This post is a bit different – a client’s journal entry that she has allowed me to share.
I thought this journal entry was brilliant, because it encompasses what so many women struggle with. Years of yo yo dieting, unhelpful advice from diet companies and the media, emotional eating habits, and harsh self criticism. And it shows the fantastic changes that can occur from a focus on self compassion, health, habits and consistency (not perfection).
Journaling is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s helped this lady a lot, and many other clients have experienced the same benefits. There’s no perfect way to do it. It’s just writing down your thoughts so you can see them on paper, and decluttering some of what’s going on in your mind. When you see it written down, you have more awareness. You can question limiting beliefs, reframe unhelpful perspectives, and focus on thoughts and actions that keep you moving forward.
Writing by hand is one of the best ways to journal – your brain makes a more powerful connection when forced to slow down enough to write. Seeing your thoughts in your own writing also helps. But for convenience and extra privacy, many people find an app on their phone is sometimes helpful. Day One is a great one to check out – dayoneapp.com.
So, here we go.
An Online Coaching Client’s Journal
“I wanted to write down my thoughts from the last 2 calls with Hayley and since the start and am putting together my notes… here goes…
It’s hard – changing habits and thoughts you’ve carried for a lifetime but consistency really is our greatest weapon. A secret weapon that’s not really very secret, but it seems like you’re the only one that’s never been told.
It’s hard because it is. We constantly seek perfection from ourselves.
If you have a bad moment, snack or meal that you feel you ‘shouldn’t’ have had during the week, but 99.9% of that week was full of wins, we will always focus on the 0.01% negative.
Well, I always have and I’m starting to realise that I am not alone in that thinking. Consistency, not perfection. Sam was always telling me from a work perspective – Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. It applies to so many parts of our lives.
We focus so much on the negative when it comes to ourselves, our behaviour. It’s so deep inside of us, that it feels like it could be ingrained into our DNA because we don’t even know a ‘positive’ when it jumps up and smacks us in the face.
Positivity and compassion for ourselves – so incredibly powerful and yet unknown to many of us.
We wouldn’t hesitate to comment on someone else being down on themselves, and would be happy to list all of the positives of what a great person they are. But try to do it to yourself when you haven’t before? It’s not right; it doesn’t sit well; you feel like a fraud.
It has taken me 9 months to feel settled with consistently finding the positive things I am happy to say about myself. I’m still a work in progress! This was a difficult process for me – I never thought I’d be anywhere close to focusing on positives about myself.
Why am I going to pat myself on the back for the 99.9% of great things when I failed that one time for the 0.01%? Says my brain, that has learned this way of thinking.
I had no appreciation or understanding of how the power of little daily positives started to change my life, change my thinking. Before I realised what was happening, I found myself looking for the positives, striving for it.
I wasn’t going to let the negatives of a lifetime of habits keep me down, I’m changing that, I want to feel good, I want to take care of myself. I have this one body and I have put it under so much strain and you know what, it take it and takes it, until at some point it can’t anymore….. BAM PRE-DIABETES.
I got my diagnosis for pre-diabetes in June 2022.
It worried me at the time. I know the dangers of pre-diabetes ‘AKA, the silent killer’. Did it spur me into getting my life together?! No, of course it didn’t.
By November 2022 I had gained another 13lbs. A week before i was due to go on holiday I thought, I can’t take this anymore. I honestly felt like i was going to have a heart attack – I felt like (i know this may sound dramatic) that i was being suffocated by my own body.
Anyway, I digress….. Diagnosed with pre-diabetes June 2022 and advised they would call me back June 2023 for another blood and see how I’ve got on. I had a chat with the doctor at the time, she was confident that I knew what I ‘should’ be doing.
And I did know. I had read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, seen all the youtube videos and followed a tirade of different people from scientists to fitness gurus. My knowledge base was and is great. Now, how do i apply that to myself?!?!?
I had no idea how to apply any of the teachings to myself. I mean, I AM the only one in the whole world that’s like this!
No one understands. I can’t talk to anyone about it, I’m a failure, it’s embarrassing etc etc.
I signed up to Online Coaching with Hayley in November 2022 at my heaviest.
The process was something I had never encountered before.
Before this was all diet diet diet and any fad diet at the time, restriction and exercise the hell out of my body when I could.
This process was different. It helped me start to learn about myself, about my triggers. To learn how to deal with them; to put tools and methods into place. Don’t get me wrong, I was the biggest sceptic.
How will this help me? I’m a 50 year old woman. I know I shouldn’t do stuff and yet I do. I know what to do but I’m not doing it. All the usual questions and/or statements we tell ourselves…. finished off with the usual….. I can’t do it.
I learned and am still learning that consistency is my biggest tool, my biggest weapon, my best friend.
These little consistent changes that you do everyday takes you unaware, you start forming new habits before you even realise that what’s happened!
It starts to become the new normal – it’s become my new normal.
I’m not in a process any longer – this is my life.
In July 23 I went back to the doctors; down overall by 27lbs (including the initial weight gain). And now out of the pre-diabetic range 🙂
The diabetic nurse asked me if joining the NHS group for pre-diabetes had helped. I told her that I hadn’t joined it. I explained what I had been doing and the journey so far with Hayley and said that while healthy eating and exercise is all well and good, it’s not sustainable if you’re not addressing the root of the issue: Mentally where the individual is. And why we are using food as a tool for whatever our issues are.
Despite going into detail of the mental struggle for myself with food (while feeling very proud of myself for being out of the range AND being comfortable and confident in talking about how I feel), she hands me a booklet at the end on ‘understanding type 2 diabetes’.
I appreciated that she was just doing her job within the guidelines, but felt sad that she hadn’t really listened. Because maybe, just maybe, she could help someone make a better choice going forward.
We all know what’s nutritious for our bodies and what isn’t. Constantly beating that home isn’t going to change what we have learned and taught ourselves to do over years.
Why we rely on food to get through our day mentally; to get through emotional situations; to block out what we’re feeling. I didn’t even know i was doing that – I ate. Nom nom nom.
I was in THAT moment, not thinking about how I would feel later or tomorrow or what I was putting into my body. I ate to forget. To numb out whatever was needed in that moment. I ate to procrastinate, and I was an emotional eater (I like that one as I hear it a lot and it reminds me so much of me when I hear others say it).
I hope that perhaps a little of what I mentioned to the nurse may sink in at some point. But I’m not sure. I will always be on the diabetic list and will be called back annually for a check, which is fantastic for me as I will be able to keep a handle on everything.
I know I have a way to go with my weight target. But for the first time in my life I’m not worried. I know I will get there – I know it’s sustainable, it’s enjoyable, it’s the new me.
It’s my life, my body, and one I would like to continue taking care of.”
Amen to that!
To the client who was happy for me to share this, thank you 🙂
And to you, the reader, if you’d like any help:
There are plenty of ideas and inspiration for nutrition, building a healthy relationship with food, emotional eating, strength training, and more, on my Instagram page here:
And to find out more about how I can help you through online coaching, check out more info here: