When Take Control's enrollment team reached out to Michelle about joining the program, she was a little taken aback. It felt somewhat intrusive, and she already had a full plate with her job, kids, parents and other responsibilities. She didn't think she had time or needed a health coaching program. She had already started improving her health on her own, by losing 20 pounds. She had learned to say no to new commitments and did not want to take on more. Ultimately, she was persuaded by additional incentives that her health plan offered to Take Control participants. She hesitantly agreed to join the program.
Finding Time for Herself
The first thing that surprised Michelle about Take Control was that she was able to find time for the coaching. The appointments are via telephone, and the schedule is flexible with many time slots available. She chose appointment times that fit into breaks at work where she could go for a walk and talk while she exercised. After a few meetings with coach Linda, Michelle realized that Linda wasn't going to tell her what to do. Linda was a knowledgeable, professional resource who helped her focus what little time she had for herself. She provided valuable resources that Michelle didn't have to find on her own, and provided troubleshooting when strategies were not working. This all added up to less time spent by Michelle, the opposite of what she thought commitment to the program would entail.
From "Blame and Shame" to a Healthy Mindset
In the past, Michelle felt like a failure when it came to weight loss. She spent a lot of time in a "blame and shame" mindset. She said, "There was always something in the way -- blame, shame, kids won't eat that way, I'm ashamed I weigh this much, I don't know why I can't eat healthy." Planning was a skillset Michelle used daily at her job, so she turned to that skill and applied it to health goals and personal care. This helped her break down goals to the daily level. Instead of wallowing in past failure, she focused intention one day at a time. She asked herself: "What am I doing for myself today? How am I moving? How am I eating? What am I doing to mentally prepare?" Rather than leave it to chance and last-minute choices, each night she planned for the next day. She packed a healthy lunch, chose snacks, looked at her calendar and chose a time to exercise. Planning ahead helped her avoid pitfalls of poor food choices and missed workouts. Still, pitfalls can happen. When late-night munchies got the best of her, she learned to give herself grace. She told herself it was okay if she did not achieve her plan every single day. Rather than beat herself up, she learned to forgive herself and start again tomorrow. By the time her next health screening came around, the results were much improved. Not from wishful thinking, but from deliberate, daily action.
Success with Mindful Eating
Coach Linda credits Michelle's success to adopting an open growth-based mindset and willingness to try new things. Michelle employed the hunger-fullness scale to become mindful about eating. The hunger-fullness scale helps train your brain to tune in to whether you are truly hungry or if you're eating for other reasons. It allows you to pause and add intention to nutrition. Michelle would stop, think about her next coaching call, and ask herself, "what would Linda say?" Demonstrating how connection and accountability can be strong tools for success.
A Team of Professionals
Michelle went from not wanting to add more to her schedule, to adding a team of professionals to support her with health improvement. She took advantage of counseling benefits, a personal trainer at the gym, and was impressed with coach Linda's individualized advice, knowledge, and health expertise. She said, "On this journey, everybody can use additional support, and that part was key. Trained professionals who know how to assist you, listen to what you have to say, and provide you with excellent resources." Michelle realized how valuable it is to engage the help of a professional team when it comes to self-care.
• Weight loss of 18 pounds
• Reduced blood pressure from stage II hypertension to normal
• Adopted a support team approach over an isolation approach
• Gained mindfulness with nutrition
• Gave up a "blame and shame" mindset