Life is best lived loud — not sitting on the sidelines, wishing you could experience it, explained Ginger McCune.
“If you have a car and it takes premium gas — and you fill it full of regular gas, what’s it gonna do? It’s gonna go for a little bit and then it’s gonna spit and spurt and stop on you,” said McCune, wellness coach and co-owner of Midwest Nutrition KC, offering a parallel example of ways fueling the human body correctly is critical to a person’s overall happiness.
Such thinking isn’t new or novel, McCune admitted, but her own 10-year wellness journey — which saw an 80-pound weight loss — brought new passions, ambitions, and an entrepreneurial spirit even hungrier than her will to change old habits.
“I grew up very blue collar. I was not encouraged. Just the fact that I have my own business is a big deal for me because you do what your mom and dad did and you get a job and you do it for 30-years and then you retire,” she said of her second-act as a business owner and the empowerment that came with opening the doors to Overland Park-based Midwest Nutrition in 2011.
“My first struggle was, ‘Can I do it?’ Because I was going through my own personal journey then. The person in the mirror didn’t have enough energy. … I was the Route 44 from Sonic, two-times-a-day girl. That’s [an experience] I can apply now, because I know where these people started.”
Joined by fellow coaches and partners, Kelly Mamie and Megan Richards, McCune has stepped up to the plate in her community, working to transform lives at their most vulnerable through classes, weight loss challenges, accountability, a full-service smoothie bar, and a retail operation that includes the sell of Herbalife wellness products.
Click here to learn more about Midwest Nutrition, its services, or its menu.
“I was not a gym person. So I said, ‘Let’s just start out walking,’ and I started walking a mile a day. Pretty soon I walked five miles a day, three or four times a week,” she said of her own slow but steady approach to weight loss and ways a similar strategy is in place to guide clients at Midwest Nutrition.
“We have people that come in that are 300 or 400 pounds and we say, ‘You realize this is not going to be a quick process?’ We’re going to work with you weekly, daily, and you’re going to have that cheerleader behind you that’s going to help you and if you don’t quit on me, I won’t quit on you.”
At a time when offering such a level of support grew threatened amid the COVID-19 pandemic, McCune found herself facing another challenge — this time entrepreneurial.
With Stay at Home orders in place for much of spring 2020, the company launched a Facebook community — a platform on which McCune said she wasn’t quite an expert.
“People get on and encourage each other and they talk about recipes that they’re doing, they talk about exercises that they’re doing — and people become friends. In this day and age, we need friends that don’t judge us, we need friends that don’t bully us,” she said of the group which has found success as an entry point for new clients and a way of staying connected in the midst of isolated times for those who’ve been trucking along in their journey at a consistent pace.
“This year has been a big change for me, because I’m not exactly on all the social media, but I will be honest with you — I’ve learned. … I’ve learned how to communicate with our customers in a different way with the new Facebook page, just constantly posting on Facebook, finding out what people are struggling with and then posting things there to make them see that they’re not the only one and we’re going to get through this together.”
With the doors to the company’s physical space open once again, McCune has welcomed getting to connect with clients face-to-face in a safe, socially distanced setting that still promises to deliver impact, she said.
“I can’t do this right now, but if someone needs a hug and they come through my door, they’re going to get a hug from me. People know that we care about them and it’s not just about the money. It’s not just about selling products so they can take it home. It’s about really getting them to feel good about themselves.”
Beyond those positive vibes, McCune is hopeful her clients — who she considers more like an extended family, she said — find inspiration to explore things they’ve never done before.
“I didn’t want to die some day and leave so many things on the table that I possibly could have blessed people with. Each one of us has something special that we can do,” she said.
“If there’s something that you want to do and you are really, really passionate about it and just can’t think about not ever doing it — you can’t get it off your mind … just do it. Do it for a month,” McCune said. “Don’t quit your job, but try it for a month. That’s how things develop and you’ll see if it’s really something you’re supposed to be doing.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.