How To Take Your Online Nutrition Check-Ins To The Next Level

By Behavior Change Psychology, Client Connection & Communication, Mini Trainings No Comments

Why is it when a nutrition client fills out their check-in form on time AND in detail…we have secret little clouds parting angels singing, dance in my chair celebratory moment?

Why doesn’t EVERY client do this?

It can be really frustrating when most of our clients either ignore it, forget about it, or fill it out on the fly 5 minutes before your coaching call with them giving you rushed “I’m just doing this so I don’t get in trouble” answers…right?

Well in this video I’m going to teach you how to level up your check-in process so every client you work with, no matter how stubborn, will actually look forward to filling in their checkin for you – IN DETAIL, ++PLUS the 5 questions you NEED to have on your check in form that will force them to go deep without any extra prompting or convincing.


Stop Losing Momentum With Your Nutrition Clients With This One Simple Programming Shift

By Behavior Change Psychology, Mini Trainings No Comments

Have you ever wondered why some clients get out-of-this-world results..and some clients just always seem to struggle?

It’s confusing AF because you know you give every client the same amount of support…the same feedback…the same strategies and customization…yet it feels like we just can’t quite break through to some as easily as others?

Well…what if I told you that once you understand exactly how to use their PERSONALITY to your advantage inside of your programming, you won’t have to battle these clients any longer?

And in fact…by using their identity as your core foundational strategy?

You’ll easily be able to create results for ANY client you work with without hitting roadblock after roadblock.

In this video I’ll show you how👇👇👇



“Officially Off-Scale” Workshop

By Behavior Change Psychology, Mini Trainings No Comments

Get Your Clients To Celebrate Off-Scale Wins Like They Won The Lottery!

⇢Do you ever stress over whether or not your clients are following the plan you laid out for them, worried that if they don’t, they won’t get the results they want and they’ll end up stopping?

⇢Do you feel burnt out after client sessions where you spend most of your time reinforcing the importance of the long term journey and trying to get them to (actually) buy-into aspects other than the scale?

⇢Do you feel frustrated by this ^^ and struggle to stay patient as you have the same conversation week after week?

⇢Do you feel like if you can just get them over this hump, you’ll be able to work with them so much more deeply, and really change their life?

If you answered “yes” to any of those? Here’s the thing…

Having a strategy to get your clients to celebrate off-scale wins without coaxing, convincing or pressuring them to?

Means that you will be able to…

  • Retain them for as long as you need to to get them to their goals, even if the scale is being stubborn
  • Help them let go of the scale in one 5 minute conversation that will shift everything for them
  • Have fun with your clients and take the pressure off of your program needing to do all the heavy lifting
  • Be able to talk about the stuff you really want to with them, without victim mentality hijacking every call
  • Smooth out your clients emotional ebs and flows making this ^^ so much easier (and more fulfilling)
  • Know that your client loves working with you and feels 100% bought into the direction you’re taking them (without second guessing yourself, your process or your skills…hallelujah!)

SO. If you think this might really change things for you?

Go ahead and watch this workshop where I teach you how to do this in just a few quick and simple steps. In fact, try them out in your very next coaching session…I guarantee you’ll feel the shift.


And lastly, when you feel ready, I’d love to help you with this more closely inside of TriggerMapping – my certification and mentorship program where I work hands-on with a group of nutrition coaches to show them how to graduate from “just another nutritionist”…and become known as the go-to expert for creating life-altering transformation at the deepest level in every client they work with…

…plus show them how this level of mastery organically allows you to…

🤑charge the kind of money the pro’s do (we’re talking 1K/month here, love)…

📣keep your clients for as long as you want so you can escape the revolving door of clients coming in and going out

🙋🏼‍♀️have a waitlist of people who will pay you in advance just to save their spot in line

🌟only work w/ the clients who are ready for the deep work you’ve always wanted dig into without battling resistance or pushback

💫align your coaching program with how you want to serve your clients and live your life

💖walk away from every single coaching session with a deep knowing that you left your client a different person because of what you just did with them…aka: coaching crack

I mean, just think about it like this for a second.

You know that old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?”

Well what if…you really could make it drink?

That’s exactly what I’m going to be teaching you to do with your clients.

So if you feel ready to be so much more than what you were traditionally conditioned to think was possible for you?

👉🏼Just fill out this short 2 minute application form to let me know where you’re currently at. 

I’ll reach out to you and ask you a few questions to see if I can help…If I can, I’ll shoot all the details over to you.

Thanks for reading! And be talking soon.

xx Laura

Why You Might Need To Stop Using Traditional Mindset Hacks With Nutrition Clients

By Behavior Change Psychology, Mini Trainings No Comments

There’s a reason why your nutrition client’s are still numbing themselves with Ben and Jerry’s after they have a hard day.​

​And why, even after MONTHS of journaling…gratitudes…affirmations…meditation…yoga sessions…etc.​

​You just can’t seem to break-through to them…to make their “why” more important than that temporary indulgent “fix”.​

​Here’s the thing….​

​It’s not that those mindset tricks you’re using don’t matter.​

​And it’s definitely not that they can’t play a role in the bigger picture.​

​It’s just that, they simply aren’t going deep enough.​

​They aren’t evoking a strong enough shift in the 3 core areas where TRUE change must take place.​

​In this video, you’re going to learn what these 3 core areas are AND exactly what you need to do in order to create a powerful shift at the deepest level.​

​pssst…THIS is how you transcend surface level mindset hacks, and finally get to the root source of their poor relationship with food. ​



Why Your Clients Are So Numbers Focused & How To Get Them Off The Scale For Good

By Behavior Change Psychology, Mini Trainings No Comments

Your clients SAY that they want food freedom…

…that they really don’t want to weigh themselves every day…

…that they want to just feel better in their lives…healthy in their bodies…and at peace in their minds…right?

Yet…when they still struggle to stop obsessing over the stupid scale…and they refuse to truly recognize their off-scale progress?

What are we supposed to do?

Well, in this video I share my pre-weigh-in perspective shift strategy that subconsciously creates a cascade of positive feedback (instead of negative) despite what the scale says…

…and I share with you how to more effectively navigate the scale conversation to avoid accidentally creating more resistance and pushback from your clients and get them to stop obsessing for good

Check it out ⇣⇣⇣


3 Steps To Easily Overcome Why Your Client Can’t Stick To Their Diet

By Articles, Behavior Change Psychology No Comments

Join ranks with the creme-de-la-creme of coaches and confidently know you do 90% MORE for your clients than almost everyone else out there…

Have you ever wondered why some clients get incredible results with us…while others just always seem to struggle? It can drive us crazy, especially when we 100% know that we give every client the same amount of support…the same detailed feedback…the same strategies and customization…yet it feels like we just can’t quite break through to some as easily as others?

Well…what if I told you that once you understand exactly how to access a little-hidden gem that is rarely used as an asset in coaching (let alone a strategy!), that you will be able to guarantee results for anyone you work with. Plus…by using this as the foundation of your nutrition programming moving forward? You’ll never hit a client roadblock again that you won’t feel equipped to move through.

So what is this rarity?

It’s actually not rare at all. It’s a little something called our PERSONALITY…aka: your new secret weapon to achieving true mastery with your clients in session (and with your own mind as well). And in this article we’re going to explore what it really is and how to use it to guarantee success for every client you work with (plus grow a little yourself in the process 🤫)


What It Takes To Succeed At Predictably Changing Your Clients Relationship With Food…

Think about it like this for a second.

When you strip away all our nutrition knowledge and coaching “protocols”…our customized programming…our bonus macro guides or recipe pdfs, our accountability, etc…what are we left with? Us…and them. Two humans collaboratively working to achieve a goal. Their goal. The thing is, when we rely on those things^^ to get to their goal? We’re skipping over the very foundation of mastering predictable change. It’s as if we willingly traded in our AK47 for a handgun with one bullet. And this risky game of russian roulette we’re playing? Means we have to be pretty lucky to unload that single bullet on the first try.

I mean, sure. Sometimes we pull the trigger and the bullet hits the target easily and effortlessly. But more often than not, we are left pulling the trigger over and over and over again trying to find something that “works”, am I right? And a lot of the time, when we fail to find anything that works to keep our client on track, committed, accountable or focused on doing the things they need to do? We feel like we’re failing them…and they feel like they’re failing us.

But. Is our bullet (read: our plan) really to blame? Or is there a way to always come to the table fully loaded? Well, when we look deeper into what the true issue is…we can see that even the best plan in the world wouldn’t work if the client can’t stick to it, right? That much is obvious. But if you take this one step further still…the reason the client can’t stick to it extends much deeper than simply layering on another accountability check in or “mindset hack”.

Our Clients Brains Are Hardwired To Fail

Basically, there are conditioned patterns deep in their psyche that keeps them stuck in a loop of thinking, feeling and behaving in very specific (often predictable) ways when it comes to food and the way they have learned to use it.

To come to the table “fully loaded”, then (or in other words, to be able to guarantee that even when the external plan “fails”, they will still see radical change 100% of the time)…means your approach must extend as deep as those patterns we’re trying to change. You can’t swim with the sharks, after all, by tanning on the beach.


By understanding the way your clients view the world, the meanings they attach to what’s happening around them (including you and your program) and how to evoke change there – in the deepest parts of their subconscious – is how I have been able to transform eating patterns of hundreds of clients without ever really talking about food at all. This is how you turn your nutrition program from “the entire plan” to simply the amplifier of a much deeper plan. One where the shifts taking place are occurring in their identity.

Accessing The Untapped 90%

Before we start to break down exactly what it is you need to do with your clients to evoke deeper change, I’d first like to help you see how limited we have been up until this point with the plans we’ve been writing and the way we have been coaching.

If you look at this pie chart 👇

You will see a small 10% slice indicating where we are “traditionally” trained to focus with our clients. This piece encompasses things like check-ins, customized plans, accountability, community, training programs…basically anything and everything you give them to help them make a different choice than they one they are currently making, or rather ↣ take a different ACTION.

However, you can see that there is a much larger area that we could be using to help our clients reach this same outcome faster, and much more permanently.

This 90% represents three core things:

  1. Our hidden subconscious triggers and the meanings we automatically attach to each scenario we find ourselves in
    (ie: imagine a house full of screaming kids, and thinking this means that you’re a bad mom who doesn’t have her shit together)
  2. The beliefs and thoughts we have about the situation and/or ourselves (i.e. “it’s impossible to take care of myself)
  3. The emotions we feel because of those ^^ thoughts (i.e. stress, anxiety, frustration, loneliness)

And it’s because of this ^ automatic pathway that we know what action to take (i.e. reaching for the ice cream sitting in her freezer after the kids finally go to bed)

Or more simply illustrated:



But the thing is, this is a pre-programmed pathway in your brain that runs automatically the millisecond your brain attaches that meaning to the triggering event. Which means (and this is massively important, so pay close attention):

Anything you do to change her decision to eat ice cream that doesn’t directly shift something at either the trigger, thought or emotion level is ALWAYS a temporary solution (aka: everything you’re traditionally trained to give them or do with them to elicit a different decision or action is not going to work long term). Unless you ALSO shift something in her at a deeper level, the pathway will never cease to exist, and she will continue to have the internal desire to cope with food under stressful situations.

So then, the next obvious question is, of course: how do we do this? How do we shift her trigger, thought or emotional reaction to the situation?

But before we venture into the how, there’s one more layer to this that we need to look at. The fastest way to access what is triggering someone, and their thoughts and feelings about it is to gain access to their core identity (or personality) as they relate to food, themselves, and the world around them. Afterall, if we don’t fully understand WHO we’re dealing with, how are we supposed to change them?


What Is A “Personality”, Really Tho?

When I say “personality”, what words come to mind? Maybe things like: outgoing, funny, shy, introverted, loud, excitable?

Now what about if you hear me say “identity”? Maybe you think of things that are important to you, your values and morals, what you like or don’t like, your beliefs, things like that?

Okay…now what if I said “ego”? 🤢🤢

What comes up for most people here is this idea of being self-centered, arrogant, or narcissistic even. We have been conditioned to attach a negative connotation to the word and what it means when we “have an ego”.

But the truth? Is that we all have an ego all of the time. In fact, your personality, your identity and your ego are all one in the same.

They are simply a cumulation of the meanings that you attach to the things you think, the beliefs you have, the emotions you feel, the environments you’re in, the people you’re around, the core needs you have and how you relate to all of it.

Our brain is a meaning-making-machine, nothing more. The way we know the colour blue is “blue” is because we were taught that it is so. Just like we learned that when someone interrupts you that “they are rude” or when the scale goes up “I am fat”. The tricky part is that most of the world operates completely blind to this fact. They believe every single thought they think, even though these thoughts are often subconscious patterns that hold no real truth or weight in the bigger picture.

For example, where our nutrition clients are concerned, a common thought might be: “I’m so stressed, I just need a little pick-me-up (aka: sugar)”

But is this thought really true?

Or have they simply been conditioned to cope with stress by eating sugar for a quick dopamine hit in the brain?

Don’t get me wrong, that sure feels good temporarily. But when it comes to helping our clients cut out their cravings and reach their goals, might it be more helpful to explore what it was that TRIGGERED the thought “I am stressed” rather than stack their nutrition plan with “guilt free treats” and extra accountability check ins?

100% of the time.


Help Them Out Of Their Armor

I hope this is all making a tonne of logical sense, but putting it into practice can often feel a little…intangible, right? That’s because it is. We can’t track or measure someone’s identity, or their rate of change here…we don’t have metrics to follow or industry standards to reference. But that’s what makes it so worthwhile and fun! When you strip away the black-and-white thinking we’re so used to operating within, you learn to rely on connection and communication as cornerstones to your coaching programs more so than any tactic or strategy your certification taught you.

But to be clear, you can’t just add the question “tell me about your identity” to your intake form and think that’s gonna give you what you need. Remember – most of what makes people “tick” happens entirely subconsciously (“Who are you?” is one of the hardest questions to answer, afterall) Which means that if we want to create really powerful change with every client we work with? We need to get comfortable doing a little digging in the beginning. Here’s where to start ⇣

Identity is very intricate. So to make it simple, I’ve chunked it down into the 5 most important areas you’ll want to be on the lookout for inside of your consultations and coaching sessions. This is the same pathway we went through already, just in a little more detail as we prepare to access areas of change opportunity:

  1. The associations that are made between something OUTSIDE of them (another person, object, environment or situation) and what that MEANS to them because of their previous experience with it (ie) My boss seems irritated with me today, I must have done something wrong.
  2. The beliefs they have about themselves and the world around them (ie) My boss always needs to be pleased with me and my work
  3. The invisible “rules” they live by because they hold those ^^ beliefs (ie) Stay late to show him that I am a valuable asset to the team and to feel recognized
  4. The thoughts they habitually have about themselves and food due to the associations their brain is making (see #1)…ie:I hate not knowing what he is thinking, did I do something wrong? What if he fires me, I can’t lose this job, I’m already so stressed financially, What should I do? Etc…
  5. The habitual emotional reactions they have to these thoughts (emotion is one of the most powerful parts of our identity that drives our actions. But remember — there cannot be an emotion without there first being a thought that triggered it…ie: Anxious, nervous, unfocused, and irritable)

AND THEN the resulting action: Maybe she eats 2 doughnuts left in the staffroom…or grabs takeout on the way home because she’s so “tired” from running mental and emotional marathons all day long.

This is a very simple, yet common, example that you will likely come across in your own clients. Can you see from the above sequence of events that the problem had nothing to do with the doughnut box someone left open in the staffroom? Or her lack of willpower on the way home? Yet this is where we usually try to strategize by telling her to “keep healthy snacks in her desk” or to “write herself a motivational sticky note on her rear-view mirror” to help her bypass the drive-thru on the way home. When the real issue at hand? Was the automatic association her brain made when she saw her boss in a bad mood and her reaction to it.

When we look deeper than simply stopping the action of eating the doughnut, we dive into the subconscious pathway that preceded that action and can unearth what it was that really triggered that action in the first place. Imagine you could unlink the association she is automatically making that if someone meaningful in her life is upset, she must have done something wrong? We would fundamentally dissolve this coping pattern under any other similar circumstances as well, instead of offering situationally specific surface level advice. In other words – if you dissolve their triggers, you dissolve their need to cope and you dissolve their unhealthy relationship to food without relying on your nutrition plan at all.


The 3 Steps To Engineering A Powerful Shift To The 90%

First, remember that the only way we know how to respond in any situation is simply because we have automatically attached meaning to it. Without meaning, the event is meaningless, and we would never feel the need to cope with food because it happened. What’s important to understand about meaning is that meaning is formed over the course of our lives based on experiences we have had, or beliefs that were imposed upon us. If we circle back to Becky, the mom from our previous example with a house full of screaming kids, let’s look deeper into why this event triggers her to feel so anxious and stressed.

  • It’s possible that when Becky was growing up, her mom was very strict and taught her how kids are and aren’t supposed to behave.
  • Perhaps when Becky was out in public with her mom, this was reinforced by her mom saying things like “Becky, please behave, don’t embarrass me” or “Becky, you’re being too much, settle down and be quiet”
  • Maybe her mom’s rigid rules around the home taught Becky that in order for her to get love, she needs to always be perfect, never messy, excitable or wild.
  • Now, when her kids are acting out, its triggering this pathway in Becky’s brain that was created as a child that tells her “this is wrong, I need control and order in my house, wild kids aren’t good kids, my mom would judge me for letting me kids be so rambunctious”
  • Yet, this anxiety is all stemming from a core desire to be who she needs to be in order to receive love and acceptance from her mom.

💥💥POWERFUL STUFF, right?!  

Here’s how you can begin to practice unearthing these deeper meanings in session:

Step #1: Assume in triggering situations that there is a deeper meaning they are attaching to what is happening (it’s NEVER just about the food)


Step #2: Start pulling on the string by exploring new perspectives. 

  • “What was happening in your environment in the minutes and hours before you overate on ice cream?”
  • “How did that environment make you feel?”
  • “What thoughts were you having?”
  • “How did you feel in your body? What emotions were you experiencing?”
  • “So what I’m hearing is that you believe that kids should not be so rambunctious and should always be calm and listen to their mother, is this true?”
  • “How do you treat others and yourself because you think this thought?”
  • “Who would you be without this thought?”
  • “Where did you first learn to believe this?”
  • “How did it make you feel when you were told to be quiet as a child?”
  • “Do you feel like you are being seen and loved fully by your mom/husband/children?”
  • “Is it possible that this scenario is actually triggering something deeper in you because of a desire to feel seen and loved by the important people in your life?”


Step #3: Explore a new meaning with your client

  • “The next time your kids are going crazy, how would you prefer to show up in this situation?”
  • “What do you think is really going on with your kids? Are they trying to be disobedient, or something else?”
  • “How do you want to make your kids feel in these moments?”
  • “How do you want to feel in these moments?”
  • “What will you tell yourself the next time this happens?”

Notice here, that you are not telling them what is happening. You aren’t making assumptions or trying to fix the situation by giving them a strategy or a tactic to try the next time they’re “craving ice cream”…your only role at this stage is to hold uncomfortable space and ask exploratory questions to allow your client to figure out for themselves what is truly going on.

Sometimes, this conversation is enough to radically shift them to the point where they will never feel the need to cope with food in that scenario ever again simply because instead of attaching a negative meaning to what is happening, they have re-attached a new liberating meaning. It  might even be helpful to have your client write this out as a mantra to come back to if these scenarios continue to feel triggering. For example:

“When my kids are being wild, they want my love and attention, I never want my children to feel like they are too much or that they need to be perfect to receive love from me. I forgive myself for hiding away my true wild heart and shrinking myself for so long, I choose to play, laugh, and be present in these electric moments with my family. This is how I receive true love, not the illusion of love I have been trying to create out of control.”

However, in some cases, this one conversation will not be enough to break the chain of subconscious events and we will need to practice much more awareness and presence in these uncomfortable moments with our clients to make the shift a permanent one.


Uncomfortable awareness and presence is the key

In order to arm your client to navigate a triggering event on their own, without needing you on SOS text standby to talk them off the ledge, use these steps;

🕵️‍♀️FIND IT:  help them to get out of their head and into their body to identify their “warning signs”. Their physical symptoms of being triggered is often the easiest way for them to self-identify that their mind is being “hijacked” and to remind themselves that conscious awareness is all they need to break the pattern.

💖FEEL IT: encourage them to try to identify where in their body they feel the emotion bubble up, what does it look like, feel like and tell them? By doing this, you are slowing down their reactivity and bringing them into the present moment with acceptance instead of judgement

🤸‍♀️FLIP IT: leave them with two to three of the most powerful questions that shifted things for them while you were on the phone together. Have them write these on a sticky note or keep them in their phone so they can reference them if they forget. The goal here is to remember the new meaning they are forming around this event, the thoughts they want to have about what is going on around them, and how this will make them feel moving forward. If you need to attach a new action to this step for them to take (instead of their pre-programmed coping action) this can be helpful as well.


In summary…

…in order to graduate from “just another nutrition coach” who only accesses 10% of the behavior change equation – and become a true transformational expert who is able to create powerful change in the untapped 90% ? It’s these conversations, connections and questioning strategies that must be mastered.

To help you do this faster? I created the Coaching Conversation Revelation for you to download for FREE.

With this, you’ll quickly be able to dig into the top 15 “make or break” client conversations without ever worrying about saying the wrong thing or suggesting the wrong strategy.


And lastly, when you feel ready, I’d love to help you with this more closely inside of TriggerMapping – my certification and mentorship program where I work hands-on with a group of nutrition coaches to show them how to graduate from “just another nutritionist”…and become known as the go-to expert for creating life-altering transformation at the deepest level in every client they work with…

…plus show you how this level of mastery organically allows you to…

🤑charge the kind of money the pro’s do (we’re talking 1K/month here, love)…

📣keep your clients for as long as you want so you can escape the revolving door of clients coming in and going out

🙋🏼‍♀️have a waitlist of people who will pay you in advance just to save their spot in line

🌟only work w/ the clients who are ready for the deep work you’ve always wanted dig into without battling resistance or pushback

💫align your coaching program with how you want to serve your clients and live your life

💖walk away from every single coaching session with a deep knowing that you left your client a different person because of what you just did with them…aka: coaching crack

I mean, just think about it like this for a second.

You know that old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?”

Well what really could make it drink?

That’s exactly what I’m going to be teaching you to do with your clients.

So if you feel ready to be so much more than what you were traditionally conditioned to think was possible for you?

👉🏼Just fill out this short 2 minute application form to let me know where you’re currently at. 

I’ll reach out to you and ask you a few questions to see if I can help…If I can, I’ll shoot all the details over to you.

Thanks for reading! And be talking soon.



How To Help Nutrition Clients Get Off MyFitnessPal and Eat More Intuitively

By Behavior Change Psychology, Mini Trainings No Comments

Intuitive eating is commonly misunderstood, misused and mis-coached.

There are many different schools of thought around what intuitive eating IS and what it ISN’T that leaves us feeling handcuffed and confused as coaches…afraid to misguide our people and do more harm than good.

So, when our clients come to us craving “real food freedom”…and we know that we100% need to get them on an app detox stat in order for that to ever be a true possibility?

What’s the first step?

In this training, you’ll learn:

✅what intuitive eating REALLY is

✅who intuitive eating is right (and wrong) for

✅and how to implement this as a strategy with your clients to help them reach the highest level of food freedom mastery.


The Ultimate Guide To Ethically Jedi Mind-Trick Your Clients Into Changing Forever

By Articles, Behavior Change Psychology No Comments

If you’re a macro coach reading this right now, thank you. Thank you for having an open mind around the thoughts and predictions from a coach who was, not all that long ago, building her business (likely) exactly as you are right now. In the following article my goal is to show you that (a) you are more powerful than you are allowing yourself to become and (b) how to turn your innate desire to make the world a better place into a business that can sustain any life of freedom you desire for yourself.

If we’re getting really honest, you’re probably working online right now because you want to create a world of choice for you and your family. You want time to enjoy your life, travel the world, and experience life the way most people only dream about. You want to be in the top 1% of the 1%…thriving in a world where you get to live out your passion to transform lives…all the while transforming your own through your experiences.

That was my dream, too. But what I learned from starting out as a macro coach and then not only learning, but truly embodying with time what my true innate superpower actually was…is that coaching people on weight loss is easy. Weight loss in and of itself is not where the magic happens. Weight loss alone is surface level, temporary, and unfulfilling.

Take a moment to think about your best clients ever. Why were they your best clients? Sure they probably adhered to the plan you gave them, saw incredible weight loss or some other physical result during their time with you, and left you feeling so grateful, appreciative and truly changed by what you were able to do for them.

But what did you really do that impacted their lives so deeply?

Was it really the number on the scale that allowed this person to completely change how they felt about themselves, their worth and how they related to the world around them? Was it really the 27lbs they lost that finally gave them permission to show up in a new way, with a new energy and learn to love themselves again?

No, it wasn’t. I know that, and you know that. So then, what was it?

It was your unique superpower that allowed you to impact this person’s life more deeply than anyone before you had been able to do. It was your special gift – the real reason you’re meant to transform lives – that spoke to them in a way that completely changed their outlook on the world.

It’s also this gift, your superpower, that is going to bulletproof you in an industry that is changing more rapidly than ever before. If you’re going to create a life of freedom, choice and time, stepping into this power is how you will separate yourself from the macro-coach pack before it’s too late.

The Real Reason You Lack Confidence

If you don’t know whether you are or you aren’t a macro coach, let me just take a second to explain what I mean when I say that. Macro coaches use formulas (and often online calculators) to figure out exactly how many macro- (and something micro-) nutritient’s their clients should be consuming o a daily or weekly basis in order to achieve a desired physical outcome. You might discuss habits and behaviours around food, but you don’t truly understand how to guide someone to a different behaviour if it’s needed. You create boundaries around food encounters to prevent your client from veering off course (or off their prescribed macros). 

Now if you’re thinking…“I work with my clients on their mindset, this isn’t me”…keep reading. There is a lot of hype around “mindset work” online these days, so much so that we naturally fall into these buckets and give ourselves these labels even if we know we could be better, do better, and grow more in these areas. This is not coming from a place of judgement but rather enlightenment to the fact that perhaps, you still have room to grow in how you truly desire to help the people you work with. 

If you know there is more you should be doing to *really* help your clients transform, you are already ahead of the macro-coach pack. If you are self-aware enough to say “I don’t know everything and I want to learn how to be better for them”, you are already awakening to the idea that there is something deeper inside of you waiting to be unleashed.

The reason you don’t feel fully confident (and why you struggle to guarantee results) is because of these four main reasons:

  1. You don’t know how to quantify, measure or predict intangible results (such as how your client behaves in a social situation, for example)
  2. You aren’t sure if you’re allowed to coach them on their mindset, so you hold yourself back afraid of stepping into a grey zone, opening yourself up to criticism or failing your client.
  3. You don’t fully know how to create intangible change for people, you kinda feel like you’re winging it. You have conversations around mindset, you use some strategies you’ve learned from others, but you don’t have a clear map of what to do or when to do it.
  4. You know that without incorporating behavioural and mindset change, your clients physical changes are only temporary. And because of the last 3 points, you aren’t confident in your ability to truly help them reach the internal place they desire to get to. 

Where experience is the ultimate teacher, your ability to access it is only limited by the chains you place on yourself. What I’m about to show you is a really easy way to begin the process of becoming more for yourself and for your clients.

The Death Of Macro Coaching

It is my prediction that within the next 1-3 years the demand for a macro coach is going to become obsolete. Technology is advancing at an incredible rate allowing the average person to access their dietary targets more easily than ever before. Further, the advancement of the human awareness around the real underlying barriers to change is also threatening your role in their life. People, now more than ever before, understand that it’s not simply about the numbers any longer.

People want to feel something deeper during their transformational journey. They want to feel connected to something or someone in a way that challenges their previous thought patterns, limiting beliefs about themselves, and rebuilds within them the new thoughts and behaviours that will serve their happiness moving forward. People inherently want to be happy, and macros alone are not going to give them the experience they desire.

There are thousands of new health, wellness, nutrition and fitness coaches becoming certified every single year. But you, my friend, have something that can set you apart from everyone else out there. You have something that can bring you more money, more clients, more impact & more personal fulfillment than ever before. But the natural tendency in online business is not to trust this part of us. The natural tendency is to follow the herd and listen to what we “should” be doing instead of what feels right to us.

Here’s the thing about nutrition and fitness. There really isn’t anything new about it. We all have access to the exact same information, data, and research. So then, if from a logical perspective we are all playing on the exact same field, what makes one coach more successful than the next?

Themselves. It’s their personality, their unique perspective on the world, and their interpretation of the same information we’re all taught. They aren’t afraid to have an opinion about something, present a basic concept in a new way, and allow their superpowers to shine through the noise. There is nothing stopping you from being this coach. There are enough people out there for every single one of us to help. The issue is that where our superpowers are concerned, we have absolutely no clue how to figure out what is unique about us.

You probably think “there’s nothing special about me, I don’t have a unique story or experience to share, I’m just average.”

You, my friend, are anything but average. Here’s where I want you to start – keep in mind I want you to open yourself up to everything that comes to mind even if you cannot see the direct correlation to how “this thing” will help you, your clients or your business. 

  1. What is your story? Why did you become a nutrition or fitness coach? What pulled you in this direction? Take some time and write it all out in detail.
  2. What are 3-5 unique skills that you have that might be valuable to someone else?
  3. What are 3-5 unique things that you are extremely knowledgeable with that most others aren’t?
  4. What are 3-5 talents (or the result of your talents) that can be used inside of your business and what you do for others?
  5. What are 3-5 key connections that others don’t have access to that you can use inside of your business and life? 
  6. What are 3-5 unique things that are unique about your character? 

All of this together, collectively, is your unique superpower. You aren’t defined by one thing alone, it’s all of you that will allow you to be successful. It’s all of you that will set you apart. How can you lean into and use what you just detailed to help your clients better? To grow your business faster? How can you leverage those amazing parts of you to truly step into a business that fulfills you and sets you apart from the pack at the exact same time?

These qualities, experiences, stories, and talents are your entry point to helping others on a deeper level. You don’t have to coach them on their mindset in the exact same way that I coach them on mindset. But you do have a responsibility to let yourself be fully seen so that your clients, in turn, expose their vulnerabilities to you. This is the key to unlocking conversations that will transform from the inside – out.

How to Master and Measure Intangible Change

There are 8 key internal shifts most clients will need to move through to truly embody new habits and behaviours that will serve them and support the life they want to be living. The art of coaching is in figuring out what is the most prevalent phase for your client to focus on moving through at any given time in your journey together. These phases are fluid – they blend, overlap and affect each other. The difficult part is deciphering where to focus your clients energy first to create the biggest ripple in the pond.

In other words, you need to figure out where to start and then how to adjust your approach from there. In an effort to quantify the unquantifiable I have detailed below some criteria I intuitively move through to come to my best starting point so that you have a foundation upon which to stretch your own intuitive legs and begin to have deeper conversations that will lead to more powerful results.

First, the 8 internal shifts, in no particular order, are:

  1. The clients relationship with food and/or exercise
  2. How the client relates to other people and events in their life
  3. The client’s relationship with him or herself
  4. Discovery of the void the client is using food and/or exercise to fill in their life
  5. The internal-external link of thoughts and emotions to actions and outcomes
  6. Changing the lens through which the client views the world, their problems, and their ability to create solutions 
  7. Removing internal boundaries and building external boundaries
  8. Maintenance of their new internal and external environments

Let’s work through each of these shifts now, how to recognize this shift needs to occur, and how to know when it’s the right time to initiate the conversation about it.

Relationship To Food

Let’s start with the shift that almost everyone struggles with understanding, even if you feel like you have a relatively normal or healthy relationship to food. This is a double edged sword as your clients relationship to food is both intangible and very personal with a long history behind it. The thing to understand before diving into any conversation about how a person feels about the way they eat, what they eat and why they eat is this…

Their relationship to food has been passed onto them from their parents, who was influenced by their parents, and so forth. The deeper you dig into a client’s history with their family, the more illuminated the real underlying issues will become. Getting comfortable asking difficult questions about painful or traumatic experiences in their life is going to require a great deal of rapport before you breach the subject. 

Ultimately, the core question is this: “What role does food play in their life?” If you can discover which of the following faces food is embodied by for them (or what combination of the following) you have an entry point to access an open, honest conversation about where they are at currently – and also a dimly illuminated pathway that you can begin to lead them down. 

  1. The Lover –  when food shows up as a “Lover” in your life, what this really means is that the role food plays is to provide compassion, comfort and a sense of love or security – like you can depend on it as a constant in your life. You may feel like you lack this type of relationship with another human, and so you fill that void with food. Removing the masks you wear in the other roles you play in your life when you’re alone leaves you feeling vulnerable and you will often find yourself (over)eating. You hide this behaviour and will typically eat in a completely different way when other people are around. Your private relationship with food is for you to experience only, it is sacred and private.
  2. The Bad Boyfriend – when food shows up as a “Bad Boyfriend” in your life, you feel like it is constantly causing you to feel shame or guilt about how you interact with it. Sometimes fear or anxiety is an emotion that comes up when you feel like you can’t trust yourself around certain foods. You don’t believe you are ever making the right choices and that no matter what you eat you feel guilty for it. This is very commonly seen inside of impulsive desire coupled with immediate regret. There is a pull towards food that you’re unable to break free from, even though every interaction with it ends in some combination of disappointment, anger, or sadness.
  3. The Therapist – when food shows up as a “Therapist” in your life, it’s essentially holding a space of non-judgement as it provides a temporary sanctuary from all of life’s problems. This is similar to how the Lover presents, however in this scenario it is used as more of an escape from their reality,  rather than as a source of comfort or love. If you use food in this way you will often find yourself in the pantry eating crackers without remembering going there, or will find you have finished their plate without even noticing they started eating. This relationship is not as obvious because we are unaware of the voids we are filling. We are simply aware that we temporarily feel better and forget about life’s problems. This pattern is especially difficult to fix because the act of eating has become somewhat subconscious triggered by an underlying emotion you perceive to be negative. These patterns have been instilled over many years and often passed down to us from our parents.
  4. The Magician – when food shows up as a “Magician” it is there to provide habitual, mindless and instantaneous relief from boredom or monotony in your life. It’s used for numbing or to elicit a temporarily elevated state. You’ll notice people who use food in this way will often impulsively eat higher fat/sugar foods because of the immediate intrinsic reward it provides them. The act is always conscious in that you actively seek out these specific “feel good” foods. You might even find yourself going out of your way to access them.
  5. Cheerleader – when food shows up as a “Cheerleader”, the role food plays is to reward you or make you feel worthy or successful. If you use food in this way you often use it as a form of celebration. If you have this relationship to food you will often catch yourself justifying unhealthy choices because “you deserved/earned it”. Although celebrating around food is a healthy cultural norm that should not be demonized, this personification of food is more extreme. You often experience a loss of control and outwardly justify your behaviour with celebration.
  6. Party Animal – When food shows up as a “Party Animal”, its role is to provide a sense of belonging. It appears in this way socially, when we feel peer pressure or a fear of judgement and we act in ways that are adapted to a specific social group. Food may act as a “Party Animal” in some social circles, and not in others. What you need to understand about this personification is that it’s role is to make you feel more comfortable and accepted in a group of people. Examples of this could be simply ordering a burger and fries when you’re out for dinner with your friends because everyone else did (even though you really didn’t want to), or accepting a slice of pie from your mother-in-law because you don’t’ want her to know you’re trying to lose weight.

The next step to take outside of identifying where your clients currently are within these 6 archetypes is beyond the scope of this article, however I will create a future training on each of these archetypes and how to coach your clients through their next steps to success. In the meantime, give these some thought – which behaviours have you noticed within your clients? Have you noticed any of these within yourself? Awareness is the first step to change.

Relationship To Others

How your clients interact with, relate to and behave in the world around them is imperative to uncovering how they are going to be able to sustain the external results you achieve with them. Our goals aren’t achieved in a vacuum. Everything that happens around us impacts what we think, feel and do at every moment. The goal, then is three-fold:

  1. Understand what most strongly triggers the behaviours that your client is trying to change or stop
  2. Help them understand this learned reaction to the external stimuli
  3. Replace these habitual reactions with a response that is more conducive to the new behaviour you’re trying to integrate

Ultimately in these specific situations (or around these specific people) your client is unable to differentiate what is happening around them from what is happening to them. They are in a highly elevated fight-or-flight state even before anything happens. They have past memories and experiences of what happened before, how that affected them or made them feel, and what they are expecting to happen this time. Even if the same triggers do not occur, if the environment or the people they are around were the source of their previous trigger it is likely that they will behave in a similar protective way.

Their mind wants to keep them safe and protected, and their reaction to eat is one way that brings them comfort or a momentary excuse to avoid an uncomfortable situation in their current reality (this could be a combination of the Party Animal or the Therapist seen here). Help them identify the top three points and you will be able to really get them pointed in the right direction where their external environment is concerned.

Relationship To Self

Your clients poor relationship with themselves can feel like a heavy-hitting punch to the gut as a coach. It pains you to listen to them beat themselves up, talk badly about themselves, or just completely lack a belief in themselves or their ability to be successful. How they treat, think about and talk to themselves is a direct reflection of their beliefs about their worthiness and their readiness for the changes you’re working on creating together.

You know that when your client says things like “I hate what I see in the mirror” and “I failed again, just like I always do” that this feels icky to you…you wish you could help them move past those thoughts and just believe in themselves the way that you believe in them. Your instinct is to dismiss these comments and instantly reframe them into a positive. Not only do we not want to see our clients suffering like this, but we sometimes also feel super duper uncomfortable and want to move past that moment so that you can “get down to business” (where you feel on your game and confident about your ability to really help them). But here’s what you’re missing out on when you do that:

  • Your client is giving you a glimpse into the inner darkness that they are experiencing. What they actually verbalize to you is about 10X more muted than the war that is actually going on in their head. This glimpse inward is vulnerable for them, and they are often looking for an ally to shine a light where there is none. When you scuttle past their remark and tell them “don’t be silly” or “you just have to do XYZ” you are dismissing their very real and painful reality as “no big deal” – which makes them feel even more hopeless.
  • You are putting your feelings above your client. You avoided having a deeper discussion about it because YOU felt uncomfortable with the topic. You don’t always need to know how to “fix” the problem – sometimes simply holding the space for your client to express themselves openly, safely, and without judgement is creating more of a shift in them than you realize. Sometimes you feeling uncomfortable is necessary to help your client feel heard and understood
  • The opportunity to “pull on the string” they tossed you. There is always something bigger hanging on to the other end of the string they throw you…discovering what that is will open up the gates for how you can help your client truly create a transformation that shifts them to their core. The way you do this is to ask better questions if you want better answers that will lead you down this path.

For example, let’s say your client says something like: “omgosh I always eat so badly when my sister is in town…”

Where the typical response I see skips over that thread entirely and goes straight to “how-can-I-fix-this-and-get-her-back-on-track-mode”, You might respond with one of the following:

  • What is it about your sister being here that makes you feel like you aren’t able to stick to your normal eating routine?
  • Tell me about your relationship with your sister, are you two quite close?
  • What types of foods do you and your sister usually eat together? Do those foods feel nostalgic for you two? Help me understand better why that is.

Ultimately, learn to look for strings, pull on those strings by asking better questions, be willing to get uncomfortable in order to shine the light for your client, and be patient with the process of unravelling the mess of yarn they have in their head. Their relationship with themselves has been shaped and molded their whole life – it’s going to take patience and a whole lot of detective work to help them navigate their way out of the maze. 

Discovering The Void

There can be one big void like a crater in the earth, or a whole bunch of little voids like hail dents on the roof of a car after a storm. Either way, every person has them. We all have things we feel are missing (or subpar) in our lives (aka: our voids) that we use other things to fill them up with and pretend that they aren’t there.

Where your clients are concerned, many of them use food (or even exercise) in an unhealthy way to help them fill their voids out of disbelief or avoidance. If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t eat for any other reason than to feed a hungry belly. But we do (review the 6 faces of food). And the reason that we do is because food is easily accessible, highly intrinsically rewarding, and predictable.

For example, Becky knows that when she feels sad because she failed her Chemistry exam that there is a pint of ice cream in her freezer that can make those sad feelings temporarily disappear. What Becky doesn’t realize is that she isn’t eating ice cream because she failed her exam…she’s eating ice cream because that’s what her mom would eat after she fought with her dad and would lock herself in her room crying with a pint of ice cream. Becky subconsciously learned from a very young age that sadness can be fixed with ice cream. The void in this example is not feeling worthy…and the filler is ice cream.

These behaviours are learned so early on that the client often isn’t even aware of it until you begin the process of peeling back the layers of why they do the things that they do, how they are really feeling when they reach for certain foods and what it is they believe this food is providing them.

The good news is that our filler foods of choice are predictable. Just like Becky will always reach for ice cream when she feels like she has failed or feels unworthy, most people have a few filler foods that become their habitual go-to’s. This is where to start in these scenarios. If you can identify a pattern with a specific food, you have now created a thread that you can pull on.

  1. Figure out what the correlation is between all of the events that cause Becky to eat ice cream that you have documented
  2. Ask Becky to describe, in her own words, the emotions she is feeling before (for becky, this would be unworthiness) and after (for Becky, this emotion might be love) she eats ice cream (this will uncover the face that ice cream wears to her)
  3. Ask Becky if she can think about a time when she was younger that she can remember her mom or her sister or her grandma who also used ice cream in this way
  4. If she can – make the connection for her
  5. Help Becky come up with an external trigger to create space between feeling her emotion and reacting by seeking out ice cream. Can she stop and recognize herself in the pattern
  6. Fill the void with something else – what else could Becky do to make herself feel loved? Could she call a friend, treat herself to a bath, or cuddle her pupper Maxie?
  7. Continue this process until she has integrated the new behaviour to her old trigger

Linking The External To The Internal

When your clients begin their external journey, more often than not they are expecting success here to also be reflecting in an internal change as well. This, however, rarely occurs – as you well know. The most obvious and well used example of this is a client who is incessantly chasing a certain number on the scale, expecting to feel differently in their life when they achieve this number. To their surprise (but not to yours) their experience of the world around them shifts only slightly with a massive drop off of this elevated internal experience a mere hours, days or (for the very lucky ones) weeks later.

External change will never, in isolation, produce internal change long term.

So, then, the question becomes…”how do we link the external with the internal?”

This begins in the very first interaction you have with your client from the questions you ask them and from analyzing their answers through this lens. That said, the effectiveness of these questions entirely depends on your ability to shift the lens through which you receive their answers.

At its most basic, you’ll want to become very good at “searching for strings”. These strings are attached to deeper inner workings that are causing your client to think and act in the ways that they do. Everything we believe about the world and every action we take in response to the world around us is taught to us. For your client, they are unable to understand this at first…they merely feel “out of control”, “unmotivated”, “broken” or “lazy” when they are unable to achieve the external outcome they’re searching for. 

If, then, when they tell you that they were “lazy” last weekend and didn’t get their meal prep done and so that’s why they weren’t successful this week…do you take this at face value, or do you recognize this story as a “string” to be pulled by asking questions such as:

  • What was it they actually did with their time last weekend?
  • Why do they associate that with being lazy?
  • Why do they say lazy like it’s a bad thing, what is their understanding of what lazy means?
  • How could they have made time to relax, yet still also set themselves up for success?
  • What was really going on here, did something happen personally that caused them to feel like they needed to create space from any additional energy demands?
  • If so, does this happen often in their life? Where else do they feel themselves shift into being “lazy” if this is their default to overwhelm?
  • Do they remember being called “lazy” when they were younger? How did that make them feel? What did they have to do or be in order to not be lazy?

Do you see how one simple statement can actually have a much deeper meaning?

You now know that these are all beliefs that were not theirs, originally. They were someone else’s and they were implanted into them over the course of their life. If you can find the string these beliefs are attached to – the ones that are preventing them from truly creating lasting change – you can pull on these strings gently over the course of your time together and gracefully unravel the tangled mess that is causing them a disordered relationship with food, with their body, or with how they view the world around them.

You will see these connections before they do, and when you discover one it is your obligation to help them also discover it in their own way. Asking questions to guide them down the path of making these connections on their own is the most effective way to do this as it doesn’t suggest your opinion of what they are experiencing, but rather coaxes them to form their own opinion through a lens they hadn’t previously considered. Pretty powerful stuff!

Once you can link their external actions to common internal beliefs, stories and thought patterns, you have what you need to then help your client also link these together. Once an understanding is created, you can push them to change both the internal drivers and external outcomes simultaneously by guiding them to recognize, challenge, and rewrite their default reactions into new empowering truths that will support their long term success.

Cultivating Ownership 

Many of your clients will come to you through the lens of playing the victim. You’ll notice this in their inability to take ownership of the choices they are actively making every single day that are ultimately guiding their progress towards their goals. This is a sensitive topic because done incorrectly, and you will appear to them as an insensitive asshole who doesn’t understand them and everything they are going through.

But done with finesse, you can jedi-mind trick your clients into stepping up to the ownership of every choice they have made with the realization that they, in fact, are in control of their life.

What you need to understand about the victim mentality in your clients is that likely they have been using this as an easily accessible defense mechanism for the majority of their life. They learned, at a young age, that when they were not happy with what they saw happening around them or to them, if they pushed blame onto something or someone else it felt better. They were more comfortable and accepting of the circumstances and it gave them a lens through which they felt safe operating. Even though they weren’t happy, even though they likely felt powerless and inadequate. They were more comfortable here than had they had to admit to themselves that they, in fact, could have chosen differently. That there is always something they could have done differently to create a different outcome.

The issue is that a lot of those choices are hard, painful, and uncertain. People are wired for survival…if the brain senses threat (even on an emotional level) it will push thoughts into your mind that are created to keep you safe. The issue here is that growth never blooms from a place of safety, and so your clients default victim mentality is in fact a major barrier to conquering their long standing goals.

Jedi-mind-tricking your clients is essentially what I like to call guiding them to their own conclusions. In this specific case, helping them step into ownership with the strong realization that they held the power to change all along and it was simply themselves that got in their way time and time again. 

The key to a powerful jedi-mind trick is, you guessed it, to ask better questions. This time, however, through the lens of the victim. Let’s take Becky again and use her as an example. Becky overate on the weekend, she went out with friends a few times and didn’t plan ahead for the occasions. In Becky’s case she struggles with the Party Animal face of food – where she morphs into whomever she needs to become in different social settings to feel accepted, loved and a deep sense of belonging. When you ask Becky about her weekend, she couples this with her infamous victim mentality shield. She says:

“I ate so bad this weekend, my friends called me up on Friday night to go out with them and I had already eaten dinner but they were going to this new restaurant downtown and I hadn’t seen them in forever so I HAD to go with them. And then they ordered all of these appies and drinks and I didn’t want to make a scene so I just went along with it all and before I knew it I was ordering midnight donairs and recovering with deep fried hash-browns from McDonalds the next morning”

This is a very common scenario you will come up against time and again. As we explored earlier, the default for many coaches is to go into “fix-it” mode because of the emotional discomfort that comes along with exploring this further with them. You don’t want to make them cry or feel any worse about what happened, so you just pick up and carry on as if it didn’t even happen. This creation of denial only prolongs the inevitable – that this will happen again – and creates an environment of “it’s okay to blame others for your choices” – where we know this is simply not true.

I would guide the conversation by using the following question sequence, adjusting accordingly based on the responses of the client:

  • “Becky, would it be okay if I asked you a few more questions about what happened this weekend? I’d like to help you move through this so that you feel more confident in navigating a similar event next time”
  • “Great, tell me more about how you felt when your friends called you up on Friday? Did you have a physical reaction to the phone call that you can remember? Anxiety, fear, worry, dread, etc?”
  • “When you were out with them, before anyone had even ordered yet, do you remember what you were saying to yourself? What was the dialogue like that was going on in your mind?”
  • “What would have happened, do you think, if you didn’t eat the same foods as them?”
  • “Did you consider telling them that you had already eaten dinner and you weren’t feeling very hungry?”
  • “Do you think you would have had just as much fun had you only had one or two drinks that night instead of the 5-6 that you told me you had?”
  • “Can you remember a time where you felt ashamed or embarrassed for not going along with the pack? What about earlier on in your life, maybe when you were little?”
  • “Do you see this type of behaviour around your peers pop up in other areas of your life? At work? With your family? With your boyfriend?”
  • “Do you feel like sometimes you wish you could feel more in control of your choices and act in the way that you really want?”
  • “What is stopping you?”

By continuing to guide the conversation in this way you are simply helping Becky create connections for herself around the ownership she needs to take over her actions. You are approaching the conversation from a place of curiosity and a deep desire to understand versus judgement, authority or blame. This process, you must understand, is extremely vulnerable for your client, but If you can make your client feel genuinely heard and safe to express themselves the breakthroughs you will create will be life-changing. 

Internal & External Boundaries

You’ve heard of creating boundaries. You’ve probably even attempted to coach your clients on keeping their boundaries firm in their lives. Most people have no concept of what a boundary actually is, because whether it’s internal or external – they’re still intangible. No one is going around with a literal fence built up around them (although a lot of our clients would probably love that). So explaining what a boundary is, and then holding that boundary firm, is challenging at best and fleeting most of the time.

The reason why external boundaries are so important where  physical transformation is concerned is because, as you now know, there are a lot of external triggers or motivators pulling us back towards past patterns that no longer serve us. In order to maintain a sense of who we are becoming and how we want to act with our new habits firmly in place, we must shut out the “noise” that was once there guiding our thoughts and behaviours.

Examples of this might include:

  • Getting clear about who are the people in your life who are loving and supportive versus who are the people who are the energy suckers – leaving you empty after an encounter. The boundary would be committing to making time only for those people who fill you up.
  • Putting a “flow day” in your calendar where you don’t book anything committal and you leave your day open to do whatever you feel you need to recharge – a yoga class, a walk outside with your fave tunes…anything.
  • Committing to disengaging from the toxic banter in the coffee room at work

That being said, there is a crucial step to this process that is often missed entirely and the reason why your clients struggle to maintain the boundaries you help them put in place.

Before external boundaries (commitments and intentions protecting your energy from outside forces) can be built up, internal boundaries (those boundaries in your mind that you have created to keep you “safe”) must first be shattered. What are examples of an internal boundary?

  • The way you habitually react to a situation that feels uncomfortable with defensiveness, anger, frustration, closing off, anxiety, etc.
  • The thoughts that play on a loop in your mind when you come close to the edges of safety and challenge yourself to grow (“I can’t do this”, “who do I think I am”, “I’m going to fail just like last time”, etc)
  • The beliefs you hold about what is possible for you and your life based on what you were taught to be true from your parents or adult figures growing up.

Think about internal boundaries like this >> in your mind you have built an electric fence around all of your current beliefs about yourself and how the world should be. You have ideals in there about how you expect people to behave, what you believe to happen in every type of situation, and how you think you should perform, act, think, or show up inside of this world.

Most people live their entire lives within this fence. Why? Because when something doesn’t happen the way we have conditioned ourselves to think that it should, or when we don’t show up the way that we have been taught is “right” or “acceptable” in order to receive that which we all crave (happiness, love, worth, value, belonging) we get a shock from the fence. We ventured too close to its perimeter. When we get shocked, it hurts! It takes us by surprise! We think, “that’s not what’s supposed to happen, something must be wrong.” But what we don’t realize is that this fence was built by our own design…and is the exact reason why we struggle to grow beyond our current beliefs and behavioural patterns. Because every time we have an opportunity to challenge them, we retreat out of fear of getting hurt.

We logically think that the fence is there to keep us safe – to keep intruders out. But it’s really there to keep us small…to experience life through a singular lens instead of expanding our vision to view the world and ourselves through multiple lenses. To stop reacting to what is happening around us and to recognize that we actually have no control over what happens around us and how the people in our life behave. Yet we are obsessed with trying to control every situation to fit the mold that we have pre-constructed. And when something doesn’t fit, our defense is to eat. Our defense is to lash out. Our defense is to accept failure. Talk badly about ourselves. We do anything we can to REINFORCE our current belief patterns.

How liberating it is to realize that in one single moment we can choose to step past that invisible electric fence, feel the pains of growth and view the world from a completely new perspective. So how do you help your clients step past their invisible electric fences? You help them recognize where their fence exists by helping them walk up to it until they feel the zap. They’ll know their zap – it will come in many different forms. But the place to start is the physical expression as it’s the most tangible. Ask them how their body physically felt in different challenging scenarios that they are facing. Often times their zap presents similarly in all of them. Most commonly your clients may experience tightness in their chest, knots in their stomach, anxiety well up inside of them, their face go flush, their body tense, etc.

Once they learn to recognize the zap, help them understand why its happening and encourage them to listen to the voice in their head when they feel their physical trigger. It’s going to be talking non-stop, telling them all of the reinforcing things they need to hear to retreat. Can they sit in that, feel it, and continue to push forward despite the pain and fear they experience? This is them stepping over the invisible fence into their new life. This process done over and over again will reinforce a new belief pattern in them that will support the self-worth and confidence they require to begin to build new external boundaries up to protect their new perspective on life.

That they are in control.

That no matter what happens around them, they get to choose how they respond.

And that they are capable of achieving anything they desire.

Maintaining The New External Experience

The final challenge your clients face is their ability to now guard their new lifestyle. The triggers that used to send them into a spiral have not disappeared out of this world. They still exist. It is merely your clients relationship with them that has shifted through the breaking of their internal boundaries and the construction of new external standards they hold themselves to.

The trouble with the deep work you have just finished guiding them through is that the triggers are like rocks getting hurled at their newly built walls (external boundaries). If we aren’t constantly reinforcing them through conscious thought and action, eventually they will crack and crumble. The internal shifts that occurred have the power to create lasting transformation, but just like anything precious in life it must be maintained and constantly worked on.

Some strategies that can help your clients maintain their new inner freedom and outer peace are:

  • Daily meditation focusing on quieting the mind and concentrating on the breath
  • Proper sleep and recovery from a busy lifestyle
  • Surrounding themselves with the people who love and fill them up the most
  • Consistent, daily check-ins on their pilot light – how much energy do they have to give and how do they need to protect the energy they keep for themselves
  • Maintenance of literal boundaries in their schedule
  • Time unplugged (daily for one hour and weekly for one full day)
  • Consistent conscious awareness of thoughts. Notice the ones that do not serve you and let them go, replacing them with new empowering truths
  • Consistent conscious awareness of zaps, persistently stepping through them into growth

In Summary, your clients transformational journey is unpredictable, emotionally draining as a coach a times, and requires you to lead from the front by actively practicing all of these same strategies in your own life. These practices don’t only support those chasing a physical goal in their body. These also apply to your business goals, your personal evolution into entrepreneurship, and stepping into the person you must become to hold and keep the success you claim you desire. My suggestion? Move through each of these 8 inner shifts yourself and use your own personal experience with them as a launch pad to begin similar conversations with your clients. The thoughts you’re having right now about “I’m not qualified”, “I don’t know how”, & “this makes me feel uncomfortable” are signs that you have your own evolution to activate within you. If you can find the courage to grow in this way, uncover your unfair advantage in this world, and use that as leverage to elicit deeper change in your clients your role in this world will never be extinct. You will cement your value in your own mind and the minds of every person you have the pleasure of guiding to the discovery of their most bad-ass selves.

How To Find & (Ethically) Use Leverage To Create BIG Change

By Articles, Behavior Change Psychology No Comments

Does it ever feel like you want it for your clients more than they want it for themselves? Like no matter what you say, how many bomb new recipes you provide, or how many times you “switch it up” at their request – nothing you do ever seems to get them to stick with it?

As their coach, what are you supposed to do when Becky just can’t seem to stop self-sabotaging? And more importantly, is this something that you should be able to coach her through or should you write her failure off as “not your fault, you did everything you could…sometimes people just aren’t ready to change…”

The answer is pretty simple, actually. It just requires you to get a little leverage (and learn how to ethically use it) so that Becky can start showing up for herself instead of showing up in the Krispy Kreme line every morning…

More specifically, I’m about to give you the jedi-skills you need to make even your most difficult clients coachable so you can sleep soundly at night trusting that your approach is (in fact) more effective than a Dr. Phil episode.

Understanding Why People Change

There is one reason, and one reason alone, that people will change how they act, think or feel about something. I’d like you to think of these three things (the combination of behaving, thinking and feeling) collectively as “patterns” we establish over the course of our life.

Every pattern we have created over the course of our life was done so in response to something that happened to us in our environment (a trigger). We combine that experience with a belief about it being either good for us or bad for us.

As an easy example, imagine that when you were little your mom would buy no-name coffee because you were too poor to afford anything else. She would make it really watery and never had any sugar to put in it because that cost too much money. Even though your environment is not the same as it was when you were younger, the smell of cheap coffee (your trigger) is linked to a great deal of discomfort (or pain) for you because of the association (or belief) you have about what that means. And so because of that you only buy expensive Starbucks coffee.

Is it possible, however, that someone who did not have that same life experience could enjoy no-name coffee? Yes, of course it is – the no-name coffee is not the source of the pain.

So then with your clients, is it possible for them to also link negative experiences to behaviours that you perceive to be normal, or even enjoyable? -Yes!

Is it also possible, then, for their negative behaviours (the one’s you’re trying to help them change) to be linked up with a certain amount of pleasure for them? – Of course.

If an action that brings a certain degree of pleasure for your client (even if it negatively impacts them in other areas – like eating fast food for example) is attempted to be replaced by a behaviour that is perceived as uncomfortable or painful (even if the long term result would be pleasurable) your client will not be able to achieve this long term.

They will always fail and resort back to old patterns because of the large amount of energy (or willpower) it would take for your client to fight their natural tendency to move towards pleasure and away from pain (based on the meaning they have associated with those actions)

Make sense?

So then, knowing this…do you still believe that self-sabotage is real if your clients are seemingly just subconsciously reacting to environmental triggers Let’s discuss that next…

Is Self-Sabotage A Myth?

The idea of self-sabotage assumes that you are making a conscious decision to defy something or someone that is intended to be for your benefit. It’s assuming that your client is “giving in” or not staying dedicated to the process. But knowing what I just taught you about why we make choices…do you still believe this to be true?

Self-sabotage is simply the point in which your clients willpower ran out. It’s a sign that the behaviour you’re trying to change brings them more pleasure and takes them away from more pain than the behaviour you’re trying to replace it with.

You’re assuming that they are making a conscious choice to “give up”, but the source of the problem is not found at the decision stage. The source of the problem is found at the belief stage – more specifically, the meaning they give to something that happened around them. Their brain is deciding for them if this is bringing them pain or pleasure based on their model of the world.

So if we use Becky as an example, let’s say that you gave her the goal to not eat fast food for 2 weeks. But you failed to uncover that when Becky was little, her mom would take her to  Burger King whenever Becky was upset about something (which was often, since Becky had a hard time making friends at school). To Becky, Burger King is linked up with feeling connected, loved, seen, and happy. So what happens when Becky has a hard day at work, or she has a fight with her husband, or she feels stressed about her VISA bill that just came in the mail…her past tendency would have been to go to Burger King. But now that that isn’t an option…how long do you think Becky will be able to last without an alternative behaviour that could give her an even more powerful shift towards pleasure (love, connection, significance and happiness) and away from pain (stress, sadness, fear, etc).

Probably not very long…probably less than a week if she really did have all of those underlying stressors going on in her life. So then when she “gives in” to her habitual patterns this causes her to falsely label herself as “self-sabotaging” and feels like a failure.

So then, if we know that Becky isn’t self-sabotaging…how do we help her change this behaviour? We’re going to talk about leverage next – how to find it, how to ethically use it (and basically how to become a jedi-master so you can help Becky change for good).

Finding (And Using) Leverage

So to recap, we know that changing our behaviours isn’t only about changing our decisions. It’s actually more about changing the source of our decisions – the underlying patterns that we have accumulated that guide the decisions we consistently make. Simply put, we need to figure out what is causing us to make these habitual choices in terms of :

  • What core needs is this choice fulfilling for us (even if negatively)
  • And what must we believe about ourselves or the world/others in order for this choice to fulfill this need?

In Becky’s case, going to Burger king when she is feeling stressed, angry or anxious is fulfilling the core needs of love, connection, significance and certainty. In order for this choice to fulfill this need Becky needs to believe that Burger King is going to give her the elevated state that she is seeking, that this is the best option for her to create the most pleasure and remove the most pain the fastest way possible, and that there are no other options available to her that could achieve the same result.

She doesn’t consciously think these things, obviously, she just habitually ends up in the Burger King drive thru and can’t explain her “lack of willpower” (which we will get into next).

So then to find leverage that you can use to help her change this habitual pattern is going to require you to find something else in Becky’s view of the world that could bring her the same (or more) pleasure and move her away from the same pain she is using Burger King to escape from

If you can do this, you have found an alternative – great work! But for this to truly become a new pattern that replaces her current one we must also help her associate Burger King with deep pain, instead of pleasure. THIS is called leverage. And where you look for this is inside of her primary needs. Important to note here is that you dont have to know everything about the core human needs, how people fulfill them, or the exact psychological processes that are going on with your client.

You simply need to begin looking for patterns – these are the strings that if pulled on will unravel the leverage you’re looking for.

Spotting Patterns

The patterns you’re looking for are going to be found using your most valuable skill as a coach. This is your innate ability to listen intently and hear not only the words they are saying, but also to develop the skill of unravelling the meaning behind these words (often before they have connected the dots themselves).

There are 4 “tells” that should trigger your spidey senses to pay closer attention…

  1. The first is emotion – this will most often be uncovered when the client feels like their current beliefs are beign challenged, or when change (or the suggestion of change) makes them feel uncomfortable. This can often be picked up in changes of tone of voice, speech patterns (ie: hesitation, bluntness, resistance, etc) and body language. If you are just learning to pay attention to signs of emotional changes, I suggest trying to do your calls over zoom so that you can pay attention to what you’re seeing as well as what you’re hearing.
  2. The second is adherence – if your client cannot “stick to” their plan, assume that there is a deeper reason why this is other than simply “a lack of willpower”. Ask questions that will lead them down the path of figuring out why this plan does not fit their needs or beliefs. Before changing the plan, consider that possibly the plan doesn’t need to change, in fact just their view of the world might need to be adjusted. 
  3. The third is lifestyle – always beginning your client’s journey with the end in mind is my biggest piece of advice I could give you. For example, if your client values her social life (in fact, she meets many of her core needs by being social in this way) removing social activities around food would require a great deal of willpower on her part (and would 100% be a temporary means to an end). Does she really need to give up her social life, or do we simply need to reframe which parts of this are actually giving her pleasure and meeting her needs? Perhaps she has incorrectly associated the food with pleasure, when in fact it’s simply just being around her friends that create the biggest pleasure source for her. 
  4. The fourth is language – the words your clients use are powerful keys that will unlock where there are strings you need to be pulling on. Are there specific scenarios that always shift them into negative language patterns? What are the words they consistently use to describe themselves, their progress, their life, etc? Often, people will use the same words consistently when they are unhappy about something – if you can pick up on the words they use consistently then you will have created a roadmap into their mind and often be able to predict their thoughts and behaviours before they are even aware of them.

As you have seen thus far, your clients actions are intricate, specific, predictable and most often completely subconscious. The way to create big change in someone is not simply to zoom in on their poor choices, but rather to have deep conversations about their life, why they believe they are making these choices, and from their perspective what they are positively getting from making the choices they are. Things like: how do they feel before and after their actions? What is their internal dialogue like before and after? What phrases do they commonly use when they feel bad about their behaviour? Why do they wish they could stop – what do they believe stopping this behaviour will give them?

By asking better questions, you create better roadmaps to true transformational change.

Why Most People Don’t Do This

Your clients likely blame their failed weight loss attempts on a handful of things: willpower, dedication, and motivation being the biggest ones you will undoubtedly hear them say. This is working under the assumption that the choices they are making are always conscious…that they are always in complete control.

If every choice you made required conscious effort you would never be able to operate in the world as you know it. Everything from simply standing up from your chair and walking across the room would require conscious thought. Our brain learns patterns we consistently use and pushes them into the parts of the brain that operate subconsciously.

If we can create a subconscious pattern for things like standing up to walk across the room, or opening a door, without having to think about how to do it, if we should do it, when to do it, why we’re doing it, etc…isn’t it possible that we can also create subconscious patterns for reactions to our external environmental triggers – like going to Burger King?

Of course it is. Behaviours are simply consistent actions we take in response to external stimuli based on what we perceive to bring us pleasure and move us away from pain. Knowing this, you can feel excited about the opportunities here to create massive change in someone’s life in ways they will perceive to be almost like magic. Behaviours that no diet has ever been able to “fix”, you can transform just by having conversations that will guide the plan you create for your client.

Ultimately the choice is yours, coach. You can develop the skills that could allow you to guarantee change in your clients lives…or you can continue to say a little prayer with every plan you put together hoping that this is the one that will make a difference for them. I challenge you to get uncomfortable and try some of these skills on for size – you’ll be surprised how natural it will feel to begin to coach in the way you always felt you should be.

By the way…if you want some serious doses of Laura wisdom to keep you on your toes and growing, I want you in my super dope group

Behind The Changeclick the link to join me!


You can also catch me on The Unfiltered Coach Podcast every Wednesday where the hubs and I are committed to helping you step into your power and build the biz of your dreams.