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Nick and Jonathan’s Holistically Hot Transformation

by Marissa on July 12, 2017


Your Holistically Hot Transformation | Nick and Jonathan's Story

Several months ago, I had the honor of discussing my book with Namaste Book Shop’s Spiritual Book Club. Each month, the book club is assigned a spiritual book to read and the January book happened to be Your Holistically Hot Transformation: Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle Free of Dieting, Confusion and Self-Judgment. About a month prior, I had visited the book club on my own and met a lovely, spiritual couple, Jonathan and Nick who I gathered were regulars there. When I returned a month later to discuss my book, I can say with complete honesty that I didn’t expect to see them there. After all, on the outside, my book appears girly and perhaps a little fluffy. Thankfully, the guys had given my book a chance and were surprised that they had a Holistically Hot Transformation of their own. 

This is their story and a little bit about how their holistically hot transformation went down: 

How did you start your wellness journey?

Jonathan: My wellness journey began in earnest on December 11, 2015. That’s the day when I got sober. The way I see it, there are at least two levels to the sobriety that
was granted to me.

The first level is the mundane, meaning freedom from the use of drugs. I began using drugs in my mid-to-late teens, but my habit throttled into hyper-drive after I graduated from college in 2009. For the next six years, I would exhibit a frenzy for the consumption of drugs of all kinds. I needed to be high all the time: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at work, at home, with family, with friends, by myself. Nothing else mattered.

The second level is the sublime, which I take to mean the restoration of sane, “sober”
thinking. In other words, I experienced a sudden and unmistakable spiritual
transformation. It occurred suddenly and completely, in the same way one turns
on the lights with the flick of a switch. In one moment, it’s dark, and in the
next moment, it’s light. Zero to one-hundred. Blink and you’ll miss it. Simple
as that.

It went like this. On December 11, 2015, I shuffled into my psychologist’s Brooklyn office in an egregious state of exhaustion. After I explained how weary I felt and why, he said to me, “Jonathan, you need to start chasing your wellness like you chase your next high.” They were words I had heard before. Hell, it’s a tired, old Twelve Steps platitude! I had heard it said countless times in many Twelve Step meetings. The difference was I was finally ready to let the meaning of those words sink in. I was ripe for it. My psychologist’s words proved to be the golden key that unlocked a hidden door in my mind. At exactly the right moment, he was able to frame my problem in the only way I could understand it: in terms of my appetite for drugs. In that moment, I glimpsed the man I could be if I chose to place in the service of my health and my wellness all the energy that I placed in the service of my illness. The vision I had was a princely one. For the first time in an age, I met my Higher Self. He wasn’t even angry that I took so long to meet him. He simply asked, gently, can we start now? And I said, yes.

Ultimately, what I learned was that what I had previously called “addiction” was really just personal power that I had been mismanaging. Well, I’m under new management!

In terms of food and nutrition, Nick and I knew we had to change something after a “rock bottom” experience around Christmas last year. We had grown accustomed to fixing dessert after every meal, and one night when there was no ice cream to be found in the freezer (because we had eaten it all), we prepared some holiday-themed slice-and-bake sugar cookies, which we frosted with an icing we made from cinnamon cream-flavored coffee creamer (because we didn’t have milk, obviously), powdered sugar, and orange (yes, orange) food dye. It was disgusting, and we hated ourselves. We needed help, but we didn’t know where to turn.

Nick: My journey to wellness started in 2012, when I turned 30 years old. I felt an energetic shift on how I viewed life in general, which included my body identification.

During my twenties, I had an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. I was the master of the excessive lifestyle. One month I would only eat foods that were labeled low fat, low carb, sugar-free, lite, etc. and obsessively working out. And the next I would be eating foods that were the total opposite of that, and not working out at all. My weight would yo-yo in increments as high as 30 pounds at a time. And my emotional state would violently sway to each end of the pendulum as well. There was no consistency in any aspect of my life.

As I entered the third decade of my life, I realized that the continuous pattern that I was in wasn’t working. I was in culinary school during that time, so my food knowledge expanded. I was in a healthy relationship, so I felt supported. And I took part in various physical activities, was introduced to Vinyasa flow yoga, biked to work, and found pleasure in being active for pure enjoyment, instead of vanity purposes.

Even though my lifestyle habits were more balanced in my thirties, I often used the fact that I was physically active as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. And my weight was more consistent, so that validated my bad habits. But my energy level was as inconsistent as ever. I was using sugar and caffeine like a drug to stay moving through the day. Jonathan and I knew that we needed to make some changes, but they had to be lifestyle changes and not the typical post-holiday diet.

What made you pick up and read Your Holistically Hot Transformation?

In early 2016, Nick and I joined a monthly book club that meets at
Namaste Bookshop on 14th Street in Manhattan. We had read several well-known,
“heavyweight” spiritual books with the club when it was announced that
the book for the following month — December, I think it was — would be Your
Holistically Hot Transformation
. And, not only that! The author of the book
would be joining us to discuss during next month’s meeting! A copy of the book
was passed around the circle, and all I remember is a lot of pink and flirty cursive curly-cues on the cover. Honestly (and I’m embarrassed to say this now), I was disinclined to read it, but Nick, who has a strong epicurean streak, began to skim it on the train ride home over Christmastime. He was impressed by what he was learning, and was delighted by the simplicity and the practicality of the suggestions contained in the book. My reaction to his praise for the book was along the lines of that scene in Titanic when Kate Winslet snatches Leonardo DiCaprio’s sketchbook with a snide, condescending “Give me that,” only to concede, “Oh, these are rather good.” The book attuned me to the idea that my spiritual practice can and should extend to the kinds of foods I eat.

What reservations did you have about it? 

Honestly, after hitting our orange-tinted bottom, we had very few reservations about completely changing our approach to eating. 

Your Holistically Hot Transformation | Nick and Jonathan's Story

How has your life changed since reading the book?

Jonathan: My life has changed for the better. I have earned a reputation around the office as the guy who always brings his lunch, and my coworkers are always curious about the food that I’ve prepared. My body has transformed from pudgy and soft to lean and toned. I have far fewer zits. My bowel movements are regular and tidy. I’ve enjoyed learning about many foods that I had never heard of, much less stocked in my own refrigerator and pantry. 

I once heard a woman say, “You will have in life what you will tolerate.” Your Holistically Hot Transformation has given me the courage to say no to conventional foods that I used to consume without a second thought. And, hey, if I choose to have a slice of Little Caesar’s because someone bought pizza for the office meeting, no big deal. I eat enough fresh vegetables and good-for-you whole grains to restore balance and harmony to my digestive tract and to my waistline.

Nick: My life has changed substantially since reading Your Holistically Hot Transformation. After the gluttonous Holiday food binge, Jonathan and I were ready for a serious lifestyle change. The information that I learned from Marissa about nutrition added to my food knowledge, information that culinary school didn’t provide me. I felt inspired to experiment with new foods and cooking techniques.

It was a pivotal time period in my life. I was laid off from my job at right before Thanksgiving. It was a blessing in disguise, and I knew that it was an opportunity to explore all of my options regarding my career path. I realized that Marissa and I were on parallel journeys; single and binging in our twenties, having unstable careers working in startups, and having a passion for food and wellness. As I continued to dive deeper into the book, I became more intrigued by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the program that Marissa participated in to become certified as a Health and Wellness Coach.

When Jonathan and I attended the book club, I felt a strong connection to the discussion at hand. I felt very comfortable talking about key points of the book, and providing advice to others regarding challenges that they had in their journey to wellness. The feedback that I was getting from the group was unanimous. Everyone was telling me that I was really good at this, and that I should consider a career as a Health and Wellness coach. That moment changed everything. I did feel like I was good at this, and I saw the opportunity as an awakening moment to answer the call. I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition that week.

I am currently five months in the IIN program. During those five months, Jonathan and I have developed lifestyle changes that have us feeling healthy and balanced. I have continued to stay physically active, but to not use it as a crutch to eat whatever I want. I’m working at a job where I feel supported, which also provides me with flexibility to pursue Health Coaching part time. I look forward to building on this experience, and helping others live their best life possible.

 Your Holistically Hot Transformation is available in paperback and as an eBook or Audiobook. To learn more, CLICK HERE.  

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