Pursuing Uncomfortable Blog and Updates Episode 18: Pursuing Health When It Seems Too Hard

Episode 18: Pursuing Health When It Seems Too Hard


🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get go. 🎶

Episode Intro: 🎶 Hey, Hey, welcome back to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. I'm Melissa Ebken and I'm so glad, and so thankful that you're spending time listening to this podcast today. And I'm going to get a little bit nosy here to start things off. Do you ever wander to your refrigerator? Even if you're not hungry, but because you're feeling something or thinking something? 

Have you ever sat down to eat dinner and you're still eating because your plate still has food on it, but you're already full? If you have any of these situations in your life or any of these things sound familiar to you, you're going to want to hear what David Hernandez has to say about it. David has an amazing life. He has an amazing commitment to serve people in this world, and he has a process that's going to help you. So stay tuned and listen for the four steps that you can incorporate to make your life healthier and happier. 

So without any further delay, let me introduce you to David Hernandez. 🎶

Melissa Ebken  0:06  
Hello, and welcome back to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. David, I'm so glad that you're able to join me today. How are you?

David Hernandez  0:15  
I'm doing fantastic. Melissa, thank you so much for the opportunity. It is an absolute blessing to be here on your show and be connecting with your audience. Thank you for this amazing platform.

Melissa Ebken  0:26  
David, I knew within the first 12 and a half seconds of speaking with you that I had to have you as a guest on this podcast. I love your story. I love what you do. I love the way you help people. So do you mind if we just jump right into it? Let everybody else see the you that just, I saw and had to share?

David Hernandez  0:50  
Absolutely. That's the best way. Let's jump in and explore the waters together, so to speak.

Melissa Ebken  0:57  
Perfect. Now, I know that you had a best friend growing up. And this best friend had a real impact on your life and what you do now. Is that all right if we talk about him a little bit,

David Hernandez  1:13  
absolutely. And I'll be I'll be raw and vulnerable in this episode. And this this topic still has an impact on my life and emotional impact because it in spite of the loss and in spite of what happened, there's a lot of good that came out of it. So sharing the story out of childhood best friend, we did everything together. And we played sports together. He's he was a brother to me. He spent more time at my home than he probably did at his home. And so I saw his struggles. And I saw his battles because he was to paint you a picture. I was the skinny athletic kid. And he was more of the little huskier, heavyset non athletic type. And so 

Melissa Ebken  2:05  
would you share his name with us? 

David Hernandez  2:06  
Absolutely. His name was Eric. Eric Eric. And so he struggled with being overweight from a very young age. And he's struggled through many hardships in his life, right? He unfortunately, his mom didn't raise them, his mom gave him over to, to his her mother, his grandmother to kind of raise him. So he didn't he wasn't raised with the mom, he wasn't raised with the father, his father left them when he was young. And so in his fight to try and fit in, he would do his best. And so all I remember doing at a young age is just encouraging him and motivating him because I saw him suffer. And a lot of the things I saw him suffering were in silence. Because he didn't know what to do. He didn't feel comfortable in the way he looked. He was made fun of because of how he looked, he had, you know, nicknames that were given because of how he looked and how he was. And it was just a very hard life for him. And so we'd go to the gym together, I'd push him, we'd play sports together. And so even all the way through high school, I did my best to try and get him to release weight and get healthy. And so at the age of 18, we split, we went our separate ways. I was in tech, we were both in Texas, I moved to Miami to pursue a culinary arts and nutrition degree and we kind of lost, you know, the relationship. And at 21 I got a phone call that he had passed away. And he had gotten so obese and he had gotten so desperate to get the weight off that he went to get a gastric bypass surgery. And two days later he he died, he passed away. And so it it really was and it was a sucker punch it still today, you know, I'm I'm impacted by what he had to go through. And there were moments for I would say about eight months where I felt really angry and guilty and shame came on me and I would shame my blame myself because I would say I could have I could have done more I would tell myself I could have done more. Why did I let this happen? Why did I let that occurr to his life. And so after those eight months of just battling with my own thoughts of destruction in that area, I finally had to realize something. There wasn't much more I could have done. You know, I couldn't have done it for him. He had to be in a place where he would be willing to do whatever it takes in a healthy way to fight for his life and to fight for his health. But I realized that he didn't know how. And I was so young that I didn't know how either so It woke me up. And I made a commitment in that moment that I hadn't shared with anyone for years up until recently that it was a personal commitment. And I said, as long as I know of someone, or I I can have an opportunity with someone, I want to help them in any way that I can to make sure that they never go through what my best friend went through. And that's where I really dove deep into the health and fitness industry. I was already on my own journey, right, I was training, I was learning about nutrition, I was really big into bodybuilding. So I was learning a lot. And so that just really brought purpose, clarity, and focus into knowing what I wanted to do. And where I could impact people. And you know, fast forward where we're at now, 14 years later, 15 years tomorrow, but um, it it. It changed my life. And so now I'm doing this to helping others. And I'm holding myself to that commitment still today.

Melissa Ebken  6:13  
And I want to ask you more questions about that. But I feel like we should give Eric a little more time and let him have his moment. So do you mind sharing a couple of things about Eric that made you two brothers.

David Hernandez  6:31  
He had the most amazing heart. And to him everything was let's make it fun. What can we do to have fun. And together, there wasn't a moment where we weren't laughing together. It was always jokes left and right. And just I remember, I would we would wrestle and then I would tickle him and he would tickle me and just a poking way type of thing, right just to pick at each other. And I remember he just enjoyed every moment, and especially during Christmas, that time was so so important for us because we would come and we would decorate the entire home with with lights. And we'd look for different ways on how to make the house better than we did it last year. And I'll never forget he was he was afraid of heights. And so I would play these little chicken games with him like how high can you go on the ladder. And as he would go, I'd kind of rattle the ladder a little bit and kind of pick on him. And he would pick on me. That's right, that's right. And, and I remember he he loved his car, he bought this car. And for him. At the time there was like this show on MTV called Pimp My Ride. And I remember he was like can I do to fix my car to make it better. And so we would work on things like that together. I remember trying to set up speakers inside his seats so that the people can hear it vibrating. And it could just be louder in his car. And we just looked for every opportunity that we could just have fun and laugh together. And so it was beautiful

Melissa Ebken  8:14  
David, when you talk about him, you just light up. And I can see how the light of a life that was just so joyful still lives on with you. 

David Hernandez  8:26  

Melissa Ebken  8:27  
And I can see how that really inspires you and motivates you to do the work that you do. 

David Hernandez  8:35  
it does. It does 

Melissa Ebken  8:37  
And you know something i I'm sure I'm not unique in this whatsoever. But getting in shape was just a thing to do in my 20s. But with each passing decade, it really is a matter of life and death. And that is such an obvious statement, but not one that we really get until those decades start to mount.

David Hernandez  9:03  
Right. That's right. And so with him being so young, right, and just going through so much in his life, it's very easy to give up on yourself. And it's very easy to blame yourself and bring a certain level of even condemnation on yourself because of the life that you're going through. And a lot of those things we take it out on ourselves in a very destructive way. Even though we know it's not good, it's affecting me. But it impacts us in such a way that we need to find a reason as to why I'm living this type of life. Right? Whether you've gone through trauma whether you've gone through maybe you don't know your dad, you've been abandoned, you've been rejected. You've you know, had a bad A breakup, there's always this, I want to know why this has happened to me. And so we look for these justifications through our life. And when we can't find them, we end up looking at ourselves and judging ourselves and blaming ourselves for what we're going through, to find a justification as to why we're living this life. Right? And so I saw that pattern repeated in him. And one thing after one thing, one choice after one choice after a bad choice, after bad choice, it adds up in, you know, sadly, he was gone young.

Melissa Ebken  10:39  
Such a powerfully negative emotion. 

David Hernandez  10:44  
That's right. 

Melissa Ebken  10:44  
And sometimes we even punished ourselves with guilt when things are going well, because who are we to have things going? So well, 

David Hernandez  10:52  
that's right, 

Melissa Ebken  10:53  
when our friends or, you know, ontologically, other people in the world are suffering and we're not, you know, that can just play on us. And it really affects the choices we make every day, and especially when it comes to food and how we treat our bodies,

David Hernandez  11:10  
right? And so that's where this destructive spiral happens. And it's so dangerous to fall in that, because we look at well, I was the reason why this problem happened. Right? So therefore, we feel that we should take it out on ourselves, we may speak negatively to us, we may say, You know what, forget this, I don't care about me anymore. And we might fall into destructive habits. But then the guilt comes in, which then makes us feel like dang, why did I do it? I'm a failure. I can't believe I did this. And what do we do, we do more of that destructive behavior. And all it does is a big circle spiral, a destructive cycle that keeps us trapped in this destructive behavior that ends up literally destroying our lives.

Melissa Ebken  12:05  
I want to argue with you so much, but I don't have anything I can argue that statement with it is so true. So true. I know I've done a lot of work. And I spend a lot of time on the space between my ears. Because mindset is so powerful. And it's the key to catch everything in life. 

David Hernandez  12:27  
It really is 

Melissa Ebken  12:28  
and I know you do a lot of work with mindset. 

David Hernandez  12:31  
Yes, ma'am. I sure do. I sure do that to really the foundational piece. Because when we look at health, we look at weight loss, right? Or we look at losing weight, releasing weight, we tend to think of it as a physical component, only a physical element, when in reality, it has really nothing to do with our physical but more to do with our identity with our psychology was what we've been what we've become. Because when we look at our life, right, everything from our young age has shaped us and it's molded us to who we are today. But how do we get there, it's by what we've experienced what we've gone through. And specifically, when we're talking about health and weight, it starts with our relationship with food that literally shapes us, conditions us and makes us become who we are today. So I always tell my students when I'm teaching, and I'm talking with them is that your relationship with food has shaped who you are today, literally, psychologically, and even emotionally. And so when we don't work on these areas here, the psychology how are we looking at food? How are we looking at ourselves? How are we looking at me the human element, right? We will never truly be able to change as a whole. we'll temporarily change we'll get some results, right? Because diets work to a certain extent. supplements work to a certain extent, right? Like exercising will work for a certain extent. But what happens when it stops working? What's next? What do you do? And so if we're not working here on the psychology side of things, we're not working on the emotional side of things, and we're not changing our identity. Look, it's going to be a roller coaster ride going up and down, up and down.

Melissa Ebken  14:32  
Absolutely. You know, David, I can remember as a kid sitting at the dinner table, usually in front of a pile of canned peas. Oh, right. I mean, I love peas. Ugh, fresh peas. If I had fresh peas as a kid or frozen peas that would've have been an entirely different life. But I remember sitting in front of the plate that had been emptied except for this lump of canned peas. Yeah, and my mom would always say you know if you Don't finish your plate, the sun's not gonna come out tomorrow. And I thought, oh my gosh, everybody's gonna be mad and they'll know it's my fine. Yeah, I mean, I literally took that on. And, of course, an eight year old kid would have dominion over whether the sun shines the next day or not, you know, the logic of that never entered my mind. But the guilt did. and  today, I get anxious, and my plate is almost empty, and I'm still eating, and I'm full. And I'm thinking of why am I still eating? I'm not hungry? And it's hard to not do that. Even though I have the awareness. It's hard to break that association.

David Hernandez  15:40  
That's right. That's right. And that's why when I talk about the emotional eating, or others might say, Yeah, I don't I'm not an emotional eater, okay, fine, then let's call it stress eating or boredom eating, right? Because a lot of people are, we use this term stress eating, and people take offense, they don't like to own it, they say I'm not an emotional person, because it makes them feel weak, right? It makes them feel less than and makes them feel like oh, what are people gonna say? It really doesn't matter what people are saying. It's, they're gonna say something about you anyways. So if we're dealing with this, might as well own it, right? Because that is the first step to being able to allow change to come to your life. And so, in this component, when we're talking about emotional eating, when when I've been doing my research on what others are teaching, we hear a lot about this term of like, okay, if you're, if you're emotionally eating, stop eating and get a stress ball instead to release your emotions. It's like, if it was that easy, we wouldn't have this problem. Right? We wouldn't have this issue if it's simply like, oh, yeah, today just stop eating and do this instead, it doesn't work.

Melissa Ebken  16:50  
Oh, I wish somebody would have told me that.

David Hernandez  16:53  
That's right. Well, because it's what's happened is, through behavior, through the repetition of what we've been done, or what we've been heard, or what we've been told, or what we do, we literally start to create neural pathways. And these neural pathways start to create deep associations, deep roots in our brain, that will literally be fired and triggered to a specific behavior. So that is why it is so crucial, even as parents, especially as parents, because we are, we are shaping the relationship with food from a very young age from kids. So that's why if food is ever used as a treat, or as a punishment, we start to develop a bad relationship with it, right? If food is used, in a sense, like terms as this, you have to eat everything on your plate, as you grow older, it doesn't matter how much food is on your plate, you literally feel guilty, because there's food on your plate. So what is that doing? You've already built in, 

Melissa Ebken  17:57  
I'm a grown woman, and I'm an intelligent woman I can do. And a lot of things, I know things and I have that?

David Hernandez  18:06  
Well, because you created because of the repetition of childhood being told you have to do this, you have to do this, you have to do this, you've literally create that you created that association in your brain. And so now when you're there, it's like you automatically feel it, you automatically have to do it, otherwise you don't feel good. And so 

Melissa Ebken  18:30  
you know what, my husband has more self control than any human being should be allowed to have. Yeah, but he will eat dinner. And he will have one bite of food left on his plate. And he'll say, eh, I'm full. I'm done. That's great. It just makes me so anxious. Yeah, you have one bite left?

David Hernandez  18:47  
Yeah. And so what happens is we need to, when we're talking about how to get over or how to defeat emotional eating, we literally have to rewire your brain and teach it how to do a different behavior. So that we can release ourselves from the previous behavior that we've done to now adopt a healthy way of doing things and it starts with our relationship with food. And let's say another example. Let's say when you're young, you go to school, you come home, you had a bad day, your mom sees that you are sad. So she comes she sits down and you talk it over and then afterward she says look here have this cookie so you can feel better. Right there, there's been in association with bad day, have a cookie to feel better. Bad day, have a treat to feel better food right as the treat. As you grow older, you best believe if you had a bad day you are going to feel this urge to want to have a cookie. And because it's been in you for so long, and you've repeated this behavior, you literally do it without even thinking about it. Until you realize and go, whoa, whoa, whoa, what just happened here? I'm doing it again. And I'm doing it again. Right? And so

Melissa Ebken  20:08  
David, I'm sure you have some tips and strategies for us that can help us break that. And I hope you do.

David Hernandez  20:14  
I do I do. And so that is something very intense, very important for what I teach, right? It's a foundational component that that I mentor, and that I coach, and I teach people through, and it's literally a four step process. And so we still need to have awareness as to where do all of these things come from? Because a lot of times when we're dealing with emotional eating, stress eating boredom, eating, we think that there's a problem with us, why can't I stop doing this. So then we look at ourselves as the problem and we make ourselves feel bad as if we are from Mars, were this weird person that just will never change? That's. And so when we start to learn that emotional eating is simply a learned behavior, which means you learned how to do that, at some point, from a young age, middle school, high school, others, maybe as an adult, you learned how to do that behavior. And all it is is we need to unlearn if we want to call it this way, we're going to unlearn how to do that behavior, while we learn to do a new behavior that is going to be beneficial, and that is going to be healthy. So step one is we need to identify the root cause, like for example, in your situation, we've identified that it's what your mom told you. That is one of the root causes as to why today you continue to feel this anxiety and this guilt of not eating everything on your plate. Yes. And so that is step one, we must identify where does this come from? When we do that, we can then eliminate some shame and some guilt as to blame ourselves for this. Because when you're young, like you don't have control of things that are done to you or said to you, especially if they're coming from your parents, right? You're very innocent, you're vulnerable, you just believe it and do it. Like you're innocent statement that just said, Yes.

Melissa Ebken  22:16  
I feel like you're going to tell me that it is quite possible that if I don't finish my plate, that the sun may indeed shine the next day. 

David Hernandez  22:16  
Yes, it is. 

Melissa Ebken  22:18  
I know you're not gonna go so far to say that if it doesn't, that it may not be my fault. But no, 

David Hernandez  22:37  
it's not. It's not your fault. And so that route, identifying that route is going to give us deep clarity as to where it starts. The next step is to identify well what are my triggers? What triggers me to then react and do this behavior. For example, use my life. Growing up, I was very skinny. I had a nickname, my dad gave me that nickname. It was a Spanish term set, meaning Flacco he would call me that skinny still to this day he does growing up. I hated that. Because I didn't like how skinny I was and how thin I was. And I was made fun of because I didn't think I was going to I was a good football player, I would never play good sports. I wasn't fast enough, because I was too thin. So growing up, that word became a trigger for me, that would make me get very angry. And so we need to identify what triggers me to then go to food. Maybe it could be a comment that they make of you that you feel disrespected or you feel rejected or you feel abandoned, right? It could be a comment that somebody says it could be something that you see something that you experience, a specific thing that maybe your husband said to you, your ex husband said to you. And so we need to identify what triggers me or I like to say what makes you tick, to then go to emotionally eat, right? So that's step two. Step three, then leads us into well, what happens when you're triggered? There's a physical and there is a emotional response that we always have when something happens to us. So again, with my example, they call me skinny, right? I would get very angry. So my body temperature would rise, I would get knots in my stomach. And I would start to pace and pant right. So there is my demonstration of my emotional response and my physical response. And so you might be asking, Well, David, why is that even important? Because these two components now become your alert system and alarm sort of speak that saying alert alert. You've just been triggered. Be careful. You might go to food. You're going to go to food

Melissa Ebken  25:00  
And you're talking, I think, in me, my big trigger is when I get feelings of not being enough, like this problem may be bigger than me. There you go. ooh, I don't know what I'm gonna do in this situation. Yeah, the anxiety of uncertainty, of course, I think is the big trigger for me.

David Hernandez  25:20  
And we must know that about us. We live on Earth, knowing about more people than we know about ourselves. And that's sad. And so what I want to do through my coaching and mentoring is really helping people understand and know who they are, have awareness about themselves? How can we be happy and live happy and have others love us if we don't know anything about ourselves? Truly, and we don't love ourselves in all the ways. And so this process really allows us to understand, okay, what is David about? Who is he? What triggers him? How does he feel so now we start to bring attention to your body, to your emotions, right? And now that is going to help you to start to take control of yourself, and then eventually take control of your choices. Because right now, everything around you, or other circumstances are literally choosing for you.

Melissa Ebken  26:25  
Yeah, you know, I feel like I interrupted you is this. It's okay. No, no, go ahead. Is this step three in the process?

David Hernandez  26:31  
still in step three. Yes. Okay. Correct. And so this awareness piece, right about knowing what does my body do? How do my emotions respond? What are they getting very specific about that, again, serves as our alarm system, right? And then step four is looking at what what do I do when I am triggered? And I feel this? Okay, I go to food. But I want to say let's be more specific. What types of foods do you go to? Because we all have our thing?

Melissa Ebken  27:03  
Yeah, anything that doesn't require effort?

David Hernandez  27:06  
That's right. Yeah. And, and most times, it's either sugar or fatty foods, processed foods, hence, foods that aren't necessarily good for us. Right?

Melissa Ebken  27:17  
No comment?

David Hernandez  27:19  
Well, we all do it to a certain extent. And that's where that term comfort food comes from. Because we are trying and litterly what is really, I'm just gonna now I'm just going to go off on a slight tangent, but it's really not it's, it's relevant to the topic. Emotional Eating is really, you're releasing your emotions with food. That's it, your coping mechanism to release your emotions to release your anger, your sadness, your rejection, your feeling not valued, not not seen not wanted, right, is literally just you're coping it, you're releasing it with food. And so why is this such an addictive thing? Because food literally does something to us. One, it fills our stomach. So it seems to be filled, filling a void, right? And two, it triggers our risk our reward system in our brain, which is dopamine, which makes us feel good. Yeah. And so that is why it is

Melissa Ebken  28:19  
my love language now, because I'm such a huge proponent of forgiveness, yes. And how unhealthy it is to hold on to the grudges and all that stuff. And there are so many studies by people that know things like Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic. But yeah, these folks have outlined direct consequences of holding on to grudges and not forgiving and holding on to those negative emotions, and things like high blood pressure and increased risk of diabeetus, and so forth and so on. And I hear you echoing those same things, and how food is such an integral part of that.

David Hernandez  28:57  
That's right. That's right. And so when we get clear as to what foods we go to, we can then also identify why do I go to these foods? Like why do I always go to Lay's original chips? Why do I always go to the blue Doritos? Right? Well, the reason behind that is that there's also a connection with that food, right? Those foods have connected with you in a certain way. Maybe when you were young, those were your go to foods, right? Maybe these were treats that were given to you. I had a student of mine, she said I don't know why I go to chocolate all the time. We started doing these four steps, they started breaking everything down. And what she learned was that chocolate dark chocolate specifically was given to her from her grandma, and her grandmother raised her. A few years ago she lost her grandma, but the problem or not the problem but the thing was that her grandmother would bring her chocolate every time she was having a bad day. But she You would also comfort her and love on her. And so when she was noticing that every time she would get stressed, or in a bad day or had a bad situation, she would get this crazy urge for chocolate. Well, it's not necessarily that she wanted the chocolate, it's that she wanted the comfort and the love of her grandmother. But she associated chocolate with her grandmother. And so now this urge of chocolate was increasing. So what do we do, we worked on how to simply change that chocolate to something else that can remind her of her grandma. And it was a bracelet. So she would carry the bracelet with her. And every time she felt this urge, and she felt lonely, all she do is grab the bracelet and not go to chocolate anymore. Wow. So that is why it's so powerful to understand these components, because then we can take the steps necessary to change that. And that's where the final piece comes into play. That is really like the glue for this is using a plot the power declaration statement that I put together. And what this is going to do is through a power declaration statement, and doing a new behavior, when we're triggered, we will literally start to because of neuroplasticity, start to change our neural pathways and change our behavior to now when I'm triggered, I'm no longer going to go to food, I'm going for a walk instead. And you've performed that new action.

Melissa Ebken  31:34  
You know, I do know that the midbrain houses both emotions and the habit formation. Correct, so if we want to break or make a habit attaching a feeling is really necessary. Absolutely. And it's a chicken and egg thing come from the emotion or does the emotion come from that habit? Those two are just so 

David Hernandez  31:54  
they're the same? Yeah, that's right. That's right. And that's why emotional eating is such a serious topic and such a big a big issue. Right? And, and I think it's something that needs to be spoken about more. And I am hoping to be able to keep shining light on that because we should not be ashamed of it. We should not feel bad about it. Look, we got to stop with this shame, right? Or what are people gonna say about me? Look, we're freaking humans. We all have issues. We all have, if you want to call them flaws, right? I made I put a post recently. And it was like, Look all Humans have flaws. It just who we are. Right, embrace them. But more importantly, when we own it, and we release the shame from it. It's like that now we allow ourselves an opportunity to be able to change the situation that we're in. And we should not be ashamed of it.

Melissa Ebken  33:01  
Right. And if you're having trouble with shame, there are a lot of people that you can reach out to to help you with that. That's right. David, can you recap those four steps for us? I know I'm trying to sort them in my head. maybe, you can do that.

David Hernandez  33:15  
I would love to. So number one, identifying the root cause? Where did it come from? What things can you remember situations or events or circumstances that happened? Number two, what triggers you to go to do that behavior, right? And what you're going to find is that the trigger and the root cause are going to be very similar. They might be the same. They're linked together in some way, shape right. Number three, identify your physical and your emotional response. How do you react? What happens in your body? Where do you feel it and what emotions come up? And then four identifying exactly what types of foods you go to, and associate them with where they may have come from? Why do you go to those foods. And then the final component, which kind of puts all of these four steps together is the power declaration statement. When I am triggered, I no longer perform this behavior. I now do this instead.

Melissa Ebken  34:20  
That sounds like a powerful process. It is. Well David, I know that losing your friend Eric wasn't the only hardship you had in your life. You also had a brush yourself a close call, if you will. I did. Do you mind telling us about that and how that has shaped what you do.

David Hernandez  34:43  
I'd love that back in 2018. I went on a missions trip to Haiti with local church. We're going to go support orphanages. We have a gentleman that we knew out there who had two orphanages and several others that he was partnering with. We went out had an amazing time seven days out there inpacted hundreds of kids came back five days later, I started to feel sick. I went to go train to a client at six in the morning, I was feeling sick. I then went to a presentation that another client of mine had that she invited me to go to. And I was just very sick. That day, I had to be rushed to the emergency room. I was 106, 108 Fever. I couldn't I couldn't speak, I couldn't stand, I couldn't walk. I couldn't do anything. And they rushed me in tried multiple tests, they didn't know what was happening. After six misdiagnosis, we finally got a doctor that was visiting from Puerto Rico to come in. He overheard my case. And he said, I want to take this case, I know exactly what he has. He walked in the room and he says, Hey, I know what you have. You're dealing with tropical viruses. And one I know you have this Dengue fever. And then he turned around and he said, You're going to feel like you're going to die. And you might die because there's nothing we can do. It's up to your body if it wants to live.

Melissa Ebken  36:05  

David Hernandez  36:07  
And he walked away. 

Melissa Ebken  36:09  

David Hernandez  36:10  
And that was it. That was the end of the conversation. And I remember laying there as conscious as I could be and saying, all right. So here we go. Now what

Melissa Ebken  36:21  
Wait, timeout. So he comes in this room, and basically says, Hey, good luck, this is what you got. You may die, you may live, nothing we can do. See ya,

David Hernandez  36:32  
that was it that was it. My lungs are shutting down, my left lung wasn't functioning anymore. My kidneys were starting to break down, I was one step away from hemorrhage. And all they could do is just give me antibiotics so that it wouldn't go to my brain and shut down other major organs. And so there I was, it's Dengue fever is known as the bone crushing virus. It literally breaks your bones from the inside, and it eats your muscles from the inside. And I remember the third day I was done. I said, I'm done. I don't want to live anymore. God just take me This is too much. I'm done with this. And fourth day came, fifth day came things kept getting worse, my platelets kept going down. My blood count kept going down. And all they could do was keep me quarantined. Nobody was allowed to come in and just see what would happen. So seven, day came in eighth day. And finally on the 10th day, I started to feel better. They ran some tests on me. A couple hours later, the doctor came in and he says, Well, you beat it. You beat Dengue fever. And he said, had it not been because you were so healthy, and had so much muscle because at that time I was at the healthiest I'd ever been the biggest I've ever been I was I was working out and training to compete the following year. So I was about 240 pounds 15 to 18% body fat, like I was a big boy. And he said if it wasn't because you were healthy and had that much muscle you wouldn't have made it through. And I turned around I said if it wasn't for God, and because I was healthy and fit, I wouldn't have made it right. I also believe that it had my faith had some things to do in that area as well. But after that, I lost 65 pounds in those 11 days. But then a question started to be stirred up in me. And this question said, Well, now that you have a second chance of life, what are you going to do with it? And it was another one of those that just like smacked me in the face and was like, What do you mean, I'm gonna go back to my normal life like I'm, I'm grateful I'm happy that I'm alive. But like, what exactly is Does this mean? And so I pondered on that question, I finally came to a realization to say, I'm not doing enough with what I've been given. not doing enough with what I've learned or what I have achieved. And so I had to really be honest with myself, because at that point, I was training clients. I was already doing my, my, my career, but it was very intimate on a personal level, I was very selective with the people that I that I that I would take on as clients and very private. And so it was really waking me up to say, Yeah, I'm not doing enough. I'm not impacting enough people. I'm not speaking out enough. I'm not doing what I said I was going to commit to when my best friend died. Wow. And I made a commitment again, to say it's time to speak out and that's where I finally kind of put Body By Purpose together. And I started talking about it openly. I started flooding through social media just being very open about it. And now I'm a able to impact people all across the world, different states and countries and be able to help them be healthy and live their best life. So I like to say that this experience was the best thing that could have ever happened to me, because otherwise I wouldn't be here today and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Melissa Ebken  40:19  
Well, you know, I can see that. But again, David, if I have a plan to have a vacation or an activity, you're not going to be the one I call to arrange it. Hilarious. David, who are you for people?

David Hernandez  40:38  
You know, I'm a guy that loves people. I'm a guy that, you know, just has a big heart to help others. And, more importantly, I'm a guy that believes in humans, believes in others, and sees hope, where others see defeat, and see potential where maybe others see dirt and grime. Because I believe that we all have amazing potential inside of us. And sometimes all it takes is somebody to see it. When we don't, somebody that can lift us up somebody that can just inspire and bring a little bit of hope to get us up and help us fight for our life. And that's who I am. And that's what I strive to do each day. And I'm still learning how to do that. Because I believe that we should all fall in love with this process of discovery. And this process of discovery is discovering who we are. But not right now. I mean, who we are to this maximum, its destined state, right, and what our real untapped potential is. And so when we fall in love with this process of discovery of discovering who we are, I think we're going to surprise ourselves because we're, we're a lot. And there's a lot in us.

Melissa Ebken  42:13  
And I've read somewhere, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

David Hernandez  42:19  
Absolutely. Absolutely. Like the Creator doesn't make mistakes, right. And he made us perfect. He made us with amazing abilities and amazing gifts. Maybe some, you know, had more opportunities than other, but it doesn't define who you are. Because when you understand who your creator was, or what you were created to be, and how you were formed and shaped. You're amazing. You're incredible.

Melissa Ebken  42:48  
Even if you look in a mirror, and you only see the the ugly stuff, you need to look deeper into the mirror, find someone like David that can shine a light beyond all of those things.

David Hernandez  43:04  
And many people I love working with those that say I've tried everything and nothing works for me. I'm like, thank you. Because now I know I can take you from this defeated state, be able to shine a light on something that you have never seen or experienced, and be able to guide you to achieve it.

Melissa Ebken  43:33  
David, all of your contact information is going to be in the show notes so people can reach out to you if they feel defeated. If they feel like there is no hope for them. So I want to invite everybody to to click on those links to see what David's up to and the difference that David can make for you in this world. And, David, I want to thank you so much for giving your time and yourself and your vulnerability and your authenticity to us today.

David Hernandez  44:07  
been an absolute honor. Thank you so much for having me, Melissa and keep doing what you're doing. look. We need more of this. People need to hear amazing stories like yours and what you're doing with this platform. So thank you so much for the opportunity and if anybody has any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Melissa Ebken  44:29  
Thank you, David.


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Hello Friends!

Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so thankful that you found your way here. 

I support people who are ready to lean into and overcome difficult challenges, situations, and experiences in their lives. I have been a pastor for 20+ years and have helped, guided, and supported many as they have grown through life's ups and downs. 

I started the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast to share the stories of people who have faced life's most difficult challenges, to inspire you to lean into and overcome your own. It's helpful to know that you're not alone in your struggles and to see how others have navigated similar circumstances.

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