Said no client of mine ever but....
Anyone groan at the title of this post? I certainly groaned when a colleague said it to me. I more than groaned, I got outright pissed off for a small moment. What does a nutrition coach even look like? What is the mold that I am supposed to fit into? Is it mandatory to have a 6 pack?
Then I remembered that there are two parts to the fitness industry. The side that recognizes that I can choose for myself what I want to look like and that my physical shape doesn't preclude me from being a really great coach, and the side that thinks I need to fit into a mold to be effective or recognized.
Now the thing is, I get what he was trying to say but regardless of what he meant or why he said it this is an attitude and a thought process that unfortunately is poisoning the well for a lot of people in the fitness world.
When I started trying to lose weight I felt so completely ashamed of my body and how much I had ignored what it had been trying to tell me. The pain in my knees, the pain in my back, the huffing and puffing up even the shortest flight of stairs was just too much to disclose. Once I made the decision to do something about it the last thing I wanted was a size 2 in white leggings, sports bra, and a high pony telling me to just stop eating junk food, or worse yet just eat less and move more. Unfortunately that kind of thinking is really rampant in the fitness industry. It's not everywhere but it is the rule over the exception and I really didn't expect something like this out of his mouth. I thought he was smarter than that, more in touch than that and frankly, I thought he was a better person than that.
Until about three years ago I still moved out of frame if someone was videotaping an event I was at. I didn't want anyone to document the way my body looked because my soul was ashamed. Ashamed at how little attention I paid to my whole being. I was in so much emotional pain that the physical pain helped to drown it out and hearing those words just a few years ago would have had me thinking about it for days rather than moments.
The thing is, emotions only last a few moments if we let them be. Learning to sit with what we are feeling without judgement, avoidance, or escape is really difficult - at first.
"Learning to sit with the pain sucks, quite frankly, but then it gets easier"
If it wasn’t so hard to do or if we were taught to do it early on then we probably wouldn't have as many drug addicts, alcoholics, food addicts, people with gambling problems.... the list goes on. Granted this is my personal opinion but I have seen it first hand amongst my family, friends, and even many clients. The amount of ways we can, and do, distract ourselves from pain are many and widespread but learning to sit with the pain sucks, quite frankly, but then it gets easier.
Letting myself feel the pain and discomfort when it comes rather than moving to the pantry for food -any food - is one of the biggest lessons I had to learn.
I'm not perfect at it.
Sometimes I miss, but I work at it every day.
The thing with emotions though is that most of the time they are because of a story you tell yourself to fill in the blanks. In this case he said "you don't look like a nutrition coach" and I heard “not good enough” but in reality there are two things at play here. Fact and truth; these are not the same.
Fact is simply what happened, what was said, what was done.
Truth is what you fill in in your mind. The things you believe to be so are your truth.
My truth and his truth are not the same and sometimes we can have a similar truth to someone else, but as our experiences differ so do our variations on our truth.
So what my colleague said to me "you don't look like a nutrition coach" was fact but all the things that I filled in after are just my truth.
What he thinks is actually none of my business. I know, you've heard this before but bear with me as I go a little deeper here. Not only is it none of your business but it's all bullshit anyway. What another person thinks of you is based on stories that they filled in in their head. In this case, his story is that to be believable as a nutrition coach you have to look a certain way, but I don't believe that so when his story and my story didn't match up my brain filled in the blanks as to why.
Does it matter though? Does it matter that he thinks a nutrition coach is supposed to look a certain way or that he believes that only physical perfection can motivate others towards that same goal? - to be clear I am filling in a story right now. I have no actual idea what his truth is. All I know is what he said. I do however know what my truth is.
I believe that a nutrition coach or a coach of any kind doesn't have to have it ALL together. A nutrition coach doesn't have to look a certain way or act a certain way or eat paleo or vegan. A coach has to have information and the ability to communicate in such a way that the person seeking out coaching can assimilate it. It has nothing to do with the way I look.
Is my body a representation of the knowledge I have? Sure, in some ways, but the knowledge this body has is so much vaster than just nutrition. First of all, my truth is that this body is only half the story. My soul carried a lot of burdens as well, and you can't see those, but as a result this body and soul know so much.
This body knows carrying children, this body knows nursing children, this body knows what it's like to feel clinically obese, and this soul knows depression, and anxiety, and pain, and fear, and desperation. This body also knows what it feels like to be healthy, and this soul knows happiness and love. This body and soul know joy, and pain, and what a difficult journey it is to get out of your head and into your body, and my body will forever show the scars of that journey. The stretch marks and the loose skin are like an old injury that comes back when the weather is damp and it's about to rain, forever reminding you of that thing that happened. My soul will show those scars too, quick to anger when someone says something that sounds like something I used to tell myself, quick to be untrusting of men I don't know. My brain fills in the blanks too quickly but like the deflated skin on my belly my emotions are also deflated now and don't sting so hard, or for so long. I still have to catch myself but it is a lot easier and I bounce back a lot faster; just like my body knows that I am taking care of it now and bounces back quickly after a permissive vacation or when I push it past its regular limits.
I still need to remind myself at times to separate truth from fact and I need to remember that my truth is not everyone else's, but so long as I keep that in mind I do just fine.
What his truth was doesn't matter to me and what my truth is shouldn't matter to you, but if there is some truth in here that you can relate to or you think you might want to explore we can talk about the facts ;)
If we put the truths aside and focus on fact we do a lot better overall so here are some FACTS you can count on.
1- You don't HAVE to exercise to lose weight or change your body
2- A coach is anyone who helps you get to where you want to be
3- Sometimes we outgrow our coaches
4- Feelings suck sometimes
5- I'm a certified nutrition coach with testimonials and results. ; P
My truth is that learning to let the feelings suck, without trying to distract myself from them, changed my relationship with food and my attitude towards my body. It helped in all areas of my life, not just physically but emotionally too. I'm more present for my children and my spouse, and I enjoy my life much more. It has opened up space in my brain that used to be clogged with stories that aren't real, and made room for learning, growing, and more intimate connections with the people around me.
If you think this might be your truth or if you'd like it to be then go ahead and book a FREE consultation to see if our truths might match. Even if they don't, the facts I can give you will help you reach your goals, whatever your truth might be.
You can book your call right here with this link. http://bit.ly/bookacallSW
Here are a few more facts you can count on.
1- I don't believe in high pressure sales - if you don't REALLY want to work with me I don't want to work with you either because chances are you will be a pain in my ass.
2- I believe that everyone gets to decide for themselves what healthy means.
3- I believe that everyone deserves to feel good in their body and soul, and that everyone is good enough to be here because it is no small miracle that you are here. So many things could have gone differently and you wouldn't exist…so there!