What do life coaches actually do? Weight Loss Life Coach Laura Lloyd explains.
Thinking back, why did your last diet or eating improvement plan falter?
It wasn’t because you were rubbish at sticking to it. Or the food was too tempting.
All that really happened is, you decided not to do your diet one day. Why?
Because it was too much. Life was especially demanding one day.
And on that day, you didn’t enjoy doing your diet.
You were too tired to sit and log all your calories on Noom or MyFitnessPal.
Or you decided that you’d been working hard and deserved take out as a treat.
Or you got your period and couldn’t face it: You couldn’t face doing the same diet you’d been raving about to friends just days before.
The same diet you’d been enjoying for two weeks: feeling lighter, feeling in control, feeling virtuous and proud of yourself.
Suddenly, when the day was hard, that same diet looked like a bunch of sacrifices. It looked hard. It looked like effort, and on that day you didn’t have the energy to concentrate on it, or make that effort.
The thing is, we eat on every day of our lives, not just good days.
We don’t eat in a vacuum, unless we’re at a health spa.
So many things crop up in life that can cause us to lose concentration.
And these programmes and diets are just too demanding: Take your eye off the ball one day, and you find it’s really hard to pick it up and start throwing it again in the following days.
Taking a three-day break from logging every ingredient and amount you ate on Noom is going to feel like a relief.
Is life coaching legit?
Maybe you’re sceptical about life coaching? Maybe you had a disappointing experience.
There are different kinds of life coaches, and since life coaching is a completely unregulated industry, coaches range from highly skilled/qualified/experienced/insightful and completely self-starting with their offer.
Nobody in my coaching-circle acquaintance has become a life coach to ‘cash in’ or because it’s trendy. Just because there’s no barrier to entry, doesn’t mean it’s an ‘easy’ career choice.
Coaches share a lot of their own personal lives very vulnerably as I do in my podcast for example; they often work odd hours (when I’m coaching clients in US or Australia I’m up early or late, and I coach on Sunday afternoons too); they have to become experts in letting people know what they do; and like all self-employed entrepreneurs they carry the responsibility for their own business on all levels.
In my experience, people become life coaches because they genuinely have a unique perspective to offer, often by having figured out a very specific problem the long, hard way.
And they’ll help you do it quicker, arrive at insight and clarity without having to read all the books and attend all the workshops, and help you stop stopping yourself moving forward.
There are different kinds of life coach.
There are life coaches who take quite an action-level approach that’s not dissimilar to a personal trainer for work-life balance: Setting goals, keeping you accountable, and hopefully trying to help you stay encouraged when you drag your feet.
This accountability-coaching approach is appropriate for some things. For instance, I hired a podcast coach to get me started, because figuring out all the step-by-step component tasks I needed to do, and the order to do them in, and a timeline, and getting the answers quickly to how to do each thing, was actually overwhelming me and making me confused.
I also needed someone to tell me to stop dithering over small decisions and letting perfectionism stop me publishing.
The downside of this very practical approach, though, especially as it pertains to our eating and our weight, is that most of us already know what healthy actions we need to take, the problem is literally not a deficit of health information.
Yet we remain baffled by why, when a friend calls and says “meet you in Cafe Rouge” (where you always have carrot cake), you do the opposite to what you think you “should”.
Personal trainers I know have complained of this phenomenon. They make their clients a great, tailored workout programme. But the clients don’t do it, even with a habit-tracker.
The trainer may give the client a meal plan too, but the client eats off-plan. Why?
And this relates to other fields too: The problem we can’t solve alone (or with Google, or an online course etc) isn’t usually that we don’t know WHAT action to take, the problem is, we don’t know WHY we aren’t TAKING action!
There are also life coaches for mindset.
My most powerful transformations have happened with their help. And continue to happen – once you get good coaching, you realise that it’s key to taking your life to the next level and don’t want to stop!
There are coaches who are skilled at guiding you from a mindset-oriented, psychological, cognitive or even in some cases (not so much in mine) spiritual approach, who will ask you the right questions so you dig deeper into the thoughts, beliefs and emotions behind your actions.
And they’ll help you change those thoughts, emotions, and self-limiting beliefs. To get out of your own way and get to different results.
Here are the 5 key things life coaches do:
1. Life coaches help you manage your mind to achieve emotional wellbeing.
You go to your coach with your emotional drama.
“She hurt my feelings when she commented on my second helpings.”
“I’m afraid what they’ll think at the office if I take a break and eat lunch in full view.”
“I can’t stop thinking how fat my face looks.”
“I feel terrible that I ate the leftover lasagna AGAIN.”
Your coach will help you see the part YOUR THINKING has in creating your feelings, take responsibility for your own experience, stop blaming other people and above all, stop feeling like a victim the whole time.
With me, for instance, you’ll also learn techniques to increase your capacity to FEEL emotions so you don’t try and eat to compensate for them all the time.
2. Life coaches facilitate deep conversations in which you figure out why you keep sabotaging yourself, staying in your comfort zone, and not taking action.
Our habit brains are wired to avoid discomfort, seek pleasure, and make life easy. Is it little wonder you plough through the 5th season of Workin’ Moms at bedtime instead of curiously exploring the food decisions you made today in a journal?
Oftentimes our comfort zone is pretty uncomfortable, such as when we are bingeing or overeating, but it’s familiar to our brain. And as such, our brain will want to keep choosing the known quantity over anything new that it can’t protect against or control.
And often, with self-care, we are telling ourselves a bunch of BS about how ‘hard’ it’s going to be, or making it into a chore we ‘should’ be doing, and we don’t take action because at the end of the day we actually need a break from striving to reach our own self-expectations.
3. Life coaches help you make decisions for yourself.
Life is entirely shaped by our decisions.
Some of them seemingly innocuous: How we allocate our time, for instance, during any single day. Or the many many choices we make in a day to put food to our lips.
The problem is that many of our decisions are, unconsciously, guided by:
- Our habit brains.
- Our fear of what we think will happen.
- Our desire to get away from something we don’t want to feel.
And that doesn’t leave us free to listen to our hearts, and go for our dreams.
Life coaches are hired to fight for your dreams. They will encourage you to see where you following your fears rather than your greatest desires for yourself.
A weight loss life coach, for instance, might help you see why you chose yesterday to eat chocolate at 4pm to distract yourself from your body’s lingering sensation of anxiety or fatigue, instead of choosing your long-term goal of a positive relationship with food and a bodyshape you’re happy with.
4. Life coaches help you ‘see’ your thoughts.
Thoughts are sentences that show up in our minds. Often we take them as a news report on reality, and really hardly notice them at all.
“This weather is horrible.”
“She’s judging my size, I can see it in the way she looks at me.”
“My arms look flabby.”
Thoughts are a bit like computer code. You don’t see all the instructions behind the web page, you just see the pretty web site.
Well, we don’t really see all the instructions we’re giving ourselves to operate, we just see our (unwanted) behaviours and wonder why they keep popping up despite the diets and regimes and promises to ourselves to ‘do better’.
If you have done any mindfulness, that’s a great start, because mindfulness is a process of observing your thoughts and realising you can watch them, but not BE them.
It’s actually quite difficult to see our thoughts. They show themselves in the words we speak, emerging when we let ourselves articulate our lives in deep conversation.
They also show themselves on our journal pages when we write them down.
When you talk to a life coach, she listens hard. She listens for the thoughts. She’s spotting your unconscious operating system for you, so you can see it for yourself, and choose an upgrade.
5. Life coaches help you believe new things about yourself.
We all have things we believe we’re not capable of.
We all have things we believe we have to do, or else!
We have things we believe about the way the world works.
About our ability to cope.
I mean, ask yourself: Last time I tried to lose weight, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being certain), how strongly did I believe I was capable of losing my weight for the last time?
Did I hope I could keep going, or know I could?
Why do I believe I have the relationship with food I do?
You start to see that you have opinions about yourself and your own qualities, your personality, your prospects which you’ve built up a load of evidence to ‘prove’ over time.
I promise you, the things you believe about yourself are not the whole truth. They may not be remotely true at all, literally bollocks. Or they may just be one version that’s dragging you down.
For instance, from childhood I have a belief that “I don’t need anybody.”
This belief makes me look marvellously independent and go-getting, but in reality it causes me to try to waste years trying to DIY solutions to EVERYTHING even if it’s technical and time-consuming to try to solve.
It causes me to emotionally withdraw from my loved ones.
It causes me to be domineering and superior in situations when my heart wants to collaborate and belong.
This is a self-limiting, unhelpful, and outdated belief. It may have helped me survive my home situation when I was 9 years old, but it sure doesn’t serve me now.
Thankfully, I can solve this with my life coach.
Anyone who tries to change their weight management approach and relationship with food without life coaching is missing the point.
For your new eating habits to be sustainable, you need a life coach on your side.
And you need to go through enough challenging situations, with your coach by your side, that you learn to self-coach.
That’s why we coach together for a luxurious whole year.
You experience one of everything: One Christmas, one birthday, one Summer vacation, many down days and sick days as well as the good ones.
By the end of our time life coaching and eating psychology coaching together, you’ll be 100% confident you can handle life and food forever after.
A bad day at work will never mean a bad day of eating again.
Get the info pack to explore this unique combination of 1:1 coaching that uses your relationship with food to unlock your emotional life.