I was introduced to Jess after I had completed hormone testing with her mom, hormone expert Candace Burch. I had come to Candace looking for answers that I was not finding anywhere else. For a year, I had been struggling with extreme anxiety, bloat, digestion issues, you name it. My first call with Jess was complementary as part of my hormone test kit. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had never worked with a health coach before or knew anything about what a health coach was. I anticipated it was going to be mostly a discussion that regarded food and meal planning? I had no idea and I was wrong. Our time working together was this, but SO much more.
Jess and I connected right off the bat. I spilled out my whole heart and soul into that first one hour phone call. That first telephone call we talked mostly about my symptoms, all the things (supplements, meal plans, exercises, meditation) I had been trying, stopping, adding something different in, re-trying and then stopping again. I felt so confused and overwhelmed with all my own research I was doing that I didn’t even realize how much additional stress I was putting on mind and my body . No wonder I wasn’t feeling any better! I was so wrapped up in the latest research and how it was working for other people that I felt like I had to try everything and anything. I have to admit, I had a very hard time committing to her program initially since I had been trying so many different things that I honestly didn’t feel like I could spend another dollar on a new program. I had worked with nutritionists in the past to heal my digestion programs but the programs had felt so restrictive that I could not adapt them into my everyday life and feel good. It was something about that connection in our first call and how many things we had in common when it came to our personal stories. I felt like Jess listened and understood everything I was going through and genuinely wanted to help. It was the best decision I ever made and the most rewarding thing I could have done for myself. I remember Jess telling me it really takes 6 months to establish new, healthy habits and a year later I can definitely say this is true.
In the beginning, we really focused on changing my mindset to only focus on myself. Self-care was the number one priority. We set goals every week to make small sustainable changes, taking it day by day. Knowing we had this 6 months together reassured me and allowed my crazy brain to slow down and allow these small changes to turn into lifelong, healthy habits. After every session, Jess would send out a follow up e-mail, re-capping the major things we had discussed. This would also include 3 goals to work on through the next few weeks. This was great because it kept me accountable. Also, if something didn’t work, we moved on to a different goal. This was also huge for me as typically I’d want to try everything at once and would have no idea if it was something I was benefitting from or just causing additional stress. I was that “all or nothing” type of girl. I used to be the type of person who wanted that quick fix. I realized that quick fixes get you nowhere, and that they also do not exist. At the time, I was commuting 2 hours each way to work. I was not a happy camper, but this was not permanent. My boyfriend and I had plans once the year was over to move back closer to city since both of our jobs were there. Going to the gym every day of the week was not an option, nor did I want to. Prior to my move, my gym schedule was very regimented and consistent of a lot of high intensity workouts. For some reason, I had this mindset that I had to go the gym x amount of times per week in order to look and feel good in my skin and my clothes. I was coming home after long day, doing workouts in my living room, eating dinner at 9pm and going straight to bed. This turned into me dreading coming home to work out. I was starving by the time I started making dinner and was never prepared. I was also leaving no time in my life to actually enjoy my home and the time I had in my first apartment with my boyfriend. I was always dreading my commute, dreading coming home, working out and making dinner. This had to change. I was not happy. Slowly but surely, we had created a plan and a list of things to do on my morning commute that I would look forward to. For example we’d find different podcasts that were inspiring and would get me motivated and ready for my workday. We also started creating a list of movement. I would put different workouts in lists that consisted of movement that I love, that I wanted to try and that I do not like. I had to be ok with not working out every day of the week and focus on a few times a week with only movement I loved. I had to let go of the relationship I had with the gym. I needed to slow down and listen to my body in order to allow change to happen.
Jess also put together Pinterest boards of recipes and products to try! I found myself coming home and cooking meals that I was excited by and was to experiment with ways to use different ingredients so that I could re-use them for lunch the next day. My fridge became so organized and like a “little salad bar” as Jess would say. This allowed me to mix and match and create new meals that were already prepared and super easy to make. Over time, I was discovering new foods that were fueling my body and giving me more energy. I was motivated to be more organized which would decrease my stress levels. The craziest realization to me was that I was changing my eating patterns, working out less and my body felt a million times better. I was feeling great in my clothes and the number on the scale never changed. My digestion eventually got back on track, my skin started to clear up. I think this was the turning point and shift within me to just let go of all the expectations and pressures that I was putting on myself. I was allowing myself to live in the moment and truly listen to what my body needed. I also never once felt restricted with the meals I was eating and Jess helped me let go of those “guilty” feelings I would feel when I would have a “cheat” meal. We turned those negatives thoughts around food and exercise into positives by simply just changing those thoughts and the wording I would use. I taught myself to accept that one “bad” meal or “bad” day does not set you back and does not mean I need to punish myself at the gym the next day. I found the tools to always be prepared for what those next steps would be to make me feel by best when I wanted to treat myself. Over the course of my program, we narrowed down and solidified what I need and don’t need in my life to feel my best. Post move, Jess and I still had a few more months of working together and we created more self-care rituals, ways to be more organized in my new home and creating plans to be a tourist in my own city. This really pushed me to explore and find more opportunities that were at my fingertips and kept things fun and new during the week. I started to expand my lists of movement that I enjoyed and try new things through apps like ClassPass.
Not only has my relationship changed with myself, I have noticed tremendous change in my relationships with others and the people I care most about. Jess and I focused on this a lot as well. There still continues to be hurdles and room for improvement, but I now have the tools and resources to be able to navigate and be accepting of positive change. I look back to a year ago and I am so proud of myself of who I have become. I am confident that all the things we worked on have changed me to continue to be the best version of myself. I will definitely be joining Jess’ next group session as I love working with her so much and want to continue to learn and spread her knowledge. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!