My Journey to Wellness: One Healthy Habit at a Time – by Holly Lass

This article is written by one of my amazing Concierge clients, Holly Lass. She came to me when she felt like she had tried everything, and really needed the extra accountability and support. It’s been an honor to watch her transformation and I’m so excited that she is able to share it and inspire others. If you want results like Holly, don’t hesitate to reach out or schedule a free consult with me.


I never knew that I needed a coach and couldn’t have imagined how impactful one would be – especially a coach like Adrien Cotton, who earlier this year, brought wellness to Alexandria. After 15 years of serving Alexandrians with fitness, Adrien launched her premiere Concierge Wellness Program and is now dedicated to helping people like me focus not only on weight loss and exercise, but more importantly, on wellness.

For eleven years now, I have been trying to lose my left-over pregnancy weight. All along, I thought that I knew exactly what I needed to eat (or not eat!) and how many times per week I needed to exercise in order to lose the weight, yet I failed over and over again. It seemed so simple, why couldn’t I stick to a plan for more than three consecutive days? I learned that my daily schedule – which requires a lot of juggling to meet demands of a busy job, a busy family, and a busy social calendar – was partly to blame. And the other part was pain. Likely due to inflammation, every joint in my body constantly ached. How could I exercise when I didn’t have any time or when I was in pain?

Concierge Wellness

I needed and wanted to do something different and Adrien’s Concierge Wellness Program was exactly what I needed. The program provided a new approach: a comprehensive and tailored strategy just for me. As I was considering making the commitment to Adrien, my 50th birthday approached and my dear friends gave to me as a gift, the first month. I will forever be grateful to Nancy Giblin, Pam Murphy, and Ann Loughlin for their gift of wellness which will surely add many healthy years to my life so that I can enjoy my precious family and dear friends.

In May, I began working with Adrien and immediately expected her to tell me what to eat, when to eat it, which exercises to do and when to do them. But she did not. Instead, she asked me to describe my daily routine. Though I was a bit thrown off, I told Adrien how, from the moment I wake up at 6:00 am, I hit the ground running and don’t stop until I literally collapse in bed around midnight. As she suspected, my jam-packed day left no time for me or for healthy habits. And so it began, my journey to wellness, one healthy habit at a time.

I am writing this article because I want everyone to know that it is not just about diet and exercise; wellness is so much more. It is not about just being thin, it is about doing what is best for your body and your mind so that you are able to live a long, healthy, and grateful life with those you love.

Adrien takes the time to really get to know her clients and through that process, comes to understand what lifestyle changes would be most helpful for reaching their wellness goal. The healthy habits which Adrien taught me were a fundamental part of my success, and each one continues to be an important part of my every day. In addition to intermittent fasting, below are the top five healthy habits that I practice every day.

Creating Healthy Habits

Healthy Habit #1: Slow down, just say no and organize my schedule. Every Sunday night, I write my schedule for the week in a notebook. Each night before I go to bed, I review my schedule for the next day and add the “Top 5” things I need to get done. Focusing only on five action items sets me up for success. And boy does it feel good to check off all five items! An endless list of things to do is exhausting and depressing. Adrien really pushed me to get control of my schedule. Of the many life-changing habits she taught me, this one had the most impact. Getting control of my schedule was a pivotal point in my journey; it was a game-changer. Adrien taught me to say no to things which preserved time for me.

Healthy Habit #2: Plan easy, healthy meals and pack a lunch. If you don’t plan what you are going to eat, you will not be able to make good choices. Adrien has drilled this into my head, and she is 100 percent correct. The eating part is easy, but good planning is what leads to success. I used to wander around my office at lunchtime looking for something delicious and healthy to eat. Not only were my options not healthy but they were far from delicious. I now bring a delicious and healthy lunch from home every day. I typically make lunches for the week on Sundays, so they are ready to go and easy to grab. Adrien also taught me how important it is to focus on protein and veggies and urged me to stay away from dairy and gluten. I have practiced this religiously and I am pleased to share that my joint pain and unexplained cough (which I have had forever) is gone.

Healthy Habit #3: Drink Bulletproof Coffee. If you don’t know what it is, Bulletproof Coffee is the bomb! It is delicious and consists of coffee, MCT oil and butter (grass-fed only!). When Adrien first recommended it to me, I couldn’t think of anything more unappetizing – especially because I did not like coffee. But, just as Adrien does, I savor every sip of my Bulletproof coffee. One of the many wonderful things about Adrien is that she is incredibly knowledgeable and offers the science to back up her every recommendation. With good fats like butter and MCT oil, Bulletproof coffee helps to satiate and boost mental clarity.

Healthy Habit #4: Take a bath with epsom salt before bed. When Adrien first recommended that I take a bath every night, I thought such an activity was pure luxury and that there would be no possible way I could carve out time for such a luxury. Now, my body and my mind depend on that sacred, luxurious time. Adrien taught me how beneficial it can be to let myself decompress after a long day and to provide a method of regular relaxation for both my body and my mind. A consistent night-time routine tells my mind when it is time to wind down which makes falling asleep a lot easier.

Healthy Habit #5: Go to bed early and wake up early (at the same time each day/night).  This has been the biggest challenge for me. But with Adrien’s positive encouragement and her sound justification for why we all need our sleep, I am getting there. Just as all of the healthy habits Adrien taught me make me feel better, so does getting enough sleep. When I got to bed at 9pm and wake up at 5am, I not only enjoy every minute of the peaceful hour before my family rises, I am also miraculously able to accomplish most if not all of my “Top 5.” There is nothing like the early morning to get into the right frame of mind and knock things off your to do list. It does wonders for your mind and leads to a remarkably productive day.

Wellness Workout

After seven months, I am pain-free, I have no cough, and I feel more rested and prepared each and every day. I feel accomplished and grateful and as an added bonus, I have finally lost the twenty pounds (and then some!) that I have been trying to lose for more than a decade. I feel tremendously well, have so much energy, and am stronger than ever.

I didn’t succeed by working out for hours in the gym or by eating salads without dressing. I did it by incorporating new healthy habits into my life – with the help Adrien Cotton, who is one of the most positive and motivating people I know. Many Alexandrians know Adrien as a fabulous trainer and the owner of Fitness on the Run – but she is so much more. She has a brilliant mind and truly has a gift to motivate; her coaching style is unique and is the best around. Adrien and the Alexandria Wellness Program have changed my life.

If you’re ready to take the leap, commit to yourself, get the coaching and accountability, and learn what habits will get you the results you want. Learn more about Adrien’s Concierge Program and schedule a free 20-minute consult.

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