The Wellness Spotlight series highlights military spouses and their real world health and wellness journeys in a Facebook live series. Below is an excerpt of Amanda’s feature.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?
I met my husband on a blind date after two years of our mothers conspiring to get us together. I knew absolutely NOTHING about the military! When he told me he flew jets for the Air Force, I’m pretty sure I said something like, “Oh, that’s nice. It must be fun!” (This is the part where all the seasoned military spouses chuckle and shake their heads.) I left my cool Nashville music industry job, and we got married during his PCS from Alaska to Florida. We hadn’t even lived in the same state much less the same tiny apartment! Let’s just say there was an adjustment period — marriage and military life are no joke. That was almost 17 years ago, and we just moved for the TENTH time. All kidding aside, it’s a way of life I never dreamed of having but have grown to love so much.
ARE YOU A HEALTH OR WELLNESS EXPERT? TELL US HOW IT HAS IMPACTED YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY.
I guess so? Based on the years of studying, numbers of certifications, and money invested, I think I fall into that category. I am a Pilates Master Trainer and a Nutritional Therapy Consultant. The life of a military spouse is one of constant change and compromise. Success takes on a very different meaning than it does when you’re young and full of dreams. So I’ve learned to be open to possibility, because every challenge so far has lead to something pretty amazing. My personal wellness journey as well as my professional wellness career have evolved so much over my 17 years of military life, so much so that I feel as if the two are very hard to separate. My personal struggles have been the catalyst to the many things I get to do now and call “work”.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY LOWS AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?
The lowest point for me actually lasted for several years. When we were stationed in Virginia, we were trying to have a second child and I experienced my first miscarriage. Little did I know that it was the first of seven unexplained miscarriages in a row, accompanied by anxiety, depression, panic attacks, constant fear, and chronic pain. Doctors told me repeatedly that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was “fine” … but I was anything but fine. My body was an absolute mess. It was a very, very dark period of my life that changed me forever — I didn’t think I would ever recover or find joy in my life again. But I also knew that I did not want to stay in a place of darkness and fear, that I would do whatever it took to get out of it. I enlisted a crew of people to help me restore my body back to balance, including a natural health practitioner, a chiropractor, a Christian counselor, and a lot of friends and family. It took a long time to get back to good, but I found that joy again. And, my 9th pregnancy stuck — I was able to have that second child.
WHAT WAS YOUR HIGHEST MOMENT, WHEN YOU FELT YOUR HEALTHIEST?
I think highest point is yet to come! I only say that because things just keep getting better and better. Not to say I don’t have struggles and stumbles along the way — those are unavoidable. But because of all my challenges, I have been able to do some pretty phenomenal things. My battles opened the door to becoming an advocate for real food, healthy movement, and safer products. I’m honestly blown away by the blessings that continue to come from those dark days, and I feel so lucky to be able to help other people live healthier lives.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Consistency. It’s not very glamorous, and it’s definitely not easy with the ever changing military life. But it’s reality. My health, as well as the health of my family, are of the utmost importance to me. So I work hard to make sure we eat quality food, get our bodies moving, and keep our environments as safe as possible when it comes to the products we use in our homes and on our bodies. All those habits get thrown for a loop when we PCS, but the foundation is there and we can adapt fairly quickly. And luckily the stuff I do at home is the same stuff I do professionally, so it all just meshes together perfectly!
HOW DO YOU AVOID BURNOUT?
I try to be as real and honest as I can when it comes to health and wellness, because life happens and you can’t be expected to be on top of it all the time. Just because I know all the right things to do doesn’t mean I actually do all the right things! Life gets crazy and hectic and that often means neglecting our own needs. I struggle when that happens — anxiety is usually the first thing that creeps up followed closely by adrenal fatigue. Admitting that to myself, to my family, and to my followers is the first step. Pretending like everything is fine or pushing through the fatigue is a recipe for disaster. And mostly I know to keep an eye out for the triggers! When I experience those early signs of burnout, I’m quick to address them. I just have to get back to the basics — Eat real food. Move my body. Get adequate sleep. Focus on the good. Give myself a healthy dose of grace.
WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?
This is a super hard question for me! I have so many resources that I rely on for information and support, but for the sake of selecting just one I’ll go with Wellness Mama. I just love her! She has a good mix of everything in there, and I can always trust her information. And she has a great podcast, too!
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I know most people usually recommend a motivational book, but I’m going with Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.
When I first read it as part of my nutrition certification program. I was convinced my picture should be on the cover! It explained so many of the mental, physical, and
emotional issues I’ve dealt with over the years of being a military spouse. I felt validated — there were legitimate reasons for what I’ve experienced and I’m not crazy! Someday I hope to write a book about adrenal fatigue and military spouses, because let’s face it — the struggle is REAL.
(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)
ABOUT AMANDA KOCH
Amanda is a Texas born and raised girl (or middle aged woman) living in Alaska. Her husband is a pilot in the Air Force, and he is currently stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage where they are raising their two boys — 12 and 4. Aside from the mom and wife gig, Amanda is a Pilates Master Trainer, Nutritional Therapy Consultant, and Director with Beautycounter. She is also the founder of My Well Balanced Life, where she helps busy women establish well-balanced lives of their own through real food, healthy movement, and safer products.