As a coach I am so grateful to be able to witness shifts in people’s health & fitness. But the mental/emotional shift is often even more profound than the physical one. And what’s even greater is that it is that shift that provides the greatest (and longest lasting) effect. I recently had the opportunity to work with Julia. When we completed her package she volunteered to share her story – because for her the shift had been so profound. We opted for a simple Q&A to help relay her experience of coaching with me. I’m so incredibly proud of her and grateful to her for being willing to share her “aha’s” from her process.
Q: What motivated you to work with Gillian as a Health & Fitness Coach?
I’ve been trying to improve my overall health and fitness for some time, growing increasingly frustrated with my lack of results. I run two businesses and have an active, multi-generational family (who also have their own businesses), which means my time is limited. I don’t have the ability to just take a class or travel to where my coach – or even a gym! – might be. When I learned that Gillian provided coaching on a remote basis as well as in person, I thought, “Why not try this out? You never know what will work.”
I didn’t know what to expect. This is not a particularly common thing to do and I was experimenting to find out what might actually work. My frustrations were that I’d set these body goals – return to my previous form from 5 years ago – and these weight goals, and despite doing all the “right” things, the dials were not moving the direction I wanted them to. I had an inkling that some of my issues were related to my stress levels and started working with a naturopath at the same time. The hope was that being mindful, and having an accountability partner should make that possible, would improve my chances of success.
Coaching is interesting in that a lot of the work the coach does is reflect back to you, and allow you to see what you might be ignoring. I realized that while I had many thoughts and observations, they weren’t structured in a way that I could make use of them. Having Gillian as a sounding board, and an accountability partner helped me be more realistic and mindful. She also really listened to what was going on with me, and was thoughtful about the specific way I think, work, and operate, making suggestions that I know were specifically for me, and not something she keeps in a box and dusts off for everyone.I had started a 12 week training program and actually made it all the way to 12 weeks feeling positive instead of getting frustrated at around week 8 or 9 and then ending at 12 weeks in despair, which happened frequently in the past.I had been super focused on my food intake and tracking, but part way through my contract with Gillian, I realized through reflecting with her that this focus was actually creating stress – something that actively works against my health and fitness goals. Gillian helped me recognize that my hyper focus on achievement in these areas was actually working against my ability to achieve. I had an unintended break from this focus during one week and the fact that Gillian asked me to check in – how was I feeling? – allowed me to recognize how significantly better I felt after that week, and talk through what exactly had made a difference.Since I’m a super-stress case, I really needed someone to tell me it was okay to calm my shit a bit, rather than do what all the magazines and social media tell you: work harder, harder, harder. This mental shift was amazing.
The biggest difference is being happier with me, how I am right now, and recognizing each lovely gain that I have made – my non-scale wins – as a true victory, and not some fake victory to which I pay lip service on the way to fitting into this size or that number. There’s no magic wand, sadly, and I know we all want one. But it’s a lot better to feel awesome about me than it might be to have attained a physical goal while not necessarily feeling awesome.Here is someone who works in the fitness industry who didn’t say, Just push yourself harder, because she knows how hard I’m already pushing. Here is someone who knows all the recipes and training programs and she told me that it’s okay to take a rest – more than okay. She knows I was never in danger of not training. She adjusted her approach to suit me – super typical “Type A”, and worked with me to get me to a better place.I’m getting really comfortable with defining my healthy lifestyle as one that is genuinely centered around how I feel, and not so much about how I look.No, really. It’s a real thing.