• Leia DeSousa

Coaching Conversations: Just Give Five Percent

Updated: May 5

Below is an excerpt from a coaching conversation with one of my clients, CG, about sticking to habits during quarantine.

LD: How has your nutrition work been going?


CG: It's been ok. Carbs are hit or miss. My hydration game is way off. I want to try and not just eat shitty on my bad days, which are happening more often because I just can't concentrate on what I need to do.


LD: Yeah, it's really hard right now with the way our lives have been turned upside down. It sounds like you've got some compassion for yourself right now. You know it's hard to focus and it's natural to have bad days. At the same time, you'd like for a bad day to not devolve completely into not taking care of yourself. Right now, on a bad day, what percent effort out of 100 are you giving to nutrition? (No judgment! I've had plenty of days where I've put in -10%.)


CG: Like 20%. Breakfast is usually pretty good.


LD: Ok- starting the day off right is something to be proud of. As for those rough days, how do you think you could bump it up to say 25%? And there are likely multiple possibilities.


CG: Hmmm...I could maybe check-in whenever I open my take out app. Check to see what I've already eaten, or have a plan for other meals. I guess when I decide what I want to make or order the night before I usually stick to it.


LD: That's a great idea. And what if that plan gets derailed?


CG: I can go back to basics, and no matter what I order I will try to stop eating at 80...maybe 90% full.


LD: These are great ideas! Can I offer some suggestions for breaking them down to make them more actionable?


CG: Sure.


LD: You can do a body scan when you first notice you feel hungry or when you open the Seamless app. It may sound silly, but setting aside time (go ahead and do it now, it will take you like 90 seconds!) to rehearse this will help you successfully remember to do it.

You mentioned deciding what you'd like to eat the night before. I would go ahead and schedule this in your calendar, at least for the first few days or the first week. This way you have a reminder and can get into the habit of doing it more regularly. You can also do a body scan after you get your food as a way to check your hunger level and remind yourself to eat to 80% full. Do those actions sound doable?


CG: Yeah, I think so.


LD: You can try to do a couple of these actions, or just pick one to start. See how it goes and then if it's not working we can adjust. And if/when you feel ready for more you can try (or add) another option.


CG: Yeah, I can do that.


Because CG has worked on nutrition before, he has some basics that he can always revisit. Progress isn't linear, so it's important to remember we will all have times where we just aren't moving forward. That's perfectly normal. In those times it's helpful to have some easy habits to revisit. Simple actions like doing a body scan, eating slowly or stopping at 80%- or even 90%- full are nonetheless powerful. This is because they help us to carve space to honor our health without overwhelming us or feeling defeating.