Curious what inspired me to change careers and give up the stability and paycheck that comes with a cushy finance career?
Here’s the story.
From the moment I entered the world of finance as an intern at Goldman Sachs, it became very clear that this was a highly stressed, highly caffeinated, high-powered industry. I immediately recognized the level of commitment expected of every employee. In fact, I got a front row seat to some of the sacrifices people made as a result.
One woman who told me she gained 40 lbs. in three years because she worked until 11pm every night and didn’t have time to hit the gym.
One woman was so over-scheduled and frantically focused on work that she wasn’t dating anyone at age 35 or 36.
One woman was a mom of three and a wife juggling the demands of her full-time finance career and the only way she could unwind from her frantic day with a couple of beers at 11pm every night.
That freaked me out.
I wanted to be happy, healthy, and thriving in my career, not hanging on by a thread and definitely not sacrificing my health or a romantic relationship. So when it finally came time to decide what was next and where I would set down my roots, I was fortunate to find an asset management firm that offered more balance.
With a brand new job checked off the list in 2008, I set out to do it all, be it all, and have it all.
I set my sights on rising up in the ranks, on getting that perfectly fit and healthy body, and on the glamorous NYC social life. Here’s how . . .
I got up every morning at 5:15 a.m. to fit in my Barry’s Bootcamp, Track Club, or personal training session. I arrived at the office polished and put together with my second coffee of the day in hand. And I even kept my eating habits in check with a meticulous salad order from Chop’t every single day. Each day wrapped up with wine and dining clients, drinks with my girlfriends, or a second session at the gym.
Or falling on to my couch, at home, exhausted.
I was pretty much living the Sex and the City dream, right? Kinda.
The truth was, beneath the surface, my body was under an incredible amount of stress. Not only was I was exhausted from lack of sleep and burning the candle at both ends, but I physically wasn’t capable of taking a deep breath. The constant pushing and working and exercising and socializing was depleting my body without me truly knowing it.
It wasn’t until 2011, when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, that I got really curious about wellness. I found Kris Carr who introduced me to the power of green leafy vegetables and how it was possible to “heal yourself” naturally. I learned about the concepts of mindfulness and self-care. And slowly my goals shifted from “I need to be skinny,” to “I want to take care of my body.”
After a while, there was no denying that the fast pace of my life was doing more harm than good. I couldn’t fully admit that to myself until one day I heard it loud and clear: As I was about to begin a long training run for the 2014 Brooklyn Half Marathon, the waistband of my leggings snapped. Frustrated and forced to stop mid-stride, a voice inside me suddenly said, “you need to quit your job.”
Immediately, I knew it was true and burst into tears. Underneath all of the stress and pressure to keep going, lived a knowing inside me that it was time to not only take care of myself, but to pursue a different career altogether — in wellness. The truth was, after voraciously researching nutrition and working with a personal trainer for months, I had found something I loved and was passionate about far beyond wealth management.
So after much deliberation and planning, I gave my notice at work, enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, got my personal training certification, and started the process of healing my body.
I practiced deep breathing.
I nourished myself with home cooked meals.
I gave up my 4 cups of coffee a day caffeine habit.
I wrote out all of my feelings and fears.
I slept and slept and slept.
And I stopped taking hormonal birth control.
When I finally found a functional medicine practice, Parsley Health, that could do in-depth testing on my hormones, adrenals, thyroid, and nutrient deficiencies, I discovered that I’d been suffering from adrenal fatigue from all of the stress I’d been under for 10+ years. With the right diet, supplements, and patience, I was not only able to heal my adrenals, but I got my period back naturally for the first time since my teens.
Simultaneously, I had begun taking on personal training and health coaching clients, many of which were in the corporate world. And I discovered that so many of them suffered from the same symptoms I had. Determined to find a way to help them all thrive within their demanding jobs, I developed a process that works wonders for even the busiest professional.
Leveraging my personal experience, education, and holistic health expertise, I’ve enjoyed playing a role in the wellness transformations of dozens of go-getters all over the world. So much so, that I decided to write a book, about one of the core principles of my approach: self-care.
If you’re ready to explore how a few key lifestyle tweaks can literally change the game for you — giving you access to greater brainpower and performance — check out my private coaching program.
Michelle (Cady) Baker is a former finance executive turned wellness writer and highly sought after Health & Wellness Coach. She's currently writing her first book, which brings to life the core principles of her private coaching practice — where she teaches high achieving people around the world to reach even greater levels of success through the incorporation of wellness practices into their daily lives. Michelle’s coaching is not only a luxurious experience, but an effective one. From CEOs to entrepreneurs, her approach and techniques have empowered the best of the best to shift out of the haze of caffeine and adrenaline rushes and into a state of pure vitality. She’s the lady you want by your side if you want to up-level your brainpower and performance, and finally master the one thing that’s felt like a mystery: your body.
Institute for Integrative Nutrition — 2014 Advanced Hormone Health Certified — 2019
Equinox Personal Trainer — 2014–2016
Equinox Treadmill Instructor 2015–2016
Founded FitVista — 2015
First Eagle Investment Management, Associate Vice President 2008–2014
Goldman Sachs — 2007
Middlebury College 2004–2008
University College of London — 2006
Rye High School 2000–2004
Michelle has lived in New York City since 2008.