Hi guys! This is Alex, and I coach our groups at Happy Body Formula. I’ve been coaching folks for a while now. It’s been a fun and rewarding journey full of rainbows, butterflies, and a whole lot of lessons learnt.
I’ve cried plenty of happy tears while communicating with my groups and the individuals one-on-one. We’ve made long-lasting connections, and I’ve changed lives – or at least that’s what I’ve been told.
I didn’t quite expect to learn so much about myself throughout the journey. I do know that it’s been the greatest opportunity I’ve been given, though, and I hope to continue doing this for life. Let’s rewind a bit though…
Before I began coaching, I entered recovery for a restrictive eating disorder. It was a hard decision, but in retrospect, it was the best choice I ever made. That decision single-handedly saved my life.
After battling bulimia, anorexia and plain ol’ binge eating for over a decade, I was ready to get better. Or, at least part of me was.
Despite getting healthier, the thoughts lingered on. I had poor body image, a shaky relationship with food and a whole lot of underlying self-doubt. I still slipped up – less and less – but as they say, old habits die hard.
My rational mind told me this, and it’s something I tell a lot of people in the same position as I am: it’s going to take more than a month, or a year, or even a few years to reverse a decade of bad habits. Plain and simple – patience is key here.
Today, I am healthy, and I’m helping other people fight their own demons and emerge on the other side. Strong, vibrant, and motivated to keep pushing forward even if they have to fight.
Here are the ten most unexpected, powerful, and amazing things I’ve learnt as a wellness coach.
1. Transparency is key
When I began coaching our groups, I wanted the focus to be the real deal. After all, I’m not an automated email campaign and I’m certainly not a robot. I am a REAL person, and I’ve been through some very real stuff.
By making the decision to own my story and share my story without holding back, I’ve inherently encouraged hundreds of other people to do the same.
It’s amazing what happens in a community when we are all being open, honest and upfront. When one person does it, another follows suit. We can own up to our mistakes, we can shake hands with our past, and most importantly, we can move forward.
Transparency helps us accept the cards we’re dealt and make our next best move. Our group members can look forward to a safe space to talk about what they feel is important in their pursuit of personal growth.
2. Keep your ears open
When I first began coaching large groups, it was intimidating! I was suddenly the big boss of a whole lot of people, and I doubted my ability to keep up with everyone’s lives.
It takes time and practice, but now, I feel as though I am easily able to foster real relationships with each person in my group. I do this because I take notes on everything. If they’re talking, I’m listening.
This helps because when I reach out to folks individually, I can easily identify what their strengths and weaknesses are, ask them the right questions, and work with them on their next step.
Beyond the food, the exercise and all the lifestyle changes we prescribe, these folks need someone to talk to. Sometimes, your clients don’t need your advice – sometimes, they just want to vent. Be a friend above all. Show your clients that you know them, understand them, and that they can trust you.
During our 30 days, group members can expect prompt and thoughtful responses from their coach regarding anything they want to chat about.
3. There is no one-size-fits-all approach
Like with most things in life, it’s important to remember that we are all very different people, and what works for someone else may not work for you.
While The Happy Body Formula prescribes a specific set of eating instructions tailored to fit just about anybody’s lifestyle, we are ALL having a different experience.
The magic? We’re all in the same place, and we’re all connecting. The other side of things? Just because one thing worked for person A doesn’t mean the same thing won’t fail over and over for person B.
This is where getting to know people will come in handy. Tailoring coaching styles and solutions to problems for different folks is necessary, even if you are working a specific program.
This allows group members to identify patterns, habits and adaptations to the program that works in their favor, and I try my best to help identify individual needs.
4. You are always your own client
Remember what I mentioned above? Some days, it’s really hard to muster up my enthusiasm and go on telling people how to live a better life when I’m a bit down and out.
Instead of getting caught up in those negative feelings, I put myself first for a moment. This helps me to get in the right mindset to do my job properly, and it ensures that I continue to practice what I preach.
Self-love goes a long way, and if I’m going to tell the individuals I work with to put it into play, I absolutely have to prioritize that in my own daily life, especially on a bad day.
By following this rule of thumb, I can then pass it on to the people I communicate and work with by relating my own experience and practizing what I preach.
5. You become more extroverted
While much of wellness coaching is a professional affair, there is a lot more to it. Being funny, sociable, relatable and sharing your personality makes a huge impact on a group dynamic and individual relationships.
To reiterate, I am not a robot, so it’s hard to pretend I am one! Conducting business over the internet allows me to tap into my extroverted spirit better, and I believe it helps others come out of their shell too.
Letting everyone be themselves is truly liberating, and I think it’s very vital to overall health and wellbeing. As we develop individually, connecting with other like-minded people brings us both joy and confidence that cannot be cultivated without community and trust.
6. Comparison is the thief of joy
This is true for me as a coach, and it’s true for our participants. First of all, I cannot compare myself to other coaches out there.
I speak what’s on my mind, what I believe is true based on research and personal experience, and I live the lifestyle I find suitable for ME. I share it with others. That’s it.
This means I am not perfect, and I doubt I’ve lead anyone to believe that I am. As for our groups, I like to point out that once again, there is no one “perfect” method.
They have to own their story, they have to own their strong. Not anyone else’s. Someone else’s goals, body, food choices… it doesn’t matter because it ain’t theirs. Forget about it and get your own!
Oh, and try to like it. I think we do a good job of enforcing this rule in HBF.
7. Wellness coaching takes you out of “work mode”
My job isn’t limited to coaching, so yeah, sometimes there’s a lot on my plate and it isn’t always fun. I love my job, I am grateful for my job, and I am passionate about what I do, but sometimes I get a little stressed. Big surprise!
The light at the end of the tunnel? Coming back to our groups and seeing people sharing their amazing progress. Checking my inbox to find an email to thank me and our team for all that we do.
Chatting with one of our group members about something totally unrelated but hilarious. All of this injects meaning into all that I and we do, and it makes me look forward to waking up and “working,” if you could even call it that!
8. Goals change
We ask people to tell us what they hope to get out of The Happy Body Formula before we even begin, and running through the list of goals, I’d say about 75% of the people in our groups are hoping to lose weight above all.
This is fine and dandy, but I’ve learnt that losing weight is often a side effect. It falls to the wayside. It happens naturally without effort.
The things that take effort? Meditating daily. Learning to love your body. Finding an exercise routine that you love and can be consistent with. Yes, we see lots of weight lost, but we also see a huge shift in goals.
Many people decide to focus on the bigger things, and in turn, they see the numbers go down. Coincidence? I think not!
Weight loss has SO much to do with attitude, mindsest, and a healthy relationship with food. This is one of the major points I try to drive home.
9. Everyone’s needs are different
I genuinely want to help everyone in my group. I want to change ALL THE LIVES. I try my very best. This means that I really have to encourage my group to define what they need from me.
Everyone has a fair shot at success, and I believe this has a lot to do with our approach to the individual. While we mainly work in a group setting, I take a lot of notes!
Everyone’s updates get compiled, and I sift through those notes when I reach out to someone one-on-one. Some people need me around more than others. Some people need the meal plan, but they do fine on their own.
Some people mostly need the group support and somewhere to share their lives. With that said, Happy Body Formula is designed to give everyone what they need in the best way possible.
10. It’s hard to turn off “wellness coach” mode
This has nothing to do with the people in our groups, but if you’re thinking about coaching yourself, you might run into this problem yourself. I become deeply connected to our groups, and I constantly want to check in on the team.
On top of working remotely and creating my own schedule, it’s hard for me to devote time to leisure, play, vacation, etc. without checking up on my people!
This isn’t always a bad thing, but let’s refer to lesson 4 – I am my own client! That means taking some quiet time, some downtime, some time just to do nothing at all.
Oh, and let’s not forget lesson 7 – communicating with my team hardly feels like work, so it makes this one doubly hard. I’d say that this problem is a good one to have.
I hope this piece has helped you to better understand my values as a wellness coach, and what you might experience if you choose to work with me and our team during The Happy Body Formula program, or consider the nutrition values in our 7 Day Make Ahead Meal Plan.
All in all, I’ve learned that this experience is something that allows everyone involved to grow, flourish and become the best version of themselves. This is what I love the most.
Music, mountains, dogs, travel, food and friends.