3 Things I’ve Learned from Coaching in a Covid-19 World
After a 5-year hiatus, I had an overwhelming urge to get back to Coaching. When we first started Plantable (formerly known as Euphebe) I was ‘Coach Euphebe’. I still have the t-shirt! I would spend hours talking and texting clients the merits of a low sugar, no processed, whole food diet and how to do it and maintain it with ease. Each euphoric text relaying people’s success always filled me (and still does) with immense joy. Each time, I relished the miracle of the human body and how quickly it repairs and resets itself, if treated correctly.
Soon, I was no longer able to keep up with the coaching, being pulled in too many business directions. We hired dedicated coaches and I lived vicariously through them.
However, back in December, after a harrowing year for all, I felt an immense desire to listen to everyone’s stories, understand how people were feeling, and figure out how best Plantable could continue to help.
Purpose of coaching
Before I get to the insights of what I’ve learned over this unique period of time, I want to spend a moment on the “why” of coaching.
Plantable is the integration of education, coaching and nutrient-dense meals into people's lives to help make their change towards healthier food habits easy. To quote the wise-words of Einstein’s, “Doing the same thing over again and expecting different results is a sign of madness”. What we know is that change is hard, but the combination of behavioral psychology and sound nutritional science makes it easier.
The onboarding call is an integral part of Plantable’s coaching and drives the success of the Reboot. Its purpose?
- To form a relationship of trust with our clients
- To understand each person’s life – their habits and their constraints
- To support them through the 28-day transition
People come to us when they are ready for a change. The motivation for that change is driven by many different reasons. For some, it’s because of a pending milestone in their lives. Some come just because summer is approaching. Some come because the doctor has strongly suggested it. Some come because they have tried other approaches and failed, others because they’ve seen the Plantable transformation in their friends or family. What unites all these people is that they are ready for change. They are committed... and a little scared.
So, what brought people to Plantable after a year of Covid?
Well, the short answer is obviously “the Covid-19” – those extra  pounds accumulated over months of stress and disruption – but the more interesting and complex answer lies below.
- Exhaustion, and optimism
- We are all exhausted. Exhausted from being inside, from the news headlines. Exhausted from not moving enough (more on that below). Exhausted from the stress and from the worry and care for others. Exhausted from the endless zoom calls and the lack of boundaries of work and non-work. Exhausted from thinking about what to cook or pick up for dinner. Exhausted from being exhausted. Combined with a timely optimism for normality resuming and contemplating the new-normal.
- The first months were all about survival. Literally. And we all got through as best we could. All bets were off and whatever comfort we needed to bury ourselves in to just get by, we did. Sugar, alcohol, comfort food – yes, please. But now, the time has come to get back on track and feel good again. Inside and out.
So what did I learn?
Over the last three months I’ve learned that people’s routines have been deeply disrupted with the most significant health detractors being:
- Reduction in movement
- Recent increased consumption of take-out food
- Increasing consumption of sugar.
How does Coaching help each of these scenarios?
Let’s take each one in turn, starting with the hardest one.
It’s hard to cut back on sugar given its nature for short-term pleasure coupled with the long-term dependency. The idea of cutting back on sugar literally fills many with dread, as they consider the prospect of a life of deprivation. However, in my coaching I often liken sugar to smoking, in that if you are not a smoker you don’t miss smoking. Similarly, once you get sugar back under control, you control it and not vice versa! Getting sugar back under control is the one most significant thing you can do for your health (and to combat those covid-19 pounds!) Coaching helps empower people with alternative change strategies, not having to draw upon that finite and flawed well of will-power.
2. Increased consumption of take-out food.
This past year of lockdowns and pandemic restrictions caused a drastic increase in take out food orders. While we don’t want to discourage supporting local restaurants in need of ongoing income during this past year of upheaval, what we’ve learned from our coaching clients is that it seems easier to give into those unhealthy food cravings with the ease of online and instantaneous food ordering. There are healthy options out there, but with the added stress of the whole situation, it’s easier to seek comfort in unhealthy foods for short term pleasure. That’s why our Reboot Program has unlimited SMS coaching assistance for up to 3 months where one can instantaneously message with their personalized health coach for guidance or feedback towards healthier options in those times where you just need to order in.
3. Reduction in movement.
Glued to the home desk with proximity to the kitchen has a lot to answer for. Getting to know someone’s schedule and helping with some “nudge” ideas to increase movement introduces change, from which to build upon. Furthermore, knowing that satiety is coming from meals which truly offset hunger, makes it easier to by-pass the kitchen fridge (see also Wellness On-Demand for our favorite at home workout programs).
Related: Staying Sane in Crazy Times.
To all our coaching clients
I know this has been an exceptionally challenging year, but it has been such a pleasure coaching our Rebooters over these last few months. I truly love getting to know every single one of you. I feel a personal connection and rejoice and celebrate all your successes. I am humbled by your dedication and commitment to embrace a new lifestyle which goes on to become your new life. I am honored to be trusted with your health and be replying to text messages late at night, when you need us the most. I am so proud of our Rebooters – past, present and future.
It’s been a harrowing 12 months, but there is light on the horizon. Now, more than ever, we need to collectively make healthy and strong our next chapter. We can heal in all senses of the word.
Thank you all for letting me, and Plantable, into your lives.
Nadja Pinnavaia, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO