The Power (and necessity) of Listening to your Body with Holly Bertone | EU 1606 min read

March 13, 2023

Are you listening to your body and your well-being?

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I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, marriage coach, course creator, retreat host, mother of 3, married for 23 years and host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 


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Are you listening to your body and your well-being? Can practicing gratitude soothe a fast-paced Type A approach to life? How do you define what true fulfillment looks like?

In today’s podcast, I am joined by Holly Bertone. Holly and I talk about the importance of listening to your body and the necessity of it.

Meet Holly Bertone

Holly Bertone, PMP, CNHP is a #1 Amazon.com bestselling author, sought-after speaker, and gratitude coach. As a breast cancer and autoimmune survivor, she helps women view their diagnosis as a gift so that they can unwrap resilience to build fortitude with gratitude.

Holly spent 25 years rising through the ranks of consulting and federal
government service before her failing health shattered her corporate
dreams. Since then, she has leaned into her path of true purpose, as the
President and CEO of Pink Fortitude and founder of Fortitude.Academy,
by helping women go from being Grumpy Worriers to Grateful Warriors.
She is a Project Management Professional (PMP), holds a Masters Degree
from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Certified Natural Health Coach.

Holly is married to a retired Green Beret, is a Stepmother to an Eagle Scout, Pug mamma, and lives in Alexandria, VA.

Connect with Holly on her website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Instagram and her listen to her podcast here.

In This Podcast


  • You need to listen
  • Rock bottom is a cry for change
  • How do you define success and happiness?
  • Gratitude builds fortitude

You need to listen

I didn’t want cancer to change anything, so I kept running a million miles an hour. So, in addition to my life with a high-powered management job with stress, being athletic, being a PTA mom, a new fiancée, and a new step-mother … I was now adding cancer treatment to my week … already full schedule. (Holly Bertone)

When you are driven, successful, and determined to be a great partner and mother for your family and loved ones, you might rarely let anything get in your way.

You might even take setbacks as opportunities to push harder and go further, even when those setbacks are actually warning signals from your health that are asking you to slow down, or to make a change.

My body was screaming because I didn’t listen to the quieter voices … so after treatment ended, I kept getting sicker. (Holly Bertone)

Rock bottom is a cry for change

If you constantly ignore little signals from your physical, mental, or emotional health and just keep pushing forward no matter what, you might be injuring yourself more than you realize.

My health got so bad over the years that in 2017 I was forced to resign. (Holly Bertone)

Don’t wait too long before you make a positive and sustainable change in your life because at the end of the day, everything you do depends on your health.

My health had hit rock bottom three times at that point. That was the third time, and again … you hear the whispers, you hear the screams yet I kept going. I did not know how to stop until my body made me. Until my body made me so sick that I couldn’t even move, I couldn’t function, I couldn’t get out of bed. (Holly Bertone)

How do you define success and happiness?

What do you think will bring you success, fulfillment, and happiness? What do you think your life has to look like to feel whole?

Most importantly: have you set these definitions, or are you following along with what other people have said your life “should” look like for you to feel satisfaction?

I thought that that’s what we were supposed to do that’s the path, that’s the rules, that’s what we were supposed to do. (Holly Bertone)

There is a whole different purpose in life, and you can get to decide how you want to experience it and live it.

If you are living your life for other people’s expectations, then you are setting yourself up for a life of struggle, because it is nearly impossible – and not truly fulfilling – to define yourself with other people’s definitions.

It took years after rock-bottom number three to realize that there’s a whole different purpose in life and chasing after the high stress is not part of it. (Holly Bertone)

Gratitude builds fortitude

Gratitude builds fortitude. Gratitude actually builds mental strength. (Holly Bertone)

Practicing gratitude is an important aspect of building a fulfilled and truly peaceful life even through difficult times – especially through difficult times – because gratitude will help you to remember and appreciate what you do have instead of what you don’t.

Gratitude also extends as a practice of self-love and value.

You are worthy. You are worthy of gratitude, you are worthy of love, you are worthy of loving yourself. You are worthy, period, and gratitude I call it the “gateway drug” because it opens the door to so many things. (Holly Bertone)

Gratitude can help to center you in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the past or the future, gratitude grounds you in the here and now by reminding you of all the good things that you have in your life.

Book mentioned:

Holly Bertone – Thriving in the Workplace with Autoimmune Disease: Know Your Rights, Resolve Conflict, and Reduce Stress

Useful links:

Meet Veronica Cisneros

Veronica Cisneros | Empowered And Unapologetic Podcast

Hello, my name is Veronica Cisneros, I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Marriage Coach, Course Creator, Retreat Host, Mother of 3, married for 23 years, host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast, and owner of a group private practice called Outside The Norm Counseling.

A lot of couples struggle with setting aside intentional time to connect and communicate. They yearn for meaningful conversations that don’t lead to arguments.

1 month away from divorce, I realized I had to do something different. For years I had compromised myself to meet the needs of my husband and my child, I lost myself and was about to lose my marriage. After years of personal growth and self-reflection, I not only reclaimed my identity, and celebrated 23 years of marriage but also helped hundreds of couples transform their marriage from feeling like roommates to experiencing a deeper love.

I am on a mission to help couples reignite the fire by providing them with the skills to have the relationship they deserve.

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free Facebook community, or do the Workshop,  you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Empowered and Unapologetic Podcast on Apple Podcast {previously iTunes) and subscribe!

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I’m Veronica, your new Boss MOM Mentor with no filter and no BS. 

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, women’s coach, course creator, and retreat host. Married for OVER 20 years, raising three girls, and the host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 

Enough about me… 

My jam? Helping high-achieving women thrive both at home and in the hustle of work.

I've been there.

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