What I Learned About Habits From Coaching My Mom

Blaine LaFleur
What I Learned About Habits From Coaching My Mom

For the past three to five years, given the career path that I have chosen, holidays and family gatherings get rather interesting when it comes to snacking, drinking, and how everyone fixes their plates once it is time for the main course. It never fails that someone is going to either comment on my plate, make a joke as I pass one of the carb-laden dishes, or, of course, poke fun at someone else for daring to serve themselves such a dish in “Tyler’s presence.”

Yet, one of the most challenging obstacles has been dodging and ducking the constant barrage and attacks from my mother, herself. You see, contrary to popular belief, Blaine and I haven’t always been the most health conscious. Little Debbie and General Mills were our best friends growing up. We spent every afternoon watching Nickelodeon together. Inseparable to say the least. But, even more discouraging was the challenge, and the “cajun blessing” of having two parents who are both known for their cooking skills. Our afternoon snacking was bad enough, but adding in the every weekday and weekend helping of gumbo, jambalaya, and rice and gravy put the icing on the cake. (Pun intended)

So, when my own mother came to me asking for weight loss advice, I had to take a moment and really think this one through. Of course I want my mom to succeed in her health endeavors. I want her around for a very long time to see all of her grandkids grow up. I want her mobile and pain free so she can get up and play whenever my kids ask her to. For me to make such a drastic shift in my eating habits after moving out of her home after college, it wasn’t that far fetched. I was obsessed with lifting weights and building as much muscle as possible. Cutting out most of my carbs, adding in a ton of vegetables, and having access to a freezer full of meat made the transition pretty easy. But, take a woman who has been inundated with the cajun culture for five decades, not to mention her affinity for beer and Diet Coke, and any health coach or behavior specialist knows what type of coach/client relationship they are about to commit to. Since I have come to learn that improvement only comes through discomfort, I accepted the challenge.

That was September 12th. Today is December 18th (as I am writing this) and I can’t say enough how proud I am of her progress. 

  • She is 22 lbs down from her start weight.
  • She hasn’t had a Diet Coke since September 11th. (Huge deal for her!)
  • Her alcohol consumption has decreased drastically.
  • She has made her Omega 3 and Vitamin D supplementation habitual.
  • She joined a gym and starting exercising two days per week.
  • She has come close to eliminating her grain and dairy consumption (rather important given her Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms).
  • And, most of all, she has still enjoyed her cooking and meal preparation through the entire process.

The biggest complaint that I get while interviewing potential clients is “how hard living in South Louisiana can be regarding making healthy choices.” But, technically, that problem only exists if you choose for it to. Mom didn’t move away from South Louisiana. She didn’t stop participating in family gatherings and holiday celebrations, and most of all, she didn’t stop drinking alcohol nor give up cooking for others or herself. Did it happen over night? Nope. In fact, she is still learning. She knows she isn’t perfect, nor that she has to be. As long as she continues to improve and progress, she is excited about it. 

The only thing that I am disappointed with, through the entire process, was the selfish doubt that I had at the start. I just knew that this coaching relationship was going to go sour, fast. Why? Because it was personal for me. I didn’t want to watch my mom age poorly. I didn’t want my kids to be without their “Frannie”. But, most of all, I didn’t want to waste “my time” on a client that I cared more about their health than they did themselves.

Boy, was I wrong.

Frannie = 1

Selfish Son = 0

Kudos on your progress, mom. Keep it up. Your kids and grandkids are counting on your success. I love you!

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