Changing is a fact of life. We are changing all the time whether we want to or not. Some changes are forced on us and others we can be co creators with. Here are some steps you can take today to overcome challenges in your life.
Steps to Change in Wellness Coaching
1. Recognize something is not working in your life.
This may sound elementary but honestly it can be the hardest step. To fully admit your life is not working for you in some area can feel defeating. After all, it’s not like you haven’t tried all sorts of ways to fix this pesky challenge, yet it still persists.
2. Write out what is not working at the top of a page.
Get really specific on what the problem is. Don’t try to work on ALL your issues at once. Simply pick one.
Now answer these questions surrounding the issue.
Example: This is only one example. Your problem and answers could be totally different!
Problem (specific)– I have gained 30 pounds in the last 2 years.
Behaviors: I eat at restaurants 2 times a week or more. I use food as a reward for a hard day at work. I snack while I am watching TV at night. I eat dessert at almost every meal. I eat when I am stressed. I eat even though I am not truly hungry.
Consequences: I can’t fit into the clothes I once loved to wear. I am increasing my risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. I am unfairly believed to be lazy because I am overweight.
What have I already done to fix this and why didn’t it work (specific)?
I tried skipping breakfast all month to lesson my calories. I ended up eating more later in the day. I started walking on the treadmill 3 times a week for 30 minutes but didn’t change my eating habits. I tried a low-calorie diet but kept forgetting to track my calories and eventually stopped.
How do I feel about this weight gain?
I feel shameful and worry the gaining won’t stop. I feel defeated, like a failure. I feel sad that I don’t feel sexy anymore. I feel grossed out when I look in the mirror.
How do I feel about the process of changing it?
I feel fearful. I have tried things in the past and nothing seems to work. I fear I don’t have the self-discipline I need to change. I worry I will gain it back anyway. I feel confused and overwhlmed about the right diet for me. I feel sad at the thought of giving up the foods I love to eat.
What would my life look like if I lost the 30 pounds?
I would get back into the Jeans I use to love to wear. I would feel proud of myself for lowering my risk of disease. I would have more energy. I would feel more in control of the food I eat. I would feel sexy. I would feel confident again.
3. Look over everything you just wrote and ask yourself if this problem is really worth changing at this time in your life.
Do the benefits really seem worth the work of change? Sometimes, it’s not. We have a lot to deal with and in the end some things are best to tackle at a less stressful time. If you do feel like the benefits outweigh the consequences, fantastic you are ready to start!
4.Now it’s time to make a plan. A plan is just a goal thought out. Its best to write it!
Change is all about self-discovery. You learn things about yourself with every change you make and one victory will lead to new beliefs that you can overcome more challenges in your life. Change is not linear and perfect. The failures can help you assess what does and doesn’t work for you. The key is to not give up.
You may try 94 times but when it works the 95th time you will be glad you kept going.
What is it that life has taught you? Maybe it’s a lesson you never wanted to learn. Maybe you were thrown into this lesson and it keeps haunting you because you refuse to allow it in.
Maybe you haven’t learned it yet?
It WON'T go away.
Maybe its hanging onto your life and around every corner. It might make you angry. It might make you anxious. It might make you frustrated because you can’t get away.
Maybe it’s your purpose.
What is it, what is life is trying to teach you? What is it you are trying to hide from by running from this lesson?
Maybe you have learned it.
You know it well. It’s close to your heart. It has become a part of who you are. You have not shared it with many though.
It’s something other people might not agree with. It doesn't fit common sense.
The whole world around you seems to live opposite of this truth. Nonetheless, you have been learning it for your entire life.
What is it, what’s your truth?
Don’t be afraid of it
Others need to learn to! What is that “thing” that won’t go away and you feel like you MUST do something about?
Just maybe, this could be your whole purpose for being here.
Lean into the anxiety. Lean into the pain. Allow it to integrate into you and become a part of you.
No one will fight for your life, but you. You are here for a reason. What is it?
LIVE YOUR TRUTH
We all have a story being written. In beautiful stories every human emotion is felt. Think of your favorite movies and novels. They don’t start out perfect, everything stays perfect, and then it ends perfectly.
Instead you find hardship, pain, struggle, love, joy, confusion, wondering. What will happen at the end? Sometimes the best stories leave us with a longing to understand more.
The question of why is not always answered. We are left to come up with our own conclusions and wonder how they relate to our own lives.
We fall in love and sure we will be together forever, and then we are not…
We experience deep closeness and friendship, and then it ends…
We are vibrant with health and joy, and then our health is taken away…
We loose a loved one we never thought we could live without.
Death steals what we held dear.
Illness comes at the worst time. Is there ever a good time?
The questions of WHY don’t seem to get answered. Every struggle does not come wrapped up neatly with an answer on why its happening. Is there even a reason why? These are questions we are faced with in our own personal stories.
I have asked why many times in life.
Why did I have to grow up in a chaotic painful environment? Why didn’t I get to experience love from a father? Why did the first painful 10 years of my life seem to dictate the rest of my life? Why can’t I find myself relaxing when good things happen? Why couldn’t I make my marriage work? Why couldn’t I be different? Why can’t I seem to accept the love that is given to me freely now? Why did I get very ill at the start of something that should have been beautiful? Why did I have to live in horrible pain for 8 years while my children were young? Why can’t I make the changes I so desperately want to make?
In the middle of all my whys, the many years of whys as my story was being written, there were also a lot of joys. When amazing things happened to me and love surrounded, why didn’t I ask why then? Why is it only the bad things that make me ponder?
Maybe they were not bad. Maybe my mindset is off. Maybe, I needed them to to get to the joys. Maybe I needed them to find my purpose. One day I believe I will see clearly when I pass on to be with God. I believe I will get to see my life in truth, and finally understand. Here I am left waiting.. we are all left wondering with our questions about our stories. I am finding the courage to believe it was all good, even though it felt so bad at the time.
Getting sick with IC was a huge time out. I could not longer focus on anything other than my own pain. The searching for answers consumed me. My life became very small. I did not understand at the time why it was happening and I am still not sure I understand. Now that I have been healed for a few years, I can look back and see some blessings. What would have happened to me if I was not forced to change my diet? Anyone who can survive that kind of pain also develops a strong will. Was it preparing me for something greater? Was it strengthening me for my future? Was it giving me empathy for others?
Was it developing a new kind of love in me, for myself and others, that I never had before?
I have to believe all the struggle, all the tears have reasons which are greater than what I can see now. I may never understand all the whys here, but I will have courage to believe there is a deeper meaning, one that is developing me into the person I was meant to be.
Trust where you are right now, and believe there is a bigger purpose. The courage you have, the strong heart you carry is what makes you beautiful. No matter how bad your pain is right now, you have an amazing story being written. Don’t give up on it yet. Don’t put your pen down. Your story is all yours and only yours. You have purpose that no one else can fulfill. You are unique.
Just keep writing…
I have been 206 pounds, granted I was 9 months pregnant, but I only went down to 186 after I had him. It took over a year to get the weight off until I had another child and the cycle continued.
I have also been 105 pounds, 120 pounds, 148 pounds, and 165 pounds. I have gone up and down like a roller coaster throughout the years until I was forced to learn how to properly eat for my body type while healing my disease.
I still will gain weight quickly if I eat a few days of refined sugar or grains.
When I got to 105 (6 pounds underweight according to my BMI) is when I felt the most disgusted and not beautiful. It's ironic because in my teens and younger years I always thought if I could just get as skinny as the models then I would be happy with my body.
I could not eat most foods at the time because eating was the cause of my bladder pain. I was forced to only eat eggs, meat, and broccoli because every other food caused me issues. When you have IC you have open sores in your bladder, chemicals from food in your urine cause the pain to be worse. Its like pouring substances on an open wound. OUCH!
During this time in my life I was angry. I was fearful. I was closed off to the rest of the world. I hated myself. I felt ugly no matter how skinny I was.
People would find out I was sick and their first words would be, "But you look so great, look how skinny you are now!"
Please people, DO NOT comment on someones looks when they tell you they are chronically ill.
I could not understand why I had to be sick and I felt like God was cursing me.
I did not care about my weight anymore. I just wanted to be out of pain.
Even though I was skinny, I was not feeling beautiful because my soul was not free. I believed lies. Beauty is in the soul, and only in the soul. If you believe by loosing 25 pounds you will be more beautiful, you are wrong. You will be thinner. You will be able to wear a smaller size of clothing. You may feel sexier with your clothes off but If you hate your body at 150 pounds, you might be disappointed to find out you don't like it at 115 pounds.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the motivations for wanting to be thinner and having more energy. Feeling like you look hot is a great thing, just make sure you love yourself at each weight and look deep inside to see your soul beauty. We all have it. I had it when I was 105 and feeling bad for myself. I just could not see it.
No one is perfect. Not one. We all have a life of regrets, guilt, and choices we wish we had not made. We also have joy, love, and amazing experiences we created! Its all relative and all part of our beautiful story here. What good movie have you ever seen with absolutely no hardship? Every great story has suffering.
Look in the mirror every morning and look at your amazing God given body no matter what the scale says. Think of all your body has been through and it's still working for you! Every mark, dot, and dimple is amazingly beautiful. Now look into your eyes. Eyes have said to be the window to the soul. Can you see yourself? Can you see into your heart?
You are wonderfully and magnificently made!
You are BEAUTIFUL! Believe it! If you don't believe it now, keep repeating it over and over until you do! Once you believe it you will feel free no matter how much your scale number moves or doesn't move.
Melissa is the Author of Healing Through the Pain How I overcame Interstitial Cystitis. She writes about health (physical, emotional and spiritual) from a vulnerable place, after overcoming Interstitial Cystitis and still battling emotional illness. She is passionate about helping women realize their ability to make changes and move forward from difficult situations in their lives.
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