living life as a coach with fibromyalgia

February 18, 2013

The winter months have been busy with coaching activities. I am an assistant coach with 3 teams, 2 soccer and 1 basketball. It sounds a bit crazier than it really is. Most days it is helping navigate young female sport players around the field or court. I enjoy the physical activity and interacting with players and coaches in a healthy atmosphere. There are usually several girls who enjoy having a female coach around (most of the other coaches are male), though I tend to be structured and disciplined, I also connect on the emotional level. My favorite thing about being a coach is connecting with the players and building them up. My second favorite is the team dynamic, and strategizing on how to create a stronger team by building on the strengths and working through the challenges of the individuals.

My biggest challenge tends to be dealing with the mental processing and dealing with conflicts that arise. Since I don’t know the game of basketball real well, it takes a lot out of me to learn the fundamentals and think about what I can do to help. Though overall the conflicts with players and coaches are pretty mild, issues still arise. As a coach, I want to make an impact on the individuals, and when I say something I wish I hadn’t said, or missed an opportunity to build a player up, I feel disappointed in myself. With about 15 coaches in the 3 teams, it is a lot of personalities to deal with, especially when I prefer to please. There is some simplicity with men, in they appear to be more direct and move on, I also realize we can be a different species, and find myself longing for a girls’ night out. Any stress (whether real or perceived) or mental challenges can zap my limited energy, and increase my pain level.

I have also been trying to build a health coaching business. I absolutely love coaching people, but don’t care for the networking aspect. I am constantly battling inner conflicts of my own values and insecurities. I believe in the food program/healthy living that is the core of the business I am trying to establish, but also realize it isn’t for everyone trying to lose weight/become healthy. I personally have felt better as I am trying to change my eating habits, and am able to do things like coach 3 teams. I love being fit and healthy. Because I am uncomfortable promoting to people, I feel like a failure because I don’t know where to find people who would be interested in such a program, and don’t want to overemphasize weight loss because it can imply that I am criticizing people. I find myself completely shutting down, and realize this has little to do with my current reality. I will keep attempting to deal with the inner conflicts so I can see more clearly what direction to move here.

I am grateful to be so involved with my family. Did I mention my husband is a coach on two of the teams? It really is a family affair in the coaching world. I think back to 7 years ago when I spent a great deal of time on the couch resting from the daily activities and energizing myself so I can connect with those around me. Though I was still involved with my family, it was much more difficult to engage in the outside world. There is no magical cure, and it takes a great deal of soul-searching each day to determine where to invest my energy. Some days it seems to work, other days, not so sure. I will keep trying, keep searching, keep praying, to find the balance and build those relationships.  In the meantime I will keep making those memories on the field and on the court.


Now I am a Health Coach

November 19, 2012

I am excited about my own journey towards greater health and being part of this journey with you.  When I began a new food plan in October of 2012, I had three hopes for myself.  1.  To become a health coach as I love coaching other people.  2. To lose 10-15 pounds, as I carry all excess weight in the middle increasing my rate for heart problems (which run in our family).  3.  To reduce my symptoms from Fibromyalgia – lesser pain and greater energy. 

My particular plan consisted of both vegetarian and gluten-free options.  I have always wondered if certain food items could contribute to my health problems.  Though I am not yet sure whether it is the change in the food choices and/or the nutrition in the products, I am certain that it is changing my life.  My energy has increased drastically, and I am on my way to being drug free because of the reduction in pain.  I can’t wait to edit this section with “I am not on medication”.  I have found hope after years of struggles.  I also have lost 8 pounds so far and have about 5 pounds more to go .

I love the simplicity of this program.  I can take things step by step – making changes and learning as I go.  I have never cared for cooking, so the easy meals work.  I have learned how to cook fish for the first time, and prefer this over chicken any day.  My favorite meal is the cappuccino drink once I learned to use the blender to stir the mix with boiling water.  I also enjoy the puddings, the shakes and the brownies.  I eat the cereal for my “to go” food or emergency food, since the bars have gluten in them.  I always liked cereal. 

I have spent the last month trying to incorporate the program into my life.  I strive for a life of integrity, and desire to live out the words I say in my personal actions.  I have read through the book and utilized the study guide to learn some nutrition fundamentals I thought I knew.  I have also enjoyed listening to numerous support calls to understand some of the challenges we face and ways to work with them. I was surprised how the simple things could make a difference, and how much there is to learn.  Fortunately I can take all these lessons step by step, which is the best way for me to make changes.  Much of my hesitation regarding a program switched to amazement at how much wisdom and support was offered to aid me in becoming healthy. 

My biggest struggle is social situations.  I am still learning how to deal with eating around people and managing the peer pressure I feel, or think I feel.  I miss my skim milk and still crave breads and pizza.  Fortunately, these situations are limited, and most of the time I am grateful for my new health, less pain, more energy, and that my jeans aren’t tight. 

More about the program can be found at  You can also send me an e-mail at with any questions or if you want me to send information your way.  The idea of this program is to achieve greater health through changing your habits.  This could include losing weight, reducing health problems and medications, being more fit, understanding healthier living, learning about nutrition and more.  I have been greatly impressed by what I have learned so far, and am excited to share it with you. 

On a personal note – I have been married almost 20 years and have 2 middle school daughters.  I have a degree in sociology with a minor in psychology.  I love reading memoirs, blogging, learning, planning and researching.  I enjoy traveling – whether camping, visiting relatives or going to Hawaii.  My favorite fitness activities are coaching soccer, racquetball, weight lifting, yoga, and running. 

Making memories with Chronic Pain

August 2, 2012

What a great weekend of coaching.  My experience coaching in a soccer tournament was positive.  I was able to make it through six soccer games without too much pain or fatigue.  I took a break from my medication reduction in order to limit other symptoms (especially the tired eyes).  I had lots of fun, was able to help out, and connect with the players and other coaches.

Attitude and planning helped make this weekend a success.  I spent several days preparing by mapping out where I was supposed to be at what time, food stops, creating position line-ups, and gathering rosters and forms.  With several coaches on our teams, my role was more limited so I could focus on the positions and team management.  During warm-ups I would observe the players, and let the other coaches lead the activities.  Whenever possible I would sit or lean against something to preserve my energy.  Attitude and grace was important when mistakes were made (by myself and others).  It also helped to have great support of the parents.  This was the first tournament where I didn’t have any major demands, complaints or issues from anyone.   Gotta love that.

One of the blessings of my fibromyalgia is that I can push myself to the limit when needed.  I am grateful that I am able to participate in activities that have meaning to me, even if my role needs to be altered some.  I enjoy having my whole family involved in the soccer experience and making wonderful memories together.  Sometimes what seems like the end, is actually the beginning of something new.

Coaching with Chronic Pain – pushing myself to the limit

July 27, 2012

This weekend I will be maximizing all of my energy for coaching in a soccer tournament.  I am fortunate that I can generally push myself to the limit for a short period of time, as long as I allow several days before and after for my body to recover.  Both my daughters are on developmental soccer teams where I am the assistant coach.  This weekend I will be running around for 6-10 soccer games to assist in their games with player positions.  I love coaching soccer where I get to spend time with my family (my husband coaches too), get some exercise, build relationships, and have fun.

Pacing myself is key when operating at a high level.  The more time spent on utilizing my natural strengths and tendencies, the more energy I am able to preserve.  I also make sure I have everything planned out beforehand, to limit unnecessary stress, this includes insuring my daughters are ready as well.  I need several hours in the morning to wake up physically and mentally and work best with some coffee and tea.  During the afternoon I keep myself fueled with liquid, and healthy food.  We generally make a Starbucks stop for a bit of relaxation between games and for a caffeine pick me up.  Whenever possible I try to sit down or keep moving.  The less time standing in one place, the better off I am.  This puts the most pressure on my body.

Flexibility, setting priorities and self compassion are key in working with chronic pain.  My thoughts can trigger my emotions which will effect my pain and energy level.  It is important I stay away from comparison of others, worrying too much about what other people think, and focus on what is most important.  Learning to pick my battles not only makes me more effective, it also provides a healthier lifestyle.

Most people don’t know I have fibromyalgia/chronic pain, and those who do rarely understand its impact.  I find it is helpful to have a few people I can talk with if I am struggling.  Usually my husband is the one to offer support. In general I like having a place that is more about me serving and focusing on the players than on my personal difficulties.  However, if my pain became too unbearable than sharing with others would be important.

I am grateful to be having a good day today.  Look forward to playing on the field.  Though chronic pain/fibromyalgia may slow me down, the extra relaxation time can provide the fuel and introspection for making some meaningful memories.

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