During our Austin trip I had a moment where I told another woman there, Kelley Ellert, that I was fun. It ended up coming out because I can tell that sometimes people don't believe I am fun or don't want to hang out with me on a social level since I'm a health coach and I preach clean eating. The reality of it all is that I am just like everyone else. After that moment and the three incredibly fun days that followed on our final day Kelley asked if she could write a guest blog post about her journey and friendship with me. I wasn't sure what it was going to say, but once she sent it to me I realize that we've come full circle and everything in life is a constant, continual journey - from the development of friendships to the practice of healthy habits. We all also have different perspectives, personal judgments and sometimes acknowledging those is the best way to see beyond them. So, here's what Kelley wrote about how she discovered I was actually fun!
How I Learned Leslie O’Neill Was Fun
I’ve know Leslie for a little more than a year now and as she reads this for the first time, it will be her first time finding something out…I’ve lied to her.
I’ve lied about the foods I’ve eaten. I’ve lied about the amount of alcohol I’ve consumed. I’ve hidden the depth of my weakness for cheese. I’ve either lied or left out information which would typically not feel bad in a typical conversation, but Leslie is a health coach and she knows better. Hell, I know better or else I wouldn’t feel ashamed to tell her I tend to overeat her soba noodles and have eaten a Lunchable in the last month.
Then something happened recently where I quit lying to Leslie and myself and I told her every weakness, issue, thought and problem I had with food. The pivotal moment that changed everything - I realized Leslie O’Neill, the health coach and founder of Be Wells Meals is FUN. Not like, kind of fun, but really, truly, long conversations over beers fun.
I came to this realization when we were in Austin, Texas for a business mastermind. On the first day Leslie and I arrived together at 10 am and had an entire day to do whatever we wanted. We started out roaming the streets of downtown Austin, visiting a juice bar to taste their creations and help Leslie generate ideas for her own restaurant and juice bar opening soon. We kept walking and exploring the city and it was a perfect, 70 degree and sunny day and after we had walked for a couple hours Leslie randomly said “I could go for a beer.”
There was a moment where I didn’t say anything. I don’t know why. I guess I had just never had a beer with Leslie so I paused for a moment and before I could speak she turned to me and exclaimed, “You know I’m FUN!”
I started cracking up when I realized that I was being so silly. I knew Leslie. I liked Leslie. And I had been judging Leslie. I (and I’m pretty sure many others) spend so much time wondering if Leslie is judging our health and food choices we forget to see that we might be judging hers. Assuming she only drinks water, doesn’t eat cheese, sweets or alcohol - overall assuming she easily eats a perfect diet with no cravings or slips.
So, we went and found a cool bar and had beers, in the middle of the day. We left that bar and went to another bar for another beer. We had fun. I learned a lot about Leslie that day and I’m pretty sure she learned a lot about me. I’m not saying people need beer to have fun, but that moment set into place many days where I stopped judging her when I realized she wasn’t judging me. I was honest and open about my weaknesses and cravings. And you know what happened when I just talked about it? We were able to have an honest conversation where she told me about how she had the same weakness and cheese was one thing she missed the most, but she also told me about the benefits of cutting it out.
I can see how frustrated Leslie gets when people judge her and tread lightly around her in certain social situations because they believe she’s the one judging them. She’s not. She wants to help people. She wants to save the world. And I think she’s on her way. She has cravings. She doesn’t eat perfectly - newsflash NO ONE does. But, she tries her best and makes an effort and for that effort she’s healthy, not perfect.
I’m currently in the middle of my second juice cleanse with Leslie and during the first one I put up a strong front. When she texted me to check in I said I was good. I lied. This time I texted her and said I was hungry. I had cravings. And she gave me advice and support to keep up with it. When I was honest enough to allow her to fully come into my life and ask her for help, she gave help just as much she had before, but now I benefitted from it more than I had before.
So, I promise you, Leslie O’Neill is a health coach who is unbelievably knowledgable and passionate about helping people feel their best, but she’s also the woman with a weakness for fries so strong she might steal a few off your plate and a taste for craft beer in the afternoons.