A recent health-coaching client came to me for sessions during the period of her chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. On her intake form she noted that she really wanted to work on making healthy changes to her diet. After two or three sessions, though, it became clear that she wasn't really interested in changing her diet, and in fact, had some resistance to changing it. I gently point that out, and she readily agreed. We had been working on becoming more emotionally aware alongside the dietary changes, and we continued that work, experimenting with other health-related changes she wanted to make. The emotional work was the one constant.
In our 10th session, my client revealed to me some of the ways that her newfound emotional awareness was having a positive affect on different areas of her life, from her family to her own ability to live more in the moment. "I even notice," she said, coming to the realization as she was speaking, "that when I order food in a restaurant, I'm much more aware of what I want, and what's going to make me feel good. I don't just go on automatic and order the usual. I'm more in touch with my body and how it feels." She had come full circle. In the beginning, she had chosen to make a change that she felt she "should" want to make, but didn't really want to. But she allowed herself to let go of that and focus, instead, on her feelings. And in the end, she came around to making those dietary changes anyway, in a way that wasn't forced, but felt organic and natural, and like something she did want to do after all.
Deborah Donenfeld is an HYL-certified health coach who encourages her clients to go deep, and specializes in helping people to understand the mind-body connection, uncovering the deeper factors contributing to health issues and stuck-ness. She lives in Manhattan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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