Upgrade Your Happy is a not-for-profit company whose mission is to teach people how to live even better through supportive community, good nutrition and fitness. To truly understand our mission, you have to have a glimpse of how this all started. Get comfy for a few minutes...
Hi, I'm Devin, founder of Upgrade Your Happy. Nutrition and exercise have always been an important part of my life and I've spent a lot of time growing my knowledge in these areas. Over the past 3 years, it has come to mean even more. With having open heart surgery and the lasting effects of a previously enlarged heart, it helped me understand that exercise has to be a priority in my life. I knew this. Everyone knows you SHOULD exercise but now I really KNEW it has to be something I scheduled around and not something I did after everything else was done. So what did I do? I ramped it up, of course!! I didn't change my diet much because after 20 years of nutrition study, I thought my diet was pretty good. I was wrong. I wasn't eating enough healthy fats for my body type and increased level of physical activity. The absorption of my fat soluble vitamins were plummeting. I had weird symptoms including excessive sweating which drove my electrolytes out of whack and things got even worse. Bring on the anxiety and depression. I knew everything in the body was connected, but I didn't realize it was CONNECTED. My support structure at the time was wonky; self-doubt and negativity were a bit amplified. Icing on the cake, we were hit by layoffs, two out of three of my kids had recently discovered special needs, work was crazy, crazy busy but also stressed in a number of ways (hello economic recession) and some of my closest friend relationships were in crisis. Bring on all the stressful things - check. Who the hell has time to figure out how to eat right when EVERYTHING.IS.BLOWING.UP? It's hard enough to figure out how to get the kids to and from activities, making sure all the work-work is done, trying to get a clue about what's happening at school, or even figuring out when to shower let alone trying to eat right. But I did...because I've always been a little crunchy and I really believed working on my nutrition would help. And it did. Wow, I really learned a lot on a topic where I already felt very, very strong. I made some small changes and things improved. Of course my life didn't fall apart over night, so its not going to fix itself like that either - a work in progress. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. And when I started to see the light again I realized THAT really sucked. So I started to pay closer attention to all kinds of people around me. I took lots of personal steps to try to understand more because as you know, we are offered way too many band-aids in life and I really needed to get down to the cause.
First and foremost, having a friend crisis made me feel like a whiny kindergartner. I tried to understand what makes other people fall apart. I spent a lot of time listening to other people and I learned...friend crisis is a thing. Cool, I am not psycho. Good to know! I learned that most people feel life, in general, is hard. How, HOW are there people that do all the "things"? What magical powers do they possess? So I listened some more. I learned some more. To my surprise, I learned that I AM one of those magical people that does all the things. Hmmm. Only those really, really close to me know that I find lots of things really hard.
I spent some time thinking about my life values. I spent some time thinking about what has allowed me to persevere and thrive through all the tough times in life. What did I come up with: a supportive, uplifting community, good nutrition, and exercise. Mix in good nutrition and exercise and things always elevate to another level. With better nutrition and fitness, personal perspective moves from "this is hard" to "I can't do it YET, but when I can...". Your brain controls the all of you and it needs the right nutrition and feel good benefits of exercise to keep everything balanced. Being able to do your best at work or at school, ability to deal with life's emotional moments, pumping out the right mix of hormones to keep your moods balanced is all the work of the brain which is affected by every other system in your body because IT'S ALL CONNECTED. So if one system is off, it triggers a subtle domino effect. We KNOW diet and exercise choices affect systems in which poor decisions can lead to Diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. For some reason our acceptance of the effects of nutrition and exercise on all things emotional ceases at the word stroke. WHY?
All this revelation is too good not to share and so the concept for Upgrade Your Happy started to come into focus. Since my college days as a student in child development, I have had a soft spot in my heart for childhood obesity and nutrition. My passion for childhood nutrition and my self-reflective understanding of better living through community, nutrition, and exercise were married into Upgrade Your Happy. Because all of these elements are really things that will be tackled as a family.
This website is parent resource. A starting point for supportive, uplifting community: a place to share, have fun, and to be real on all topics: friends, partners, children, parenting, food, exercise - whatever we feel like talking about because community is community. But wait, there's more! The site is also a place to learn how to easily build good nutrition and exercise habits. A place to learn general life hacks and ways to make life easier and to create time for the most important things because its all CONNECTED. You don't have to jump into fitness and nutrition 100% to benefit. You make space for what you can and people will support you where you are. Slowly, you'll want to make time for more because you realize one day that you DO feel better. Regardless how much time we each decide to make for these things we have a place to connect where people don't judge because if we are going to put energy into something, it should be supportive and positive and used to build people up.
We have organized this a not-for-profit so we can use some of this energy for outreach to teach people about the positive effects of exercise and nutrition in their own communities because if you are going to make a difference, you need to start with people where they are. One day they will find us here, but until then will keep reaching and helping people understand how to live better through community, nutrition and fitness.
Do you want to be a part of this? There a number of ways to get involved:
We are a start-up but we have big plans. Step one is to get into the community through clubs but soon we will be working with community partners to deliver nutrition and fitness education in schools and churches to better meet the needs of all people interested in staying connected wholly. We would love for you to be a part of it, in whatever way best fits your needs.