Readiness, in 2 parts

I’ve been wanting to write about readiness for a while, from both the client perspective and the coaching perspective. So here goes…

Navigating change can be exciting and terrifying at the same time, but like all things, you get out of a given situation what you put into it.

When I first start working with clients, we establish an understanding of expectations. Clients make a commitment to be coachable, to be open to new foods, concepts and exercises, to eat nourishing foods, to finding a balance between work and play, to give gratitude, and so forth. I commit to them that I will provide guidance, encouragement, and accountability in addition to information. Seems like a fair deal.

Sometimes people just aren’t ready. You need to be ready to change some things. When someone comes to me for weight loss, but doesn’t want to make changes, you have to just ask, “So how has what you’ve been doing been working for you?” I will be honest with people, that they have to put in the work to reap the benefits. And that the rewards don’t come overnight. What I offer are recommendations for small, sustainable changes, that can be incorporated over a six month period of time, or longer if needed. Expecting overnight results just isn’t realistic, and if someone is promising that, I’d seriously question what they are offering.

My clients who have made the most progress started off ready for change. They understood expectations about doing the work, about setting goals and working towards them, about digging deep to understand the “why” of their goals, and to honestly look at their nutrition and lifestyle to examine where opportunities for improvement exist. So yes, you need to be ready to commit to do the hard work.

The second part of this is my readiness as a coach. I’ve now completed my full year curriculum with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I have embraced this program fully from the start and am proud of my accomplishment of sticking to my goal of graduation and having actual clients that I can nurture through change. My initial “why” for doing this was two-fold: 1. I wanted to share everything I learned through my own health journey and help people begin their own path. 2. I wanted an exit strategy from my day job to be a full time health coach.

I am accomplishing the first goal by providing support to family and friends, through my own surgeon’s bariatric support group, and with my own clients – all of which who have blossomed before my eyes in such a rewarding way. The second — well, I decided I am not quite ready to make the leap into full time. I spent sometime over the past few weeks reflecting on what I have learned through education and through my work as a coach. Right now, working with several clients at the moment, I am fulfilling my goal to help others. My plan to continue working at my day job is partly due to fiscal responsibility, but it also seems like I am striking the balance I want. I’m making a commitment to put off retirement for the time being (this will be a newsflash to some!).

In other news, I am continuing my education by embarking on a new certification in Sports and Exercise Nutrition through Precision Nutrition, which is challenging and fascinating! I am learning all of the physiological and scientific information about nutrition, metabolism, digestion, absorption, and more! I’ll be sharing what I learn along the way and will be announcing some new coaching opportunities shortly!

Do you have a similar experience about your own readiness? Please share!

 

A fresh new look

Notice anything different? I decided to go to town and come up with a bit of a new look for my website. I’ve been refining things a bit. Things about me. Things about who I want to work with. Things about how I can apply what I have learned through my training and my own personal journey to my business.  Have any feedback, let me know!

Check in: New Year’s Resolutions

I’m sure I am not the first to say this, but I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. While January 1 is the first day of a new year, and you can think of it as a clean slate, there’s nothing stopping you from saying that January 27 is a new day and it’s the day I am embarking on my journey.

The truth is that goal setting is a life-long process. I’m sure most of you have heard the acronym SMART Goals. Goals should be:

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.

By establishing achievable goals, you set yourself up to succeed. And the goal can be big or small.  Starting off small helps you to build your confidence so you can be successful.  Starting out on January 1 with a goal to lose 50 pounds maybe specific, measurable, attainable — but is it realistic or timely? Take the time to think about why 50 pounds? What will happen if you lose 50 pounds? Is your goal really about a number on the scale, or is it about better health? Or is it about how you feel about yourself? Some introspection goes a long way when setting these goals.

When working with clients, we start off with some short term goals, then build upon those to set goals for the mid-point, and finally goals for six months. Through the course of the six-month program, we continue to refine goals. Along the journey, you may find that it’s not about losing 50 pounds, it’s about setting up a routine for good nutrition. Or it could be about finding balance in other areas of your life, like career, relationships, or physical activity. Spending some time clarifying your goals really helps set you up for success, but it also forces you to think about your “why.”

So, it’s January 27. Let’s work on some goals!

  1. Write it down! When you write down your goals, it makes them concrete. Post them where you can see them every day, so you can keep them top of mind as you embark on this journey.
  2. Visualize the outcome. Create affirmations to help encourage yourself through each step of your action plan. How will you feel when you achieve your goal?
  3. Hold yourself accountable. Remember your “why.” Especially on tough days. Set up a support system to help with accountability. This could be an app to help you track steps or log food, it can be a close friend or family member, or it could be a health coach. Whatever works for you! Find your support system and rely on it to help you keep your eye on the prize!
  4. Schedule your time. You have to make time to make your dreams come true. Actually schedule activities on your calendar and make them as important as that big meeting, the kid’s soccer game, or any other obligation you have on your agenda.
  5. Make self-care a priority. If you don’t take care of yourself first, how can you take care of everyone else. What activities energize you? What rituals do you find relaxing and revitalizing? Build these into your activities to make sure you’re in your top form. Any mood boosting activity will help you stay positive and focused.

Dig deep and really get to the root of all the things you want to accomplish. Have some awesome goals you want to share? Let me know!

Interested in learning more about health coaching and how we can work together to help you achieve great things? Contact me to schedule a free session.

The food and mood connection

If you are reading this, chances are that you are actively focused on being healthy, getting healthy, or some other wellness related goals. A new year is a great time to start changing your habits, but don’t fall into the New Year’s resolution pitfalls of making your goals too lofty and unsustainable.

When incorporating new healthy routines, whether it’s fitness or nutrition or journaling or whatever, it’s important to connect to the “why” behind it. And to get to the bottom of the “why.” In some coaching guidance I received about goal setting, there’s this theory about the 5 whys. If your goal, for example, is “I want to lose 10 pounds,” ask yourself why, 5 times. It goes something like this:

  • I want to lose 10 pounds
  • Why?
  • So I can fit into my jeans
  • Why?
  • So I can feel better about myself
  • Why?
  • Because I want to build my self-esteem and confidence.
  • Why?
  • So I can take control of more things in my life.
  • Why?
  • So I can feel empowered to change the things I know I need to change.

So…and this is just an example, everyone has their own reasoning — is this really about the 10 pounds? Does the number on the scale really control you that much? I think diving into the rationale behind your goals really helps to structure a clear goal with a visible path forward.

I had this discussion with a client, and it led to a discussion about making some different decisions around meal planning and overall nutrition. When making a change like crowding out animal products or adding in healthy greens, one of the things that can make it feel like less of a sacrifice or deprivation is to track how that change makes you feel. How do you feel when you prepare it, when you eat it, when you get up the next day, or when you’ve done it for the first week? Do you notice improvements in energy, in your sleep, or your focus? Do you feel better that you are doing something for yourself? Seriously, think of all the feelings that food evokes. The notion of comfort food comes into play. If your comfort food in the past has been all the junky foods you’re trying to crowd out, ask yourself whether that food actually provided comfort, or was it a go-to in a mindless, irrational, emotional way?

When you start to pay attention to how you feel after crowding out something, or adding in something new, you start to get to the root of intuitive and mindful eating. This is not something instantaneous – it takes time. But aren’t you worth it?

This week, pick one of your new habits and journal about why you are doing it, and how it makes you feel. Just owning those feelings can be very empowering! And that’s how you nourish yourself, both on and off the plate.