just eating them raw! I’m scared and can feel my heart pumping fast! I take a closer look. It’s me! It’s me! I am fucking chasing chickens around in the yard and tearing into them like a damn zombie, eating them raw! Oh, my god! I need chicken, STAT.

It wasn’t long after having that recurring “nightmare” that I finally tore into some deep-fried chicken while working on a project in South Carolina. This Texas gal couldn’t do this damn vegan thing another damn day. It just wasn’t in my genes. I’m carnivore, through and through. It was this very moment I thought how interesting this was. I can eat animal protein up to 6 times a day and be the in the fittest of shapes- strong, yet feminine. I thought I was pretty damn sexy, if I do say so myself. But, if I maintain a vegan/vegetarian diet, I’m a total fatass. I don’t’ even like vegetables. I say that because I didn’t like what I looked like. I didn’t like how I felt. I didn’t like it. It was uncomfortable, I was moody, and my emotions were unstable. It was unhealthy from all aspects. I didn’t appreciate it… and the extra 30 pounds I was carrying around.

So, I put my experiences and my formal education together and realize that our metabolisms are very much like our fingerprints. We all have them, and they are made very similar in design, but they are all different and unique to us. Bio-individuality. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for the next. This is important.

Also, the food we put on our plate isn’t the only source of nutrition. There are many areas of our lives that determine our health. This is truly where my experiences come in… all of them. This is wholistic health.

It took about a decade to discover that most of my chest pain (esophageal spasms) were caused by stress. The more stress I was under, the more frequently I ended up in the Emergency Room with acute chest pain. It was one of those moments in the ER that I was approached by a very soft-voiced surgeon. He asked if I tried medititation. I thought “Medication? Yes! I have tried medication!” He said, “Medititation.” I said, “No. Will it help me now?” He admitted it wouldn’t help that very moment, but in hindsight, his wisdom told him I was under a lot of stress and probably needed some help dealing with it… not that me being a pissy patient in the ER gave that away. I was under a lot of distress, and I was incredibly irritated with the pain and frustrated that there was no cure for Achalasia Cardia. I was tired of pain medications and sedatives.

I have since noticed that since I began practicing yoga and meditation- reducing the stress in my own life, my acute esophageal spasms are few and far between, as well as my hospital visits.

I’ve gone through 20 years of experiences. I feel I really needed them all… to learn, and feel, and think, and give. All this time, God was telling me this is what I was supposed to do, but hard-headed me had to take the detour. So, here I am, a health coach with extensive formal education and experiences, and a passion to heal and help others, especially other veterans. I was pushed in the direction I needed to go to get here, because I do believe this is my purpose. I have a story to tell. Most of all, I have a heart full of love and compassion, along with a lifetime education in health & wellness.

It is my full intention to serve as many veterans as I can back to health, and to help them find their purpose after separating from service. Although, I am not exclusively offering my talents to veterans. I help civilians be their best version, too!

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