Health and Wellness Coaching
Change your mind to change your life.
Are You Ready for a Weight Loss Transformation?
An In Balance original article
My clients are women who are in their mid thirties or older. They come to me because they want to shed some extra pounds, but something always seems to get in the way. This is not uncommon. We all live busy lives and there are many distractions, some obvious, some subtle. For example: we are too busy wrapped up our kids' needs to pay attention to our own; or nothing in life feels as comforting as "comfort food;" or we spend so many hours working to pay our bills that the last thing we want to do when we get home is exercise. I'm sure you can add a dozen more reasons of your own to this list.
As valid as all these reasons appear on the surface, there is something else going on, something deeper inside. And I can help you find the key to unlock it. It's not always the same thing, but I have the tools to help us explore those deeper levels and find out what is blocking your success.
Sure, you really do have a busy life, and sure, the kids must be fed and put to bed, and sure, meatloaf and mashed potatoes are really delicious. But I tell you from experience that you can have all that and a trim, healthy body, too, by simply adopting a few new habits.
Imagine how wonderful you will feel when you are living your life with energy, confidence and clarity, happy with your appearance and no longer bound by old assumptions! Can you really have this sort of life, you ask? Of course you can. You came into this world full of potential and fully alive, but the experiences we all have faced in one way or another were allowed to shape and define you. But you always have choice - and the first thing you need to learn is that you always have choice.
You can choose to transform your life.
What thrills me about being a coach is working with clients to discern not only their specific goals, but also a compelling vision of life that excites and inspires them. I help them recognize and develop their innate tools for clarity and guidance that ultimately transforms every aspect of their lives for the better.
Here is an example….
Julie and I began working together in September. She came to me because she wanted to lose thirty pounds before she went to her high school reunion in June. She had tried most of the usual methods, sometimes even several times, but without any real or lasting success. She was tired of doing it all on her own and was starting to feel hopeless about ever really losing the weight. It was a friend of hers that suggested she needed a coach to help her reach her goals.
Julie and I talked about what she wanted to achieve and together created a plan that included incremental baby steps that would lead her to where she wanted to be. At first those steps were in some of the more obvious areas: food choices, portion sizes and physical activity. Julie felt that she really needed to be accountable to someone if she was going to be successful, and her husband didn't count. We included daily email check-ins with me to support her progress.
Because our approach included building on little steps that she could easily integrate into her lifestyle, she started to experience success almost immediately. She loved that we were able to move out of a paradigm that insisted she must exercise a certain amount each week, which she hated and never seemed to be able to find the time to do consistently, to one that looked for small ways to keep adding physical activity that she enjoyed into her life. She found that because she wanted to find ways to be more active that suited her and didn't feel like a burden, she was looking at things differently; seeing opportunities with her two children and her husband that hadn't been apparent to her before. For one, they joined a family bowling league which met twice a week and ended up being a lot of fun for all four of them. Not only did it increase Julie's activity level, but it got her kids away from the computer and ended up being real quality family time.
Julie was happy with this baby step approach we were using. She was delighted that she was actually making some significant lifestyle changes in a very painless way. She felt being held accountable was very helpful in keeping her on track; and she was excited to see evidence of her progress on the scale and in the way her clothes were fitting.
But there was another piece to the work we were doing together that she came to feel was even more important to her success. A piece that had never even been suggested by any of the other weight loss approaches she had attempted in the past. As a direct result of our coaching conversations, she began to realize that for as long as she could remember she had always felt fat. When she recently looked at pictures of herself as a teenager, she was almost surprised to see a young woman who was not, as she put it, "a skinny bean" but was most definitely not a fat person. This was actually startling to her because it was so inconsistent with her own perspective of herself.
Now coaching is not intended to be therapy or to replace therapy. During our conversations we didn't spend much time trying to figure out why she had this self-view. In fact once she became aware of how solidly she held this picture of herself, some of the reasons became immediately apparent to her. But coaching is mostly about starting where you and moving to where you want to be. And as we were having our ongoing conversations, not just about her weight, but about her life, it was evident that this picture of herself as a fat person had played a huge part in limiting the dreams and expectations she had for her life. She was always thinking small. Not wanting to be noticed. Always judging herself in advance and deciding she wasn't good enough, smart enough, and definitely not thin enough to be successful.
Through the coaching process, she came to realize how difficult it was going to be to not only lose the weight in the first place but to maintain it if she continued to have this picture of herself as a fat person. Some of the missing pieces that attributed to her lack of success in the past fell into place. She came to understand why spending time doing exercise that you hate with the idea of forcing your body to change, because you hate it the way it is, well, it just doesn't work…..at least not for the long haul! She began to appreciate why despite her intense efforts over the years, she had really been working against herself.
In addition to our coaching conversations which brought out all sorts of new perspectives and possibilities that she hadn't seen or considered before, Julie and I also used the incremental baby step approach to literally "change her mind". At first it was about simply noticing the self-talk that was going on inside her. That turned out to be pretty illuminating as she had never appreciated how consistently negative she was towards herself. Then we started to create small ways for her to shift her inner language. She began to visualize herself looking the way she wanted. She started to notice that she was feeling more inspired to do things differently - to make better choices for herself. In small steps, Julie learned she could rely more on her feelings to help make good decisions that kept her moving in the direction that she wanted to go.
She truly began to feel differently about herself and a new confidence emerged. Our conversations became less about her weight and more about her starting to get ideas for her life that were exciting and compelling. She was experiencing life-changing shifts that ultimately come from taking consistently small baby steps!
I'm happy to report that Julie had lost close to 40 pounds by the time she attended her reunion. But possibly more gratifying to me as her coach was when she said, "I'm glad I lost the weight. Being thin is fun. But best of all is how excited I feel about my life. I started to step out and get more involved with some projects at my kids' school. I even took on a leadership position, which is brand new for me. It looks like this is going to lead to a juicy part-time job that I would never have even considered before. I'm just a happier person. My husband and my kids are commenting all the time about how much more fun I am. And I feel I have a whole new set of tools to more deliberately create a life that I really love. This is powerful stuff and I'm very grateful."
In my experience with my clients, Julie's results are pretty typical. Coaching is not a quick fix or a magic bullet approach. It is completely personalized to your unique situation and personal preferences.
I help my clients to understand that everything is energy, including us. All energy vibrates, including us. It is the nature of everything in the universe to attract to itself whatever resonates with its dominant vibration. That's why it's rarely enough to just change your food and exercise habits if you want to lose weight. You also need to see yourself as a thin person. You need to feel like a thin person. While it defies most of our learning in this culture, quantum physics is showing us that the thoughts come first and then the physical body aligns itself with those thoughts. We're also finding out that we each have our own guidance system, so to speak, built in. A system that is so superior and so refined that once we learn about its existence and how simple it is to use, we can have easy access to the path of our highest good, the path that leads to our greatest well-being and joy.
Combining these understandings with practical and pragmatic steps allows us to make significant and lasting changes in a way that is comfortable and life-affirming. If you are unfamiliar with these ideas but still feel drawn to them and the possibilities they seem to offer for positive change, you may want to consider this style of coaching. Again I ask you to imagine how wonderful you will feel when you are living your life with energy, confidence and clarity, happy with your appearance and no longer bound by the old assumptions! Can you really have this sort of life, you ask? Of course you can!
Disclaimer: As a Health Coach, I will never attempt to diagnose, treat, make claims, prevent or cure any disease or condition. I advise my clients that Health Coaching is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed health care professional.