217 Breaking Free From Guilt with Jenn Trepeck
This week on the podcast, I welcome health coach Jen Trepick to discuss strategies for moving away from guilt and embracing gratitude. Timely for the Thanksgiving season in the US, our conversation delves into the challenges women face in balancing various aspects of their lives and the guilt that often accompanies these struggles. Jen shares her personal journey of overcoming food issues and emphasizes the importance of keeping commitments to oneself. The discussion shifts towards practical strategies, such as setting realistic and manageable goals, shifting perspectives to view self-care as support for other priorities, and focusing on presence instead of an elusive balance.
In this episode, we cover:
- Shifting Perspectives on Guilt and Gratitude
- Gratitude's Role in Willpower
- Presence Over Balance
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Hey everyone, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Jen today, as if you are listening to this on the day that this podcast has gone live. We here in the US have our Thanksgiving holiday in a couple of days, and so I thought this was a great topic, very timely on really leaning into and talking about how can we learn how to move away from guilt and into gratitude instead, and Jen's gonna be sharing with you some of the something I learned today on a relationship between gratitude and willpower that I thought was incredibly powerful, so I'm thrilled for you all to meet her. Let's go ahead and get started. Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast.
I'm your host, megan Somerle. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling, hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity, so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram, at Megan Somerle, with the word harmony, and my team will send it right over.
Hey everyone, welcome back to work life harmony. I have a new guest that I'm thrilled to introduce you to today. I'm gonna let her introduce herself in just a minute. Jen Trepick is a health coach, but so much more based on some of the conversations we've had about her views on work life balance, how we handle taking care of ourselves when we were juggling that and all the things. So, jen, welcome to the show. Why don't you tell everyone a little bit about yourself? And then I'm excited to have our conversation today around gratitude.
Yeah. So, megan, first of all, thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here. So I came to all this wellness stuff through my own. I call it a saga. I feel like there were journey like death and do it justice. I love that. I mean, there was drama, there was ups and downs, right. So I was a dancer growing up.
I ate healthy food, and then somebody in my family, though, was always on a diet. So when I started to gain weight between high school and college, I was like, okay, well, I know what to do, because I watched my family do this right, and I did every diet under the sun, gained and lost, that yo-yo, beating myself up into compliance, like all of the things, trying to like white-knuckle it and figure out how to like get control over this piece of my life that felt so outside of myself. And in that process, I learned about a curriculum that I ended up basing my practice on, and it really is the only thing that's allowed me to say I've kicked my food issues, and so, I mean, I became a health coach because of it, because I was like everybody deserves this information. This, to me, was like the nutrition education we're all supposed to know, but no one ever taught us yeah.
It's like we're all humans. We have bodies.
Yes, exactly, I think the food pyramid was all we were ever taught, and so what I learned is, among many things, but the food pyramid that we thought was about nutrition or maybe biology was actually about economics. It was about getting us to eat what we grow in this country. What do we grow? Corn and wheat, yeah, right. So I learned all this and I was like everybody deserves this information, right? So I became a health coach. I built my practice on the side for like 12 years.
So, for everybody who feels like they have a lot going on, I worked full time. I had a side hustle before. Side hustles were a thing, was before health coaching with a thing, and it wasn't so. This was all like 2007. So in 2019, I left my full-time job and launched my podcast Salad with the Side of Fries, and now I'm here talking to you.
Right, long story short, but it's interesting because I came to all this through my own health stuff mostly about weight and in working with clients, when, if I was having a challenge or my clients were having a challenge, I was an insatiable student, so I went to every seminar and workshop and read every book I could get my hands on to understand why we're feeling the way we are. What's the science of it? Because even the big thing for me with the nutrition stuff was the shift from choices being emotional to intellectual. So in my old job there was a communal kitchen and Monday mornings there was like continental breakfast, right. And those mini croissants and pastries had a voice and they would call my name. Right, you laugh because you know right.
And I remember distinctly one day walking into the kitchen and going oh my God, I get why that's appealing to me right now. So what that's telling me is that I need this. So let me go eat the thing that I had brought for breakfast and then see if I still want the mini muffin, right. And it was completely a different conversation than the one of before, which would have been like why do you suck? Why can't you just not eat the croissant? Like? You can walk in the kitchen and walk out once, maybe twice, but three times is real hard. You know.
Well, it's interesting you bring that up because you know we were kind of talking some about guilt right, it's not guilty of like, oh God, what's wrong with me?
And you know at the time that this podcast is airing here in the US, we're just a few days away from Thanksgiving, and so there's a lot of talk and reflections and thoughts right now around gratitude.
I know one of our family traditions, which I know so many families share, is sharing something we're grateful for before Thanksgiving dinner. But it's also the time of year where, for women in particular, it's like we're just getting the engines revved because we're rolling into Thanksgiving. Then we've got all the you know the chaos that comes with December and there's a lot of guilt that can come with that, whether it's the guilt over the choices that we're making, of the food that we're eating, whether it's the guilt of where we're spending our time, what we didn't do, what we felt like we should do and we're not. So what are some strategies that you can share to help us get from a place where we can move away from the guilt and really truly focus on the gratitude? And then you were sharing even some brain science around why that focus on gratitude can actually help us as well.
Yeah, so we got a lot. There's a lot that we could talk about here, maybe like two really good strategies, yeah, so I want to preface the whole thing with an umbrella of now, this is not actual science, this is my own theory. Okay, when the guilt shows up? So I believe that the guilt shows up when we don't keep our commitments to ourselves, when we don't do the thing that we told ourselves we were going to do and most of us are more likely to keep the commitments we make to others than the commitments we make to ourselves, because we're the only ones who know Right and then it triggers the guilt. Coulda shoulda woulda Right.
So If number one, our objective, is simply to keep the commitments we make to ourselves, make commitments that you can keep. Maybe we aren't going to say, oh, I'm going to get to the gym for an hour. In fact, research shows us that 10 minutes of walking after a meal is crazy powerful. So I could do 10 minutes today, right, right. So when we keep that commitment of the 10 minutes, we get some momentum and we start to feel better about ourselves and everything.
Yeah. This ties so well into one of the nine pillars or one of the nine components in the entire top framework. The top framework I teach one of them is realistic. It's all about being. We've got to be realistic with the time that we have so that we're being realistic with what we're planning to do and the expectations that we have on ourselves.
Exactly, exactly, and so, with that too, we can feel like before we recorded I was telling you this idea of the Venn diagram of our lives. We can feel like we're pulled in a million different directions. We have the gifts for the holidays that we need to purchase and our work commitments and showing up for our family and cooking the holiday meal let alone the every other meals and all the things that we feel like need our effort, energy and attention, and so it's like there's a million circles and somewhere in the middle they all overlap and there's us, right Like this octopus, being pulled in a million directions. What if, instead of thinking about it like all these other things and all these different things that need us, we push all those circles together and it becomes one circle instead of a Venn diagram. And so the things that we do for ourselves support the way we show up for our kids, support the way we show up for our work and all the other things that are also priorities.
I love that you said that because I think we all intrinsically know, like okay, if I'm taking care of myself, I can show up better for others. But so often?
but then we feel like it's just about the time.
Yeah, that's the first thing that falls off the plate of what we're doing, and it's always the well if there's time. So I just I love that you brought that up, because it's so important.
And so thinking about that? Now, right, what if the 10 minute walk is everything I can do to support my kids? Right, to show them that taking care of yourself is really important, to demonstrate through our own right, because what is it like what we do versus what we say? Right, 10 minutes, or even? And to set expectations with them too. Hey, mom needs 10 minutes. When the clock says this number, then I'm all yours right.
And by that token, too, I sort of you know, when we feel like we're pulled in all these directions. I feel like balance is nonsense, right, like I call balance a four letter word. You know, I agree with that, right, right. And so what if, again, instead of trying to fit all the things in and find some sort of balance, we focus on presence, so that when we're with our kids, we're actually with our kids, and when we have, you know, a 30 minute window to tackle some work things, it is an incredibly productive 30 minutes, right?
I can tell you like, as a kid, my parents got to worse. When I was five, there were certainly things that they weren't both at or didn't go to, and to this day, I'm best friends with my parents. Right, we can make things mean a lot. But if what our kids experience of us when we're with them is that we're present, that's it right, that's the thing. That's what they're going to remember, not the fact that we had to go to the gym or not, the fact that we also prep dinner, right, like all of these kinds of little things in there.
So what do we have, right? The realistic, manageable commitments to ourselves. We have shifting our perspective that what we're doing is supporting them and supporting all the other commitments, rather than taking away from them. So you know, perspective shift, focusing on presence. So, wherever we are, just be there. And then the last thing is the gratitude. So I have hours of content on willpower. So putting this into, like you know, the Cliff note, cliff note version Think of willpower like a refillable cup. Right there we have one cup of willpower, one cup a day. That's it, unless we replenish it. So it's about thinking through all the things that drink from the cup and all the things that can put, you know, willpower back into the cup. So your 10 minute walk puts willpower back into the cup, nutrition puts willpower back into the cup, but, interestingly, also gratitude puts willpower back into the cup.
I love that.
So can we, for a few minutes, pause and just think about what we're grateful for. And I'm going to challenge everybody. A lot of times they say, oh, three things. I'm going to challenge you to do five things, and here's why everyone is obsessed with the number three on things.
You're talking three or you're like what? There's no science behind that, so right, let's do five.
And my challenge with five is because it forces us to find the little things. It's really easy to find three big things right, but when you got to go to five it forces us to think about the little things. So I live in New York City, so sometimes for me it's like the train showed up exactly when I got down the steps right, or it was raining but not when I had to be outside. You know little things that we can find to be grateful for, and so having the five versus the three pushes us to notice some of the smaller stuff that's there in every day.
Now, how does a focus on gratitude help us offload some of the guilt when maybe we don't make the best choices? And I think it's interesting to talk about even this this time of year, when I know for me I'm always tempted to make not the best choices with all the goodies and treats that are floating around this time of year.
Yeah, it's interesting. I see it all the time where we think what's going to get us to do the things that we know we should do. Right, Should, and air quotes, I think also stop shutting the bed, Like, can everybody get rid of that word? Right, Okay, when we try to beat ourselves up into compliance, it really doesn't work. But that's what happens. When we have that guilt. We sometimes think that if we make ourselves feel bad enough, then we'll do the thing.
What we actually see in behavior change science is that when we focus on what we do want, when we focus on what we're adding versus what we're eliminating, everything opens up.
Everything becomes easier and we can actually get to a place of momentum and consistency, which is what's required to make forward progress. One day, one meal, one, anything isn't what got us here or what's going to get us there. Whatever our there is In terms of exercise, I always say it's not like you can go to recess once in third grade and be like check the box, I don't have to do that anymore. We have to do a little bit all the time If we can just focus on the gratitude piece of the things that we are able to do in a day versus hyper-focusing on the things that didn't tap in. All the people who make that to-do list just so they can cross things off, do it. Keep doing it, Right, Right, Because we want to focus it on everything we are doing, that gratitude for making it happen, versus magnifying the thing that's making us feel guilty that we didn't do.
I think when we put our energy on the gratitude, then we just start seeing it everywhere. Like everyone knows the old analogy of the minute you go by a certain car, all of a sudden you see it everywhere, when you never used to see it. Exactly I think the same can be true with gratitude. When we start a practice of it, where we are doing our five or even more every day, it becomes easier and easier to see it. Then, the more that we are seeing it, then it fills up all the space so that there isn't enough space for all the other gunk to take place in our brain and our experience.
Exactly, it's called the crowding out method. We're going to add all this good stuff in and the rest is going to take care of itself, versus trying to pull out all of the bad stuff or all the stuff that's making us feel frustrated or stressed out or whatever.
I like that. What was it crowding? It's called crowding out. Oh, as soon as you said that, I instantly thought of if you had a cup of water and you put a little color in it. You can't take that out, but you could just fill the water with clean water and eventually the other stuff It'll be clear again Comes out. Exactly.
Oh that's so good. This has been so wonderful. I would challenge everyone that's listening to right now. Well, as soon as we're done, take a minute and come up with five things like right away, so that you can start to practice this gratitude. If you're listening to this on the day it comes out, you'll just be even more prepared to share your gratitude on Thanksgiving. If you're in the US, Jen, where is the best place for people to connect with you? Do you have anything you'd like to share with everybody?
Absolutely. First of all, thank you, Megan, for having me. I love nothing more than connecting with you. We're giving everybody a complimentary discovery. Call you and me 30 minutes, whatever you want to talk about Fantastic, You'll have the link for that. Then my podcast is Salad with a Side of Fry's.
I love that name, I'm like, thank you. I don't want a side of fries with their salad. Yes, please.
This is called Balance. That is where I will use the word Balance. Fair, Then all social media. I am at GenTrepic J-E-N-N-T-R-E-P-E-C-K Website is aceladwithasideofryescom for those who are not social media people.
Yeah, we've got all the links for you. Send a message In the show notes as well. But I cannot thank you enough for sharing your most precious commodity, which is your time here with us today. It has been such a treat. Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over.
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