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Running From or Running To? (Part 2)

Updated: Jan 20

In the first post of this series, I opened up about an area in my life that has been a constant battle for me.

I also shared my commitment to put intentional focus on this area, working with a health coach for eight weeks. It’s been three weeks so far, so I thought it was time for an update on my progress and what I’m learning.

One Step Forward…One Step Back…

After my first meeting with Health Coach, she had me order two workbooks that would be the foundation for our weekly conversations. Since I’m an avid reader, this step was EASY. (Fact: there are two workbooks, each being over 500 PAGES LONG! That was intimidating, even for a reader like me!)

She also suggested I purchase the program’s pre-packaged meal supplements that would help me get into the routine of eating six times a day, focusing on a healthy balance of low-glycemic foods. This proven method would help retrain my body to fuel itself on its own fat reserves and I would lose weight naturally. They had proven success stories to back up the model. It all sounded great.

It’s just that I had ZERO motivation to take this step.

The thought of stopping multiple times a day to consume a pre-packaged supplement, even if it would help me achieve my goal, felt unrealistic and unsustainable. I literally felt drained and defeated even before I started. I don’t know if it was pride or stubbornness (or both) but my vision of my healthy self was me engaging in a healthy relationship with actual food, not a form of food.

We compromised.

I didn’t get the pre-packaged supplements but did commit to low-glycemic foods (following the workbook recommendations) six times a day. The first week, I spent an entire day packaging the foods into baggies and Tupperware so I could just “grab and go” before work in the morning. I set a timer to remind myself when it was time for my next “meal.”

I lasted three days.

Following the Motivation

When I originally reached out to Health Coach, it was because I was motivated to make a change in my physical health. I also knew myself well enough to know that it was going to take more than a prescribed eating program. I wanted accountability to get to the core of the issue, which was my relationship with food and its role as my emotional security blanket.

The six-meals-a-day part of the program wasn’t motivating to me. It felt punitive and unsustainable.

However, the workbook content was EXACTLY what I was looking for. It was focused on the whole person and making small changes to daily habits that would lead to better overall outcomes.

The overall program is composed of six Habits of Health. (What’s up with the number six?) Anyway, the point is that if we maintain balance in each of the six habits, we’ll find ourselves operating from optimal health and well-being, regardless of our circumstances. If I were to adopt the habits described in the workbooks, it would gradually replace the emotional eating habit. Game on.

The six habits are:

  1. Healthy weight management

  2. Healthy eating and hydration

  3. Healthy motion

  4. Healthy sleep

  5. Healthy mind

  6. Healthy surroundings

In week 2 with Health Coach, I had to work through each of the six habits and which ones I was most motivated to work on. For each of the six habits, I had to answer three questions:

  1. How important is it to make a change in this habit right now?

  2. How confident are you that you can make a change in this habit right now?

  3. How ready are you to make a change in this habit right now?

As I worked through the questions for each habit, two areas quickly rose to the top:

  1. Healthy mind

  2. Healthy weight management

Having this focus helped me set more realistic goals, knowing I was most motivated in these areas.

It also reminded me of two of the most important lessons I’ve learned about coaching others:

  1. The client is capable of making the right decisions, given that they are closest to their situation.

  2. People always have a reason for what they do (or don’t do). They do things they are motivated to do.

My Current Progress

For week 3, I set goals that would help form new habits in the healthy mind and healthy weight management categories:

  1. Limiting processed carbs and sugar

  2. Going from mindless grazing to mindfulness

I chose the mindfulness goal after reviewing my first two weeks of progress and observing my patterns. I noticed that while I eat well during the day, when evening comes, my energy to continue to make healthy decisions is gone. I justify and “reward” myself with mindless eating. And I sabotage whatever progress I made during the day.

This was my current habit. If I wanted a breakthrough, I would need to pick a new habit.

According to the workbook, the new habit I chose to implement would need to be:

  1. Appealing – something I would actually want to do

  2. Achievable – something I could actually do

  3. Easily activated – something I could easily introduce into my current routine that could be done every day.

The workbook provided this example that fit the guidelines above: “Chew each bite five times.” While the example was a good one, and it fit the guidelines, it wasn’t a habit I was motivated to implement.

I spent some time reflecting on what I would be willing to implement that fit all three guidelines. I finally landed on, “Five minutes of mindfulness during the day.”

For me, mindfulness meant stepping away from whatever I was doing to spend 5 minutes being fully present. It didn’t have to be at the same time every day. Rather, each day for 5 minutes I would intentionally stop what I was doing and re-focus. This would help me better manage my emotions, my end-of-day routine, and re-charge my energy during the day.

I originally committed to two, five-minute mindfulness “time-outs” during the day, though Health Coach recommended I stick to one for now, at least until it truly became a habit. She said that on days where I found I had more energy or desire, I could add more mindfulness time-outs. These would be considered “habit PLUS” days.

So… how am I doing? I’m only down 1/2 pound since I started with Health Coach, but I’m gaining momentum in the Healthy Mind category. It’s been motivating to reflect on the workbook content and visualizing how applying what I’m learning will have a lasting impact.

At the same time, I’m seeing that this will be another journey of one small habit at a time. I can’t rush it. I can be present on the journey.

If you made it this far, thanks for journeying with me! I’ll post another update in 3-4 weeks. Stay tuned!

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