Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I did it! I'm a Certified Wellness Coach!

I really had no idea what to expect when I applied to the Mayo Clinic graduate school for their Wellness Coaching certification course. It was late in 2012 and I had just completed my Personal Trainer certification. I knew I wanted something more - skills that would help me motivate people instead of just handing them a plan. When I read about the extensive curriculum the Mayo offered for certification, I was convinced it was right for me. I applied immediately - and three months later I was accepted into their July 2014 course. WHAT?! I learned that they only accept 120 students per year. Hence, the lengthy waiting list. 

Perseverance and pestering will get you everywhere. I begged Mayo to give me a spot earlier if it became available and I stayed on them about it. (Tammy in Admissions - you are wonderful!!) I was offered a spot for the second quarter course beginning in April 2014 and I snapped it up!

I anticipated what the class would be like since most of it would be conducted online. I went to college in the mid-90s, so this way of teaching was completely foreign to me. My first assignment was a simple introduction post in Blackboard about my background and why I wanted to take this course. One of the things I wrote was, " I want to get to the core of why people behave they way they do and teach them how they truly can change to be well." 

But, I had it all wrong. I wrote the word "teach". The most valuable thing I learned from this course is that I'm not going to teach anybody anything. Coaching isn't teaching. Coaching is listening. Coaching is support. Coaching is empathy. Coaching is encouragement. 

Coaching isn't therapy, coaching isn't imposing judgment and coaching isn't teaching. Teaching is providing answers. But, you already have the answers. You are the expert on you. I can't teach you about you. But, I've spent hours upon hours to get here. To the place where I can work with you to become the "you" you want to be. The best you.

I can't even begin to say enough good things about my experience at Mayo Clinic. My third week of class took place on-site at Mayo Clinic. They are days I will never forget! I was in a room of 14 like-minded people with fascinating experiences and stories to share. I was exhilarated, yet exhausted, from the precious time I spent learning from Mayo Clinic doctors and Wellness Coaches who had been practicing and improving coaching methods for years. I was able to participate in a peer coaching group with classmates for several weeks, so I could gain as much knowledge and practice as possible. This was when I realized I could be really good at coaching. This is for me!

People ask me:
  • What does Wellness Coaching mean?
  • Are you going to provide me with weight loss and dieting advice like recipes and meal plans?
  • Am I going to have to get on a scale in front of you?
  • Are you going to set strict goals for me?
  • Are you going to be upset or make me feel guilty when I don't do what you say?
Now, it's my goal to change the perception of coaching and help others understand what I can do to help. And, why the course content I learned at the Mayo Clinic is so incredibly valuable. I've been practicing with class peers and volunteer clients and I'm so excited about the results people are experiencing. 

I won't make you get on a scale in front of me, or set your goals for you or give you unsolicited advice and pamphlets. I definitely won't judge you for your actions or make you feel guilty.  

In fact, I decided to see a Wellness Coach myself during my learning process - one that was not affiliated with the Mayo Clinic. I wanted to see how she practiced compared to what I was learning. This is when I realized how right the Mayo got this curriculum. I saw my "coach" (incognito, of course) about four or five times. She usually did most of the talking instead of listening. I always left with a stack of pamphlets - some of which I told her were on subjects that weren't a concern of mine. She didn't hear me at all. She didn't dig deep or spend the time to find what motivated me. She didn't personalize our appointments. She just gave me blanket advice - pretty much information I could Google.

So, that's how I knew I could make a difference. It's my mission to help people become their best selves and maintain lasting change over time. I partner with people on what their goals are - not mine. It can be anything you want to change - eating habits, physical fitness, stress management. With what I’ve learned and practiced over the last several months:
  • I’m able to help people see themselves more clearly.
  • I can identify gaps between where someone is and where they want to be.
  • I’ve built a structure, I have useful tools and I can provide support in a safe environment necessary to help people sustain their commitment over time.
  • I will ask for more change, more intentional thought and more action than you will ask of yourself. But, this is done according to the client’s agenda.
Thank you for following along with me in 2014 and have a fabulous holiday season! I'm looking forward to sharing a broader scope of Mind Over Mayo in 2015!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Six Tips to Surviving the Next Six Weeks (even if you are over-booked, over-stressed, tempted by treats and your family get-togethers drive you to the Bailey’s)

That may be my longest blog post title yet, however I feel it’s warranted given the madness of this topic. I’m starting to see the survive the holidaystips all over social media and talked a bit about it in Renee’s blog earlier today. Given this is a wellness blog, I thought I’d add some points that I actually use in real life. I want to be realistic and less obvious/annoying as some of the other “tip” articles out there!

Weight-wise, my most successful holiday season was last year. I got a horrible stomach flu a few days before Christmas, so I barely ate a thing. My worst year was 2010. A project at work went awry the week of Thanksgiving. I worked days/nights/weekends up until Christmas and didn’t take care of myself at all. Once Christmas came, I was able to take two weeks off of work – and I ate and drank my way through them.

Let’s find a happy medium, shall we? Here’s what’s worked for me and what I plan to do this year.

1) Don’t take home leftovers or keep tempting food in the house. If you bake or cook, it has to go elsewhere.

2) Celebrate on the holiday only. The holiday is ONE day out of the week. Enjoy the treats and foods as much as you want to on that one day. Don’t extend Thanksgiving into a four-day food festival or a Christmas through New Year’s Day eat-a-thon.

3) Stay busy. I know many folks take 1-2 weeks off of work at the end of the year because of travel or to be with family. For me, that doesn’t work. I can’t justify taking that much time off of work in the middle of winter. It will be me and the food stuck inside hiding from the freezing cold. I will work or make active plans Dec. 26-Jan. 4 to keep me in my daily routine.

4) Make compromises. “It only comes once a year.” “I never get to eat/drink such-n-such.” “If I don’t eat this, it will hurt someone’s feelings.” “I’ve ruined my diet now – I’ll start again after the 1st.” And, it goes on.
  •            It does only come once a year, but it doesn’t need to be a free-for-all. Make compromises and consciously choose foods that you enjoy versus standing in the kitchen and grazing all day. For example, “I’m going to CONSCIOUSLY have two pieces of Aunt Linda’s fudge instead of 3.” Choose what you really want and enjoy it! (And, I highly recommend my Aunt Linda’s fudge. It’s phenomenal!!!)
  •       Jan. 1 falls on a Thursday. You’re likely not going to “start again” on a Thursday. You’ll probably wait until the following Monday because that’s how we typically handle stuff like this. More days toward your goals will be lost. Seriously – try going to the gym on Christmas Eve morning. You’ll be so proud of yourself the rest of the day!

5) Write your 2015 goals NOW. Don’t wait until the post-holiday guilt has set in to write your absurd “I’m only eating vegetables and I’m going to the gym EVERY DAY” goals. Try writing your 2015 goals (realistically) now so you can keep them in mind over the next several weeks. When Jan. 1 comes, you’ll be ready for it.

6) Forgiveness. Enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy your treats. What’s done is done. Feeling guilt over yesterday doesn’t fix it. Let go of guilt and do better today.

On a personal note, it’s been a while since I’ve written in this blog. I focused on myself in 2014 – adjusting to a new job, a new home, loss of family members and learning the art of Wellness Coaching. I’m excited to broaden the Mind Over Mayo name and capabilities in 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Product Review: Hydration Mask

I generally try to be as positive as possible about winter because it’s nothing new to me.  It’s long, it’s harsh and it happens every year.  However, the consistency of our sub-zero temperatures this year is particularly brutal.  It’s having a terrible effect on my skin!  So, I’ve been looking for a good hydrating mask.

I typically don’t buy products without a friend’s recommendation.  I need to know they are fabulous before buying!  Otherwise, you end up with a drawer(s) of unused beauty products that looks like this:

However, I was desperate and I took a chance on Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Mask.  (You can purchase 4 oz. here for $18.00).  I don't have a fancy review about it, other than I loved it because it worked!  It was more of a lotion than a mask and my face looks and feels so much better!  No more dry skin!

For more of my product reviews, see here and here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 Goal-Setting and Vision Board

This week I committed to working on two small goals:  1) set my goals for 2014 and 2) carry water with me where ever I go.

I was successful with the water, in part because I usually do this anyway.  I just needed a post-holiday boost to get me back in the swing of the habit.  I added things like cucumber and lemon to my water to make it more flavorful.

For my goals, I did a couple of things.  I updated my vision board and made a list of things I want to do more of in the coming year.  If you aren't sure what a vision board (or dream board) is, they are easy to create.  I try to look at mine often, particularly in low moments, so I can keep my goals top-of -mind.  Go here to create your own.

Here's my 2014 vision board:

It's similar to last year's, but I updated a few things.  I'll be attending a course at the Mayo Clinic about Wellness Coaching this year, so I incorporated that.  Also, one of the things I accomplished from last year's board is moving to a larger city/urban area.  At the time, I envisioned Phoenix or Chicago.  But, I ended up staying in Minnesota - just moving from the suburbs to the city.  So, I incorporated photos taken near my home such as trails and the Mississippi River that I plan to take advantage of this summer.  And, that is a picture of my actual pool/hot tub at my new home, so I need to be bathing suit ready to take advantage of that as well! 

I'm still focused on eating healthy, so I incorporated a picture of the farmer's market near my home and demonstrated my focus on WATER!  And, I'd like to continue working on lifting heavy, practicing piano and creative writing in my free time.  Lastly, I always like to travel, especially finding a warm sanction during the long winter.  This year I'll be traveling to Fort Myers, FL and I've never been.  Here's my 2013 board for comparison:

Happy 2014!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Small habit changes over time - 12-week challenge

I spent a lot of time/energy/money trying to follow strict diet plans in the past - really for the majority of my 20's.  I failed every time.  The problem was that I tried to change everything in one day (which is obvious to me now).  Looking back, I really don't know why I thought I could just change all of my bad habits overnight.  Like that.  BOOM!  A brand new person.

And, even worse, why was I so damn hard on myself when I failed each time?

What was I thinking?

I finally realized that I really needed to change my unhealthy ways, but it was so overwhelming.  My weight was at an all-time high.  I was about to move up into the next clothing size.  I was horrified when I saw photos of myself.  I needed to do something.  So, I started out slowly by giving up soda.  That was all I focused on for a whole month - just don't drink soda!  I didn't change anything else.  The next month I started doing Pilates.  My first workout I only made it 10 minutes and then I worked my way up from there.

When I would get one new habit down comfortably, I added on another.  Soon, I was eating better, tracking food, working out almost every day and I gave up soda and fast food.  I didn't get down on myself for a bad moment or bad day - or even a bad week.  I just shook it off and tried to re-focus on the new habits I wanted to create.  It wasn't a diet anymore - it was a lifestyle.

I know it can be difficult to start and re-start over and over.  I've created a spreadsheet for a 12-week challenge to creating new habits slowly and successfully.  Choose from a list of habit changes and make that your focus.  I've created the template to allow for two new habit changes each week, but you can dial it back or bump it up - whatever works for you.  If you decide to do this exercise, please keep me posted on  your progress!

You can find the spreadsheet here so you can get started (maybe tomorrow!?).  I'm going to start tomorrow.  I've picked out my 24 habits, but I'm not quite sure of the order yet.  Some are new for me and some are ones I just need to brush up on.  The ones I didn't choose, I've either conquered already or I'm saving them for after the first 12-weeks!  Here's my start: