By Annie Banks

Born and raised in Coastal South Carolina…

I spent summers traveling to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. At home in the mountains and by the ocean. My parents were nonconformists, my Dad living on a sailboat, and my mom in a log cabin she had built from repurposed lumber. Their relationship was short lived, but long enough to produce my brother, and myself about 2.5 years apart. I spent some of the time with Dad on the boat, but mostly lived with my Mom in the woods.

Circa 1985

A creative and artistically “gifted” kid , I was often lost (or sheltered?) in and inner world of my own making. This ultimately led me to college for an Art Degree, because that seemed like the obvious thing to do. In my senior year of college, I participated in a yoga teacher training and graduated from both at the same time.

The real story, Is that at 18 years old, I became depressed.

I started to develop a dysfunctional relationship with food, eating, and my body. I thought there was “something wrong with me” and could not understand what was happening. When I finally started seeing a therapist at 22, I worked through a few things , but never could quite get to the root causes, much less resolve them. I just got really good at telling the “story” of my feelings.

During this season of depression, exercise was something that gave me some relief. At times, it was the only time I felt “OK”. And, while I knew nutrition was important, my relationship with food continued to be dysfunctional and highly emotional. ( Later in my 20’s alcohol would replace over-eating. And that addiction took me many years to address. ) I struggled with my weight, and self-esteem. But I knew, on a deeper level, it wasn’t food… And it wasn’t my body’s fault. I didn’t know what “it” was. But I continued to search for answers and relief.

I became a personal trainer in my mid 20’s while I was trying to figure out what to do with my life professionally. If exercise helped me with my own mental well being, why couldn’t I help others that way too? I loved my work. I loved the human body. And I was really curious about what is happening in our minds behind the scenes. Why could some of us set goals and accomplish them, and others of us (self-included) struggled with self-sabotage and underachieving? Why are we the way we are as adults? And can we change?

How I met my first coach…

I met my first Coach in 2008, while taking a course from the C.H.E.K Institute, the primary source of my education at the time (he was teaching it, which blew my mind!). In one session we went deeper than I had gone in years with therapy.

Working with this Coach regularly over the course of 8 years, I unraveled the stories behind my depression. The stories behind my emotional relationship with food. I saw my childhood and family relationships in a new light, and allowed memories and feelings to come through that had been hidden for years. Tapping into my subconscious to access those hidden blocks and ultimately transforming them and reclaiming my power. I found many lost and broken pieces of myself and slowly began to heal. And most importantly, I learned how to coach myself.

I continued to work as a personal trainer and yoga teacher, and then as a massage therapist, and all the while in the back of mind I knew… I wanted to be a Coach. I wanted to use these incredible tools I had learned, and pass them on. I wanted to assist people, on their journey of empowering themselves.

It’s my honor to be a witness, and a champion for those walking the journey of self discovery.

- Insights -

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