28. Stress Eating & Marriage with Melissa Rohlfs

December 29, 2021

In This Episode

Food can be used as a coping mechanism to stuff and buffer our feelings. Holistic life coach, Melissa Rohlfs, helps women break free from pick-me-ups in the pantry or sugar addiction and feel calm and confident in their own skin to love their lives. The way we approach our feelings, especially through food, can affect our marriage, so it’s important to learn from a coaches like Melissa and Rebbetzin Bat-Chen on how we can take a proactivate approach to dealing with our emotions and past trauma.

Highlights

01:00 Melissa Rohlfs, is a recovering sugar addict who is now a holistic life coach helping busy women break free from sugar without deprivation so they can love their life.

01:27 No matter your body type, people can stuff and buffer their feelings into eating because of stress. The dopamine release in the brain relaxes us temporarily cope with our stressors, but this does more harm than good.

06:42 Food can be used as a coping mechanism if there is some past trauma a person is experiencing.

08:22 According to Melissa, it can be easy to turn to food when one doesn’t feel emotionally safe, or on the same page as their spouse in marriage. Other underlying issues in marriage can also be masked through food.

12:19 Rebbetzin Bat-Chen offers a Marriage Mastermind helps women integrate marriage and business, and align these to God’s will to live an even more extraordinary life.

13:27 God is holistic. He created this world so that we can connect with Him from every direction.

17:30 It can be overwhelming to say that all sugar is bad, especially for moms whose children are always exposed to sugar. Melissa emphasizes the importance of acknowledging our feelings and their feelings about food.

27:15 A person must be willing to change and deal with their feelings. You may get to the point of questioning why or if you can do it, but Melissa shares her story and that she would rather deal with the pain than stay the same.

30:33 Before becoming a coach, Melissa had a life coach because she felt lost as a mom.

32:56 The Marriage Breakthrough Retreat starts on January 17. It starts off with Connecting to Yourself, C of the C-A-L-M Method. Sign up here!

33:46 Coaching is what helped Melissa to figure out what worked for her and how her personality and thinking could improve her strengths.

34:31 What Rebbetzin Bat-Chen hears often as a marriage coach is that couples have tried “everything” so they deem themselves unhelpful but it’s important to keep finding what works for you and your spouse, and to be grateful for failures.

35:16 Pausing is the key to seeing what did not work well for you.

37:45 There are also good ways to buffer your feelings.

40:02 Stuffing emotions is a normal need in order to survive. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

40:30 Bringing awareness is 90% of the work to dealing with your emotions.

42:50 Melissa adds that it’s good to bring in curiosity with awareness. Instead of judging yourself for emotionally eating, get curious and ask what you’re looking for at that moment and what you need. By replacing judgment with kindness, we can address and work through underlying issues with compassion towards ourselves.

45:57 You don’t have to get to a breaking point in order to change.

48:23 Having a proactive approach towards your vision starts with knowing what you really wants.

Links

Melissa Rohlfs: Website | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

5 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Marriage
Marriage Breakthrough Retreat – Starts January 17th, 2022!

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REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Welcome to the Connected For Real Podcast! I’m Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach for women in business, and my mission is to bring God’s presence into your life, into your marriage, and into your business. Let’s get started. The following is one of the many conversations I had with experts and professionals about real life and how it affects marriage. Let me know your takeaways on Instagram or Facebook, @connectedforreal. Enjoy.

And we are live. Welcome everyone to the Connected for Real podcast. I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman. I am a marriage coach for women in business. Today, we have Melissa and she’s going to introduce herself and we’re going to get right into it because this is an amazing episode for you. So, Melissa tell us who you are. What do you do?

MELISSA ROHLFS

Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here. I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’ve got a barking dog, so sorry for the noise if you hear him, but I’m a holistic health and life coach. I help busy women break free from sugar without deprivation so they can be happy, healthy, and love their life. I am a recovering sugar addict who used sugar to kind of stuff and buffer feelings instead of feeling them and found freedom from that and feel very called to help other women do the same.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Wow. [laughs] That’s a lot. Yeah, so let’s talk about stress eating because what’s interesting I’m—people in the podcast might not know, but I am skinny and a lot of people think that skinny people have no problem because they’re skinny, but really we stuff our feelings just as much. It just doesn’t show. [Laughs] So tell us a little bit about that. What do you think? What do you think it comes from, and how do we help ourselves?

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah, I think it’s a good question. I think it comes from maybe being stressed.

I talked to a client yesterday who has a lot of stress in her life and she was using food to kind of cope because it does that dopamine release in the brain which makes us feel good, so it can kind of relax us temporarily but in the long haul, it does more harm than good. So I think people may use the food to stuff their feelings, they may use it to cope with stress, they might use it as a reward—”I’ve been good. I deserve a little extra.” Lots of reasons why we default to food but I think to answer your question about how we can help ourselves, I think the first thing is to acknowledge that we’re doing it, that maybe we’re not using food to nourish our bodies or to give us energy, or to help us be in the best health possible but we’re using it for something else.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that. So I’ll tell you why I use food. Usually, it’s between two and four in the afternoon when I’m feeling really tired, overwhelmed. The kids are coming home from school and instead of taking a nap, I’m like, “Oh, I need the energy because I haven’t taken a nap,” so I’m just stuffing, looking for things. So, because I’m a very healthy person—I love healthy food—I’ll go for the banana and the peanut butter—oh, my baby. One second. He wants to say hello. You said you have a barking dog. So, I have a speaking baby. He’s trying to communicate through mumbling. There we go. There he is right there. Say hello, everyone. And by the way, you guys who are live, you can comment and say hello. We’d love to see that you’re here.

Yeah, so I like to turn to healthy foods because those are the things that I really love but I definitely do it from a place of, “Oh, man. I didn’t get to sleep so I guess I’m really hungry,” so I go for the banana and the peanut butter, and that wasn’t enough so then I go for the healthy cookie that I make, homemade oatmeal stuff, and that’s not enough. So, then I’m like, “What should I do now? Should I make tea?” “Okay, let’s make tea,” and I’m constantly looking for what to keep me awake instead of just saying, “Here you go, guys. Take care of everything. I’m leaving. Bye.” I could just take a power nap and not do that, but I try. I guess I try to like be that super I-can-do-it-all person.

MELISSA ROHLFS

And I think a lot of women do that and what you described is totally what a lot of women do . We hit that mid-afternoon slump because we’re tired, we haven’t gotten enough sleep, we’ve done too much, and we’re needing a break. And even if we just gave ourselves five to ten minutes to just relax and maybe take some deep breaths before the kids got home, if we’re not physically hungry, that could be a game changer too. So I love that like, “Okay, I’m doing it because of this and I’m doing this.” That’s awesome awareness.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, yeah and then I like being really honest and open because I think that it’s what my listeners like—is that I’m normal, I’m human, and I’m telling that telling that to them. I’m not hiding it—that I’m normal and human.

MELISSA ROHLFS

You’re real?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I am real, and I think it’s really painful to watch people you look up to and you think they’re perfect and then it’s really hard to learn from them because like, “Yeah, well she got it all together,” and I don’t have it all together and I’m still doing what I’m doing imperfectly—we talked about that before the call. I’m trying to balance my baby on one hand and the computer on the other and all these different things. I think it’s really important to be honest about it because that’s the currency right now. It’s just honesty. Nothing else is going to work as well.

So my other thing that I use food for is when I need to clean up or I do chores. So, it’s like I’ll do the chore. I just first need to eat something. So, I go for energy first and then I’ll do the chore but then I’m sort of not in the mood for the chores and I’ve found a different way to like distract myself. So, that is the second time—and it’s really hard to say because it’s so embarrassing. Like, “Just do the chore,” right? “What is up with you? Just fold the laundry or whatever it is.” Clean the table, get your act together, and I’m really hard on myself in my head. Like, “Come on. Just do it,” but just sheer willpower is not enough. When I actually stop, focus, and bring awareness to the fact that I’m trying to avoid them, then I can ask myself, “Why? What’s going on?” And I take care of it.  What do you think about it?  When is the most common times when women run away from processing their feelings?  

MELISSA ROHLFS

I don’t know if there’s a common time. I think one thing I’ve seen a lot of is if there is some past trauma. Maybe food has become a coping mechanism and so that’s just a pattern that’s been developed. So if it’s something that feels uncomfortable or it feels hard or if you’re a people pleaser, like I used to be, you don’t want to deal with conflict and you don’t want to say how you feel, so maybe you’ll eat to kind of stuff that. A lot of different reasons and kind of like you said too, maybe it’s that having a snack and before doing something is kind of a form of procrastination but then there’s also the flip side. This is what I do—is I will do the task get it done so that I can have a treat like I’ll reward myself with it so I’m almost the opposite so I think there’s just so many different scenarios where people will use food to kind of buffer their feelings, especially around the holidays. I think it’s very common.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. I mean, think about it also—you just brought up the holidays. Social eating is a huge trick or two because not necessarily do I want to talk to every single person in that room so it’s like oh let me just go get something else and more and seconds and oh this was delicious and you just keep running to the food because it’s safe.

MELISSA ROHLFS

And it’s legal and it’s socially acceptable. I think there’s a lot of different ways that people can buffer their feelings and food is legal and something you need to survive. So. I think it’s almost easier to default to that because we need it.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I agree. Okay, let’s talk about how this affects marriage because I think that’s a huge, huge one.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah, absolutely, and I think it’s interesting because if you don’t, maybe feel emotionally safe in your marriage or you don’t feel like you and your spouse are on the same page with certain things, that can be a time where it would be easy to kind of turn to food to buffer those feelings and that uncomfortableness. So, I think it presents itself in that way. I think too if your husband or your spouse has different eating habits then you do—you might kind of acclimate to theirs. It’s just so interesting because there’s so many factors at play. It’s not just food. It’s always an underlying issue and we’ve got to get to that. I think food is just how we mask it.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, it’s the symptom. That’s such a good point. Hmm…

MELISSA ROHLFS

[Laughs] It’s a lot, isn’t it? I mean, if you really stop and think about it there could be a lot to unpack.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, so let’s unpack it. Tell us more. How do you deal with it? How do you work with people?  what makes you different than other people and how do you help people through this?  it’s just really important. It’s important to know, first of all like you said, awareness. Know that this is happening because if not then it’s a really good escape and you just keep escaping, right? And there’s many ways to escape. Some of the women I work with, because the marriage isn’t supporting the business as much as they would like, then they lean into the business more as an escape from having to deal with the fact that they’re resentful of their husbands for not helping more. So, that’s a huge one because then you become a workaholic and you’re like, “I just I can’t grow my business any more than this because I can’t deal with more work,” but in reality, you actually need to do a lot less work if you dealt with the resentment and the emotions that are coming up. And that’s what I do. That’s on my end of the specialty. How do you help women?

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah, I think it’s the big picture and I think in the health coaching space, there are a lot of people that market themselves as coaches and they’re not actually trained as coaches. They’re selling a product and they have signed up to be a part of a company that sells a nutritional product and they call themselves coaches. That’s not a real coach because you’re not really able to journey with someone. That’s kind of the one size fits all and that drives me bananas because we’re all unique, we’re all different, we all have different circumstances. While you and I are both wives, we’re both moms, we’re both entrepreneurs, your situation’s going to be different than mine because we’re not the same. Yes, there’s some overlap but by and large, it’s not a cookie cutter situation and that just drives me insane. So I think it’s acknowledging that it’s not one-size-fits-all and really meeting people where they’re at and what they need and looking at the big picture.  it’s not just the food. It’s never just the food and that’s what so many of my clients say—is they’re like, “I’ve been compartmentalizing my health or my food or this part of my life because I thought it was just by itself but when I’m working with you, I see that my marriage, my parenting, my work, all of these things are affecting one another,” and so it’s really looking at that big picture and helping people realize the integration that those parts have. It’s not just a standalone. “I’m stress eating because I’m stressed.” No. “I’m stress eating because I’ve got stress in this part of my life and I have resentment from this part of my life and I have past trauma and I have all these things that I haven’t worked through and it’s coming out in the form of binge eating, sugar food addiction,” whatever that is and so it’s multi-faceted. It’s not just, “Here’s a meal plan. Go do your thing.”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. Yeah.

MELISSA ROHLFS

I’m sorry. I preached a little bit.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Okay first of all, I’ll totally do that here because that’s what we’re all about.  I really like that you said integrate because my program—the subtitle of my mastermind is an integrated life for extraordinary women because who you are, you’re extraordinary. You’re running around, you have a million things open, like all your tabs are open. You’re doing a lot right and all you need is to integrate those things to work together. What I love to do, and I’m going to bring that up here because I think it’s so important, is that when everything else is aligned with God’s will, then you’re no longer doing not necessary things. There isn’t as much a waste of time. You really start looking at where am I doing things that don’t align? And, you can be free to let them go or delegate them or whatever. There’s lots of ways to do that but just work less when you’re aligned.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

So my program has God at its core, and I think that it’s one of those things that really makes it easier to integrate everything into one.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Absolutely, and God is a holistic God. I mean, how many times in the Word does he talk about health and wellness and our bodies are temples? But I think the church has really missed the mark there and so that’s also frustrating for me because it’s like,  are you cherry-picking the parts of the faith that you like or are you looking at the whole picture it goes back to that holistic perspective? And I’m so passionate about that because I think that’s really where we miss it—is that we just want to look at the piece that we want to focus on and we miss the other pieces that correlate and integrate together.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. I love that you said God is a  wholesome God because I mean, He created this world in that way so that we connect from every direction. You can’t miss God any way you go. You can go this way, that way, the other way, and you’re always going to find God because He’s everywhere  and the main point of being in this world is to connect to God. So like, “What am I here for?” To connect to God. “Okay, so how do I do that?” It doesn’t matter how. Just do it. Do it from here, do it from there, do it from anywhere, and when you bring all the things together, and God is at the core then  you can also turn to God and ask for help. You’re not alone in the journey and I think that’s really important because sugar addiction is very hard to break.

I have a friend,  she became  addictions coach. Actually therapist or whatever, she like has a counseling thing for addictions but in in order to get her certificate, they had to do sugar cleanse and stop sugar completely as if, like to feel through the process of what well they’re going to be helping with, drugs and alcohol, whatever, and she said she couldn’t do it.  she’s like me, skinny, healthy, fine, normal, whatever. She doesn’t have these issues.  I guess she they wanted them to really relate to the people who they were going to help. They put them in that corner where it’s like, “Oh my gosh, look who I’ve become without sugar. I can’t do it. Everywhere I go there’s sugar. Every single party, every single—everywhere there’s sugar all the time.” So, it’s such an interesting thing when she told us that. I couldn’t even do it and I didn’t think I have a problem.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Well, it’s in everything. It’s in ketchup. I mean, for crying out loud, why is sugar in ketchup? It doesn’t make any sense.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Why? Because it makes it yummy. [Laughs]

MELISSA ROHLFS

And it’s addictive. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine and there’s over 200 names for sugar, so I think we really need to be aware. It doesn’t just say sugar on the label. It shows up as high fructose corn syrup, and corn syrup, and brown rice syrup. There’s so many different names for sugar that we really need to kind of be detectives to understand where it’s hiding and how that impacts us, how that impacts our kids’ behavior, how that impacts our immune system, how that impacts our mental health. It impacts everything yet it’s still legal, socially acceptable.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

What do you think about fruit sugars, like date syrup, maple syrup, and things like that?

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah, totally on board with that. I don’t believe that you can be completely sugar-free. Just because there are natural sugars in fruits and honey and different substitutes, I’m all about not depriving but upgrading so that you have that sweetness. Maybe from the maple syrup, maybe from the honey, maybe from coconut sugar, that’s another really good one, but it’s knowing what works for your body and doing the healthiest thing possible, and I just don’t think you can be completely sugar-free because you need fruit. Our bodies need fruit. God made fruit for a reason.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, and it’s delicious. So want to reward ourselves with yummy things.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Absolutely and it’s nutritious. Our bodies need it.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. Yeah, wow. This is a great a great conversation.

I’m trying to process because there’s so much that we talked about. I feel like it’s very hard for me to say all sugar is bad and I need to stop having sugar around because it’s like fighting society. It’s fighting, it’s like going on a crusade against sugar, and I feel like it’s overwhelming, especially for moms. Okay, let me give you an example. I am a mom of seven kids. Every Sabbath, there is class, like learning things for the kids. They get sugar at the end and by the way, I’m blown away  by how these like candy companies. All they do is put sugar in a little baggie and it’s already a candy. They don’t even have to work hard anymore. The kids are excited about anything, but anyway, there’s candy galore everywhere. They come home.  “We went to this class. We got these candies. We went to that class and then we went to say psalms in the synagogue, and then we went to friends and there’s everywhere sugar,” and when I had three little kids, I told my kids that there’s one thing I don’t let and that was toffee. Like here in Israel, they have these toffee candies, sort of I guess [like] Laffy Taffy or something, but like comes in a square, and I told them—I said, “You can have anything but not this,” and I explained it to them it sticks to your teeth, it doesn’t come off when you brush, it’s disgusting, it like you would have to go to the dentist to like scrub it off. It’s really that bad, and they were so good. My three oldest kids, they don’t eat taffy, but then I had three more who did not get the message and their memo totally went over their heads. They don’t care. So, first of all it brings up a lot of my parenting stuff, like, “Hey, what’s going on?” But also I just don’t know if to fight it because there’s just so much—the world changed in the last 10 years. I can’t be like. “Okay, that’s it. This one thing is not allowed.” On the other hand, I really want to. [Laughs]

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah. Well, and I think it’s interesting too like because I think the natural tendency is when we’re told no or that we can’t have something, there’s part of us that wants it all the more. Where the mind goes, the man follows. So if we dwell on what we can’t have, what we’re not supposed to have, I don’t know about you but I can think myself into to believing that I really need that because I’ve thought it our minds are so powerful, and so I think that that’s a part of it. So, like you said, it also brings up that that parenting stuff, and I think sometimes it’s easier to, again, stuff those feelings instead of really deal with what’s going on. So, I love that you’re acknowledging that and I think maybe have a conversation with them and see how having it makes them feel. Like, “How does eating the toffee make you feel? What does that do for you?”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

It’s yummy. They’re 6 and 3, and why are they eating this stuff? Really, they’re not getting it from the house. You would think that at this age you’d still have control and there’s the parenting thing again, like the emotions that come up. You would think I would still be in control of my six-year-old and my three-year-old but I’m not because they are getting it from out there. So, do I tell them don’t go and do I make that not okay? Because, by the way, the older ones, their teachers used to try to give them the toffee and they would look back and say, “My mother doesn’t let me. Do you have chocolate instead?” And the teachers learned that they just had to have like chocolate chips on hand for my kids, and eventually the teachers switched to chocolate chips because it’s way cheaper. I guess this is like the second wave of children are bringing up new things for me so—

MELISSA ROHLFS

And you’re probably more tired, I would think. So, it’s like, what, which battles do you fight? I think that’s always the question as a parent. What do I give my energy to in this moment? Is it worth it?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I’m actually less tired, by the way. My mother has this great joke. She says, “Everybody told me after the third it gets easier, and I tried having the third first but it didn’t work.” So I’m the first but anyway, I really do think that it’s true. The first two or three are really hard. I’ll tell you why they’re hard. I was very isolated. I’m a very people person and I wanted to talk high level, deep because I’m very deep, I’m very high level, I want to have a real conversation. Instead, I’m singing sing songs and things that rhyme and I’m trying to make up things as I go along because just to have some noise in my house and to sound like I’m actually talking to myself, there’s nobody to have an eye-to-eye conversation with. So, I used to try to escape from that a lot by going to the park, by going to friends, by doing double date things with the kids, like me and a mother who has similar age kids, so that was the escape. The escape was always like just no, no quiet, no being with my own thoughts because it was too overwhelming to be alone. Tthat was then and then now, I have a 15 year old, I have a 13 year old, I have an 11 year old. They’re like adults who were talking about like big things and they have an opinion and they’re telling me about what’s going on. We’re actually having—the house is already a place where I feel really happy because I have other humans to talk to and to interact with, and I tell them about what’s going on in my business and I tell them who I met and what I’m doing and, “I have a live tonight. Can you help me?” And they all chip in and like help with the younger ones. It’s like a different experience completely, and so in a way, it’s harder because there are more so you have more laundry and more food and more whatever, all the other things, more clutter, more shoes all over the house, more coats hanging. There’s like a lot of moreness, but there’s also something really calming to me as individually because I’m so connective. That’s what I live on—is those connections and so the quality time is no longer somewhere else. It’s like I can create it right here.

MELISSA ROHLFS

And, that’s beautiful and it’s wonder too because—I thought of this the other day. We have really just been enjoying our break. Our kids are off for two weeks for Christmas and it’s been really good and I think about where I would be maybe eight or nine years ago, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed this time and I don’t know if it’s because I’m in a different space now and I kind of wonder like if I could go back and be myself now but have younger kids, I just wonder how different the experience would be. So I love that—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Sharon says, “Well, you have more experience by the time you have the younger ones,” and that’s true. You become a different person because you’ve grown through the first layer of things you had to work through.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Absolutely.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

So I think it’s not fair, like you’re saying who would I be then if I was me now—it’s not fair to say because they were the kids you had to deal with then so that you can become who you are now and  that’s one of  those questions of like what would it be like.

MELISSA ROHLFS

They don’t really serve a purpose in asking because you don’t ever know for now.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I think it’s really important also to be like, “It is easier also because they’re systems.” We didn’t have systems in place. In the olden days, it didn’t make sense to run the dishwasher but now we run it every night and so there’s a system already to like everybody put your stuff in, everybody take your stuff out, blah, blah, blah. We already know what’s going on. You can’t not do more than one load of laundry a day, so it becomes a system. It runs itself almost, where in the past, the first couple of kids, you’re still jumbling of like, “What do I do? How do I function? What goes first?”

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yes, yes for sure, for sure, and the way I dealt with that was just eating all the sugar trying to feel better. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Exactly. Yes, oh and it’s so interesting because I personally am so very into healthy food. I love salads and I love, like I told you, banana and dates and nuts and all this stuff. I found myself at a certain point a couple years ago, I think it was after my fifth one was born, I was loading on dates and nuts I love dates and nuts and there was a healthy option and it was like so great and I kept craving the dates and I realized that this is the only sugar I’m letting myself have so my body is just like going for that. So, it’s very interesting that even if you think that you’re healthy and you have no problem in the nutritious department, you still are stuffing emotions and you have to bring that to your awareness.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Totally. Totally. I think everybody at some point in their life has experienced emotional or stress eating, regardless. I think it’s one coping mechanism again that’s safe and legal that we can use to kind of buffer those feelings or make ourselves feel better or avoid or whatever it is that we’re doing. We can use food for that.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

So I want to get really practical. A woman who’s watching us or listening to us and she’s saying to herself, “Man, I am stuffing emotions, and honestly I don’t really want to deal with them. There’s too much. They’re too hard to deal with. They’re too painful. They’re too overwhelming. I just don’t. I’d rather eat the sugar than have to deal with the emotions, and now that I brought awareness to it, I don’t even know if I want to change it.” What do you say to that?

MELISSA ROHLFS

That’s okay. I mean it’s your choice. I can’t—you and I can’t make anybody change something that they’re not willing to change. That has to be something I think that they come to on their own. I will say that I felt that way I remember just feeling so overwhelmed and almost frozen at the thought of, “Oh my gosh, how do I change this?” But I knew that because of where I was and my situation, I didn’t want to continue that way and so I knew that something had to change, and it was me. So, I think the pain of what I was in overrode the not wanting to stay the same. Because I think you get to a point where the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of changing, and so I think everybody will come to that point on their own eventually or maybe they won’t and that’s their choice. That’s okay.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, so I have I have an answer to this but I’m going to get to it soon.

I want to hear more about your story. What happened in that moment? What was the tipping point for you?

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah so it was 10 years ago and we had, well I guess it’s 11 now—oh 10, 11 years ago and we had a newborn baby. He wasn’t sleeping through the night so I was exhausted. We had our two-year-old who had some undiagnosed sensory challenges and food intolerances we didn’t know about. My husband was traveling from work and on top of that, I had just gotten diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma, and so all through my life even, I remember being an eight-year-old girl and hiding cookies, candy, pop-tarts, and sweets in my room to kind of cope with what I was experiencing as a kid and so food was my coping mechanism, even as a child but my diagnosis, the food allergies, the being exhausted, my husband traveling, it all made me really angry. I was resentful. I wasn’t showing up as the wife and the mom and the woman I wanted to be. I didn’t like how I was treating my family. I didn’t like how I was treating my kids. I didn’t like really anything, and I’m like, “There has to be a better way,” and so that’s what propelled me to change and by God’s grace, I found holistic healing and nutrition and that changed everything for me. I tried traditional medicine. It didn’t work for me. It works for some people but that wasn’t my experience so the naturopath and the holistic doctor really set me on that healing course of food as medicine, and I’m so thankful for that because it changed everything. Because that’s not the way that I grew up at all.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Sometimes you have to go through an eye-opening experience like that, which is really very powerful.  

MELISSA ROHLFS

And painful, to be honest. It was very painful

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Did you do coaching for yourself before you became a coach? How did you find coaching?

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah, I did. So, I remember—I think this is after we got married. I had hired a life coach because I felt like I’m married, I know that I want to have a family, I don’t want to work full-time like my parents did, I want to be home but I don’t want to just be home, like I need to find my sweet spot where I can work and I can have something for me but I’m not a workaholic like my parents were, and I’m not consumed by that, I want to have a family balance and so I met with a life coach for that, and then after both kids were born, I started meeting with another coach for that same reason. We were in a different city and state by that point so started coaching again because I just felt lost as a mom. “Oh my gosh, what do I do? I want to be a good mom and I want to use my gifts and skills and talents and like you said I’m very deep and I like to talk to people and singing nursery rhymes and changing diapers all day isn’t cutting it for me. I don’t feel fulfilled in this,” and so yeah, I did coaching before I became a coach.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that my first time I ever did coaching was when I had the three kids. I just had my third and I remember sitting in her house crying that I’m a bad mother and if I didn’t have that experience, I don’t think I would understand or relate to women who feel like they’re bad mothers, but I’m telling you now that I think back to it, I think to myself, “Just because you didn’t have food ready for them when they came home at 1:30 or 2 o’clock?” But yes, but that really breaks you because you think there’s something wrong with you that you can’t get your act together, and I had to go through so much just like coaching and figuring out what works for me because like you said, everything is so individual. Not everything that’s working for everyone is going to work for you, and you have to find what’s unique to you and what your strengths are and, so that’s—I think that you do that and I do that in our coaching. We really don’t do the whole one-size-fits-all, this is what you need to do and go do it. We we’re so individualized, which is something that I think personally is really important because each one of us is so unique. Also, in my in my marriage coaching, that’s one of the things that I really teach about.

I have a virtual retreat and day one is Connect to yourself because you have to know you in order to know what you want, in order to know what you what makes you happy. You can’t expect someone else to tell you you can’t figure out what the book says or what whatever like people are selling you. It has to come from within.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Absolutely, and I think how many times have we tried to do what somebody else has done for them that’s worked well and it hasn’t worked for us and then we feel like a failure. I felt like a failure. My big thing was, “Oh my gosh, I have to have the house cleaned up and dinner has to be ready by the time my husband gets home,” and I would try all of these different things that people were telling me to do and they weren’t working for me, and then that added to me feeling like a bad mom and like a failure and then the guilt and the shame and the condemnation came in, and I was a hot mess because I hadn’t figured out what worked for me.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. So what did you end up doing that actually worked?

MELISSA ROHLFS

I got coaching. I figured out what worked for me. I learned how my brain is wired, how my personality is wired, what I need and really kind of focused on my strengths. I’m really good at organizing and setting up systems like you said, and so it was like figuring out, “Okay, if I can do this then and this will get done.” It was just really trial and error and figuring out I can take pieces from this person that worked because I think it will work for me and if it doesn’t, then I’ll move on and try the next thing but it was a lot of work. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I think it’s definitely really important that we have to touch on. “I can try things and take from everyone and if it doesn’t work, keep moving forward,” because a lot of times what I see is, “Well, I tried that already and it didn’t work so I guess there’s nothing to do.” A lot of people will say that about their marriage. “We tried therapy. It didn’t work. We tried counseling. It didn’t work, so it must be that we can’t. We’re unhelpful. There’s no help for us,” and it’s like, “No. That’s not how it works.”

You just—you keep looking and you keep finding so I think it’s really important not to give up and to keep finding what works for you and if something doesn’t work then thank you for that failure because now I’m one step closer to success.

MELISSA ROHLFS

One hundred percent, yeah, and I think it’s that mindset about failure. Failure isn’t final. Failure just gets you one step closer to where you want to go and I think you can learn from failing. I think you can—if you pause I think that’s the key is pausing and taking time and saying, “Okay, what didn’t work well with this? What did work well and what can I take from it going forward?” I think that’s huge.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that. I love that because pausing is was just in the class I went to this this morning where it was like, all you need is to just pause, and that that is just exactly what we’re saying now.

MELISSA ROHLFS

It’s powerful but we don’t really give ourselves that permission to pause.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, permission to pause. We should we should make a whole—yes, permission to pause. It’s huge. It is huge.

MELISSA ROHLFS

It is because you have to remember we’re human beings not human doings, and I think if you’re an achiever or if you’re a perfectionist or if you feel like you need that external validation, it’s easy to get caught up in the doing, in the task list, and things looking a certain way and being a certain way and we neglect ourselves in the process.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, so let’s talk about that more because there is permission to pause is a huge thing because we don’t give ourselves permission to pause and that’s also a protective mechanism because if we pause, then we actually have to listen to our emotions. We actually have to hear what’s happening in our head and it’s not a very nice place sometimes.

I had a teacher who said that all the cereal boxes are one of those things that are the top red things in America because you’re sitting there eating your breakfast and all you do is reading over and over again  breakfast of champions, breakfast of champions, and you read the back and you read the front you read the label and you read whatever because we can’t sit still. We can’t sit with our thoughts. It’s scary.

MELISSA ROHLFS

And it’s worse now with this. [Points at phone]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

It is. I guess the cereal boxes are losing a lot of readers.

MELISSA ROHLFS

They probably are sadly because people now have technic from looking down at their screens.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, yeah by the way anybody who’s on the podcast and listening to this she was pointing to her phone. Yes, phones are a big problem.

MELISSA ROHLFS

It’s another way to buffer your feelings though. I mean if you think about it, we have so many ways that we can buffer with our feelings, whether it’s drugs or alcohol or food or social media or work or whatever it is, there are lots of ways that we can offer—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I want to add to your list all the good stuff too, which means helping others. In my community, for example you can be making food for women who just had a baby to running and getting medicine for people who are sick, to visiting the person who just lost her parent, whatever it is, and you can be a really nice person and a really good person on the outside but really you’re doing it because you don’t want to sit still and listen. You can use the good things to buffer your emotions just as much as the bad things and that sometimes confuses people because they think, “Oh, but this is fine. This is okay.” I was saying I’m eating dates. For crying out loud, it’s not even a bad food. It’s like, “This is great. It’s healthy,” and everybody knows me for my dates and nuts because I have them all the time. I always have them on hand. You have to have that energy boost sometimes and so I always have it.

By the way, now it’s really funny but I don’t crave it anymore. Now, I go for something different like a spoonful of nut butter or whatever my brain is going for at the time, but a lot of times we have good things that we run to and it makes us feel like a good person but really, your body knows.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Totally, totally. And I think too along the lines of serving, there can be this underlying desire or subconscious thought of, “Oh, well I look really good to people,” and I think we can hide a lot by how we show up and how we act in public but if that’s not who you are behind closed doors, that can be kind of maybe something to look into.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And what happens next by the way? It’s called meta emotions because you’re ashamed that you look so good on the outside and really if they only knew what was going on on the inside and then that shame creates more shame. Like, “I’m ashamed for feeling ashamed,” and then we go into that cycle so first things first, just know you’re normal. Don’t be ashamed. We all have it. Stuffing emotions is a normal need in order to survive. It’s a protective mechanism because if you had to feel every feeling and deal with everything that’s coming up. You would not be living. You would just be sitting and doing the work all day. So, it’s really important not to be too hard on yourself.

And like I promised, I was going to give an answer to something that I asked for before so I’m going to do that now. I think that bringing awareness is 90% of the work, and sometimes you don’t even have to deal with the emotion in order to get rid of the stuffing. So, what I mean by that is there’s a book [Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection], I think it’s Dr. Sarno, and his whole thing is that your spine and your body is basically helping you to not feel the emote the emotional pain by giving you back pain, lower back pain, shoulder pain, whatever. So you end up having a physical pain that’s not really physical, and he found that if he sent people to physical therapy just to pretend that they’re actually helping their back, it wasn’t working because they still weren’t addressing the emotional pain but if he told them, say this, “Thank you back for protecting me from this emotional pain. I’m not going to deal with the emotional pain right now because I don’t have the energy for it or the time or the ability, but I’m aware that it’s not physical so you don’t have to help me anymore.” The back pain went away because it was just awareness just that was enough. The awareness was enough to make the disconnect between the back pain and the emotional pain. The awareness. And he didn’t actually need you to address it. Of course, eventually you want to address it because you realize, “Oh, it’s causing me a lot of pain. It’s not worth it.” Like you were saying, the emotional pain is too much to handle. It’s not worth it to carry it, so you bring it up and you deal with it but even if you don’t deal with it, the awareness of disconnecting the two parts, like the emotional eating or the stress eating and the emotional pain, is 90% of the work. So yeah I think that’s really important for that—remember that woman  we said is listening and going, “Oh my gosh, there’s no I can’t do it. I just can’t.” So, no. You can do it. Just being aware. Say, “I’m aware that this is emotional eating. I’m gonna do it anyway. I’m still gonna eat the cake. I’m still going to eat the banana and whatever. I’m still gonna do it but now I’m aware of it.”

MELISSA ROHLFS
Absolutely, and I think along with that awareness bring in some curiosity. So instead of maybe judging yourself for, “Okay, I emotionally ate,” get curious and ask, “What am I looking for in this moment? What do I need?” I think that can be a really powerful reframe because I think with the awareness, we need to be curious instead of judgmental, because we could go one of two ways.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, I love that you said this. The judgment. Oh, say more.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Well, I mean we are our own worst enemy a lot of times and we say things to ourselves and we have expectations of ourselves that we would not put on other people and so if we can replace judgment with curiosity and kindness, that can be really powerful because if you acknowledge, “Okay, I am emotionally eating,” or I’m turning to sugar or I’m doing this, ask yourself, “Why? What are you looking for?” Because usually it’s just an underlying—not a craving but it’s an underlying messenger of something, that needs to be addressed. It needs to be worked through. It needs to be acknowledged and that doesn’t have to be hard or painful it just needs to be addressed.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. I love that. I love that. Treat it with curiosity and not judgment. If we could do that that’d be awesome.

MELISSA ROHLFS

We’ll change the world. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, it’s really hard to be kind to ourselves because we have this cultural belief that it’s not going to be done if it’s not if it’s not willpower. If you can’t if you can’t talk yourself into it, then nothing will get you to do it if you’re not gonna beat yourself up then nothing’s gonna change and it’s actually really counterproductive.

MELISSA ROHLFS

It is because, I think to your earlier point, our bodies are amazing. They were put on the job to protect us to keep us safe and our brains do the same but I think the thing is our brains don’t know the difference. So let’s say, that you have stress from your kids are screaming, life feels really chaotic at home, that’s going to cause your body to go into the stress fight or flight or freeze response, which is going to be the same reaction your body would have if you were to be approached by a tiger, and you were going to be chased by a tiger. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a tiger attacking you and stress at home, so your body’s going to respond the same way. So our bodies are amazing. They were put on the job to keep us safe. We just need to get the body and the brain into alignment and really integrate again those two and let them know what—like you were saying with the back pain, “Thank you for being on the job. Thank you for keeping me safe. The way that we’ve done that of using sugar and food, I don’t need to do that anymore. I’m learning a new way. You’re safe. We’re in this together so let’s do it.” That’s actually a session I do in my coaching practice is really helping women kind of let go of those old beliefs and focus on the new because we have to do that.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that. I love that, and I also think that it’s really important to be aware that you don’t have to get to a breaking point in order to change. We always think, also in sales like look for the pain point in order to help them because they’re obviously in in enough pain that they want help. No. What if we were to come from a different [perspective]? What if we were to say—this also happened to me when I had my aha moment  What happened was that I had my aha moment that I have to leave graphic design, which I was doing for 15 years and switch over to the marriage coaching, and so I was going through that transition and I was in the park with my kids, while a different woman was telling me how she had a complete breakdown and that’s what made her realize that she has to leave her old job and start doing this new thing. And so, I’m like, “Wow, isn’t that amazing we’re both going through a process of refocusing our energies and whatever it is?” So she’s like, “But how is it that I had to go through a breakdown and you didn’t have a breakdown? You just had this aha moment, like clarity?” So that was such an important question that she asked because she believes that you don’t have to break in order to become something and I then went back to really think how did it happen to me, how did I do that, and the answer was prayer. I was asking God to show me and I was open to seeing the answers, and then when I opened my mastermind almost a year ago, when one of the ladies committed to herself to joining the program and she’s never done such a thing in her life—like, wow this is a new thing that she’s going to work on herself and really give herself the gift of being part of a mastermind and learning these skills, her life started shifting without  breakdowns. Things didn’t have to break in order for her to shift and that was a huge aha for her and it was proving the point that I was making, which was you don’t actually have to break in order to have those shifts.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yeah, you don’t have to have a breakdown to have a breakthrough.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, and one of the things that I think we believe is that we do. Something has to give something has to break something has to—

MELISSA ROHLFS

So it’s almost like a being proactive instead of reactive approach, right? Because I look at my story and if I had been proactive with my health and my nutrition, I might not have gotten to that point but I did have the breakdown to have the breakthrough, but I don’t want everybody to have that. Like you said, I believe you can have the breakthrough without the breakdown and it right is that awareness of maybe where you’re headed. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. I think the awareness of where you want to be going because when I ask people in a consultation, they want to work with me and I say, “Okay, so what do you really want?” And they say, “I just don’t want this anymore. I don’t want him to be so selfish. I don’t want that I’m working all the time. I don’t want that I’m working so hard. I don’t want that he doesn’t respect me. I don’t want that, blah, blah, blah,” and they keep going into the what I don’t want. I was like, “Yeah, but I asked what do you really want?” And that is huge because once what you want, then where you’re going.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Yes, totally because without vision the people perish. We have to have the vision of what we want and where we’re going in order to get there.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, yes. I love this conversation. We can go on forever you guys.

MELISSA ROHLFS

I know.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Thank you for all those who sent in comments. Thank you, Sharon, that was beautiful. Thank you, Elizabeth for coming and saying hi. How can people find you? You’re just awesome.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Well, thank you. As are you.

My website is free, the number two, the letter b, coaching.com so free2bcoaching.com is my website and on social media I’m Happy Healthy Mama. I’ve got a Facebook group that’s pretty much the main place. I’m on Instagram as well it’s @freetobe_coaching, so—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Wow. That’s cool. Very awesome, and I did mention my retreat so I’m going to give you guys the link. It’s a free virtual retreat. It’s seven days. One hour a day on Zoom. It’s called the Marriage Breakthrough Retreat because are going to take your marriage and break through to the next level. [Baby sounds] You’re so cute. You want to talk also? You want to tell them? Yeah? And, actually this is probably the last time I’m doing the Marriage Breakthrough Retreat live so you really want to sign up for this one because I’m making it pretty awesome and epic, and people who come live end up having major breakthroughs. People who watch the replays also have breakthroughs but the people who come live always say, “oh my gosh, I felt so—” like the energy in the room. That type of feeling, so definitely try and show up. It’s 1 PM Eastern every day. We start January 17th, so you still have time to sign up. The link, connectedforreal.com/retreat. So I will see you there. Oh, this was awesome thank you very much.

MELISSA ROHLFS

Of course. Thank you for having me.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, and thank you, baby for being with us and making noises. We’re all working together here to make this an awesome time for you. Entertainment at its best.

MELISSA ROHLFS

And real life. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Imperfect and perfect. Thank you very much don’t forget to stay connected for real.

MARRIAGE BREAKTHROUGH RETREAT PARTICIPANT

Rebbetzin Bat-Chen’s Marriage Breakthrough Retreat is amazing. If you have never gone, please go. If you went, please go again. It really, really helps you to fine tune your relationships with your husband and your family members, and just helps you connect better to the one above and to all people around you as a result. I really, really urge you to go. It is just so much fun.
MARRIAGE BREAKTHROUGH RETREAT PARTICIPANT

I highly recommend the 7-day Marriage Breakthrough Retreat. I attended every single one that Rebbetzin Bat-Chen gave and I feel that it really transformed my marriage. I feel that it can really help anybody improve their relationship with their husband and other family members–that it is truly amazing. Please, please go.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And that’s it! Thank you for listening to the very end. I would love if you can leave a review and subscribe to the podcast. Those are things that tell the algorithm, this is a good podcast and make sure to suggest it to others. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more people became more connected for real? And now, take a moment and think of someone who might benefit from this episode. Can you share it with them? I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman from connectedforreal.com. Thank you so much for listening, and don’t forget, you can be connected for real.

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