Tag Archives: Lifestyle

I’m Not Judging You For Eating That

photo credit: mhaithaca via photopin cc

photo credit: mhaithaca via photopin cc

As I place my order with our waiter, I can tell by the way you’re looking at me that you are second guessing your choice. The way your eyes dart back and forth as you look down at the menu tells me you are searching frantically for an option that you think would be “ok”. The waiter looks around the room impatiently but manages to keep a tightly pursed smile on his lips.

I’m guessing you felt his impatience because you put the menu back down and quickly order. “I’ll just have the  . . . “.  He grabs our menus and hurries away to another table.  Without me saying anything or even changing the expression on my face, you blurt out (any one of these):

1.  “Oh, I’m only ordering this because I didn’t have breakfast today”
2.  “I’ve been so good lately that I’m rewarding myself. Back on the diet train tomorrow!”
3.  “I never eat this stuff but I haven’t had this in so long!”
4. “Do you ever cheat? You’re making me look bad!”

If we go out to lunch and I order a green salad and the wild salmon, there’s no need to add a disclaimer when you place your order (of macaroni and cheese, buffalo wings or a glorious piece of cheesecake or anything else).

I’m not judging you for what you eat. I’m not watching your every move. I’m not making an assessment of your entire diet because of one meal we share together.  I hope you extend me the same courtesy.

While I encourage eating less processed food, more whole foods from nature and being thoughtful about what ingredients we put in our bodies, I want you to know that it doesn’t mean that I expect that you will eat the exact way I do (or that you want to). We each have reasons for choosing the foods we do. It might be because it tastes good, it’s tradition, it feels good, it’s affordable, your kids like it, it’s good for you or any other reason. I know I have mine. What works for me may not work for you – and that’s totally ok. I promise I’m not judging you for your choices. My goal is to help you improve your diet and lifestyle and I will do that by meeting you where you are right now. And if where you are at the moment is a macaroni and cheese and cheesecake kind of place, I’ll be right over. I’ve visited more frequently than most.

If you are someone who doesn’t like vegetables, as your coach I would be setting you up for failure if I recommended you suddenly fit in 8 servings of vegetables every day. If I can get someone to go from eating 0 vegetables a day when we start working together to eating 2 a day after 6 months I consider that a major improvement and I know they do too.

I didn’t start eating the way I do overnight.  My food journey has been a long and varied one. When I was 23 I thought being “healthy” meant staying under a certain amount of calories, eating a lot of processed soy in place of dairy & meat, artificial sugars (because I was saving calories!) and drinking as much beer as I wanted as long as I exercised.  At 27 I thought being “healthy” just meant cooking everything from scratch, and as long as something was homemade, it didn’t matter if it had 3000 mg of sodium and 4 lbs of cheese in it (for proof, just visit a food blog from my past. It’s like a cheese and bread festival over there).

Over the years my diet has changed to whatever felt right to me at the time. Sadly, for many years “felt right” meant bingeing on junk food after restricting for long periods. After learning about food sensitivities and emotional eating, I’m much more in tune with what foods make me feel terrible and what makes me feel good.  So when you see me ordering certain types of food in a restaurant or saying “no thank you” to something I’m offered, know that I’m trying to do the best thing for me, right now.  And right now, the best thing for me is to give my body food that nourishes it and that doesn’t cause it uncomfortable symptoms or binge behavior. Those same foods might be ok for you – you know what’s best for your body.

My food choices are not about making you feel bad or about trying to appear perfect.

I spent a huge chunk of my life judging myself for the food I put in my body and feeling judged for every bite. People made comments about what I was eating to the point where every bite made me feel like a shitty person. Believe me when I say I have absolutely no desire to make you feel shitty too.  If me choosing to eat the way I do makes you feel shitty, that really sucks because it’s not my intention. If you think I’m judging you, yes it makes me feel kinda crappy but you’re the one that it really hurts. Are you going to enjoy what you just ordered now? Not if you think I’m calculating the good or badness of the contents of the plate in front of you. Honestly, I’m thinking about how glad I am that we finally ordered because I have to pee and also that I’m so excited to catch up with you.

photo credit: mastermaq via photopin cc

photo credit: mastermaq via photopin cc

I want you to know that I’m human. Even though I watch my sugar intake most of the time, I’m pretty sure I ate more chocolate over the holidays than most of you reading this (and most of it was NOT dark chocolate). Despite choosing to not eat cheese most of the time, last night I ate cheddar cheese and salami (and neither of it was organic or local and it was definitely loaded with chemical preservatives). I drink alcohol. I drink coffee. And I eat a lot of other things that you might think someone in my field may not do.

Do I walk my talk and eat the way I encourage others to eat? Yes, around 90% of the time. But 10% of the time, I give in to indulgences. And sometimes I derail hard and that 10% and 90% reverse for a few days. But then I get back up and go back to what I know works and feels good for me.

It’s my job to help others change what they don’t like about their lives & health and I can do this because of my training, but also because I have been a chameleon of change in my own life.  In this field of work, people often assume you must be perfect 100% of the time. I remember being terrified in coaching school because I was the opposite of perfect.  But I’m not finding that is actually a benefit when doing this work. I’m able to relate to people’s struggles better and they find me easier to talk to because of these experiences.

I know changing anything about ourselves isn’t easy. I know you’re probably going through your own battle. I know you’re probably scared to really share what you struggle with. You’re not alone and I promise I’m not judging you.

Judgement shouldn’t be a part of any meal on your end or mine.

Next time we share a meal together, I hope we both can order whatever is best for us at that moment, enjoy the meal and each other wholeheartedly and go about our day. No judgement of each other or ourselves. That’s best for everyone.
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What to Expect When You Hire a Health Coach

What the heck is health coaching?

What the heck is health coaching?

It seems like the term “Health Coaching” or “Health Coach” are being flung about a lot these days but most people aren’t really sure what it is or what it means.  It’s a pretty young field and is still developing.  In fact, it’s so young that at this moment there is no single licensing board that regulates who can call themselves a health coach and whether or not they can dispense nutrition advice varies by state.  Anyone can call themselves one without any training (that’s why you see diet pill pushers on TV calling themselves a health coach).   This makes people a little wary of hiring one (and they should be).  You want to know a little about someone’s background, training and what you’ll get by hiring them. When I’m asked what I do and tell the person that I’m a Health Coach, sometimes I get a look of confusion (when that happens I just know that they think it has something to do with kale).

I’m always happy to explain more about what it is that I do (and what training I’ve had) and I know it’s only a matter of time before the term Health Coach is in everyone’s vocabulary but for today I thought I’d take a minute to lay out exactly what you can expect from working with me. I think it’s important for clients and potential clients to know exactly what they can expect from my services and our sessions.

I also want to be clear about what they won’t be getting when working with me. I am not a nutritionist, dietician or personal trainer.  I can’t diagnose you with anything, prescribe medications or treatments and I won’t advise you specifically on how much fat, carbs or protein you should be eating.

Health Coaching is a subset of Life Coaching.  You have health or wellness goals you would like to reach (lose weight, stop your sugar addiction, find more time to exercise etc), I’ll hold you accountable and together we’ll confront obstacles in your way and work through them.  We’re so used to having to go to outside of ourselves (the doctor, books, the internet etc) for help managing our health, that we forget that much of it is actually in our control.  We have the power to create a healthier lifestyle by making little changes that add up to make a huge impact. A Health Coach can help you get control back and be an objective sounding board when you feel like you are going in circles with information overload or decisions.  And, no, it’s not all about kale (but maybe it’s a little bit about kale). And a real coach with a quality background is not going to try to sell you a quick fix.

photo credit: SweetOnVeg via photopin cc

photo credit: SweetOnVeg via photopin cc

Here’s what you can and can’t expect from me as your Health Coach:

      • I will help you define goals and form a plan with you on how you can reach them.
      • I will hold you accountable.  When we decide that you are going to take an action, I expect you to take it.
      • I will ask you questions that make you think deeply about your choices, excuses, motivations and more.
      • I will keep what you tell me private.  I want to provide a safe and trusted space for you.
      • I will be your cheerleader and support you through both the ups and downs on this journey.
      • I will help you deconstruct your food cravings so that they don’t derail your goals.
      • I will help you address issues that may be forming in many areas of your life, including your career, physical activity, diet, spirituality, creativity, social life and even relationships.
      • I will give you my undivided attention during our appointments.
      • I will let you know that you are not alone.
      • I will help you figure out the “how” when it comes to implementing these changes.
      • I will let you lead the discussion.  Some days you may want to talk about your diet, other days it might be work or your home life that needs some attention.  We’ll go where the need arises.
      • I will encourage you to be open to trying new things (in your diet and elsewhere in your life).
      • I won’t hand you a meal plan that tells you exactly what to eat but I will help you figure out what foods make you feel your best.
      • I will help you dig deeper when you feel stuck in a situation.
      • I will recommend eating more whole foods and less processed foods (but I don’t subscribe to one particular diet for everybody).
      • I’m going to make these lifestyle changes as easy as possible for you by being with you every step of the way.
      • I don’t expect perfection from my clients but I do expect effort!
      • I won’t judge you.  I want you to feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with me.
      • I won’t and can’t do the work for you.  I’m here to support you in making lasting changes.  If you aren’t committed to doing the work, then coaching may not be for you.
      • I won’t recommend or support magic pills, surgery or other drastic measures for losing weight.
      • I won’t tell you that you can’t eat something (but I may suggest alternatives to try).
      • I won’t hesitate to suggest you seek additional help or services from other medical or mental health providers if I believe your needs go beyond my scope of practice.  Your safety and health is of utmost importance.

I hope this helps you to have a clearer picture of what working with a Health Coach is like.  I really love the work that I’m doing.  It’s so awesome to watch people transform their lives (especially if they were feeling stuck before). Have you ever considered hiring a Health Coach?  The first session with me is free if you want to test the waters and see if it’s for you. If you have any questions, please submit them in the comments or send me an email and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Would a Zombie want to eat your Brains?

Seriously. I know Zombies don’t exactly have the most discriminating of palates but I like to think at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse when there is a surplus of human brains for them to feast on they’re going to be a little choosy.

“Ug, dementia riddled brains again, mom? Can’t we have young fresh healthy brains?”

Unfortunately, after listening to a talk recently by Dr. Daniel Amen on keeping our brains young I’m thinking that choosy zombies are going to be shit out of luck at the end of days. Some of the facts Dr. Amen mentioned about Alzheimer’s were absolutely staggering (and terrifying) and I thought it was important to do a quick post on it (but not for the benefit of the zombies).  We hear about people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s all the time but do we ever really stop to think about why it’s happening or what we can do about it?

Every 68 seconds an American develops Alzheimer’s Disease.  By 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.  Yikes.

A couple of doozies Dr. Amen mentioned:

  • The number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple by 2050
  • At age 85, you have a 50% chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Brain deterioration starts 30 years before symptoms even start to show.

There’s still a bit of debate about what the specific causes of Alzheimer’s are but one can see drastic differences between a healthy brain vs. one with Alzheimer’s just by looking.  If symptoms take 30 years to show up that means our brains start to develop the disease in our 30’s and 40’s and that means there might be time for some of us to change our fate.

We know that an Alzheimer’s brain is one that is deteriorating.  It is essentially accelerated brain aging.  So what makes your brain age?  Lots of things but primarily anything that reduces blood flow to the brain:  toxins & conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and depression. Also sedentary lifestyles, smoking and drug and alcohol use.

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s and so far no proven method of preventing it.  But we do know that people who develop certain conditions (like those named above) have an increased risk of the disease so at the moment your best defense is a lifestyle that prevents you from developing those diseases and change your lifestyle if you already have any of them!

Decrease your Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s

  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Eat a clean mediterranean based diet that includes omega 3 fatty acids
  • Drastically limit added sugar in your diet
  • Exercise regularly and move more in general
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink green tea in moderation
  • Continue to learn new things as you age.  Challenge yourself!
  • Manage stress (yoga, meditation, massage, breathwork, time with friends etc)

If looking better, feeling better and living longer aren’t enough reasons for you to take better care of yourself, I hope reducing the risk of not remembering your grandchildren (or children, or husband etc) someday is.

If you take all these steps to reduce your risk, luckily for you, there is currently no way for the zombies to know ahead of time that you have young healthy brains. Green tea in hand and lacing up my sneakers now!  There’s probably a lot of running in the apocalypse.

Image courtesy of ddpavumba  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net