I wanted to use this first post to take some time to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my background and why I chose this particular path.
My name is Mariah Johnston and I’m proud to call myself a health advocate, but it hasn’t always been this way. Growing up, health to me, was just the absence of disease or illness. The only nutrition information I knew was sugar was bad for my father who had type 1 diabetes, so everything in our house was usually the sugar free option (lots of diet drinks and sugar substitutes). Exercise was a foreign subject that I briefly got a taste of when I was on the track team my Freshman year of high school.
I got away with skipping meals, eating junk food and lots of fast food, hardly drinking water, and never exercising for years. My first real introduction into consistent exercise and a meaningful diet was when I met my husband. Needless to say, the first couple of years of our marriage was a major change in my cooking and eating habits. I signed up for a gym membership after noticing my body wasn’t bouncing back the same after my second child was born. I still would only go once, or maybe twice a week and never stray far from the group fitness classes or the cardio machines.
One evening I went to the gym to take a class and noticed the gym was looking for a part-time employee to check in members and man the front desk. I applied and got the job for the evenings. From there I got to know a lot of the patrons, how the gym worked, I watched how people worked out and took a ton of mental notes. The gym became my second home and I wasn’t so intimidated by the unknown.
During that time, I was pregnant with my third and final child. My husband and I decided it was time for me to go to school now that he had completed his MBA. I registered for full time school in communication and quit my job at the gym, so I could focus on my family and school.
During my time at Weber State University, I found myself completely overwhelmed with balancing school, young kids, eating right, and keeping a tidy home. I was stressed to the max and felt I didn’t have the skills to cope. I had a friend suggest I take a stress management class from the Health Promotion department around my second year.
That class completely changed my entire outlook on life AND health. I loved every minute of that class and wanted to learn so much more about health, wellness, self-care, just all of it! So, I changed my major to Health Promotion. I excelled in my coursework and felt like I had found my calling. My entire lifestyle changed from then on. And I couldn’t keep it to myself, I wanted to tell everyone about health and wellness.
So that brings me here today! I have continued my education and will be earning my master’s degree in Health Promotion & Education from the University of Utah this Spring. I have earned my certification in wellness coaching and am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Facilitating health workshops, speaking on wellness topics, and coaching clients are my favorite ways to share my knowledge and expertise.