Emily is a natural caregiver who loves to focus her attention on the students she advises. As often happens with giving people, she spent all her energy on others, and left none for herself. When the pandemic hit, she found herself working from home and finally had more free time. It was the beginning of the summer, and when she weighed herself, she was the heaviest she had ever been. She made the decision to take the energy she usually spends on others and invest it into herself. Exercise had always been a part of her life, and she had an “accountabilabuddy” at the gym who she worked out with. But she said, “It made a lot of sense to add a partner like Take Control to help with the experience I did not have with changing habits.”
Since Emily was already set with her workouts, she really needed help and guidance with diet and healthy changes. She did not have information about recipes or meal prep for a busy life, which made eating healthy her biggest challenge. Health coach Linda walked her through small steps to slowly overcome these obstacles and broke them down into manageable pieces that were easy to accomplish and didn’t feel overwhelming. Emily said “I was stuck, and Linda explained that there were more options that could work with my lifestyle, and that could be done in a way that would stick.” Emily used tools like a hunger and fullness scale, and intermittent fasting, and started seeing weight loss.
After initial weight loss success, at the end of the summer Emily started having digestive issues. She saw a doctor who prescribed medication, but it didn’t work. Comparing this issue to when she first started her journey, she said that weight issues could be ignored for a while, but the digestive issues could not. Emily said “I had to put my problem-solving ability to work on myself. It’s always easy for me to help others, I have a caring attitude and helpful nature, so I learned to reflect that back on myself after others started noticing that I was not feeling well.” Instead of getting discouraged, she tapped into the new skills she learned from her health coach. She had learned to break it down into small pieces, focus on small goals, and try a variety of solutions with a problem-solving mindset. The digestive issues were very stressful, and solving this problem became an urgent priority. Emily said, “The dietary advice and experience from coach Linda was very soothing and calming to help reduce my stress levels. The calls were really helpful because she always had new ideas of something else to try. After the call, she would email me the list of resources she had mentioned. I knew they were trustworthy resources that were legitimate and professional.”
Small moments of victory kept Emily going. Weight loss and improvements with her digestive issues weren’t happening quickly, but a continual forward movement kept her encouraged. Emily knew she was taking the right steps, but had to stay patient while waiting for results. She said, “I started doing monthly body weight and measurements. And that showed me that I was definitely on track.” Health coach Linda pointed out that Emily empowered herself to do small steps rather than feeling helpless.
In addition to continued small steps, Emily also improved her mindset. She learned that sometimes it’s okay to grab fast food as long as she doesn’t let it take over -- and how important it is to not beat herself up, and appreciate that it can actually be mentally helpful to not feel guilt or remorse. Instead of using food as a reward, she began to treat herself in ways that would not set her back. The important part is that the tools she learned will carry her into the future. When she gets off track, she has a list of tools to go back to. Emily said “I don’t lose when I leave the program. I now have lifelong planning tools and skills that I can use in the future to benefit my health.”
When asked what she would tell others about joining Take Control, Emily pointed out, “there are a lot of aspects in life that will affect your health goals. A health coach is able to see all of those aspects in your life, and recognize the successes you have as a whole person.” People tend to focus on one moment or one mistake, and are unable to see the whole picture. Coach Linda appreciated that Emily was detail-oriented and good at digging in to tell her exactly what was going on. That helped Linda tap into her knowledge and find the best suggestions for small, manageable changes. Emily was grateful, and said, “Whatever health goals you have, Take Control has people that are experts who can help you make that goal more achievable. There were things I couldn’t accomplish because they felt too big. But they break it down, and make it actionable.”