Salty Woman: Alysha Coughler
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
With a Masters Degree in nutrition communication, Alysha Coughler is on a mission to dispel myths on diet and show us how strong we really are.
At first glance you see this tall blonde beauty towering over you and you're instantly intimated. There's no way this super fit babe has anything to worry about, it must be so easy for her to wake up at 6AM every morning and kick ass in spin class.
But Alysha was actually overweight as a child and as a result, suffered from bullying and criticism from her family. She was often compared to her cousins who she would never be like and in her early teenage years started eating differently.
Then out of nowhere she caught mono and started to lose weight drastically. She got "too" skinny and had doctors accusing her of having an eating disorder and even hospitalized her to keep her from harming herself. She went through a year and a half torturing her body through misdiagnosis among over 15 doctors until she discovered on her own that she had celiac disease.
"I went to school to become a dietitian to help people who were in my shoes. I could have died because they were stupid and didn't look into other possible options. It's important to fight for proper diagnosis and have someone just listen to you."
Imagine sitting in the doctor's office being told something you know deep down inside isn't true. This is what fuelled Alysha to educate herself about nutrition and empower her clients today through a healthy balance of diet and fitness.
Alysha wants us to move away from fad diets and fitness programs that focus on what not to do, enforcing feelings of guilt whenever you steer off track, making the entire process even more painful, which makes sense why a lot of us don't stick to it. Making people feel even more shitty when they already feel shitty isn't helping anyone.
"Own your decision if you choose to eat shitty food. It will taste delicious. It's not a cheat meal, it's a treat meal. We need to change that vocabulary around food."
Alysha also competed as a body builder for a brief time, isolating her from her friends and becoming completely obsessed with her body image. "It's 100% just about your body and looks so you need to take that with a grain of salt. But it's incredible how much you can change your body."
Understanding that most people come to her with an aesthetic goal in mind, (get skinny for summer, fit into that wedding dress) she sits down with you to get you to understand the consequences that go along with your goal, but also to understand why you even want this goal. And to make sure it's for you and for you only.
"Reconsider your goal and understand the why behind it. If the reason why is strong, then nothing is going to matter, and nothing is going to stop you from achieving it."
She prides herself on developing an evidence-based approach to training. She wants us to move away from the scale and start tracking progress in a different way. She wants to focus on change of behaviour so that there's longevity in the goals she sets for you.
Alysha is (unfortunately for her) my personal trainer and nutritionist. Never having made a meal plan or even walked into a gym before, I didn't even know what a goal was. I just wanted to be healthy because I knew I wasn't taking care of my body and I also knew I needed help.
My biggest fear was not having it in me to get there, whether that meant physically showing up to our training sessions or actually eating the meals I prepped. I thought mentally I wouldn't have the strength or discipline in myself to succeed.
But Alysha takes a client-centred approach to training and takes the extra step to learn about you as a person, what your life is like, what your personality traits are, how you deal with stress; and works with you to create a plan that is realistic but also to remind us that we are not at the mercy of our emotions, that we are in control of our bodies.
"I want you to understand that you are powerful, you are strong, and you have control."
You can make fun of the whole "fitness is a lifestyle" concept but it's true. I came to Alysha wanting to "lose weight" but she taught me my real goal was to "be fit." All we want is to feel good, be happy, and be able to enjoy life. Fitness is a huge part of finding that balance and enabling us to live life the way we want to. We have to change that mentality of fitness being something we have to do into something we want to do.
Join us on April 2nd and hear Alysha speak at our first ever Salty Woman series! Click here to get your tickets.