Her-Story: Christine Beal Dunst, CEO and Co-Founder of Embody Wellness Company
I live in Weston CT with my husband Cary and have two kids, Gracie (12) and Mason (10) and our puppy Sophie.
My healing journey started 20+ years ago– in my early twenties, while living in NYC I had an unhealthy relationship with food and used it as a way to feel in control, instead of a form of nourishment and joy. I worked with a therapist and subsequently found yoga and meditation. These practices fundamentally shifted how I treated and viewed myself. They helped me repair my relationship with food and with myself.
Fast forward to my mid-twenties and thirties, I still lived in NYC, working 70-hour weeks and climbing the corporate ladder. I now had a healthy relationship with food but didn’t understand which foods were best for my body. The stress of work, lack of healthy meals, and active social life left me diagnosed with stress-related illnesses and adrenal fatigue. When I hit 33, I tried to get pregnant and had two miscarriages. I knew I needed to fundamentally change my lifestyle, manage my stress and diet, and look deep inside.
Also during the last 20 years, I watched my sister go through a heartbreaking battle with an eating disorder that she did not win. This also motivated me to love myself more, while helping her and vowing to serve others. Experiencing the devastation of an eating disorder and what it does to a family and individual is something I wish no one had to go through. It’s one reason why I made the major career change from working at a large pharmaceutical company to helping others through EMBODY Wellness Company.
All of these moments and some soul-searching led me to heal my body and learn all I could to help others transform their lives. I enrolled in nutrition school and knew that I was meant to work on the prevention side of healthcare, help people and businesses transform, and blend that with my skills and formal education in business. The word “TRANSFORMATION” always resonated deeply when thinking of how I want to serve this world. I’m also a consummate learner. I believe strongly in growth– life would be boring without it!
In addition to my formal education, I’ve completed several advanced trainings on whole food detoxing, hormone and gut health, behavior change courses with James Clear, mindsets intensives with Dr. Joe Dispenza, ayurvedic cooking, yoga, stress reduction, meditation, and mindfulness.
I’m also a yogi and meditation practitioner for 25+ years and am certified as a Pilates Mat Instructor. When I’m not working, you can find me in my kitchen with the kids, spending quality time with my family and friends, trying new restaurants, practicing yoga, reading everything wellness related, exploring the farmer's markets (love the Westport Farmers Market!), walking in nature, and practicing self-care.
All of these are my happy places plus the beach and traveling.
How and when do you start your day?
I wake up at around 6:30 daily. My morning rituals are a hand-on-heart 12-minute deep belly breathing gratitude meditation every morning before I even get out of bed coupled with my red light therapy. (Gotta love behavior stacking!) Then I say my mantra and think about how I want to show up to the world today. I purposely am using the word ritual vs. routine to show a greater reverence and meaning around my practice. I follow that with hot water and lemon to alkalize my body and stoke my digestive fire. I then make matcha and ashwagandha to load my body with antioxidants and de-stressing goodness. I love the mindful act of whisking matcha and ashwagandha and all the medicinal benefits.
I then put on our EMBODY “Stress” CBD Oil which is a collaboration between our company and Arogya in Westport CT, on my wrists and neck to calm my nervous system. I also adore Floraco’s Perfume Oil “Floraco” scent– it’s my go-to oil post-shower and makes me feel grounded and balanced and the smell is everything!
These morning rituals bring grace and balance into my day.
What are you most excited about these days?
*Savoring the little moments this summer with my kids/family/friends
*Meditation/breathing and mindfulness retreat in Greece at the end of May!
*Our 20th Wedding Anniversary this summer! and our new kitchen (our gift to each other!)
*Seeing my clients transform– I’m excited for all the beauty that is ahead for my clients and EMBODY Wellness.
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
You make me feel seen and heard + You have helped me see my worth + You have helped me change my life and my family’s life
Hearing the above from my clients makes my heart glow.
What is the biggest learning experience you've had?
You can’t save others or force them to get well, but you can empower others to help themselves. It was devastating to watch my sister with her eating disorder and my whole family suffer and do everything imaginable to support her, but ultimately, in the end, I came to realize that everyone has their own path to lead and they have to ultimately be open to receive help.
What inspires you?
My Kids and THEIR Potential
Beautiful Food and
Those Who Grow It
Nature + Sunshine!
Friends Who Elevate Me
Businesses that Elevate (like Floraco!)
What is one thing people don't know about you?
I moonlighted after working all day at my corporate job at the Tribeca Film Festival as a red carpet reporter for an international publication. My first red carpet interview was with John Goodman and I had no clue what I was doing, but loved every minute of it! Gotta love how fearless you are in your 20s!
What makes you feel like the most yourself?
My daily and nightly rituals, hands down. I think of self-care as any activity or way of thinking or being that brings me back to my highest self. My rituals truly help me feel like ME. I love being social but also need quiet time and I take it. My daily walks in nature are truly medicine– rain, snow, sun… You’ll find me walking once a day!
What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Deciding to study for 5 months in Africa during Graduate School. I went to the Medical University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape. I didn’t know any of the other students I would be traveling with– 1 was the only business student, along with 8 med students and 1 law student. We delivered medical care to impoverished communities and I did my dissertation on the cost/benefit analysis of preventive services. I learned to live with zero material objects, no makeup, no phone (didn’t have one back then!), etc. While in these towns. I ate buffalo that was caught that same day, slept in game reserves, partnered with Witch Doctors (really remarkable!), joined drum circles and so much more. I met beautiful souls who were impoverished, yet were some of the most light and faith-filled people I ever met. I’ll never forget their gratitude for what they had vs. the mentality of lack.
What is an important business lesson you have learned?
Always go back to your why/mission and let that drive all your decisions. Also, keep dreaming big while also having the structure and dedication to do the small (and sometimes tedious tasks!) to get you there. It’s not about forcing, but rather flowing– you don’t HAVE to work 24/7 to be “successful.”
What is something you wish you would have known when you were younger?
YOU are your best friend and deserve and are worthy of your own kindness in ALL ways. I know what it’s like to not be kind to myself (in my thoughts and actions) and that is why I’m so passionate to help others get out of that loop and learn to nourish themselves-mind/body/soul.
What is the best piece of advice you have received or have given to someone else?
You are worthy of your kindness + Small actions done with consistency matter and can produce life-changing results.
How and when do you end your day?
My nightly non-negotiable rituals are my calming tea post-dinner. I love the chance to PAUSE and they help calm my system and get me ready for sleep. “Lemon Balm + Lavender” or the “De-Stress Blend” are my favorites in our “Relax” Tea Collection in collaboration with Arogya, in Westport CT.
My meditation practice is a Dr. Joe Dispenza meditation in my daughter or son’s bed as they fall asleep. It helps regulate my nervous system and creates space. My kids now ask me (and their father who practices Falun Gong meditation) to meditate with them nightly. I practice it with my earphones on (or not!) right by their bed. It’s special and I do believe the energy helps us all. Plus they get to see mom and dad using tools to relax. I then do their prayers and ask them what they are grateful for every single night.
I take Epsom baths almost nightly, they help me wash away the day. Followed by our Sleep CBD Oils, and I also adore Floraco’s Inner Peace perfume oil. Taking my magnesium is also essential. All of these rituals help me have a beautiful rest. Yes, we do binge shows too! but I do try to limit my screen time. (Never perfect!)
We are SO thankful for you sharing your story, Christine! So much gratitude and love to you!
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