Friday, September 28, 2012

5 Things I learned from Diets

Over the years I have read at least a dozen books on dieting and nutrition. I have also, both in my life coaching practice and in my personal life, observed friends and family try one diet or another. My father-in-law, bless his heart, tried even the most extreme diets in an effort to reduce the extra 100 lbs or so, that he carried with him.

Here are 5 life lessons I've learned from diets:

1. You have to stick with it. Except for those diets where you only eat one food for days on end, most diets offer you the realistic opportunity of losing weight but, like with most things in life, you have to stick with it. You can't give it a mediocre effort and expect outstanding results.

2. Use your common sense. Yes, the cookie diet may help you loose 10 pounds in 2 days but really, should you?

3. Be discerning about what you commit to. Following on from point No. 2 its' also a good idea to really think about things like timing, how this choice might effect your health in the short term and the long term and how this will impact your life in the broader sense. For example, will you be able to eat out or at other people's houses? How will you make it easy for other's to accommodate your food choices? Don't just make commitments willy nilly. When you make a commitment and then break it because you really didn't think it through, you set yourself up for disappointment and a belief that "you can't stick to it".

4. Delayed Gratification.  I often notice, when I'm in the checkout line, that magazines are still printing articles along the lines of "Lose 10 pounds in 2 Weeks" and yes, it is possible but we all know that the diet will be extreme and not sustainable. Losing weight, in a healthy sustainable way, requires all of the above and a commitment to delayed gratification. Putting down the chocolate cake and enjoying the rewards maybe several days later of looking and feeling good.

5. We overestimate what we can achieve in a day and underestimate what we can achieve in a year. Small consistent baby steps in the right direction is the secret to success in most everything, dieting included.

I would love to help you be successful in your life. Please visit my website at to learn more.

If you are looking for help specifically with diet and exercise here are some fantastic wellness coaches who I am very happy to recommend:

Here in Sarasota is Tomasin Marshall. You can connect with Tomasin on Facebook and on her website Kingdom Momentum
Tomasin training on the beach

Hanna Goss is in the North Carolina area and you can find her on Facebook and at her website Goss Coaching

Lori Wardell is also a wellness coach. She lives in California. You can find Lori on Facebook

Thursday, September 27, 2012

5 Things I learned from Dash the Dog

Dash our sweet, funny and so smart dog

7 Years ago we bought a little Jack Russell cross Dotson puppy. He is a little dog with a big personality. Here are 5 life coaching lessons I've learned from Dash.

1. Your self image is mostly self perception. When we bought Dash we also bought two Huskies. All 3 puppies were about the same size when we got them but of course, the Huskies grew to be much bigger than Dash within just a few months. Dash never noticed though. In fact, to this day, Dash thinks he's a big dog and has no trouble socializing with dogs that are even 8 times the size of him. He even fell head over heels in love with a Pitbull named Lucy.
We become a lot like the people we spend time with because it changes the way we see ourselves. If we hang out with confidant, articulate, self motivated people we will tend towards adopting those characteristics and, like Dash, completely forget that we're "too small" to run with the big dogs.

2. We all enjoy acknowledgment for a job well done. When we bought Dash we were still living in South Africa and the guy at the pet store told us that, for security reasons, we should get 1 little dog and 2 big dogs. The big dogs would scare thieves whereas the little dog would sound the alarm. Dash must have overheard this snippet of information because he's been diligently "sounding the alarm" ever since. It's his work and he takes it very seriously, sometimes a little too much so. It is cute though that after he's done his job he struts around for a bit asking for praise and affection as if he's telling everyone, "I did my job well and now I'd like some acknowledgment."

3. Even animals have unhealthy addictions that they need help with. This doesn't really fit easily into a life lesson but it is fascinating to me that even animals can have unhealthy addictions. Dash is addicted to chocolate.  We hide chocolate from him and when certain holidays come around we become extra vigilant about making sure the chocolate is out of sight. If there is a lesson here maybe it's that if you know and or love someone with an addiction try to do your part around the holidays by not having it a big part of the festivities. It's not your responsibility but it is an act of kindness.

4. Nap and stretch because it feels really good. Dash is a real snuggler. He loves to burrow under his blanket and have a nap, he'll sit on your lap if given even the slightest encouragement and often sneaks under the covers of my bed. When he wakes up from a nap he stretches out, downward facing dog, and gives a little pleasurable moan.

5. Look for reasons to be happy. I imagine that in dog world Dash has it pretty well set up. He gets fed, has lots of good napping spots, a family that adores him, yummy treats, lizards to chase and visitors to alert the family about but I can't help feeling that Dash would be happy anyway. He just seems to find reasons to be happy. I can take him on a 30 second car ride down the driveway, stop the car and he bounds out of it as if I've taken him for a two week fantasy vacation. I can walk out the house, be gone for 5 minutes, come back and he is bouncing around with joy, his little tail wagging so fast I'm afraid he'll knock himself over.

I'm sure most anyone who has a dog could have written this article because they all offer so much love and wisdom just by the nature of being dogs. I would love to hear about what you've learned from your puppy!

To learn more about me and life coaching please visit my website at Nicky Roberts Coaching

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guest Blog: 5 Things I Learned from my husband, Joe. By Laurie Battaglia

5 Things I Learned from My Husband Joe
When an extravert meets an introvert, great things can happen. That’s what I’ve learned, having met my husband Joe eleven years ago. We’ll celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss this October. As my adult son said, as he met and learned to love Joe, “You bring his energy up, and he brings yours down, and that’s a good thing, both ways.” 
Here are the 5 things I’ve learned while living with and loving Joe.
  1. You don’t have to book every minute of the day. Sometimes it’s a great thing to just sit, watch, breathe, and think about not much of anything. Exhale.
  2. You’re never too old to change things. Joe had triple bypass surgery the year we got married. Since then, he has changed his entire way of living, eating and exercising, one baby step at a time. It’s the little steps that lead to big change.
  3. It’s OK to stay home. See #1. Sitting together, him doing crossword puzzles, and me reading the paper, give me great pleasure. It doesn’t have to be non-stop excitement every step of the way.
  4. There’s a no-drama rule for holidays and vacations. Our first marriages were filled with drama; this one is not. Drama is a lot of wasted energy and anxiety for no good reason. No drama is good.
  5. You’ll learn a lot if you just sit and listen to the conversation around you. As an extravert, I’m a talker. Talkers frequently miss things, because they’re talking! Listening gives the floor to others and puts the spotlight on them. It’s not always about you… let it be about them. 
Sit, listen, breathe…
To have a great, no drama relationship, click here and learn more.
We coach people through transitions and reinvention, in life, career, and relationships. Joe and I coach as a couple -- you get both perspectives, male and female, feeler and thinker.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Things I learned Eating Chocolate Cake

There have been times in my life when I've eaten an entire chocolate cake. Yes, that's a little obsessive, I agree. There have been other times where I've only eaten a few slices. Better, yes? There has never been a time when I could just have a few bites of cake. Never.  Here's what I've learned from my relationship with chocolate cake.

1. Some things are just not good for YOU.
I would often, in my relationship with cake, look around at others who were skinnier and healthier and tell myself that there is nothing wrong with chocolate cake. I would tell myself that if other's could eat it and look and feel great it must be okay for me too. Well, the truth of the matter is that flour+sugar makes me sick. It gives me painful heartburn which I would try to ignore, for hours. I eventually came to the place in my personal growth where I committed to acknowledging that there were certain activities that were just not good for ME. It had nothing to do with ANYONE ELSE. I often hear from alcoholics that they just want to be able to have a drink with friends, socially. The truth is for the alcoholic, alcohol is just not good for them. It makes them sick.

2. It's much more about psychology than ingredients.
The reality is that alcohol or sugar or even possibly wheat is not good for anyone. They all are irritating to the immune system. The truth is also that if we, those of us who over indulge in these substances, developed a healthier psychology around eating cake or drinking alcohol we wouldn't over indulge in them in the first place and we could probably get away with a little bit. The work is in developing that psychology and until that is full proof it's best to refer back to point No. 1.

3. Ignoring your signals of discomfort can be deadly.
I don't have to give you an physiology lesson for you to know that if I was regularly consuming significant quantities of cake that I was leaning into being very, physically, unhealthy. But this is part of a bigger conversation too, about ignoring warning signals not only from our bodies but also from our emotions and our psyche. When you practice ignoring anything it's a bit like giving yourself Leprosy; you start to numb those parts of yourself and that can be very, very dangerous emotionally and physically.

4. Delayed Gratification
I did not enjoy seeing myself in the mirror after eating cake. It felt awful. I felt I looked chunky and flabby and unattractive to myself and my husband. Really not a good feeling. It took me a while to get to the place where I realized that the pleasure in the moment of eating the cake needed to be delayed to the moment, rather, of standing looking at myself in the mirror and appreciating what I saw. And even more than that, delayed to the feeling of pride I could have in myself of knowing that I was finally taking care of myself and the feeling of pride I could feel knowing I was setting a good example for my children. These delayed feelings of gratification are also much more satisfactory and have longevity whereas the cake eating feelings were short lived and followed quickly with terrible bouts of guilt.

5. Self confidence comes from living with integrity
Women often complain to me about their lack of self confidence. Here's what I tell them. There's no miracle cure, there's no one else who can give it to you and there's no magic strategy. To build self confidence you have to live in integrity and do what you know you need to do when you know you need to do it. You have to step up to your life and have a relationship with you that you can rely on and trust. Giving up chocolate cake gave me one more reason to feel confidant.

So, what's your "chocolate cake"? I would love to help you figure it out and help you make the transition to a free, confidant you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Things I Learned Moving Countries

In December 2003 my husband and I and our 3 small children moved from a small coastal city in South Africa to a small-ish coastal city in The United States with 10 suitcases and very little money. This is what I learned:

1. Not everyone who speaks English thinks the same way. I had been warned by returning expats that this was so but for some reason, maybe because I had done some international travel, I didn't think this was going to be a problem for me. I quickly discovered that not only did American's have a distinct, cultural point of view, they even used different words to express it. It was a huge learning curve that I still sometimes find myself navigating and taught me to be careful with words and sensitive to how people might interpret them.

2. Moving countries is much more about shifting identity and much less about a different environment. There have been days when I've felt quite lost, not sure if I'm American or South African or perhaps something vague in the middle. I never even knew, before I moved, how much of what I thought and identified myself with had to do with a country. Now that I'm some sort of hybrid version of the two I see and appreciate both places and have a more multi-layered, flexible sense of self.

3. Much of what we tell ourselves is a fabrication. Over the years I've learned to become pretty suspicious of my own story telling and yet this past summer I again stumbled upon another story I had been telling (to anyone who would listen) about the distinct virtues and value of living in a third world country. I even dragged my entire family back to South Africa in the middle of a sub-saharan, chilly winter to explore the possibility of living there for several months of the year. 6 weeks after landing in Johannesburg International Airport I was literally crying, begging my husband to get me back to Florida. This is not as much a commentary on South Africa as it is the danger of an untrue, overly romanticized, fabricated and emotionally charged inaccurate story.

4. The longer you stay caught up with what you feel "should be", the longer it will take for you to see the value of what is. Coming back from our disastrous trip to South Africa I felt a bit foolish. I had been living in America for 10 years and although I felt, at times, deeply appreciative for many things in the US there had still been, as I explained before, this romantic vision I had of Africa and what I was missing by not being there. When my vision had been cleared up with a solid dose of reality I started to notice how much I had in the US that I hadn't noticed before...things like feeling safe at night, indoor heating and air conditioning, friendly, prompt service and good food and drivers who obey the rules of the road.

5. You don't have to be with the person/in the country that you love in order to love them/it. To leave your country of birth you need to have compelling reasons. You are essentially cutting yourself off from everything you've known and loved up until the point in time that you leave. As much as I know that America is where I want to be now because of all its wonderfulness I still get teary eyed listening to Xhosa singers coral, I still feel my heart ache when I see pictures of my brother, his wife, their children, I still want to be at my best friend's daughters ballet recital. Often clients will tell me of a love relationship that they know is not good for them, that they know they should leave but they also know will bring them heartache when they do. I try to encourage them to make their choice by saying, "Just because you love someone doesn't mean you have to be there with them. You can love them from afar."

Moving countries, as you can probably tell, has been a transforming event in my life. It's brought a lot of opportunity to grow and for that I am deeply appreciative.

If you're looking to transform your life you don't have to move countries. You could rather contact me. I'm a life coach and can help you make an internal shift. It will save you a lot of time and money :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

5 Things I Learned from Byron Katie

I've read a few of Byron Katie's books. My favorite is "I Need Your Love - Is That True".
Here are 5 things I've learned from Byron Katie in this book.

1. Examine the thoughts you think. I go often write my thoughts down in my journal, especially when they are accompanied by strong emotions, so that I can see them out in front of me and really explore them. It's amazing the junk that I think sometimes!

2. Defense is the first act of war. This one took me quite a while to make peace with but it's proven to be a really solid life lesson. At first I had to just come to terms with how much I defended myself and then slowly, I learned to practice not defending myself. It's still a work in progress.

3. Is that True? It's amazing how this little question really shifted my orientation about my beliefs. Asking yourself, "Is this true?" after making a statement about an emotion, an opinion or even an event is a unique and enlightening way of interacting and processing daily life.

4. How is "making an impression" influencing my behavior? One of the things Byron Katie is very, very good at is asking questions or offering a perspective that deeply examines our motivations and the result of those motivations. When I got some clarity on how my need to influence and impress others was motivating not only social situations but career and financial choices it really freed me up to make choices more aligned with who I am at my core and live a more authentic life.

5. Mind your own business. Under the guise of caring we get involved everyone else's shizzle and drama. It feels good to be needed, it feels good to feel that at least our lives are not as messed up as theirs. It creates a distraction and even feelings of superiority. See the problem?

Reading this book is a really good idea. I recommend it to my clients regularly. It's an even better idea to read the book and work through it with a friend, family member or a Certified Life me :)

I would love to work with you so visit my website and see if you would like to work with me too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

5 Things I learned from my Life Coach

I met my first life coach, Coach Camille, at Date With Destiny. She was insightful, tough and really transformed the way I felt about myself and the way I showed up in life.

Looking back, here are 5 key takeaways that really helped me shift.

1. I am resourceful.
I always had a story about how I couldn't do certain things. How helpless I was. I couldn't make friends, I couldn't solve certain problems, I couldn't loose weight, I couldn't earn more money. All my life most of the people around me would agree and commiserate with me in my complaining. Friends would agree that the economy was in bad shape or that it was difficult to make friends or losing weight just got more difficult the older we got. Coach Camille said, "That's BS! You are very resourceful. I'm confidant you'll figure this out."

2. There are safe problems and quality problems. 
I must have done lot of complaining during those sessions with my coach because here again I was bemoaning something and very quickly Coach Camille stopped me in my tracks and said, "This is not a quality problem. This is a problem that you continue to perpetuate because it feels safer not to solve it."

3. Set yourself up for success. 
For some reason I thought I could go from zero to hero in just a few short leaps and with the result being that I would invariably fall flat on my face demotivated and slightly miserable. My coach quickly pointed out that I needed to take smaller steps and set myself up for success by making them easily achievable.

4. Stop telling stories.
This was an blinding moment of realization. In fact when she first told me that what I was telling her was "just my story" I didn't know how to respond, I was dumfounded. What do I say if I don't tell my stories? (Yes, I was that unconscious.) I soon recovered from this shocking piece of insight and discovered that my life, and I,  didn't need any of the drama and embellishment I lathered on it in an attempt to illicit sympathy and connection and that the result is quite beautiful and authentic when I tell the truth.

5. Measure and celebrate success. 
When I started being coached I was so bad at this part that I even asked my coach what it meant to celebrate a success and could she give me some ideas on how to do it. I even googled How To Celebrate, when she replied, "You are resourceful, you'll figure it out" and wrote a list of ways I could celebrate.
Measuring was also a huge step. I had never paid attention to how I was doing well but always had an excellent accounting of how much I screwed up.

So, looking at your own life, how might these 5 life coaching lessons help you shift and transform your life?

To get started on your own transformation click here for a Free Consultation