At more than 250 pounds, Alana Wylie-Reeves found herself uncomfortable, frustrated, and immobile. The biggest obstacle she faced in her efforts toward better movement and health? A deep-seated aversion to change. Here’s how she found the resilience to embrace discomfort — and lose more than 60 pounds in the process.
Two years ago, Alana Wylie-Reeves couldn’t bend over to pick something up from the ground.
“If I dropped something on the floor, it had to stay there. I had zero mobility,” says Alana, 54. “If I forgot something in the laundry room in the basement, I’d have to think about how I was going to get back down the two flights of stairs to get it.”
Alana’s weight had yo-yoed for years. At her heaviest, Alana weighed 257 pounds.
“I remember once I went to stand on a step ladder, but the maximum weight was 225. I couldn’t even stand on a ladder to change a light bulb,” she recalls.
At the same time, she was having more and more trouble getting through her shifts working in the paint department at Home Depot in Edmonton, Alberta.
“There is a lot of bending, moving, and lifting at my work. It’s pretty physically demanding and I was having a really hard time with it.”
Alana had tried diets and the occasional workout video, but they didn’t become habits that stuck.
“The weight would come tumbling back because nothing in my life would change. I just couldn’t find a way of eating that I could live with.”
But as challenging and at times painful as Alana’s life had become, in some ways it seemed more comfortable to her than the alternative: changing.
“As an only child of a single parent, we moved a lot, always trying to keep the paycheck ahead of the rent,” Alana explains. “I experienced a lot of change. Unwanted change, at that. Change I had no control over whatsoever.”
As a result, throughout adulthood Alana’s aversion to change deepened. She consciously avoided disruption at all costs — including her health.
“I used to walk around saying, ‘I hate change’. I was living my life to avoid being uncomfortable. I was scared to make changes because it was uncomfortable and scary.”
On top of it all, like many moms Alana found herself prioritizing her family over her own needs and wellbeing.
“My sacrifices, it seemed, were always for the greater good of the family,” she reflects. “But do that long enough and you begin to give up the effort to discern what really matters to you.”
Considering the barriers she was facing, Alana recognized that she’d need help if she wanted to clear them and find a path to health and fitness.
At the thought of having some support, Alana decided that, uncomfortable or not, it was time to make a change.
She was determined to figure out a way of eating that would help her lose weight and stay healthy for the long term.
Enter the Precision Nutrition Coaching program.
Alana started PN Coaching and very quickly realized that the road to change would require getting a little more comfortable with discomfort.
Take, for example, one of the first habits in PN Coaching: eating to 80 percent full.
“If you’re practicing the habit, you’re likely experiencing a little discomfort and resistance,” says Alana. “We’re also asked to reflect on how we have dealt with uncomfortable things in the past.”
Persisting with the habit, and reflecting on how it made her feel, helped Alana realize that she could, in fact, tolerate change.
PN lessons often encourage clients to practice getting out of their comfort zone, a little bit at a time. As time went on, rather than resisting the discomfort, Alana gradually found herself choosing to embrace it.
“In the beginning my workouts were just five minutes of walking. That was it,” she recalls. “But as I progressed, I began to apply the idea [of embracing discomfort] in a physical way. For example, taking that difficult lunge just a titch past comfortable, running a bit when I was on my walks just to try it out, that sort of thing.”
Alana was discovering that she did, in fact, possess the skill needed for leaning in to change: resilience.
But would her resilience, her acceptance of change, stick?
Throughout Alana’s time at PN, she faced many challenges in her personal life — the kinds of challenges that had kept her from her goals in the past.
Her mother needed help with one of her rental properties, and Alana threw herself into the six-week project, finding herself 10 pounds heavier than before.
“I stopped exercising and went into junk food free-fall. I think of it now with horror — but that was my ‘normal’ back then: Work hard, don’t exercise and eat junk!”
Her second born child came out as transgender. “It rocked the immediate family,” Alana explains.
Her mother was in and out of the hospital due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “Learning to meet her needs, while continuing to meet my own, is new to me,” Alana says.
She injured her back in a Spartan Race.
But through these rough waters, Alana stayed the course.
“I remember being really discouraged, but I stayed in touch with Coach Lisanne. We had frequent coaching calls, and she reminded me that I was resilient — just for showing back up!”
Getting out of her comfort zone paid off.
Alana dropped pounds, gained mobility, and went from not being able to bend over to doing squats, deadlifts, and modified push-ups.
Today, at 196 pounds— 61 pounds lighter than when she started — everyday movement is no longer a hindrance.
“The other night, I forgot something in the laundry room and didn’t even think twice about it. I ran down two stories and didn’t even hesitate,” she says. “And I can do things like squat down and rearrange leftovers in the fridge. I couldn’t do that before.”
Alana now sees herself as someone who lives life at the edge of her comfort zone.
“Gradually, my story around change, well, changed,” she reflects. “Change wasn’t something I needed to be wary of. It became something I could embrace, a little bit at a time. With help from my coach, I integrated the idea that I am someone who can allow change—and a lot of it—into my identity.”
With her newfound zest for life, she’s even pursuing a life-long dream to be an interior designer/decorator, and re-started a certificate program she began about 15 years ago.
Turns out, embracing discomfort has a surprisingly pleasant side-effect: happiness.
“One of my sons was saying yesterday he has never seen me happier in my life,” says Alana.
And she’s just getting started.
“I have more energy for life. Most people my age are slowing down and looking at retirement and relaxing. I feel like I’m 25 years old. The last 20 years were awful, so I’m going to make the next 25 great.”
Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?
Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.
Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.
It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.
Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.
We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020.
If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.
- You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
- You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.
If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.
[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].