The idea of living a healthy life on autopilot sounds fantastic. But how do you get there? Across the "rickety bridge" of "life".
Today Dr Orlena chats to one of her clients, Alea Milburn from Prep Ahead Meals.
Alea talks about her experience of having a health coach.
Use code "ORLENA21" for her Breakfast and Lunch Meal Prepping Course: https://prepaheadmeals.com/learn-how-to-meal-prep-in-an-online-cooking-class/
Either email [email protected] or book a call here: https://bookme.name/drorlena/healthy-you-healthy-family-scholarship-program
Hello, and welcome to the Fit and Fabulous Podcast with me, Dr. Orlena Kerek. I hope that you are feeling amazing today. As I record this, it is the end of August. We have made it through the summer. I love the summer, but I'm also looking forward to autumn and counting down until we can get back into our house, which will be in three months' time.
Today, I have a super special treat for you. I am super excited to chat with one of my clients so that you can see what it is like to have a health coach.
I talk to so many people who are so keen on finally getting to healthy living but a lot of people think, ‘I can't invest money in it, or ‘it won't work for me.’ Or more importantly, the biggest thing I see is people who say, ‘Well, I ought to be able to do this by myself.’
That is barrier thinking.
I wanted to peel back what actually happens behind coaching and why it is so amazing.
Now I'll be totally up front with you. It's not a secret. It's not magic. It's not like coaches have a magic wand. But what they do is help you get to that best version of yourself. And luckily I'm seeing that more and more people are investing in health coaching because they can see the value of it.
You're busy doing whatever it is that you're doing. And your brain only has a certain amount of things that it can focus on. You can't prioritize everything at one time but what you can do is get someone to help you prioritize what you really want to prioritize.
That's why I am super excited to talk to Alea so that she can really give her voice to what it's like to be coached.
Alea has had one-on-one coaching. That just means that it's her and me. I offer one-on-one coaching and I also offer group coaching, which means that we work in a group and there are pros and cons to both ways of doing it.
If you're interested in finding out what it looks like to be coached by me and to work with me, then feel free to email me at [email protected]
Right now, I am building up my group package and I am offering scholarships to people who want to make that change. People who are super invested, excited, and keen to make healthy changes. People who are like, ‘Let's do this and I want some help doing it.’ If that sounds like you, then let me know.
To be clear that scholarship is not free, but it's at a much-reduced price from my normal prices. Three people have signed up already. So at the moment, as I record this, I have seven places to fill.
As I say, I’m looking for people who are really keen, excited and want some help to understand the value of coaching.
Dr Orlena: Thank you so much for coming and chatting with us on the Fit and Fabulous Podcast. We have been working together for a little while now, but before we talk about that, would you like to tell people what you do and about your amazing website?
Alea: I have been a food blogger since 2008. I'm a cookbook author of two cookbooks, Prep Ahead Meals From Scratch and Prep Ahead, Breakfast and Lunches at my website premeditatedleftovers.com. I cover food, but I also cover parenting and gardening.
Dr Orlena: You were telling me the other day that you have this secret super power, which is what it, you call it. “Recipe creation”, where people tell you that they have certain ingredients and you magic up a recipe.
I think the one that really appealed to me was the Italian. People who don't like tomatoes or can't eat tomatoes. How do they then eat Italian food?
Alea: Right. You can use pumpkin pie curry in place of tomato sauce but you have to up your Italian spices.
I didn't realize that I had a knack for recipe creation until I discovered that I had celiac disease and it actually wasn't even for me. I was just happy to skip everything with gluten, but then I found out that I had passed the disease onto my children and I didn't want my children to go without certain favorite foods.
And so I started creating recipes. Through something that most people would consider a bad thing, finding out that your kids have celiac disease, for me it was the beginning of a career.
Dr Orlena: Fabulous. I think it's something that is really good to have. That joy of being in the kitchen. So many people think, ‘Oh, I don't like being in the kitchen and I totally get that. Having kids who don’t even like what you made. So I understand both sides of the story, but I think if we can find the joy in being in the kitchen, it just makes life so much easier.
Alea: It does. It makes it a lot, a lot of fun, especially if you can share that joy with your family.
Dr Orlena: Absolutely. Before you met me and started working together, tell people a little bit about what your life looked like? Because you're a relatively healthy person when I met you, do you want to tell me a bit about what it was before we started working?
Alea: After I had my last baby at 40, I struggled to lose weight. It was very frustrating. I was in the gym five days a week, I was cutting calories. I was doing all these different things and I was really struggling to lose weight. And this struggle lasted 11 years before I finally found the magic formula.
Even though I lost weight, I lost 50 pounds and I felt healthy, there was a part of me that didn't feel authentic. Because I knew that there were some things I was still struggling with that even though I'd lost the weight, I felt like I was just one day away from going back to bad habits. Because that's what happens often and I don't think I'm the only person that this happens to.
I feel good. As long as I'm not eating sugar. If I cut the sugar out, my joints aren't achy. I have more energy. I don't need that afternoon nap. I just feel like I have a lot of energy for life, but as I've been on this journey, there've been times where Christmas comes and I go and eat those foods and I slip back into a pattern.
Alea: That’s the reason why I came to you. I didn't want to go back to some of those old patterns and I knew some cycles that I needed to break. You had offered a session and I thought, ‘I'm going to just try this experiment with this.’
The other thing is, I had turned down major opportunities because I didn't feel authentic. For me, it wasn't just living healthily and not falling back into old cycles, but it was also feeling 100% authentic. And I think other people are like that too. Maybe it's not authentic. Maybe it's fear. Maybe it's those little things that keep us from taking that next big leap.
Dr Orlena: No, I totally get that. I think part of the reason that I pivoted to work with mothers was really because of the phrase walk the walk and talk the talk.
I really do walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to healthy living. But with the picky eating, my kids still have issues with it. Not that we haven't found ways to manage them, but I wouldn't think, ‘Oh, they're fixed and everything is amazing.’ And then I just felt like a fraud telling people to do something that hasn’t really worked for me.
Alea: We're so critical of ourselves.
Dr Orlena: I remember that session. It was a magic likes and dislikes session. When I did that session with you, it was like magic. I mean, it is always like magic, but you had spectacular results.
Let me just explain what the magic likes and dislikes exercise is for people who haven't heard about it. Essentially, it's thinking about your thoughts and emotions, and it allows you to dial-up or dial-down a particular light for a certain point.
I did the exercise with a layer on blueberries and I remember you wanted to like blueberries because you felt that they were healthy food and that you weren't eating them.
I remember you pulled out these blueberries from and you ate them. For me, it was behind the screen andI hadn't seen the blueberries there. And then you, you did it and it was amazing.
Do you want to tell me a little bit about that from your perspective, what happened during that session?
Alea: It seemed a little bit unusual, how you're doing it.
You were having me visualize one food and asking me all sorts of questions and some things I hadn't even thought about until you asked me. And then I'm like, ‘Oh, I do have a feeling. And it does reside somewhere in my body. It was such a deep exploration of how you felt about this one thing.
I was trying to replace candy with blueberries. I thought you told me beforehand to think about what I wanted to replace it with. And I thought a long time about it because I liked the flavor of blueberries in foods, but I never ate them on their own. They're almost always in the kitchen. I even grow them. My whole family eats them but I was not grabbing for them. It also was something I would put in oatmeal but I wasn't just grabbing them.
It’s interesting because I haven't gone back to eating candy. I was able to eat blueberries in a very short amount of time. I'm still eating blueberries.
The one thing that I do sometimes, is if I'm in a situation where I'm mindlessly going to eat candy, I’d look at the candy and think ‘canned spinach’ which is something I don’t like. I make myself make that connection as early as possible when I'm in a setting.
Alea: We had other things we were working on. My kids were making popcorn and I would just tell myself, ‘Oh, we're going to replace that with celery.’ I was just putting a place marker on my brain. And it was so funny because later on in the summer, I was craving something crunchy and I actually craved celery by just telling myself that I was going to replace that popcorn with celery.
I actually started craving celery without us even doing the exercise, which is one of the cool things. I could do a couple of sessions with you, but then I can start taking that skill and start talking to myself about things and be healthier.
Dr Orlena: Amazing. That's where I want to get people is that I don't want people dependent on me. I want people to see, ‘Oh, this is how it works and I can make that step and do it by myself.’
Dr Orlena: Going back to when we were first thinking about working together. You were telling me about your life and me saying, ‘You know what? You sound pretty healthy. I think you just need six months and you said, no, I want a year.’
What do you think your goals were at that time? You know, if I'd said to you at the time, what do you want to have achieved in a year's time? What would you have said?
Alea: Well, I think the reason I wanted the year is that I have gone through periods of eating healthy for three months, six months, and then fallen off.
I wanted to be able to have that check-in or be able to immediately have help. right. If I need that.
And what a year it's been. It's been a horrible year. I've lost four family members and a close relative has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. So if anything was going to put me back into emotional eating, it would be this year.
Alea: I wanted to be able to strategize on the events coming up. What are we going to do? How are you going to handle upcoming special events?
If it’s mother's day, I can tell everybody what we're eating. Nobody's bringing me any junk food in my house.
But if I'm the one who's making the cake, how are we going to strategize? Am I going to have one piece and not have anymore? How am I going to set new habits, connect new emotions to those events, and new actions to those events that I carry over?
Dr Orlena: Yeah, absolutely. I think we're about six months in now, perhaps a little bit more. How do you think it's going?
Alea: Oh, I think it's going really well. There've been a lot of things that I wasn't expecting to come up. One of them was you encouraged me to get a Fitbit.
When you are overweight, society views you as you're lazy, you're not exercising. You go to the doctor and you tell them you're at the gym four to six times a week and they're like, ‘Yeah, right.’
Society's view of things tends to carry over and you let that seep in. And one of the great things about the Fitbit was it was really showing me that I really am active. It allowed me to step into and change my perspective of myself. It's not an accident that I'm fit now because it really is. My lifestyle really is healthy.
To me, getting a Fitbit was being able to step into that identity of an active fit person was a breakthrough.
Alea: Another thing that has come up is for me sometimes just talking about an issue to another person. We keep our emotions inside. We don't want to be judged and you offer this judgment-free zone where I can share my worries and struggle.
Alea: Even my sleep cycle has improved. As an entrepreneur, I work from home and had this mentality that I had to be up at five 30. I had to be part of the 5:00 AM club but it was shorting myself sleep. You addressed some of the mentality around some of the lifestyle things to make a healthy lifestyle that works for you.
Dr Orlena: One of the things that I see in society now, happily a lot of people are beginning to use health coaches. Clearly, we have an issue with how we lead our lives and we don't lead our lives in a healthy way. But one of the things that I come across a lot is so many people saying, ‘I should be able to do this by myself.’
That idea is kind of heartbreaking because particularly when they're people who have a track record of starting and stopping and starting and stopping. But there is this idea that ‘It's just how we eat and how we sleep and how we exercise. I don’t need to go to university to know that. Why do I need to pay somebody to help me do that?’
What would you say to people in that situation?
Alea: You can personalize it. You and I have talked a lot about why being off sugar was so important to me.
Many years ago when I gave up sugar all of my arthritis pain went away. I knew that being sugar-free is a pain-free place for me. But I needed help walking into just a place.
Because of my website, I get companies that offer diet plans for women all the time. I will look over them and I will say, oh, well, this will not work for me. I can't have gluten. I don't do well on sugar and refined carbs because I get that afternoon slump.
At 55, a lot of my friends can get the afternoon slump and take a nap, but I have a teenager that I still have to keep up with that I'm homeschooling. So an afternoon nap is not an option for me. I need that to feel energetic. And so coaching with you, we can personalize my meal plans suited to my needs.
One of the things I found that from previous diets that were not working for me is they didn't have good healthy fats. My body responds really well to good healthy fats. And so one of the things that we addressed once we replaced the blueberries with candy was why I felt the need to snack in the evenings after I had my dinner.
You said, ‘Are you kidding enough calories at dinner time?’ And you recommended adding some more olive oil to my dinner.
I knew that I needed more healthy fats in my diet, but when I'm cooking dinner for my family, I’m not personalizing it for me. So with you, I now take some extra steps to personalize my dinner for me. I very rarely even snack in the evenings anymore.
Alea: You start looking for something and then you start seeing it in other places in your life. Many of our conversations are like that.
So once we started talking about the fact that I needed more healthy fats in my dinner, I was able to start thinking about other ideas of what I could be doing at dinner time.
I started making ‘dessert waffles’, but they're just waffles made with almond flour and coconut flour. And I drizzle melted peanut butter. So sometimes that’s my dessert if I'm still hungry after dinner, which is healthy because it has high fats, but it's also giving my body what it needs, even though the rest of my family doesn't need it.
Talking with you about things helps me find beyond the conversation. I'm still finding solutions to my problems three days afterward
Dr Orlena: Yeah. Fabulous. What I'm hearing is, we have a conversation, and that empowers you to then figure it out by yourself.
Alea: Right and you give me some active solutions, but then I continue to think about it and start seeing other solutions.
I opened the pantry and see ingredients to make a sauce to go on top of some vegetables that my family might like. Maybe they won't, but I get that extra healthy fat so then I don't snack,
That's something personal. A lot of my friends can stop eating at 7:00 PM and not be hungry anymore. But everybody has different needs. And I think that's one of the things that is missing from some diet gurus. They say they can personalize it, but not in the same way that you and I can.
Dr Orlena: Yes, totally. I think it's all about fitting it around your life and I think that's really the key. I've got the framework and the framework is not secret but it's about how do you actually apply my framework to your life.
Every life is unique and everyone has got these blind spots where they can't really see what their problems are. What’s holding them back from actually committing and staying on track. But once you're there, it's so easy. It's amazingly easy, but it's getting there that's the bit that trips people up.
Alea: It's incorporating it into your life and making it work because if you go on a diet and it doesn't fit into your life then you stop.
One of the great things about the pandemic that has happened is that everything has to fit into your life. You don't have the external sources for exercise when the gym is closed, what are you going to do? What do you enjoy and how do you fit that into your life?
Dr Orlena: Yeah, I get it. That's fabulous. So any last words of wisdom for people who were thinking, ‘It feels like so much money.’ Is this worth it? Do you think it's worth it for you?
Alea: Yes, I do. One of the things you have to think about is the long-term. I'm 55, I'm thinking about this long-term, and how much are my healthcare costs? How much is the cost of missing out on events with my youngest son who's 15. How I’m going to be able to be active in and present in his life for a long time? There isn't a dollar amount that I can put on being present and active in his life. For me, that is what’s essential.
Alea: There's so much that we can address just through healthy living and a healthy diet. When I gave up sugar, my cholesterol dropped 40 points in six weeks. That's huge.
I don’t like putting money at something that is a short-term fix or putting money, that will cover symptoms, instead of doing this through a healthy diet. I'm making this a part of my lifestyle.
Yes. It's more money upfront, but it's something that's incorporated forever that's put me in a healthy place. That long-term plan saves me money in medical bills that I'm not going to have to pay.
Dr Orlena: I agree. For me, that's what it's all about. It's the health benefits. Often people need to lose weight in order to get to a healthy weight. It depends on the individual, but for me, it's all about, ‘Hey, let's live this amazing life and let's live it healthy and not get to this stage where we can't do all the things that we want.’
Alea: Right. With me having arthritis, I had doctors who wanted to give me arthritis medicine for the pain, but when I gave up sugar and the pain went away, I didn’t have to pay for anything. This is a free solution.
Lowering my cholesterol was a priority for me the losing weight was a side effect.
Dr Orlena: My aim for people is to focus on healthy living and then the other things fall into place.
Alea: The other benefits are just amazing. This summer, I did one of those obstacle courses that are 30 feet in the sky. All the other women my age were sitting on the ground and taking pictures of the kids and I was able to be up there jumping from obstacle to obstacle. To be able to do it with my son, instead of watching my son do it. Again, that's the type of thing where there isn't a price tag on that moment that he has that forever with his mom.
Dr Orlena: It's an absolute pleasure working with you and I am very honored that you trust me with such an important part of your life. So thank you so much
Do you want to tell people about your website, where they can find it?
Alea: They can find me at premeditatedleftovers.com and they can also go to prepaheadmeals.com.
I do have a cooking course there on prep ahead breakfast and lunches that are pretty healthy. I'm eating. They can see before and the after of me on there because I started cooking by reducing the carbs while I was still heavy.
Just use the code ORLENA21 and they can get that cooking course for free.
Dr Orlena: Thank you so much. And I'm going to have a look and see because I'm always interested in finding new ways of making food. So thank you so much and I'll make sure that's in the show notes, Alea. Thank you so much for your time.
Alea: I appreciate working with you and I appreciate all the light bulb moments that I've gotten. While the food was the focus it's carried over so many other areas of my life and I'm really grateful.
Thank you so much Alea. And remember if you go to prepaheadmeals.com sign up for the online course using the code ORLENA21. She has kindly allowed us to take that class for free.
If you are interested in finding out more about coaching, then feel free to email me at [email protected] Have a fabulous day. If you have found this podcast useful, then please leave a review because it helps me get seen by other people.
Thank you so much. I will see you next week.
Dr Orlena is a health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.