Be Present (with my new health coach)

As part of the popchips New Year, New Rear contest, I won sessions with health coach Melanie Stanton. Melanie is not a nutritionist or a therapist, but she’s an overall wellness coach. My first thought was, “Damn! I thought I was meeting a nutritionist.” But actually, I was intrigued.

Melanie and I spent our first meeting going over my health history and getting to know each other. She quickly picked up on the biggest health hazard in my life – work. I know that’s not new. Many of us are in jobs that are literally kick, beat and poop on us. The weird thing is, I very much enjoy what I do. I love my job. “I just hate the other crap,” I told Melanie. She called the crap red tape and then said to me, “Think of me as someone who’s going to help you identify and remove the red tape from your life.”

Now to some of you, that may sound looney and very hippie-like. But she’s far from it. There was a moment in our meeting where all I wanted to do was cry and I didn’t know why! I’m not depressed. I’m not broken. I have very supportive family members, friends and a loving boyfriend…but I guess sometimes it’s much easier to talk to a complete stranger. Just as it’s easy for me to share personal struggles on a blog 😉 I know that much of why I eat and much of what I eat is a result of my environment: I’m bored, I’m sad, I’m frustrated…and food (or even excessive exercise) is the only thing that makes me calm and happy. Sometimes food and exercise is a source of punishment for me. Melanie’s practice studies our primary foods in addition to food food. What she means by primary foods are relationships, spirituality, work, me time…basically balance. The food is almost secondary. When your life is in balance, everything else comes naturally. Supposedly once I start taking loving care of myself, my body will give back.

I guess I never really realized how much I abuse myself. I deprive my body sometimes, feed it crap, then over exercise, and then also say mean things to it. “You’re ugly.” “You’re fat.” Gee, could you imagine if we said that to another person? We would be the worst friend, or former friend, ever! I would never let someone treat my friend that way, so why would I treat myself that way?

Melanie gave me a present at our first meeting, asking that I just Breathe, Be Present, and Open [My] Heart (again, I swear she’s no looney – haha)

*This is my bed. My bed is probably one of my most favorite places in the entire world!

It’s a notebook that I’m to use any which way I want. Hmmm…. I already have a food journal (it’s the blue one). I already take note of when I work out. I have a blackberry to keep my schedule. What do I do with this thing???

I started with taking notes from my first meeting and here are three things I’m supposed to work on until our next meeting:

1. Primary foods – be cognizant of the primary foods in my life and notice how much each is taking from my life. What do I need more of? Melanie swears that we’ll “get to the food later.” But this question was alarming because besides the things that I “have” to do, there’s nothing I do for fun (besides writing this blog). I work, I have church activities, I work out…and then it’s all over again. Besides this blog, I don’t have a single hobby!!! My workout parter Rebecca asked me what I like to do in my free time. “Work out?” I replied. Wow, that’s sad.

2. Water – drink more water. I’m usually good with this but am inconsistent. There are days I’m really good by drinking 64+ oz a day and others I go completely without it. I’m on opposite ends of the spectrum. Never in the middle! Hopefully something as simple as this will help some of my health issues (more on that in a later).

3. Colors of the rainbow – when grocery shopping, stick with colors. When I shop it’s dull. It’s usually something just green or something technically color-less or multi-colored (meat). I’ve read/heard this tip many times before, but never put it into practice. So that night I went and tried to buy something from each color: red peppers, carrots, lemon, kale, zucchini, broccoli, brussell sprouts, red onions (this is my purple 🙂 ) and cauliflower (I know white’s not in the rainbow, but it’s something I love roasted). Does anyone know what I could’ve purchased that is blue and not a starch?

While I’m on this journey with Melanie, I’ll be asking you the same questions she asks me. I can’t help you as a professional, but I think there’s something to evaluating your life. We go see our doctors once a year for a physical, why not examine the non-physical things as well?

Which of the three things do you need to work on? Leave me a comment and I’ll check in with you!

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4 thoughts on “Be Present (with my new health coach)

  1. Normally, I would say No. 2. I’m always trying to drink more water. But I’m very cognizant of No. 1 right now: I have a love-hate relationship with my job. I love what I do, but I don’t know that it loves me back. Actually, it may really love me — it sure wants to see me a lot. Especially lately, which means I’ve been skipping workouts to get work done and reverting to my old eating habits: grabbing meals on the go, ingesting too much caffeine and not enough water, eating the same easy, nutritionally-bereft foods for multiple meals a day, treating myself with the occasional chocolate… And I feel terrible. After reading this last night, though, I decided to squeeze in a half-hour at the gym after a 12-hour workday, instead of more work (I got up a little earlier today to do it instead). I packed some fruit in my backpack this morning for some healthy eating throughout yet another long workday. And I plan to squeeze in another short workout between work and more work tonight.

    Thanks for sharing this journey!

  2. Thank you sooo much for sharing this, Grace.
    I would say for me its #2 and #3.

    While training for the NYC Half Marathon I have become very aware of hydration and know that I need to drink more water throughout the day. I used to be really good at this when I worked at a desk all day. It was easier to take a trip to the water cooler and keep a glass on my desk to sip on all day. But now that I am a nanny and hardly ever in once place for long, I find myself actually forgetting to drink. While at home I am good about it…but work is a struggle.

    And as for #3, I truly do not get enough color in my diet. I need more. You are inspiring me to do a “rainbow run” to the produce section. I’ll search for something blue for you! 🙂

  3. This sounds like an interesting journey. Really curious about your next session. This stuff should not be considered woo-woo, it should really be what everybody explores! I would say I need to go back to re-examining #1. Which probably would be a constant since life situations and people around you and therefore relationships are ever-changing.

    Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to the next post about it!

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