Tag Archives: Support

Getting Help for Your Food Issues? You Are Courageous.

photo credit: it's oh so quite... (Denmark #5 Ry) via photopin (license)

We often feel alone in our struggles. Sharing with someone else can be scary but so worth it.  It takes courage.    photo credit: it’s oh so quite… (Denmark #5 Ry) via photopin (license)

We think of courage as bold overtures, soldiers storming into battle, a child bravely fighting cancer. Most of us hardly think of getting help for our eating “issues” as courageous.

To admit that you’re struggling in a big way to yourself is hard enough, but to vocalize (or even email it!) it to another feels a little like peeling off your skin and exposing your vulnerable insides to grave dangers. You’re not going to die from exposure, but for a moment it feels like you could. Putting it all out there – even to just one person puts us immediately on guard. We anticipate harsh judgements, embarrassment, ridicule even.

Why do we have so much fear sharing what’s really going on with us? Especially when you consider how much ridiculous shit we share online – with perfect strangers even!

The fear comes from the idea that we’re alone in it. We’re walking out into an abyss and no one else has a clue about it. That there is something wrong with us for having this problem – because everyone else seems ok. We think that we’re the only ones stuffing our faces, struggling to eat “normally” and revolting from our bodies. But the truth is, everyone has insecurities and stuff they are freaking out about inside. Maybe it’s not their food life or their body – it might be their marriage, it might be that they suffer from anxiety, maybe they feel like a total fraud at their job, maybe they have major social anxiety, the list can go on and on. Most of us keep it bottled up inside (unless you’re like me and you share way too much all of the time) – but we’re all hurting in some way and we all need someone to talk to. We all need to feel heard, understood, supported and most of all, not judged.

As hard as it is to suffer with an eating issue, it’s so hard to extend out our hands to get support. It may feel courageous to keep it inside and “handle it” ourselves but there really isn’t courage in that (at least in the long term). That’s based in fear. Fear of being seen as we really are – a complex imperfect human being!

Getting to the point where you finally reach out because you recognize that it’s actually even scarier to not seek help (and remain the same) takes immense courage. It takes guts. It takes a willingness to fall harder on your face than you already have. It is a risk.

But it’s one you have to take if you don’t want to feel this way anymore.

It takes so much courage to finally say, I need help, I’m stuck. I can’t do this on my own, I’m flailing, floundering and feeling fragile.

I talk a lot about what it takes to heal our relationships with food and loving our bodies and feeling our feelings. I talk about the need to take action and put things into practice instead of just wishing things were different but I don’t often acknowledge what it has taken the person who is in the process to even get to that point. That’s a whole journey in itself.

No one can tell you when you’ll get there, when you’ll be ready to get help, when enough is enough, but you. You’ll find that point someday where your quality of life is compromised enough that not getting help seems worse than sharing your struggles. To allay some of your fears, last time someone was brave enough to share with you something they were struggling with, how did you react? Did you make fun of them or tear them apart? Or did you let them know they were heard and understood? I’m guessing you may have seen yourself in them and said “Me too.”

If you have spoken up and are working to get better – with a coach, with a therapist, with a friend, with your journal, then you are courageous. You are fierce. You are strong. You are looking your fears directly in the face and saying “Is this all you’ve got?”, even if there are bumps along the way. You are brave.

If you’re not there yet, that’s ok. We’re all here for you and will be ready to listen when you are. I can’t wait for you to feel the relief that comes with being able to share your story with another person who gets it and who isn’t judging you. It’s like taking a deep breath by the ocean for the first time. It’s a big chunk of the healing just to get there. When you’re ready and want to talk, contact me.

Is Your Way Really the Best Way? Letting Go of the Need to Fix Others.

One of the most difficult things I’ve been working on is letting go of the idea that I can change other people.

I can’t help someone who is unhappy be happy.
I can’t help someone who doesn’t pay their bills on time become a responsible person.
I can’t change how someone is raising their kids.
I can’t make someone eat better if they don’t want to.
I can’t make someone care for their health, their future, or their security.

Even though in my core, I know these things, sometimes I still find myself thinking, maybe if I do X they will be happier.
If I say X they will feel better.
If I do X they won’t have this problem anymore.
If I suggest X they might be more motivated to change.

But I can’t make them want what I want for them.
I can’t make them take actions that I want them to take.

Salt ‘n Pepa said it best: it’s none of my business.  How others live their lives is actually none of my business.

It may feel like my business sometimes – especially if the person who is unhappy is close to me or if the person who doesn’t pay their bills asks me to bail them out.

If I care deeply about them, it really does feel like it’s my business and it feels like I’d be failing them if I didn’t give it my all to help them change.

It’s painful to not be able to snap my fingers and create the result I want to see for them.

Not being able to help the way I want to leads to frustration for me.

And sometimes for them too.

Because if I’m putting all my energy into what they are doing wrong or not doing the way I want them to do it or trying to get them to feel differently than they do, my time with them doesn’t feel good. I don’t feel good. They don’t feel good. I’m actually failing them by focusing on what I want for them.

What I can do is focus on how I want to feel in my relationship with this person or how I want the other person to feel when they are with me. In all of these situations, I want the other person to feel loved and supported. Understood. Listened to. Heard. Not alone. I want to feel like I am being the most helpful I can be.

That comes from being kind and supportive.

And letting go of my need to fix how they live or experience their lives.

photo credit: tsny los angeles via photopin (license)

Sometimes you have to let go to get to the next level in your relationships    (photo credit: tsny los angeles via photopin (license))

Maybe, happiness, good parenting, responsible finances or healthy eating to them doesn’t look like what I think it should look like.

I have a client who says, “This isn’t my circus. These aren’t my monkeys”.  She’s right. It’s simply good advice. (Sometimes I’m the client and they’re the coach!)

In my coaching practice, I have no problem with this. Showing up. Listening. Supporting. Asking questions without judgement. Encouraging when needed. Not being attached to the outcome. Going where the client needs/wants to go.

But it so much harder to do in my personal life.

Just like with anything else that we get good at and becomes second nature, we have to practice it. Over and over.

The only way for me to feel better about my relationships and help them have more of what they desire in their lives is for me to show up in them with love. And to practice that over and over (and not give up when I slip back into an old way of interacting with someone).

The awesome thing that happens is that when people are loved and supported (instead of judged or pressured), they are more apt to make changes to better their lives (whatever that looks like to them).

I don’t have to like what someone is doing or how they are living to be able to feel love towards them.

Truly, the best way for me to help someone change is to change myself first.

I’d love to hear from you. Are there relationships in your life that you struggle with wanting to control? Have you ever successfully convinced someone that your way is better? What was the result? What helps you distinguish your “circus” or your “monkeys” from someone else’s? Have you experienced a shift in your relationships by changing how you show up in them?

Hey are you joining my Free Exercise challenge that starts next Monday October 12? You should! It’s 30 days of short workouts, encouragement and support – great for beginners! Create an exercise habit that you can be proud of!

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.

Day 17 – Ask for Help!

Two of my nieces washing dishes after a big family party.

Two of my nieces washing dishes after a big family party.

For our 17th day of 31 Days of Healthy Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More the tip is to ask for help with housework and errands.  You have more on your plate during the holidays.   We’ve already talked about how full your social calendar and to do list is.  Asking for help with it all is another strategy you can use to get through the season (and all year long).

Let me tell you something. You are not a martyr.  You don’t have to do everything on your own.  No one gets a prize in heaven for doing the dishes every night. You will be more effective if you aren’t spread so thin.  You will reduce your stress levels and you’ll be less likely to deal with your frustration by throwing yourself into a box of donuts. Ask your friends, kids, husband, coworkers or anyone else in your life for help.  You’ll be amazed how most people actually want to help when you ask.

When I was 9, I was helping my Dad install sheetrock in our garage and at 11 I was tall enough to reach the brakes in the car so I would help bleed the brakes when he was working on our station wagon. My sisters and I even helped Dad install a new well when ours crapped out. My parents had 5 kids and needed us to pitch in to get by.  I wasn’t a huge fan of these chores as a kid but now I appreciate all my parents made me do because it made me into a person who you can count on to get things done.  Not a bad trait to have.

There’s no reason why the kids can’t help out with chores around the house.  Even young kids can help clean up after themselves. Your preteen can do the dishes and your kindergartener can feed the family dog.  Your 8 year old can bring in the mail after school.  The Happy Housewife has a great printable chart for age appropriate chores for kids.  Not only does it help you out, but you’re also teaching your kids valuable lessons about responsibility that they’ll need as an adult. So important!

If the kids helping out isn’t enough and your budget allows it, think about hiring a cleaning service to come in to clean once a week or every other week.  Rates average $25 – $40 an hour to have someone vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms and more.  Think about how many hours you spend cleaning.  Wouldn’t it be nice to come home after a busy day and someone has already taken care of it?  If you go out for lunch at work everyday and switch to brown bagging it (which is better for you anyhow), you’ll now have the cash needed to pay for cleaning help.

Ask a neighbor to pick up the kids from basketball practice.  Ask a friend to pick up a prescription for you.  Ask your husband to pick up a healthy take out for dinner.  Ask a coworker to proof a presentation for you.

If someone you cared about asked you for help, wouldn’t you say yes?  Exactly.  Do it.  You’ll feel so much better and they’ll feel good for being able to help you.