About a year ago I stopped offering one off nutritional consultations.
At the time I wasn’t sure exactly how this would go. What I did know however was that regardless of what we know about food and nutrition, our attachments to food and our eating and self care habits are much more deeply woven into our minds and emotions than one single 90 minute conversation could untangle. I knew the changes that people wanted to experience with their health and with their weight. Big, life altering changes. It frustrated me to think they might not achieve these goals or give up somewhere along the way because they didn’t have the ongoing support required to address the deeper beliefs that were keeping them stuck.
I knew there was a better way.
It turns out I was right. This ‘better way’ has evolved through different coaching programs and offerings in which I provide ongoing support to those who have decided they truly want to experience greater ease and freedom in their lives around food and in how they feel. Since changing this model of service, I have witnessed amazing transformation in clients who have decided to invest in themselves. I get to be their support through the inevitable ups and downs of their journey. I get to help them believe in themselves when they aren’t sure that they can do it. And I get to witness the most amazing changes in people, not only in their physical health, but in how they feel about themselves and in their lives. It is truly a magical experience.
The importance of this kind of a client-mentor relationship really showed its face to me last week as several of my clients ‘hit the wall’ at the end of the ‘honeymoon phase' of their journey. This happens for most between weeks 1 and 4.
This week every single one of them shared with me that they were experiencing challenges that they hadn’t encountered during the first couple of weeks of our work together. They were extremely tired, lacking motivation, making ‘bad’ choices and finding it hard to stick to the plan that we had created and that they had been excited to start only a few days prior. They didn’t understand why this was happening. They were frustrated. They felt it meant they were failing, that they were doing something wrong. These feelings led them to feelings of dis-trust and dis-belief in themselves. It was hard for them. There were tears. Lots of emotions.
And we worked through them together.
This is the beauty of committing to work with a Coach. Ongoing support, continued learning, adaptations, new insights, solutions and progress. And on the days when your belief wavers, your coach holds the belief for you.
Despite our unique and profound differences as we navigate changes with food and lifestyle, I have noticed many similarities in what clients experience when they hit this ‘wall’ in their journey to progress. When people decide to work with me, I am there weekly and on demand to help them navigate these challenges. For those however, who have not yet invested in the ongoing support of a Coach, I thought they might benefit from a couple of reminders they can consider as they navigate their journey through change.
1) Things feeling hard doesn’t mean anything about you.
It is amazing and sad at the same time how quickly we judge and shame ourselves when things don’t go our way. We assume that the reason things feel hard, or that we fall back into old habits and choices is because we are broken, wrong and lacking. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. We are simply navigating the waters of change in which we travel through the crests and troughs of the waves that we experience. We MAKE our experiences mean something about us and typically we make it mean that we are failing. That we can’t do it.
In these moments we can remind ourselves that we are simply experiencing thoughts, feelings and emotions. They do not define us. With this kind of awareness and with practice, we can develop the ability to ride these waves with greater ease and to extract lessons from our experiences without the experience defining us as less than.
Our experiences don’t MEAN anything about us.
2) ‘Body Rebellion’ is Normal.
First of all, I hate that reference. ‘Body rebellion’ is a terrible name used to describe the physical feelings and side effects that we can experience when we make changes to our diet. The name is terrible because it implies that the body is fighting against us, when in fact, the things that we experience as unpleasant are actually the body doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is going through a process of change.
Although the nutritional recommendations I give each client are unique, there is often a consistent theme of encouraging more whole foods and reducing the number of processed and ‘non’ foods that are consumed. In changing the diet in this way and removing foods that we perhaps have eaten often and for a long time, we actually go through a detoxification process. During this process, it is normal to experience greater fatigue, headaches, changes in bowel movements, skin eruptions, body odor, emotional waves, etc. With increased nutrient intake, detoxification pathways are turned on and the body works to push out that which has been stuck and stagnant. We experience what is moving out of us as ‘nasty and unpleasant’ and so we think it is wrong. But our body is not wrong and this is not rebellion. This is the body doing exactly what it is supposed to do. This is a natural part of our healing process.
Once again we get to remind ourselves that nothing is wrong with us. We can instead remember that our body is wise and that we are experiencing change. We were looking for change, were we not? We can support ourselves most during this time with lots of water, allowing ourselves to rest when we feel tired and by choosing things that soothe us. Baths, walks in nature, more meditation, herbal teas, good quality nourishing foods. The only rebellion in this process is what our mind generates when it doesn’t like the experience. This is all a part of the process of change.
3) Ask for what we need.
Whether we realise it or not, choosing wholesome and nourishing foods is a critical part of selfcare. It is also about boundaries. Does the word ‘boundaries’ trigger you? It sure did for me. Our willingness to dig into our beliefs around what we deserve, how we care for ourselves and our ability to establish boundaries that serve us is a critical piece of establishing lasting and sustainable change.
Consider the number of times you have eaten something that you didn’t want to eat in order to appease someone else. Think of times that you cleaned off your plate even though you were stuffed so that you wouldn’t offend anyone. For parents, consider the times when you have prepared and eaten foods your family wanted, when it wasn’t what you wanted at all. We are often in the habit of sacrificing our wants and needs in order to care for others first. It is validating to us on the surface and yet absolutely hinders our ability to truly nourish ourselves.
When we decide to commit to changing our nutritional intake and our relationship with food, it is critical that we communicate our intentions and desires to those in our closest network. We get to establish boundaries for ourselves with those that we love. For many this is something that they have never done in their entire life.
It is easier (for most anyway) to ask a server in a restaurant for specific items to be added or removed from their order. They are strangers to us and we have no personal or emotional connection to them. It is often entirely more challenging to ask the same of a spouse or parent or someone who we already have a relationship with, especially if this relationship has not previously included boundaries that allowed for us to express what we desire. This seems backwards but it is actually the intimacy of these close relationships that prevents us from asking for what we need.
We believe they will see our requests as a nuisance. That they will think we are being selfish. They will judge us and our attempts to better manage our health. Ultimately, we risk experiencing change within these precious relationships and that can be scary (although it is actually what we want.)
In order to develop lasting, healthy change, we must be willing to ask for not only what we need, but what we WANT. We must be willing to establish boundaries for ourselves that truly serve us. The beauty of this process is that developing this ability within ourselves in regards to food will ripple into other aspects of our lives in ways that we could not have imagined. The power of this work is immense.
4) Lack of belief.
When things start to feel hard our primitive lizard brain takes over. We feel threatened so we go into ‘fight, flee or freeze mode’. It is important to remember that this is a natural adaptation and a response that is designed to keep us safe. We aren’t doing anything wrong. What we often fail to understand however is that we do truly get to DECIDE how we will proceed. Will we run away? Will we stop dead in our tracks? The choice is ultimately ours. We get to be smarter than that lizard brain of ours.
One of the things that is really scary for most of us is the thought of failure. Many people that I work with have tried diets before and have had success for short periods of time but have reverted back to old undesirable habits. The belief in self that develops through these experiences is that “I can’t do it” and we end up in a cycle of self fulfilling prophecy. We believe we can’t do it because it happened that way before and we have yet to experience the opposite reality in which we ‘succeeded’.
In order to proceed, we must be able to hold the belief that we will achieve that which we desire. Having worked in the sport world for a long time, I have heard so many coaches tell their athletes, “you just need to have more confidence.” Although the sentiment is valid, we do not have the ability to just turn confidence on. Confidence is built through practice and repetition. And it is the same with our own belief in our ability to change.
In order to build this belief muscle within ourselves, we can focus on several small contracts, every day. And every time we complete one of them, we intentionally celebrate the shit out of it! I drank 3 L of water today, YES!!! I ate 6 servings of vegetables today, YES!!! I was brave and told my husband I didn’t want pasta for dinner, YES!!! I went for a walk today, YES! It is all of the little things, repeated and celebrated that will amount to massive, lasting change and a solid belief in our own ability to achieve our deepest desires.
5) The power of compassion.
Most individuals that I work with are in the habit of being very unkind to themselves. They have years of practice in self shaming and judging the way they look, the decisions they make, their weight, their income, their relationships. It’s hard sometimes to really acknowledge how poorly we have been treating ourselves. It is important however because within this we can look at our lives and how things are shaping up for us and realise that we have had a hand in creating the very reality that we are experiencing daily. We are a product of what we have been telling ourselves.
Although this can feel quite heavy and overwhelming initially, it also holds a great amount of power and potential. If we are willing to start telling ourselves new stories, then we can create a new reality. One of the most powerful feelings and sentiments that I have experienced in this transformation is compassion.
With compassion comes love but also the acknowledgement of suffering and a feeling of sympathy. We are often very good at being compassionate towards others but we find it much more challenging to hold that same level of compassion for ourselves. As we develop awareness of the thoughts that we are in the habit of directing to ourselves, not only can we change them, but we can shower compassion upon ourselves. We understand that we are a product of all of our experiences, that we have accumulated some hurts and injuries along the way and that we carry feelings of uncertainty, lack and shame. Again that there is nothing wrong with us. We simply get to acknowledge everything that has brought us to where we are. We get to pour more love into ourselves than we ever have before.
The emotions of love and compassion are some of the most powerful emotions that we can harness and directing them towards ourselves is truly transformational. Our ability to treat ourselves well, nourish ourselves, navigate ups and downs and stay true to ourselves absolutely is built upon a foundation of self love and it is nurtured by compassion.
Writing this got me to pondering, is it possible to decide that you want to change, to alter your diet and lifestyle and stay consistent through the ups and downs of the journey and to do this all on our own?
I started to type Yes.
Because I navigated much of my own personal healing journey on my own. My ego got a little racy for a moment in remembering all that I did for myself, by myself.
However, as I retraced my steps through memories of the years when I was so sick, when I was making drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle, the faces of the many practitioners, healers and more recently, Coaches, flashed before my eyes. I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today without the guidance and support that I received from all of these individuals. They helped open my eyes to much of what I have written about here today.
If you are seeking change but are not yet ready to invest in yourself with a Coach or Mentor, then consider the key points I have addressed here, for they will be valuable to you as you walk this path of evolution on your own. Be patient and kind with yourself and remember everything changes, always. Even the hard days will shift.
If you are ready however, to really get into the meat of this stuff. If you truly desire to go deep, to stop replaying the same old habits and patterns and to have someone there to support you through your process of change, then I say to you, stop waiting! Your time is now. And it is here for you when you decide to say yes to YOU.
I heard someone talking about new year’s resolutions the other day. This really isn’t my jam. Why do we wait for a day on the calendar (which really means nothing anyway) to say yes to ourselves? Why do we make ourselves wait? It’s a worthiness thing really.
I desire to see more people show up for themselves and say yes to themselves not later, but NOW. This is super exciting to me. So to do my little part to encourage the yesses, I’m offering some special pricing. You could call it my “Black Friday Deal’, but I’m not even really sure day that is, so you can call it whatever you want.
Starting today, until December 15 take advantage of the following specials.
Save 10% on one, two and three month coaching contracts.
Save 15% on 3 -5 month contracts.
Save 20% of 6-12 month contracts. (Payment plans available).
If it is time for you to say yes and allow yourself to receive the support you deserve on your journey, then let's chat.