About Us

Our Stories

  Julie Chochon, RDN, LMNT, RN, BSN

   As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a Licensed Medical Nutritional Therapist, a bachelor’s educated Registered Nurse with a Certificate of Training in Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND), & an Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) graduate through the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM), Julie primarily educates & inspires clients to assume personal responsibility for their health by adopting a more healing mindset, lifestyle, & eating plan. Being a member of the AND, the Dietitians in Integrative & Functional Medicine Practice Group (through AND), & the IFM supports Julie’s priority to keep abreast of the latest research-based functional medicine practices to optimize each client’s healing process.

Julie’s hobbies have included: roller skating, running high school & collegiate track, collegiate sorority membership, water & snow skiing, hiking, biking, pet-lover, travel, food & dining, flower gardening, & country living with horses, cattle, cats & other farm animals.

Julie’s Background

I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1988 which was followed by a 1-year Internship at Methodist Hospital of Indiana encompassing both clinical & administrative nutrition services. At Clarkson Hospital in Omaha, I was employed for nearly 5 years as a Registered Dietitian in oncology, radiation oncology, & gastroenterology. I also worked with those who received peritoneal dialysis, bone marrow & kidney-pancreas transplantations & persons having AIDS.

In 1993, Clarkson College offered me a scholarship to obtain a BS degree in Nursing, which took me 1 ½ years. For the next 2 years, I worked in the Oncology-Hematology-Special Care Unit at UNMC caring for high acuity patients with cancer. The following 20 years, I worked in home health infusion, case managing & coordinating care with IV pharmacists.  My primary focus was in IV & enteral tube nutrition, chemotherapy, wound care, & I spent a significant amount of time seeing patients in the outpatient infusion center. In 2014, I became a clinical liaison at Children’s Hospital, coordinating the discharge of patient’s needing home health services with physician & hospital floor teams, nurse case managers, families, & home health care companies.

Julie’s Health Journey

 There are so many people who are physically & emotionally wounded that fail to admit or embrace their need for support. They avoid speaking up due to pride or fear of backlash or burdening others. I was one of those people. Unless addressed & processed healthfully, life’s challenges & fateful circumstances can spiral downward & essentially unravel our physical well-being. Things go wrong time after time, & gradually, our biochemistry changes causing chronic symptoms. This is what happened to me & what millions of others are facing at this very moment. My personal story describes how one’s slow decline in health over most of a lifetime can gradually be restored using functional medicine principles. By identifying & addressing the root causes of illness through practicing Healing Habits, one can reverse much of the physical damage. It is possible to feel better & regain the vitality we were born to have.

My supportive husband, Scott, has urged me to write a book about my exhaustive health journey. Instead, I am sharing a highly condensed version. There are people who read this that will not get it & dismiss my story as a hoax or psychosomatic. For those who do get it & relate, we are using everything that we’ve learned & experienced to inspire hope & provide direction to our clients, guiding them through the process of piecing their wellness puzzles back together.

At the age of 6, several adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) sparked the onset of my first symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, learning disabilities, intense cravings for sweets, & sinus infections treated with antibiotics. Our mother suffered from MS (diagnosed the year I was born), depression, & the aftereffects of divorce, which split us 4 siblings into different cities. Dad kept my 2 teenage brothers who worked long hours at his very successful business. My mother, older sister, & I were moved to a new city, a new life. Not long after, my highly adored sister graduated from college & moved away to pursue her own dreams. Now, mom not only was completely robbed of her health, but her home & her family. She lost many of her friends & was very lonely due to the aftermath of divorce, the move & her illness. Mom often cried herself to sleep, & at the age of 7, I didn’t know how to comfort her other than to just lie on top of her over the covers in an attempt to console her. She took sleeping pills & sedatives that caused highly distressing night-time hallucinations & a stay at the hospital. Mom couldn’t drive, which added to our feelings of isolation & abandonment. Walking, biking, taking the bus, & asking for rides from others was encouraged to not over-burden my loving grandma, who lived a few miles away. A light blue Samsonite symbolized the troubled division between weekdays with mom & weekends with dad. It was heart-breaking to desert mom on my suitcase weekends, & holidays were especially challenging. The lack of appropriate resources made coping difficult, so we just muddled through taking care of each other the best we could.

The next 45 years of my life was marked with continually worsening symptoms fueled by the accumulation of an excessive number of emotional, physical, & biochemical stressors. Some of these key insults entailed more antibiotics, 7+ head traumas (most as a child), disturbing family circumstances, living in numerous moldy homes, assuming a primary caregiver role & later losing mom to head/neck cancer (the ability to eat & talk were also taken from her during her last year of life), dysfunctional work environments, another unfortunate broken home of 15 years in 2010, unnecessary bilateral carpal/cubital tunnel surgeries in 2011 followed by antibiotics, tragic loss of numerous beloved animals, & the inability to recognize or initiate appropriate help.

During a 3-month period in 2014, the perfect storm of starting a new demanding & higher profile job, the suffering & deaths of 2 beloved animals, & taking more antibiotics for a sinus infection catalyzed further deterioration. My husband’s remote work in Alaska compounded these events. I was struck by extreme grief & anxiety causing a heavily burdened heart. Little did I know that my life was on the verge of collapse.

By 2016, my ‘toxic bucket’ had overflowed. My health took a severe & mysterious dive. Debilitating symptoms combined with a lack of resilience forced me to end my promising career. Soon after, I was unable to hike or bike, & jogging days were long-gone. My catastrophic condition landed me on the couch for nearly 2 years with deep-seeded, clenching, electric-lightning pain (from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, including my jaw, eyes & sinuses) along with anxiety, insomnia, weakness, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, intense ringing in the ears, memory, cognitive & communication issues, & problems walking & talking. I stopped yawning, sweating, sneezing, & experienced strong sensitivities to light, sound, & odors. Even with olive skin, it did not tan in the sun. I had fevers, heat surges, & bizarre tingly chills in my toes, nose, & across my back. It was extremely challenging to brush my teeth, tie my shoes, grip bar soap, hold eating utensils (I used plastic, instead) & even feel bedsheets against my skin due to pain. Something was slowly creeping through my tissues causing excruciating tightness & tension. I didn’t like to be touched. I had a dental implant that failed, along with several unnecessary sinus surgeries. Each procedure required more antibiotics which added to this strange night-mare illness. I felt mummy-wrapped in my body overwhelmed by a fierce & eerie feeling that I label as a ‘distorted sense of reality & impending doom.’ There are no words to appropriately describe the state I was in.

Lying in bed one evening in total ruins, Scott & I were watching TV & a Walking Dead commercial came on. I said to him, “the way those zombies look is how I feel.” Just as we were shutting out the lights, I felt so plagued & terrified that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, so I thanked my husband for everything & said, “goodbye.” I truly believed that I was on my way out. Dread overcame me every time I opened my eyes each morning knowing that I had to face & endure yet another long & grueling day. The symptoms always worsened as the day progressed. “How & why can this be happening?” I assure that it was very real.

During the summer of 2017, experiencing all of the fore-mentioned symptoms while struggling to hold the cell phone in my hands, I made myself useful on the couch to search for a diagnosis, cause, & solution to this debilitating syndrome. As a nurse & nutritionist with decades of clinical experience, I was determined to dig myself out of the hole. Hundreds of hours of online research led me to functional, naturo/homeopathic, alternative, & lifestyle medicine. I changed what I was eating, made many lifestyle modifications, began taking supplements, & stopped all prescription & OTC medications that were contributing to my toxic health decline. With 7 years of ‘formal’ education & 28 years of work in ‘conventional’ healthcare under my belt, I didn’t realize the extent that holistic lifestyle & self-care practices play in maintaining wellness.

Making too many changes too fast caused a major metabolic disturbance that sent me to the ER in August, the second time since Christmas. I felt horrible; sickall-over. I had unintentionally lost 35 lbs. in a short period of time. I was terrified, again, to learn that my labs were normal. How is it that a person can feel like the Walking Dead, yet have labs that are within normal limits & appear to look okay to most others?  Only those who really cared & knew me well could tell that there was something gravely wrong. It was during this visit that we finally identified a physician with enough knowledge of my health situation that was willing to take time to listen & support my efforts to recover from this complex illness. It was clear that I was no longer able to appropriately care for myself, so Scott quit his remote job up in Alaska- what a wake-up call.

Functional medicine testing (urine, stool, blood, & brain mapping) showed that I was suffering from various toxicities, nutrient deficiencies, poor digestion, gut microbiome imbalances, & limbic system (neurological) dysfunction, all of which go hand-in-hand & were the basis for my dreadful symptoms. Scott & I practice holistic Healing Habits & no longer live to eat but eat to live & my bizarre symptoms continue to gradually disappear.

We learned through functional medicine that a driving stress-factor was my intimate & solitary experience of mom’s years of suffering & then carrying around guilt, regret, & grudges for decades. If one does not routinely process & resolve the plethora of stressors that each of us face, then these threats can build up, causing weaker resilience, making us more vulnerable to disease. Forgiving oneself & others is paramount for us to heal not only our hearts & minds, but our physical symptoms. If we don’t forgive, we can’t live life to its fullest, which hinders the healing process. Clusters of events occurring within a short period, including those that are environmental & biochemical in nature, can take their toll. I am living proof, that with a deep desire, motivation, & persistence, we can mend our chronic & debilitating conditions by making holistic, science-based eating & lifestyle modifications.  Change can be daunting, but it is possible to not only survive, but thrive.

Scott Chochon, MA, BS, ACE-CMES, ACE-CHC

Scott is a distinctive professional in the health and fitness industry, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Fitness and Leisure Management and a Master’s degree in Physical Education. As a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist and Certified Health Coach, Scott combines extensive academic knowledge with practical expertise to provide exceptional guidance in health and wellness. In his role as a Medical Exercise Specialist, Scott excels at designing and implementing exercise programs for individuals with chronic medical conditions, ensuring safe and effective physical activity tailored to their specific needs. As a Certified Health Coach, he empowers clients to achieve their health and fitness goals through personalized coaching, lifestyle modification strategies, and ongoing support. Scott’s dedication to creating personalized fitness programs and promoting overall well-being sets him apart as a leader in his field. As founders of Healing Habits LLC, Scott and his wife Julie take an integrative functional medicine approach and show unwavering commitment to their clients’ health goals.

Scott’s hobbies have included: landscape and wildlife photography, adventure traveling, landscape gardening, hiking/trekking, biking, cross country skiing & cooking.  

Scott’s Background

After graduating from Kearney State College in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in Fitness and Leisure Management, my adventurous nature took over luring me to sunny California.  While attending graduate school at San Jose State University, I worked as an exercise specialist & aide at a physical therapy clinic specializing in work related injury rehabilitation.  I transferred to California State University at Long Beach to finish my Physical Education master’s degree in 1995 and studied under one of the leading biomechanics experts in the strength & conditioning field, John Garhammer.

While taking night classes and working on my thesis, I was a certified strength & conditioning specialist at a North Hollywood high school & later at Los Angeles Community College.  I also spent time as a personal trainer and supervised several fitness centers around the Los Angeles area. 

Prior to attending the University of Iowa to begin a PhD program in Biomechanics, I had the opportunity to work at the Olympic Training Center with the US Weightlifting Team in Colorado Springs, CO as a coach & guardian to several younger resident athletes.  While taking courses at Iowa, I worked as a certified strength & conditioning specialist for the athletic department training various men’s and women’s collegiate athletic teams.

Again, my adventurous spirit led the way, big time.  I left my scholastic life in Iowa for Alaska, which hooked me for the next 20 plus years. My time up north taught me about physically and emotionally enduring extended hours of strenuous labor under extreme conditions: crab fishing in the treacherous Bering Sea, ice road trucking in the Arctic Circle around the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in subzero temperatures, endless hours in fish canneries & processing plants, & landscaping/construction work during the summers near Fairbanks, to name a few. 

In 2017, I quit my two weeks on/two weeks off rotational work schedule in Alaska to be home in support of Julie’s spiraling health decline. Being an eyes-on witness of her commitment to recuperation, it was clear that Julie was destined to help others experiencing similar deteriorations in health. We realized that it was the perfect time for me to re-focus and use my knowledge and experience in exercise and movement to join forces in forming Healing Habits LLC. 

As an ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (CMES), I specialize in designing safe and effective exercise programs for individuals with medical conditions, collaborating closely with healthcare professionals to ensure optimal outcomes. Additionally, as an ACE Certified Health Coach (CHC), I empower clients to make lasting lifestyle changes, addressing not only exercise but also nutrition, stress management, and other aspects of wellness

Scott’s Health Journey

For the most part, my health story doesn’t vary much from most of the US male population ‘in their 50’s’ who have led physically active lifestyles eating the standard American diet (SAD), with the exception on one huge thing…. the ending.  SPOILER ALERTno chronic pain, replacement surgeries, fused discs, and no medications!  

After being competitive in athletics throughout my high school and college years, I started Olympic-style weightlifting in my late twenties while attending graduate school in southern California to enhance my career as a strength & conditioning specialist.  Although I wasn’t a natural, I trained as a competitive athlete hoping to qualifying for nationals. Along the way, I developed chronic low back pain & foolishly started popping ibuprofen like breath mints.  One health care professional mentioned that I had one leg longer than the other requiring orthotics.  Another said that I had degenerative disc disease & one wrong twist or jump may paralyze me.  I recall commuting to Alaska for work one time. I was changing planes in Seattle & my low back was so ‘out’ that every three or four very short & cautious steps caused jolting pain spasms.  I had people come up and ask me if I needed a wheelchair or cart.

In my thirties, I made another bold move & decided to try crab fishing on the Bering Sea in Alaska. Great adventure, but extremely hard on the body.  As my low back was still a major hindrance, my right shoulder and neck started aching throughout the day and keeping me up during the few hours our captain allowed us to sleep. Out on the boat, I was often physically reminded of a college football injury that caused instability in one of my knees. For the next 20 plus years, lower back, neck, & knee pain would reappear whenever I would sit, stand, lye, or become physically active for an extended period.  We find it ironic & interesting that many of my eating & lifestyle habits correlated with the onset of discomfort & pain in those same areas.

Things started to change after ending my work in Alaska in 2017. In support of Julie’s efforts, I adopted many of the same Healing Habits including several exercise/movement practices.  Although Julie’s path has been a more rigorous & challenging journey to recovery, being a supportive spouse was not only helpful for her but has proven to reduce & relieve my own chronic pain.  While most of it has healed, there are occasions on holidays or family gatherings, when I fall back to some of my old eating habits & moments of physically inactivity. I end up paying for it over the next few days.  This is validation supporting the success of our nutrition & lifestyle changes. I immediately resume our Healing Habits, knowing that symptoms will soon reverse.

I am grateful for what was probably inevitable for me has not come to fruition; hearing of friends, family, teammates and so many others often on a plethora of medications & having replacement surgeries or joint repairs due to old injuries from ‘back in the day.’ Mending chronic conditions to enhance quality of life as one grows older is possible through diligent & restorative lifestyle interventions. Health restoration is a process not a ‘quick fix,’ as chronic degeneration is not a ‘quick break’.