Coaching Chronicles: Molly-Session #3
Molly’s Goals from last week:
- Continue developing a morning ritual, allowing for sleep when needed.
- Record your food with pictures or a sentence. No measuring needed. No judgment. All foods are fine.
- Lunch: salad with romaine, chicken salad and extra croutons
- Dinner: pork chops, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy
- Bedtime snack: popcorn and ice cream
- Breakfast: coffee
- Lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwich with potato chips
- Afternoon snack: snickers bar
- Dinner: grilled chicken with leftover green beans and mashed potatoes
- Bedtime snack: ice cream and potato chips
- Breakfast: coffee, muffin and banana
- Lunch: salad with romaine, bell peppers, cucumbers, blue cheese, apples and chicken tenders and key lime pie for dessert
- Dinner: a few bites of muffin (not hungry)
- Snack: cookies
- Breakfast: coffee and 2 muffins
- Snack: cookies
- Lunch: Chipotle burrito, chips and salsa, pop
- Dinner: leftover chips and salsa
- Snack: cookies
- Breakfast: coffee
- Lunch: salmon with asparagus
- Dinner: salad with grilled chicken
- Snack: a few glasses of wine
- Breakfast: coffee, pancakes, bacon, eggs, cinnamon roll
- Snack: kettle corn and fried Oreos
- Lunch: cheese burger, fries, chocolate shake
- Dinner: a few bites of leftover grilled chicken
- Snack: a few glasses of wine
- Breakfast: coffee, eggs, fruit salad, sausage
- Lunch: grilled pineapple and pork tenderloin
- Dinner: pizza, breadsticks, apple pie and pop
- Breakfast: coffee, fruit salad, eggs, sausage
Molly has a big smile for me when I see her. She takes her seat and places a notebook and pen on the table.
Jen: Hi, Molly. It’s so good to see you! Looks like you have come prepared today.
Molly: I am ready! I plan to take notes each time we meet now so I can remember my wins and goals. Oh, and any epiphanies I have.
Jen: Well, go ahead and write that down as a win. Taking notes is brilliant, Molly.
Molly: (Grinning and writing) I didn’t even think of that! Yep, that’s a win!
Jen: How was your week? What other wins did you have?
Molly: My morning routine was successful. I was able to get up early five days out of the week. Nathan, my youngest is now getting up earlier too, but I’m trying different things to keep him occupied. One of the most successful was drinking my coffee while he played in the bath. It seemed a little weird to drink my coffee in the bathroom but it kept him happy and busy long enough for me to enjoy it instead of drinking it cold two hours later.
Jen: You’re an incredible mom. And at the same time, finding a great way to continue to honor yourself. Huge wins!
Molly: (Smiling) I thought so too! I was frustrated the first time it happened and let it ruin my morning. Then I remembered that part of the reason I needed the quiet time was for my babies. I am a better mom when I have that time. So, it was a bit silly for me to be mad when they are one of the biggest reasons for doing it in the first place.
Jen: You could write a page about that as a win too! We may need to meet for two hours just to give you time to write!
Molly: (Laughing) What a great problem to have, right?
Jen: Yes! What other strategies do you have for company during your quiet morning time?
Molly: Hmm, my sister runs in the morning and she offered to push him in his stroller. We have a jogging stroller. I just don’t use it much.
Jen: Excellent solution! It’s a great back up.
Molly: One of the good things about him getting up early was that he went down for a nap. The other three stopped napping at 18 months, so I should have another year of napping with him. At least, I hope so! It was so nice to be able to make lunch while he was napping. I was even able to get some one-on-one reading time with my oldest, Charlotte. Normally that only happens at bedtime. We’re reading Charlotte’s Web. It helped her get over her fear of spiders.
Jen: You truly are a gifted mom! These kids are so fortunate to have such a tuned-in mama! What a brilliant idea to help her deal with that fear! And I can’t think of a better book! Have you warned her about the ending?
Molly: Oh yes! Even though she’s the oldest, she’s my most sensitive kid. She tried to act tough but I know underneath all that she is just a sweet pea. Before we started the book, I told her what to expect.
Jen: I did that when we read Narnia. It was still tough! At least mine were older when we read Harry Potter!
Molly: I can’t wait to share that series with her. So much to share!
Jen: Endless possibilities! They will be voracious readers because of the time you took to share these books with them.
Molly: I truly hope so! My mom always read to me when I was young. Then, when I could read, we would take turns at the dinner table. It was just her and I and my baby sister. We went through a lot together, ups and downs. I think sharing a novel, no matter what it was, was a way to keep us connected. She was a tough mom. So many rules and expectations. But looking back, and being a mom myself, I can understand why she was so strict. My friends were hanging out and making dumb choices, and I was at home doing chores and homework. I was mad at the time, but I’m so thankful now. She’s the best grandma too. Although, she seems to have forgotten all the rules! My kids can’t do anything wrong in her eyes!
Jen: (Laughing) That’s the best kind of grandma! It sounds like you and your mom went through a lot but found a way to stay connected. Is she local?
Molly: She lives two streets over. She is retired and remarried. She’s very involved in the kids’ lives. It’s good to have her so close.
Jen: You are fortunate, and so are the kids.
Molly: She was the one that recommended the notebook for our meetings.
Jen: I like her already!
Molly: (Laughing) She would like you too!
Jen: Any more wins you want to share?
Molly: The morning routine seems to help me be more calm, even in frustrating moments. We went shopping for new shoes and I told Charlotte to bring socks with her at least five times. Of course, we get there and…no socks. Instead of blowing up or blaming her, I hugged her and told her that I forget things too. I mean, she’s five years old! Even though she is the oldest, she is still a baby. I could have easily had her wear sneakers and socks, or put a pair in my purse instead of continuing to say it to her. I’m not saying she doesn’t need to learn responsibility, or to listen. It was just a moment of clarity for me. Being five and a big sister to three little boys isn’t easy. And I don’t need to blame her for my lack of planning.
Jen: How did Charlotte react when you hugged her?
Molly: Her face relaxed and she seemed lighter all day long. She tends to be my serious child. She also played with the boys in the back yard when we got home. Hmm, I didn’t realize it at the time but I don’t think there was a single argument the rest of the day.
Molly: If I feel more patient, and I behave in a more understanding way, it has to transfer to them in some way. No. I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all.
Jen: Funny thing about kids, they’re little mirrors. When you are stressed, they feel it and often act out. When you are relaxed and calm, they are too.
Molly: Yet another reason to do my morning routine.
Jen: Yet another epiphany.
Molly: (Laughing) Hold on while I write that down!
(Molly takes a few minutes to write her experience and thoughts for her notebook.)
Jen: Any other wins?
Molly: Now comes the part of today that I have been dreading! I think it’s a win that I actually logged my food every day but I am so nervous about what you think. I know I already told you that I don’t eat very well, but showing you is so scary and uncomfortable.
Jen: I thought you did an incredible job of logging your food. I think it’s the most complete food log I’ve ever seen. Win. Also, I saw many things in there that were very healthy and good for your body. Win. I thought it took great courage and trust to write everything down. Win. And it took determination to stick with it for seven whole days. Win.
(Molly begins to get some tears in her eyes but is clearly doing her best to hold them back.)
Jen: Tell me about what you’re feeling right now.
(A few tears escape but Molly quickly wipes them away. She sits up straight in her chair and gives me a goofy, lop-sided smile.)
Molly: I ate ice cream. And snickers.
Jen: I saw that. You also ate salmon, asparagus, romaine and grilled chicken.
Molly: And wine. And bacon.
Jen: And eggs and fruit salad.
Molly: You just aren’t going to let me feel bad, are you?
Jen: Why would you feel bad? It’s just food.
(Molly picks up her pen and begins to write. In capital letters, she writes: IT’S JUST FOOD.)
Molly: But I thought that food was the whole purpose of our meetings.
Jen: Most people do.
Molly: Then why do I feel so bad? And guilty?
Jen: It’s a belief. And you associate the candy, ice cream, and wine with everything that isn’t working in your life. And then you blame yourself for not being more disciplined.
(Silence. The tears begin to flow freely.)
Molly: But I’m the one eating it.
Jen: It’s just food.
Molly: So, what you’re saying it that it doesn’t matter what I eat?
Jen: It matters more how you feel about what you’re eating.
Molly: So, I can live on ice cream as long as I feel good about it?
Jen: Do you feel good about living on ice cream? Is it okay with you if Charlotte starts living on ice cream?
Molly: Of course not.
Jen: What foods do you feel good about?
Molly: Well, salmon, eggs, fruit salad, asparagus, and the chicken. But I love the taste of the ice cream and the snickers keeps me from losing my cool when I’m stressed. And the wine is something my husband and I enjoy together at night.
Jen: Do you feel good about the snickers or not losing your cool?
Molly: Obviously not losing my cool.
Jen: So, what food do you feel good about?
Molly: Okay, the first things I said and…
Molly: I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel now. It’s confusing. I guess I need to figure out what you mean exactly.
Jen: Let’s separate the physical feeling from the emotion for each of the things you mentioned. First, the salmon, vegetables, eggs and chicken. How do they make you feel physically?
Molly: That’s easy. I feel satisfied and full but not overfull.
Jen: How do you feel about eating those foods?
Molly: Hmm, proud. I know they are good for me. And I liked logging them. I think people who are fit and healthy eat those foods too.
Jen: Now let’s talk about the ice cream. Why do you eat it and how does it make you feel both physically and emotionally?
Molly: I eat it because it tastes good and I crave it. I have never really thought about how it makes me feel physically. Full, I guess. Maybe not though because I always want a second bowl. Emotionally, I feel guilty because I imagine it goes straight to my thighs.
Jen: How about the Snickers bar?
Molly: I grab those when I’m stressed. I know it’s wrong because I sneak away to eat it, and hide the wrapper in the trash. Sometimes I eat two. It never feels good. I always feel terrible after I eat it. Lots of regret, and criticizing myself for being so weak. I don’t know how it feels physically because I never paid attention. I guess the yelling in my head is too loud to focus on how it makes me feel.
Jen: This is big. Should we do the wine next?
Molly: Yes, just give me one minute.
(Molly starts drawing in her journal. She creates a chart and begins filling in the columns.)
Jen: Lots of questions marks with that candy bar.
Molly: I had no idea I was adding to my stress. I thought it was helping.
Jen: I love the chart you created. It helped you reach that conclusion quickly.
Molly: Can we make a goal?
Jen: Of course. Do you want to have the chart every time you eat or only with certain foods?
Molly: I think I want to use it at the end of each day or maybe once or twice a week. That’s more likely because of the time it will take. I want to honest with myself.
Jen: Will you be able to remember how you felt before you ate the foods?
Molly: I’m not sure but I can always make changes once I start. If doing it later doesn’t work, I can find a way to add the before to my food log.
Jen: Perfect solution.
Molly: Okay. The goal is to focus on the foods that I’m eating and fill in the chart. It’s okay if I forget some or only look at a few things.
Jen: Beautiful and supportive goal. You gave yourself the guidelines, and showed compassion for a busy and full life. I love it!
Molly: I want to keep logging my meals as well.
Jen: Would you like to choose an area to make a simple swap as well or does that feel like too much to add this week?
Molly: No, I think it’s fine. Do you have a suggestion?
Jen: I’d like you to start your day by sipping a glass of water.
Molly: (Laughing) Are you joking? That’s easy!
Jen: Excellent. One more?
Molly: Bring it on!
Jen: Okay, then let’s talk about breakfast. I’d love for you to start your day with some protein. How do you feel about yogurt?
Molly: Love it! The kids love it too so that would be easy.
Jen: Here’s where it gets a bit more complicated. I want you to read the grams of sugar in the yogurt that you normally buy, and I want you to find one with 2-4 grams less per serving.
Molly: I don’t think there’s that much sugar in the yogurt we buy. We usually buy strawberry or blueberry. But okay. I can do that.
Jen: So, the goal is to eat yogurt 2-3 times this week for breakfast.
Molly: It seems too easy.
Jen: The good thing about goals that are easy is that they are easy to complete. I want you to feel success. Also, if you get off track, it’s easy to find your way back.
Molly: To be honest, I still think it’s not enough but I will follow your lead since you’re the coach.
Jen: (Smiling) I appreciate your faith in me.
Molly: Plus, I’ll be a handful next week when I come with all my goals complete.
Jen: (Laughing) I look forward to it!
Molly: Thanks! Have a good week!
Jen: You too, Molly!
Molly’s Goals for Session #3
- Continue logging food and then, using the Food/Mood Chart, log foods and feelings. Practice compassion during busy times when there is no time to log.
- Start your day by sipping on 4-6 oz. of water.
- While shopping for yogurt, read the grams of sugar in your regular yogurt, and find a brand with 2-4 grams less per serving.
- Eat yogurt for breakfast 2-3 times this week.