Ep 227 A Conversation with Melissa Rohlf -Certified Health & Life Coach: The Importance of Holistic Approach To Your Life for More Empowerment
We are starting out the month of March and I have planned a treat for you. This is my birthday month – and – my last year in this decade – so I’m making the month extra special by giving you a gift every week. I have an amazing line up of powerful women who have great information to share with you and the theme that runs through it all is empowerment – living your life in a way that works for you.
Today I am kicking it off with Melissa Rohlfs. Melissa is a certified holistic health and life coach helping busy women find freedom and feel at peace with food, their bodies and their lives. She is committed to empowering women to break free from dieting, emotional eating and self-image issues so they can ditch the diet mentality, and feel empowered in their own skin.
In This Episode:
- How a holistic approach can help your reduce stress and overwhelm
- The importance of the mind and the body as you reach for new goals
- How over drinking/over eating can keep you stuck
- How breath work can increase your energy
- When being willing to experience the full range of life – including all feelings – will change your life
- Emotional eating
- Contact Melissa: www.free2becoaching.com and on Instagram: free2b_coaching.
Episode Transcript: (Transcribed by OtterAI with minimal edits)
You are listening to the it’s your time podcast and I’m your host certified life coach Michelle Arnold Burke. In today’s episode, I’m discussing the importance of a holistic approach for empowerment in your life with Melissa Rolfs. Welcome to the it’s your time Podcast, the podcast where busy professionals like you get the practical solutions and support you need to gain control of your schedule so you can strive to be the best in your career, but without the stress and overwhelm. If you’re looking to increase your energy and decrease your stress, you are in the right place.
Michelle Bourque 0:39 Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome back to the podcast friends. Okay, so we are starting out the month of March and I have planned a treat for you. March is my birthday month. And this is my last year in this decade. So I am making the month extra special by giving you a gift every single week. I have an amazing lineup of powerful women who have great information to share with you. And the theme that runs through it all is empowerment, living your life in a way that works for you. That my friend, is the greatest gift that you can give yourself and today I’m kicking it off with Melissa Rolfs. Melissa is a certified holistic health and life coach, helping busy women find freedom and feel at peace with food, their bodies and their lives. Who doesn’t want that right. She is committed to empowering women to break free from dieting, emotional eating and self image issues so that you can ditch the diet mentality and feel empowered in your own skin. She teaches women easy new strategies that you can use to feel better instead of turning to food for relief. After her own tumultuous history with food withholding. And then later in life binging she learned how to deal with core issues around her broken relationship with food and as a result, she felt called to go to school and learn to teach other women how to do the same. I love the ripple effect. She graduated from the health coach Institute as a holistic health and life coach in 2018 and is the proud owner of free to be coaching. She is a proud Boilermaker alumna living in Arizona with her husband Chad and two kiddos. So without further ado, I want you to take a listen to all of the gold nuggets that she had to share. Thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited to get started. Can you just begin by introducing yourself in the way that you like and share any goodness that you see fit to share with the listeners?
2:51 Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m also Ralston. I’m coming to you from Arizona. I’m a wife, I’m a mom, and I’m holistic health and life coach. And I help women break free from turning to stress, turning to food for stress, or relief or overwhelm and really just finding that freedom from the struggle with food. So Midwest native, but women in Arizona love it.
Michelle Bourque 3:12 That’s so nice, especially as we’re in like the cold ones here in New York. I’m a little jealous.
3:17 We’ll come visit anytime you have an open invitation.
Michelle Bourque 3:21 And I know that we both love helping busy women who feel stressed and overwhelmed. And you do have that holistic component. Can you maybe speak to what you see with some of your clients? And how you incorporate that and working with them?
3:34 Yeah, absolutely. So it’s looking at the whole picture, Michelle, it’s not just like, the mindset towards stress and overwhelm, and why they’re turning to food, but really kind of what are the triggers what’s happening in their lifestyle, what’s happening in their body, because a lot of times we will have things that happen and we will store in our body, we won’t be aware. And so like our mind, might be saying one thing, but our body’s saying another and so it’s really kind of reconciling the two systems and really finding that peace and that calmness and kind of syncing the two together so that we’re operating from a place of peace and calm and not overwhelming stress and anxiety and then grabbing for the Oreos or the Swedish Fish or whatever really kind of in that place. So creating new habits, changing relationship with food, your body and yourself.
Michelle Bourque 4:17 There’s so many things that you just mentioned there that I would love to dive into. Because I know for myself and we were talking a little bit before we started the recording is when I first started the mindset work. I’m all about the thinking part of it like I was on board. And I think a lot of people listening are so in that mindset of being busy is like a badge of honor and you have to go go go. This whole idea about feelings when I first started I was like we do not feel feelings, we get to work and we do what needs to be done. But now I have evolved in you know, you talk about how your body remembers and I’ve been starting breathwork and I know you work with your clients like can you maybe speak to that a little bit more because I think a lot of people don’t fully understand what that means.
4:59 Yeah, So so there are really two great resources to I’d like to recommend two books. One is the body remembers, and the Body Keeps the Score, and then talks a lot about how trauma or feelings or different experiences that happened to us gets stored in our bodies. And so that’s where that breathwork comes in. Because that links the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system, which is body and brain, and really kind of tells your body it’s okay to calm down, it’s okay to be here. And that’s really why you need to look at the whole picture and that breathwork. And those tools along the way are so important, because you can’t just focus on the mindset because like you that was my whole starting point, like, it’s all about beliefs and thinking, your thoughts and what happens in the mind. But as I’ve learned and grown, like, there’s so many other components to that, that are just as equally as important and really help people on that transformational journey. Your percent, I
Michelle Bourque 5:51 was just speaking to my sister yesterday, because she was like, I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Because for so long, I’m always like, anxiety is caused by your thinking, and she’s like, I read something about trauma, and how anxiety might be stored. What are your thoughts, and I was like, I actually am fully on board. I do think there’s something to that I know, for myself, I never thought that I had trauma. And then I learn more. And I’m like, Oh, wait, maybe there’s something there to look at. Unknown Speaker 6:16 And I think everybody has trauma, because really, I just did a workshop on this, the definition of trauma is when you have an experience and your body doesn’t have the resources or the support that it needs to get through that time. And so that’s any of us at all times. I mean, maybe I think when we hear trauma, we think terrible, worst case scenario, like just something that isn’t even comprehendible for most of us, but really, it’s a situation you encountered where your body didn’t feel like it had enough support. That could be anything. Michelle Bourque 6:46 Yeah. And I think I’d love to know your thoughts. Do you think this often happens in childhood?
6:51 I think it can start in childhood, for sure. I know, for me personally, that’s where my trauma started. But I think it happens at various points. I think what happens is if it does happen in childhood, and it’s not resolved, and what happens, it just builds and it escalates. And then it ends up coming out sideways. And I think it’s, it shows up in how people treat each other. And we get triggered by somebody who doesn’t agree with us. I think we’ve seen a lot of that. Three years on social media, like it’s kind of been a long show.
Michelle Bourque 7:22 Yeah, yes, that is such a great point. And you also had mentioned, like turning to food. And I think a lot of times, when I first started coaching, I actually started with stop over drinking, because I think when I first got into it, I was kind of at a place where I was like, There’s got to be more to life than this. Like it was like work, work work. I need a glass of wine to relax, work, work work. So can you maybe speak to what you see with your clients and maybe some tools for people to kind of get started?
7:48 Yeah, absolutely. So that was me, but replaced the drinking with the food or the sugar that was my go to and I think part of it was it was legal, it was socially acceptable, there wouldn’t be judgment, if I was just, you know, eating a carton of ice cream on the couch, I felt way better, like sharing that with my friends. Oh my gosh, just down a carton of ice cream. You know, I think to maybe some of that is because I am a mom. And if you show up to Caroline, like, you know, with candy that goes over a little bit better than having, you know, because you’re white or something. So I think that was part of my piece was like wanting that acceptance and that approval in that judgment, because I was already judging myself for how I was showing up and that I was going to food for comfort. But I think for me, it was looking for that release that dopamine release that feel good, because that’s what it gives you initially right and you feel really good. And then you come crashing down. It’s the cycle that you kind of feel stuck in because you don’t know another way to make yourself feel better. And part of that, for me was what you alluded to earlier in the show was my feelings. I didn’t know how to process them. I didn’t know how to work through them. So I stuffed and I stuck with them, they would come out sideways. And that didn’t serve anybody. So I think you’ve really kind of got to get to the root cause of why are we doing that? Why are we turning to the alcohol? Why are we turning to the sugar? Why are we turning to these things and solving Matt? Instead of saying, oh, I need to sugar detox or I need to you know, go 30 days without alcohol, whatever that looks like, but really kind of doing the root cause work to figure out why that behavior is there.
Michelle Bourque 9:21 Yeah. And I think that initially, we’re afraid First off, I don’t even know if sometimes we realize that there’s that root cause but then I think we’re afraid that we’re going to have to face those feelings. But the truth is, it’s super uncomfortable with what you had mentioned the judgments. So true. We feel great in the moment, but then it’s the judgment and that’s the cycle and the stuckness, right.
9:42 Yes. And I think we get used to live in there and it becomes comfortable. And then we try to change and we’re like oh my gosh, this feels weird and awkward. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to do it. I think I’m gonna fail and so then we just go back, but that’s not freedom.
Michelle Bourque 9:56 Yes. And to your point about the food, it’s An interesting kind of double edged sword, I think I’d love to know your thoughts because I feel like, yes, it’s more acceptable that you know, you’re eating the ice cream. But I think once you try to make that shift of not maybe eating that there’s a lot that society has to say about it, because we are so conditioned to say things like, love is food, or aren’t you’re gonna sit and eat with me? Or you know, whatever that flavor is for you. I made this for you. Can you speak to that a little bit?
10:26 Or so I’m saying and I think too, like, for me, my journey started after my children will pass the potty training stage. But even then, like we bribe our children to go on the potty, I’ll give you an m&m. Like it’s it’s usually food related, like all of our reward systems are usually connected to food, or if, oh, let’s go have a good time. Let’s go out for dinner. And I’m not saying these things are bad at all. That’s not the message. It’s more of why is that our default? What is our relationship to that? So I think it’s, you know, again, Oh, you did really well on your on your grades, or, Oh, you did this better behavior. Let’s go get you a cupcake. Like, I think we kind of need to rethink what we’re helping our children believe about food, because it’s not our reward. I mean, it can be for sure. But I think then throws in another component with celebrations like so many celebrations revolve around food. And again, it’s not good or bad. We need food to survive. But I think it’s, what is our relationship with it? Why am I going towards it? What am I looking for in the moment? Michelle Bourque 11:26 Yeah, and it’s interesting, when you’re seeing that I’m also thinking about like, as children a lot of times, it’s like, hey, stop crying, I’m gonna get you this cookie. Like, what else do you need? Right? It’s also kind of a reward to stop feeling the feelings? Yeah.
11:37 Yes. And then to clean your plate. I mean, there’s so many of those messages that come across in childhood that I don’t think anybody intends to happen. But when you really step back and think you’re like, oh, my gosh, you know, kind of, like you said, with the cookie even with, and this might be TMI, but like, even with nursing moms, the baby cries, what do we do we nurse them for comfort. So that association has started really young?
Michelle Bourque 12:00 That is such a great point. I never thought of that. Yes, oh, they must be hungry, give them food.
12:07 And even like, when they’re in the highchair level, like when we try to do the airplane game, and they close their mouth their way. That’s their way of saying no, I’m full. But what do we do open up? Have another bite have a little more? Michelle Bourque 12:20 Yes. And I think that’s such a great point. Because we talk a lot about empowerment here. And I love the idea of really learning to trust ourselves. And I think it’s been I’m still working on that. Right? And I’m, I am not a young chicken necessarily. But I think that starts good answers X. I think that starts right, we start chipping away at that at the Children’s level like they do I know if we can just believe what they’re telling us. Right?
12:48 And it’s, it’s fascinating, you really step back and think about it, you’re like, wow, we have really taught them to not trust themselves and their bodies, you know, in so many different ways. Michelle Bourque 12:59 What would you say is a good starting point, because I’m thinking about the person, you know, sometimes I have clients who will tell me that food controls them. Or it’s the uncomfortable nests, if that’s a word of when you start to make those changes, right. So you’re going out with your friends, and maybe you don’t want to have the second or third glass of wine. What are some tools that you equip your clients with? To get started there?
13:21 Yeah, I think becoming aware and really kind of being curious instead of judgmental, I think that’s a really great starting point is, where am I doing things I don’t want to do? What kind of triggering me I think is a really good question. Is it when I’m out with friends? Is it when I’m at a certain restaurant is that when I’ve had a long day, and I’m overwhelmed, and I haven’t had enough downtime? So I think really, that kind of creating awareness is a great first step. And that replacing judgment with curiosity and saying, Why did I do that? Or what am I looking for in this moment can be really powerful, instead of what we tend to do is, oh, my gosh, I shouldn’t have done that. Oh, my gosh, this is terrible. Oh, I’m such a failure. And that downward spiral starts and that doesn’t serve anybody because then that just makes this one that relief of going back to the food or the alcohol or the water.
Michelle Bourque 14:11 Yeah. And you learn nothing from it when we’re in that state of judgment. And I think when you ask the question, Where am I doing things that I don’t want to do? I remember one of my coaches, I thought this was the most challenging question at the time. And now I look back and she was like, Well, what do you want to do? And I thought, wow, I think there are so many women that don’t even think about that.
14:31 And I think it’s easier to think about what we don’t want, other than what we do. But if you take that phrase rhythm them where the mind goes, the man follows. It makes sense. If you’re focused on what you don’t want, that’s kind of where you’re drawn. But if you start to shift that and think about what do I want, then you can make shifts in that direction.
Michelle Bourque 14:50 That is so great. And you also have a book I just saw that it was you posted online. Can you maybe tell us a little bit about that? Unknown Speaker 14:58 Yeah, I think it was A CALL Thank you. It’s called Finding Freedom. And it’s my journey to overcoming obstacles to living a healthy and free life. So I was really stuck for a while Michelle, I was stuck in trauma and overwhelming grief and stress and just everything that life had handed me, I felt like I had it all, you know, I had the husband and the beautiful home and the healthy kids. And I was able to be home that there was so much that I didn’t have and I couldn’t reconcile the two I was like, Okay, I have what society and everybody says, should make me happy. But I’m over here and miserable. So it’s really a journey of finding freedom, and really kind of learning how to heal and work through some of that and not turn to food or shopping or alcohol or whatever the vices mine, again, was sugar. So that’s just a little bit about the book and my journey and helping people find that freedom to
Michelle Bourque 15:49 where do you think was your biggest turning point? Unknown Speaker 15:53 I think it was when my son was a newborn. And he wasn’t sleeping through the night, our daughter was two and had some undiagnosed food allergies and sensory processing disorder. My husband was traveling for work, I had started to meet with a life coach because I felt really unfulfilled and unhappy. And she also was a licensed clinical social worker who ended up diagnosing me with PTSD from childhood trauma. So I think having that diagnosis and really acknowledging, okay, this is what’s going on, this is what I need to work through. That changed the trajectory for me, because I knew that it wasn’t, something was wrong with me that I was broken. It was like, you have this, and this is what you need to do to get from here to here. I feel like that was my aha, terrible, heartbreaking devastating, like knees on the ground moment. But it was amazing at the same time. Yeah. And Michelle Bourque 16:45 I have to imagine I’ve been reading a lot about also generational changes. And I feel like when you’re able to make that change, then like your kids, it’s a whole different trajectory for them. What are your thoughts?
16:56 100% is like I think what is so cool now is I was just thinking about this the other day, our daughter’s in high school, and I don’t know about you, but high school was terrible. Like you were I was awkward. I didn’t like myself, I didn’t like that I didn’t like anything about my school. And I look at her and she’s loving in high school, and she’s having the best experience and I’m loving High School for her. And with her, I love her classmates. I love the girls on her basketball team. I’m like, I really love high school. But I think I had to work through my own stuff associated with my high school experience to get to that place. And so I think she already has a different experience than I did because of where I’m at, I’m at and where she’s at. And so she has friends that texture and they’ve got stuff going on. And she’s like, how do I respond. And so I’m doing the IU, we do you do, and we’re getting to the Udo part of it, where I’ve kind of coached her and I helped her like, learn how to respond to things. And now she’s doing it. And it’s so exciting because she’s empowered, empowering herself to figure out how to handle these situations, whereas I just would have probably sat in the corner and eaten ice cream and cried.
Michelle Bourque 18:04 I know when you said that I got like chills in my body for high school. These people that say I would love to go back to high school. I’m like, I would not love to go back to high school.
18:12 There might be no back now. Yes, but it’s like back No.
Michelle Bourque 18:16 Right. Exactly. And I love what you said, because I think this is also why I do this stuff. My nieces, I always think about the ripple effect just even within my family. So like you think about your daughter, and then you think about what she gives out to the world and you think about even going back to the life coach that changed your life. Right? Like I feel like coaching can do so much for people
18:38 100% And I think that I don’t know about you but one thing that really gets my go with this is that so many people say that their coaches that they don’t have the credentialing behind it. There’s such a difference between a certified coach and a non certified coach. And so I think the certification is super important who people you know, where they went to school where they got their training, what they know you can have experienced something and gone through it and you can help people but it’s different if you have the certification in my opinion. So I love coaching I love what it does I love the ripple effect that it creates in that like you said it I think for me it’s taken my pain and given a purpose and there’s really nothing more rewarding than
Michelle Bourque 19:18 that. That is such a great point. My most favorite peloton instructor well pretty close to it Robin she always says that turn pain into purpose and I think that’s such a great way to look at things just in order to like keep moving
19:31 right? Absolutely. Because so many times when you’re in pain you’re like this is terrible. What good is gonna come from this and I just kept hoping like okay, use this for something good. Like let somebody be helped because of this.
Michelle Bourque 19:44 Yes. And I’m sure there’s more than somebody there’s a lots of somebody’s that are being helped. So great work there. I also noticed you have so many resources for people and I just got started learning more about the breath work I would love if you can maybe speak specifically to that, because I think I haven’t talked a lot about it on the podcast I’ve mentioned. But as far as like really educating people, you would be most appropriate.
20:09 Thank you. Well, I love breathwork is again, Michelle, that’s a really great technique to kind of link the parasympathetic system with the nervous system with the parasympathetic nervous system, the autonomic nervous system. So it links the body and the brain together. So there are three parts of our brain, we have the thinking brain, the survival brain, and I forget the other one. But the gist of it is we have three parts of our brain to keep us safe. And so when we are in a stressful situation and thinking brain shuts down, because the other parts of the system kind of kick in to help us. And so what the breath work does, it seems to the body and the brain together and tells everything to calm down. It’s beautiful, because it’s like 10 seconds, it’s free, you can do it anywhere, like if you’re in the car lane at school, if you’re in the express lane at the grocery store, and the person in front of you has 40 items, and they’re only supposed to have 10, you know, all those situations or kind of get triggered and irritated. The breath work really kind of links the brain in the body and helps everything calm down. And people I think, are really surprised by the impact of it. They’re like, Oh, my gosh, that actually works. Like I thought you were crazy when you told me to do this, like five, seven breaths, but it works.
Michelle Bourque 21:20 I just always telling my sister yesterday, too, I’m like, I’m not gonna tell too many family members, because I’ve started doing this breathwork thing. But it is so and it’s interesting. One of the guys I work with, he was listening, I think to the Huberman lab, who was talking about the importance of breathwork. And also using it as energizing, like a way to be energized. And I’ve been finding it really helpful for kind of going back to the past, it’s like some of the breath work I’m doing is like 30 minutes. And so I think when you must get into that state of more meditative state that it kind of brings up these memories that you can then work on processing and releasing, is that correct?
21:55 I believe so. I don’t do a whole lot with that in my practice. But I think to like to the point of energy, stress depletes our energy. So anything you can do to replenish that energy, like breath work, is going to have a huge impact on you. And I think, too, the nice thing about the breath work is it does release some of that stress that maybe we didn’t know, we weren’t hearing or holding our body like subconsciously, we had no idea that was even there. Michelle Bourque 22:21 Yeah, absolutely. I remember there was I had an issue, maybe sounds like a side note. But I think we’re still in line here, I had an issue with my tooth. And the dentist, you know, suggested that I pay attention to how often I’m clenching my teeth. And I’m sure that’s also sometimes we hold our breath if we’re exercising, and we don’t even realize it. And I literally left the parking lot. And I noticed I’m just backing up and I have my teeth clenched. I go around in a state of like, and So paying attention, you talk about awareness has got to be so important.
22:51 It’s so important. And I think, again, it’s things that we’ve done, maybe when we were younger, to kind of get through a tough situation, or just a way that we learn to cope or to survive. And really, if you can become aware of when you’re doing those things and why you’re doing them that can really kind of be liberating. Like I had no idea that I even did that like me. I know when I get irritated, my tone gets really kind of person. People are like, you sound mad. And I’m like, don’t assume that I’m mad. You don’t know that I’m mad. Well, your tone and like, okay, then just stay tuned and get it in check here like, come on.
Michelle Bourque 23:25 I am fine. Oh, my gosh, I think that’s so great. And a theme that I’ve kind of seen through some of the things now that you’ve talked about is the importance of awareness, and then the importance of curiosity, and not bringing judgment into it.
23:41 Yes. 100%. Those two, I think were the most powerful for me, Michelle, because I remember the first time meeting with my coach, and she’s like, how do you feel? I’m like, I’m fine. Like, that was my standard answer. I had no other feeling to describe it. So she made me get this book all about feelings. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, this is so like childish. And they’re these different colors. And I but I didn’t I didn’t know I was not aware of how I felt because I just got used to being fine.
Michelle Bourque 24:08 Yes, I think there are a lot of women that are just exactly in air quotes. Fine. And that’s so funny. You talk about the colors, because that’s the same thing when my coach started like, Is it blue? Or is it red? And like, what is she talking about?
24:24 It’s fine.
Michelle Bourque 24:25 I’m fine. I’m fine. I just actually found myself giving my god daughter a book. She just turned two and it was about feelings and it’s about colors. And it’s about all of that because like we let’s start early, right, like let’s change the trajectory for as many people as we can. Unknown Speaker 24:38 Yes. 100% Michelle Bourque 24:40 Have we missed anything? I feel like we’ve touched on a variety of topics that is Unknown Speaker 24:45 bugging me that I can’t think of a third brain so I’m gonna find it. I just did this. I should know this.
Michelle Bourque 24:52 I think it is so fascinating too. As you’re looking for that, that there’s so much I think that we still don’t even know about the brain, right as much as we are Love the thinking part of it and all of that when I read in books on the neuroscience and neuroplasticity, and you don’t have to write when you talk about staying comfortable, you do not have to be this same person. There’s so much more potential out there if you want it
25:15 Absolutely, absolutely. But I think the key is you have to want it. And you have to be willing to take the steps that support that. Yes, so good. It’s thinking brain feeling brain and survival brain?
Michelle Bourque 25:29 Was it was it the feeling brain that you left out? Because that would be kind of funny, I’m gonna have to go back and listen.
25:35 Probably was. Which makes sense. The one that needs activated me more regularly? Michelle Bourque 25:41 100% That’s funny. Okay, where can people find you?
25:49 My website is free. The number two, the letter B coaching.com. So freebie, coaching.com. All about helping women be free to be who they’re meant to be. Michelle Bourque 25:57 And the name of your book again,
25:59 finding freedom.
Michelle Bourque 26:02 Listen, freedom is often a word that’s like when I think about when I do my journaling. And some of the prompts are like, what do you think you will feel? Or why do you want that? And freedom is such a big thing. So I think that’s a great title. Can people just get it anywhere? Amazon? Always that is like Barnes and Noble. Yeah. Okay. That is the everywhere. I think that’s where people get everything. So perfect place. Yeah. Excellent. And we’ll have all of the links in the show notes. Thank you so much. This has been great.
26:30 Thank you. It’s been awesome to connect. I’m so thankful for time.
Michelle Bourque 26:34 wasn’t so great. We had so much fun and I will tell you the feelings work is no joke. Be sure to check Melissa out. She has some really great resources on her page. And you can find her at WWW.free2becoaching.com and on Instagram, free to be underscore coaching. Be sure to check out the notes. I’ll have all the links there for you. And please tag us both and let us know what your top takeaways were. All right, friends, that’s the first week it’s going to be such a month of celebration. I’m super excited. And that’s what I have for you today. Take what works leave what doesn’t and tune in next week for another opportunity to transform your life. Make it a great day. Take care
Michelle Bourque 27:28 Did you know you can take this work to a deeper level with me one on one. Go to Michelle Burt coaching.com and click on get started to begin