The tools of life coaching can help in every area of your life, when you start to see that all problems stem from the mind and how we process our circumstances. ~Teachings from Martha Beck Training
One common problem many people face that life coaching can help with is your relationship with food and your body.
In a world inundated with magazine covers of beautiful women, Facebook advertising and games of comparison—few of us can escape from the occasional feeling of inadequacy as it relates to our body image.
We know that we need to be disciplined, eat healthy and exercise as much as our schedule allows. Despite the well-known formula, contentment with our bodies eludes us and the chips and guacamole speak to our soul so much more enthusiastically than that veggie tray with low-cal dip.
The tricky thing about finding the right formula for yourself is that it’s not a one size fits all sort of program, the one we’re often sold in the marketplace.
Yes, there is a caloric formula for each body—but does this method work for you when you’re stressed, had a few cocktails, are celebrating the holidays, traveling etc.?
If so—great—keep at it! If not, you may be using a personal operating system that doesn’t work for you and needs to be upgraded with new thoughts, creativity and habits.
That’s it—all you need to do is to create a new operating system—but how do you start?
Enter, your life coach…with questions such as: what is the desired feeling you are looking for? What do you want from your life? What do you do when an urge to eat something unhealthy hits you?
Coaches will most likely ask you a myriad of other questions (you may not even understand why they’re asking) with one goal in mind as we work with you….What are the thoughts that are getting in your way of having your desired feeling?
Why is this our goal? Once we can understand the thoughts creating your operating system, we can help you create a new system that gets you the FEELINGS you REALLY want.
Let’s use an example of a personal operating thought and how it creates a result (you may want to change).
Circumstance: Thanksgivings dinner & the following weekend, which are both filled with great food and beverages.
Thought: I only enjoy the holidays if I can let down my guard and eat what makes me happy.
Feeling: Frustration that I will gain weight if I want to enjoy the holiday.
Action: I’m frustrated, so I drink more than I should. Then this let’s my guard down and I eat more and feel happy for a while and then the guilt settles in.
As a coach and client, it may take us a few sessions to get to this underlying thought—but once you find it—we work to dissolve this thought and re-install an upgrade.
I wrote about thought dissolving in The Work—it is an emotionally driven process that allows the coachee (client) to notice the emotion driving the behavior, accept it and begin to recognize it as the culprit creating the urges.
Along the path of updating your mind software, you connect to personal breakthroughs that provide clarity in understanding the obstacles to long standing thought changes.
Common breakthroughs experienced while coaching individuals on weight loss include: a) the understanding of a deep connection between resisting an unpleasant emotion and instead eating to bypass the feeling b) finding out that you have become detached from your body for so long, you no longer know what it feels like to be healthy c) identifying that you feel such little control in your life that food is the only thing that allows you to feel “in control.”
After a coachee dissolves an unwanted thought, has a moment of clarity or simply understands the circumstances that trigger a strong urge, we begin to work on habits that work well within the new operating system.
The habits you build depend on your strengths and trigger points. Examples may include: 1) Making a habit of limiting the number of drinks you have to 2 per day—because you know that over that quantity your inhibitions sway 2) Making time for four 30 minute exercise commitments instead of three 1-hour sessions, because 1 hour has always felt like too much. 3) Planning 3-4 easy choices for a healthy breakfast and lunches—eliminating the “What’s for breakfast/lunch” question and ensuring that your options are within a healthy diet plan.
Changing your operating system isn’t an easy task (if it was, there wouldn’t be a $59.8 billion industry). It requires commitment to change and the belief that it is possible for you. Coincidentally, the two things required to be a successful coachee.
The fact that it isn’t easy, doesn’t have to overwhelm you, WHY? Because you only have to handle this one moment. All the choices within your body’s life do not need to be made RIGHT NOW. The choices will come to you one circumstance at a time. The more positive choices you make, given new operating systems, habits or sheer will, the weaker the urge will call to you and the more powerful you will become.
This Thanksgivings remember to spread joy and laughter, to not put the burden of future life decisions on yourself and to be thankful for what is in front of you:)