The Fit Mum At School

“I really am feeling in control and positive. I actually can’t express it enough or put into words just how good life feels for me.”

Hanne Foyle – September 2020

This story is one that is extremely close to my heart, not just because there is a BIG success in the end but because it has mirrored my journey as a nutrition coach, and I couldn’t be more proud to tell it! – Coach Rosie

Let’s backtrack a few years…

Hanne came to me in search of help. She was extremely frustrated and upset. She couldn’t shift the weight she wanted, she felt uncomfortable in her body, her anxiety was through the roof, she had no control over food choices, she was struggling with disrupted cycles, her moods up and down and she was trying to manage all of this through medication.

Right away I felt a sense of urgency, I understood that she needed help and this was an unhealthy way to be living her life. Hanne, full of life on the outside, giving her best self to everyone else all the time was paying the price on the inside.

She needed help, she needed to gain control of her eating habits; her car full of empty chocolate wrappers, trying her best to manage her anxiety with the only way she knew how, but it was clear nothing was working. She had dieted previously but it didn’t work – she was in this cycle and couldn’t see a way out!

And so, our journey began.

At the time, I was very new to nutrition coaching – I wanted to solve her problems. So, we jumped in with two feet, the only way I knew how at the time – counting macros! Following a rigid plan.

We took photos, measurements, we had weekly check-ins, I was on her back daily – it worked! She lost weight, she became the lightest she had ever been! Success – mission accomplished…

Unfortunately not, it became evident pretty soon that this “rigid” plan was, in fact, causing her MORE anxiety, more worry.

It was all good when she was feeling motivated, but what about when she wasn’t? What about when life was happening? She would fall off plan, she would gain more weight, and so the cycle would begin all over again. How on earth was she EVER going to lose weight?? She felt she was destined to be unhappy with her body. She was never ever going to be able to give up chocolate, she told me she was an “addict”, and since quitting smoking years ago she had turned to sweet treats, and there was no way out! She fell off course, and that was that the cycle continued.

Fast forward a year.

By now, I had studied and understood more about the behaviour around nutrition. Had far more experience and knowledge under my belt –– working and learning from some of the best nutritionists in the world.

At this point, Hanne was back to square one and was searching out any means to make a change, once again. And so, our journey resumed working as coach and client. Except this time –– as a partnership.

This time, we began the journey in a completely different way, we began by looking at her “WHY”, what were her deeper motivations?

Understanding in more detail what this change would really mean to her, what person did she want to become?

We started by getting her to slow down, to become more aware of her eating speed, whether she was eating a salad or a bar of chocolate. We moved into eating a little less as a result. Hanne was NOT bought in here…

How on earth was eating slower ever going to make any difference to her?!!?

Luckily, she stuck to our processes. She trusted in me and we steadily moved to look at the QUALITY of foods she was eating.

We worked together to make easy swaps, including and adding in better sources of protein, and then carbs, fats and vegetables.

Focusing on ONE little change at one time.

We collaborated on ideas, using meals she already enjoyed and was likely to make at home. We came up with new ideas together and how to incorporate these things into family meals to make it work for her in real life! We looked at portion sizes and adjusted things to suit her activities, goals and hunger.

There was frustration, Hanne wanted to see bigger changes by now – these small steps were great but she just wanted to lose the weight. Her choices were improving but the snacking wouldn’t go away… Mindless chocolate eating was NEVER going to go away right??

We brought our attention back to what Hanne wanted to achieve, we worked on who she wanted to be as a person… What made her happy? What made her feel fulfilled, what did she feel proud of? Were her actions matching this person she wanted to be?

By this point, Hanne was eating MUCH better quality foods and training consistently. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere Hanne started to become aware that her anxiety had reduced, her energy was off the chart, she was so much stronger, fitter and felt healthier!?? She was actually feeling really pretty great in herself.

Wow, she wasn’t expecting that… But still, she had a way to go I mean, it was all about losing weight at the end of the day? Wasn’t it?

These changes spurred her on, if she could feel this better from these small changes then imagine if she did MORE of it, she was beginning to see how her decisions and her actions were affecting not just her body image but her whole life – her happiness!

This was a snippet from her, around that time:

“I’m really enjoying that many of the habits are now just happening without the need for me to work at them if that makes sense”

It wasn’t more information needed here. By this point – Hanne was a nutrition PRO…

All that was needed was more awareness.

So, we got stuck into some meal journalling, not just jotting down what foods she was eating but *how she was feeling as a result of the foods she ate. Along with some quick 5-minute mind/body scans.

PING – light bulb moment!

WOW – she was often eating for MANY other reasons other than hunger itself. And so, it was time to circle back to the best two habits: Slowing down and eating a little less. Except for this time it made SO much sense suddenly.

PROGRESS… Hanne could see the power of these habits now, she began to piece things together. We used quick mind/body scans throughout the day to help her check-in…

What was she feeling? Did she really need to eat that? What would it achieve?

“The body scanning has been revelation for me. Eating when I’m hungry but recognising when I’m eating to make myself feel good or eating mindlessly etc. It’s been a real positive.

My hunger pangs are often more psychological than physical. Distraction is particularly helpful!

I’m also feeling a lot more confident with recognising actual hunger. Rather than thinking, I must eat such as before training. I haven’t died yet for not eating prior to training if I’m genuinely not hungry! My snacking has naturally become much less and this is massive for me!! I’m on it with meal prep especially…”

It became apparent that when she changed her routine and environment, it made it SO much easier to stay on track for her and as a result had a ripple effect on her whole day and all of her choices. Who would have guessed, creating more awareness would be such a powerful tool!?

According to Hanne, and her husband Mike – getting the family involved, sitting down for evening meals, cooking homemade delicious meals was one of the most profound changes to happen in their household, something Hanne is most proud of. Bringing her family together with nourishing meals;

“It makes it all worth it when your husband stops you and praises you for the amazing meals you have been making!”

Is it perfect? Absolutely not, it never is – Hanne still has to cook up slightly different meals to accommodate for family members, but that extra effort is worth its weight in gold according to her. The evening meal now brings them all together, it is an event that is enjoyed by them all and has now become a fundamental part of their life.

Hanne has slowly but surely been stepping into the person she has always wanted to be, the person we discussed right at the start who was living a healthy happy life, who had control of food, who had energy and no longer suffered from anxiety. Long gone are the days where there are a hundred chocolate wrappers shoved down the side of her car doors, instead, now they are apple cores.

Recently I met with Hanne and I have never heard anyone so brimming with positive energy, we talked through her progress and how far she has come – we took her photos and re-did her measurements. Yes, she has lost weight, yes she has lost body fat… But in her words.

“These pictures don’t look any different from the last ones. The big difference is how I see them. I like myself!

Knowing I’m so healthy and strong on the inside makes me see the outside so differently. The small amount of fat I need to lose is no worry. That’ll come if I keep doing what I’m doing.

Thank you so much, Rosie, fit guiding me through this and helping me persevere when I’ve wanted to quit. I feel amazing!!!”

That same day she was off out for lunch with her husband, she was excited about going out for food and choosing a delicious meal from the menu – long gone are the days of ordering a measly sad-looking salad for fear of guilt post-meal!!!

She can still throw the best and craziest espresso martini parties in her garden, now without the dread about waking up feeling guilty – entering that destructive cycle that she used to feel over and over again. She has found balance, and most importantly happiness, not just in her daily life but in her body, mind and self.

She is now the fittest and healthiest she has ever been in her life.

No longer on any medication, no longer does food have control of her… And chocolate – well yes, there is ALWAYS going to be a special place for that… Addiction; I don’t think so!