I recently took a vacation.

When I wasn’t playing with my family in the lake, or getting lost in the woods, I read several books. It was great!

Being a health coach, I like to read books on a topic that I’d like to learn more about which can ultimately help my clients.

One of the books I was keen to read was “The F*ck It Diet” by Caroline Dooner. It is both medically and scientifically based, and it is also humorous. Right up my alley!

Donner argues that eating should not only be easy but more importantly, life is worth living, not dieting. Dieting rules suck, and I couldn’t agree more. But, something she wrote particularly struck a chord with me.

“Health is listening to your body.”

I feel lucky that I learned to listen to my body at a young age.

In October of 1991, six weeks before I got married, I was rushed into emergency surgery with a ruptured ovarian torsion, which caused enough internal bleeding that was almost fatal.

I had NOT been listening to my body for weeks, even though I was in pain and had a fever. Who has time to go to the doctor when they’re busy working and getting ready for their wedding?

Luckily I survived and promised myself that I’d never take my health for granted and that I would listen to my body.

At 24 years old, I began learning as much as I could about health and wellness. Little did I know that near-death experience would be the foundation of everything I do in my career.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of coaching clients and guiding them in the ability to listen to their bodies. It’s not a natural skill, but it is possible to learn.

What is important to remember is that there is no one size fits all approach to health.

Any medical professional will tell you that the top three ways to prevent many diseases are to play (exercise), eat right and manage stress.

To make more sustainable, long-lasting habit based changes in those areas, we need to learn some fundamentals that each of us can do.

Whether I’m coaching my clients 1:1 or in the program, I created for menopausal women called The Play for Life System, everything I do is geared towards those habits and becoming in tune with your body.

When it comes to nutrition, though, many of my clients are often stuck in the “rules” that the diet industry has sold them on.

Dieting can add so much more stress to your body than it needs, causing a cascade of inflammation on a cellular level.

Inflammation in the body is hard to “feel,” yet chronic stress increases the risk for lifestyle-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Trust me, I know; inflammation almost killed me.

The fundamentals of nutrition, exercise and stress management are simple.  Yet, they are spun so far away from a sensible, impartial state. How you like to eat, like how you play or manage stress is very personal.

Reframing how we look at health is a challenge. But I am on a mission to help people do just that.

It starts with listening to your body.