Esté Bell is one of the coaches that we found this month and we did a little interview with her. She impressed us with her strength of character and honesty.
She is a 49 years old and she’s lived an active life. From her teens to her late thirties she battled disordered eating and health challenges. Her pivotal moment was the realization that her health was deteriorating, prompting her to embark on a journey towards holistic wellness.
She’s now a certified life coach, focusing on helping middle aged individuals realize that life can be fulfilling through change. Her personal journey, marked by her experience with disordered eating, PCOS, fertility treatments, and emotional abuse, equips her with empathy and a deep understanding of her clients.
Her coaching approach is client driven, allowing clients to set the pace and select the tools that work best for them. Her main focus is on raising awareness of how the body responds to different inputs, leading to better choices, sustainable habits, and overall well being. Here is what she said.
Meet Life Coach Esté Bell:
Name: Esté Bell
Pillar: The Mind, The Body
Who is this coach for: Anyone who needs help with stress and recovery management, sleep and nutrition improvement, and building reselience to embrace life’s challenges like a champion.
How they can help: By using coaching, and various tools and techniques customized to each individual’s needs like personalized assesments, questionaries, breathing techniques, food diaries and other ways of tracting subjective and objective data.
First of all, how are you and your family doing after these Pandemic times?
Of course you had to start with that question.
The pandemic caused a major upheaval in our family as my husband’s anxiety about his business, and his excessive alcohol use, ultimately led to the implosion of our marriage and his relationships with myself, our children and many of his friends.
However, time goes by and although we are living separate lives today, we are all blessed and in good health.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your clients? Did it affect you at all?
During the Coronavirus lockdown, and immediately after, I exclusively coached crossfitters.
I found them to be a very resilient breed!
Those that contracted the virus presented with common cold symptoms and suffered no after effects.
My fellow crossfitters who had no nutrition background gained weight (and then some) but managed to shake it off in a matter of a few months once they started training again.
My clients and I trained together in small groups and as they had 24 hours, 7 days per week access to me via WhatsApp, we managed to be fitter and in better shape when we returned after 5 months of home workouts!
Unfortunately, many of our other middle aged friends were hit hard by the virus.
Some were hospitalized and many are to this day still troubled by asthma, joint pain and chronic sinus.
Lesson learnt: prevention is always better than cure.
What are the biggest lessons that you learned in this pandemic?
1. We were not meant to be alone.
We need to feel heard, seen and understood or our mental health will suffer.
2. Who you surround yourself with matters!
The tongue has the power to speak life or death.
Being locked up in a restricted place with a person who constantly spoke death over my life led me down the slippery slope of depression.
It was the daily interaction with clients and training partners that kept my chin up.
3. The energy you put out is the energy you’ll receive back.
This is the law of attraction.
Be negative and you’ll attract negative.
I know of no negative person that is happy.
By attracting negative people you are surrounding yourself with unhappy people, hardly the recipe to happiness.
4. Habits are life.
If you have previously had certain habits or routines in place in your life, you are already equipped with the knowledge and skills to build new habits should your circumstances suddenly change.
You will be more resilient to anxiety and stress caused by change and able to adjust much easier to the new circumstances.
5. Practice a sustainable lifestyle.
How many people do you know who are dependent on supplements for weight management and “healthy nutrition”?
During the pandemic many supplements became unavailable.
Many people lost their means of income or it was severely diminished, making these supplements unaffordable.
Move regularly, hydrate well, practice self care and ingest mostly unprocessed foods, this you can sustain for your whole lifetime.
Tell us about you, your career, how you started with your coaching career?
I am a 49 year old mother of beautiful twin daughters.
We reside in sunny South Africa.
Although I am not a fitness coach, I have lived a very active life participating in athletics, aerobics, crossfit and weight training.
As a teenager I developed severely disordered eating habits which lasted well into my late thirties.
However, sharing a home with a husband and two growing children made this habit increasingly difficult to maintain. Luckily, I should say, for as the weight on the scale increased so my health deteriorated, which ultimately led me to where I am today.
To compound the situation, I had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) with insulin resistance in my early twenties.
This resulted in fertility treatment, a multiple pregnancy (triplets) and two years later, a partial hysterectomy.
For 15 years this condition was treated with androgen suppressants, I was always tired, miserable and suffered from debilitating migraines.
One day I woke up to the realization that I might live another forty years.
What quality of life would I have if my health continued to deteriorate and I always felt terrible?
How would I show up for my family if I couldn’t even show up for myself?
If I continued doing what I was doing then, what would my life look like in ten years, never mind forty years?!
Something had to change and I was the only one who could make that change.
Reading on the subject of nutrition led to my first nutrition course, which led to certifications in specialized nutrition, as well as sports and exercise nutrition.
I was officially hooked!
Implementing this knowledge in my own life brought with it the realization that our overall wellness involves much more than just movement and nutrition.
Ever on a quest for more knowledge, I studied sleep, stress and recovery management and later became a certified life coach.
During 2021 I was approached by the Mrs SA Beauty Pageant to become an official sponsor.
Spending time with these beautiful, goal driven women served to heighten the fact that we as humans tend to focus so much on our goals and caring for others, that we totally neglect taking care of ourselves.
While I originally started coaching my fellow crossfitters, my passion lies with the middle aged person who comes to the realization that life can become a long, torturous affair if something does not change and they don’t take action and make that change.
As for own my health?
For the last seven years I have been maintaining a healthy body weight while loving my food!
I am medication free and haven’t had as much as a common cold in six years.
I entered my first Crossfit Open at the age of 45 and ranked 13th in SA in my age group upon completion, totally taking myself by surprise.
I am not in any way special.
When we focus on overall wellness we are capable of surprising ourselves!
What was your biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in your life that made you who you are today?
Lack of self confidence.
I met my ex husband, and his family with their narcissistic tendencies, in my late teens.
I was exposed to harsh, negative criticism for over thirty years and over time this destroyed my self confidence.
As a result, and in an effort to gain the validation and approval of others, I became quite the perfectionist.
However, no amount of praise or compliments would erase the lack of confidence and the self doubt that had overcome me.
Risking everything and walking away from an alcoholic husband and years of emotional abuse was the wisest decision I ever made.
A lot of time spent on self improvement and healing in the company of supportive people has brought miracles into my life.
So many people are in need of this, as coaches we are perfectly positioned to provide support, encouragement and upliftment to our clients.
The Coaching Style:
How do you innovate with coaching your clients?
My coaching is very much client driven.
While I will always be the coach, the client sets the pace.
I meet my clients on a weekly basis on a platform of their choosing (most clients opt for WhatsApp video calls when given the choice) and during these sessions we’ll look back over the past week, check in on where we are now, and together make a decision about the week that lies ahead.
I meet my clients where they are and progress with what they find themselves ready, willing, able and comfortable to do.
Whatever tools we use to measure progress are tools the client is comfortable using and has proven to consistently be able to use.
What’s unique about your coaching approach?
I have led a full life and I get to coach out of experience.
I have dealt with and overcome:
1. Disordered eating.
2. PCOS with insulin resistance.
3. Fertility treatment and the death of an unborn child.
4. A total body transformation!
5. A lifetime (or so it seems) with an alcoholic husband and the ensuing emotional abuse.
6. Severe back spasm due to chronic stress which ultimately caused functional scoliosis and the end of my crossfit participation.
(… before I wrote the above I would’ve described my life as a breeze … aren’t we wonderful, resilient creatures?)
My life has equipped me with a healthy dose of experience.
With this comes empathy and the desire to understand where my client is coming from as it enables me to determine the best way in which I can add value to their life.
Every client comes with their own set of chore values and beliefs and these values serve as the foundation or starting point of our coaching journey.
A client working towards a goal that is aligned with core values, is a client that consistently shows up and does the work.
What benefits do your clients get after working with you?
The main take away of my coaching is a growing awareness of how the body reacts to the input it receives.
This not only speaks for nutritional input, but also for the content with which we feed our minds.
After all, we’ll never make the decision to change something if we are not aware of it in the first place.
Once an awareness is created about how the body feels and reacts, let’s say a client might experience a bad workout and low energy levels after a couple of late nights, clients are more prone to making better choices.
Consistently making the better choice leads to building better habits for sustainable results.
Do you use any specific tools to be efficient with your clients?
As a Precision Nutrition certified coach I have access to a database of helpful questionnaires and resources.
Although I might now and again ask a client to complete an assessment this is only used if we have no other way of measuring progress.
As I have said before, I have my clients work with the tools they are comfortable with.
For some this might mean using a nutritional tracker, where others might prefer keeping a food diary.
Some clients enjoy completing a daily biofeedback form while others will rather diarize data such as step counts, bed and wake times, water consumption etc.
As long as we have a means of collecting both subjective and objective data and the client can consistently track these, I am not set on using any specific tool.
I do recommend tools such as podcasts, books, breathing techniques and spiritual practices depending on the client, but once again no specific tool is used for every client.
If you had a super megaphone that, when you speak into, the whole world will hear your message, what would you say?
The present is NOW!
As the word Present implies, it is a gift.
Stop living in the past, it’s past tense.
Why would you want to stay stuck in that place if you can move onto a better place?
Stop worrying about the future.
Worry breeds anxiety.
That which you are worrying about might never even happen, or if it does, it will probably not even be half as bad as you thought it would be.
Realize that this moment, right now, is the youngest you’ll ever be again.
Don’t let the wonder of this moment slip by unnoticed because you are dwelling on things that have past or worrying about things that may never come.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your life?
The choice is mine to make.
No one is going to come to save me.
No one is going to do the work for me.
No one is going to make the choice for me.
The only way anything in my life will change is if I make the choice and do the work to make that change happen.
Every day is filled with choices and I get to choose:
Is this day doomed to be horrible because it’s cold and raining and my plans are ruined?
Or is this the perfect weather to snuggle up and catch up on some reading?
It’s my choice to make.
Your final thoughts?
Life happens to all of us.
In that, you are not unique.
Your attitude will determine your actions and these have the power to affect the rest of your life.
The good thing about hardship is that it provides the opportunity for growth.
Never stop working on yourself.
Acquire the knowledge and build the skills to triumph over any situation and life will serve you well.
My wish for you is that you find yourself in the company of someone who inspires you and adds value to your life.
My wish for myself is that I may add that value to lives of those I encounter, that I may become the mirror in which someone can see the reflection of the truest version of themselves.
Where Can You Find Esté Bell?
If you liked this interview and you would love to unleash your own resilience so you can embrace life’s challenges like a champion, go to https://levelupnutrition.co.za and see how Esté can help you.
If you’d like to connect more personally with her, you can do that through LinkedIn, Facebook, or by sending her a message on her Email [email protected]. It was an honor having this interview with her.