Life coach column: Making peace with your body
Vail CO, Colorado
When I was a personal trainer, people would meet me for their first appointment in a big baggy t-shirt and sweatpants. As they started seeing results, they would shed layers of clothing. The t-shirt turned into a tank top; the sweat pants were replaced with shorts. I knew a client was well on her way by the clothes she wore and how she carried herself ” in the gym and in her life.
I recently witnessed a client going through this transformation. In Shauna’s first coaching session, she identified her fitness level as her area of focus. She had gained 20 pounds and couldn’t fit into her clothes. As she gained weight, she lost confidence. As she lost confidence, she over ate and gained weight. She was trapped in a downward spiral.
As Shauna described how terrible she felt, there was hatred and disgust in her voice. She was mad at herself for allowing this to happen. Her speech was speckled with comments about being fat.
“I can’t believe I’ve gained 20 pounds! How did this happen?” she asked, mostly to herself.
Shauna initially set her goal to lose 25 pounds and committed to meet with a personal trainer. She immediately saw results and was proud of her progress. In our second coaching session, she realized that focusing on her exercise program was only one part of the equation. She also needed to learn about nutrition and how she was fueling her body. Her action step was to talk to her personal trainer or contact a nutritionist before our next session.
She remained dedicated to her workout and eating program and continued to see results, but at a slower pace. Her wardrobe reflected where she was both physically and mentally. She had gone from the baggy cover-up apparel to a more revealing, yet modest dress.
At our third session, Shauna looked great, but seemed frustrated. She recounted how much weight she had lost and how her program was going, but she had reached a plateau. In the past week, she had lost less than a pound. She was discouraged and angry at herself.
“I give up. I can’t eat any less or workout any more. I’m not sure what else to do,” Shauna explained.
“What if you stopped right now?” I asked, trying to gauge how important this was to her. “You’ve lost 15 pounds and can easily maintain this weight.”
“My goal is to lose 25 pounds and my trainer said that would be a healthy weight for me,” she said with conviction. “I’ve reached a plateau but I can’t give up now. I’m just not sure how to keep going.
“In the beginning, it was easy to stay motivated because as I made changes, I saw results. My body isn’t responding anymore; maybe I’m destined to be this weight,” she continued.
“You seem mad at yourself and maybe your body is responding by being mad at you. How can you find peace between you and your body?” I asked.
“I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my body. At times I have looked and felt great, but lately, it’s been mostly on the hate side,” she said.
“What if you were to write a letter to your body explaining your frustration, but also explaining your love for all of the things your body does for you, no matter if you lose 15 or 50 pounds?” I said.
Shauna thought about it and then agreed to write the letter.
“What do I have to lose ” except another 10 pounds?” she said, smiling.
She agreed to write the letter by our next coaching session. I imagine I’ll be able to tell how this assignment worked for her depending on what she wears to our next appointment.
Coaching Challenge: If you struggle with your body weight or image, commit to focus on this area of your life. Set realistic goals that may include weight loss/gain, fitness levels, etc. Depending on your goals, meet with a personal trainer, a nutritionist or look into a weight loss program. As you begin your program and/or if you reach a plateau, write a letter to your body accepting it as it is, thanking it for all it does for you and asking for help in reaching your goals.
To find out more about life coaching, tune in to KZYR 97.7 FM, The Zephyr, on Wednesday, from 7 to 8 p.m. and hear Rhon Robbins live interview with life coach Sheri Fisher.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. Fisher can be reached at email@example.com or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.
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