Women of Grace & Grit: Featuring Kristy O’Donnell

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Women of Grace & Grit

Why did you start coaching with Grace & Grit?

To find myself, to learn resilience and mental strength and find more energy.

I am a mother of 4, we live on a small farm and run a small business. Often my day would start being awoken by my children and usually end with me falling asleep on their beds in the evening. I felt I had no space and that my days were not on my terms. This is not an uncommon story. I hear mothers detailing the same story often. I felt there had to be another way, surely this can’t be the only way to live life with children?

I was already passionate about healthy eating but was not particularly active anymore. I came across Courtney’s work through a health professional in my area of Australia. Courtney’s work spoke to me on so many levels and offered me what I was looking for.


What have been your biggest wins since you started coaching with Grace & Grit?

Firstly, resilience and mental strength. When I spoke to Courtney in our ‘first get to know each other call’ Courtney had me signed up on the dotted line with just one sentence, “they don’t call it strength and resistance training for nothing.”
She was right, I have built up my resilience and mental strength exponentially through resistance training. In fact, resistance training is now where I go now when I need a good dose of ‘Grit’ in my day.

My second biggest win is what I now achieve in a day. Starting at 5 am with my physical activity for the day and ending around 9 pm when I put pen to paper, review my wins, jot down a few improvements I want to make and plan out my next fantastic day.

My days are now on my terms, filled with activities that reflect my values.

I also must mention how valuable Courtney’s tips and tricks are around food prep. My children and I now food prep and meal plan on Sunday afternoon 2 hours max and I have prechopped all our veggies for the week, cooked enough morning tea and afternoon tea snacks to feed 5 hungry mouths for 7 days. There is no more procrastination in the evenings, no more feeling overwhelmed about how am I going to put together a healthy meal after netball training or what is our food going to be like on Saturday when we are out all day for sports and food shopping. These habits are steadfast and strong now thanks to Courtney.


For a woman listening who may not understand the value of working with a health coach, what would you say to her?

Accountability is a catalyst for change. Setting a goal and making a promise to ourselves is easy not to do, after all, our mind knows our strengths and weaknesses, it has this tactical advantage over us. Meaning, our mind can and will excuse and justify our way out of any promise or goal we set for ourselves. Working with a health coach, like Courtney, you will have accountability. You have someone reminding you of why you’re here and what you wanted to achieve. What I found unique about Courtney is that she gradually shifted that accountability onto me so I could begin to understand and utilize self-accountability and start showing up by myself for myself EVERYDAY. This is a skill that will serve me every day for the rest of my life.


What has been your biggest challenge in the process and how did you work through it?

Overcoming the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. I thought I needed to eat well ‘all’ the time to be healthy. I thought I needed to work out ‘everyday’ to be healthy. Let’s face it with kids it is hard to get that perfect 1.5 hour gym workout three times a
week and have whole food meal prepared at every mealtime, every day. I really did think to be ‘healthy’ I could never have a bad day. Not anymore, now I when I am flying high, I aim for ‘all’ and when I’m having a bad day I aim for a little better than ‘nothing.’ Courtney always says that self-care does not look the same every day, that is where my newly developed gradient thinking looks and feels so damn good. Although it was challenging to shift this mindset, of late, I have found myself thinking and feeling as though I am a healthy person, defined by my daily habits, not by my moments of imperfection.

I know now that ‘healthy’ is just showing up for my journey every day, I know now that my destination is not an arrival at healthy, instead my destination is in the health journey.


Anything else you’d like to share?

When I started my journey with Courtney, I was indecisive, struggled with my self-esteem and self-worth. I had very few boundaries with my children and my partner. All of this was a result of very little self-love. I was also afraid of failure, so much so that, I have never really put myself out there in the world to be seen, I made decisions out of fear.

Now I am running a family yoga class at my local recreation center, I still have that fear but now I have the skills to lean into it and find the growth in it. In addition, I am well into the journey of establishing boundaries with my loved ones, so I can live my life aligned with my values not on everybody else’s terms. I have so much time for myself now, as a result, my self-love is growing by the day. Each time I work out, eat a healthy meal or choose my health over the profound list of temptations in life, my self-love expands. The best thing is, even when I don’t hit the mark with my health goals my self-love doesn’t take a hit, it still expands, how awesome is that!!! Without Courtney, I have no doubt I’d be still stuck in my old life. 

Courtney’s program is so much more than the quick-fix approach prevalent in the health industry. It is a multifaceted, whole-life transformation, full of long-lasting skills to guide me through my every day. I will be forever grateful for the journey I have had and no doubt will continue to have with this inspirational lady!!!


Learn more about how to work with Courtney Townley.

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