The 3 Most Important Things I've Learned from Health Coaching
As I’m jumping back into health and wellness coaching, I thought I would take a few minutes to share the top three things I’ve learned on the coaching journey- both through learning to be a health coach and working with a health coach. These three mindset shifts have helped me to lose weight and keep it off, improve my overall health and lower my stress.
1) food isn't “bad” for you...
… some foods are going to nourish you and make you feel better and some just aren’t going to do that as well. If you were starving in a desert and only had a snickers bar, your body could still use that energy to fuel you. I found that when I was thinking of foods as “bad”, when I did eat it, I was more prone to beating myself up about it and stressing about how much I was going to have to work out to work it off. Instead of enjoying the dessert or “bad” food I had decided to eat, I was immediately feeling guilty that I decided to eat it at all. Taking this paradigm to heart has helped lower my stress around food – which, bonus!, is a big factor in weight-loss 😊
2) sleep is just as important as exercise
Yeah, you heard me – sleep is as important as exercise. This isn’t me saying that you don’t need to exercise or bring movement into your life. But, sleep is crucial in not only your overall health, but also in suppressing cravings. While you sleep, your body resets itself. It’s the time for your body to clean out the bad stuff and rebuild the good stuff. When you go through your day well rested, you’re more likely to make good choices around the food you’re eating. For a long time, I was focusing more on waking up super early to get in a long work out, but I was exhausted. I’ve found that shortening my work out on days when I just feel too exhausted to get up has helped me curb binging impulses. That extra half hour/hour of sleep is sometimes just what my body needs. True, that’s not a workable strategy for every day, but in learning to listen to what my body needs, I’m starting to be able to tell the difference between my body being physically tired and just feeling lazy. And you non- morning work out people – same holds true for you! Make sure you’re getting enough sleep – letting your body internalize and process the good things you’ve done for it today.
3) stressing over whether you're sticking to your wellness goals is just as destructive as stressing about work
Stress is stress people! And we all know that too much stress is a very bad thing for our health and our bodies. I’ve found that in my approach to wellness, if I let it, can stress me out. “I’m not eating the right thing.” “I didn’t have time to cook any food” “I didn’t exercise enough”. Stressing about these things and letting it cause you stress is still activating that sympathetic nervous system, and shutting down your digestion, and promoting cortisol production. Learning how to notice things and course correct without judging myself or stressing about it too much has been a hard lesson to learn, but one that makes me so much calmer. True, a little bit of stress can be a good kick in the butt or motivator, but finding the balance between that and ongoing, chronic stress has been a great learning experience for me.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned when trying to adopt healthy habits! What works for you? Leave a comment and let me know!