Joining the show today is Jon McLernon, a fitness coach and emotional eating expert. Jon shares with us his traumatic experience that changed his life and shaped him to be the person he is now. 

  •  What happened to Jon while he was on a humanitarian mission in South Africa 
  • Impact of the traumatic incident on Jon’s mental health
  • Using food as a coping mechanism
  • Making the decision to forgive
  • How did Jon forgive and move into a place of compassion? 
  • How Jon started to become a weight loss coach 
  • How Jon helps his clients create life-changing transformations. 

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Jon McLernon

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Carrie: Hope for anxiety and OCD episode 63. Today on the show, I have a special interview for you with coach Jon Mclernon. I’ve been holding onto this episode for a little while and honestly thought about not publishing it due to some background noise interference that comes up at different points. However, when I went back and listened to the interview recently, I felt like coach Jon’s story of how he got to a place of forgiveness was so powerful that I wanted you guys to hear it because he went through something that, no one should ever have to go through and it was traumatic and he talks about how he coped with that in a negative way. And then how he came to forgiveness, how he got back on track. It’s just a really great personal story. 

The reality is, is that if you’ve been living and breathing for any amount of time on this earth, there’s been someone that’s hurt you, that you’ve needed to forgive. And hopefully, this episode will help you with that process. Jon, you had a traumatic experience and that really changed the trajectory of your life. Told us about that. 

Jon: My wife and I sort of embarked on a global cold trotting adventure, I guess you could say. And we spent about three years of our life just traveling around the world. And one of the places that we landed in was, so with Africa, we, we’d met some South Africans in our travels and they invited us to come down to South Africa to help them work on a particular, it was a government program. It was an NGO or a government-funded but privately run. It was called Hospitality Youth Internship. And so what we were doing is we were working with underprivileged, young people, kind of teaching them life skills and helping them to be more employable and then placing them in internships before basically with potential employers to give them a chance to grow themselves.

At that time we were living on a nature reserve. Eastern Cape and South Africa, and one night I had went back to our cabin, kind of the layer of the reserve was the buildings were kind of lined up in a bit of an L shape. So you had, like a dining hall on one end and there was the dormitories for the students. And then there was, like the washroom facilities and tucked into the woods. A little bit was off to the side. Was the instructor’s cabin.  And so I’d been walking back there. Everyone else was in the dining hall, you know, enjoying dinner and whatnot. It should have clicked, but it didn’t, because when I was out there everything’s peaceful and quiet that something that was missed by the door was ajar the cabinet. And when I opened it, there was three men in there, that were actually sitting down and eating food or table and, and it didn’t really register with me that some of it was a mess. There was a fourth guy outside of the cabinet, and see who hit me over the head with a rock and it stunned me and so on.

So essentially their intention was to try to beat me to death, basically. That was quite a really traumatic thing to go through and kind of skipping over some of the details probably for the sake of brevity as well, but in an incident like that, like, I don’t think anything in life really properly prepares you to experience something like that. Some of the things that stick out in my mind were like they were smiling and laughing and that, you know, while they’re inflicting this on me.

Carrie: And these were people that you didn’t know and they didn’t know you and all of a sudden they’re trying to kill you basically. 

Jon: I sort of stumbled across some, I believe they were bid ransacked or cabin and whatnot, but it turns out the night before they’d they had to actually be in your death, a farmer that they’d robbed.

And so they were kind of on this spree of doing this. And so it was nothing personal, but me and the individual, it just so happened to be where they were. Then there’s also kind of a reason why they do things the way they do, in trustingly in a sense. And that is that they could’ve just said, “shop me or stab me or something like that”. But in a sense, being that I was white, I am a representation of something that they feel that historically oppressed them. And so in an interesting twist, it’s kind of like they’re trying to take back something they feel is taken from them. 

They want to inflict, a kind of punishment and demonstrate their power over you and really like, make you suffer in the experience. It kind of speaks to sort of the place that they might be at psychologically that made that, that worked to my advantage because I, I was able to sort of, I was stunned in concussed and widen, bruise and so on, but I was able to kind of fight my way to my feet. And at least escape to where the others were. The aftermath of that was nothing that I was really prepared for. You know, I come from Canada, we have our ups and downs and our issues, but we’re pretty open, friendly country. 

I had a lot of things, a lot of, kind of intrusive thoughts, like entering my mind, a lot of unprovoked or unexpected emotions that would come on very, very strongly thoughts of doing harm or violence, other people. And so on, that’s not who I am as a human being. That in itself was incredibly troubling and difficult for me to deal with. Because the part of the logical part of my brain says, “this is not who I am”. And yet here, these thoughts are coming into my head. I’m being triggered by things that would never have in the past triggered me. And so it really felt quite unequipped to deal with that. And one of my ways of coping was actually to use food to kind of, I would say, I call it, change the channel in my head. I shouldn’t say kind of, I became a binge-eating food addict essentially. And that was one of my coping mechanisms.

Carrie: Okay. So there was just a lot of intense anger after this trauma. And part of that was just your mind, like trying to make sense of everything that happened to you. It was like this double whammy of, here I am essentially sacrificing some time and energy to help people in this humanitarian organization. And then I’m seen as, like this, racial enemy that gets beating. And, you’re not a racist person. 

Jon: So it felt like a huge injustice. Everything about the situation felt unfair. It was four on one, it was a surprise attack. I was jumped at night, you know, I was by myself, that kind of thing. I was in flip-flops and sweatpants and a t-shirt just in a very good mood because we’d had wonderful interactions with our students. And to be clear, none of our students were involved in these. They were victims of this, but then none of them were involved in this. 

This was separate to what they were doing. And so just a lot of it felt incredibly unjust. And I think I have a strong sense of fairness and justice. And so having this happen to me, really angered me in the sense that, you know, it wasn’t fair. In a nutshell, it really went against my sense of fairness. And of course they knew nothing about me, but the fact that yes, we were essentially volunteers with a stipend working for this organization in a sense, the goodness of our heart, because we felt inspired by the mission that they were trying to do. Maybe it happened only two weeks after we’d arrived in South Africa as well. Just a lot, everything about it felt like, very frustrating.

Carrie: All right, that makes a lot of sense. Just not knowing how to deal with all those emotions that came up, all those thoughts that would come up, you know, as intrusions. And you were like, I don’t like this. I don’t know what to do with it. And so then this avoidance, which is really, really common and trauma took over and you filled that space with food? 

Jon: It’s, I’m ex-military as well, but I spent six years in the Canadian military and the navy. And as an engineer. But we’re also obviously trained as soldiers too. We’re soldiers, you know, first sailor, second or trade was third. I only share that because I am trained in terms of, of combat and things like that. And so there were definitely thoughts in my head about even things like setting traps. Because kind of what happens down there is also like, clearly we stand out because we are a visible minority, but like, you know, we were broken into many times as well and it just compounds it, it feels like you’re constantly under attack or under assault when you’re living down there for nothing that you’ve ever done. And so, you know, I had thoughts of, like setting traps and really trying to even, like encourage people to break into our hosts so that I could inflict harm on them and try and exact, maybe revenge or vengeance for what had happened to me. 

But there always be this voice in my head that goes, this isn’t who you are. This is not who you are. This is not what you would do. So I really felt this tension between like the sense of identity and who I am as a human being and these things, these thoughts and ideas that were coming into my head. But looking back, I believe they were an attempt to try and reconcile something that was taken from me. You know, they really took away my power. They took away, you know, they victimized me and so on. It was almost like my attempt to take back what was taken from me. 

Carrie: When did you recognize, okay, this way of coping with this trauma is not working for me anymore?

Jon: Truthfully, it was probably a couple of years after the fact. Because some of the other, what would I say, mitigating factors? I had a sense of an idea of what masculinity was and what it meant to be a man and so on. So that also came into play really in influencing how it felt about everything, including how I felt about myself, looking back. I realized like my whole life I’ve actually been an empath. I have a very big heart for people, a very big heart of caring and love, but for most of my life that actually kind of hidden and suppressed these things because I felt like, if people saw, these aspects of my nature, my identity, that they would see me as a weak man, not realizing that. Of course, that’s, that’s a completely flawed idea about it. 

So that came into it as well. So again, this idea, these huge emotions coming up, and I was seeing myself as an emotionally irrational person. When, you know, prior to this, I’d kind of been, my wife used to tease me and even call me the 10 men a little bit. And so to have all of this and have it outside of my control felt very, very disempowering as well. It was probably and why is in the backstories because it didn’t really have any idea of touch she even recognized that I was traumatized in a sense, like it’s, after the minutes, like I’m strong, I can move past this.

They’re not going to win. And so on, because of that, I didn’t necessarily seek out specific help for this. I just kind of used my own coping skills, but I would say it was probably six or seven months after the fact that I first realized that my weight had ballooned up to 328 lbs. So we go back to Australia where my wife is from and realized I can’t, like I can’t keep living like this. At that time, I was 30 years old. This is if I keep on this path. This is gonna be a short life for me, that’s not what I want. So I have to try to make some changes, but I didn’t know what to do to even make changes. And so I started with trying to lose the weight. And prior to that, I’d been an athlete.

I’ve been pretty good shape. Most of my life had never really struggled that much with my weight. And so now that was another compounding factor. Here I was, I had this sense of identity as an athlete who was in pretty good shape. We went to the gym regularly, that kind of thing to now being this obese person who struggled to move. So there was that as well. And along with that came like the self-loathing and the self hatred and, and feelings of unworthiness and being unlovable and so on, all of that sort of came into play as well. And so I started to turn my attention to trying to lose weight, feeling like that would correct some of this stuff that was going on.

Carrie: How did that go? How did the weight loss journey go for you? Did you try a lot of different diets?

Jon: I did. I would say name a diet and I probably tried it now. I imagine like, since that time, cause there’s a period of time where I’ve lost weight and kept it off now for a number of years, I would say that. I tried, like paleo keto. I was even raw vegan for a period of time, low carb, low fat, just a lot of different eating protocols. Flexitarian, Mediterranean and so on. And none really could stick and I couldn’t figure out why. I’m, I’m pretty, well-educated, pretty good handle on this. And it was a struggle to try and understand, why could I know all this stuff?, but I couldn’t seem to make it stick on my own life. 

I can even help other people. I was good at helping other people. I’m a natural coach, but I couldn’t help myself. I went on for a few years of, like yo-yo dieting, losing some weight, regaining it, losing it, regaining it. And even that sort of struggle itself. Again, compounding everything I felt about myself, of being a failure about really just again, being sort of this unlovable loser. Thankfully, my wife is just an amazing human being who was with me and by my side through all of this and never once like, lost hope or faith in me. Which is a real testament to her character. 

Carrie: I think so many people go through that shame cycle that you’re talking about there with, okay, I’m gonna do this diet gung ho and I’m gonna get the food and I’m gonna plan the meals. And then next thing you know, they, we’re working really hard at it. And either they don’t see the results that they were expecting to see or they’re not able to stick with it. And then it creates this, oh gosh, I’m a failure. I’m never gonna lose this weight. I’m just gonna be heavy forever. And they just end up in this spiral of negativity just makes you wanna eat more really.

Jon: Well see the brain had learned the pattern. That when I feel stressed or uncomfortable in anything that I don’t wanna feel. I can just eat food and change that. A lot of people, myself included when we embark on the journey of losing weight and we decide we’re gonna make this change. And transformation is very exciting in the beginning because we’re starting to picture how we’re gonna look, how we’re gonna feel, how life is going to be different.

But I think there’s this idea that somehow, because we’re a virtuous or a good person or something that the universe is gonna conspire to create the perfect conditions for us to lose the weight, because we’re a good person who wants to do a good thing. And the reality is a lot colder than that life doesn’t stop throwing you curveballs and punching your junk when you try to make a change like that.

So you actually have to, and I actually had to navigate this attempted transformation in real life while still sort of carrying around the emotional burdens of these beliefs, the trauma and so on. And then the yo-yo cycle just really perpetuates the cycle of shame, guilt, regret, a sense of failure and so on. I amassed a lot of that with the persona of the jolly fat guy, as well. You know, I was even at one point nicknamed the Garber eater, that’s quite, quite a handle to have.

Carrie: The garber eater?

Jon: Because I can eat a lot of food. I took a sense of pride in my appetite, but also, you know, if there was some good leftovers that somebody had, that they were just to scrape in the garbage, you know, say like a half eaten steak, I’d just cut off the parts where, you know, maybe their fork and knife and touched and be like, why are you throwing away this good food? If it’s gonna waste and miles to go to my waste, that was actually my thinking. And I think it would physically cause, like a pain at my core when I watched food being thrown away, that was like perfectly edible and good.  And maybe some of that was connected to the fact that for me, food really represented a poor solution to dealing with my emotional struggles.

Carrie: How did you find some more positive ways to handle your emotions? What was that process like?

Jon: I go back to a coach who asked me a really impactful question that I see it legitimately changed my life. And it’s interesting to think that one question, when you follow that back, one question can actually change your life. And it started with, he said, if you make a list of all the things you love and value, how far down the list we have to go before I see your name and that one stopped me dead in my tracks. 

Carrie: Wow!

Jon: Because it’s like, I’m not on the list. It wasn’t even that it was near the bottom. That was not on the list. I think I remember, like, I haven’t cried very often in my life pride, you know, when I send my wedding balance, that’s like, that’s the only time in my adult life that I really remember, like for most of my life ever, ever shedding tears, not because I’m ashamed to it just really hadn’t. And that moment, I just like when I was by myself, I just started crying because I couldn’t understand, like it had never entered my conscious that I was allowed to be in the list of things I love and value. Let alone near the top of that list. 

So it really spoke to how I felt about myself. If I look back, I had this historical pattern of like basically setting myself on fire to keep others warm, just giving and giving and giving and constantly giving them myself. And I think it really stemmed from a real core of my being the sense of identity that said, I’m not good enough. And I have to do this. Otherwise people will just in my life will just abandon me. That was yet again, another contributing factor that made like the weight loss such as troubles. That question was like a really, it at least started the wheels turning that I need to find my weight onto this list. And I didn’t even know how to do that because it wasn’t something that ever I had ever thought about before. And maybe even I would have felt, I would have felt like a sense of shame around like being given a compliment.

Carrie: Ok.

Jon: Or being told I was good at something I’d often just want to like brush that off. Even though, like I’m quite capable of quite intelligent, you know, if I could say, like, I’m a good man, a good husband, a good father, a loyal friend, all these things. But if anyone had told me that I would try to brush it off. I didn’t want to receive the compliment graciously because of how I felt about myself. I didn’t feel I was worthy or deserved that.

Carrie: Just make you really uncomfortable.

Jon: I then squirmed in my seat and just really wanted the light to be sort of turned away from me again. One of the things that I, and then my coach had me do was to try to pay myself a genuine compliment, like look at myself in the mirror as the president was and pay myself a genuine heartfelt compliment that was grounded in reality, because in the persona state of the jolly fat guy, for example, it would be something that everything was a little bit exaggerated. You know, it was a larger than life kind of character, both physically. And in my sort of presence, I was loud.

I was vocal that kind of thing. 

It couldn’t be this exaggerated compliment because a lot of that is just rooted in insecurity. It had to be a very genuine one. And that process of saying the compliment and then sitting with all the feelings that came up, not trying to push them away, not trying to shoot them away, but just sitting with them almost like observing them. And so maybe another piece of that puzzle would be when I started practicing meditation. I think it’s now shifted, but you go back like 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 years ago. 

The idea is around meditation, where it’s something for like monks, you know, maybe Buddhist monks in a monastery in the Himalayas or something like that or you have to burn or hippies or you have to burn incense and hum and things like that.

Really, it was just about trying to quiet my mind and have a singular focus. And for me, it was actually just the breathing rhythm box, reading four in four out four, hold, sorry, four and four hold for, out for hold. That was the first one, you know, just something really, really simple to calm the nervous system down, even learning that practice helped me to start to become more mindful of the thoughts that enter my head. And that was one of the ways that I started to deal with the intrusive thoughts actually.

Carrie: I like that so good.

Jon: Just as a side note, as a kid, I didn’t know what I was doing at that time. Let’s see I was laying in bed at night, maybe five, six years old and had sort of scary thoughts of monsters under my bed or whatever. I would actually visualize the hedgehog driving a bulldozer and he would push those thoughts outside of my head. It’s kind of like off the edge of a cliff. So it was funny that was sort of visual tool that I developed as a little child to deal with sort of uncomfortable thoughts in my head. 

Carrie: Okay. That’s interesting. So, how are you able to forgive the people that hurt you?

Jon: That was a process as well, that I made the decision to forgive because I wanted to be free from the experience. Ultimately, I realized that if I was to forgive them, that it was not about absolving them for what they had done. But I was really about setting myself free from what I had experienced. And I got tired of being angry. Rage is exhausting.

Carrie: Yes, yes.

Jon: And it’s not fun. It’s misery so it’s exhausting misery. And I was just so weary because again, it was not who I am as a person. I realized that, okay, I have to forgive them. It was in Istanbul, living with my brother at the time we were, we went back to Turkey for a period of time. My brothers lived over there for more than 12 years and I couldn’t sleep one night and I just got off and I said, “okay, I have to start the process of forgiveness, I didn’t know what it was gonna look like again, but I realized I wanted to forgive them because I want it to be free”.

I think what helped me is, I had to ask the question, “what must have happened in their life or their experience that led them to the place where not only did they think it was appropriate to do what they did”? It was actually there they’re almost like they were doing a good thing. I was the bad guy, because I don’t think first of all, I don’t think that human beings are born racist. And I don’t think that they’re necessarily born like with this idea that they wanna be a violent criminal.

Carrie: Right. 

Jon: And so what happened to them in their life, in their experience that led them to this point in time in their life? I don’t know, but it probably wasn’t good. 

Carrie: It makes sense.

Jon: So I started to develop a sense of compassion for them, which went against my sense of justice at the time. But I realized that again, I had to humanize them. If I was going to forgive them, they couldn’t just be like monsters. They had to be humans if I was gonna forgive them. And so I really started to reflect from their human experience and what would have brought them to this place. And the other thing I had to realize is I’m a Christian and I couldn’t say forgive them, but kind of secretly hold them at heart. And I wish that God would smack them. I have to be absolute forgiveness where I actually asked God to forgive them as well. 

Carrie: Yes.

Jon: And to let go of all thoughts and desires for vengeance. It was one I got to that place and it was probably an there’s a number of months, really getting to that place of one of the steps I would say in terms of healing and moving past it. And I can say we’re actually only a couple of days off the ten-year anniversary of this happening to me. And I’m deeply grateful that I had that experience because of how it has changed me. How I’ve become a more caring, compassionate, empathetic person. So it didn’t turn me into a bitter person. I went through many years of struggles, but because of those struggles, I now have a much deeper understanding of really a people’s humanity and in their experience. And again, it’s not to really, to absolve people of harmful or unhelpful behavior, but it’s to understand why that behavior occurs and understanding that to potentially be an agent for change. Could we see in other people’s lives as well?

Carrie: I’m glad that you talked about that being a process of forgiveness, because I think a lot of times people look at it as it should be some kind of like one and done thing, but really it’s a matter of when that anger comes up, you know, dealing with it in that way of saying, okay, let me get over to the space of compassion for others and for understanding that I’m not the one responsible for justice in the sense that’s God’s department. And it does, it takes time, especially when you have big things happen to you. Sometimes that forgiveness is a process.

Jon: And you’re right about like, I couldn’t just sort of make the decision to forgive and then be free. It’s every time my brain wanted to revisit what happened to me too. You highlighted exactly, really to move into that space of compassion to say, like, I don’t want this anger, you know, and really asking God to help me to let go of it. And also like not feeling necessarily a sense of guilt for the thoughts entered my head. Because I didn’t want them. I didn’t want them there, but there was this period of time where I felt really conflicted, even at least thoughts entering my head because I thought, well, these are, these are sinful thoughts. These are harmful thoughts. They’re not thoughts that a Christian should have entering their head thoughts of carrying out violence and harming other people, even letting go of the guilt that I felt for that realizing that this was kind of my brain’s response to trying to reconcile what had happened to me. And that like in this experience, God, God was taking me through this experience. 

There’s no shortcut. I think sometimes maybe there’s this desire that we try to be a Christian and try to serve God. But there’s this desire that somehow this will allow us to short circuit or shortcut the experience. But if we, if I was to take a shortcut around the experience, I would miss a lot of the value of that experience. And that’s not to say that I wanna go through something like that again, I don’t. But it was because I went through the painful experience. It’s like, almost like we have to get to like the lowest of lows to realize like how deep God’s love for us is. And we can’t really know it or feel it until we get to that place.

Carrie: Wow. That’s a good point. So tell us a little bit about what you do in terms of the nutrition coaching and your work with client.

Jon: So that originally started out about six or seven years ago, one ahead of nutrition and supplement store. So a physical bricks and mortar store. And so people would come in looking for a particular supplement to help them with a particular issue. I said that I started to become a bartender without local. And so people would come into the store and they would just start sharing their struggles. I would ask questions, “hey, you’re looking for this supplement help what’s going on”? Let’s try to understand this a little bit more. And very often that I’m saying, you know what, actually, you’re welcome to buy that if you want to. But like, I just want you to know that that’s probably not gonna help you with what it is you’re trying to get help it. And maybe I pointed direction or there’s something to help them, but ultimately I ended up coaching people. 

So I started, you know, maybe I started out giving people calorie recommendations and meal plans and things, because that is what I thought people need it. But as time went on, I realized that those were really just like band-aid approaches. But really now I do what I call like brain driven, weight loss. And I’d almost like to call it, say like the side effect might include weight loss. In other words, the process that we’re really working on is a one of transformation and it actually needs a permanent shift in identity.

The idea behind a diet is a temporary change to create permanent results. And that’s never gonna be the case. If we’re going to create lasting change, we have to be transformed really it’s about walking people through that process because it’s incredibly the human beings. We don’t really create change on our own. It’s really difficult because we feel lonely and isolated, but why don’t we feel connected to another safe human being? If I could put it that way. But then it’s safe for us because the process of change is vulnerable. It’s moving out of our comfort zone. It’s moving into the discomfort zone. It involves growing. Think about like when a snake goes to shadow skin as an animal kingdom example, it goes to a place where it will be safe and secure because in that time that it’s going through that process, it’s insane so to speak. 

So we can understand that a little bit like, when we go to transform, we’re moving into a vulnerable state and biologically our brain doesn’t like that because we have this hardwired sort of primal survival mechanisms. And so what needs to happen is we need to be in a safe space, so to speak where it feels like it’s safe to transform because we’re connecting to another secure human being. And so really there’s a relational aspect of the coaching that I’m doing is essentially holding space for somebody and then guiding them through that process. Yes, we’re essentially going to reverse engineer. 

So we understand that fundamental principles of a healthy lifestyle. It really hasn’t changed because our biology really hasn’t changed that part of it is relatively simple as the human part that makes it complex. And so we walk people through the process of building out the foundation steps or building out the foundation pieces. And then learning how to implement these skills into their lives. So they actually become a habit or a routine behavior. So in the process of doing so, one of the things we need to do is bring a lot of unconscious habits and behaviors into our conscious awareness, because it’s the place of awareness that we can create change. And I like to add to that and say, it’s, it’s really the place of compassionate awareness. It helps us to create change. 

We almost do two things. We take the unconscious habits that are unhelpful, bring them into our conscious awareness, refine them. And then we transfer them back into sort of our unconscious mind by basically by practicing these behaviors until ultimately we’ve done is we’ve crafted a lifestyle that suits the individual so that not only do they lose their weight. But because it’s become their way of living. And there’s also been a transformation in their identity. They can keep doing this because ultimately that’s what’s required to truly create change.

Carrie: I like that concept of changing from the inside out one and two to make major changes, having to change your identity, how you view yourself. And so many people are looking at themselves in the mirror saying, well, maybe like you like, okay, well I’m the jolly happy fat guy. And that really was your identity. And until you could see yourself differently, your subconscious essentially was like, we have to hold onto this weight. I mean, because we’re the jolly fat guy, like that’s who we are. And so until we, you start to see yourself differently, your body isn’t gonna fall in line with those changes that you’re trying to make that makes so much sense. 

Jon: Well, it’s really interesting because there’s like this, could we say a dynamic tension? So our primal nervous system is really hardwired to seek out comfort and familiarity because that’s where safety lies.

But our soul, the essence of who we are as a human yearns for growth and development and bettering ourselves. There’s just this urge or drive. And so there’s this tension between these kinds of these two forces that are kind of pulling back and forth. Probably heard the phrase that we don’t really change until the discomfort of remaining the same outweighs the discomfort of creating change.

Carrie: Right. Just kind of as a closing question. If you could go back in time, what encouragement or hope would you provide to your younger self? 

Jon: You can get through this. Human beings are immensely resilient. But we have to believe and have faith in the fact that we are, it is incredible what we can endure and move forward in. But the other thing is like, there is an end to this. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to be a difficult and painful experience, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Thing I would say is there is no shame in seeking help.

Carrie: Right. That’s a good one. 

Jon: It’s the most beneficial thing I ever did was to open up and ask others for help. And it’s incredible that kindness that human beings will show you when you open yourself up to receiving help.

Carrie: Coach Jon, thank you so much for being on the podcast and talking about your personal story. I think that the really powerful and something probably a lot of people can relate to. Maybe they didn’t go through the exact trauma that you went through, but they went through something difficult and used food to cope or are emotional eating even currently. And maybe they can kind of pick up some tips from things that you shared of how to start making heading in a new direction. So that’s awesome. 

Jon: Thank you so much for having me into, just to encourage anybody who might be struggling with things it’s okay. That your brain is doing what it’s kind of designed to do. We just need to, to, to work with your brain, the brain is wonderfully plastic. It’s called neuroplasticity. We can essentially rewire our brain. And so even if you feel stuck in these patterns, that can be changed. There is hope for you. 

Carrie: Yes for sure. I wanted to take a moment to give a couple of shout-outs. One is to Betty. Thank you for being our first patron on Patreon. If you like, Betty would like to support the show. You can click on the link in our show notes. I also wanna say a thank you to Emily for writing us an encouraging note and letting us know what the podcast has meant to her. She said that she found the podcast during a difficult time in her life. And now considers us to be one of her top three favorite podcasts. So that’s awesome. It’s so encouraging to hear from our listeners. So thank you for everybody out there who’s listening. 

Hope for anxiety and OCD is a production of By the Well Counseling. Our show is hosted by me, Carrie Bock, licensed professional counselor in Tennessee opinions given by our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of myself or by the world counseling or original music is by Brandon Mangrum. Until next time be comforted by God’s great love for you.