Tuesday August 13, 2019

Could one conversation change your life? Back in 2013 I was working at a German restaurant as a server and bartender to make my way through physical therapy assistant school. We headed into our busiest weekend of the year, St. Patty’s day, which would fill the entire restaurant, bar, ballroom, and biergarten at some points, yet we were never sure when those moments would spring. On a quieter afternoon a handful of us bartenders were huddled up outside waiting for the action to start and spent out time chatting away and passing big cups of candy around. Everyone but Natalie that is.

I had no idea how she was doing it, or why at first, but Natalie kept politely declining the Reese’s cups, licorice, and whatever else was being devoured during our boredom. I was a celebrated member of the staff because I would regularly bring homemade chocolate chip cookies and candy to share during our shifts. We all love sugar so why not be friendly to the tummy’s of the crew?!

On this day Natalie kept saying no. She said that she was making really good progress with eating healthier and working out since the beginning of the year. Part of me was actually feeling offended by her insistence not to indulge. What is wrong with my candy and me that she doesn’t like were some of the thoughts going through my head. I had no idea what was coming, but I could not get this behavior out of my head so I started asking her more questions. She was let off early because we were slow and suggested I reach out to her on Facebook if I wanted to chat more.

Something inside me had to know how her behavior was possible. People here just don’t behave like that, I certainly couldn’t, yet there she was. Doing something that seemed impossible. Being in control of her eating. So a day or so later I reached out to ask her some more questions and get more info about what she was doing. Martial arts inspired workouts on DVD at home, following a healthy meal plan, a Facebook group accountability plan and these shakes were what she was proposing I take on as her plan. Really expensive “nutritional” shakes. I don’t really do diet shakes. That sounds unhealthy. And yes I understand the irony of a man shoveling candy in his mouth calling anything unhealthy. A couple of days later, after some convincing from a friend, I ordered my DVDs, meal plan, and healthy shakes and said yes to a 60 day challenge that would change my life.

A few days later my order arrived. I went into planner/organizer mode and made shopping lists, tracking sheets, and schedules to check off for the coming weeks. My first shake was not very good, but I could at least drink it down. Natalie started up a small Facebook group for 4 of us to get started. It was the week before my 38th birthday when we were to start and because of my schedule I started a few days ahead.

Natalie’s first several posts made my eyes roll. “You’re changing your life!” “You’re doing amazing things!” were some of the sentiments. I could not get the chatter in my head to believe anything other than this was going to be a VERY temporary experiment. I was going back to being a couch potato and eating ice cream for dinner because that was who I am.

Only I didn’t go back to that life. Something in me loved the way I was feeling after a few weeks. I was excited and energized more than I’d been in a long, long time. I wanted these things, especially the control over my food, to last. A few weeks in I got a message from Natalie that I should consider being a coach. I could tell right away that I was more excited about cheering on others than the rest of the group. So it didn’t surprise me that I got the ask. This was no the right time though because I was about to finish a semester of school and start a clinical rotation while still working at the restaurant. There was no way I could do all of it right now. But then I said yes and became a coach anyway. I had to share how amazing I felt and how empowered I was with others. And that is how having a single conversation and saying yes became a part to changing everything in my life.

What kinds of pivotal moments leading to incredible transformation do you recall in your life?

With love and life,

~Bill

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