I grew up in the beautiful Lake George region of Upstate New York. I spent much of my time outdoors, both alone and with my Boy Scout troop. I have always had a sense of awe and fascination with the natural world. My interest in animals and the way they lived their lives began before I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of watching and trying to catch turtles and snakes while camping. My older brother gave me my Boa Constrictor when I was 12 and that began my dedicated search for animal information. I know many people will cringe at the idea of a snake living in your house, and you may be wondering why my parents allowed this. I was lucky enough to have parents that were very open-minded and valued knowledge as a form of self-reliance. Their rule was that if we wanted pets, regardless of how weird or gross, we had to not only care for them but we also had to research them first so we knew exactly what they needed to be healthy. This meant a trip to the library and some dedicated time. This methodology not only started me on a lifelong interest in the natural history of animals but it also helped me rule out a lot of potentially disastrous pets. “I want a monkey! Read, read, read. I no longer want a monkey”.
After graduating from college with a communications degree I moved to California. When I got to San Diego and started to look for work I discovered there was a SeaWorld there. I applied for and received a job as a tour guide in the education department. As an educator, I was able to increase my animal knowledge and it also gave me a platform to share that knowledge with thousands of people. I soon moved to the Zoological Department and started to work hands-on with the animals as a keeper and trainer.
I spent the next 19 years working with and training animals of all kinds, birds, primates, cats, otters, sloths, and many others including lots of reptiles and bugs. This work took me all over the country and I ended up in Florida. I got older and found myself married and the father of two girls. I also discovered the stress and anxiety that being an adult brings. As my life got more complex my physical body started to pay the price. I started to gain weight around the middle and then everywhere else. I was exhausted in the morning and restless at night.
I had never considered myself athletic. I never played team sports in school or as a hobby. I decided to try running as a form of stress relief as well as a workout. Using a popular app I was soon running a 5K three times a week. I adjusted my diet to what all the running gurus said I should be eating, high carb low fat. As the months went by my legs got in shape but my gut stayed. I later learned that my diet and all my running was causing a stress response in my body. This stress response caused my body to store fat around my waist. I started to do some research because I was not getting the results I expected by following all the rules. My research led me to what was called the paleo diet at that time. The idea behind the diet was that if we ate what we evolved to eat then we would be healthier. Simple, right? This idea made a lot of sense to me because it is exactly how I took care of animals. You have to understand the environment and diet an animal evolved in to make informed decisions on their food and health. I embraced the idea, made some changes to my diet and stopped running, three months later I had lost 30 pounds. By making a few more adjustments I lost another 20 pounds in the following 4 months.
When you lose 50 pounds and add muscle in less than a year people will start to ask you about it. I successfully helped some friends and co-workers lose weight, drop medications, and feel better. I found that sharing this information with others gave me the same satisfaction that sharing animals facts did.
At this point, I took a good look at my life and decided that waking up at 5 AM every morning for almost 20 years and spending 3-4 hours cleaning animal feces just wasn't cutting it for me anymore, so I retired and became a full-time coach. I was certified as a Primal Health Coach and I now spend my days helping people look, feel, and perform better.