“What do you do?” Oh lord, I used to hate this question when I was a stay at home Mammy.
I had an internal moment of contentment yesterday as two people asked me what I did and I was really proud to share “I am a Health Coach”.
But what does that mean? How do I coach people to “get healthy”?
Most assume that it’s all about food. That, as a health coach, the first thing I will do is take an inventory of everything you eat and then tell you what you need to cut out. I am here to share that is not what I do.
If you think you will be leaving my sessions with a meal plan and a list of do’s and don’ts, you’d be wrong. Yes, this is not so much my thing. My purpose is not to tell you what to eat.
My purpose is deeper than that. My mission is to show you how to get healthy YOUR way!
The reality is that my clients are successful women who have careers, children and lots of interests. They are already adopting many healthy behaviours.
However, what they do need help with is to stop the constant anxiety about what they should and shouldn’t eat. They find themselves so preoccupied with nurturing everyone else and making sure everyone has what they need, that they forget about nurturing their own needs. They restrict anything that brings them joy and then chastise themselves when they wind up in the hot press eating a box of biscuits when they are having a stress-filled day.
Deprivation and guilt are not healthy. At least that’s certainly not my take on it.
So, what does being healthy mean for you?
The first question I ask my clients is why do they want my support? And, predictably the first response is generally, “I want to get healthy”.
So, this leads me to ask another question…” What exactly does that mean for you?”
Deep down I know that they think being skinnier means they will be healthier. And, usually, they end up feeling utterly shocked when I tell them that skinny does not necessarily mean healthy. It’s just not that simple.
There are lots of factors that determine our health like our genes, our education, our stress load, our economic status for example.
Unfortunately through the years, we have become tunnel-visioned to this weight = health.
This is through no fault of our own. The messaging we get from health care professionals, fitness professionals and media all reaffirm our thoughts.
It’s no wonder we are all fearful of what to eat because my God if you don’t eat the right food everything and everyone around you will be harmed.
Seriously, it is tricky to have a good relationship with food these days.
This fear of food that has been created is actually what is robbing us of our happiness and our HEALTH!
Most clients tell me they just can’t face another diet but they don’t know of any alternative to getting healthy? They are caught in a belief system that they must control, count, measure what they eat to be healthy. Yet, they feel tired, frustrated and stuck as the diets have failed to deliver again and again.
For me, “Health is having the ability to live YOUR life in a way that is MEANINGFUL to you”
And the really amazing thing is that by shifting your focus from ‘control’ to ‘curiosity’, you can actually begin to feel better. You can find joy in what you eat and once and for all stop flipping thinking about food so much.
Why ditching the diet is the healthier option
I work with people who are ready to forget about diets and who want to support their health by adding more nourishment into their lives. That nourishment doesn’t always mean food. No, when I talk about how to get healthy, I talk about how you can fill your ‘health bucket’ every day with a wide variety of things including both food and activities.
You see, my brain works differently to some, in fact my body does. I can’t just read something and apply it to my life. It’s only now as I am older and wiser that I have learned if I can feel it I can do it. So I learn best by feeling my way through things.
That is how I work with you, I provide you with knowledge and insight so that you can learn how to feel what your body has to tell you. Our grannies didn’t have a spreadsheet telling us what to eat, they just knew they should get certain foods in based on their bodies’ responses.
No more restrictive thinking. Rather than trying out the latest diet fad, what you might find more beneficial is to learn the practical tools that will allow you to move towards accepting yourself and listening to your own body.
As you do that, you will find that you intuitively begin to prepare meals that are not only delicious and satisfying but that nourish your body the way it wants to be nourished, all while meeting your nutrient requirements. You can rock up to the fridge any day and make a meal that both nourishes and satisfies you without even thinking.
Could we take weight loss from centre stage for now?
It’s ok to want to lose weight but perhaps the eternal quest for weight loss has meant that you have lost the connection to food and even to yourself.
Why should you put off being the amazing and beautiful person that everyone else can see until that ruddy weighing scales tells you? You are worthy to ‘feel’ that way now!
How much of your life is on hold because you “just have to get this weight thing under control”?
How often have you eaten a meal that you 100% did not enjoy because somewhere along the line someone told you that that is what you ‘should’ eat?
Part of my sessions with clients is to gently uncover some of the ways that diets, beliefs about food and unhelpful life habits have been depriving you of peace, contentment and hijacking your success in so many aspects of your life.
We begin to gently shake these old beliefs and form our own true opinions about health and what activities are meaningful for you to do in order to feel your best every day.
If someone tells you to take an Epsom salt bath for your stress but you sit in the bath irritated, there’s no real point in doing it, is there?
As you come out of the cloud of rules created for you by someone else, you feel liberated and free to decide for yourself what makes you feel more energised. If a cold shower works for you, then go for it? If not, then for the love of God stop doing it!
Look it might not feel normal doing this at first. Throwing out that rulebook you’ve been living by for so long is not easy. Trust me, I wasn’t very good at this at the start, but gradually I saw that this was working. The more I leaned into it, the more I got out of it and I haven’t looked back since. The good news is that this is all completely possible for you too.
The key I believe is by letting go of the weight loss goals in the short term, focus on building up your relationship with food, with yourself so that you know how to eat for your body.
Yeah, that sounds great, but how do I actually do it?
Change is not always easy. I remember going through a number of company buy-outs in my corporate days. You were full of nervous excitement, the promises were endless but the changes that came were hard. You lost friends along the way, you gained more work. It always took TIME to be able to feel the results of the efforts of embracing the change.
Behind any great transformation story is a willingness to change. And, behind that willingness is an acceptance that you will need to learn by experience, you will need to be patient as you try new and unfamiliar things. Indeed when you have spent so long not trusting that your body knows how to nourish itself, it is perfectly normal to feel petrified of letting go of those reigns.
Though you might not know it, beyond those fears is a deep-rooted TRUST that you can do this. You might just barely hear it, but if you choose to, you will gradually discover all of the other powerful voices you have within.
If what you have been doing so far hasn’t worked for you then I invite you to STOP doing what you were doing and START doing things differently.
Create goals that are right for you. We tend to only notice the rewards for goals when we move slowly out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves. That’s when the rewards become that much sweeter.
There is no straightforward answer to the question – “How to get healthy?” Being healthy is going to mean something different for everyone and what’s important is that you actually realise that. Just because you are told that doing ‘X’ is healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ‘healthy’ for you. You need to be aware of what feels healthy to you. What makes you feel good? What gives you energy?
Coaching supports you to bring out what is already within you. It helps you to determine what the comfort spot is within you and from there decide what the next best step to take is. While you learn this, your coach will hold the space for you to dance around the changes so that you are always moving forward.
If you would like to discover and learn how to build your relationship with food so that you feel comfortable with your food choice every single time, then book a free clarity call with me. Find out if coaching is for you? We’ll identify what exactly the challenges are that you face with your food and health goals and create a roadmap for you to use to find the best route for you.