Lose weight, lose pain with Becky Longacre

Episode 74

Published July 12, 2023



[Music intro]

This podcast is about entrepreneurship, spirituality, and self-care. My name is Lourdes, and I am the host of this show. Thank you for listening today!

Becky has been a nurse since 2006. She is also a wife, mother, Master’s level student, homeowner, and entrepreneur. She calls herself a nurse-gone-coach, because she uses her clinical expertise as a nurse and personal experience as a patient to help people heal. She specializes in helping people eliminate back pain from their lives by assisting them to lose weight and change their health habits.

Lourdes: And Becky, thank you so much for joining me today! How are you?

Becky: I’m doing great Lourdes, how are you?

Lourdes: I’m good. So you were experiencing some type of pain, can you tell us more about that?

Becky: Yeah, so I became a health coach from using my clinical expertise as a nurse and personal experience as a patient myself, and from those perspectives I was seeing that patients would often go ot the doctor, they would get a diagnosis, they would be prescribed medication or physical therapy or surgery, and they wouldn’t necessarily know how to heal themselves. And so, using my personal experience as a patient with ulcerative colitis, anxiety, and chronic low back pain from being a nurse, I did a lot of research and personal trial and error to develop 7 health behaviors that are proven to improve any illness.

Lourdes: Oh my gosh! I didn’t know you had ulcerative colitis. So is that cured with you doing this?

Becky: So, I don’t use the word “cured” by any stretch of the imagination. I won’t lie to clients and say that I’m going to cure them. But what I can do is teach people health behaviors that dramatically improve their health. So in the case of ulcerative colitis, I’ve been flare-free for as long as 7 years by using these health behaviors that I teach and preach and repeat. I’ve also healed chronic back pain, and I’ve managed and conquered anxiety as well.

Lourdes: Wow! Is it hard to follow your program? What is the first step for somebody trying to learn about this and help themselves and heal?

Becky: So the first step is identifying that you have a problem that you want to solve to begin with. So in the case of chronic back pain, you first have to want to solve the problem in order to make any sort of change to take action. So the desire to want a better life for yourself needs to be present. And then, we really work on mindset in terms of believing that it can be done. Because, and I know this from my own personal experience as a patient being sick, that sometimes you’re sick for so long or you’re in pain for so long that you don’t believe that it can get better. And so one of the things that we work on is mindset framework in terms of you’ve gotta want to solve the problem, you’ve gotta be willing to solve the problem, and you’ve gotta believe that the problem can be solved. So that’s the first step.

Lourdes: Is it hard to convince someone about the mindset? And I’m thinking it might be a challenge for some people to change their mindset over this. I know they’re in pain, but do you find it very difficult for some people to do that mindset thing with you?

Becky: Yes, so the mindset is probably the most difficult part of the program. What I teach is actually pretty simple. It’s not rocket science by any measure, what I teach. But it’s truly having the mindset that “I must take care of myself in order to take care of others. I must take time to take care of my body so that I can show up authentically in my life,” that shifting that mindset is truly probably the most difficult part of the program.

Lourdes: And how long does that usually take with somebody that’s new?

Becky: It’s different for everybody. Some people are ready to make the change on day 1 cause they’ve already done a lot of self-reflection and they know they need help, they’re ready to ask for help. Other people, it’s a lifelong process to develop this mindset for some people. So, in my YouTube videos, I talk about some caregivers are often raised in codependent family situations where they were not encouraged to take care of themselves, they were not encouraged to practice self-care. And so for some people it truly is years of practice, but I can help you get there for sure.

Lourdes: Now that you mention caregivers, is that your ideal client, and if you can tell us who is your ideal client?

Becky: My ideal clients are caregivers, so mothers, nurses, women in general, people that tend to take care of others all the live-long day and they forget to take care of themselves. It’s a personal mission of mine to demonstrate that practicing self-care through these 7 health behaviors that I preach and teach truly allows them to show up for their work undistracted, truly allows them to show up for their family authentically and presently, and gives them more joy.

Lourdes: Do you do this in person or online?

Becky: Both.

Lourdes: And then how do prospects find you or hear about you?

Becky: So, I have a website, it’s https://www.healthtransformersmaine.com and I have a Facebook business page at https://www.facebook.com/HealthTransformersMaine/

Lourdes: Good! And then, typically, about business now, how many clients do you work with at a time?

Becky: At once?

Lourdes: Yeah.

Becky: I can take up to four clients at a time.

Lourdes: And then with a client, what is the typical session or duration that they stay with you?

Becky: So the general experience is we meet online or in person once per week for about 45 minutes, we establish goals. So the first session is always free, because I want to ensure that they feel comfortable with the service, they want to move forward with the service, and then from that first session we establish whether or not we’d be good working partners. So we meet once per week, we establish goals, my framework is SMART goals, so Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant to that person, and Timely. The reason why I use those goals is because it’s an objective measurement for success. So if I ask someone “how are you feeling today?” And they say good, I ask them to quantify, qualify that. What does that mean?

So we meet once per week, we establish smart goals, I give them homework, so that can look like either worksheets to fill out, it can look like exercises to do, it can look like talking to accountability buddies. So I will be one of their accountability buddies, and I ask them to identify two more accountability buddies to hold them accountable so that they can make progress. And then we go from there. And it’s really important to note that goals need to be attainable, so that’s the A part of the SMART acronym. If the client is getting frustrated, then it’s important to really look at the goal and see if we need to shift things a little bit.

Lourdes: So when they do a session with you and contact you, is it because they’re having low back pain or stomach issues or what?

Becky: So the online marketing that I do is focused on low back pain, just for simplicity of message purposes. The people that I meet with in person I help with low back pain and I help with other issues as well, like weight loss and things like that.

Lourdes: And that was my next question, I know you offer remote services or virtual services. As far as exercises are concerned, do you just get on Zoom and show them what to do, or how does that work?

Becky: I have videos that I direct them to. So I have a public YouTube video service and then I have private YouTube videos that I’ll give to personal clients. In terms of exercises to work on that will reduce and eliminate low back pain from their life and increase their functional status, and I can also in session right in the Zoom meeting I can demonstrate how to do the exercises as well.

Lourdes: So with the exercises, do you provide nutritional guidelines? Because is it also that in order to make back pain less painful somebody has to lose weight?

Becky: In some instances, that is true. So, unfortunately in America, and globally really, we do have a weight problem. It’s such that in some states 50% of the population is not only overweight, but they’re obese, which means that they’re more likely to die an early death directly related to their weight. And so, yes. In my personal story, I did have to lose weight myself to reduce the weight load that my back was carrying so that I could heal my back pain. And so that is sometimes the story, weight loss is part of the journey as well.

Lourdes: So how long did it take you to lose so many pounds of weight, and is it hard? You’ve gone through it, it’s gotta be difficult to watch your diet, right?

Becky: 100%. What I’ll say is caregivers, nurses, a lot of people know theoretically on paper what to do and what to eat. And if knowledge was the answer, then we wouldn’t need doctors, we wouldn’t need nurses, we wouldn’t need health coaches. So the reason why a health coach is beneficial in achieving your goals is because health coaches help you to remove the barriers to your success. So you can say I’m gonna lose 10 pounds, and you could be living a lifestyle that you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not hydrating, you’re working long hours, and that is increasing the chances that you’re gonna go through the drive-thru for example. So it’s a deeper approach.

And your question was how long? So for everybody it’s different. The general rule of thumb, unless someone is highly motivated, is 1 pound per week. So in a 12 week program that would be between 10-13 pounds of weight loss to be expected. Unless they’re highly motivated, in which case we could up the ante.

Lourdes: I thought of another question which is related to the food. What if somebody doesn’t like eating fruits and vegetables or salads? And they like pasta, bread, meat and potatoes kind of person? Cause I know people that won’t even touch fruit, it freaks me out, but what about people like them?

Becky: One of my philosophies is food should serve your body, so it should fuel your body, it should bring you together in your community, and it should be enjoyable. So I will not, if someone doesn’t like broccoli, it’s a waste of my time to try to get them to like broccoli. It’s a waste of their time. If they hate broccoli, just move on to the next thing. What I will encourage them to do is, is there any fruit or any vegetable that you’ve ever enjoyed in your life, and stick with that. I call it low-hanging fruit. So any fruit or vegetable that you’ve enjoyed, even if you dress it up a little bit, even if you add a little bit of cheese to it, how can we get you to enjoy your eating so it’s sustainable?

Lourdes: Yeah, I hate for them to continue to eat pizza. I do know some people, a good friend of mine, who don’t eat fruit. They just drink fruit juice. Like, are you kidding me? It’s crazy!

Becky: One thing that I’ll encourage is just small baby micro-steps towards the goal. So I’m not going to make someone feel bad about themselves if they’re not eating the five a day fruits & veggies that the FDA recommends. If they’re eating 0 fruits & veggies per day and they start to eat 2 fruits & veggies per day, that’s a step in the right direction.

Lourdes: That is true. You’ve also mentioned anxiety issues, does that relate to weight loss, nutrition, or back pain?

Becky: Yes, so you bring up a good point in terms of a lot of health concerns are related. So an example is anxiety, in my body, can be held in my neck, it can be held in my back, it can be held as headaches and things like that. So taking care of the body, mind, soul, is helpful in making a lot of health conditions a lot better.

Lourdes: Interesting, that was my other question, is what do you mean by mind body and soul?

Becky: So the body aspect of it is the engineering part of it, so being hydrated, sleeping, going out into the sunlight, eating a good healthy diet. And then the mind part is learning more about what you need to do to take care of your body. And the soul part is really, in terms of weight loss, let’s be honest, a lot of us stress eat, that’s just the truth of it. So dealing with emotions in a more healthy way is gonna help with that aspect of it, and soul includes spirituality and joy. So in your life, I do not want people to feel getting healthy is a drag or something that is dutiful, I want them to see it as a joyful experience that’s really serving them in all ways possible.

Lourdes: So with anxiety and the psych part of this mind thing, I’m sure people go to you and they’re depressed and they’re sad or they feel discouraged if they’re not losing 1 pound a week, they might even be crying. Is that some type of emotional support that you also do with them?

Becky: 100%. So, the surface issue is I’m gonna help you with your low back pain and maybe help you lose weight if that’s your problem or that’s contributing to your problem. But truly truly truly, we talk about the whole person. I was recently working with a client that she started on basically a 3-day binge of food, and I’m talking to her about really being mindful about her feelings. What initiated the binge, what continued the binge, and really getting to those deeper levels of why we do the things we do.

Lourdes: Yeah, that’s pretty sad, huh? So, how do you know when you cannot help a client with back or weight loss?

Becky: So, it’s just a matter of shifting the goals. So for example, I did work with a client that is likely going to need surgery, and she had worked with a doctor, she had worked with a physical therapist, not an occupational therapist. She worked with me, and out of all of the people in the healthcare team, we weren’t able to really improve her symptoms, and so she had a surgical consult and she might have to have surgery. So over the course of working with her, when we identified that what we were doing wasn’t making statistically significant change in her health status, the goals had to change.

So we had to shift from disease reversal, because health coaching can’t solve all problems, just like surgery can’t solve all problems. We had to shift from that to mindset, in terms of “Okay, I have to wait for the surgical consult, how am I going to cope while I wait to talk to the doctor? How am I gonna get my community involved to help me?” So for example, “how am I gonna ask my husband to help around the house because I’m in pain, how can I ask my mother for help, and what can I do in my life that’s bringing me joy?” So it’s really a fluid program that’s based around the individual’s needs.

Lourdes: Wow, and a lot of support from everybody too, that’s nice. So, about how many – And I know this is probably going to be a funky answer because everybody’s different, but I just wonder, about how many sessions would someone start to feel the difference? Is it the first session after they get off the phone with you and they’re like, they got their mindset, they’re gung ho, the next one would be involving a little bit more, maybe exercise, nutrition guidelines. How many sessions when they start feeling a little better?

Becky: Well, the goal of the first session is to get them to latch on to the idea that there is a solution, there is help coming, and we are going to solve this problem together. So, they should feel better by the first session, and most people do. Of course, everyone’s different, so it’s hard to answer that question for everybody. But I know with my own health coaches and mentors, once I’ve started getting the help, that’s like 50% of the problem is just getting emotional support, emotional help with solving the problem.

Lourdes: Yeah, that’s nice. And then, do they fall off the wagon? As if they just had a bunch of pizza instead of eating more fruits and vegetables. What do they do, do they call you and just feel bad?

Becky: So, there’s no shame involved in the program, because emotional eating and addictive behaviors live in shame, so there’s 0 shame in terms of getting better and healing from stuff. So often I’ll just reflect back to them what their established goals are. So, do you want to lose weight to let go of your back pain, is that still a true statement? “Yes it is.” Okay, and one of the first things that I’ll tell clients is that I am not perfect myself. So there are times when I eat a little bit too much or I don’t eat perfectly, and that’s all part of being a human. The goal is to progress so that you’re better and better every day, but no one’s ever gonna be perfect with this.

Lourdes: Well said. We’re all humans. So moving on, I’m gonna ask you, what have you been working on? Do you have any promotions or events coming up?

Becky: So, I recently put together a mini-course that I’m starting to make available. It’s just to give people an idea of what I do. It’s $99, and it’s 4 videos I share privately on YouTube, and it’s in regards to specifically losing weight so that you can eliminate back pain from your life. So I talk about mindset, I talk about exercise, I talk about eating healthy. I talk about all of the community and spiritual aspects of things that you need to change to improve your health.

Lourdes: And when is that gonna be available, or is it available now?

Becky: It is available now if people are interested. They can go to either my Facebook page and message me there, or they can go directly to my website,  https://www.healthtransformersmaine.com

Lourdes: Sounds good. And then, in all my interviews I always ask a funny or a weird question, so we’re about that time. So would you rather have unlimited pizza, sushi, or tacos for life? Why do you choose that food?

Becky: I would choose sushi, just because that’s my palate.

Lourdes: Do you eat the raw fish or is it all cooked stuff?

Becky: Raw, it’s good stuff.

Lourdes: Really? I can’t do it! I only do the bad stuff.

Becky: Yup, I also like raw oysters, I like all of that seafood stuff.

Lourdes: Oh my gosh! I won’t eat any raw fish, it’s weird. Interesting answer. So finally, how do people connect with you again? Can you tell our listeners where to find you and how to connect with you again?

Becky: So the website is https://www.healthtransformersmaine.com and/or https://www.facebook.com/HealthTransformersMaine/

Lourdes: Okay. And did you say you had YouTube videos? Are those public or are they all private?

Becky: They’re public. And I went and looked at my actual URL link on my YouTube, and you quite frankly just look up “Health Transformers” and it will come up on YouTube.

Lourdes: Perfect. And then they can contact you through YouTube too correct?

Becky: Yes, absolutely.

Lourdes: Great, well thank you so much Becky for coming on the podcast and we’re learning more about what you do. This is awesome!

Becky: Thank you so much Lourdes.

Lourdes: Alright, have a wonderful day and I’ll talk to you later!

[Music outro]

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