Six months ago Margaret Ryan joined me for Your Best Health Project as a private client. And even early on, she told me that she wanted to write a blog about my program, how it had changed her life, and what it was like to work with me. I knew we had found a serious stride, but I also knew we had so much more time to create together…
When her “testimony” about our work together arrived my heart felt so full. I was so moved by the time and heart Margaret invested in to writing this letter.
Oh yes, I felt the connection we made, and pretty much near immediately. It happens with all my clients. It happens because I believe in them and all that I know is possible when we live inside a healthy body.
But the following acknowledgment feels super special — Margaret took a lot of time and care to describe what it was like for her to work with me, and what became possible beyond simply ‘eating healthy.’
I’m writing in a notebook that says, “Be Brave with Your Life” on the front. I feel like I’ve been brave with my life.
I’ve had a lifelong battle with food and health. Late in 2016 I went to a Tony Robbins event, an event that gives you tools to help you make changes in your life so you can function at your personal best. Tony recommends hiring a coach to help you move through the areas of life that have caused long term struggle. For me, I knew this area was my health.
I had been following Carol’s blog for the better part of a year. I always learned from her and appreciated her holistic approach to health. In her blog, she told me to drop sugar and the “F” bomb — two things I intuitively knew would improve my life if I left them behind. She was straight-forward and no nonsense, I knew that would be a good fit for me. I had considered other programs but none seemed as well rounded, health-centered and personal as Carol’s.
Let me be clear, I am driven and successful. I run my own business, own my own home and parent without a partner. I’ve successfully worked through and surmounted the obstacles life brought my way. But for some reason I didn’t consistently prioritize my health long enough to make more than small changes.
I told myself aging and genetics were my problem, and resigned to wearing clothes that I didn’t love, but felt made me look better. I avoided the camera. I avoided events and invitations. I felt like no matter how much success I earned, my struggle with food diminished my wins. I didn’t feel like I was my best me, and it weakened my confidence and my sense of self. I ended up avoiding social gatherings. Avoidance felt way easier than trying to pretend I looked pretty when I didn’t feel it…
I began to realize I had become a master doer, but no longer felt comfortable relaxing. Every success I gained depended on me working near 24/7. I felt like I always needed to be productive at work and at home. But herein lies the problem, the more I worked, the more comfortable I became with working, which made it more uncomfortable with relaxing, which led to a life of unhealthy habits. I grabbed food on the go, I didn’t exercise regularly. I rarely had a good nights sleep and self-care was limited at best. My life had become very one-dimensional. My nose was always to the grindstone.
At 52 years old, I knew I didn’t want to wait for a diagnosis to force me to create healthy changes. I knew I wanted to stop thinking and worrying about my weight. Plus, with all the inspiration from Tony Robbins event, I reached out to Carol to discuss the details of her 1:1 coaching program.
Initially, the obstacles to working with Carol were money and time. Did I REALLY need to spend money to work with a coach and did I REALLY need to do it for six months? Surely, three months would be enough time to whip me into shape, right?
I called a friend to discuss the pros and cons of hiring a personal coach. My friend asked, “What would you do if one of your kids had this problem and wanted to work with a health coach?” Enough said. Based on my love and “anything for my kids,” and my respect for Carol’s work, for the first time in 24 years of parenting I treated myself like I would treat my children and signed up for the Carol’s program.
I started the program in January and committed myself to rigidly following the plan. Carol recommends that you begin with the elimination diet. I did exactly what she recommended. I wasn’t sure what would happen following her protocol, but I had a bit of a doomsday feeling and thought I would suffer from cravings terribly. I thought I would need a lot of support.
I couldn’t imagine what I would eat if I eliminated what was literally my personal food pyramid at the time.
Eating had become, like many other areas of my life, an area that I gave myself no love or care. At the end of a long day, I would tell myself, the least I deserved was to eat or drink what I wanted. And that was true, it was the very least I could do for myself. This led to slow and steady weight gain, an increase in health issues and resignation that this is what happens with aging. Yes, I had grown more comfortable caring for others than caring for myself.
Carol offers a lot of support, but fears of being her worst nightmare and neediness for a lot of hand holding concerned me. But that was not the case. I did go through an adjustment period, but it was not as nearly as hard as I expected. I had occasional cravings, coffee in the morning, wine at night, but she offers alternatives, so the adjustment and the cravings felt very manageable.
Carol’s program is significantly more self-care focused than food-focused. Once I eliminated the “inflammatory” foods she recommended taking out, it felt simple, so I could then get creative. I tried new foods, new recipes and new ways to prepare my meals.
I began to take time to grocery shop, prepare and invest in healthy take-out. I began to consistently take better care of myself. I never would deny my children healthy care, yet I had fallen into the trap of regularly denying it to myself.
Carol’s 1:1 program consists of weekly calls or video chats and starts with clean eating, but moves to eating to heal. Each week Carol would offer up her recommendations, and I would commit to, or not, what my actions would be for the week ahead. The food plan is simple and Carol offers many delicious recipes and alternative food options to some of our standard fare. The program entails nutrition, yes, but self-care and mindset strategies too, so by the end I had a well-stocked personal care tool box.
I found myself looking forward to my Friday morning call each week. Carol is a wealth of information. In our conversations she offered me insights, strategies and “tools” to deal with whatever was needed to get me closer to my goals. Carol asks probing questions and helped me breakup life-long patterns and ways of thinking about things, to empower me to stick with all that I learned after my program ended.
I thought cravings would be my biggest struggle, but for the most part, I adapted easily to my new diet. My biggest trigger was centered around taking time to care for me. I realized that my lack of reverence and appreciation for myself and my body was the root cause of my weight and health issues. Food, self-discipline, self-control and adherence to eating clean were never the answer. Who knew?
Once I took inflammatory foods out of my diet, added more fresh vegetables and fruits in, and learned to think differently about all that I was doing, while learning to take better care of me, discipline with my food choices was no longer necessary.
I learned, and it’s true, that once cravings are gone, I went from blaming myself for a lack of discipline, to forgiving myself for ever thinking I could control the craving beast. During my time in the Carol-program, I immersed myself in reading about health and watching health related documentaries to support my experience. I learned that ultimately we are responsible for the state of our health.
Ready to hear my results?
The first thing I heard was, “You look healthier and younger,” and I still hear it frequently! I lost 35 pounds in the first four months. Weight loss has since then slowed, but I continue to steadily lose weight.
My big win from the program is that I have stayed true to all that I learned. I regularly go out with friends and socialize. I enjoy a little treat here and there when I want them, but I immediately go back to my clean eating style.
It feels so good to feel so good. It feels good to not be obsessing about food and weight. It feels good to feel clear mentally. Carol often talked about mental fog, but I never thought I had a problem. If my thinking wasn’t clear, I blamed it on aging too. However, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my mental clarity and memory from the program. Brain fog was NOT aging, it was from the food I was eating.
It bears repeating, it feels so good to feel so good, to choose clothes I love and to move comfortably and think clearly. I will never stray from my new healthy lifestyle. I feel so much more relaxed. I feel peaceful and much more confident. I used to feel harried. My life felt chaotic, but that doesn’t happen when you are taking care of yourself. From my efforts with Carol, I feel radiant again. I feel like I’ve improved all areas of my life.
The investment of time and money were nominal for the substantial personal and professional gains I made.
The secret sauce of Carol’s program is her coaching and the accountability she offers. Carol is an experienced coach. She has an array of coaching strategies she uses to help you move forward each week. It wasn’t effortless on my part, it took commitment and dedication, but Carol holds a high bar. She wants the best for herself and she wants the best for her clients — me in this case.
I believe Carol’s coaching-style is perfect for professional, driven go-getters who aspire to achieve their best. She coached to the results I wanted. She was the catalyst that helped change my life in ways I had not been able to change it. She was exactly what I needed.
I plan to live my life following all that I learned in this program. I will retain Carol for intermittent support throughout the year, for continued learning and higher levels of healthy living. I offered to write a review of my experience on the Carol program and have offered to do a follow-up report next year.
If you are driven to be your best and do your best like me, I unequivocally recommend you also be brave with your life and hire Carol. You will never regret that decision.
After reading this letter from Margaret, imagine for a moment what she and I shared in together every week. We became sisters, as I guided her to what I like to say she already knew, but simply got lost below the world of doing… What in life can exceed such an experience?