This picture represents a new chapter in both Chrissy Dunham and my life. On December 7th, 2017 I met Chrissy on set at a popular television show located in Hollywood. Right before I headed on stage, another cast mate whispered to me “do you have a psychologist on staff, because I have spent a decade trying to get people off medications and I can tell you with full-confidence that this woman needs therapy and medication if she has any chance at long-term success.” This post describes my experience on the show, profiles the amazing changes Chrissy has already implemented, and acts as an announcement that the episode airs tomorrow on CBS or the CW – check local listings and set your DVR!
…We walked on stage and the b-roll started playing. I was uncomfortable (and could easily see that my feelings paled in comparison to the emotional toil the footage had on Chrissy). The video painted a morbidly bleak picture of her future, without help from professionals and ultimately, a fundamental change in behavior, eating patterns, and her sedentary lifestyle. When the host and lead doctor on the show asked Chrissy what she thought about the future, she reluctantly replied (and I paraphrase) “I want to be able to conceive of a future, but right now I can’t.”Ultimately, it would be up to Chrissy to fight for her life back.
That’s where I come in. I was on-set representing my former employer and my task was to offer six months at fitness camp, tuition-free. The caveat is that Chrissy would have to give up her job, apartment, truck, and be away from her friends and family for half a year. But as I told her, this experience will allow you many more decades with your family, and you can replace material things – your body and health are uniquely yours and you only get one.
In 8 short weeks, this woman has blossomed by fighting each and every day to take back her health and wellness. She has done so with grace, tenacity, lots of smiles and hugs, and a few choice words for her trainers. Her journey has reaffirmed the power of the human mind to overcome adverse conditions and grow with change. Each day her disposition becomes a bit more cheery and her body becomes a bit more conditioned. She went from not being able to stand on her feet for more than a few hours at a time when she arrived, to climbing mountains, hitting boxing bags, throwing iron around in the gym, and has lost 50 pounds.
More importantly, she ALWAYS thinks about and talks about her future. She has worked to create opportunity where there was no hope. She talks about what she wants to do (traveling is what she looks forward to the most), where she wants to live, the types of workouts she wants to do when she finds a new place, and most importantly she can conceive of a healthy and worthwhile next chapter. If you’d like to support her journey, please consider donating to her GoFundMe campaign, so she can keep her cell phone on while at camp and hopefully have the funds to start anew in June. You can also follow her journey on Instagram – @takingbackchrissy
Chrissy, I know you know how much I care for you and support your goals and dreams. I know it may be difficult for you to watch the episode, but I hope you’ll remember that being on the show was a means to an end. It was simply a vessel for you to have the opportunity to transform your life and create the best version of yourself. It also represents the beginning of our friendship, which is arguably the best part. Even though I do not get to watch your progress every day, I hope you’ll channel my love and passion when you’re feeling down and out. I hope you’ll remember my voice saying obnoxiously ‘motivating’ quips and phrases, and I hope you’ll be willing to call me if you need support, motivation, and accountability!
As I hint to in the previous paragraph, December 7th, 2017 was also a new chapter in my life. It represented the start of my final chapter with my former employer and symbolically created Mindful and Fit Coaching. That day perfectly encapsulates what it was like to be employed by my previous employer. I was promised to work a 6 hour shift and given very little information about what was involved with the commitment to be on the show. My supervisors promised I would drive up to LA, appear on the show and be home in time to get my mom from the airport in the evening….Well, it didn’t work out like that at all. I worked a 16 hour day (and was still only compensated for 6) and was blessed with the opportunity to appear on the show, lead an intervention back stage to convince Chrissy to go, and then take her to San Diego and check her into the hotel. I do not mention this out of spite or anger, but to explain why I am now pursuing my own business. Was it fun to be on national TV? Sure. Did I get to do what I loved everyday with people I thought highly of? Absolutely. That said, I was overworked and underpaid in my previous position. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to be on the show, or (way more importantly) have Chrissy as one of my best friends. But, the labor of love I give to clients also should be compensated fairly and according to my employment contract. I am no longer with my employer because I prefer to capitalize on my own expertise, experience, and personal story.
So now I am a blossoming business owner! Yesterday I had the first day of Mindful and Fit Coaching. In a future post, I’ll describe the services I offer (both online and in-person), announce the exciting new opportunities in my life, and share more about how you can be involved! In the meantime, if you take nothing else from this post – please know your worth and value and never allow anyone to diminish your potential or prevent you from shining!
With love and in health,