As a ballroom dance instructor, I invited my students to step out of their comfort zone every day. As a parent, I watch our children learn and grow on a regular basis, and do my part to facilitate their growth as much as I can. As a childbirth educator, we teach people who are interested in natural childbirth to become informed consumers and take responsibilty, among other things. And yet, I forgot all about applying all these lessons to myself.
Backstory: Being a homeschooling mom of four, three of who are involved in outside activities four days a week, plus our own classes on the fifth day of the week – we are always on the go, go, go! Weekends are busy with social engagements and church. As a partner, I seek to support my husband in his work and make sure I am telling him how much I love and appreciate him on a regular basis. I try to remember to breathe and apply the relaxation practice we learned when we were students of The Bradley Method® when I am feeling frazzled (it happens!). I try to read about birth and breastfeeding at every opportunity, and one of my guiding principles is to learn something new every day.
I am, for the most part, a believer. I am a Believer and have faith in God. I believe in the power of positive thinking tempered with a healthy pinch of realism. I believe we are called to love, and I try to Live Love. I want to inspire others, especially our children, to find their gifts and pursue them so they can live a life full of joy and with no regrets.
In all the busy-ness, I left out one piece. What am I doing to grow as an individual? What am I doing that makes me uncomfortable? I have set some goals – what have I done to get them done instead of letting simply sit on the paper I wrote them on?
As life would have it, I have been crossing paths with Blue Russ for over a year now. We met on Facebook since we run in the concurrent circles of homebirth and green living. We finally got to meet in person through an event hosted by Moxie Midwifery last fall. Blue was kind enough to be our monthly family-friendly featured business in our June newsletter. After getting to know her better (read her complete interview HERE), I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a complimentary personal health strategy session.
There were/are a lot of reasons not to do it. I knew I was going to be uncomfortable. To talk about my health means talking about all the things I am doing wrong in my life. It means taking responsibility for the extra weight I am carrying around that is not healthy. It means actually having to do something about it instead of just hating the person that I see in the mirror. What really convinced me to talk with Blue is her statement that, “No counting calories or grams of nutrients. No judgment. No food is off limits. No deprivation.”
©2012 BCFlix Photography: I dislike the way I look so much, that I cropped myself out of this picture when I printed it for our family album. What kind of message does that send our children? Whether or not I lose the weight, I want to be “okay” with myself again.
The fact that she assured me that she was not going to make me feel guilty, and offer a safe space, convinced me to take the next step and get uncomfortable. It’s time to have a positive self-image. I owe it to our daughters to walk my talk – beauty *is* more than skin deep. When they tell me I am pretty as all daughters do, I want to believe it, whether or not I get to my target weight. I owe it to my sons, so that they can meet partners of substance. I owe it to my husband – I want to feel and be attractive in all aspects of our relationship. Most importantly, I owe it to myself. I am tired of the self-loathing and the guilt of feeling like I am not good enough simply because I don’t like the shape I see in the mirror.
The session with Blue was all that I thought it would be and more. We started with a breathing exercise to clear my mind and dedicate the next hour to just being present. I got to leave my list outside the door! (How did she know?)
Next, Blue guided me through some questions to help me find clarity about what my health goal really is, and to help me develop some strategies to reach that goal. We did that by centering, identifying priorities, and then identifying possible obstacles to that goal.
Finally, we ended with an action plan. She guided me through devising what the next steps are in reaching my health goal. How am I going to get there? How is Blue going to guide me to the next level?
To say today was transformational is an understatement. In her gentle, wise way, Blue led me through a series of questions that finally uncovered some of my fears about losing weight. It was such a gift to take some time to focus inward and to think. I feel like for the first time in nine years, I can actually do something about losing the extra fluffiness that built up over nine years of being pregnant five times. Now that I know what has been holding me back, I can work on letting go of my fears. I can focus on getting to a weight that is safe for my heart, and that will allow me to meet at least two more generations of our growing family.
The great news about working with Blue is that you do not have to be in the Phoenix area for her to work with you as a health coach. She makes great use of technology and you can connect with her via Skype, Facebook and Twitter. Read more about her in our Inside Look: Blue Russ feature on Sweet Pea Births, and visit her website www.blueruss.com for more information about the services and classes that she offers in-person and online.
I am scared and hopeful at the same time. I feel like I can really do this, for the first time in long time. I also have peace of mind that even if I don’t get to my target weight, working with Blue is going to yield a heart-healthier and image-healthier lifestyle. It was great to stretch out of my comfort zone, and “sharpen the saw” as the old saying goes. Whether you engage with a personal health coach, or some other kind of way to get uncomfortable and grow, go for it! You can only get better and better.