Healthy Habits For Positive Body Image with Coach Ali Sempek

When it comes to wellness, the conversation is shifting. No longer is health simply a matter of physical appearance or the numbers displayed on a scale. It’s about embracing a holistic approach that nourishes the body, mind, and soul. In the podcast’s recent episode with Coach Ali, a wellness coach with a mission to empower women, we delve deep into the true essence of health and happiness, and positive body image.

Timestamps to help you navigate this episode:
0:00 Intro
2:46 FREE Self Love & Sweat MONTHLY Calendar
9:05 Cultivating A Healthy Mindset
17:38 Redefining Wellness and Beauty Standards
31:07 Sponsor: Snap Supplements 25% OFF using code LUNDEN25
39:32Tools For Healthy Eating That’s Not A Diet

Challenging Beauty Standards: The Start to Self-Acceptance

In a society obsessed with weight loss and physical beauty, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that happiness and self-worth are tied to our appearance. Coach Ali challenges this notion, opening up about her own decade-long struggle with disordered eating and her journey to self-acceptance. From the cycle of negativity and self-loathing, we discuss how we can shift our mindset for a positive body image and self-confidence.

Nurturing The Soul for Self-Love and Acceptance

The episode doesn’t just highlight the problems with society’s beauty standards; it offers solutions. Coach Ali advocates for a mindset shift from self-criticism to self-love. She stresses the importance of nurturing ourselves and recognizing the damaging impact of consuming not just food, but media, conversations, and thoughts that don’t serve our well-being.

How To Redefine Wellness for Oneself

Physical activity and a positive body image is redefined in this conversation—not as a means to an end, but as a celebration of what our bodies are capable of. We encourage listeners to view exercise as a tool to overcome life’s challenges, with gratitude for the body’s abilities taking center stage. This perspective shift away from the calorie-counting obsession to a focus on mental and emotional strength is a breath of fresh air in the fitness world.

As Coach Ali shares her wisdom on holistic coaching techniques, she emphasizes the multifaceted nature of health. Stress, relationships, and emotional well-being play just as significant a role in our health and positive body image as diet and exercise. By identifying stressors and finding personalized ways to cope, we can step off the autopilot of modern life’s stress and move towards a restorative state of being.

 

Full transcript episode 171

Lunden Souza: 

Welcome to Self Love and Sweat The Podcast, the place where you’ll get inspired to live your life unapologetically, embrace your perfect imperfections, break down barriers and do what sets your soul on fire. I’m your host, Lunden Souza. Hey, have you grabbed your free Self Love and Sweat monthly calendar yet? This calendar is so amazing. It comes right in your inbox every single month to help you have a little nugget of wisdom, a sweaty workout, a mindset activity, just a little something, something to help keep you focused and motivated and keep that momentum towards your goals. So every day, when you get this calendar, you’ll see a link that you can click that will lead to a podcast episode or a workout or something that will be very powerful and quick to read. And then you’ll also see, on the top left corner of every single day, there’s a little checkbox in the calendar and what that is is that’s for your one thing. You can choose one thing every month, or it can be the same, something that you want to implement and make this something that you can easily implement, like daily meditation or getting a certain amount of steps or water, for example, and staying hydrated and even taking your supplements. This can be something if you want to get more regular doing a particular habit and routine. You can choose what that checkbox means. So if you want your Self Love and Sweat free monthly calendar delivered right to your inbox every month on the first of the month, go to lifelikelunden.com/calendar, fill out the form really quickly and you will have your calendar in your inbox within a few short minutes. That’s lifelikelunden L-I-F-E, L-I-K-E, L-U-N-D-E-N dot com forward slash calendar. Go, get yours for free and enjoy this episode.

Lunden Souza: 

Happy today and welcome back to Self Love and Sweat The Podcast, as well as Self Love and Sweat Radio, wherever you’re listening. Welcome. I’m so excited to have Ali Sempek today as our guest on the show. I already know from before we pressed record that we have so much in common and it’ll be such a great and powerful conversation today. Ali Sempek, aka Coach Ali, is an internationally certified wellness coach and founder and CEO of her own women’s empowerment company. Ask Coach Ali. After a decade of disordered eating and failing to hate her body into skinny, Ali craved more from her life than a smaller jean size. Today she’s changing the narrative of what healthy looks like by helping women transform their relationships with food and who they see in the mirror. Ali, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to just dive in.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, same, yeah, same. One of the things that I love, and I want to start right here, because you talk about breaking up with the need to lose weight, and I think I’ve done an episode on this before in terms of breakups, right, like in romantic relationships, going through a breakup but what I’ve known through my own working in journey is that the breakups, and even the deaths within ourselves, outside of other people, are the most profound. So how do we break up with this need to lose weight and this kind of dieters mentality? Um, for those listening, I’m sure they’ve been, you know thinking they need to be a certain type of weight, need to do this type of workout. But what does it look like to really like break up with that part of yourself and how do we do that?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I love the way that you phrase that too, because it is. It’s truly such an identity, right? F or so many of us. We have really always felt this way about our bodies or about who we are that it’s become an identity, whether it’s being a fitness junkie or a, you know, a constant yo-yo diet or however we want to phrase it. It’s such a big part of our lives because we’re constantly thinking about it. And so when we come to the idea of like, okay, this isn’t working, I need something to shift right, typically we’re exhausted, we’re miserable. I need something to shift, right? Typically we’re exhausted, we’re miserable.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Um, and we? We want to break up with the diet culture mentality. It first has to come from a space of like, honest vulnerability with yourself of is this actually working? Like, what has dieting or trying to be in a smaller body ever given you? Right? And then, looking at, what is it that you actually want? I tell clients a lot of the time what we want is not actually what we’re desiring, right? We might say, oh well, I want to lose weight. Okay, that’s fine. If that’s truly your goal, that’s wonderful. Um, but what do you think the weight loss is going to give you? That’s wonderful, but what do you think the weight loss is going to give you, right? And so I think, in order to kind of break up with this like need to to lose weight or to look a certain way, it’s a lot of self-reflection, it’s a lot of recognizing like why, why, why do I think that this is important for me to do? What am I going to get out of it?

Lunden Souza: 

And what do your clients say when you ask that question? What’s the? I’m sure it’s a question phrased in a way where it’s like, oh, I just thought skinnier would bring me all the answers. What is some of the why that comes up when they think about why they want to be skinny, fit in a certain type of gene.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Yeah, so much of it has to do with what you just said of being happy, feeling accepted, feeling worthy. A lot of the work that we do, we start with mindset, and so it’s really uncovering, okay, where are these living beliefs coming from? Right? If we start to understand why, then we get to understand where is it coming from who, when, right? What experience taught you that? So a lot of times I hear like well, I’ve always been told I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not small enough. Right, I’m not enough. And so it’s truly more of these feelings of acceptance, of love, of safety, of belonging, which are inherently what, as humans, like, we crave right, that’s truly how we function is love, safety and belonging. And so we’re finding surface level ways to almost like mimic that rather than finding it within ourselves.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, and I think when you get people in the coaching I do too it’s like when you get people to say out loud, oh, I was looking for this weight or this thing to happen outside of me, to then be happy, to then feel like I’m good enough. And when you say it out loud, it’s like, oh shit, I believed that, I didn’t realize, I believed it until I took time, worked in, silenced all the noise, all the senses, all the things, and you look at it for that and it’s like, huh, oh man. So once you have that realization of like, okay, I don’t feel good enough unless I’m a certain size. I know from mindset, work, nlp and all the things we can’t just go from I don’t think I’m good enough to. I’m good enough, okay, now I broke up with it and I’m good to go.

Lunden Souza: 

And I also like the way you painted that picture, because it’s similar in romantic relationships. It’s like something’s not right, it feels off, but I don’t know what it’s like to not be in this relationship. What do I feel like? I’m getting out of it and is it what my ideal self would want to get out of this relationship? So paint the picture, or someone listening, you might be in that space where it’s like, oh yeah, I realized I’m trying to be good enough for whoever said I wasn’t when I was younger and I just imprinted that on me. But it’s oftentimes, in fact I would argue, never enough just to say okay, I am good enough, I am good enough, and repeat that if you don’t believe it yet. So what does that bridge?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

look like, right, it’s so ingrained into the makeup of, like, who you are in that moment. I always I tell my clients that if you look back over the course of your life, your life has just been framed by experience after experience, right, and you had an experience that had a heightened emotional charge, something that was really impactful for you, and then every time you were in a similar experience after that, you took that lens and applied it right and so like to your point. With relationships, we do that. We look at, well, this was what happened with this particular partner, this is how I acted, this is how they reacted. So I’m going to take that, I’m going to apply it to every single person that I’m with next, or I’m going to try to be almost like fixing them the way I wish I would have been able to fix the initial relationship.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Um, it’s the same thing with our bodies and with our relationship with food. We look at, well, I was told this, or I experienced this, for instance, like I watched my mom diet her whole life and always pick her body apart. Okay, so I took pieces of what I learned from that and I applied it to my own narrative. Right, so I took pieces of what I learned from that and I applied it to my own narrative. Right, a belief is nothing more than a thought that we have thought so many times that now we believe it to be true. Right, and I think what’s really cool about that is that means that we can also change it. Right, every belief that we have right now, it may or may not be true. It’s completely framed by our own experience. So that also means that we have the power to change it if it’s not giving us what we want.

Lunden Souza: 

I call that the copy paste life, what you talked about, like something happened and we automatically assume it’s going to happen again that way or mindlessly, without awareness. It’s just like that’s the way we’ve done it, that’s the way we’ve thought and we get the sameness because we never took the time to look in and decide that we want to change. You talk about hating yourself, skinny, and how that. As I read that in your bio and I was like, yeah, talk more about that, about what it’s like for a woman to hate themselves, to skinny, and why that’s not the, the idea why it doesn’t work, the way to go, right.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Um, yeah, I, I recently have kind of come into this, this phrasing I guess I would call it is you know, so often we have been taught, whether it’s by our experiences or by society or our own headspace, that we should try to hate ourselves into a skinnier body, right, and what it might look like if we change the narrative and instead we loved ourselves into a healthy body, right, because they’re directly correlated. So cut me off at any time. But my own story. I struggled immensely with my relationship with food, with body dysmorphia, growing up, never feeling like I fit what society said I should look like. I was always too much, I was too curvy, I was too loud, I, I just didn’t quite fit.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Um, and whether it was you know, watching my mom’s struggle with her own body image and her own confidence, um, or it was growing up in the nineties and early two thousands where, uh, it was very much like the Kate Spade nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I was always told that if you’re skinnier, you’re more attractive, you’re more wanted, you’re healthier. Right, I directly correlated health with a smaller body and, in turn, what I think a lot of women do is similar to myself is. I wanted to punish myself for not being what I thought I should be, right. So that meant I was saying terrible things to myself in the mirror when I saw myself.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Every day, I was thinking terrible things about my body. I was always, you know, saying self-deprecating comments or joking about my size when other women would make comments about theirs. I was looking at food as a way to manipulate my body size, so I was restricting it. I was punishing myself if I ate too much. I was weighing myself constantly and judging again whether I was good or bad based upon a number, and so it almost became again this like identity or this concept of. I was truly trying to hate myself into a smaller body. I was trying to punish every aspect of myself for not being what I thought it was supposed to be. Rather than what I coach now is teaching women how to how to love yourself into a healthier body. Because which way do you think is going to be more successful, right? Your body being scared of you and knowing that you’re angry with it, or a body that trusts you? That’s like great. She loves me. Today, I’m going to probably function the way she wants me to function.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, I love that and thank you for sharing and opening up. I think you’re speaking for a lot of women listening now where we’re just like, yeah, our own biggest critic, we’re beating ourself up into action or, you know, are thinking that we’re doing that. I remember one time, uh, doing a meditation and then just feeling very compelled, in a loving way, actually to write down all the shit I talk about myself, about how I don’t and you said something too like I’m too much, I’m too loud, right, my light is too bright. Like calm down, Lunden. Like not everybody wants to go deep right away, Like all these different things. And I remember writing them all down and being like, oh my gosh, Like I was at a point when I did that where I already kind of had an understanding of what you mentioned about how we can judge ourselves.

Lunden Souza: 

And you know, the, the correlation between us just judging others all the time is actually a direct reflection of the judging we do to ourselves. So I was like what do I really say about me? Right, that I don’t think I’m good enough, that I’m too much? Um, a recent one that’s come up I’m 35 now, so I know that I’m not old, but some limiting belief is coming up.

Lunden Souza: 

Sometimes that’s like you’re too old for that or you’re getting right and I’ve just I’m at a different point in your life at this age, right? For those of you listening, you can’t see my expression, but I’m kind of smiling and giggling at it, because once you have the awareness of some of these thought patterns doesn’t mean that they all suddenly go away. It’s just like we get to nurture them individually and just kind of, yeah, love on them a little bit more. So that really resonated where you know maybe someone listening. You want to get out and get real, like write it down, like what did? How are you judging yourself? What are you saying about yourself? You know there’s that phrase the truth will set you free, and I think sometimes people interpret that as like okay, I need to tell people the truth. Yes, that’s important, but like we also need to be really honest with ourselves.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I say, you know we can’t move forward and get what we want or make this transformation you know, mind, body and soul without reflecting on where we’ve been, right?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

And so sometimes it does mean like I want you to write everything out that you’ve ever thought about yourself, that you’ve ever said, and I want you to look at the commonalities right. Actually, one of my group programs last night we talked about how, like you just said, a lot of times we think we’re too much and that almost transfers into us feeling like we’re not enough right, but what that actually tells us is that we are, we’re unique, we’re different, we don’t have to fit into the box or the mold that we’ve always been told. And to your point, like this is a lifetime process, like we’re always growing and evolving as humans, so you don’t just get to do it once and be like all right, I’m fixed, we’re good to go Right. Society loves the quick fixes, the like 30 day programs. That’s great. However, in order for it to actually continue to work like we have to keep doing the work.

Lunden Souza: 

And I love what you said. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Another one I think of is like the revenge body, which was like a show where it’s like get in shape to then be more desirable in the revenge process and I just feel like it’s gotten as society and culture and everything overall. It’s gotten so outside of us like it’s gotten so like hijacked. Our power has been taken away by like okay, we need to look a certain way, so then we can make this person jealous after we get out of a relationship with them. Okay, we need to look this way, so then we can present this version that’s somehow better and more complete than you know what I am and I just hate those quotes. Is there anything else you can think of that? You hear on social media that we can just be like call bullshit on right now. I just hate them. I literally hate them.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I think what’s funny is, like there’s so many quotes that are maybe more personal, right, if you asked women what they heard growing up. Right, there are very like generic societal ones, but there’s also ones that, like, we’ve just heard in our families, right, like I always heard, you’re not hungry, drink water, right? Or like, oh, you have, but you have such a pretty face. Okay, what does that say about the rest of me? Right? I think it’s interesting that you say that too, because our society right now is very focused on, like, the aesthetic. Right, we see that a lot in social media and, as as social media has grown and evolved, it’s so much more about oh, this is what the aesthetic that’s in right now. Even that’s changing. Um, I was watching this is so funny, I was watching videos this morning that it went from being the clean girl aesthetic to the mob wife aesthetic. First off, I don’t even know what that is.

Lunden Souza: 

Right, we’re now is this, like I’m assuming, like leather jackets, like lots of makeup?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

It’s like mimicking almost like the Italian, the Polish, like the immigrant type of look like fur coats and gold jewelry, and it’s almost just like another caveat of of how much body image has changed. Right, we constantly see that in society of you can never keep up, because what’s in, what’s the beauty expectation is constantly evolving, right. I think when, when I was growing up, the the taste as good as skinny feels Kate Spade said that as a model, right, it was very thin, it was like you wanted to be all bones and and lanky and skinny, I think of like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at that time. And then you think of jump forward a decade and you’ve got like Kim Kardashian and that’s the body everyone’s supposed to have, right, and now even that’s changing. Um, and we’ve placed such an emphasis on on aesthetics, on like what things look like, that people are more miserable than ever because you can’t keep up. It’s, it’s less and less about who you are and more and more about what you’re showing the world.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, when I, when thinking about like the different aesthetics and body types, I really got into fitness when I was 17. So 17 years ago, and I remember looking on like fitness magazine, oxygen magazine, and you see these women who are like super lean, shredded at the peak of their fitness, cause of course they know when the photo shoot is going to be and you can kind of plan to, you know, not have all the treats leading up to it, look your best, whatever. And only to learn through my own journey and just through learning more through people’s authentic, you know, stories is like those people were the most unhealthy, right, like missing periods, their hormones are out of whack, working out for hours and hours and hours on end doing all this extra cardio to try to look a certain type of way. And I remember being my friend, danielle. She did a bikini competition and Danielle’s one of those people where, like she just our whole life I’ve known her since sixth grade like she just has always had a six pack. It like does not matter, fitness is just easy and effortless to her Right. So, and her and I will joke about it sometimes Um, but she did a bikini competition without much prep, just like you know, just working out a little bit harder, whatever. And so I went there and I was her glazer, as they call, so it’s like the person who, like, puts all the coconut oil stuff on them to make sure that they shine. And so we were just, I was there to support her. I love her to this day where we very much motivate each other in the fitness space, cause, yeah, she’s bad-ass and I love her.

Lunden Souza: 

But I remember there was a girl there who was just miserable and her and me and Danielle talk about this to this day and she was like I’m just so pissed, like she was just angry. She had this angry look on her face and she’s like I haven’t had a carb in three months. I just can’t wait for this to be over. And that was like a snapshot moment where I’m like, here, all these women are looking at these women on this bikini stage, wishing they looked like them, wishing that they had the physique that looked like that. But I’ll never forget that woman and I say it to Danielle frequently I’m like, remember that girl that didn’t have a carb in three months.

Lunden Souza: 

That, to us, just immediately puts us in that we will never do something that’s going to make us miserable, just to look a certain type of way. We have nutrients for a reason and we need to learn about how to use them rather than they’re bad and horrible and I shouldn’t have them. But that’s the image and the internal representation I get. When I think about those pictures we see of celebrities or magazine covers or all the things is like they’re not necessarily healthy. In many cases they’re not healthy, they’re miserable, pissed off, ready for the photo shoot or the bikini competition to be over. So then they can scarf everything they’ve been limiting themselves from and yeah, I just wanted to make that Well to your point, like.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

That’s kind of why I say you know. Part of part of my thing, I guess, if you will, is changing the narrative of what healthy looks like. Right, because we have such a misconstrued view of what health is. To your point, like. We see photos of these women at their peak right and I wouldn’t even say peak of health, I would say peak of fitness right, there’s a difference. Where they haven’t eaten a carb in weeks, they are working out for hours on end. It’s their job to physically look that way, and then we’re telling the average consumer that’s what healthy is, right. And so people are spending money on things that are drastically terrible for their bodies. They’re trying to do it very quickly and then they’re wondering well, I’m, I can be miserable for 30 days if it’s going to give me that. But the problem is it’s probably a not going to give you that, uh and B, if it does, you’re probably not going to keep it for very long, right, and so we have to look at, like, what actually is.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

What does healthy mean to me? Right? Being in a healthy body, feeling comfortable in your own skin. What does that actually mean? And for me that means, yes, physically being able to live the life I want to live right, being active, celebrating the body that I have, taking care of it, you know, nourishing it. But it also means like mentally being healthy, being able to communicate my needs, being able to be in a positive headspace. It means also like emotionally being healthy, working through my trauma, working through the things that have, like, held me back or limited me. Right. Health is so much bigger than just what your body looks like.

Lunden Souza: 

Totally. I was in fitness as many people listening know, and I kind of explained to you too for like 15 years, and I lived in Europe, would host these workout events all over the world, worked with Adidas, all the things. And I remember, and I officially quit fitness coaching at the end of 2022. I just decided that was not my purpose and role in life anymore. And I remember just getting loads and loads of comments on YouTube of like, how many calories does this workout burn, right, um, and being so fixated on the number that calories that was going to be burned by doing this particular exercise. And now for me, what’s completely changed the game? For my mindset, I was also someone who worked out and did all the things because I thought the more regimented and the more workouts I did, the better I was, the higher worth I was going to have, the more I was doing. It was like I validated being a human doing versus a human being so much more. And what I’ve loved about the way I’ve reframed fitness in my life is my friend Kevin said this once in a sermon he preached and he goes you can’t walk the walk if you can’t walk. And I loved that because it’s like, yes, there is a body positivity movement. Whatever you look like is grand, and I think there’s an ownership to needing to take care of our vessel so that we can do what we came here to do. They also love now using workouts as a tool to like do hard shit, push through some of those hard challenges, because inevitably that’s going to transcend into other areas of our lives. Now, that doesn’t mean beating myself up six days a week hours on end. It looks a lot different than it did in my twenties now that I’m in my thirties as it should, because things shift and change a little bit. But I love the way my mind has shifted to be about like the gratitude for what my body can do, even when I’m walking.

Lunden Souza: 

We were talking about before we started how you’re in Nebraska, I’m in Utah, there’s a lot of snow like even being present with my steps and being grateful like, okay, I can walk, I have legs that can function. Okay, I can lift these heavy weights, not because it’s going to burn all these calories and it’s going to define my shoulders or whatever, but because I need a strong vessel to go out and execute my purpose. I’m very much into like it’s easy to be like, okay, I don’t want to feel like this, I don’t want to be like this, I don’t want to do this. But I like to frame the question of like okay, well, how do you want to feel? What does that look like in life? What does a person becoming who you want to become? What does their workout routine look like? What does their life look like? What’s important to you?

Lunden Souza: 

And so I think, when we can get to that point of, just like I said, I can’t walk the walk, I can’t do what I came here to do if I can’t even walk, if I don’t have this healthy physical vessel that can wake up early sometimes, or stay up late sometimes, or do the hard thing, or be cognitively focused in a way that I can be creative and get shit done.

Lunden Souza: 

And that has just completely changed the game for my mind. Now, of course, my body has fluctuated a little bit, but my physical form, in terms of being overweight or not, has pretty much stayed ish the same ish since high school. But my mind had a muffin top right. It was like the inner muffin top of like working out harder means all the things you’re better, you do more. I grew up to your point of the immigrant mentality. Like my grandparents were immigrants from Italy and like you worked hard and you you know, so I translated that. So maybe somebody listening isn’t necessarily struggling with, let’s say, the visual muffin top, but that inner muffin top, the way we’re limiting ourselves through, the way we approach exercise, can be huge too.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

It’s so much more of our mindset and our headspace than it ever is our bodies.

Lunden Souza: 

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Lunden Souza: 

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Coach Ali Sempek: 

I always tell people that the way your body looks is not because you’re hungry or not hungry. It’s not because of anything physical. It’s because of how you think and how you feel. Right. Your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, your actions create your results. And unfortunately, we live in a very action-based world where it says, do this and you’re going to get this right. Do these actions or these workouts, these meal plans and this is going to be your result, but we don’t look at. Okay, but how am I thinking and feeling? Because if those things don’t change, your results will never shift right.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

And I loved what you said about I call it the gray space, where we have two ends of the spectrum. We have the like, really heightened fitness industry, where it is very like these are the macros you should follow. This is what I eat in a day, this is what my body looks like and you should try to attain this right. It feels almost like unattainable because a lot of times it is um, and then we have the other end of the spectrum. That is more body positivity. It’s accepting who you are and what you look like. But I think we need more people to live in the middle of, yes, you can love who you are and embrace all that you are and still want to challenge yourself, still want to feel better in your body, still want to hit goals, and, to your point, it’s shifting the mentality from burning right, Burning the calories, breaking the sweat, and looking at it more as is it joyful movement that’s going to let me live the rest of my life, right?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Because, again, if your only goal is around your physical appearance, you’re never going to be happy, because usually that goal also correlates to validation from someone else or from society, or whatever it might be. You’re never actually going to be happy. But if we can pivot, if we can shift that goal to being okay, how am I showing my body respect today? How am I honoring the life that I want to live? You know a lot of my clients are moms, and so we frame it as okay. What is weight loss going to give you? That might be an upended question, but if you feel stronger, if you have better endurance, right, you’re going to probably be able to lift your kids. You’re going to be able to play with your grandkids someday, right, You’re going to be able to live the life you want to live, and in turn, you probably feel a whole lot better too.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, and I I’m not a mom. I know that you aren’t either, Ali, and we were talking about this before, but I also work with moms as well. And when we get real with a lot of what we’re telling ourselves and then frame it of like, okay, what if your daughter or your son had this internal dialogue, what if somebody else was saying what you say to yourself to them and I think that’s the beauty of being a parent and being able to look at it through that perspective. I have a niece. She’s going to be six this year and she’s not my daughter, but she’s the closest thing to that, if you will. And I think about that a lot in those moments where we do slip up and we start ourselves in those self- deprecating thoughts, and just like that moment where I’m like, okay, what if I was saying that to Reagan? What if Reagan was saying that to herself? What if somebody else was saying that to her? And that lights me up.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I like you know so.

Lunden Souza: 

I think it’s a great perspective to look at and I love a lot of inner child work for that purpose, because a lot of the wounds and beliefs and good not good enough stories come from seven and under that. When we get to kind of nurture the child within us that wasn’t nurtured for one reason or another, because our parents did their best and whatever, but they still imprinted some things on us, it’s like it’s never too late to go back and have a good childhood. It’s never too late to go back and give yourself what you needed then, instead of living in resentment and anger because somebody didn’t raise you right or you had a mom that mirrored, you know disordered behaviors or whatever. And I’ve been there where it’s like couldn’t you have done better? But it’s like, no, I just have to do better for myself and for those after me.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Well, and I loved I saw this the other day online something along the lines of saying like, yes, your parents may have allowed some generational trauma to continue, but we don’t know all of the barriers that they did break for us, right, there were probably a whole hell of a lot more that they experienced because their parents passed it down, right, and I think we’re actually in a really cool space right now where a lot of people are doing this work, are recognizing okay, it’s not okay to allow these behaviors to continue anymore. It stops with me. Yeah, it needs to stop with me. I always say it’s, yes, our burden to bear. We carry it. It created a big part of our story, but it’s also our, our opportunity to change it.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Right, and you know, I think a lot of times we have this misconception of well, I only say it to myself. I don’t say it to other people or to other or or my kids, right, I just say it to myself. It doesn’t matter. Saying it to yourself is illustrating that behavior to others around you, right? Whether they hear you say it doesn’t necessarily matter If they see your actions, the way that you feel about yourself, the way you show up in situations, right, that can be just as impactful with most of our language being nonverbal, right, that can be just as impactful, um, with with most of our language being nonverbal, right, most of its body language, um.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

And so I tell women all the time if, if we truly want this to shift, it has to start with us. Right, sucks, yeah, yeah, right, like like I. I really wish it didn’t have to start with us. That would have been great if it had been fixed, you know, prior Um. But I think it’s really cool to look back and realize a lot of the way we feel about ourselves was never actually our own feelings to start with.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, copy paste sometimes until we choose to adjust it. I think that I mean I guess I’m assuming, but that people listening know that there’s like a diet component and an exercise component to overall health wellbeing in the coaching that you do. But what other tools do you give or allow your clients to cultivate that are not just diet and exercise related? Because I know there’s more to the puzzle. We think it’s calories in, calories out, amount of time spent working out the right, perfect exercises to target exactly the problem area. But what are some things that you incorporate in your coaching in addition to those two areas? In addition to those two areas?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I always joke that I am not the typical wellness coach. If anything, I’m like a therapist that you want to get a drink with, because when it comes to our bodies and food and our relationship to both of those things, it’s exactly that. It’s a relationship, right? We’ve tried to make health black and white. Where it’s oh, it’s nutrition and it’s working out.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

But, like you said earlier, the phrasing we’ve always heard eat less and move more. Yes, at a very basic level, that’s true, right, to lose weight and to be in a smaller body. However, for the majority of people, that doesn’t work, right. If it did, we would live in a world where everyone looked the same and we were all kind of Barbies because we would just eat less and we would move more. Um, so I look at someone as the full picture, right, mind, body, soul, um, and yes, we have to look at food.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

But food for me is more of your relationship to food, right, who are you being around? Food? Because I would say and maybe I’m assuming, but I would argue that most individuals are intelligent and know yeah, vegetables, fruits probably healthier for me, right, more nutritious than if I eat pizza every day. Right, but pizza is really damn good and I want to eat it, right. So restricting it completely is not going to benefit anyone, because you’re going to end up binge eating on it anyways, right? So I look with my clients at who are you being around food? Um, who are you being around your body, right? Like we’ve already talked about, the mindset portion is so pivotal, but also things like stress, relationships.

Lunden Souza: 

Yep.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Right. I always tell my clients, like we consume so much that is not food. We consume, you know, conversations and music and media, like we’re constantly consuming things that then either confirm what we already know or cause us to pivot. And, unfortunately, a lot of what we’re consuming is maybe inaccurate information, right? So I think there’s just so many other pieces to it that food and your body are really just like the coping mechanisms, right? They’re like the control tactics when the root cause is a whole lot deeper.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, and so what specifically are those tools for stress reducing or like connecting with your soul? Is there, like, like I love meditation, breath work, yoga and stretching, like those are powerful tools in my life, like slow, relaxing walks, not needing to like power it out or sprint? Are those things that you incorporate with your clients or in your life? Or?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I think for everybody those are different. I’m personally I’m terrible at meditation. I would, I would love to be better at it. I try, I really do try. Um, I’m a little ADD and there’s my brain cannot like sit, right? Um. So I actually really love like sound baths. Sit Right, um, so I actually really love like sound baths.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I’ve had that experience cause I’m a very music, uh, connected person, and so sound baths are actually a way for me to meditate. Um, that felt a little bit more fluid with who I was. Um, you know, I have clients that would prefer to journal, right, they get into the habit of just writing down words. It doesn’t have to make sense internal, right, they get into the habit of just writing down words. It doesn’t have to make sense, just writing down whatever’s in their brain, putting it on paper. Another thing that, again I said, I’m very music focused.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

I grew up as a singer, as a dancer, which definitely correlates back to my body image. But, with that being said, music is such a cathartic thing for me, said, um, music is such a a like, a cathartic thing for me, right, so getting out of my body into a different space, that way, um, you know, I think a lot of women assume fitness, like you’re saying, is a way to as a mental safe space. Right, it’s a stress reliever and it totally is, um, but I think there’s so many different versions. Right To you, what you’re saying is like there’s yoga, there is like you can. Just walking is so underrated. Just going to walk, call your mom, have a good conversation. Right, um, get out of your normal routine.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

So, with stress, though, I personally start with what’s actually stressing you out. What about that? Can you control? What can pivot, um, and how can you pour into your own cup if you’re not able to change that stressor? Right, because our bodies do not know the difference between, um, a bear chasing you in the woods and wanting to eat you and your boss being mad at you because something at at work did not hit the deadline. Right, our bodies are still the exact same as they were hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Right? Our identity, or our society, our society, has just pivoted. Right, so your body is either going to go in fight or flight mode or it’s going to be rest and digest, and the hard thing for most people is that we have to actively choose what tools work for us to get ourselves into rest and digest.

Lunden Souza: 

Otherwise we’re constantly living in this like low level state of stress we’re constantly living in this like low level state of stress, yeah, and like stressed out has become our new normal state and such autopilot you know we can get stressed out about our life just as an autopilot, as I do make my coffee in the morning. It’s like there’s certain things that are just so routine in terms of habits that we forget. There’s so much that’s in routine in terms of our mind and where we let our thoughts go, and so I love what you mentioned. I love sound baths too. Those are one of my favorites.

Lunden Souza: 

I remember one time telling someone I went to a sound bath and she’s like do you sit in a bathtub? And no, you go in a room and there’s a woman playing sound, or a woman or man or whoever playing sound bowls, and they play music. And I’ve had them do it before where they put like a sound bowl on my stomach sometimes none at all, but it’s basically like getting bathed in the vibration of sound. And I love it too because I love being with other people. I love that kind of cohesive coherence that happens when we’re all in a space together. Also, like to your point of if you have the monkey mind that hasn’t tamed down yet it’s nice to feel accountable because you’re like in a space with other people, you’re not really going to get up, you’re going to participate in the whole thing.

Lunden Souza: 

So I love that too. I love just, yeah, learning about other people’s tools and modalities. I see them as like cones, you know, like on the freeway we’ve always gone, we’re on cruise control, doing things the way we’ve always done. That. It’s great to have different tools that we can try that are like okay, I don’t want to go down this road straight to stress every day, like I always do, what can I do? How can I put these cones up to change my direction, like you said, pivot or, you know, adjust where you’re going and slow down a little bit and kind of be more mindful of it.

Coach Ali Sempek: 

So asking the question like why am I stressed? What is what about this situation is causing me the stress? Because there might be something that can be correlated to then de-stress you, right? Like I know, I get more stressed when I’m isolated. I’m a very extroverted, like community-based person. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, so then I get stressed, I isolate, I spend a lot of time alone. So I know a great way for me to break out of that is to be around people, is to be in a space where I don’t have to be or do anything but be physically there or just be myself, right. And so I think sometimes we’d like to put, um, even even our, our tools in like a box of like they have to look a certain way. They don’t ask yourself why are you stressed and what about? That can maybe be pivoted towards something that’s more relaxing or more enjoyable for you.

Lunden Souza: 

I love that. Thank you so much for your time and wisdom and passion for what you do and also being open and honest about your pain and struggles and where you were and where you are now. I think pain is so powerful when we choose to use it to help others and not just stay in that victim state of like society did this it’s because of this, so that’s always really motivating about having guests on the show that are willing and able to open up in the way that you have, so I’m so appreciative. Um, is there any final thing you want to share that we didn’t get to or that you just feel like on your heart you want to share and then let people know how they can connect with you, um, on social media or wherever you’re hanging out in the online space?

Coach Ali Sempek: 

Yeah, I think, uh, the last thing that just is maybe more on my heart to share is that if people who are listening to this, you know, hear it and say, okay, that’s great, those are all, all those things are wonderful. But how, like what? What’s the first step? Right, I’m miserable. What, what, what am I supposed to do, right? Um, it’s always on my heart to tell people like you’re not crazy, you’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with you, right, and asking for help is the most powerful thing that you can do. Right, just have a conversation, um. With that being said, I love having conversations, I love meeting new people. So you can find me, um on all social media platforms it’s ask coacha li. It’s A- L- I. My website is the same as just askcoachali. com and I’m more than happy if people want to slide in my DM. Send me an email, connect in any way, especially if this episode resonated with you.

Lunden Souza: 

Thank you so much. I’ll link everything that Ali mentioned in the show notes wherever you’re listening to this podcast or radio. Thank you, Ali, for your time. Thank you, guys for listening and we’ll see you at the next episode. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of self-love and sweat the podcast. Hey, do me a favor wherever you’re listening to this podcast, give us a review this really helps a lot and share this with a friend. I’m only one person and with your help, we can really spread the message of self-love and sweat and change more lives all around the world. I’m Lunden Souza, reminding you that you deserve a life full of passion, presence and purpose, fueled by self-love and sweat and sweat. This podcast is a Hitspot Austria production.