For the last decade I have dedicated myself as a Health and Life Coach to helping women get fit – both in body and mind. I also worked hard in my spare time to earn relevant certifications and build a tool set to be a better coach and trainer.
I am a health evangelist. There was a point in my life when I would have never uttered those words. I lived on junk food as a kid and my favorite food group was McDonalds. But nothing like a little wake-up call called cancer to help with a healthy makeover. I was diagnosed with early stage ovarian cancer shortly after my 35th birthday. That was 16 years ago. I am lucky to be here today.
Cancer is challenging for a control freak and problem solver like myself. Hell, cancer is hard for anyone. The only shred of control I felt I had was how I treated my body. I had been an athlete as a child, but I had lost my way. And my food choices were sub-optimal, mostly based on whatever was lying around after snacks my young children (now college students) had eaten. I knew if I was going to get well I needed to change my ways.
I set out to heal. I studied survivors like I was earning my PHD. I read books about food and physical movement. I took in Reiki. I contemplated how my body was saying no and how my mind had played a role in allowing an unwanted visitor to take up residence in my abdomen. I prayed. And I prayed some more. And miraculously days turned into months. And months turned into years.
The truth is…I got lucky. And there is not a day that goes by that I do not thank the universe for allowing me to stick around. Thank you, most mysterious universe!
For me, movement is life. I feel closest to God when my heart is pounding and I am doing something to challenge my body. That almost got taken away from me 16 years ago so I will never take exercise for granted.
I have observed hundreds of women over the years in their efforts to stick to an exercise and eating plan. For many of us, this self-care thing can be hard. We have so many competing priorities as Moms and as professionals, friends, daughters and sisters. It’s just about all we can do everyday to keep up with all the demands on our to-do list. I want to help you understand that fitness does not have to be so hard. Something each day is always better than nothing.
Let me share with you what I love about exercise: It helps me feel better. Exercise tamps down my anxiety and gives me energy throughout the day. It helps me feel empowered and strong. When I skip a day or two, I feel worn out. And grouchy. And low energy. I remind myself each day that I want to move so I can feel better. It’s never about fitting into a certain pair of jeans. It’s always about being able to celebrate being alive.
If you are in a hard place – as many of us will be at some point in our lives – I want to instill hope that things get better. In my 50 years I have faced cancer, challenging family situations, the death of both of my parents and countless friends. But as I age, I get more optimistic. Because even the hard days are a blessing. I love my life and I want to help you love yours as well.
Abbe is a graduate of Kenyon College (BA) and Columbia University (MPA). She is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach, a Certified Brooke Castillo Master Life Coach and Weight Coach, a Certified Body Image and Eating Psychology Coach through the Institute of the Psychology of Eating, a Certified Nutritional Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and and a former ACE-Certified Personal Trainer.
Click HERE to watch me talk about exercise after cancer.
HERE I am talking about running my first marathon.