Coaching My Family

February 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

My parents celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary last year… I let them have dessert on that day ☺

My parents celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary last year… I let them have dessert on that day ☺

As I sat down to write this blog, my intention was to make the point that no matter how old you are, you can still grow and transform old habits.  I wanted to convey that it’s never to late to begin a new way of doing something no matter how long you’ve been doing it one particular way.  To illustrate this, I wanted to share a story of how I helped my parents revamp their food habits.

As I began writing, my thoughts took me to a different place.  I started to reflect on all the ways they have taught me to lead a balanced, healthy, and joyful life.   In fact, my health and wellness philosophy that I’ve come to live by today, was taught and nurtured by my parents.

I’m filled with gratitude and want to share just a few of the many, many lessons I learned from them.  Then, I’ll get to the part where I introduced some new diet changes for them.

I admire their openness, receptivity, and willingness to make dietary changes even when some of my suggestions may have seemed a little strange to them at first.

To understand my approach to helping my clients create a life of optimal health and balance, it’s helpful to understand the household I grew up in.

Here’s a short list what I’m grateful to them for…

  • The household I grew up in taught me the foundations of self-care, health, and balanced-life.
  • My parents demonstrated and encouraged a strong work ethic, no matter what job was being performed. Hard work was never about accumulating more money than what was needed for necessities.
  • They encouraged my energy and enthusiasm, but reminded me to slow down, pause, and reflect.
  • I was taught to always count my blessings, and I still do.
  • My grandfather, who if he were still alive today, would be 114 years old, would tell my dad to always leave the table a little empty.  In other words, don’t over-indulge.
  • We always home-cooked meals, we rarely ate out.
  • We always had dinner together in a calm atmosphere, no rushing.
  • Breakfast was usually Grape-nuts cereal, oatmeal, or eggs rather than the sugary cereals my friends were given.  Of course, at the time I begged to have Fruit Loops!
  • I was told to chew my food!
  • Every morning when my Dad woke up, I watched him get on the floor and stretch, do crunches, and lift weights (well, they were actually 2 liter plastic bottles filled with water).  Even though he was so busy working, he always made time for exercise.
  • I didn’t have a ton of toys growing up, instead my parents nurtured my sense of adventure and imagination.  We played outside all year round in a neighborhood of 8 girls.
  • They taught me to never be embarrassed about who I am.
  • If I made a mistake or do harm, own up to it, correct it, and move on.
  • They told be daily that I was smart and beautiful, but made clear that I was no different and not better than anyone else.
  • They provided solid routines and structure: early bedtimes, early rising, and little television.
  • They thought it best to pack a healthy lunch for us rather than allowing school lunches even though I desperately wanted to be like other kids & at least get pizza on Fridays.
  • In terms of school and work, they always encouraged me to follow my passion and do my best.  That’s all, no extra pressure or stress.
  • I learned by their example to never comprise who you are for anything or anyone.
  • Be patient, especially with yourself.
  • Be honest with yourself and with others.
  • Relationships with others are very important, especially your spouse, this will determine the amount of joy in your life.
  • Surround yourself with people who enrich your life and fill you up.
  • Enjoy life’s pleasures in moderation

So you see, the things that sustain our health are more than the kale and carrots we eat.  Our lifestyle, careers and relationships can either nourish or deplete us.

These are just a few of the values they’ve given to me that have helped me build my health coaching business.

From them, I’ve learned to lead of life feeling balanced and nourished on every level.

Okay, now for the part where I step in and teach them!

My parents are 81 years and 72 years old.  Over the past year I’ve been working with them to make small tweaks to their diets; they took my recommendations and ran with them…eventually!  I sort of have a bad reputation for being the food police, but you’re always harshest on your own family, right?

Some of my suggestions felt really different to them at first and a bit intimidating, but they did change.  They’ve been frequenting the local health food store, adding in super-nourishing foods, and leaving behind the less nourishing ones.  They told me that they feel more energized and no longer experience sweet cravings.

My Dad with my niece, Elsa on the swings!

My Dad with my niece, Elsa on the swings!

So you see, no matter how old your habits are, you can still improve upon them.  Begin with just one step forward and soon you’ll find that you’re in a completely better place then you once were.




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