About me - continued ...
Being Honest & Vulnerable - answering some deeply personal questions about me and my journey
My Journey in a nutshell
Why am I so passionate about all of this and why am I now sharing this knowledge with you?
I've spent my whole life chasing the 'perfect body', and gaining and losing the same weight over and over again. I took drastic action and had surgery, I got super fit and super lean, and also super unhappy along the way. Plus I regained some of the weight, even after taking drastic measures.
This constant lifelong battle left me feeling terrible, not in great health and feeling unsuccessful. On reflection I can see that I only achieved my results by pushing myself super hard, taking drastic measures, missing out on social situations, having to work twice as hard at work to get recognised for my achievements and never learning the fundamentals of finding an approach that worked for me, beyond willpower which we all know runs out after a time.
After many years of my personal trial and error and some solid study, I've finally found a way to nurture my body, feel good, lose some weight and feel positive in a way that is right for me. The plan I'm following, is the same approach I use with my clients. It's based on a whole lot of research based evidence, cuts through the sea of constant nutrition misinformation and and has worked for over 100,000 people across the world.
I wish I had known about a habit based approach a long time ago. It's my mission to help you reach your goals in a slow and sustainable way so that you don't have to resort to drastic measures or be on a constant diet battle for the rest of your life.
If you want to know more about weight loss surgery (in which I lost 72kgs). How I got super fit afterwards - clue I became obsessed with working out. How I climbed Kilimanjaro, regained some weight and tried to get it off again (Commit 2 Fit, Fit at Fifty, Golds Gym and Switch 360) and my other diet stories and struggles, then read these posts over on my other website CoffeeCakesAndRunning.
Finally you can read about why I decided to study with Precision Nutrition and become a Nutrition Coach and my from the heart response to a personal question about how I can coach whilst still being overweight right at the end of this super long post. You can also read a bit about my personal views about what's important and what's not along the way.
See the links below:
- My Transformation
- How did I get Fit?
- Two Year Surgerversary
- Fit, Healthy & Happy at 50
- Commit 2 Fit
- Fat to Fit Challenge at Gold's Gym
- The mountain the inspired me - Kilimanjaro
- Why I signed up to study with Precision Nutrition
* Precision Nutrition is the home of the world's top nutrition coaches. Best-in-class nutrition coaching, nutrition software, and professional certification.
What' I've learned along the way
After all of the above, and lots of weight gained and lost - again and again. I don't see the number on the scale as a sign of my success or achievements. My weight does not define me, my size does not define me. I am more than all of that.
I don't have a slim "beach ready body" or an "InstaPerfect" shape. I'm overweight by BMI standards. But am healthy by other health indicators. I don't put weight at the centre of me and my journey and I'm a strong believer that you don't need to either.
Here's how I see things (quick and from the heart)...
Collectively - our success is not about how we look, the clothes we wear, whether we have a toned booty (yes, I'd love one, but I love doughnuts too!). It's not about the number on the scale or the amount of pounds lost or gained. It's not about 'being good' or 'being bad' when eat food or skip the gym, or about feeling bad for eating something that's not on our diet plan. It's not about diets, or restrictions, detoxes or cleanses. It's not about 'eating clean', cheat days, or treat days. It's not about continually chasing the dream (or drama) of having the "perfect body" whatever that is! or comparing ourselves to others, who we think have it all (they may or may not, and if they do, are they really happy???).
Our Success is about finding a lifestyle that works for us - one that allows us to eat and enjoy eating food that nourishes and satisfies us on all levels. It's about having the energy we need to do the things we want and need to do, and being completely OK with resting and taking a break when we need it too. It's about not feeling guilty for wanting to eat and enjoy a chocolate bar or have a drink with friends. It's about looking after ourselves, our mind and our body in a way that sets us up for success not failure and misery. It's about cherishing all that is good in our life, and letting go some of what is not.
Most of all, it's about breaking the cycle of behaviour of whatever isn't or hasn't worked for us in the past, and finding new alternative ways that do. It's about exploring and trying out things that help us move gracefully towards achieving our goals successfully whilst enjoying the journey. And finally, it's about having a clear vision of what our goals are, and being OK with them not fitting 'society norms' if that's not what WE want them to be.
It's an inclusive approach for all. It won't be the quickest of journeys because we know quick fixes don't last long. But it will be a journey of exploration, discovery and ultimately success and celebration, of our uniqueness and our individuality and ultimately about finding out, exploring and loving being YOU.
Phew! Thanks for reading this far! I know it's a long one, but so many people have asked about some of this I thought I should put it down in writing.
As always, this is my opinion based on my personal experiences and explorations. And of course, I'm still figuring it out and learning along the way.
How Can you coach when you are Overweight?
I got asked the above question by DM on Instagram recently and below is my full response.
PS - Many years ago, this question would have floored me. I'd have probably eaten my way through a box of doughnuts to console myself and then felt terrible for eating the doughnuts, for daring to think I could coach people and for felt bad for being overweight. But I think differently now.
Here's my response:
I've never claimed to be at a "perfect size or shape" (whatever that means). And I'm OK with that. Over the years I've really struggled with my weight and body image. And I know from many other DMs (and research) that I'm not alone. I've gained weight, lost weight and taken drastic measures with surgery.
Years of yoyo dieting, and of trying many different things. I realised that the part that I never ever looked as was building good foundational habits of healthy eating. And this is what I now work with both for myself and with my clients.
You see, I have always been "on or off a diet", doing Keto, Intermittent Fasting, SlimFast, The Cambridge Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the GM Diet, the Blood Type Diet, Atkins, Paleo, Counting Syns (Slimming World) or Points (weight Watchers), Counting Fat and Exercising (Rosemary Conley) or tracking and counting macros or calories - obsessively - etc, etc, etc.....
If I wasn't focusing on the above, I was focussing on calories burned, number of classes in a week, reps, steps etc...And always counting the number on the scale. A drop would result in a good mood. A gain would leave me angry, frustrated and disappointed that I'd failed.
The coaching that I do (and am following by being coached myself) helps break those cycles.
- It helps you challenge all of the "diet culture" thoughts you have. Things like good food and bad food, cheat days and treat days. Rewarding with food and exercising to burn off food.
- It helps me to learn about balance. About being able to enjoy real food but also about recognising that nothing is forbidden and that you don't have to be 100% to be compliant.
- It's about looking at all of me. How do I sleep, how stressed am I, what am I eating, why am I eating, how am I eating?
- Am I getting enough sleep, support from family, friends, work etc.
- It's about moving but not necessarily about being in the gym.
- It's about all of me and building good foundation habits on which to build other good habits.
- Most of my coaching isn't just about what people have on there plates (of course we look at that) but also about how other lifestyle factors are impacting that and strategies and tools to support a healthier lifestyle.
So back to the question..
How can I coach whilst being overweight?
- I think that my life experiences and struggles help me coach people who are struggling (like I have before). I can really feel their pain (it was mine too).
- I can help them break the cycle like I am doing by asking the right questions, showing them a different way and the art of the possible.
- I can help people challenge their "diet beliefs" and help them reach their goals with an evidence based approach developed by Precision Nutrition which just makes sense.
- I coach with compassion, with support, with authenticity and enthusiasm.
- I ask questions, I challenge, I inspire and I help find sensible "doable" solutions that help people reach their goals in a sustainable way that fits into their lifestyle. (I'm doing it myself too).
Am I perfect? No. Am I 100% compliant with my plan? No. (that's OK you don't have to be).
Am I experiencing, living through and slowly changing my lifestyle to be a healthier more energetic version of me? Yes and for me that's the WIN.
I'm not the perfect coach for everybody and not everybody is the perfect client for me and that's OK. Xx
From the heart with love.
Coach Debbie x