My biz bestie, Holly Southerland of Waco Home Organizers, recently sent a note of encouragement to her email list about FOMO (fear of missing out) and doing a “digital detox” by unsubscribing from email lists and unfollowing on social media.
You might laugh at her description of how we end up with three blenders—and you might just shed a secret tear because, um, you have three blenders yourself.
Okay, blenders might be a stretch (or not), but how about your pantry contents? How many of them got there because of BOGOs (buy one get one X% off)?
One revelation my kitchen coaching clients often experience involves coupons: they proudly tell me that they saved $X by using coupons this week, but on reflection, if they really didn’t need one box of [insert highly processed food here], did they really need two? Instead of spending their money on fresh vegetables, which most of us do need more of in our lives, they spent it on something they’re trying to eliminate from their lives. (Yes, those big food marketers sure know what they’re doing, don’t they?)
I’m not against coupons for necessities such as paper towels and toilet paper and soap, but I do challenge you to regularly find them for whole, SOLE foods and home products that take the triple bottom line into consideration. When was the last time you saw a coupon for broccoli? for whole grains? for dried beans?
Not for the first time, Holly’s work got me thinking about my work as a health coach: what Holly does for people’s homes is very similar to what I do for their health.
I participate in a few online groups where women my age share their experiences with peri-menopause and menopause. Without revealing anyone’s personal information, I have made three observations about these groups:
- There are an overwhelming number of women my age who are deeply negative—frighteningly so—about their experience of this life stage and about their lives in general. There’s an occasional flash of humor, but it’s usually of the bitter variety.
- Approximately 75% of the posts begin with the words, “Does anyone else…?” or some variation thereof followed by what energetically comes across as a shameful confession, which only confirms my impression that there are entirely too many secret sisterhoods out there.
- Whether the discussion centers around conventional or alternative treatments (and “discussion” is probably a euphemism once the debates begin), about 95% of the posts are inquiries about alleviating symptoms rather than correcting the cause. And as I wrote about in Dear Wonder Woman and My cat got eaten by a coyote, asking a question like that is the same as inviting everyone to broadcast from their own soapbox: it’s really not productive unless you’re strongly dialed into your own still, small voice.
If we are constantly looking outside ourselves for “the solutions” to symptoms instead of digging more deeply inside to shift what might be causing them, we tend to accumulate fixes as quickly as we accumulate useless things we got because we have a coupon for them.
How many diet and exercise and mindfulness books and apps and online programs and supplements have we purchased over the years, every one of them the silver bullet for what ails us…only none of them worked? And now we’re judging ourselves because clearly, if it worked for [insert celebrity name here], and it didn’t work for us, well then obviously we’re flawed.
Elimination diets are all the rage in the health world: the basic principle is that you eliminate a certain food (or two, or three, or ten, or…) for a certain amount of time (usually anywhere from three weeks to 6 months), and then you reintroduce it in large quantities and observe what happens. It’s not terribly scientific, and some dismiss it as pure woo, but if you’re really careful and observant, you can discover how foods affect your health—body, mind, and spirit—and that’s one form of work I can help clients with.
That last paragraph may seem like a non sequitur, but what I’m driving at is that rather than adding more superfoods, more insane workouts, more meditation practices, more supplements, more detoxes, more smoothies, we start performing an elimination diet on our lives: we start unsubscribing and unfollowing, decluttering and holding rummage sales until we get down to the basics of who we are deep inside and what we really need to thrive.
What we inevitably discover is that we are all unique: what is food for one is poison for another, what is a suitable workout for you may not be the perfect one for me, etc. AND our needs change over time: we can’t eat or exercise or sleep at 50 as we did at 20.
As a health coach, I help you release the FOMO and the BOGOs so that you can declutter your life and focus on those diet and lifestyle habits and practices that really support your best health.
I was recently asked how a health coach can help you achieve your dreams—had I read Holly’s note before answering, I might have simplified my answer to: a good health coach helps you get rid of your extra blenders.
Ready to perform an elimination diet on your lifestyle? Tell me YOURstory.
Edited to add the following note: Thanks to Kirsten H, who emailed me the following comment and gave me permission to share it.
LOVED your blog post! Everything you say is so true. It seems like we all think it’s easier for someone else to solve our problems instead of doing the hard work ourselves and actually thinking things through. … You help people think things through, and that takes time, some money, and effort. It’s an investment. But it’s less expensive than flitting around and buying diet books and trying stupid diet and whatever the popular fad of the moment is! People have to get to the point where they want to make a purposeful investment in themselves that will simplify and benefit their lives from that moment on.