Born in: Akron, Ohio
Resides in: Columbus, Ohio
BA in Communication from Boston College
MA in Health Communication from The Ohio State University (studied how mass media and interpersonal communicaiton impact body image)
Health Coach Certification from the ICF Accredited Health Coach Institute
Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
HMBA Mastery Transformational Coaching Method Certification: in progress, will graduate November 2018
200 Hour, Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, trained by Laurel Hodory
Cycle Instructor, Schwinn Indoor Cycling
My dog, Maple
Cold pressed juice
Leelanau County, Michigan
Ohio State Football
Spiralizing fruits and veggies
The Chicago Cubs
Discovering new restaurants in Cbus
Indoor and outdoor cycling
I was in the seventh grade when I started going to the gym. I was actively trying to get rid of any and all fat on my body.
I remember thinking I needed to be skinny, like Paris Hilton or Jennifer Aniston, to be pretty, to be liked... let alone loved.
Everyone around me was "tiny," and were praised as such. Most adults were vocally on a diet. Me? I was pretty average, and I had curves. So in my mind, I was "big."
I needed to be "tiny." All the magazines told me so. I'd read them like the Bible. I'd tear them open, and read them cover-to-cover, searching for the magic cure to transform my body. Some "perfect" cover model always graced the cover, juxtaposed next to words like, "SAY GOOD-BYE TO BELLY FAT WITH THESE SIX MOVES!"
Fast-forward. I'm a sophomore in college and start working at our campus recreation center teaching group fitness classes, and soon I'd even become a personal trainer. Internally, I was on the same quest to lose weight, "tone up," and achieve a body worthy of love that 12-year-old me started.
I'd workout for hours on end. I was obsessed. I needed to exercise. Longer, harder. MORE. I was rigid with my diet, and often binged if I ever "messed up."
I was known as "Plex Girl," because I was always at the rec center, teaching classes, training clients, or doing my own workouts. I was there so much, that I started to notice trends. I'd see who came to classes, who spent hours on the elliptical, who exercised twice a day. I'd see the same people in the dining halls eating salads --or a chicken breast.
It didn't take long for me to realize I was not alone in my disordered relationship with my body and food.
And then it hit me: this had to stop. I was miserable. I was killing myself trying to obtain some insane ideal.
I soon made it my mission to empower my peers to love their bodies. It was my mission to change the conversation around exercise from working out to burn calories/look a certain way, to working out to feel good, to be strong, to live a long and incredible life.
I realized that there was SO much more to working out than the superficial gains. Exercise made me feel alive. I wanted to spread that sentiment, that message... because guess what? This mindset shift also made exercise WAY more fun. I began to exercise because I loved my body, not because I hated it, not because I wanted to love it down the road...
Thanks to my yoga practice, I became very self-reflective. I started to wonder what contributed to my disordered thoughts and behavior around food and exercise.
It just so happened around this time I was taking a class in health communication. For our final project, I chose a mainstream health magazine and dissected a year's worth of issues. I knew the media had impacted me. I wanted to explore it more.
This class and this research piqued my interest so much, that I decided to go to graduate school to dive deeper with one of the world's most renowned communication body image scholars. I thought... somehow I will help women with this research.
I remember thinking back in college, that I somehow wanted to spread my message of body love. Of embracing our unique bodies and eating and exercising to empower our lives, rather than fit some insane societal mold. But I didn't know how. I just didn't know what that would look like yet...
I didn't know health coaching existed.
Meanwhile, I knew I could use my research, spread my message and empower women (and men) in my cycling and yoga classes. That was my favorite part of teaching: the relationships I formed. Seeing people tackle challenges, realize their strength, and transform their lives through exercise has been incredible.
Since my Boston College years, I've earned my master's degree in health communication, have spent two gratifying years working in public health, and have found peace with food through intuitive eating.
Where I used to view food as my enemy, thanks to Intuitive Eating, I now view food as my best friend. When I eat I feel empowered: whether I'm choosing kale or a donut. I don't believe in "cheat meals," because eating is not a game to be won.
If I choose to eat a cheese burger, I'm choosing to live life and enjoy one of my favorite foods, surrounded by family and friends. There is no guilt. There is no extra hour punishing myself at the gym. There is just joy.
I want to share this. I want others to experience the power of truly listening to our bodies and letting go of the damaging dieting mindset that keeps us stuck in a war on food and exercise.
In 2017 I earned my Health Coach Certification through the Health Coach Institute and left my full-time job to give my entire self to health coaching. I know my whole life, my whole journey from the first time 7th grade Julie stepped into the gym through now, has lead up to this. This is my life's purpose.
I absolutely love my job as a health coach. Every day I get to live out my mission of empowering women to make peace with food, find movement they enjoy and ultimately live their absolute best lives. Want to be one of those women? Because I'd love to work with you!