Coaching Chronicles: Molly
I first met Molly when I was at lunch with a friend. When my friend went to the bathroom, Molly approached slowly and opened with an apology. She had overheard our discussion of the latest, popular diet and felt the urge to come and ask for some guidance. She’d spent the last two weeks on that exact diet and was frustrated. We set an appointment for the next morning. She couldn’t imagine waiting any longer than that.
Jen: Good morning, Molly! How’s your morning been so far?
Molly: Hectic. I have four kids. And three dogs. And two cats. And my sister and her boyfriend live with us. Oh, and my husband’s kids visit every other weekend.
Jen: Sounds like there’s lots of love in your house.
Molly: (Laughing) Yes, and lots of laundry. I can’t lie. It’s overwhelming 99% of the time.
Jen: Overwhelming for everyone? Or just for you?
Molly: Me, I think. I never really asked anyone else how it feels.
Jen: I like you already, Molly. You aren’t afraid to share how you feel in an honest and open way.
Molly: Hmm. I’m not really open. I don’t tell anyone anything. No one knows how I really feel.
Jen: How do you really feel?
Molly: Ready for witness protection! Is that part of your service? (Laughs.)
Jen: In a way, yes. But it’s more a mental shift than a physical move. Is this overwhelm your main stressor?
Molly: Like I told you yesterday, I want to lose weight. So, no. It’s just one of my stressors, I guess.
Jen: Why do you want to lose weight? What’s your motivation behind the decision for the latest diet?
Molly: I’m fat! I feel terrible. My clothes don’t fit. I can’t keep up with my kids without panting and getting all red in the face. You might not believe this but I used to be cute. Really cute! It started when I started having kids. At first it seemed manageable but each time I gained more weight and never seemed to lose it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I just don’t love the weight that came with them. I’m not saying I would change that. I mean, I feel guilty even thinking it’s their fault. I know it’s my fault. It’s just overwhelming to even imagine how this could ever change. I guess maybe someday when they go to college, I don’t know.
Jen: This is a powerful subject for you. You feel passion to lose the weight, guilt for being frustrated about it, and overwhelmed to begin or even imagine it happening. Do I have that about right?
Molly: You aren’t much for small talk, are you? Wow. Yes. You’re right. Sorry. I know we are supposed to be talking about nutrition. I didn’t mean to dump. Sorry.
Jen: First, you have nothing to apologize for, Molly. You didn’t dump, you allowed yourself to feel what you are feeling. That’s a huge win! People often feel frustrated for years and years and never truly acknowledge the true cause. And just so you know, this is how coaching sessions are. Our lives are not split into neat categories. Challenges or successes in one area impact all the other parts of your life. Often when I have clients who crave sugar, they are under a lot of stress and rarely get good sleep. People who hold top positions in their careers, often have boundary issues in their personal relationships. I could go on and on, but I hope you see the point. Life is messy, Molly.
Molly: (Quiet for a few seconds) I do wonder sometimes about people who seem to have perfect lives.
Jen: Are we talking about a particular person?
Molly: (Laughing) You caught that, huh? Busted, I guess. My sister. She is living with us right now. She is working on her Masters Degree in Museum Art. What the hell is she going to do with that? Them living with us helps us pay down the mortgage, and we have plenty of space, and it really helps with the kids but what the hell is she going to do with that degree? She’ll never get a job! And she is so happy all the time, and can eat anything she wants. It’s always been that way. She’s always been the skinny one. And they don’t’ have kids so of course she has no stretch marks or…oh my gosh. I sound so petty. I don’t mean it. I really love her and I can’t imagine not having her around. She’s my best friend. She is so thoughtful and always helps with everything. I’m rambling.
Jen: Lots of mixes feelings there. Some resentment, and lots of love and appreciation.
Molly: I’m sorry. I guess I need to get my feelings straight before I bring it up.
Jen: I asked a question and you answered it. You have nothing to get straight, you are doing an amazing job of sharing and being open. In fact, I’m really excited about you because of that openness. When we make some goals, you will be able to tell me with complete honestly if they are achievable or if you have feelings against them. It’s going to be so fun to watch you grow, and achieve your goals.
Molly: (Long pause) I guess you can tell I’m Italian! I always thought of my strong feelings as something to overcome or just hide. You’re saying they are going to help me?
Jen: Yes! Definitely. Do you want to try it out with some goals? See how that passion and fire supports you?
Molly: Hmm, I’m not sure. What if I fail?
Jen: Already you are showing me how to proceed with your answer! I love it! Being nervous or doubtful about goals is okay. Truthfully, I think if the goal doesn’t make you a little bit nervous, we probably need a new one. The fact that the whole idea of a goal makes you nervous tells me that you aren’t ready to trust yourself yet, or maybe you think I will judge you, which I never will. When my son was little, his chess coach told him before he competed in tournaments, “When you win, you win but when you lose, you learn.” The loss was more important for his growth as a player, than the win. Failure becomes a powerful foundation in life for successes. We must fail in order to grow and become stronger. Eventually, failure can become something that fuels you and makes you push harder or focus with more clarity.
Molly: When you lose, you learn. I really like that. I think I’m ready to try a goal.
Jen: And just like that, you already pushed past a belief that’s been holding you back. Wow! You’re amazing me already!
Molly: (Laughing) I don’t know about that! You just explained it in a way that there was no risk. Even if I don’t achieve the goal, I will still learn something.
Jen: Exactly. Do you want to have a goal around your overwhelm or your nutrition?
Molly: How about one of both?
Jen: (Laughing) Now you are just showing off! I love it!
Molly: (Laughing) Maybe just a little.
Jen: That passion is also a source of confidence. What a bonus! Okay, for the nutrition goal, I would recommend recording your food. Each meal, you snap a picture or write a sentence about what you ate. For the overwhelm, it’s time to start creating time. When is the least busy time of your day?
Molly: Ugh, food journal! You want to see everything I eat? Even the bad stuff? Least busy? In the morning before the kids get up, if I can make myself get up.
Jen: I want to see everything. There is no judgment, no punishment, nothing. We are just observing what your current food is. Once we see it, we can decide how to make a small improvement.
Molly: Like giving up the sweets? No more ice cream for me, I guess.
Jen: You don’t have to give up your ice cream. Just record. This week is about recording only. Eat normally. That’s the goal. I’ll send you a link for the Healthie app and off you go.
Molly: I can do that. No weighing or counting, right? I don’t have time for that.
Jen: No weighing, no counting. Just take a picture, and if you want you can write what it is or how you were feeling or any questions you have.
Molly: I know I can do that. I know I can.
Jen: How many times this week can you get up 30 minutes before the kids?
Molly: I usually manage at least twice during the week.
Jen: Can you do it three times in the next seven days?
Molly: I think so. Ugh, the thought of trying to make myself do it is tough.
Jen: I’m going to send you a link for a video from Mel Robbins about her Five Second Rule. It’s a short video, but if you want more you can listen to her book of the same title. She has a simple system that will help you get moving.
Molly: I am so relieved that I don’t need to read the book to learn the system. I mean, I want to but I don’t need anything else on my To Do list.
Jen: That’s one of the things we will do together. We’ll find simple ways to add powerful tools to your toolbox. Tricks that have worked for other people.
Molly: Okay. I’ll watch the video and then commit to that goal. Is that okay?
Jen: Absolutely! And if you decide to stick to two days this week, that’s okay too. I want you to feel successful with your goals. I want them to be manageable and achievable. Not only does that boost your confidence in yourself, but if you get off track one week, it’s easier to hit the reset button.
Molly: This has been so eye opening. I feel relaxed. Is that weird?
Jen: Feeling relief, and the relaxed feeling that comes with it, is always the goal. When we find ways to help our mind and body relax and relieve the pressure, it makes room for growth. Each and every time we meet, my singular goal is to help you feel lighter and easier about things in your life whether we are talking goals, obstacles or regular life.
Molly: This is so much different than I thought it would be. It’s actually fun. I thought I would be talking meal plans.
Jen: We’ll get to the more practical side of things once we establish some new patterns around the overwhelm. Like you said, you don’t need another item for your To Do list!
Molly: You’re right about that.
Jen: I look forward to hearing about those mornings.
Molly: Yeah, it sounds crazy but I’m almost looking forward to getting up early.
Jen: (Laughing) Not crazy, smart! Have a great week!
Molly: You too. Thank you!
Jen: Always my pleasure.
Molly’s Goals for the week 1:
- Record your food with pictures or a sentence. No measuring needed.
- Watch Mel Robbin’s video on the Five Second Rule.
- Get up 30 minutes early two-three times this week.
Molly sent me a text message filled with enthusiasm. She watched the video in the car before she got home and decided that she would get up early three times in the week. She also ordered the whole book just in case she could find some time to read.
I received a text several days later that simply had the number four with a smile emoji.