Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Hi! I'm Tessie, Certified Eating Psychology Coach and Founder of HAPIE Co. I help ambitious women who struggle with body image and emotional eating learn how to find food balance, body confidence, and motivation with healthy eating, fitness and mindset habits through my 5-step sustainable goal-setting method. I'm currently working on fully branding HAPIE Goals and creating an ecommerce site with all the goal-setting goodies!
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
My favorite Ellevate memory is from before I was on the Chapter team here in Denver. I had just moved back to CO from almost a decade in LA, and was feeling a desire to get connected with professional women ASAP.
Soon enough, my husband saw an event through General Assembly for female professionals he thought I would like. The speaker was on the Ellevate Denver Chapter team, and after introducing myself she invited me to an interest meeting.
Low and behold, there I was driving to meet new women and feeling those nervous, shy butterflies that go along with "networking" sometimes. As I walked into the Condo building, I thought "I've been here before"... We had visited our longtime friends (who I studied abroad with in 2007!) the summer before we moved back to Denver. And who do you think lived across from them? The president of the Denver Chapter. Not only that, she also went to UX school with my cousin!
I mean, I took that as not only one but two serendipitous signs I was in the right place at the right time, and I committed to be co-events on the Denver Chapter team that very week. I love this community, and I'm grateful to have met so many amazing women in Denver and the entire US!
How would you define your professional mission?
My mission is to help at least 1 million womxn overcome common societal challenges like body shame, dietary restriction and unwanted eating habits so they can experience and pass on positive shifts in self image, self-care, and self-confidence.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
One project I'm super proud of is a collaboration I did with Life Goals Magazine. It's an online personal development brand for millennial women. The founder and I put together a 6-week online wellness program to help women go from 0 to consistent with healthy habits. It was challenging because I was creating content in the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic, and definitely had days when I needed to have compassion for myself and take a mental health break. But the feeling of putting a comprehensive program together with over 9 bonuses was a great learning experience and value we both felt super proud of!
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I grew up an athlete, starting gymnastics at the age of 4. I had always been active, even though I was born with a congenital heart condition that commonly makes it difficult for anyone who has it to do intense activity. Defying the odds all the way through a collegiate competitive cheerleading career, being a bodybuilding champion, and competing at the CrossFit Games Regional team level in SoCal... my road was bumpy. My heart condition popped up at inopportune moments, like a rapid heart rhythm in the middle of a back flip that landed me basically on my head. Or the time my heart had been racing over 170 all night and the paramedics had to give me a medicine to literally flatline and restart my heart. I've had 3 procedures to remove extra electrical pathways that cause these irregular rhythms. And yet, I've mostly always been grateful... grateful for everything I CAN DO. My journey with fitness inspired me to guide others in their health journey, and any challenges they've faced along the way.
I also lost my best friend in high school to a tragic car accident that I saw happen. My 17 yr-old self developed a subconscious coping mechanism of emotional and binge eating, which I tried for years to "fix" with dieting, intense exercise, and body hate. It wasn't until I got certified in Eating Psychology that I realized my "pleasure" from food was THE thing helping me feel better in a painful time, and in stressful times even after I'd healed more from the loss of a friend. After going through the thick of my journey, I knew coaching others and developing my own tools to help womxn TRULY begin to love their bodies and find a guilt-free relationship with food was a must.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of being an Eating Psychology Coach is getting emails, texts and calls from clients who have huge breakthroughs. Hearing things like "I just bought the pair of jeans I've been wanting forever, in the size I am NOW instead of 'waiting until I'm smaller' and I can't wait to wear them and own it!"
"I haven't binged in over 21 days!"
"I was able to stand up to my relative who kept making comments on what I eat and my body. I have never been able to do that before and it was really empowering."
It makes me so happy to see them busting through challenges that have, in some cases, been haunting them their entire lives.
Who are your role models?
Beyoncé. Jenna Kutcher. Elizabeth Gilbert.
What is your morning ritual?
I like that it changes. I used to beat myself up for not being able to stick to a rigid, hour-long morning routine. Finally I followed my own coaching haha and made it my own. I love the 5-minute journal, the 6-phase meditation by Vishen Lakhiani, and will sometimes listen to affirmations or read an excerpt from the bible app.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I would say it comes up as a challenge for sure. While I work on my business, I also am Director of Operations at a Wellness and Biohacking facility. Often it can feel like I'll never have enough "business" time in the day.
One no-fail tactic I use to create balance is to give myself a hard "computer cut-off time" in the evenings. Sometimes it's 8p, sometimes earlier or later. When that time hits, and I haven't finished "everything" ha which is most of the time, I quickly make a note of when I will make time for it in the next few days, and I move on to relaxing activities.
Giving myself a time to shut it all down is just as helpful as when I have meetings at a certain time. It helps me stick to it. Planning when I'll pick up the task allows my mind to be at ease to let it go for the day.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
I think it's both career advice and passion advice. In Liz Gilbert's book Big Magic, she talks about how she NEVER put pressure on herself to make a living from her writing. Granted, she DID end up doing that, but her message is endearing and authentic. She says, "even if I have to get a waitressing job at age 70 to pay the bills... I'll never stop writing." To me this advice stands out as a lesson in the importance of passion.
Whether or not our "career" is the thing paying the bills, we ALL need something that fills our cup. Whether that's having a family, volunteering, starting a side hustle, painting, etc. that piece of the puzzle spills over into our overall happiness.
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