ABOUT CHRISTINE COEN…
As founder of Deadlifts Over Depression, Christine Coen raises awareness about how exercise can impact and even improve your mental health. Through this program, she encourages people to reach for dumbells instead of foods that don’t nourish them. Her annual #DeadliftsOverDepressionChallenge, where participants film themselves doing as many deadlifts as they can in 60 seconds, raised $1,000 in its first year.
Christine combines her passion for fitness and mental health with her degree as a Registered Dietitian, 10 years as a one-on-one fitness professional, and her fitness videography production company to encourage people to get up and move every day.
Before founding this program, Christine went on her own wellness journey. Growing up, healthy choices and lifestyle were pretty easy for Christine. Coupled with a pretty straightforward and privileged path - good grades, good college, good job - it was simple enough to go through the motions and end up living what Christine calls a “mindless, color in the lines” life.
Everything worked, until one day it didn’t.
Christine’s lack of mindfulness about her own life started to catch up with her. In less than a year, she was burnt out and struggling at work while a mental health crisis with a close family member added to it all. Her stress and cortisol were at an all time high. Throughout all this, Christine found herself becoming more and more apathetic towards her own life. She was exhausted all the time, binge eating throughout the day and night, isolated herself from friends and family, and ended up gaining over 30lbs, which caused her to feel more shameful and embarrassed by the day.
She knew she needed help, but she didn’t know how to start. Her days became a see-saw of attempts to snap out of it and actions that drove her deeper into depression. Christine researched depression and overeaters groups, but she also ate ice cream for breakfast, left work early to go to sleep, and cancelled plans because of her anxiety and fatigue. Her once mindless healthy lifestyle felt so hard and far away from her current daily life. She finally accepted that she was struggling with depression and anxiety.
And then she didn’t tell anyone.
She didn’t see a doctor.
Didn’t go on medication.
She let shame overtake her and bring her lower.
In a rare break from feeling fatigued, she dragged herself to a hot yoga class one evening. Leaving that class, covered in sweat with her heart racing, her breath both deep and strong, she realized the heaviness was lifted. She felt lighter, calmer, more peaceful, and more hopeful than before she walked into that class. At that moment, Christine knew movement was the medication she needed. Not to lose weight or burn calories or to punish herself for overeating, but because if she could feel this great and strong and calm from exercising, maybe she could use it to feel better a little bit every day.
Soon after, exercise went from being the way Christine felt a little better every day to the way to tap into her inner strength. This became her ‘why.’ Today, exercise is still Christine’s why, and she empowers others to use movement to transform their mental wellbeing, even if it’s just for five minutes at a time. To learn more about Christine and how exercise can transform your mental health, send her message.